Sunday, December 30, 2007

Some silliness on a Saturday nite

So...here it is...another Saturday night....("and I ain't got nobody...I got some money 'cause I just got paid...")....and though I really should be in bed, here I sit.
Have done enough perusing on YouTube, I'm sure that my count of "videos watched" is getting pretty high!!!

Thought I would share something with you....

My youngest sister, Anna, sent me this video that she did for class (she's going to grad. school out if Vegas, baby!!). It's really good...of course, I am a bit biased, just watch....what else are you gonna do for the next 5 minutes or so?!?!

And, hey....if it gets famous...remember that you saw it here first!!!

Oh...and by the way....she IS the main character (in the green t-shirt) and her husband, Joe is the "man in black"!! It's funny AND makes a point at the same time!!




**The picture on this "screen" makes it look like some kind of porno or slasher flick, or something, but....it's not...maybe!!!

***Oh...if you happened to watch to the end of the credits...No, Joe is not going by the Willson name...the director just put his name down as that...It should be Joe Goble.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Here We Are....

...and THERE is where I wanna be!!!
So I'm playing around with YouTube...taking some advice from friends...let's see if this will download......
"this" is a video from "the man I love yet have NEVER seen in person"....and it's a crying shame, I tell you!!!
Lila...Dena...Trenda...our mission is to see this man...the sooner the better...I don't even care if it's NOT in Colorado....WE...MUST...GO.
Seriously...look at these people in the video...WE BELONG THERE!!! :-D
(and anyone else who wants to join us, may...but...there may be some criteria you have to meet!!!)
"I'm growing older just not up."



HEY!!! It worked!!! Thanks Lauren!!!

HAPPY HOLIDAYS EVERYONE!!!
MAY YOU BE SURROUNDED BY THE PEOPLE YOU LOVE!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas....and good night/morning!!


So....it's 3:40 in the morning...the presents are wrapped...the stockings are stuffed...the cookies and milk for Santa have been "taken care of"....and here I sit...at the computer...zoomin' on the coffee that I drank a couple hours ago when I started all this!!! sheesh!!
(okay...so the coffee PLUS the wine I had at my friend, Karen's house earlier equals...some more time on YouTube after I finish this post before I can even think about going to sleep!!!)
double sheesh!!! :-D
I hope that you all have a very good day!! May your day be filled with love...wonderful surprises...presents you didn't know you wanted or needed...lot's of good food and, of course, laughter and friendship to fill the day!!
From the Kuroiwa House....to you....MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

A very important public announcement....

Once again...as I was perusing the videos on YouTube (yes, I know...so much more that needs to be done before Santa gets here...but....*sigh*)...ANyway....I came across this and, really....you NEED to see this.

It's an announcement about COOTIES....
"speak to your kids about cooties...before cooties speaks to them first".

Go to http://youtube.com/watch?v=w6ylxWcwkUM and prepare to have a really great laugh today!!!

And after watching....I'm wondering....just how long do the inoculations last?? I can remember getting a shot or two in 2nd or 3rd grade...am I still protected?!?!?!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Dan Fogelberg, Aug. 13, 1951-Dec. 16, 2007

I'm very sad this evening...in the newspaper today was the blurb that one of my all-time favorite singer/ song-writers has passed away. I have been in YouTube for the last hour or so just watching and listening to his songs.

I started listening to him when I was in high school...and his words and music made such an impression on me. Dan and I went through so much together...his music was the one constant in my life for a very long time. Looking through his album list, I have every one... though I love them all, my favorites are Home Free ('72), Captured Angel ('75) and Nether Lands ('77). His voice was pure, his words were moving and his music will live in my heart forever.

Rest in peace, Dan...you will be missed.

"I love to laugh, it's my main thing. I love to abuse the English language."
D. Fogelberg

Dan had oh so many wonderful songs...here is one of my favorites...a live performance..just a man, his guitar and a voice that is just beautiful. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rMfv9HALUro




Thursday, December 20, 2007

Don't judge a meatball recipe by it's ingredients

So...'tis the season for "end of the year parties", or "bonenkais" as they are called in Japanese. I have been on a "bonenkai marathon", of sorts....thank God not all of them have included lots and lots of (insert favorite alcoholic beverage name here).
Evening ones (Friday, Monday and tomorrow) will have booze, ones held in the afternoon (Tuesday, Today, Tomorrow, and next Thursday) may have a bit of wine, but usually the people are there for the food (first!) and good conversation!!!
(yes, tomorrow is going to be a busy day!!!)

During the evening ones, a group of people will usually go to a nice place and for 2 hours...no more, no less...2 hours..eat, drink and carry on nice and friendly conversations. Then, it is on to the "ni-jikai", or "second party", where things get a bit louder and 8 times out of 10, there WILL be karaoke involved!!! The great thing about these parties is the underlying reason for this get-together...and that is to "forgive and forget" any kind of tension in relationships...feelings that have been hurt..those kind of things. It's the end of the year, let's drink, get drunk, sing some songs and in January, when we meet again, it's a new year so let's start with a clean slate!!!

