Monday, July 26, 2010

USS Arizona Memorial and USS Bowfin Submarine

This weekend, we went to see the USS Arizona Memorial. The Arizona was one of the ships that sank on December 7, 1941, when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. The ship was 608 feet long, and it sank in 9 minutes. 1,177 sailors and Marines died on the ship.

It is free to visit the memorial. We were given tickets with a visiting time on them. Rather than wait 2 1/2 hours, we went off to grocery shop and then went back to the memorial. There is an audio tour available, and it gets rave reviews, but we find that it is impossible to use these tours with Crumpet along. We took the 5 minute boat ride out to the memorial, and spent about half an hour at the site.

Here is the sunken ship beneath the memorial, taken from the air (no, not my photo...):
The memorial from the shore near our house (we took this on a different, much cloudier day).
One of the turrets from the ship:
Oil still leaks from the ship. It is said that the ship still weeps for its sailors. This got me choked up.
Crumpet was very interested in why the oil and water didn't mix, so we'll be doing an experiment relating to that next week!
A portion of the submerged ship- we saw a lot of tropical fish, and even a ray, here:
The inside of the memorial:
The names of the sailors who went down with the ship. There is also a list of names of sailors who survived, but came back to be buried with their shipmates:
Crumpet and his dad at the memorial, overlooking the USS Missouri (which I'll write about soon...):
The USS Bowfin submarine is located in the same complex as the Arizona. The long grey tube in the water below is the submarine. The sub is known as the "Pearl Harbor Avenger" because it attacked so many Japanese ships during World War II. For some reason, I had it in my head that children had to be 5 to visit the sub, so we didn't go in. (BIG tantrum ensued...) Now, I'm reading in my tour guide that children have to be 4. Oops, no one tell Crumpet...
Fortunately, there were other cool sights here, and the tantrum passed. A huge anchor:
Crumpet sitting on a torpedo with missiles in the background. Oh, how this boy loves weapons...

This is a portion of another submarine, which we were allowed in. The metal tubes in front are working periscopes, and it was fun to look at the memorials and our home island from here!
Inside the mini-sub:
A 'one man Japanese suicide torpedo'. Oh...
An American rescue chamber, designed to rescue sailors from submarines in trouble. The Navy only used this once, and it was successful. My husband used to ride subs, and imagining this as his only chance for rescue made me really glad he'll be on surface ships while we're in Hawaii!
Crumpet manning the guns (these would have been on a large battleship). We spent a lot of time here. As did several other families with young boys...

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Tuesday, July 13, 2010

House Tour

Hi! This post is mostly for my family, because they are curious about where we live and want to be able to picture us in our house. It's just a little bit of a tour of our house and the island-within-an-island that we live on. I apologize for the poor photo quality - someday I will take a photography class and learn about light... And we've put up pictures and curtains since these photos were taken (as well as scattered a million toys around), so it looks more like home now.

When we arrived in Hawaii, we were planning to live off base. We looked around at local housing and were disappointed by the poor quality and high prices we found. While we looked, we were staying at the Navy Lodge, which is a hotel on Ford Island. Ford Island is a a tiny island inside Pearl Harbor, on the southern side of Oahu. We kept driving around the island, looking at the military housing, and wishing we could just live there. However, all of the housing on the island is 3 or 4 bedroom, and we were only entitled to a 2 bedroom because we have 1 child. On the day we went to the housing office to check in though, they had no 2 bedrooms, so we lucked out and they placed us on Ford Island! Yippee!

So now we drive across a bridge, right past many of the WWII memorials, to get home every day. The island is maybe 1 1/2 miles by 1 mile? Not sure. On the island, you'll find a lot of military housing, the Navy Lodge, buildings where the military still works, a gym, a mini-mart, the Pacific Aviation Museum, and lots of memorials.

Here is Crumpet in front of our house. It's a 4 plex - 4 units linked together. We have 3 bedrooms, 2 1/2 baths, and a one car garage. The whole house has linoleum flooring, except the stairs which have carpet. It's weird and I'm not sure why they did that, but Crumpet has managed to fall down the stairs a couple of times, so I'm glad they carpeted them...
The neighborhood is a loop made up of these units.
The back of our house. The tree is a plumeria tree - it makes fabulous flowers.

