Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Katrina

Watching the devastation left behind by Hurricane Katrina just broke my heart. Having weathered a category five hurricane myself over 10 years ago in Hawaii, I know that this will be a long road for the folks in New Orleans as well as along coast of Louisiana itself, Alabama and Mississippi. The human spirit is unbreakable and no matter what happens to the folks in this country, so many people are quick to step up to help. I saw how wonderful the world was to us on Kauai after Iniki in 1992. Now people have already banded together here to help out our neighbors to the far south. It will be a long road to recovery but they will recover and thrive again.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

More Reasons Why I Love NC

A couple of nights ago the hubby and I took a little drive in a community close to where we live. We found a rather nice lake (or pond, not sure what to call it) in this park adjacent to their community center. I didn't have my camera with me so I couldn't take any pictures but I will the next time we go. This park had a nice walking path all the way around this lake with people either jogging or walking around it. There were ducks and ducklings in the lake minding their own business. Also in lieu of some of the more traditional benches were the swinging benches placed strategically around it. The hubby and I stopped to swing for a bit and just enjoyed the evening. There was a slight breeze going over the lake and so the evening wasn't as hot and humid as it could have been. The trees lining one end of the lake framed it quite nicely. I told the hubby that this is one of the reasons I love being married and why moving here was worth it.

I think I am more a small town kind of gal who likes living close to the city; I want the conveniences of a large city nearby but enjoy the atmosphere of the small town. I think I always knew this because after living five years in Honolulu, I looked forward to moving to Kauai even though all my friends thought I would never actually do it. I lived two years on Kauai and absolutely loved it even though we didn't have a large city nearby. There are so much more to do and see here and I can't wait to make the next discovery.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Almost a North Carolinian

I don't feel like too much of a sore thumb anymore. My car passed inspection with the new light bulbs I had to buy to replace the ones that burnt out near my license plate. I forgot that those were out but nothing four dollars worth of supplies and six dollars worth of labor couldn't take care of. The hubby says it looks weird to see my car without my Nevada license plates. I think it does too especially since they only require a back license plate and not a front. I'm not used to living someplace where a front license plate is not needed so my car looks a little out of place without one. I guess a lot of folks here put front vanity plates on such as ones from the college they graduated from (the most popular I think), their sorority or fraternity, or their favorite sports team. Others I've seen are custom made ones with their name spray painted or ones that say "princess" or "queen."

The hubby has suggested I get one of those plates to make my car look less naked. He has one from his university and unfortunately the university I went to doesn't make one since that state is required to have both a front and back license plate. So what to do? I decided that I would get an Atlanta Braves one since they are my favorite MLB team. What's funny is that when you decide that's what you want to do, you can never find the one you like. Sure we've seen them elsewhere but decided to wait to pick it up. So now my car remains without a front plate. I suppose I will get used to it and may not even want to add on another plate.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

The Joys of Living in NC

So I finally got my social security card and went to register my car today. In and out within five minutes. I kid you not. Of course I still have to get my "safety check" which is required for all cars here where they check your headlights, brake lights, blinkers, etc. So instead of just a smog check like in Vegas, they actually check to see that your car has the proper working parts. I think that's really good considering that I used to do that in Hawaii. It really keeps you on your toes with the upkeep of your vehicle. However this beautiful story must have a dark and dreary side. After paying to register my car here which cost approximately $200, I still have to pay a county tax on it. Yep, I have to pay taxes on my car that I own to the county and it's not a one-time deal either. Apparently you have to pay property tax on your car like you would your home. Fortunately they have the decency not to charge you for that until about three months after you register your car. The decency really comes from the fact that the DMV must send the records of all registrations to the county tax assessors office and usually that takes approximately three months. I told the hubby today that I was moving back to LV. I guess it'll all come out even I think. I am paying less for car insurance here and the amount they tax me is probably what I was getting taxed anyways in LV except they did it through the DMV. As an update to the social security card fiasco, I got my official marriage license a couple of days after I visited the social security office to get a replacement social security card. This time I decided to just mail in the document with my app. to get a card in my married name. I'm sure the social security office is wondering what the heck I'm doing. I think the hubby was trying to be funny when he said I can get my driver's license in my married name once I get my new social security card. Knowing that I have to take a test to get this license doesn't make me want to run down there and I sweetly turned to him and said that my present driver's license doesn't expire for another two years...

Monday, August 15, 2005

We're Back and Then Some...

We're back from Nashville. The drive wasn't too terrible and it was nice to spend the time together.

