Thursday, February 24, 2011

Hardworking Heidi

My Heidi works so hard.  She works full-time at Chico's and also takes online classes from Weber State.  Right now she's at the library taking a test.  She spent a LOT of time looking, researching, and phone-calling until she found a proctor that is approved by Weber State and does not cost a truckload.  She found a librarian to proctor for her, for $10 per test.  She usually takes her tests on Saturdays, but because of her work schedule and the librarian's unexpected trip out of town starting tomorrow, she had to hurry and take the test this morning before she goes to work.  She didn't get to study much, and I'm praying that Heavenly Father puts the answers in her brain.  She would have studied more if she had time!!

I love my Heidi so much, and I wish we had more money.  But we don't, and she works so hard to keep us going, and at the same time she's taking these classes.  In one of her classes she has missed ONE point the whole semester!  So she has a 99.99% in the class.  She's so smart, so hardworking, and then she still has the ability to be happy and make me laugh ALL the time.  She is a superhero, and she inspires me to use my time wisely, get my homework done, and spend as much time as I can working for Unify.

Speaking of which... back to my homework...

I love you, Heidi.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Walking with Heidi

Yesterday Heidi and I wanted to see a new part of the island.  We didn't have much time, so we drove about a half hour to Kahe Point beach.  Here's a picture I took with my phone.

I should have taken a picture facing toward land... it was amazing.  Palm trees with big, green mountains behind them.  Beautiful!

We tried to snorkel, but the water was really murky due to big waves... so we watched some talented surfers and walked along the beach.  We found a bunch of cool stuff... this was the best item!

Buying in Bulk

Brett and I shop at Costco. We heard, and found out all to quickly, that buying in bulk is the only way to survive the shark infested prices of the local grocery stores.

I was amazed at the size of containers at Costco. When we bought an 8 pound bag of Oatmeal I thought, "It will take me 6 months to eat this!"


We (meaning mostly Heidi) ate it in a month and a half.

Before you think I am a glutton, please realize we eat cheap. VERY cheap. Not out of choice, (I miss my fresh fruits and veggies) but out of necessity. Most of our meals consist of rice. I eat oatmeal every morning for breakfast, and more than occasionally, but less than frequently eat it for dinner as well. We are learning to get creative with rice and tuna and spinach concoctions (see Brett's facebook burn story) and Brett makes a mean PB and J. :) We do buy frozen veggies, but don't use them often. Milk is a cereal food not a beverage and yogurt in a smoothie is a treat!

Getting back on track...

I was just astounded when I realized that THAT MUCH FOOD (eating the one serving measurement) had gone through my body for a monthly average of 1.4 meals a day!

I guess it is kind of a wake up call to see how much we put into our bodies. It also makes me appreciate the energy it gives me and motivates me to USE the energy I put in.

Some Things Never Change

Well folks,

You can take the girl out of school, but you can't take the "starving student" mentality out of the girl.

I was freakin out a bit about the price of those shoes. I kept searching and searching, trying to find the perfect pair. Cause if I was spending $99 for one, you can bet your britches I wouldn't be buying a second. Here is the little nugget of golden knowledge I discovered....

There is no, nor will there ever be, ONE PAIR of shoes that can be dressy, yet casual, comfortable, yet stylish, brown, yet can we worn with black, durable, yet not a combat boot.


So after being paralyzed by the price tag of the alluring Sofft (thank you Natalie for the spelling note :) ), I opted for a $30 pair of knock-offs and a REALLY cute dress. :)

The shoes I bought are black, stylish, and pretty comfortable. They will probably last 6 months. But the price was right, and I didn't feel a moral dilemma at the register.

AND now I have the funds to buy a second pair. My sweet mom sent me some lovin in the form of dollar bills.

HA Aloha Passport Promotion: Photo

HA Aloha Passport Promotion: Photo

Click the link and then click "like"... thanks!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Yellowtail Coris

Lindsay and I have started exchanging fish and bird pictures... thought I'd post this one to the blog, cause it's really cool.

