Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Oh yeah...

I forgot to mention that Corey's training in Monterey got cancelled last week (a couple days before he was supposed to leave). So he's here (in Japan) now, not in California. Just a heads up in case anyone was hoping to see him, or was wasting time worrying about me being lonely.  =)

In other good news, our fridge has been busted for a long time now, and we finally got someone to come out and fix it today. It took an hour, but it's actually producing cold air now and doesn't make the house smell like rotten garbage every time we open the door. So yay for that!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Well crap.

Yesterday we were picnicking in the park and enjoying spring to the fullest, and today we walked out of the commisary to see this:
Fan-freaking-tastic. The weather gods missed the memo that it's APRIL 26TH!!! Stop snowing!!!! 

On top of dealing with snow, Corey twisted his ankle on the treadmill today and then we got into a car accident. There's this semi-deadly blind corner on the little street coming out of our neighborhood, and the mirror that's set up there to check for traffic was covered in snow. While carefully inching out and trying to see what we could, we got hit by a woman coming up the road. It was totally non-scary in terms of crashes and no one was even close to being injured, but we had to sit around in our cars in the snow for a couple hours while both Japanese and American military cops did their reports and what not. It was a drag. Luckily there's nothing really to fix on our car (just a little dent). The other lady's car was more messed up, so we'll see what insurance has to say about that. Both parties are considered at fault in our case, and the translator said the insurance company will notify us after they go over the case if they determine we owe any "fees." So we shall see. 

Poor Corey is more than ready for this day to be over. Me too, actually.

Cherry Blossom Festival!

It's officially cherry blossom season. Since the blooms were at their peak stage of short-lived beauty yesterday, we took a trip out to the Hirosaki cherry blossom festival to see them in all their glory. We had a lot of fun! Here's a picture-filled run-down of the day:

We met up with some friends EARLY in the morning (any outing that requires waking up at 5:30am on a Saturday better be a good one!) and took the train from Misawa to Hirosaki (about an hour and a half ride to the west). We took a nice 30 minute walk through Hirosaki to find the park with "our friend" Dave- a very nice, friendly man we met at the train station and incorporated into our group for the day (Dave is in the middle):
The park was beautiful! It was also PACKED with people, which makes sense considering this is the beginning (I think?) of Golden Week- a big holiday, celebratory week for the Japanese. The park's entrance:
Apparently the thing to do is to get there early stake out a claim on a picnic spot with a giant tarp. We didn't have a tarp, but we rented some mats and found ourselves a lovely spot (which got much more crowded as the day went on):
We spent the day walking around, taking pictures, hanging out and talking, people watching, eating yummy food, taking a tour of the castle tower, and enjoying the scenery. It basically looked a lot like this: 






All-in-all, it was a great day. The weather was chilly and really overcast all day, but it didn't rain at all until just as we were leaving, so it worked out perfectly. 

Happy Spring everyone!!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Goodbye Hospital!

Today is a momentous day for me. As of this afternoon, I no longer have a single appointment scheduled at the Misawa Air Base hospital. Between my arm, my teeth, and another general health issue I don't feel inclined to disclose, I have spent countless hours in this building over the past 3.5 months:
Several weeks I found myself at the hospital every single day of the week for hours at a time. There were a few precious weeks where I only had to go once or twice. But there has not been a single week since we arrived in Japan that I have not visited this building for one appointment or another. I'm intimately acquainted with those revolving doors. I've been yanked, cranked, poked, prodded, and stabbed more times than I care to remember. And now, I can say that I have no reason to go back there in the near foreseeable future! 

Save for one incompetent dentist and a questionable emergency x-ray reading team, every medical provider here has been FANTASTIC! In particular, I cannot say enough great things about the orthopedic and physical therapy doctors who fixed my arm. I must admit, I was weary about relying on military healthcare while being overseas, but they have definitely put that fear to rest. I feel really lucky to be taken care of so well while we're here. 

P.S. Cherry blossoms are popping up everywhere! Mark my words, I will post some pretty pics tomorrow!

Friday, April 17, 2009

The problem with living up north...

I stepped outside our doorway today and took this photo right after I got out of bed- at 4:57am! Why was I up that early? Because it's so dang light out! And it's only going to be getting lighter earlier as the days go on. It's currently 6:52 and it feels like the middle of the day. Weird.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Success!

Ah, much better!As a reward: peanut butter toast! Mmmm!