I am contemplating closing down this blog and moving to greener and quieter pastures. In fact, I have started to experiment with another service. I know there are some of you (don't know IRL) that visit here time and time again, and have even created a link (thanks, btw). If you'd like to know my next incarnation and can provide me with some ample proof that I don't know you except for cyberspace, then I will lead you on to my next stage. Go ahead and email me.

In the meantime, I will post here for a little while more.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Et al...

What doesn't tear us apart can only make us stronger, right? The hubs and I have had a tough two weeks where our emotions climbed the highest high and then plummeted to the lowest lows. But we are on the road to recovery and returning to our optimistic selves. I thought about writing about it here but realized that there are people out there I know that read this and don't know about my situation. I guess I'd like to keep it that way.

In other news, we are taking a short weekend trip to Nashville to watch a very good friend get married again. Yes, that's right, again. She was married, officially, last month in her hometown in Hawaii but the trip was a little too far for some of the folks in his hometown of Nashville. Though his parents and close members of his family went to Hawaii, many others could not. So they are having their "encore" wedding at a church in his hometown. While this isn't the scale of their wedding last month, it's a nice way to include his side of the family. Me? Well fortunately the hubs family did not suggest such an affair though I am sorry that is grandmother was unable to attend our wedding due to health issues. That reminds me, we do need to plan a trip to see her very soon, I think.

As far as married life goes, we've been married about two months now and finally got our official marriage license in the mail last week. As you recall my fiasco with having to go down to the social security office to get a replacement card in my present name, well now I have to apply again and get a new card in my married name. I haven't received the replacement card yet so I guess I'll wait for that to arrive. I'll be glad when everything gets done regarding my name change because it's hard enough trying to remember what name I can use and when.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Bon Odori Festival

It's been a rough weekend and Sunday isn't even over yet. The hubby is gone for a few days for work and I am faced with being alone. I haven't been alone since we moved in together over three months ago. When I mean alone, I mean we haven't spent a night apart for the last three months so this is a little strange. It's really a different kind of "being alone" since I know he will be coming home in a few days.

Even though we've had a pretty rough weekend, we did get to go to the annual Bon Odori festival yesterday. I wasn't sure what to expect since this is N.C. and I haven't really seen a viable Japanese-American or even a Japanese community. But apparently there are many Japanese expatriates living here, hence, the Bon Odori festival. The Bon Odori festival is held in Japan during the summer months. This custom came to Hawaii when many Japanese immigrated to the islands to work in the cane fields. My familiarity with the festival stems from my upbringing as a Buddhist. Throughout the summer, every Buddhist temple in Hawaii sponsors a "Bon Dance" as we called them. The Bon Odori or Bon Dance is a time of celebration even though its meaning may seem a bit somber. You see, the Bon Dance is a time when you feel closer to those ancestors who have passed on. When you participate in the dance, you are dancing with your ancestors who have long passed away.

Yesterday's Bon Odori had the same meaning but essentially was more of a festival with food booths, games, and various Japanese trinkets for sale. They also had a taiko (Japanese drum) performance, tea ceremony demonstration, flower (ikebana) arranging displays, and, of course, the Japanese dancing. They played some familiar and some unfamiliar songs for the dances but as I was standing there, I could almost imagine being back home again feeling the early evening breezes blowing. This was a new experience for the hubby, the Bon Odori festival, but I could sense he enjoyed it very much and he said he did. I have included two pictures from yesterday's outing. The first is a picture of the yagura or tower that is usually the center of the dancing. The dancing is done around the yagura and anyone is invited to dance, young and old, experienced and inexperienced, dressed in Japanese clothing or not. The hubby saw it as "Japanese line dancing." The second picture is the taiko group called "Zero Taiko" that performed throughout the afternoon. Two of the members (pictured) were particularly striking in their performance as you can see.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Bureaucracy

If you decide to move to North Carolina and need to register your car, make sure you have your social security card with you. Yes, you need it to register your car or else you will be like me and make a trip down to the social security office only to wait about an hour and a half so that you can spend 5 minutes with the person at the window. Bureaucracy, gotta love our country. As far as what your social security card has to do with registering your car, I really don't know. I know you need it to get a new driver's license and I was waiting for my marriage license so that I could get a new social security card in my married name. I'm not so sure I want to spend another hour and half waiting to turn in a form so that I can get my card in another two weeks.

There is some pretty big news in our household that will have to wait before it's public knowledge. But we're just ecstatic as is some of our close family. It's a lot to take in right now so we're just enjoying knowing what we know.

I haven't been writing much because there really isn't much I want to say. I miss so many of my friends and am glad for our really good phone service. The hubby has been extremely attentive to me and very understanding. I am a lucky woman!