This is a cool one!  I saw a juvenile AND an adult female today, and had no idea they were the same fish.  I thought I had found two new fish... pretty cool that they are the same species!  I went out deep today.  The adult was at about 15 feet and the juvenile about 20 feet.  The adult was out swimming around, and the juvenile was hiding in the nook of a coral, only coming out once in a while to see if I was gone (I assume).

Very cool fish!

(all those pictures are of ONE species!)

Love you... send me a bird!  :)

~ Brett

(the adult I saw looked like this one, except that I didn't notice a pointy fin on the anterior of the dorsal fin)

Friday, February 18, 2011

Clothing Essentials

Thank you for enrolling in Fashion 4300. This upper division course will require the use of your skills in critical thinking, analysis, and creativity to propose an answer to the following question:


Some may say it's all important, we wear clothing for a reason right. Yes, yes we do. We wear clothing to protect us from the elements, to cover things NOBODY wants to see, to make a status statement, to have fun. So what piece is most important? This is not a game of, "If you could only wear one piece of clothing what would it be?" What piece, in your outfit collection, is most important?

For women, is it your bra? (this could be a whole other post)
For men, is it your socks? (no one likes sweaty man feet)

Maybe it is your coat to keep you warm and help preserve your health?
Maybe it is an accessory pop of color to get you noticed and remembered?


SHOES. The answer, my fashion fanatic friends, is shoes. Now before you call me tricky, I argue shoes are clothing for the feet. :)

As I have learned this week, walking the two miles to work and then spending 8 1/2 hours on my feet only to walk home again, I firmly believe the most important part of any outfit is the shoes. Why else could Nordstrom charge $130 for flip flops? (I wish I was kidding-and they didn't even have sparkles.)

I spent my first 30 hours working with my one pair of shoes I brought to Hawaii. A pair of leopard print flats that give as must support as cardboard strapped to my feet. I like them because they are cute and flat. They are comfortable and don't pinch like most heels. But after 7 hours on the floor of Chico's, I am counting the seconds of the next hour until I can get off my feet. Ever step feels like a slam of fire as I pound the balls of my feet into cement. Funny thing... I'm pretty much doing just that.

My boss recommended I get a brand of shoes called Soft. They are designer shoes (which, let's get real here, if you work retail, you are a walking mannequin so designer or designer knock off clothing is required) designed for people who have to be on their feet all day. They have extra padding and a design to center your weight between the ball of your foot and your heel. My boss says she has three pair and rotates between them. With sometimes 50 hours a week on her feet, the shoes last her a bit more than a year. And she wears them until they wear out.

Let's recap. Soft shoes are HOTT, comfortable, easily accessible (I can get them at Nordstrom two stores down) and come with multiple friendly recommendations (the other came from our assistant manager who has worked retail for 10 years. She said she finally converted after wearing terrible heels for 3 years and now she has permanent numbness in her left big toe). Is there a drawback?


They cost $99. OUCH! I swallowed hard when I saw the price tag. I looked them up online to see if I could get a better deal and it actually seems Nordstrom is not making much by carrying these shoes. I can't find them online for cheaper than $99 (but that price does include shipping so... ) Moving on.

Brett saw them and said. "Wait, those shoes are $100?"

This purchase is not a great one to talk about with him. While he is supportive of me being happy and fashionable and not having my feet fall off at the end of the day, he would NEVER is his lifetime or the next, or any other lifetime handed to him, spend anything close to $100 for shoes.

Unless they were diving flippers or running shoes. Ahhh, but maybe my handsome, wonderful, smart husband is on to something, and perhaps I am not such a shoe snob as a $99 pair of heels may suggest.

The experts recommend running shoes be replaced every 300-500 miles. That is 83 hours of running if you run a 10 minute mile. My brothers got one pair of shoes for each season of basketball. After most seasons the shoes were shot and eventually retired-- a tribute to glory days of grueling practice and victories on the court. Now I am no expert as to the amount of hours that go into a basketball season, but I think is is safe to assume it is somewhere near to, but less than my anticipated 2086. (40 hours a week X 52 weeks in a year) Granted, not all basketball shoes are nearly $100. BUT! Many of them are. Why are we willing to spend so much on basketball shoes or baseball cleats? Short answer... they just cost that much. You want a good shoe that will support and protect your foot and ankle, knees and back under hours and hours of use.

