Don't worry! I'm not leaving the beach for Baltimore. Hah! What were you thinking?

Just going back to my hometown for a little visit. I haven't been in Maryland (or pretty much anywhere but Hawaii) since my move here in February of 2010! I'm a little overdue.

My best friend just got married so I'm excited to attend her Halloween-style reception this weekend. Since Halloween is arguably my favorite holiday and I live for costumes,  needless to say, I'm psyched.

I have been planning my Halloween costume for about 3 months now. Pictures will come soon!

I'll also be attending a Baltimore Ravens home game. Dear Lord, I'm so happy. I think I'd be thrilled just to have the game occur later than 8am but to be present at the game, beer and all? Literally, heaven. Purple heaven.
Living life as #bikinigirl and LOVING it.
Will also post soon about Hawaii Five-0 activities. I'm alive and well on set as Bikini Girl. I've (lucky and fortunate enough to have) been an extra in several episodes in season 2 and hope to appear in several more. 

Geez, I'm blessed.
I'll be tweeting this week. Stay tuned! 
Happy One Year Anniversary, Hawaii! I moved to Hawaii with Nick on February 4, 2010. Which means next week I will have now lived in Hawaii for a whole year.
First license in a new state! Woot!
So crazy to think about. Not that the time during deployment flew by at all, but definitely the time since Nick has been home has.

The only time I have left Hawaii since moving here has been for a few days to go to California for training for work. I haven't been back to Maryland and have not seen my family and friends for one whole year now.
My going away outing with my good friends before the big move.
That must be the reason I have been thinking about them all and missing them so much. I did get to see my sister and niece back in July when they came to visit me, which was amazing. And I have gotten to Skype with my parents, my sister, my niece, and even my grandma over the holidays.

But my heart is aching for my friends back home. Don't get me wrong, I have friends here. But they're not the kind yet that I feel comfortable calling up after a rough day to talk to. Nick is here for that...some of the time. And none of the girls I hang out with live anywhere nearby me. With the island’s traffic, that is a big deal. A girl needs her best friends.
To my two best friends back home, Erin and Rachel. I miss you two SO much.

Erin has been my best friend and partner in crime and sarcasm since junior year of college when I went from commuting to class to moving onto campus and got "stuck" rooming with her. It was a randomized assignment and the first thing I see when I walk into the dorm room is a huge poster of David Duchovny from X-Files and a little David Duchovny action figure perched tauntingly by her computer.
Me and Erin...So young here!
Erin and I hit it off right away, much to her surprise (and a little bit of mine!). She told me story after story of her nightmarish roommates, ones that stalked her, ones that walked in on her without asking, and ones that would just stare at her like they wanted to kill her. Erin and I had the same major, were the same age, and were in very similar dating situations at the time. While I had never seen X-Files before (although Erin got me to watch a few episodes while living with her and they weren’t bad, I must say), we did stay up WAY too late when we had early classes and tell scary stories until we fell asleep.
Erin and I continued to room together until graduation. Afterwards we had our own stuff going on and didn’t see each other much. A few months after graduation we got together for a reunion and decided to go do karaoke at a little bar nearby our college where a friend of mine (Rob!) was DJing. And then we went faithfully every week for 5 months straight.
Still my favorite picture of all time. Oh my Lord.
Erin has and always will be my best friend. I regret that we don’t talk much. She is a busy girl with a full-time job with a hefty commute, a fiancé, and a punk band called Dead End Lane in which she is the amazingly talented lead singer. The time diff doesn’t help either. But despite not getting to talk much I know that if I need her she is always there and vice versa.
I also found Rachel, my other best friend, in a very serendipitous type way. I used to date her brother! While the relationship with her brother clearly did not work out, I was fortunate enough to meet Rachel who is like a kindred soul to me. We got along SO well that her brother started getting jealous of our talking the whole time we were all out! Not too long after meeting Rachel, she invited me to move into her spare bedroom at her place.
Such an awesome friend.
Rachel was such an awesome roommate too! We watched the same shows, worked nearby, loved a lot of the same things. It was only a little awkward having pictures of her brother hanging around everywhere…but this is also the same brother that led me to find my husband so it looks like two AWESOME things came out of that!
ignore the brunette behind the curtain.
I guess Nick has to come out as the winner of being my favorite roommate ever. I mean, we do have a blast together. But….my two favorite girl roommates and best friends will always be Erin and Rachel.
There are no two friends like these two. :)
So this blog is dedicated to Erin and Rachel. Of course I miss everyone else back home SO much, my mom and my sister especially.
I also really miss my other close friends: Rob, John, EP, James, Cory, Beki, Bernadette, and all my other friends I didn't name on here….you all are the best. I miss you guys a ton. Karaoke again soon please? Guys?
Miss you guys a ton. Sing 'Fatbottom Girls' for me please?
Side Note: I know Erin wouldn’t want you to believe she is still obsessed with David Duchovny. I mean I wouldn’t want to embarrass her. It’s not like I would ever do something crazy like put up a poster of her with a really bad picture in the elevator of our dormitory or anything like that. So for the record, despite owning a cast of David Duchovny’s head, Erin really isn’t obsessed with X-Files anymore. For the record. ;)
"For everything you have missed, you have gained something else, and for everything you gain, you lose something else."
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

As I was at work today, I realized that I said "ya'll" to my new co-worker just 5 minutes shy of explaining how to pronounce "E Komo Mai" (Welcome in Hawaiian) and talking about my growing up in Baltimore. Then on the ride home today, my iPhone music shuffle picked up a previously abandoned Muse song added to my collection years ago by an ex-boyfriend I haven't talked to in forever. I was never into Muse. At all. And suddenly I liked this song. And the others from its album.

