After taking 2 red eyes in a row, we're finally home.

Actually, we got home 6 hours ago ... but we finally drove home, and woke up from a nap.  We forced ourselves to get out of bed (it's almost 7pm), so we can go back to bed at a normal time, and try to quickly get back to Eastern Time Zone.  I don't even want to try to calculate what time zone my body is in.  Heck - it should be Sunday already!

Now is the fun part - organizing the photos!  Yeah!


Friday, May 30th

Today is Friday, May 30. We fly out of Kwajalein at 6pm and land in Hawaii at around 2pm.

I've only flown 1 red eye before in my life (the last time I left here) and it was sooooooooooooo cold on the plane! I remember not sleeping much at all b/c I was shivering. This time I'm prepared. I packed gloves, a scarf and a stocking hat! Nothing can stop me from sleeping!


Last Day

Today was our last full day. However, we don't leave until 6pm-ish tomorrow, so that's a pretty full day too.

In the morning we did the usual. Watch SportsCenter - which is pretty cool b/c most of the games are already over b/c of the crazy time change. We played a bunch of Rummikube games. Winner always gets to eat a muffin or ice cream or something. Unfortunatly I'm darn good at this game, so I'm getting a little puffy.

My mom and I hit "Macy's" for the third and final time. I found some muffin paper things (with July 4th symbols on them). A pack of 50 was a whopping 17 cents. I bought 5. And you know those cotton cheerleader style shorts? Normally they say "hot" or "juicy" on the butt? They had a bunch of those for 87 cents, thankfully with out any tacky sayings on the butt. I bought 6 pairs of those.

Around 3pm my mom and I went snorkeling one last time while the boys read books on the beach. My dad can't swim (which is pretty funny b/c he lives on an island) and Jonathan doesn't like snorkeling very much. I found a sweet and BIG pointy shell on the ocean floor. My mom dove down and picked it up, but there was something living inside of it. I found 6 huge shells while snorkeling, but they were all alive. All the cool shells I find, either snorkeling or on the beach, are always alive.

We have been washing and air drying all our shells and beach glass on a huge towel. My dad said one night he was reading outside, and one of my shells was walking away. He said he was too tired to go stop it, so it just walked out of the porch. Thanks for nothing dad!


3, 2, 1, Liftoff!

As this vacation comes to a close, the blogging gets more and more boring.

Today we did a whole pile of jack squat. We took a walk in the morning to see the high school. Each year the senior class (I think there were 12-15 kids this year) all paints their name on the road by the high school. Each kid paints it to represent themselves. Like "Brittani" painted her name along with a bunch of flowers and "Jon" painted his name using the colors of the Marshallese flag, etc ...

I've been dying to bike down to the runaway and watch a big Continental plane almost land on my head. It's a PAIN IN THE BUTT to bike down to the runway, b/c the winds off the Pacific Ocean are a killer. But I dragged myself down there, and after about 20 minutes of waiting (and finding sea shells and sea glass) the plane almost landed on my head. I took a 30 second video of it. I have a ton of short videos to YouTube once I get home.

Tonight is movie night at the ARC (Adult Rec Center). Tonight's movie is Jumper. It looked kind-of lame when I saw previews 4 months ago, but it's something to do. AFN (Armed Forces Network) is getting more and more painful by the day!

Only 1.5 days left!


Happy Memorial Day X2

It's only 3pm here, but I'm at the computer lab. Even though today is Tuesday, it's Monday back in the US - so we're officially celebrating Memorial Day today (then why was the beach party yesterday?). I guess the Kwaj residents do that for every holiday. Even their weekend is Sunday/Monday b/c that corresponds to the USA Saturday/Sunday.

I wanted to ride my bike down to the runway to watch the big Continental plane fly in and almost land on my head (like that Army plane did yesterday) and take a video of it. I was about 5 minutes too late. I was almost at the beach when I saw the plane lights. I was so bummed! It's really, REALLY hard work to ride bikes by the runway. There is a killer wind. The plane will land around 5pm tomorrow night, so maybe I'll try it again.

As we got back off the runway, it was noon. They were about to do a 21 gun salute to Memorial Day. I got that on film. Although the first time the guns fired I jumped a little bit. Those suckers are loud!

After missing the plane we ride over to see the sharks again. The stupid turtle was still there.

I didn't sleep very well yesterday. Yesterday was also the only day I didn't eat any ice cream. I figured the 2 were related, and I've been pigging out on ice cream today. You can't be too careful!

