Me & my horses.

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Heather's Blog

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Land and Temporary House update

Posted by Heather on March 4, 2012 at 10:05 AM Comments comments (0)

I should start by saying that the home was delivered in November and it is STILL not complete. The final inspection should be happening any day now and then the home can have the stone paneling put on the outside and the final cleaning done inside. 4 months is much too long to wait for a paying customer. If this wasn't a model home for the community I would hate to see a customer treated that way. It's okay with us because our Japanese household goods aren't here yet so it's not like we're ready to move into it. I'm just irked with our crew for dragging their feet. 

On another, happier note, the Tangelwood is GORGEOUS! I'd never guess right off that  it was manufactured if I hadn't seen the assembly in progress. It is just too big and nice. I can't get over how fancy it is on the inside for a manufactured. Granted it is one of the more top of the line ones but we wanted to be able to showcase something top of the line. Whoever gets this home after us will be beyond pleased with it. 

I can't wait to finally be able to update with photos. The weather has just been gross and the front port was in progress for almost 3 weeks. Now it's finished and as soon as the stone paneling is up, I'll go take photos. The interior is still all drywall dusty and needs to be cleaned up. The fireplace was put in without a mantle & hearth, so it is going to be fun picking those out. 

I'm excited about it! I have been dreaming about gardens for the last week and imagining the landscaping. I guess I didn't realize how much I missed that stuff. Always moving means I can never get attached to things like that. Now, though, I'm having so much fun thinking of all the ways to add the final outdoor touches. Landscaping can make or break a property in my mind. If it's blended well into it's space with living green things, it looks like it belongs there rather than just being dropped down from the sky. At least, that's how I see it. 


I finally got a chance to look at the surveys for the Wixom property. (I really need to pick out a name for our future place, don't I?) The shape of the land is to die for! 

The whole red block is ours. I also found out that some of the surrounding pieces to the East and South East might be available for purchase in the future. Maybe if my barn is successful I'll need to build a second and have more paddocks. Ha! I guess I'm in the dreaming big mood. Anyway, that's it right there. We're at the end of a rather nice cul-de-sac and the property on either side of it is ours, which means we'll be able to use that area as an entrance to the place. I think it will look amazing. Next time we're out, I'll take photos. 

We visited the property when we first got back and we walked almost the whole property line, or what we were assuming was the property line. It is WILD and undeveloped. Lots of game trails and I even got to see a flock of wild turkeys, some raccoon and deer tracks and in general just explore. Trying not to get eaten by thorns was .. entertaining. I have some questions about what it takes to clear land like that. It's old trees, brush and well, imagine a hunk of land that's never been anything in the history of ever. Eesh. 

We've got our eyes peeled for architects and builders that will be able to help us realize our dream house. One is in Ann Arbor - http:/ and the other is in Bloomfield Hills - http:/ So far, I'm not set on anything but it's nice to see that someone out there wants to build in a similar style. I also have no idea how long this could all take from start to finish. I'm hoping we can get the ball rolling at least this summer, pause for the winter and then finish in 2013. Lofty goals I tell you! 

Things I can do now

Posted by Heather on December 7, 2011 at 10:40 AM Comments comments (0)

get a fish

collect things

have traditions

plant a garden and/or houseplants

enter cooking contests

take classes

have a job

Make friends

Have an established circadian rhythm!

Looking forward to (Pt 1)

Posted by Heather on November 19, 2011 at 3:45 AM Comments comments (2)

I thought it would be nice, for posterity, to make an entry about some of the things I'm really looking forward to. Most of them are domestic and without living in Japan I would have never been as grateful for things as I am now. So, there's that pretty cool life lesson. Living without something makes you nearly painfully aware of how important it was to you. My sense of gratitude has been honed by this experience for sure.

No particular order-

I cannot wait to have an American sized refrigerator. 

I don't know if you can tell by the photo above or not, but that fridge is about half the size of an American style one and the freezer is about the size of my microwave. I have learned to shop often (fun! NOT.) and to buy products that will fit. There are things that I simply cannot buy ever, or have to plan carefully for.

Like a whole chicken. If I buy one I have to be certain that there is room in my fridge (rare) or use it that day. There is no way I am taking up a third of my precious freezer space to store it. Certain items come in packaging that will just never fit (like a gallon of milk) and I can't buy a frozen pizza unless I want it that night. 