It got me thinking about how I've changed in the almost 7 months since I've moved to Hawaii. I decided my list was long enough to warrant being written down (and laughed at). So here it is:

 Things I’ve Lost since Hawaii:
  • One less non-broken bone. (I broke my toe last month when my sister came to visit. I was unsure if I really did at the time but a month later it’s still sore so I think that is a yes. Not a big deal, but I’ve never really broken anything before. There goes that winning point in the  “Never Have I Ever” game.)
  • My single status…er, well engaged status. 
  • My last name
  • My Maryland license (I do miss that little blue crab on it but my huge rainbow is pretty awesome.)
  • My tolerance for cold weather (I freeze when I walk in air condition now. I took two sweaters with me to breakfast this morning because I was shaking the second I walked in the door!)
  • My stereotype of military life & wives
  • My need to wear socks ever again (Long live flipflops.)
  • My car (Still heave a little sigh every time a silver Toyota Echo with all 4 missing hubcaps drives by.)
  • A few checked off items on my life goals list (Get Married, Drink Champagne on an Airplane, Get a Drivers License from Another State, Visit Hawaii- that was number 2 on my list!
  • Contact with a few people I probably wasn’t meant to stay in touch with anyway (…so no real loss there.)
  • Any desire EVER to waitress again. (In fact I’m considering gouging my eyes out with forks before doing so again. I still have nightmares from my one evening spent working in Outback where the words “NEVER AGAIN!!” echoed through my mind all night like a crazy person.)
  • Any sense of consistent dialect (I still say, “hon” from Baltimore, “ya’ll” from Charleston, and now end every sentence with “yah?” from Hawaiian pidgin. Plus I really like to say “Aloha!” )
  • Two bank accounts. (No Bank of America’s or Baltimore County Credit Unions here.)
  • My white pasty complexion and dry skin (Don’t miss either ONE bit!)
  • My previous favorite necklace (A mother of pearl four leaf clover I paid a quarter for at a flea market when I was 10 and a horse-shoe charm with “Good luck” written in it I bought for myself when I moved out of my mom’s house officially for the first time…come to think of it that’s probably not good luck.)
  • 2 Tupperware lids. (No clue where they went. Wonder if you can order that specifically….Hmm.)
Things I’ve gained since Hawaii:
  • A wedding band
  • A husband (!!!)
  • A boatload (literally) of friends
  • A tan J
  • Greta (My “new” car…a ’99 beat-up aqua-colored Toyota Corolla who acts kind of fussy sometimes and likes to tease me by putting on her Check Engine light every 3 weeks or so but still kinda feels like a caring, worried Grandma.)
  • One more state added to my roster of states visited (Now at 44!)
  • A HOUSE of our own!
  • An insatiable desire to bake cupcakes frequently (And an even more house-wifey obsession for cute little aprons. I think I used to watch Girls Next Door to often- you know how Holly always dressed up for doing silly little things? Totally becoming me.)
  • An appreciation for always having lived on Eastern Standard Time….and an anger for when companies on EST call me at 2am.
  • 14 new bikinis
  • A passion for non-profit work & at least for now a job that makes me pretty happy
  • A big expensive white dress
  • Occasional awesome care packages from Mom (Which ALWAYS contain about 15-25 dog treat coupons which show me where her loyalty really lies.)
  • A new pen pal- my sister!
  • A new language (Well, not completely, but I do know a LOT of words now. Plus, ever since moving here I made myself say every single street name in Hawaiian out loud to practice and I have a real knack for Hawaiian pronunciation now I think….although I did JUST learn how to pronounce my street name after 6 months of saying it wrong. Oops.)
  • An amazing new ability to “man up” and handle tools. (I’ve hung pictures, drilled, and even assembled a TV stand…in only 4 hours….um.)
  • A new love for red wine. I currently have 5 opened bottles. (Sorry, Mom.)
  • A newfound appreciation for military wives (and kids)
  • A longing for Charleston I didn’t know I had.
  • An herb garden (Which reminds me…I’m having fresh eggplant for dinner tonight!)
  • An underlying fear of tsunamis (following “The Tsunami That Wasn’t” back in February. I still keep meaning to buy a tshirt that says I survived the February 27th Tsunami.)
My Constants:
  • My dog Maggie. (Don’t know how I’d survive deployment without that dog. The neighbors seriously must think I’m nuts. I raced her down my street back to our house the other day, the whole while yelling at her like I would to a person: “I’m going to beat you. I’m almost there. Ha! In your face!” I did beat her but it was close. …Only to see my neighbor across the street outside looking at me and smiling awkwardly. Ooops.)
  • My family.
  • My hair color.
  • My love for beaches….actually that has definitely increased with the overabundance of clear, turquoise waters and white sand beaches, and trade winds that keep the weather perfectly balanced….(Sorry. ;)  )
  • My silver palmetto palm tree necklace I got at Rainbow Street Market in downtown Charleston that I pretty much wear all the time.
  • My phone number. (I’ve had it since I was 17. 410 forever, baby. Although I am forcing Nick to convert from his 314 St Louis area code. Sorry, Nick.)
  • My slight obsession with photography. (Only now it’s developed into an obsession with iPhone photography apps.)
  • My appreciation for Maryland crabcakes, cream of crab soup, and Old Bay. (If someone tells you Old Bay does not go with everything they are WRONG!)
  • My love for Nick…I take that back. That’s definitely changed. I only miss him and love him more every day.
You have to let go of some things to make room for others…but in the case of my two missing Tupperware lids I’m not entirely sure that’s true. But for the most part change has been good to me.