Fail.

I attempted to make a nice fluffy loaf of wheat bread for sandwiches yesterday. This is what I ended up with:
Woops. I swear I used to be a professional bread baker (and a darn good one at that!). I'm headed back to the kitchen to redeem myself...

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Bye bye orthopedics!

I had my last appointment with the orthopedic specialist today for my elbow. He's done all he can, and I don't have to go back (actually I still have a physical therapy appointment, but hopefully he'll tell me the same thing next week)! He said I'll probably still have some pain and be able to make a little more progress with range of motion over the next 3 months, possibly up to a year. But other than that, it was goodbye/sayoonara/seeyalater!

His final words: "Come back and see us if it happens again." Let's hope not. Way to jinx me though...

Friday, April 10, 2009

Finally a little green...

I woke up yesterday to find some nice men putting grass in our ugly dirt yard! A little greenery will go a loooong way on our rather bleak little street. Yay! I hope it actually turns green soon...
Oh, guess what Corey gets to do today? Skip work and play in a work-sponsored golf tournament where he's encouraged to drink all day and have fun. Not too shabby...

Monday, April 6, 2009

This is so cool!

Japan Day

This past Saturday was "Japan Day" on base. Now if you're thinking, "Japan day? The base is IN Japan, isn't EVERYDAY Japan day?" then you share my sentiments. Yet "Japan day" it was nonetheless. I guess it's good for those poor souls who never leave the gates and don't otherwise get to see any Japanese culture or try any Japanese food. Anyway, we went and walked around for a bit. It was kind of cute actually, and if we had kids I could have seen staying there for a while as there were lots of crafty kiddy things to do and see. One really cool thing they had going on was a Taiko drum team doing a performance. I've decided Taiko drums are AWESOME and I kinda want to learn to play them! In person they're totally mesmerizing and I dig them so much! Here's a little 45 second video I took: video

P.S. Thank you so much to everyone who sent along birthday wishes this weekend! I felt special. :)

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Thrilled! (ish)

Backstory: A month ago I got some gum inflammation around an impacted wisdom tooth. They were adamant that I needed to have all 4 wisdom teeth removed as soon as possible, so they gave me a temporary fix to deal with the pain until they could schedule me for the extraction (a month later, aka today)... 

This morning I went in for my evaluation appointment to begin the process, and (after sitting in the chair for 15 minutes while a bumbling, kind of spacey dentist looked around for my file and tried to figure out what my appointment was for) I was told that they recently changed their policy and now the only person authorized to do extractions is the dental surgeon (thank goodness, because this random dentist dude did NOT inspire confidence...). However, they are so backed up now that it would be a long time until I could get an appointment with him, and my symptoms have gone away, so I was told to "just forget about it." According to him, I still have a few years until I'd be of an age that would make them worry about me recovering from the surgery, so "I should be good." If my inflammation comes back, I should rinse my mouth with hydrogen peroxide (ew!). Then he sent me on my merry way.

Now the procrastinating, dental-phobic avoider in me is ECSTATIC!!!! I've been dreading this procedure since I knew it existed, and I actually broke down in tears for most of an entire night when I found out it was time to face it a month ago. Now I've been officially approved to get out of it- WOO HOO!!!

However, the intelligent, rational, responsible bit inside of me (that my other side is trying with all its might to squash) is rather upset with this dentist, and knows I need to have this done. Before he told me to "just forget about it," the dentist gave me the spiel about how this can lead to recurring infections and bone loss and how it gets harder to recover from and more difficult to perform the older you get, blah blah blah. The fact that the first dentist I saw (who seemed much more competent) said I had no choice but to get them out as soon as possible makes me think the guy today was just brushing me off because they're crazy busy. I know the sooner I do it, the better. So I know I need to break down and make an appointment with the surgeon, regardless of what silly-dentist dude told me today. 

Plus, I'll have to do it EVENTUALLY, and if I do it while we're overseas it'll be free. At home, I'll have to pay. Blah. 

Also, if they changed their policy and weren't going to let silly-dentist do my extraction in the first place, why did they not cancel my evaluation appointment and reschedule me with the surgeon? There was no point in me going in today (or stressing about my countdown to doom for the past 4 weeks). Once he figured out why I was there, he said, "Oh, uhhh..." and then proceeded to explain everything. Stupid system.

I was happy when I started this entry, now I'm annoyed...