Because of that fridge/freezer I've learned to make a lot of foods myself. I've pretty much perfected my pizza dough now. I have also perfected the art of what we lovingly call 'Jenga house' or 'fridge tetris'. I have never crammed and shoved and piled things together so much in my life. It drives me batty. I love to have things stored in an organized way and sometimes the only way to make things fit is to turn a jar of pickles on its side and pray it doesn't leak. 

The freezer situation also makes it so that I cannot store many home made things. I end up sharing half of my recipe most of the time. I absolutely long for the day that I can store vegetable scraps or chicken bones so that I can make my own stock and then freeze that! I would love to be able to buy sale items and keep those in the freezer. I daydream about making big batches of soups etc. and having them for later. Simple things like that. 

I have also learned about what I really need and use. It's nice to know that the contents are rotated frequently and there aren't any mysterious frostbitten things languishing in the back. I am more aware of food waste and I'm grateful for that too. I don't go crazy buying things because they're on sale and I rely a lot more on fresh things since I just can't sacrifice freezer space for frozen vegetables or whatever. 

Next, I daydream about an American dishwasher! 

Do you see mine? It's right there. No, that's not another microwave. It's my dishwasher, really! Yes, I am happy to have that thing but only happy like a person eating a pudding cup with a fork. 

It helps but it's still a pain in the butt to do 3 loads of dishes a day and only 75% of my dishes fit in there. I cook a lot at home and there are always, ALWAYS dishes sitting in my sink waiting to be washed. I hate that! 

Oh ho... just wash your dishes by hand you say? Notice there is no spot for a drying rack. Also, I hate hand washing unless I have to. I grew up without a dishwasher and my goodness did I feel like I died and went to heaven when I moved into my first apartment with one. That was only 6 years ago! 

I am really, really looking forward to being able to wash my cutting boards, large pots and bakeware in a dishwasher again. I've come to appreciate my new talent though. The talent of fitting as much as I can in that little box. I am the master at 'dish tetris'. I can fit an amazing amount of stuff in there. It's to the point where I'm not sure what I'm going to do with all the space in a big one? I'll have to learn how to 'un-cram-ify' my technique. Ha! 

Next is that pathetic range. I hate it so much that I imagine running it over with a steam roller pretty much every day. Thanks to it, it takes me 8 batches to bake one recipe of cookies. It only fits a small cookie sheet and it sucks to wait for six cookies at a time. Also, it heats so unevenly that I can pretty much guarantee burning in some area of whatever I'm baking. I also cannot cook anything very large, so I haven't made a turkey in years.  It is 20X20 centimeters. Forget putting a large pot on the top and using any of the other burners! Pasta AND sauce, simultaneously? Certainly, you jest.

That is if the thing wants to turn on at all. I have to light the burners manually with a lighter probably a quarter of the time and the oven will often just run gas and not light. Then when it does finally light itself sometimes you get the 'KAPOWBOOM' when it kind of explodes. Or it will say it is on and be doing absolutely nothing. Because of this monster I haven't baked a pie in three years. I hope when they take it out of here it goes to some sort of torture camp for evil appliances.

I think when I get back to the states and settled into our temp home. I am going to be on a baking/cooking/rolling around on the floor of the kitchen in ecstasy spree the likes of which Michigan has never seen. So, if you live within traveling distance I'll probably have a pie for you to pick up. 

Also, here is a picture of Aaron with a tiny lawn mower. You're welcome!

One Step Closer

Posted by Heather on November 18, 2011 at 1:35 PM Comments comments (0)

Albeit a tiny step. Thursday Aaron and I went to his medical appointment to get the Doctor to approve his 'fit for active duty' status. We were there for 30 minutes and the 'exam' took 5 of those. I love how they made us wait days for an appointment to get a stupid signature. Now the list of 'stuff that needs signed' is finished and Aaron turned it in today and the paperwork is going up to the Captain. Let us hope that the squirrels a feeling expeditious!

                                               "Operation Escape Japan is a GO Captain!"            


*did I just google 'squirrel in uniform'? Yes. Yes I did. 