I couldn’t be a more happily married woman. Unless Nick was home from deployment but I’m taking one day at a time. And twice in the past two weeks I have had comments from two different people that couldn’t believe my age. Not that I’m old by any means but it was nice they thought I was a college kid.

Enough reflections. I need to go race my dog around the block. Aloha! ;)
Every time I step outside here I feel like I'm in a constant state of awe. Seriously, how did I get to live here?
So nice to see green & mountains again!
It seems so funny now finding out so long ago- over 5 months now- to the actualization of living here. And it's crazy to think that while it's been warm and sunny here (I'm already completely acclimated to the warm- I can't stand cold weather!) back in Maryland they set records for snowfall and blizzards. Literally the day after I left, the airport began canceling flights, two blizzards came in one week, record-setting snowfall, even I-95 was shut down. I don't think I've ever seen that before.

The view from my mom's front yard in Baltimore
I'm really lucky I left when I did because it would have been over a week later I would have finally been able to get here.

I'm still adjusting a little bit with the time difference. It's definitely not hard to get up early here since it's kind of like sleeping in in Maryland. :) Unfortunately, Nick and I have been sharing a car off and on so I've had to drive him to work a few times if I needed the car that day so I would get up at 5:30am and be exhausted by 9:30pm that night...doesn't help get on schedule.

I think I'm just about there now. Five hours is a lot to adjust by. I think I'm closer to California time at the moment, but that works.

Last Monday we got me a car. A little aqua '99 Toyota Corolla which I have promptly named "Little Clunker," due to its slightly clunking engine. Also "Little Beater." That's actually more of an island term- the crappy little cars that people drive a lot of times when they live here are called beaters. Much of the island is military so people just get temporary cars. Also, you don't put a lot of mileage on cars here since it's not like you can suddenly plan a road trip out of state. The funny thing is my new (to me!) little car had 117,500 miles on it when I got it last week- the one that I sold had 117,555....Weird.

The houses on our street- don't they look like faces?
We moved into our new house on Friday. Well, I got here and got to read a few pages of my book before realizing I had no toilet paper in the entire house. I walked over to the office to borrow a roll (take a roll? not like I'm giving it back) and by the time I got back to the house, the moving truck wasn't far behind. We have three shipments total coming. Our biggest one on Friday was from back in October when they boxed up almost everything from Charleston, SC. The second which is coming this morning is from the end of Nick's being stationed in Groton, CT. The last one which I think will probably be sometime next week will be the final one they took from my house in Baltimore, MD the week I left. Oh, and technically four shipments- Nick's car isn't here yet either. We'll be expecting that sometime next week.

I hate dealing with movers. I feel bad asking them to unpack everything, but it's what they're getting paid for. Also if they don't unpack the stuff while they're there, for one you end up with a ton of packaging materials you don't know what to do with until they come pick it up. But the biggest thing is that if something is broken, you can't claim it because you can't prove you didn't just break it after unwrapping it.

Downtown Kailua behind a shopping center
In our shipment Friday, our dining room table didn't make it- the legs broke on the journey so now it's sitting awkwardly in our living room. My bedside table lost the whole handle and looks pretty ugly now. My favorite Target lamp is no more. Our couch has some slashes on it. And they dropped a dolly on the side of my car and put a nice gash in the front of the fender. We'll get reimbursed but it's a bummer. Especially with the dining room table because I have no idea what to do with it at the moment. It's big. I don't know if they'll be able to fix it (I think a claims guy will come out and tell me that) and I really don't want a new one- I love my old one. It was a $100 Craigslist purchase in Charleston and well worth it. Beautiful oak table.

So at the moment, I'm waiting for the second shipment to get here and today will be spent trying to organize everything and put it in its place. It's helpful that the moving company unpacks everything- it saves a ton of time. But then you're left with mounds of THINGS in every room piled up high. Sigh.

Nick is working extra long tonight and I might not see him until tomorrow. He took the car since I have so much to do here anyway.

The beach on Kailua's Marine base- Gorgeous.
Other than the craziness of moving, Hawaii has bowled me over so far. It's incredible. Especially the area we live, called 'Ewa Beach (pronounced Eh-vah). We stayed in Kailua the first week with friends on the base and Kailua was incredible. There was even a beautiful beach you could walk to that was on base. I went two days in a row I didn't have a car. I saw 4 different kinds of crabs I had never seen before, sea anemones, got stung by a jellyfish, and even rescued a tiny little octopus which tried to squirt ink at me. Twice. (His little tentacles were so cool! They kept sticking on my fingers as I was trying to get him back in the water so he wouldn't die.) 

This little guy visited me while I was laying out
Oh, and I almost had to be rescued by the base lifeguard. The water is NO joke here. I was walking in the water up to my calves when it suddenly dropped off up to my chest. And rocks appeared. And waves that wouldn't let me get away from the rocks. Fun. (I did end up with some scratches on my knee, a pounding heart, a talking to from the lifeguard who warned me that the area wasn't safe for swimming, and I got knocked down a few levels in the embarrassment department

Kailua is on the rainier side of the island. It was pretty nice while we were there but they said it had been raining a lot prior to my arrival. And toward the end I drove in and out of rain quite a bit.

To the left, rain. To the right, sun. Crazy island living.
The Ewa side of the island doesn't rain as much. It's not too hot here. It's been between 74-88 every day and sunny. But the crazy thing about the rain all over the island is that you can drive into or out of it. If it's raining on one side, just drive out of it. Half the time it will be raining on one side of you and sunny on the other side (see my picture)- which is why you see so many rainbows here. I think I've seen six already in just over a week.

