31 Jul

Technical Difficulties

We made it! The kids, the cat and I are safe and sound in Hawaii.

We’ve had a few amusing stumbling blocks since we’ve been here though.

Before we even left, I had decided to keep my Palm Pilot with me and use my mom’s old hand-me-down laptop for our transition. If hubby needed a computer for his school work, the Army would provide him one (or, he had my permission to buy something new since the hand-me-down wasn’t going to last forever). Of course, the Palm Pilot died the day after my desktop computer with the other copy of our current address list was sealed in a crate. Good thing I’ve actually memorized my SIL’s address and phone, or I’d have had no contact number to give anyone as we move from one place to another.

The laptop served us well in Germany, but when I started it up here, the bottom quarter of the screen was black. Everything else works though. They have wireless internet here at the hotel and, with the computer hooked into the phone line in the lobby, I signed up. Unfortunately, to actually use the service, I need to click on the “accept terms” button at the bottom of the page — but I can’t see it because that’s in the black part. I went to the room to call tech support, but the wireless Hot Spot doesn’t go that far. I went back to the lobby and used their phone, but the computer still didn’t recognize the network. So I cancelled the service. Sorry — no photos for a while because I can’t upload them to the library computer I’m now using.

The reason I had to go to the room to call tech support was because I chose not to buy a cell phone. We had one in Germany and I rarely used it. I figured I just didn’t need the extra expense here.

The Army did not have housing for us on post, so I’ve been house hunting nearby. Of course, to go see the houses I need a car. I called around and got a good deal at the rental company that has a concession on Post. The kids and I walked over to pick up the car before a big day of seeing five houses. They would not accept the hotel number as a valid phone number and since I had no home phone or cell phone, they denied me the car. Telling them that I needed the car to get the house in order to have a home phone just didn’t convince them. We went back to the hotel and called the first appointment to cancel. She said she’s pick me up and then drop me off at the alternate car rental agency. Great! I called the second appointment and rescheduled for the next day. Once the realtor arrived, she realized I had kids and said her car insurance didn’t cover them. Quick, I took the kids to a friend’s office and dropped them off (phew). After seeing the house we went off to the second car rental agency. They had moved and the 800 number I had been dealing with hadn’t known to inform me. Not knowing how I’d get a car now, I used the realtor’s phone to call the third appointment. She was also on her way and didn’t want to turn around so realtor #1 (love her) said she’d take me to another car place she knew the location of, which wasn’t far. I got the car with a combo of the hotel phone number and a friend’s number (much more reasonable) and headed off to see the next house only a half hour late. The rest of the day went fine.

Yesterday I asked the hotel how much my phone calls from the room were, afraid that my decision to forgo a cell phone was a bad one. Guess what? Local calls are free!! So, ten minutes on hold to the transportation office at the Pearl Harbor Naval Base cost me nothing. I actually think this is a better deal than using minutes on the cell phone. We’ve also found a house, so I am in much less need of a phone over all. I can’t wait to sign rental papers tomorrow as I am still a little afraid that the house isn’t really ours. A promise that we will be moving into it though, was all the local school needed to enroll the kids. My hesitance because the house isn’t 100% ours yet cost the kids their first day of school, but when the went to class today no one seemed to think it was a problem.

Despite a few technical difficulties, everything seems to be working out just fine. Hopefully, I’ll ba back blogging with pictures in about two weeks. Meanwhile, check out the 12×12 website on August 1 for our next reveal!

22 Jul


A photo meme that I prepared earlier in case of wanting to blog but lacking brainpower. Gonna go unplug now. See you all on the other side of the world.

I love the Flickr mosaics I’ve been seeing everyone playing with. I definitely do not utilize my Flickr account enough. That seems to be the gateway to fame and fortune, but I have yet to commit to wasting investing even more time on the computer.

Here’s my version of one of the Flickr memes going around: Copy the answers to these questions in Flickr’s search bar and then copy the url of a photo from the resulting first page. Then go to Big Huge Labs and make a mosaic.
1. What is your first name? Kristin. How weird is it to look at other people with your name who appear to be nothing like you, yet have the audacity to use your name?
2. What is your favorite food? Carne Asada tacos. I could only look at a few pages of these before I started to get hungry and homesick.
3. What high school did you go to ? Birmingham High School. This was on my way to school.
4. My favorite colors
5. Who is your celebrity crush? Sean Connery. And look, I found him with another fave, Harrison Ford! I can’t believe how long i spent looking at SC photos trying to find just the right one — not too young (even though I love all Bonds) and not too old, maybe being knighted. But what’s up with Zardoz? I’ve never heard of this movie (probably for good reason) but someone else has and even made a Zardoz Lego Sean. Yikes.
6. Favorite drink? Margarita
7. Dream vacation? African Safari. This was a tough one seeing as I have been living the European vacation for the last 12 years and am headed off to Hawaii…
8. Favorite dessert? Strawberry Torte!
9. What you want to be when you grow up? Me.
10. What do you love most in life? My family. Though mine isn’t quite as wild as this one.
11. One Word to describe you. Open.
12. Your flickr name. umzavi

1. PICT0823, 2. day 65: more tacos, 3. Sepulveda Dam – 1/3, 4. daisy, 5. Father and Son, 6. Fresh Made, With Salt, 7. Camp at sunset 3, 8. Bonames strawberry cake, 9. Painted on Jeans… 17/366, 10. Family Portrait, 11. One step to paradise, 12. Fliegenpilz Pincushion

21 Jul


I got this as spam today. I hope it’s not prophetic. 😉

“shipments fumbling delineate:pithes irking,…”

I don’t even know what pithes are. Other than that, I have no photos. I don’t even want to try to go take one. We’ve said a few goodbyes today and have more planned tomorrow. I’m beat from cleaning the house for inspection this morning and then running errands with my neighbor’s van this afternoon: returning the loaner dishes, recycling the jars cleared from the fridge and the last odds and ends in the house, and mailing two more boxes. That’s it. Stick a fork in me — I’m done.