Anyway...back to the real reason for this post....a few days ago, I was talking to my good friend Lila, who like all good Jewish girls, had just gotten back from a Christmas party...and we were talking about foods to take to parties. She told me about a recipe for "Sweet and Sour Meatballs II" (obviously, there is a "I" out there, may have to find that one too!!) that her sister had told her about. I needed something for my little get-together with students (15 of them!) at my house yesterday....I needed something quick and delicious...I am going to share with you this recipe...now at first, when you read the ingredients, I'm sure I'll almost be able to hear you mumbling to yourself..."are you serious? no way is this going to be good!!" But believe me, 15 Japanese ladies, one Japanese husband, one American woman ('stay away from me') and 2 small boys will vouch that these. are. delicious!!!

The ingredients are:
1 (16 ounce) can sauerkraut
1 (16 ounce) can jellied cranberry sauce
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 (16 ounce) jar spaghetti sauce
3 pounds small meatballs

Okay...now mix the first 4 ingredients together in a bowl. (at this point, I was thinking "yech"...but please continue!!)
Put the meatballs in a crock pot, pour the "sauce" over them and put the crockpot on low. Let it cook for 3-4 hours. (It said to "stir often" but I actually left the house for about 2 1/2 hours and it was no problem!!)
Put out some toothpicks and let the eating begin!!!

The men in my house ate them for dinner with rice!!!
So...to Lila...her sister Miriam and the lady at AllRecipes.com....THANK YOU!!!

Oh...and for anyone who has been here in Japan when Japanese ladies come for a party 1)out of the 15 women, 8 brought aprons and 2) Yes, my kitchen was cleaner when they left than before they came and 3) NO, of course I didn't have to do anything but tell them where to put things!!! It was an absolutely wonderful day!!!

I hope you are all having good days...and if you need something to take to a party, try the meatballs....mmmmmmmgood!!!

Monday, December 10, 2007

The end of a very long week....

Though I love my life here (usually) and really can't imagine living anywhere else (except maybe Hawaii or back in Colorado!), there are times that expats, like myself, really don't look forward to...and this week we had one of those times.

My father called early Tuesday morning....around 7:00, which is almost never a good thing...and told me that my Grandma Neva had passed away early on Monday morning. From what they can gather, she had a massive heart attack...and hopefully, she went quickly and without any pain.

Saturday morning was the funeral and after seriously debating with myself about making the trip, I decided to not make the 27 hour trip home, staying only a day or two before doing that 27 hours again back...as much as I dearly love my grandmother, I couldn't see myself doing that...it would have been emotionally / physically / and financially stressful...and as it was pointed out to me that Grandma herself was not a big one for flying so she would probably understand.

That decided....I still felt (and even now!) like crap.
I've been living in Japan long enough for some of the "responsibility"-guilt trips to attach themselves to my psyche....I am the oldest of my grandmother's grandchildren...I feel as if I have let the others down by not being there.
Silly...I know...but still...that feeling is running around my head, along with some others.
Silly thought #2....did she know how much I loved her? Did she know how bad I felt that I hadn't called her or written to her as much as I probably should have?

Yes, I know...the family understands why I wasn't there....and the guilt-trip is one I am taking all by myself, compliments of me.....

Anyway...enough of that...I thought that I would include a couple pictures of Grandma...she was such a "spiffy" little lady...



My brother-in-law (on the far right) took this picture this summer when we were home.
From the left...Uncle Dan-O, Aunt Janice (my dad's sister), Me, Koji and Issei. Then, my dad, Ron (looking like he just came from a Papa Hemingway-lookalike contest!!! He could win, I think!!), Grandma Neva, my sister Sara and her hubby of almost one year, Jarrett!







My youngest sister, Anna, got married and had a reception in October in Georgia. Grandma went out for the festivities with my aunt and uncle. This is one of my favorite pictures...Sara (on the left), Grandma (great example of her "spiffiness"), Anna (looking absolutely gorgeous!) and once again Papa R.

This was Grandma's last big trip...mom said today that she had actually gotten her application turned in for a passport so she could go to my cousin's wedding, which will be held (possibly) in Belize sometime next year.

So....dear friends, a piece of advice from me....call someone today and tell them that you love them. You never know when it might be your last time. Just pick up the phone and say "hey, I was thinking about you".
I know that Grandma knows how I feel about her...she was such an important person in my life...I'm glad I was a part of her life.
May she rest in eternal peace and watch over us and guide us.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Nature? Nurture? or a twisted combination of both!?!?!

Case #1:
(conversation overheard from the boys' room)
Issei: Let's listen to this CD.
(Sounds of a CD being put into the player and then....the unmistakable sounds of "Smoke on the Water" coming LOUDLY from the speakers!!)
I peaked into the room and the "air guitar" action going on was totally 'stage-worthy'!! Koji noticed me in the door....and says...
"We REALLY like this song!! Look......I'm Daddy!!!"
and proceeds to not only "play" the guitar, but to also dance!!!
(I just quietly went back into the kitchen, laughing as I went, and finished cooking dinner!!)