The house is beautiful. It's a new house but needs a lot of work. We've been trying to cover the windows in our bedroom at least with duct tape and sheets and beach towels. And I guess we didn't realize that grass doesn't come with the house- our backyard is a red clay. I have light colored carpets- clay and light carpets do not mix well when you have a dog. So despite the decently sized back yard, we have to continually take the dog for walks. Kind of a pain when I got so spoiled by my parents yard and just being able to let her outside.

We began investigating how to get grass since I think grass and blinds are priority. We talked for ten minutes to a guy at the base garden shop on all the steps we need to take- sand down first for filtration, top soil mixed with spongey rocks since apparently clay is no good for growing, purchasing multiple cubic feet of grass and tearing them individually apart and planting each one a few inches apart. We're waiting for a sale on all that.
We also priced blinds through the base. Nick isn't around much to be able to install a ton of blinds and we thought instead of getting the cheap ones from Walmart/Target, since we already have really awkward sized windows we would get professional blinds done. We're looking at really nice white wood grain horizontal blinds for the entire upstairs and light off-brown verticals for all the downstairs which would match our sliding glass door. We priced it at $2500. Ouch.

Owning a house is definitely not cheap. So many other little costs like those- and just filling up the house, buying a bed and stuff for a spare bedroom. Ugh. Money.

How can you complain when your backyard could look like this?
Our realtor actually took us out to dinner last night at the Cheesecake Factory in downtown Waikiki. CRAZY CRAZY CRAZY PACKED area. It's the most touristy part of the island and there is no off time. It doesn't get less busy on a Monday during the day because everyone there is on vacation. It was insane how packed it was. Definitely trying to stay away from there as much as possible. On Oahu they try to keep all the hotels in one area of the island so it's not like that all over. And that's pretty much where they all are. The beach was incredible though and looked like a postcard with the sun setting colors and the palm trees in the foreground. The shopping was incredible. Louis Vuitton, Rolex, Fendi stores. Crazy. But I'll stick with staying out of Honolulu and Waikiki whenever possible. Even the restaurants were ALWAYS packed. Man, that's be a hard but lucrative place to work.

Some of the other crazy things I've noticed so far- traffic is horrendous. I heard someone say it got voted #1 worst- Los Angeles was number 2. Ouch. All the street names are crazy to pronounce. I try to say every one I see out loud to practice pronunciations. You mostly just try to pronounce every vowel. But in some cases that isn't easy- Kamehameha Highway is a popular road here. I still haven't figure out which part of the name to stress. But at least I have the pronunciation right. I think. And just when you think you have pronunciation down- you get three vowel in a row and just have no idea. And then there's the state fish: the Humuhumukununukuapua'a fish. Yeah, try that one when you think you're good at pronouncing Hawaiian. I just figured out this week how to say my street name.

Banking has been an adventure. There are no Suntrusts here. No Bank of Americas. No M&T Banks. Basically nothing there is back home other than Navy Federal Credit Union. There are lots of local banks. Bank of America actually froze my account for suspicious activitiy the day I needed to get money out for my car. AFTER I had already called them to make sure it wouldn't be a problem. I spent 45 minutes on the phone in a bank parking lot. Nice.

Superbowl kicked off at 1:25pm. The only thing live here is football. So during the season there will be 8am games. That's some real tailgating. The 10pm Jay Leno show comes on at 9pm. I still haven't figured out any other TV show times. And I miss good ol' eastcoast Comcast cable. I'd even take ghetto South Carolina's Comcast over this weird Oceanic Time Warner. There's no TV on demand! I miss my Pilates on demand from Exercise TV.

Hawaii is also the place that those "Prices and participation may vary" disclaimers were made for. My first night here we tried to order the 3 mediums for $5.55 from Dominos- only to get "Yeah, that's the mainland price." (They call the other 48 states the "Mainland.") It's 3 mediums for $7 each here. And Subway's $5 footlong is $6. Just doesn't have the same ring to it.

Everything is more expensive if you don't buy stuff on base (which I can't by myself since I don't have a military ID). I heard one of the ladies say they had to go to a regular grocery store one day after commissary hours and spent $7 on a gallon of milk. I bought gas the other day for $3.30 a gallon. Yup, miss mainland prices. It's not a bad trade off to avoid the cold weather and snow. And hey, while talking gardening to the garden center guy, he told us plants grow year round. I'll be planting my own herbs and some veggies too. Oh, and hey, my Verizon cell service works better here than anywhere I've ever been. I didn't even know I could have that many bars!

Well, it's definitely an adventure here so far. I'm not going to have much of an adventure the next few days as I go crazy trying to organize everything-unless your idea of adventures include finding our that hand soap spilled all over my favorite towels. But hey, I do have Nick's bike so maybe I'll ride to the beach once or twice.

And when he is here, we decided to try to explore and have real adventures as much as possible. Every weekend we can. I like that idea.

PS. I have a house and cable now finally so I'll try not to slack on updating. I currently don't have access to pics on my camera though. (Just thriving on pure camera phone pics at the moment.) Darn USB cord went missing. Hey, maybe it will be on today's shipment!

For more current updates
as I travel the island (& take pictures of it!):

I got in at 5:10pm Hawaiian time yesterday, 10:10pm Eastern standard time.
Nick lei-d me at Honolulu airport
I had hoped to blog before I got on the plane yesterday but it just didn’t work out. We left the house at 5:15 for my 7:50am flight to Houston. Maggie wasn’t able to be checked in until 6 so it timed out very well. But it took almost 40 minutes to get her processed. By the time I got through security and got to my gate, it was already 7am and boarding began at 7:15. It took me 10 minutes to get my laptop up (I really need to get it fixed!) before I realized that it costs $7.95 to access the airport’s wifi. Which wasn’t going to happen for 5 minutes of internet access. So I boarded that plane, the airline attendants let me know Maggie made it on. I slept at least half of the 3 ½ hour flight and arrived with an hour and a half before my flight from Houston to Honolulu…then I looked at my pass and realized that it boards an hour before my flight. I guess because of the size of the aircraft (there were two floors!).