20 Jul


The number of days we have left until we fly to Hawai’i.

The number of teeth Katja has lost so far. The most recent one fell out yesterday, and we fully expect number four to fall out on the other side of the world.

Toothy grin

Three is also the number of boxes we have to send by mail to get all the stuff we still have to Hawai’i. Box one was computer parts TS&WGH decided he didn’t need with him after all. Box two was the Playmobil Ritterburg. Box three is incredibly heavy with school backpacks and books and stuff that the sentimental side of me wants to keep as a reminder of their years in the german school system. And, unfortunately, now it looks like I’ll have to pack a fourth box because with all our paperwork, toys, clothes and toiletries, it’s just not all fitting in our small-ish suitcases. Arghhhh. At least the Army will reimburse us for all this.

19 Jul


Today we attended the Schulfest. After a mere 100 years, our local school has progessed from the dull descriptive of “Leimen Elementary and Middle  School” to having an actual name: Turmschule. It means “Tower School,” which is appropriate for several reasons which only have significance to those of us living in Leimen. The important thing is that the school celebrated the naming with a big party. There was singing and dancing and speeches and bratwursts and drinks and of course, cake and coffee. The classrooms each had activities for the kids.

Entering Katja’s classroom, we had found that two of her classmates had drawn this fabulous ferry, and someone had made an island. Apparently, this ferry goes to Hawaii because Katja added another island on the other end (complete with a small volcano and hula dancers) and her friend Isabel added a very happy volcano to the existing island.

Happy Volcano

You can tell it’s a happy volcano because of it’s smiley face!

I could have  cried from the sweetness of the other kids’ grasp of not only how far away Hawaii is, but WHAT it is as well — and that it meant enough to them to express their understanding in a big picture in the classroom. AND they did this on their own; without prompting from their teacher.

Yeah, I’m gonna go cry now.

18 Jul


Chocolate Chip cookies in a jar

These are cookie dough in a jar. (Katja wrote that, but decided that writing was too much work and she didn’t want to write the blog post after all.)

Today was the kids’ last day of school. We I made these gifts for their school and music teachers, and the chess club teacher. Perfect gifts for male or female teachers, minimal supplies needed, nothing exotic, and nothing for the recipients to hide away in a drawer until they eventually throw it out. School stuff is now packed up with a few other household items in a very heavy box that we’ll put in the mail on Monday.

No homework for at least 10 days!!!!!!

17 Jul


Knit potholders

Remember the knit pot holder I made on World Wide Knit in Public Day? It’s now multiplied. Two have been felted and two are waiting their turn in the washer. I’ve been using the top one and even washed it again. After it’s first trip through the dryer it shrunk up a little and really works great. My wool was supposed to last through our 16 hours on airplanes, but I think there’s only one pot holder left in my yarn.


Sorry about the crazy “zooming through my bathroom in an acrobatic airplane” photos — I clicked once too many and saved too quick and was then too lazy to go back and rotate the washcloths to a more normal angle. Looks very “bloggy” though, no?

So, I bought three 50 gram balls of cotton and knit one more (bringing the grand total to five) Ball Band washcloth and two Wedding Washcloths. I’ve got enough of the variegated yarn for one more stripey washrags, but I suspect it will be finished long before our flight next Wednesday.

BTW, my gauge was all off, but it doesn’t matter. The solid blue was too thin for the cheapo needles I have here, so I doubled it up and have a nice thick, thirsty washrag. The variegated yarn was too thin, but not as thin as the solid, so I knit it up anyway. I like this about knitting. This is why I knit squares. I like that anything goes. I’ll save the measuring and accuracy for my sewing projects.

15 Jul


Friends keep surprising me with gifts.

Blocks from the HH

The ladies of the friday morning breakfast and hand sewing (man, I’m going to miss them) each made quilt blocks for me. C still owes me one, but she’s got until we get a house and our stuff, so there’s no pressure. When I get a chance I will sew them all together, hand quilt it (of course) and hang in on the wall near my sewing machine!

Fliegenpilz Tote

Katrin surprised me with this awesome tote bag above. I just realized that the Fliegenpilz knitting needle case I bought from her would coordinate perfectly with this and that it should become my new project bag!

Valerija's Beach Bag and friend

Valerija, of the fabulous bags, handed this one to me at our last Quilted Chaos meeting. It’s got plenty of room on the inside for a towel and other bulky beach stuff, and then it’s got fabulous pockets on the outside for all those things that usually get lost on the bottom of a big bag. In typical Valerija fashion, each pocket is made from meticulous and tiny patchwork (you should have seen the miniscule bag she made for Friday friend Kathy!).
The other side

And last but not least is the cute little beach bum that the board of the local Quilt Guild gave me. They had a table full of these ladies complete with beachy and watery fabrics as decor for our end of the “year” potluck. As a goodbye gift, I got to take one home. How cute is she with her red and white polka dot suit and little rose in her hat? Oh, and she’s not fat, she’s strong!