Hmmmmmmm. Sounds exactly like the kind of shoe I am looking for.

But it just feels wrong to spend that much money on a pair of heels! If I could wear my jogging shoes to work, BELIEVE ME I would. Those things are designed for comfort and lots and lots of use. But again, let's get real here, how professional does it look to be in a dress and sneakers? That is a fun picture. Yum... the beauty of nylons and sneakers. Love it! (there is a reason nurses no longer wear dresses) :)

You may be asking... what is wrong with just wearing regular heels? Most girls wear heels and don't need to spend $100 to do so. To those of you who don't wear heels, let me let you in on a little secret. There is a reason girls take their shoes off at high school dances and RIGHT AFTER the 3 hour block of church. HEELS HURT! "Beauty is pain" and "long legs are hot" can only get a girl through so many hours in feet pinching, uneven weight distribution, ball of your feet jamming goodness.

So... I am left with a question. Have I finally, after 25 years, turned into a shoe snob? Or am I investing in a piece of equipment that will help me do my job?

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Back in the Water

Oh my gosh... today I went swimming for the first time this week.  Horrible I know.  But this time I swam outside the protected area.  I noticed the following:

1. It's WAY more fun.
2. When the beach seems really crowded, and the water isn't treacherous, just go out to deeper water!  Turns out there's plenty of ocean to go around.  Even on Waikiki in mid afternoon.
3. FISH!!!  WHOA!!!

Lindsay, are you reading this?  Cause I thought of you when I was out there.  I wondered if you still do much bird watching.  Cause I think we could have a lot of fun exchanging discoveries.  You show me pictures of birds you like, I show you pictures of fish I like.  Deal?

IT. WAS. AMAZING.  I went out to deeper water, and I was careful to avoid really shallow reef cause there were some decent waves.  I loved how I'd get sucked out a little ways before a wave, and then surged the opposite direction when the swell came.  Here's where I went...

I didn't swim a straight course (had to chase fish, find ways around shallow reef, etc), but that's the overall route I took.  It was a long, incredibly fun swim.  I went with mask and snorkel, no fins, as usual.  Here are some highlights (locations numbered on the picture)

1.  HUGE school of HUGE fish!!!  My eyes were popping out of my head.  Each fish was at least a foot and a half long, and there were about 150 of them.  They were mostly one kind (this is where I want to "play" with Lindsay so I can start IDENTIFYING fish), but there were others mixed in, including a HUGE parrot fish, and a fish that was shaped like a triggerfish, but with dorsal and belly fins that waved like grass.  All black except for a white stripe between the body and the dorsal/belly fins.  Gotta identify that one!  I followed and swam among this school for a long time.  Surrounded.  Amazing.

2.  Here I found about eight big fish.  Not as tall as the ones in the big school, but longer.  A couple of them were probably over three feet long.  Big eyes, big "V" shaped tails, 3 fins down the belly... gotta identify these guys, too.  Silver colored with tinges of green.

3. Here there's some exposed reef.  It really kills the waves, so it's safe to get close to the reef on the shore side.  Lots of fish here, including a long, trout-shaped fish that was all black with white spots on the head half and silver stripes on the tail half.

4.  This was a cool wall of reef with fish hiding in every nook.  I also chased an eel through open water here.  Just a little one... maybe a foot long.

Those are the highlights.  Wish I had an underwater camera.  If I ever start to complain or sound like I'm taking Hawaii for granted, someone please ask me, "Brett, when was the last time you went for a long swim out to deeper water?"

Gotta start DIVING!!!  But I need weights still.  No spare money at the moment.

MAN that was fun today!!!