Not much planned for the rest of the day! The Rays (baseball team) are on at 7pm, so it will probably be a lazy night of baseball watching and probably more ice cream eating. Have you ever tried vanilla ice cream, chocolate syrup and peanuts? The salty peanut combined with the sweet ice cream is fantastic!!!

Happy Memorial Day!

Since I'm a day ahead of the US, I get to say "Happy Memorial Day" first! Na-na-na-na.

During low tide (and the hotest part of the day) we biked down near the airport's runway to "glass beach". Everybody found some pretty sweet cowries, except me. Nuts! I did find some old ceramic tiles (from the war?). I also found some nice beach glass. Jonathan was happy I found a Poweraid bottle top with some Coke reward points on it.

While we were on the beach (which was more rocks than beach) my dad yells, "look up!" A small army supply plane was flying in getting ready to land. It literally looked like it was going to crash right on top of us. We were standing about 50 yards from the runway. I couldn't get my camera out of my bag fast enough to take a video of it. It was a small plane, so it wasn't very loud and scary, but it was super cool!

From 2-5pm we hit the main beach. There was a Memorial Day beach party. They had a giant slip 'n slide and somebody was selling Shave Ice (yum!). Yes, I spelled that correctly - it's "Shave Ice" (not ShavED Ice, which seems to make more sense gramatically). We discovered Shave Ice on the Travel Channel. I guess it's super famous in Hawaii. We bought some in Hawaii and it was DELICIOUS!!! I'm not sure why it's 100X better than a regular snowcone, but it is. I was excited to get my hands on some more.

We rode our bikes down to the boat dock and watched some more sharks. My mom counted 26. A very stupid turtle (large ocean turtle - Jonathan calls him Crush - although he's only about 4' across) is always swimming with all the sharks, every day. Sometimes the sharks (who I don't think can see very well) run into the turtle, and scare him a little bit, but he always recomposes himself and swims back in to the pack of sharks. What a stupid turtle.

Only 3.5 more days left. We don't really have much planned for the rest of the time.


Island Hopping

Sticking to our schedule of doing stuff, laying around, doing stuff, lying around ... today was the day to 'do stuff'.

My dad, Jonathan and took a teeny tiny plane to a neighboring Army island called Roi-Namur (pronounced Roy Na-More). Actually Roi is an island and Namur is an island. They were really close together, so the Army just filled in the land between, and now it's 1 island.

Lots of WWII battles between the US and Japan were fought all over the Marshall Islands. They still find live torpedos, ammo shells and even human remains on the islands. A lot of old bunkers and other Japanese war buildings are still standing on Roi-Namur. In fact, there are even some rusted old guns still on the beach. We rented a golf cart and road all over the island (it's not very big, maybe 2 miles long?) looking at all the old WWII buildings.

We got back to Kwaj around 5:30pm, just in time for the feeding frenzy! On weekends, all the fishing boats are due back to harbor at 6pm. The nurse sharks all seem to be able to tell time, and they gather near the dock for a scruptious dinner of fish guts! Luckily, one guy was cleaning a giant fish (about 4' long) and we saw him throw some fish guts to the sharks. I got a sweet video of them all swimming around. It's pretty creepy.

And I'm supposed to want to go snorkeling after I see that?!?


Everything must go!

Today was a lazy day. In fact, this entire vacation has gone like this: lazy, do something, lazy, do something ... since we boated out to Bigej yesterday, today was a scheduled lazy day.

There are 2 stores on this island. Ironically, they are called Macy's and Macy's West. On the other nearby Army island they have 1 store, called Gimbles. Weird huh?

Well, Macy's and Macy's West are going out of business. Everything is 80-95% off! I bought tons of stuff all for only about $15. Jackpot!!! Most of it is cookwear, cheesy t-shirts, candles and tupperware. I wish I needed a Halloween costume - they had tons of ugly clothes for $1 and lots of halloween make up and props.

The rest of the day we played Rummikube (greatest game ever) and watched baseball (it's fun to watch "live" baseball, b/c all the games are over by 4pm.

Tonight is movie night. In 1 hour Over Her Dead Body is on (which sounds really lame) and at 9:30pm is Untraceable. I really want to see Untraceable, but it starts at 9:30pm. I haven't seen 9:30pm since I've been here. Why does the hot air and ocean mist make me so tired? We'll see if I can stay awake that long. Zzzzzz ...


It was bound to happen ...

