Tuesday, December 18, 2007

long way from Shawnee

We were honored that Ryan's parents were willing to come all the way to Saipan to visit. They had been planning to travel in celebration of their 40th wedding anniversary, but the Pacific was not on their short list for destinations. So it was a sacrifice for them.
It was so nice to see them, and it of course was great for the kids to spend time with Nana and Papa. They adapted to the time change with ease, and didn't seem to mind the cramped quarters of our condo. They enjoyed island living and learning more about Saipan's history.

a swing with a view

I had plenty of qualified help in building the swingset. Nicholas and I pretended we were on the chain gang as we swung the pickaxes that we borrowed from Bert and Mario.
Bert fabricated (by welding) brackets to fix the horizontal beam to the wall of our condo, and he used a hammer drill to sink the anchors.
Not pictured is the adult-only swing, a one-person hammock that Kim's mom sent us, which hangs from the other side of the "A" frame. Every time I try to sit in it, one of the kids is already there.

Halloween in Saipan

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The kids need a swingset, Kim suggested. Sounds like a project, I thought.
We have a small section (15 x 25) of grass between condos on our level. Our immediate neighbors are a Japanese family with two boys (5 and 10ish), friends of Nicholas. The design is to build a wooden frame that can be fixed to one of the (concrete) condo walls. The area under the stairwell serves as my workshop.
The kids accompanied me on the adventure to purchase the materials. A group effort at the lumber yard helped to tie it to the top of Rocky.
I asked them, "You think it'll make it?"
They said, "Shouldn't be a problem...as long as you don't have to go all the way up to Mt. Tapochau."
I replied, "I'll tell you how it goes." It poured rain the whole way up, but we made it.
I got a tire from the recycling place, and I hope to make swings out of it. Does anyone have suggestions as to how one can cut a tire? Tin snips maybe?

Birthday Fiesta

Pics from my birthday dinner (seafood buffet) at the Fiesta Resort.

Boonie Stomping

Much of Saipan is unmolested jungle, aka "boonie". Kim and I explore it occasionally as part of the Saipan Hash Hound Harriers, a group that hikes through the jungle following a trail set by the "hares" (the group is a derivative of English games in which "hounds" chase "hares" who have a head start through uncharted territory--practically speaking, it is a way to see parts of the island we would otherwise never see, be with friends, get some exercise, drink beer, and excuse all kinds of vulgarity).
Each time we run the Hash, Nicholas wants a full account. Did we see any tigers? Any monkeys? How did you get so muddy?
So last Saturday while Morgan caught up on her beauty rest, Nicholas and I stomped through a boonie by our house. He was very courageous as we followed a creek bed down to a beautiful bamboo forest (can you see Nicholas in the picture of the bamboo?). Along the way, we encountered frogs, lizards, and even a dead goat that had been washed down the valley. We crossed bamboo bridges, climbed small cliffs, fell into muddy water, braced ourselves with banana trees, and were feasted upon by mosquitoes. No tigers or monkeys, but lots of fun.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Hi there to all of our loved ones!
I hope everyone is doing well and enjoying the fall. It is strange to have no cool weather here, although it is not quite as hot with the onset of the rainy season. We certainly miss the NFL!
I have started working a combined sleep and neurology clinic one day per week. It is just getting started and not too busy yet. I am working with a private company from Guam that opened a one-bed sleep lab here. I will see patients and read sleep studies as needed. The best part is I negotiated a company car. I am now driving a 2003 Toyota Rav4. I love having a reliable car!
We moved to a new condo within our complex to be on the ground level. This will allow the kids to have some outdoor space (albeit small). we have high hopes of making some swings.
Nicholas is getting excited for Halloween. He loves the cape sent from Nana and has decided he wants a "very scary mask" to surprise people on Halloween. On Halloween night there is "trunk or treat" instead of "trick or treat". This is where a bunch of cars gather in a field and the kids walk from trunk to trunk to get candy. We hear people go pretty wild decorating their cars.
Morgan is talking (and screaming) more and continues to reinforce my assessment that she is a sweet, yet independent and strong-willed child. I fear the teenage years already!

Pics: view from our new location (Managaha can be seen in the distance), kids feeding the bunnies at the zoo, sunsets from our porch, beach on the east side of the island.


Thanks Coach Bove!

Shortly after we arrived to Saipan I heard of a "swim" from Managaha island to Saipan. My interest peaked. I started swimming 1-2 times weekly with a friend, Pascale, who is very athletic and a hard worker. The "Escape from Managaha" island swim was a few weeks ago and I am happy to say that we made it! There were about 30 people who arrived at 6:30am for the boat ride over. We were a little nervous (the current was a bit stronger than usual) and someone tried to scare us by mentioning the "s" word (..sharks). We even saw a reef shark from the pier (there really aren't any big sharks in these waters). We strapped on our swim caps and headed off. Pascale and I stayed together most of the way and Kayaks were around if we had any problems. It took us 1 hour and 5 minutes to cross the 3000 meters (120 laps of the pool). My lovely family was waiting for me at the finish line!
Thanks Coach Bove for the many years of swim coaching!!!!!

The "cow" picture was made by Ryan from the many cartons of boxed milk we use (there isn't much fresh milk here)