Here's our living room as you come in the front door.
Living room, looking at front door:
Dining room from the living room. Kitchen is to the right; stairs, pantry, laundry room, 1/2 bath, and door to the garage are to the left.
Kitchen. I have tons of counter space!
The pantry. It's hard to see, but it's huge! I love it!
The laundry room. Any one who knows the saga of the laundry closet in Georgia will understand how much I adore this room! It's huge, and it has a closet to the left as well as the cabinets.
On to the upstairs... (Notice that Cobweb cat was very helpful in the filming of the tour; she somehow ended up in most of the pictures..)
Master bedroom. I'm standing in the master bathroom door to take the picture, and there is a long closet to the right.
Crumpet's room. He has a nice deep closet.
The school room/ guest room.This room is down a hallway from the master bedroom. Crumpet's bathroom is also off this hallway. So far, there are just boxes and toys on the right side of this room. We're planning to get something for guests to sleep on if any one comes to visit (hint hint, come visit!).
Speaking of house guests... We have found several of these guys in the house.
The garage. To the right, there is a good storage area.
The storage area:
We were hoping to feed beautiful, exotic Hawaiian birds and couldn't wait to set up a feeder when we moved in. Instead, we got TONS of pigeons. Uggh. It was like a horror movie. In the end, we stopped feeding the birds!
Here's our backyard.
Cobweb in our new garden. The cats can safely hang out in the backyard, and they love being able to go out.
Other side of the yard.
Some hibiscus plants and our vegetable garden. We planted a few veggies that were already started and a lot of seeds. We now have a very green garden and the tomatoes, eggplant and dill are nearly ready to pick!
Ford Island was once a runway, so some of it looks like this, with control buildings and office buildings across the tarmac.
An air raid shelter from WWII.
One of the cool things about living IN Pearl Harbor is that there are always new, huge ships pulling in for repairs, etc. We always go check them out - a boy's dream.
In front of the USS Utah memorial, which is really an old rusty ship half submerged in the water. This is where we go on our nightly crab hunt.
We have banyan trees on the island. These are the coolest things I've ever seen (anyone remember seeing them on Lost?), and that's saying something because all of the trees and other plants on this island are fascinating.

So that's our house! Lots of room for guests, lots of fun things to do, perfect weather... You know you want to visit...

Monday, July 5, 2010


From Arizona, we drove across to Los Angeles. We spent several days in California because we had appointments to ship our car and our cats from there, and we flew to Hawaii from LAX.

We expected to spend our entire first day in Long Beach, messing around and trying to ship the car. Shipping a car with the military is usually a long process, so we were prepared to waste time. This time, though, we were shipping our car privately (the Navy will only pay to ship one car, so we had them ship our other car from Georgia), and it was incredibly easy. We were in and out in minutes. So then we had a whole day to sight see, but I was unprepared and had no camera... Sad, because we went to the Aquarium of the Pacific and it was a really beautiful aquarium. We got to pet rays, sharks, starfish, and, new to us, an anemone. Very cool. They also had a great collection of seahorses and seadragons. I love seahorses, but had never seen a seadragon before. These were fabulous! When we left the aquarium, we spent a while wandering the waterfront. It's very pretty, and it was great for getting us even more excited about living by the ocean!

On our second day in California, we headed over to Hollywood. My husband had never been there, so he wanted to check out the sights. We spent some time driving through incredible, cliff-hanging neighborhoods so that we could get a good, unobstructed picture of the Hollywood sign. Those houses are gorgeous, but I'd spend all my time waiting for a mudslide...

We stopped by Grauman's Chinese Theatre, which is where the stars leave their hand and footprints.

Crumpet and his dad:
The Harry Potter kids!
I remember the Ripley's Believe It Or Not Museum entrance from when I was a kid. Hard to forget...
We wandered the Walk of Fame:
We came across a big crowd outside Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum, and discovered that Ben Kingsley and Jerry Bruckheimer were there giving speeches. Ben Kingsley was receiving his star on the Walk of Fame! Can you see his bald head up on stage? No? We barely could either, but hey, I saw famous people!
Then we headed to the Santa Monica Pier for the afternoon. The beach and amusement park rides - Crumpet was in seventh heaven.
Crumpet preparing to take off on his very first solo amusement park ride. We were so proud. And so sad. He's growing up:
Crumpet's first steps in the Pacific. He LOVES the ocean. We went there unprepared, and ended up totally soaked.
But really happy!
I love this picture... Crumpet walks on his toes most of the time, and here are his little toe prints in the sand:
We loved California. Especially because it was our last stop on the way to Hawaii, and our new life!
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