I had enough time to freshen up and put on some makeup and when I got over to my gate they were calling for my row of seats (I was sitting all the way in the back).

The flight was supposed to land at 4:10pm in Hawaii but because we hit some kind of strong trade winds we actually had to reroute over Mexico to avoid them and it cost an hour extra time for our flight.

Since the flight was pretty empty I had a little row to myself and got to spread out and nap. I was only going to nap a little and read a lot…but I realized I was burning too quickly through my Sookie Stackhouse book I’d brought with me (expecting me to take the whole flight or more to read it). They had a GPS tracker up on the screens in the plane throughout the flight that told us what time it was where we departed, the time in Honolulu, where we were on the map, and all the stats about altitude and speed. I kept thinking a lot of time had passed but then would look up and see that only an hour or two had gone by. So I got myself to sleep…a lot. I’d wake up, check the time, then go back to sleep. I slept close to half the flight (which was helpful because I only got 2 hours of sleep the night before).

I had three glasses of champagne on the flight. J That made me really happy. Hey, it was a 9 hour flight…one drink every three hours? That’s not bad.

The CO’s wife from Nick’s boat was nice enough to meet me at the airport to introduce herself. She brought me a lei. (In case you’re wondering, they don’t do that automatically…those things are expensive and it’s typically only people who are flying on vacation packages who have a travel agent meet them with a lei. They also sell them somewhere near the airport so you can bring one for someone too.)

We got to check on Maggie at the airport’s quarantine center before leaving. She was really anxious but her tail started wagging when she saw us. I felt so bad leaving her there but we would be able to come back the next morning and pick her up.

This morning began my first day in Hawaii. I had to be up at 5am to drop Nick off at work on the base so I could take the rental car to go get Maggie. Thank God for GPS. When I got to the animal quarantine part of Honolulu airport I was about a half hour early but they still let me and got me started with filling out paperwork. A few minutes into signing some papers, one of the guys from the quarantine center came to the window to talk to me. He said the vet that did my heath certificate for me a week ago didn’t finish filling it out properly. She filled in the medical history portion from my records…but didn’t fill in the dog breed, gender, color, microchip, etc…all the things that identify Maggie as the one they wrote the health certificate about. Five months of preparation for Maggie and it could have all been ruined by a vet who didn’t know how to fill out the form properly.

The view driving to Kailua beach
Luckily after a few attempts we were able to get ahold of the vet and the guy said he would take a faxed copy if she would refill it out. I had to give her the medical records over the phone since most of our vet trips had been in SC. After waiting around some more for the fax to come through I noticed the guy I was working with was over by the fax machine a lot…my newly faxed health certificate was crumpled up inside the machine. Nice. “It worked fine earlier this morning,” he said. Great. I sort of started laughing hysterically.

The second copy of the certificate that came through made it without getting shredded into 4 crumpled up pieces but it was completely off center. It cut off half of the medical records portion…but you could see the part about her gender and breed and all and some of the medical records. Sigh.

Finally the guy gave in and said I’d be waiting all day for this to work so he went ahead and released her! Yay!

I had to leave her inside her huge crate until we were off airport property. Luckily our Focus rental had a decently sized backseat and it fit.

my first Hawaiian rainbow!
I got way off course coming back to the base where we are staying with friends. My GPS works pretty well on the island (the GPS on my phone does anyway, my regular Magellan GPS apparently doesn’t work outside the 48 contingent states so I’ll have to look into upgrading that or something). Unfortunately, the GPS doesn’t account for entering the base at a key checkpoint. So I got a little off course and had to reroute all the way back around. The cool thing was that on the way back from the airport to the base, about a 45 minute drive (including getting lost) I went in and out of rain about 3 or 4 times. It doesn’t really rain for days here like it does on the east coast. I kept driving in and out of the rain. At one point it was drizzling and cloudy on one side of the highway and the other side was bright and sunny and shining down on me. I looked to my left and saw a big rainbow and screamed- my first island rainbow! The dog just looked confused.

It’s only 3:30 here and it’s gorgeous, not hot, warm. Sunny and mid seventies.

My mom just called and told me they’re getting 30 inches of snow this weekend, expecting a blizzard, and they cancelled a lot of the flights out of Baltimore-Washington airport this morning…thank GOD I flew in yesterday.

Kailua Beach- finally a blonde at the beach again!
I hope to get this blog up as soon as possible but we’re staying with friends so I don’t have wireless on my laptop until they give me the network key. Hopefully later this evening I can get it online. Even as I began typing this blog earlier on today the electricity went out in the base housing and I had to take a break from wiriting but luckily I had started the blog in Word and it autosaved it.

Right now I’m waiting for Nick to get off work now so I can go pick him up and get some food for Maggie and for us. Tomorrow is Saturday. Nick immediately had to start work after getting here (got here Sunday evening and started work early the next morning). We’re really excited to have a weekend together in paradise. And we’re definitely going to the beach. And so the adventure really begins… :)

Rehobeth for Joe & Cait's wedding
Sometimes I feel like it was so long ago that we found out that we were moving to Hawaii but now that it's almost here it's coming at me fast. And with this snowy crazy weather, it can't come quickly enough.