We had a fun day this morning, which involved a boat ride to an uninhabited island ... and now I'm totally boat/motion sick. I just threw up 5 minutes ago, so now I feel fine, so I better hurry up and type before another wave rolls over. (TMI - I know!)

Back to the boat ... my dad rented a boat from the marina and we boated over to Bigej (pronounced Bee-Gee, like the '70's band). Since it's uninhabited, there is no boat dock, so we had to anchor about 100 yards off shore and swim. We snorkeled around first. Since these islands are all made of coral, the snorkeling is amazing! There are just mounds and mounds of coral, and very colorful fish swimming in and out of them.

Swimming ashore was much harder than it sounds, b/c of all the coral. There was no sand, just coral everywhere. Since I don't really know much about coral, all I know are the rumors - doesn't it cut you if you touch it? Well, the waves bounced me off 2 huge coral heads, and I'm still ok. Jonathan's right leg did take a minor beating though - poor guy. Once onshore we walked 1/2 way around the island looking for shells. We didn't find anything too exciting, but I did get a couple sweet shells to add to my collection. The jackpot find is always a cowrie (I think I spelled that right). Google it to see a photo - or I'll be able to post photos when I get home.

We ran into a gang of Marshalese kids (who said they lived on another island). The kids were about 9 or 10. The Marshallese are all really friendly, and a little curious, but these kids kind-of freaked me out. There were about 7 of them, all unattended, and 2 of them had machetties! (sp?) Kind-of scary, since we were out in the middle of nowhere. I smell a horror movie - The Slaughter of Bigej! The freaky kids actually found me a sweet brown cowrie shell (brown ones are rare), so thank you kids!

After fighting with the coral to snorkle back to the boat, we zoomed home. And now I'm totally sick. But it was all worth it!



It was inevitable (sp?), but I'm sunburned already.

Actually, the first day we flew in (2 days ago), we took a quick bike ride around the island for literally 20 minutes, and my shoulders fried.

Now the backs of my knees are burned. Seriously - the BACKS of my knees?!?

The Marshall Islands (well, this section anyway) is made up of coral. I guess the coral grew tall to form islands, but all the island are connected (underwater) by more coral (that didn't grow as tall). So during low tide you can literally walk from island to island (although some are really far away). There is a small, uninhabited island that is pretty close to Kwajalein that we were going walk to today during low tide (noon), but it was pretty windy, so you couldn't really see the ground very well.

So instead we went snorkeling. Snorkeling here kind-of freaks me out, b/c you are literally in the open ocean. There could be sharks!!! My mom scuba dives and sees them all the time. She claims they won't hurt you, but I would probably pee my pants if I ever saw on while I was snorkeling. The water is only about 2.5 feet deep for about 200 yards, then the ocean floor just DROPS down really, really deep. We snorkled out to the drop off. Freaky! I saw a lot of cool fish though. I should've invested in a digital camera that can be taken underwater before I left. I could've gotten some sweet photos.

edit: Holy crap! I just hit "publish post" and it gave me an error message! Stupid dial up computer. THANK YOU BLOGGER for auto saving every minute. Nothing in this giant post was lost. Whew!


Hello from the Future!

I am sitting at a computer (dial up - yay!). It is Wednesday, 5/21. 19 hundered hours (military time - hee hee). What time is it for you?


Hello? Monday?!?

Today we're crossing the international date line.

We leave Hawaii super early Monday morning, fly about 7-8 hours, and land in Kwajalen ... at noon on Tuesday!

Good-bye Monday!  I barely knew you.


Happy Sunday!

If you're reading this, "hello from Hawaii!"

Today we're planning to check out Pearl Harbor early in the morning (since we'll be on Eastern time zone, we'll be able to wake up really early and get there before the crowds).

Hopefully I can convince Jonathan that hiking up Diamond Head will be fun.

Then (I saw this on Travel Channel) that you can take a bus trip around the entire island for only a couple bucks! It sounds like a fun way to see the entire island on one day.


Bon Voyage!

Jonathan and I are on our way to the tropical island of ... Houston, TX!

Ok, not really, we have a layover for an hour in Houston.

We're on our way to Oahu, HI (but just for a 1 day layover)!

We arrive around 3pm, but with the crazy time change, it will probably feel like 8pm to us.
Plus, since sitting still on an airplane for 10+ hours not moving makes everybody super tired (why is that?!?), I'll probably fall asleep when we get to the hotel. We have a full day of exploring the following day!


Friday TV

I actually don't watch any TV on Fridays, but my DVR is in full swing! 

