Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Keeping crafty while the spouse is away...

 So, one of the long-time complaints I have had about the Marine Corps is their poor timing. I am sure in the grand scheme of things, a deployment that leaves on Valentine's Day or comes home the week after Christmas makes sense to someone. Probably someone who either has a very understanding spouse, or used to have a less-than-understanding spouse who now collects child support. Either way, many of us married to people lower on the military food chain have a love-hate relationship with the Marine Corps because of this.

For example, we were in Japan three days when my spouse was assigned to a month-long deployment. After living through deployments that were 11 and 12 months long, a month is nothing. I am fine with the deployment since I work from home and my kids are older. In fact, I am enjoying the space and quiet a queen-sized bed sans snoring husband is affording me. However, the nonsensical part is where he was sent: Twenty-Nine Palms, California. For those of you not familiar with the Southern California landscape, that is about 2.5 hours from my parents' house, where we just flew to Japan from. The first question I have gotten asked by those informed in the States: "Why didn't you guys just stay here?" Um, yeah, well, see, that's not really how the Marine Corps works. That would make way too much sense to those of us down here on the lower end of the food chain, so that would never happen. I have found it causes me a lot less stress if I just roll with the punches the Marine Corps throws. And did I mention that I am getting some great sleep?

The boys headed off to school Monday. For those who like to keep track, Will is in fifth grade, Xan is in first and they both seem to like their teachers. This is a good thing. While there are four first grade teachers at the school here on base, there are only two fifth grade teachers, so there is not a lot of choice. Some of you may be wondering why such a difference in the number of teachers as the grade gets higher. The vast majority of the military is under 25. Younger people tend to have younger children, if any at all. So, there are fewer children older than 10 years old here. Will and Xan will be 14 and 10 respectively when Rodney is eligible to retire. Regardless, the kids are both in school from 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

The online classes I am teaching for UWF were also supposed to start Monday, but since Tropical Storm/possible Hurricane Issac has reared his ugly head, the start of the semester has been delayed a few days. So I have been working on the lessons for the next few weeks, but don't want to get too far ahead for various reasons. (To my Pensacola friends: Best of luck weathering the storm. What is with these "I" storms, anyway??)

Our main shipment of household goods has not yet arrived, but it should be here any day. No scrap room to play in.

So, with no spouse, no kids, no school, and no scrap room, I am trying to keep busy. This is a new thing for me. For years I have worked full time. Most recently I was working two jobs and finishing my master's degree. If I had spare time I was in my scrap room creating away, so keeping busy was definitely not a problem. Killing time has not been an issue for a very long time. I am out of practice. And I have to work with what is available to me. For example, I do not have a scrap room but I did bring my sewing kit. This is a plastic, handled box I have had since junior high (it is hot pink, purple and teal if you need proof of its age) and it's been touched about twice a year in the past decade. I packed it in my advanced shipment (the 500 pounds of necessities like pots, pans, towels, etc. that we have had since we moved in to our apartment) because it was on a list provided by a fellow Marine Corps wife who has lived overseas before (thanks, Cherie, if you're reading!) ... in case you needed to mend something. I do not mend. I either throw away and get new, or make a pile for six months so my Mom can mend when she visits. Mending isn't really something I am too familiar with. But I packed the sewing kit because it was on the list and I am glad I did. I have not yet mended, but it has actually helped to stem my boredom. But more on this in a moment...

So, to kill time I have been catching up on all the TV shows I have never bothered to watch, but that I have heard were good. Since my Internet service is Japanese and Netflix doesn't work here in Japan (SO not happy about that), the library on base has been fabulous. You can rent current DVDs for 3 weeks for free. I have watched all of the available seasons of The Big C and am now on season 3 of Mad Men. Breaking Bad and Weeds are in the queue. I may even stoop so far as to watch Lost and Sex in the City, depending on how much longer it takes our household goods to arrive.

But I have never been one to simply watch TV or a movie. I must be doing something else, too. Usually I'm doing something crafty or playing a computer game. It drives the spouse nuts. What can I say? I'm a multi-tasker.

So, I have been multitasking like crazy. This is where the sewing kit comes in. I have been creating Japanese coin purses in two styles: a more traditional purse and a macaroon-shaped purse. I have added the links for those of you who would like to try your hand at these. I am not sure how easy the supplies will be to find in the States, but the local craft store here had them. Here are photos of my attempts, some of which have already been mailed as gifts to some family members:

The more traditional coin purses

Bird charm macaroon coin purse

Pink macaroon coin purse

A collection of macaroon coin purses in two different sizes.
I like creating things that are pretty and useful. Coin purses are much more useful in Japan than in the U.S., because coins are used more often. They go up to 500 yen denominations. Americans can barely fathom using dollar coins regularly. They either snub them or hoard them with their jars of pennies. I must admit, I love the ease of a debit card, but not all of the little shops in town take them, so I make it a point to have yen on hand.

One other things I have made that has been useful is a solution for this:

While the frosted safety-glass window in the bathroom door is ugly and institutional, I was willing to live with it as it was. That was, until Rodney got up for work for the first time at 5:45 a.m., shut the door to the bathroom and turned the light on. Whoa! It was bright and woke me out of a sound sleep. Apparently I cussed and screamed at him, but I really can't remember anything but a very bright light and waking up with a pillow over my head.

So, my kind and thoughtful husband came home from work that day and created a solution:

As appreciative as I am for his effort, Drumstick blue and nutrition charts don't really go with my home decor plans. So, I took myself off to my favorite daiso to see what I could find. I found three things that would solve my problem: two short tension rods and a remnant of dark blue fabric. With the help of my trusty sewing kit, I had a much more aesthetically pleasing solution... just as the first season of Mad Men came to a close.


Michelle said...

I love your coin purses Jessica. I find it hard to sit and just watch a movie as well.
I don't think I'd be a fan of a window in the door to the bathroom. Good job on the curtain.
Take care and keep the blog posts coming. I really enjoy your writing.

Jessica Guthrie said...

Thank you, Michelle! It's been fun blogging again!

Melissa Dandridge said...

Leave it to Jessica to create something wonderful out of nothing!! Glad to see you are keeping yourself busy. I am thinking about all of the crafts that I've been wanting to do, but have not had the time. Well I guess I can thank this storm - and open my craft closet! :) We miss you guys so much! xoxo

Anonymous said...

Hey. I liked your coin purses. They were cute and looks like you are getting good with a needle. Next you will be quilting!!!! Tell me how you like Mad Men. I liked it but Uncle Earl thought it was slow. Plus, we really liked Lost. It kept us watching. Well, have fun and keep busy!!!

Jessica Guthrie said...

Thanks, Melissa and Aunt Vic - it turns out our shipment is arriving tomorrow, so hopefully I can dig back in to my paper and adhesive while I finish Mad Men! ;)

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