Caitlin, me and Ali- night before the wedding
I feel good about things right now. I feel on top of things for the most part, and that's important. Last week I felt like I was falling apart and was borderline having panic attacks just about every day trying to think of all the stuff that needed to be done.

Maggie had her vet appt on Thursday and got her health certificate. I called the Quarantine Center in Hawaii to make sure everything was fine with her other paperwork and found out she qualifies for direct release from the airport rather than the "5 day or less" quarantine. She still has to stay overnight because of the time our flight gets in, but she will be released the next morning at 8am. So I'm happy she is all taken care of...just need to get through the plane trip with her.

Condo partying night before the wedding
We went to an awesome wedding in Rehobeth Beach this weekend for some friends from nuclear power school in Charleston. It was a snowy crazy weekend but it was a lot of fun. I was particularly excited I got to hang out with my good friend Ali I knew from Charleston (one of the nuke guys' girlfriends). I haven't seen her or talked much since leaving Charleston so it was fun to hang out and catch up and just have fun.

oh those navy boys.
The wedding was beautiful. Nick was in the bridal party in uniform. They had a string trio that played "Tale as Old as Time" from Beauty & the Beast as the bridal party walked down the aisle. So pretty.

The reception was a BLAST. So much fun. Although right afterwards we had to leave and drive back 3 hours to Baltimore so Nick could catch his flight to Hawaii early the next morning. It was a miserable drive. The Eastern Shore isn't used to heavy snow and that's exactly what they got that day. The roads were horrendous and definitely stressed me out a lot. I kept thinking, "I can't wreck the car! Nick needs to get on a plane and I have to sell my car next week!"

Nuclear power school reunion at the wedding
Thankfully we AND the car made it back in once piece (each?). Nick caught his flight on time. He made it into Hawaii about 4:30pm Eastern time, 9:30pm Hawaiian time. He was quick to tell me that it was 82 and sunny and sent me a picture of a clear sky while he was driving.

As you could tell from my previous blog entry, my car sold. It was official today. I still keep thinking it's outside the house on the street, but it's not. The girl who took it really seemed to be a little odd and quirky like me so that makes me happy. My Echo was a good car and needs someone a little kooky driving her.

Happy couple: Mr. & Mrs. Milo
The movers also came this morning and took the rest of the stuff that I don't need immediately. In fact, we won't get this shipment for over a month so it was difficult deciding what I could do without for over a month when it will be warm weather. I wish I had known while we were in Charleston that we'd be getting one more pickup...I could have brought a few more summery things with me for when I first get there before we get into our house.

Anyway, tomorrow is my last day in Baltimore.

Ali & Matt...getting crazy at the reception
I have a checklist a mile long of places I need to go and people I need to see. My engagement ring needs to be picked up (a tiny diamond on the band came loose Sunday and they are fixing it), pick up prescriptions, my license and registration need to be returned to the DMV so I can cancel my insurance, meet a friend for brunch, return a shirt at Target, get to the bank, pay bills, call the live animal desk at the airport in Hawaii to tell them they need to keep Maggie overnight, find out where the dropoff desk is for Maggie at the Baltimore airport, pack,  put all the Live Animal stickers on Maggie's crate, and meet p with my sister tomorrow evening one last time. Whew.
And blog. ;*)

I finally feel okay about everything though. These are just loose ends. Easy to cover- but will just take a little while.

So many good times.
I will still be nervous about the flight. More for Maggie than me. I'm fine. Just not excited about flying for 13 1/2 hours....ugh talk about nap breath. Also Nick is looking into cars there for me. He may be checking out that silver corolla perfect would that be?

So thank for sticking it out with me and listening to my ramblings....almost there!

And don't worry. I absolutely won't stop blogging when I get to the beach. The trip getting there is fun but the big adventure is still to come. ;*)

PS. I added some new pictures in Photos de la Blonde - Check it out!

My Dear 2001 Toyota Echo,
As our relationship comes to a close and I pass you on to someone else I can only wish for the best for you. After all, I've always wanted the best for you. Don't let the 4 month old Taco Bell quesadilla under the passenger seat fool you.

We have had some amazing times despite the name calling...mostly on my end. You've been called "Clown car," "little plastic toy," "piece of crap," and "Why won't you go faster dammit?!?" But amidst the name calling, there were also the fond names- "Bubble car" (not meant to indicate you're chubby although you are slightly more hip-pey than your big sister the Corolla), "girl," "little bug," and of course, "Little car."

I pretended not to notice when hubcaps were repelled from you. I've encouraged you along the way when you would creep over the 76 mile-per-hour speed and I could feel you huffing and puffing just a teeny bit but I didn't want to hurt your pride by drawing attention to it.

You were there for me in college when I would nap with the seat back when I got to class too early. You had drunk sorority sisters falling all over each other in your back seat when I was the sober sister at socials (Sorry for the vomiting- but you should be thanking me for that detailing two years ago). You went out with me to meet up with friends in Towson, Bel Air, Glen Burnie, Baltimore, Charleston, and Ocean City. You may have even been accused of hitting some people once or twice...I'm pretty sure you just nudged them when they walked in front of you though.

You are a true beach girl like me. You're from Florida, you were here for me that year I turned 21 and lived in Ocean City for the summer (sorry for all the drunk, sandy people who inhabited your back seat on occasion), and all the South Carolina beaches- Myrtle Beach, Folly Beach, and Isle of Palms.
Yup, that's little car on the right in an ep of Army Wives
You traveled back and forth with me from Charleston, SC to Baltimore, MD. (Sorry for the dog's multiple bouts of car sickness.) You were even in an episode of Army Wives (with me of course) which was filmed in Charleston.