Actually, I take that back, during the Monk/Psych seasons, I do watch lots of TV.

Currently DVR is recording:
1.  10pm - I DVR Numb3rs (b/c that's just too late for wimpy old me!)
2.  Sometime during the night - Best Week Ever (on VH1)
3.  Some other time during the night - The Soup


Thursday TV

Thursday is a big TV night for Jonathan. Unfortunatly, he plays hockey every Thursday night, so the DVR is working overtime!

1. My Name is Earl - I used to watch Earl, and I just decided to give it up. I'm trying to not watch so much TV.

2. 30 Rock - it looks funny, but I just don't want to watch it.

3. The Office - Jonathan's favorite TV show (he comes home from hockey around midnight, and watches it right away), and I love it too.

4. Scrubs - we started watching Scrubs last year. Then we DVRed any old Scrubs we could find (on Comedy Central) and were caught up with in 2 months. Than you DVR - you saved me from watching a TV show for 6 years and reduced it down to 2 months!

5. Ace of Cakes - when I don't go to Jonathan's hockey games (b/c sometimes they start at 10pm!) I wait at home for him and watch Ace of Cakes (and get jealous!)


Wednesday TV

Wednesday is my favorite TV night!!!

1. Criminal Minds - my (current) favorite TV show. Otherwise known in my household as "the gross show". Jonathan gets a little queasy around blood, and he can't handle this show very well. I remember watching one episode, and I think my heart stopped beating, it's very suspensful!

2. CSI NY - I DVR this, since it's on from 10pm-11pm, that's way too late for me!

3. South Park - I used to watch South Park a lot in the beginning (when it was 'cool'), but I've been recently getting back into it. Since South Park and CSI NY are on at the exact same time, we record the rerun at midnight.


Tuesday TV

I don't watch any TV on Tuesday! *gasp!*

Although I recenlty finished watching The Biggest Loser. I watched the first season (back in, like 2004?). I didn't mean to watch this show, but I accidentally started watching, and then I could not stop!


Monday TV

1. Little People, Big World - on HGTV (I think?). This show is about 2 little people (4' tall) parents, and their 4 kids. As they say EVERY SINGLE OPENING, "3 of our kids are average height, and only 1 it little".

This is a fun show, mainly because HGTV must give them a huge vacation allowance. I think they took 3 vacations last season alone!


Sunday TV

I really enjoy TV. Maybe I enjoy it a little too much. However, if I'm paying $60 for cable, I'm going to watch more than $60 worth of TV!

In typical "Amber-style" I'm going to blog about the random TV I watch, starting with Sunday.

1. WWE RAW - at 3am my DVR faithfull records WWE Sunday Raw. Instead of watching it live on Monday (for 2, sometimes 3 hours), at 3am they show the entire show in 1 hour, cutting out the pointless parts of the matches. I enjoy watching this after work while I'm making dinner.

2. Fox NFL Sunday - My favorite pre-game show. I love the moronic banter between the 4 guys. Although, I admit, I really, REALLY miss J.B. I also love Frank Calliendo, and sometimes only watch the the show for his skit.

3. The Simpsons - I've been watching the Simpsons since I was in 8th grade. Take in to account that I am 32 years old now, that's a pretty long time.

4. Family Guy - My husband got me hooked on Family Guy. I am embarrased to admit, but I think I MIGHT like Family Guy more than the Simpsons.


Top 10 Madonna songs

I spend the weekend listening to all my Madonna CDs. In no particular order ( b/c putting them in order would be way too hard!), my favorite Madonna songs!

10. Cherish (Like a Prayer)
9. Runaway Lover (Music)
8. Till Death Do Us Part (Like a Prayer)
7. Sky Fits Heaven (Ray of Light)
6. Power of Goodbye (Ray of Light)
5. Dress You Up (Like a Virgin)
4. Dear Jessie (Like a Prayer)
3. Angel (Like a Virgin)
2. Some duet song from Evita - I don't know that name, nor have I even seen the movie, but I know I like it!
1. Song #6 on the American Life CD - I don't know the name. Sombody gave me a copy of the CD so I don't have a play list.

#3 and #4 might be my all time "top 10 songs" favorite list ... I'll have to think about it.



Every baseball game we go to, I bug Jonathan by jamming my camera in his face and taking a photo of the field reflection on his sunglasses.

I think I can stop bothering him, b/c this one is pretty sweet! Thank you Indian's minor league baseball stadium!