Sunday, March 15, 2015


Looking down a fat, powder filled, double bowl on the frontside

Looking down a nice bowl on the north side of the resort

I have found a new favorite place to ski! I had to travel to Europe for work for a couple of weeks in January/February.  Mike dropped everything and flew to Norway where we met and tried out a new place.  From Oslo we rode a bus 5 hours north to a little town called Hemsedal.

Looking up at the resort from our apartment at sunrise

The town was small and the resort was big.  The snow was fresh, and the temps were so cold that the powder wouldn't compact into ice.  We had blue sky, fresh powder, and almost nobody on the runs for the first three days.  The fourth day it snowed, but there still wasn't anybody there, so still great.

On day one run one I fell as we transitioned out of some trees and broke the hamate bone in my left hand.  I knew it was broken but we skiied all day before going to the Dr.  Once the lifts closed we headed down to the little town and tracked down the little clinic.  Luckily I called first because they were closing.  They told me they would wait until I got there to close.  The break wasn't visible yet so the Doc put a plaster 3/4 cast on to protect it so that I could ski the next few days. "You ski more, ja?"

Trolls everywhere

When I got back to Okinawa I went in and got a new x-ray and the break was visible.  They gave me a new fiberglass cast and three more weeks.  Cast + humid conditions = misery.
Z dropping into a bowl

The resort wasn't as big as Zermatt but there was so much off piste terrain that it didn't matter.  We switched back and forth between huge powder filled bowls and powder trees all day long.  Lunch in the lodge was frites and waffles.


Food in Norway was over the top expensive so we made good use of our apartments kitchen.  Fresh baguettes with jam and loads of hot chocolate helped us get out the door in the -18C temps each day.  Once we got going it wasn't bad, but the initial blast of cold was a little rough.

Friday, February 20, 2015

beachy times in Oki... Summer 2014

This is just gonna be a whooolllle lotta pictures from swimming... hanging out at the beach... snorkeling... you get the drift.  Man, these beaches are gorgeous. We've got water babies. And snow babies. And up-for-anything babies. They have been lovin' all the water time here in Okinawa.  

Bran with a tiny, cute jellyfish.  Makes me think of the adorable little jellyfish Dori comes across in Finding Nemo right before she and Marlin realize they are in a jellyfish nightmare.  Luckily this one really was all alone.

This one I like to call "Shark's Eye View."  That's GB (Grandma Buttons) on the very right.  She loves, loves, LOVES the water. She would snorkel pretty constantly if she could, I'm convinced.  She might even have tiny little gills...


And again. She looks so natural, and bendy, and stuff.

Bran-Man and me.  Snorkeling masks are never flattering.

Okay, on these kiddos they are.

A friendly lil' fish.

Grandma checkin' something out.

Zac, the master snorkeler/diver/dude.

Maeve and I stopped to explore this rocky little cove-type area, while the others went to this underwater tunnel thing they like. We really enjoy going to this beach! It's on a little island called Miyagi-Jima.  Miyagi Island.

She's a happy one!

This was the only pic I took of the two of us where you couldn't see a ton of my cleavage, despite it being, admittedly, not-all-that-large...  I don't know what was up with that swimsuit. Hopefully it wasn't always such a cleavage-displayer after getting wet, but I just didn't know because I never took pics of myself in it...? hmmm...

The rest of the gang, emerging from the Cave.

Another lone little jellyfish.

This one looks like it's stalking Maeve and Leif... which if probably was. Somehow, they escaped.

In the cave/tunnel thing.

Bran, Leif, Maeve, and little Fiona-but-don't-call-her-that-to-her-face-even-though-she-will-feign-politeness-because-for-some-reason-kids-don't-like-to-be-called-little.  But don't call me Big Fiona, either. I prefer "vintage," or "original." Or Miss Fiona works, too... ;)

Maeve and Leif, toolin' around.  Maeve liked to kinda pull him around in his tube-thing by a rope attached to it.  They'd just chug about.

A nifty mural on the way home from the beach. There were lots painted on this wall. Pret-ty cool.

Haha... Maeve swimming to the side of the pool after jumping off the diving board.  She usually swims with goggles on, so she can, you know... see... but you can't take those on the diving board.  Huh. We never -- NEVER -- had goggles as kids... man... nets on trampolines, helmets while bike-riding, GOGGLES in the pool... kids nowadays are soft... ;)  Actually, the bigger kids don't use their goggles always, but M has not yet reached that point.

Jumpin' in!  Z didn't ever catch her or help her. He was there "just in case."  She's become a pretty awesome little swimmer.  I mean, I still wouldn't just let her loose in the pool without me or Z, but she's definitely got skills down.  She can even tread water, but gets tired pretty quickly.  She hasn't taken lessons yet, but we've just been teaching her, and Grandma has been, too. She's got some swim class experience.

This is a big fruit from the tree behind Nuala. We don't know what they're called.  But they're pretty awesome-looking, huh?!

The Steps. This is a favorite snorkeling spot for our family.  It's super close to base, and has some good coral off of it.  And a jumping-off deck, which is always fun.

Cute little rascal, getting ready to get in!

Bran. Oh, man. He just LOVES to snorkel. He takes after his daddy a lot, he does!

A clam.  With blue lips.  Smoochie, smoochie!

How Maeve snorkels.  She bobs around in her life jacket and everyone brings her cool things. Like starfish.  Yeah, I guess she's not officially snorkeling, since she's not actually using a snorkel.  The kiddos usually all feel like those are too much trouble!

Aha! The Jumping-Off Deck.

A post-snorkeling pic I found on the camera one of the times Z took the kids by himself.  I think it's a very artistic shot! What a brilliant young photographer... ;)

Our Delica. The car we pretty much curse on a daily basis, but has been handy to have around for things like... snorkeling... camping... moving big and dirty items...  

I love this one!

Heading down to the dark depths... 

A sea snake! These are really poisonous.  But kinda cool to see in person. I mean, if you don't get chomped on... Of course we didn't chase it, or anything! Just appreciated it from a safe distance. We do love our children.

When you want a break from snorkeling, it's always fun to slip and slide on the algae-covered steps.

Oh, Bran! He's seriously into this stuff. He's so cute...

Here's a tiny, adorable cuttlefish Bran found.  It looks like it should be in a Disney cartoon.

Ohhh! This beach!  I can't remember where it is. Oh, yeah... on another little island.  Ikei-Jima.  You hike down a jungle path to get out on the beach.

There were lots of red dragonflies along the way.

This guy. He was a jerk.  He came up and nipped me for no reason! We were already past him!!  I mean, maybe he/she had some little eggs, or whatever, nearby, but dude... I wasn't paying him any special attention and he just started in on me with his little teeth.

Doesn't he just look like a grump?  For real.

Not-so-outwardly-grumpy fish.

This one probably IS grumpy, since it has been plucked up by a (then) 4-year old, but without a face it's difficult to tell...

Bran getting a closer look. At something.

There were these huge rocks on the beach there, with all sorts of little caves to explore.

I'll admit, this totally made me think of Indiana Jones, and shafts of light, and how sometimes those are booby traps.  Luckily, we made it out with our lives.

It was fun! Yes, yes, it was.

Annnnd, snow cones!! The perfect end to a beach day.  Man, we're gonna miss our Okinawa beaches.