You were there during my worst roadtrip ever (although with the best results)- driving from Baltimore, MD to St Louis, MO for some boy at 11:30pm the day before New Years Eve just over two years ago. Turns out that didn't work out too well for you since now I'm going to be moving 5500 miles away with that boy to a tropical island....hence the reason you're not coming with me. Sorry to rub that in. I didn't mean to hurt your feelings.

In all seriousness, I feel like you were my first. My previous, the Neon left me high and dry with her flickering ghost dome light that would randomly come on while driving too fast, having the bass too loud, or even if someone leaned their leg too hard against the passenger side door. But I digress.

You're the first car that was mine. I had you the longest and I even paid you off all by myself. I'm sorry you won't be there for me when I go to the ultimate beach.

So I hope that the new girl can appreciate you and have as much fun with you as I have. I hope to be able to find another "little car" who will come close to what you've been to me. And maybe your cute older sister might just do...(I just saw an O'ahu Craigslist ad for a silver Corolla!)

Your favorite owner

Today is Monday, January 25th, 2010. Nick received the info on his plane tickets (finally) and he leaves Sunday morning, January 31st. I follow shortly after next Thursday, February 4th. Holy CRAP, time is ticking down.

Nick graduated from his Connecticut classes this past Friday and drove into Maryland Friday night. Well, his friend drove him. His car is now underway to Hawaii and will arrive in about a month.

I've been trying to finish off the last few steps of getting ready to move. I cleaned out my car, got an oil change, and listed her on Craigslist. She's been up for a week and I had two different groups of people that came to look at her Saturday. She is getting a Maryland State Inspection today then I'm giving those people a call back. Both are very interested though one offered slightly more money. So it looks like my dear little car will be leaving me soon.

Maggie has her vet appointment scheduled for this Thursday (one week before we leave). She has to be checked out a last time, get a health certificate issued to her, and have a flea and tick medication administered by a vet and signed off on.

It's crazy how quickly time is ticking down now. I have gotten to hang out with quite a few friends up until now. There are still some more I'd love to hang out with, but I am just simply running out of free time. This past weekend was my last weekend here. This Friday we're driving to Rehobeth Beach for one of Nick's good friends' weddings. The actual wedding will take place Saturday. We have to be there Friday night since Nick is in the bridal party. Since Nick is flying out from Baltimore's airport Sunday morning, we'll have to leave Saturday evening.

The things going through my mind at this point are....well, AGHHH.

I got a call from the moving company that's making one more pickup from my house (Thank GOD!! Saves me from having to ship everything and pay for everything myself!) next week. They have to come out "survey" the stuff that we're shipping again. So they'll be here Thursday for that.

On the girly side of leaving, I tried to cover all my bases. I LOVE getting my hair highlighted. But highlighting by a professional at a salon- well, it's expensive for one, and it's hard to find someone you can trust. Here in Baltimore, I've been going to the same person for about 15 years. I wish I could move her with me! So I won't have to worry about keeping my hair done nicely when I get to Hawaii (I can hear you laughing!! Stop it!), I talked to my hairdresser about changing it to something I can keep up with myself. I got it done Thursday but it came out a little more gold than I usually like, so I'm trying one more time today. Don't worry- I'm definitely staying Blonde at the Beach. Ginger at the Beach just doesn't have the same ring. :)

I woke up this morning with my head just buzzing of stuff to worry about doing before we leave (the call from the moving company didn't help with that drowning feeling either). I need to open an account at Navy Federal sometime this week since apparently there aren't any Bank of America's in Hawaii (or any other local bank for that matter). I need to pack...although anything I pack and the movers take next week I won't get back until the end of February. Hopefully I have enough summery clothes with me to last a week or two. I might be buying shorts when I get there! At least I remembered flip flops. Only 2 pairs but it will work. Still have to get the car officially sold. I need to pay off my bills for next month so I won't have to worry about getting money into my Bank of America account from Hawaii. I need to start changing addresses over on all my mail again...although since the house isn't quite done yet I'm not sure how soon I can change the address. I wonder if we even have a mailbox at this point!

Like I said....AGHH.

I'm really excited for this great adventure though. I just wish it would hurry up and get here so I can stop stressing out about it! Everything will just feel better when I get there, get some sleep and get to the beach the next day. :)

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Only me


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I got one thing knocked off my list today- I sent out Maggie's paperwork at the post office today, signature confirmation and all.

A pilot I did awhile back- I'm not a judge this time though!
One thing to check off my list felt nice...then I checked my email.
My old roommate (whose address I still have on my license since it was pointless to change it) emailed me to let me know I got a jury summons for the week after I leave for Hawaii. Haha nice.

My mom is 58 and said she has only had a jury summons once in her life. I guess it could be worse- it could be for the week that I'm supposed to leave as opposed to the week after.

I called them today to find out what I can do since I will no longer be living in the state effective a week earlier than my report date. My one-way plane ticket to Hawaii is apparently not enough. I have to get Nick to write the Circuit Court a letter saying he is my fiance and it has to say we're moving to Hawaii in February and also has to include my Hawaii address. Sigh.

It could be worse, like I said. But seriously? What are the chances? Alright- so I guess I knocked one thing off my list and added an even more fun thing to it.

Oh, Hawaii. I hope things fall into place a teeny bit more when I get there....I won't even stress about the looking for a job, finding a car, and unpacking all our stuff into a new house. Whew.

As I watch (laugh at?) Jersey Shore and have an evening off where I’m not falling asleep, (actually I already napped for an hour) I thought I’d catch up. :)

December was crazy!