Friday, February 11, 2011

"Big mistake. Big. Huge. I have to go shopping now"

Well ladies and gentlemen, I finally did it!

Found a job that is.

I am proud to say that starting Monday, I will be the assistant manager at the only Chico's in O'ahu.

You are jealous I know, but please try to understand that you all can't be as lucky as me. I'm sorry, truly I am, but it takes a special kind of person to work 40+ hours a week in the biggest, most crowded mall on our island. It takes a firm hand and fashionable touch to manage a team of sales associates and their efforts to turn our customers into classy, chic, and glamorous eye- candy.

Maybe one day you will all be as lucky as me.

Until then, in the words of Pretty Woman, "I have to go shopping now..."

Mr. Hollister: Just how obscene an amount of cash are we talking about here? Profane or really offensive?
Edward Lewis: Really offensive.
Mr. Hollister: I like him so much.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Getting around in Honolulu

This place is confusing, especially compared to Utah.  I remember being amazed when I started driving in Utah... if you have the address, you have the location.  You can actually drive to the address without a map.  That wasn't the case in California, because the streets have names rather than numbers.  Still, most of the main streets run parallel and perpendicular to each other, so using a map is pretty straightforward.  Not so in Honolulu.  King Street is one way at times, two ways at other times.  It runs parallel to Beretania (which is usually one way in the other direction), but it also intersects with Beretania.  If you use a map to get to one of the main streets, you probably won't be allowed to turn onto the street the way you want to.  It's like Honolulu reads our minds and spontaneously produces "No Right Turn" signs just where they'll get in our way.  We've had some frustrating moments, but some good laughs, too.  Fortunately, one of our new friends at church recently loaned us their GPS.  I love that thing!  The only downer is that it doesn't seem to be aware that there is CONSTANT traffic on H1, especially at certain hours.  Honestly, I'm usually in 2nd or maybe 3rd gear on the freeway here.

I don't mean to sound like I'm complaining.  We just have to allow ourselves plenty of time to get somewhere, and all this traffic is great justification for upcoming bike purchases (once we can afford them).  Just need pest control to start..... (THAT was a complaint).

Anyway, here's an example of why you have to drive through every part of Honolulu at least twice before you have any clue where you're allowed to go, etc.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Financial Aid Frustration

Gotta vent a little... why not the blog?

Open enrollment for our health insurance ends on the 7th.  You can't pay for the insurance monthly, you pay it all up front.  Is it just me, or is that REALLY STUPID?  $4,000+, now.  Well, no problem, because my financial aid check was ready a while back.  I called the day before it was ready and they offered to call me so I could pick it up, rather than mailing it.  I said that would be great, and left them my phone number.  The next day, I updated my mailing address with HPU just in case.  A couple days later, I called the financial aid people again to see if my check was ready.  "We mailed it on the 26th."  "I asked to be called on the phone so I could come pick it up!"  "Oh, well we mailed it."  "Great... well, I recently updated my address, can you check to make sure it was mailed to my Hawaii address and not my Utah address?"  After a short wait, she read off my Hawaii address.  "Yes, that's my current address, but I just updated it the other day.  Is there some way you can see which address the check was actually mailed to?"  Another short wait... "Yeah, we mailed it to your Hawaii address."

Phew... sigh of relief.  It will get here in time.

A week later, it hasn't arrived, so I call again... "We mailed it on the 26th."  Yeah, I know, that was BAD.  So... "I still haven't seen it."  "Let me transfer you to [so-and-so], who can stop payment on that check and cut you a new one."  GREAT!  Transfer, ring, explain, "Okay, I'll stop payment on that.  Do you want to come pick up the new check?"  YES!!!  JUST LIKE THE LAST ONE.  "Yeah, that would be great.  Will it be ready today?"  "No, it will take 5 business days to process."  Explain health insurance predicament... of course, nothing he can do.  "Is there some way you can check if it was actually mailed to my Utah address?"  "Let's see... yup, looks like you updated your address on the same day we mailed it out, so it was sent to your Utah address."  Holy CRAP are you serious???  If the other person had actually figured that out instead of just telling me an optimistic GUESS, I would have stopped payment a week ago and had a new check TODAY.