Now for some mundane tidbits:

  1. I've been battling an online crafts person for the last 10 weeks. I commissioned and paid for a custom rope halter and lead set. It has never arrived and they are dicking me around about it. I've asked for a refund and haven't gotten that either. UGH. 
  2.  I have become hopelessly addicted to a website called Pinterest. 
  3. I still can't decide on the first place I want to go out to eat when we get back to America. Who knew that would even be a thing I would worry about?
  4. Finally busted out the heating blanket and also almost burned down the house when a plug and socket burst into flames on Thursday. 
  5. Last but not least, I got a copy of a book I've been waiting to come out forever. Yay books!

Moan and complain.

Posted by Heather on November 14, 2011 at 4:20 AM Comments comments (1)

Normally I try to post things that are in a positive, encouraging or otherwise non-negative way. I will be honest and grumpy to a point but I make a concerted effort to put a happier spin on things. It's getting old and at this point and I just want to moan and complain. 

I've been trying to sit down and write a reply to an important friend via facebook message and every time I open the window I just sit there and the cursor is in the reply box blinking at me mercilessly. I have typed out three sentences and deleted them (numerous times) because it either sounds forced or too 'woe is me'. I am failing at the maintaining part of the friendship thing and I am starting to think I'm just not so great at being friends with people. 

The difference between amount of stuff I have on my plate vs. how much I'm actually able to get accomplished right now, is astronomical. I just have to sit here and wait and hate everything. I am depressed, not sleeping well, eating like crap and generally drinking more than a normal person would. All the stress is affecting my behavior on the inside and outside. I am having a lot of trouble staying grateful and happy. 

I think that most of my frustration and resulting depression comes from my sense of helplessness. I'm crushed by my inability to actually do anything about my situation. I feel utterly trapped and I know that is one of the biggest reasons that Aaron and I decided to get out of the Navy. The cost was more than the payout and that's when you know things need to change. However, the change we need is taking it's sweet time and the Navy is squeezing as much as it can out of my soul before it finally lets go of us.

I have this vision that as soon as I can get the mess of moving and settling in over with that I'll be able to focus on myself and the rest of my life more. That I will be able to shake off these burdens. I hope that's the case. I have a lot of life waiting to be lived and a lot of breathing to do. I mean I've been in 'pretty much jail' for three years to the day on Nov. 15th. That's a long time to be feeling this way. Imagine a roller coaster that sucks most of the time, only it lasts three years. 

I want to have something supportive and kind to say to my friend but all that comes out is: I'm not happy and I hate it here. I hate feeling so selfish! I hate not having anything fun to talk about or share with her. It's not just her either, I feel like that about everybody. 

To update the situation on the move progress. Well, Aaron got the papers he needed signed and just has one last thing to do (medical signing something?) and THEN that has to go all the way (via desks and paperwork and some sort of rube goldberg machine with squirrels I think) to the Captain's hands, then back all the way down to his supervisor. That's when I think he gets orders. Or something. I am always on the verge of not knowing exactly what the hell is happening. -shrug- Then, we have to do the setting up the moving dates and getting of the plane tickets. 

Pretty sure, if I get home for Christmas it will be a miracle. I can't remember the last time I actually looked forward to a holiday. That's pretty sad.

And because I'm me and can't stand it if I actually end without something at least kind of nice, here is the last question my friend asked me:

Top three things you're excited/happy for for being back in the states. And three maybenotsogreat things. 123GO!  


  1. PONIES!
  2. American food (grocery & restaurant kinds) 
  3. Lack of giant scary insects



  1. Me driving again (eep!)
  2. Snow is evil
  3. Lack of adorable and cute things being literally everywhere 


Home is delivered!

Posted by Heather on November 8, 2011 at 8:55 AM Comments comments (0)

I have more photos but I don't want to spam my own blog with them. Plus, I'll take better photos when I get to see it. These are from my MIL's phone. I am so happy that she's taking pictures and sending them to me. She doesn't (as a general rule) do that, at least with stuff I actually want to see.

It's really neat to see how the house is being put together and how the pieces are made. The first thing I said when I saw some of the interior photos was "OMG!! I see the dishwasher!" haha Oh the things that make you happy when you don't have them. 