Christmas with my neice and mom
Christmas was awesome. My family celebrates on Christmas Eve because of my parents’ crazy schedules. That worked out pretty well because I ended up flying out on Christmas day to St Louis to be with Nick for Christmas and the few days after.

My big sis, mom and me :)
My sister was upset this year we didn’t do the Twelve Days of Christmas…Last year every family member awkwardly jumped in front of a video camera to sing/say/yell/scream/laugh a verse of the Twelve Days of Christmas. It was a hot mess we all complained all the way through about doing but cracked up laughing when we got to watch it. Unfortunately my stepbrother and his wife had to run to church because they were in a play or something so we didn’t have time to sing this year. Darn.

Christmas day I spent a good deal of time at airports and on planes. I wasn’t fortunate enough to get window seats and spent the two flights (there was a layover in Atlanta) trying to sleep with my head strangely pushed forward while safely cushioned in one of those round travel cushions.

I made it one piece and got to clean up and nap before heading over Nick’s Aunt Cathy’s house to meet…well, everyone. I met his grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. Everyone. They were hilarious. We had a Chinese gift exchange (where everyone brings a gift and everyone gets one but you can steal other people’s gifts) where I won a duct-taped wrapped soccer ball that took me 10 minutes to open. I was cool enough to be the only person to get something sort of adult (The Hangover on dvd) and the youngest cousin ended up getting it…ooops. I didn’t know there was going to be a 15-year-old. Ah well.

Nerding it up in our 3d glasses when we went to see Avatar
Nick, his two twin brothers, one of their girlfriends, and I went to see Avatar Saturday, in all our 3d glasses glory. The movie was awesome…it also really reminded me of Pocahontas and Ferngully but set in Jurassic Park. Hah.

Winking Wolf sign in Marley's
Saturday was perhaps the funniest night in St Louis. We went out to a little local bar in Ferguson called Marley’s. It was such a hilarious mid-Western bar. I don’t know what the funniest part about the bar was.
There was a winking wolf sign on the wall. The bartender didn’t know where the gingerale would be if they had it.

Ohh the plastic Sutter Home bottle
When I asked for white wine (I know, I know, I should have just done beer!) I was given a wine glass and a plastic individual-sized plastic bottle of Sutter Home Chardonnay. The dj played two Lady Gaga songs in a row and 4 out of 5 of Gaga’s latest singles within a 40 minute period. With "Oops I Did It Again" interspersed in between. We met up with Nick’s cousin Colleen and her boyfriend Nick there and had a blast laughing about the bar and the rednecks in it who looked beyond confused when Gaga came on and not-so-subtly ogled every girl who walked through the door. Oh Lord.

Sunday we were supposed to go to his grandparent’s house two hours away on a farm, but the snow began early and wouldn’t stop coming down. Instead we got to enjoy a totally lazy day inside eating cinnamon buns and watching movies. Can’t complain.

Bud brewery in St Louis
Since I was set to leave Tuesday, Monday became my touristy day. Nick took me to the Budweiser brewery for a tour. The tour was an hour long- we got to see the Clydesdales, their stables, the brewery, the packaging/bottling factory, and finally the hospitality room. That was probably my favorite. We got two 12 oz samples of our choice of beer. I had Shock Top for my first “sample” and got to try Michelob Ultra Golden Light for my second sample. The Mich Ultra Golden Light is only sold in St Louis and parts of Illinois so it was cool to get to try. We got to see a bunch of different kinds of beers I didn’t even know Bud made- although we didn’t get to try them all. Bud even makes a Bud with Clamato and a Bud Light with Clamato…Nick told me Clamato is clam juice and a bloody mary mix. Ew.

The classic 'Arch' pose
After the brewery we went to see the Arch. Tickets were sold out to go up to the top, and there was a crazy security line where they made you lift your pants legs and scanned you and everything just to go to the gift shop inside. So we just took some cheesy pictures outside, got some Hooters wings To-Go from the Florissant, MO Hooters, and then headed back to enjoy our last evening together for a whole month.

I was back to work the next day and since I was lucky enough to have off for Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve, I had to work New Years Eve at my restaurant. It was a really long day. I was a double and was there from 9:30am until just after 2am. Up until about 1am I still really wanted to go out afterwards and celebrate with some other work people…then the day caught up with me. I ended up coming back, having a hot shower, eating a bunch of Bagel Bites, and finishing two glasses of champagne before going to bed about 4:30am, just when my mom was getting up for work.

The fireworks in the Inner Harbor were gorgeous. This was the first New Years Nick and I haven’t been together. It honestly made me a bit sad. But I’m so happy I finally got to be with him for Christmas at least. And while I didn’t expect to be spending New Years Eve with my fellow co-workers in our awesome khaki cuffed pants, white button-up Oxford shirt, and crazy fish/lobster/crab ties, when the clock struck midnight even the bitterest employees had huge smiles on their faces as they walked around wishing everyone else a happy new year.

I had all these thoughts as I watched the fireworks about how I’m getting so much closer to such a huge adventure. It’s unbelievable.

There are only 32 days from now before my big move to Hawaii. It is slowly becoming more and more real to me. (Except when I’m outside with my two scarves wrapped around my entire face sans eyes…Hawaii isn’t quite as realistic then.)

The New Year is just a reminder to me now of all the things I need to do. I still need to send in all my forms and information for my dog for her quarantine. I need to buy her crate for the flight. I need to put my car up on Craigslist- but before that I need to get an oil change and clean that poor car out too. And most importantly, I need to spend some quality time with my family and friends before I leave.

2010 is going to be such a crazy big year. I can’t wait. :)