So... hoping the check arrives in Ogden, gets forwarded, and arrives back in Honolulu before Monday.  I did not stop payment on it, because it has a better chance of getting here in time than a new check.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Ooooh... another favorite.

These guys are cool.  "Flying Gurnard."  There are a few of these that hang out in the protected part of Waikiki where we swim.

School... for the first time since April 2008

This is my second week of classes at HPU, and I really like it so far.  I have two classes plus a field experience course (student teaching at a high school).  The field experience hasn't started yet, but I just got cleared to start (had to get fingerprinted, etc.) so I'm looking forward to that - it will be 6 hours per week.  My two classes are Monday 5-8pm and Thursday 5-8pm.  I don't know if I would have picked that schedule, but it's great for a few reasons:

1. I don't have to do homework until the day of the class, because it doesn't start until 5.  So Monday can be ED 6470 day, and Thursday can be ED 6000 day.  So I'm hoping for a schedule like this:

Monday - ED 6470 homework and class
Tuesday - Sell pest control
Wednesday - Sell pest control
Thursday - ED 6000 homework and class
Friday - Field experience (go to high school all day!)
Saturday - Sell pest control if I haven't reached 3 sales for the week already.

Uh... just realized I started a numbered list up there.  The other reasons are in the schedule... days open to make money, and Friday field experience... I hope that works with my mentor teacher.  We'll see.  I'm calling her back today.  I called earlier and they put me through to her CLASSROOM phone at 10am.  Stupid!  I asked if I could leave a message for her, and instead they made me interrupt her class.  She said, "I can't talk right now because I'm in the middle of class," and I thought, "NO KIDDING.  I swear I'm not this stupid.  I asked to leave you a MESSAGE."  Oh well, not a big deal, but not the best first contact with my mentor teacher.

ED 6470 is curriculum and teaching for world languages.  There were two of us in the class, so they combined us with a TESOL class (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages).  I like it so far, but part of me feels a little ripped off... this is not actually the class I'm paying for.  But the teacher is definitely making it work for us.  He wrote a new syllabus for the two of us, gave us different assignments, and the class material seems to be about second language acquisition in general, so it should work great.  Here's the view from that classroom's window:

You can just barely see the ocean on the left side.

ED 6000 is "The Professional Educator."  I'll have that class for the second time tomorrow, so I don't have a really firm grasp on what that class will be like yet.  Last week the Hawaii Teacher of the Year came to speak to us.  Cool guy.  Not a great presenter, but obviously loves his students like crazy.  He had lots of good "outside the box" ideas, and his ineloquent presentation made me realize being a great teacher has a lot to do with just loving the students, and not so much with being a great "teacher" in the traditional, classroom sense.  So that was a confidence builder.  I can love students.

This morning Heidi and I had another great swim.  Saw a new fish... I had hoped to post pictures of fish on this blog as we discover them, but it's surprisingly difficult to get the right fish with a Google search like "Big, dark, white spotted fish Oahu."  Although that search gave me another, more common fish that I really like.  These guys are cool:

I love swimming with Heidi in the morning.  She pushes me to actually make it a workout, and I distract her every time I want her to stop and look at something cool.  :)

Pest control sales have not started yet... Terminix is a big, slow, stupid ship.  I'm a bit frustrated about that, obviously.  So... back to work for Unify... such a blessing to have a job.  Life is so good.  I'm looking forward to major increase in earning potential with pest control, though.  3 sales a week is a completely reasonable goal, and it would give me about a 50% weekly increase in income with less hours, plus a bonus check every six months (about $5,000).  Of course, these are all estimates, but there is no reason why I couldn't meet these goals.  Even if I just play the numbers game, I can knock on enough doors to find those 3 people that just found roaches in their bathroom, or had their cereal attacked by ants, or have been meaning to call a pest control company.

Sidenote: We recently found a roach in our bathroom.  Our first visitor!