I'll probably get another (zillion) photos from her after it's finished being assembled. I'll be sure to post those too. I just LOVE the lot that we will be on. The big old tree in the front (I think it's in front?) of the house, big yard and everything. It's beautiful. I am already proud of it and how nice it will make the community look. 

I *should* be on a plane today.

Posted by Heather on November 1, 2011 at 4:00 AM Comments comments (0)

I don't know whether to scream or cry at this point. What a nightmare. Although, it's not a new feeling sadly. I am supposed to be on a plane, headed home and putting this dreadful yet, spiked with adventure, chapter of my life behind me. I should be shuffling through airports and on my way to hug my family. I know that another week or month won't really matter in the grand scheme of things, but it's the principle dang it!! 

Apparently, Aaron is having to go through hell to get his paperwork in order. The people who are supposed to help us don't know what they're doing and he's actually making more headway on his own making phone calls and completing paperwork. Excuse me? That'd be like someone robbing your house and you having to subdue the robber yourself and then deliver him to Aaron at his job!? What are these people even doing that are supposed to be helping us? The one lady is on leave for the next two weeks and apparently no one in the office can do anything. Oh and she didn't even bother calling us before going on her vacation. Thanks. 

Because of these stupid delays, there have been a couple of months (we just found out) that Aaron could have been working on things required to leave but he was never told about any of it so we've been waiting around like dummies. PLUS he's back in work rotation so he sure does have a lot of free time to be going to these different appointments and stuff. AGGH!! 

How long were the people in charge going to wait?? Aaron thinks it's because he's chosen to participate in the early out program (ahahaha! EARLY!!) and since it's new, nobody knows what to do with him. I don't know about those people, but when new programs or information comes out at his job he's required to train for it. This command is so screwed up it's not even funny.

Well, scratch that, the Navy seems to be heading in that general direction. I remember Aaron being stuck in Chicago for FOUR months (doing absolutely nothing but sitting in a crappy barraks room)  and I was alone in Georgia. Nobody could tell us when they were going to allow him to go home. Then we found out we had 30 days to pack up our lives and move to Japan. See a trend? 

I'm disgusted with how they treat people. I don't want to miss my chance at spending the holidays with my family this year because someone else is too lazy or self centered to bother with our file sitting on their desk. The closer it gets to the holidays for everyone else, the less likely anyone is going to be concerned with our situation. I'm genuinely worried, I can't see us even being ready until December now. 

I think I'm going to go weep into a gin&tonic now. 

Vertical Pivot Gate

Posted by Heather on October 25, 2011 at 3:15 AM Comments comments (0)

Just a quick blurb about gates. I was thinking this type would be great for winter! No gate trying to shove through the snow!

Deposit for Tiff's training sent!

Posted by Heather on October 13, 2011 at 4:15 AM Comments comments (1)

I was recommended a trainer in Temperance MI, about 50 miles south of where we'll be. The girl who uses this guy has a morgan mare as well and she and I started talking on HGS. Her name is Laura and her horse's name is Alice.

The trainer's name is Dean Weaver and from the emailing I've done with him he seems like a pleasure to work with and has gotten fantastic reviews from Laura. I was particularly interested since his website says that he is willing to work with problem horses and well, Tiffany is definitely one of those. 

I'm not worried about someone manhandling her, honestly she could probably use it at. I'm wondering if 3 years off in a herd has made her better, worse or not changed her a bit. Either way, she needs a tune up and I'm too scared of her at this point to keep trying. Last week I wrote a check for half the month's board and training costs and sent it in to reserve her a stall. 

I'm so happy! I've been waiting three years to do that! I'm really hoping that things go according to plan and I can be home in time to take her there Dec. 1st. We'll see. Oh and I got to watch the Morgan Grand Nationals live streaming online. How cool is that? 

Final temp home revision

Posted by Heather on October 13, 2011 at 4:10 AM Comments comments (1)

Should be delivered and beginning the setup/installation November 7th and 8th! I'm excited to see it all come together! 

I'm tempted to post all the swatches and whatnot but I think I'll just wait and take my own photos when I see it. The main of the home is hard floors (linoleum, wood or tile) and the bedrooms are carpeted. We still need to pick out and install a mantel with a surround but not much is left to do. The home comes with drapes and appliances. 

I've even started imagining where our furniture will go. I'm a nerd.