Case #2:
(In the car with Koji going to the daycare. I had just put in a Dolly Parton tape...and the first song that came on was a pretty peppy song!!)
Koji: Yee-haw!!!
Me:.....................(and looking in the mirror back at him...)
Koji: (Using a "Du-uh" kind of tone) It's a cowboy song!!!

Case #3:
Issei has been practicing for the annual all-city 4th Grade Music Festival that was held this week. His class is singing a couple songs and playing the drums, recorders, xylophones, and pianacas (harmonica + piano!!). Issei's group is playing the recorder. The other night he said, "Listen to this, Mom!" and proceeded to play, perfectly, the music from"The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly". I asked him if he had the music for that to learn from and he answered, "No...I've just really been working on that!!!"
I wish I had had a camera to capture the smile on his face when he said that....priceless!!!

I think I am just going to sit back....and enjoy the ride!!! :-D

Saturday, November 24, 2007

One of the many things I'm thankful for...

Hi again...did you enjoy your Thanksgiving holiday? I hope you did....here in the Kuroiwa House, we had roasted chicken, herbed veggies, cranberry sauce (one lone can was "hiding"in the back of my cabinet!!), salad, and chocolate cake (of course, homemade...left over from a cake I made for a friend's birthday!!). The dinner was nice...not quite turkey and stuffing, but we will get that at Christmas!!!

So....a conversation I had with a friend has prompted this particular post. She is a member of a dance group that I joined about 3 1/2 years ago....and she asked me what my family thought about my dancing. ..........................Well......hmmmm....let's see...my mom knows...my sister-in-law knows....my sisters know...and a few friends (very close friends!!) have been told. "Why" my friend asked, "haven't you told anyone?" Again.....hmmmmmmmm.....really don't have an answer for that.
Three and a half years ago, in the course of my job situation changing....I needed something to keep me from going crazy. By chance, this particular dance group was brought to my attention and I thought "what the hell?" and gave it a shot. For a while, I told very few here. This was something that was "mine"....something that I needed. I have two very dear friends here who have been supportive....and didn't think I was nuts by doing this. ...and if they do, they don't share with me!! :-D
It's a big case of "Don't laugh AT me, laugh WITH me."
So what is it that I do?



I am a member of the Kyushu Hula Association. Two or three times a month, our group Chitose Hula, meets and we have class.
Hula has become one of THE most popular classes at the community centers here in Japan.
Yes....I am the youngest in our group and one of the youngest here in Nagasaki.
Yes....I am the only foreigner (at least in Nagasaki, possibly in Kyushu!) doing this!
Yes....I am loving it...and getting better all the time!!!
For 2 hours each time, we put on our pau skirts, leis and flowers and we are transported to another place....for just a bit.


This is part of our group. We are getting ready for a performance at the community center's culture festival next week and not everyone chose to participate.
This group of women have become so very important to me. Even though I understand only about 50% (on a good day) of what is going on around me, they welcomed me from the first day. We have such a wonderful time.
Last year, at the BIG Hula Festival held every year here in the city (106 groups!!!Holy Moly!!), some of us were in the elevator when some ladies from another group got in with us. One of them said to a member of my group, "You are from Chitose Hula, aren't you?" "Yes, we are. How did you know?" And the lady, pointing in my direction said, "You have the foreigner." And with that, my good friend turned to me, whapped me on the arm and said, "You're a foreigner?!?!?!" We all got a really good laugh out of that.

But later...when I got to thinking about it...what a nice thing for her to say. For us foreigners, we will never be totally accepted into this society....no matter how hard we try...it won't happen. But, now I know that there is at least one group here, that accepts me...for me.
And I am oh so very thankful for that.

To my friends in my hula group.....Mahalo....arrigato...gracias...thank you.
*and even if they were to read this, I seriously doubt they would understand, but...they know how I feel.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

So really...little boys and long sox...what's the story??

This is a picture that I took yesterday of Koji before we left for the daycare. I figure that if he was really cold, he would have just put on long pants....but....no...he really likes those sox!
Now....I have a vivid memory of my brothers doing this with white tube sox when they were little...with very little leg actually showing because they had pulled the sox up so high!! Then, various high school basketball players (in the mid-late '70's) were wearing ones that came right to the knees (I can remember even then, thinking that just looked goofy!!) Fast-forward about 25 years and my two nephews, when they were maybe 4 and 3 years old....I have a picture of them jumping on the bed, in their underwear with T-towel capes and yes, reeeaaaalllly high tube sox on!

Anyone care to offer an explanation for this strange phenomenon that strikes many little boys....and sometimes, not-so-little-boys?!?!

Monday, November 19, 2007

What we have is a failure to face a few realities...



1. I'm not a size 12...haven't been since I WAS 12 probably.

2. I'm not getting any younger and telling people that I'm 37 might not actually work anymore.

3. Though I function fairly well on a daily basis, I need more than 5 hours of sleep a night. (Any suggestions for sleeplessness will be happily accepted.)

And though there are many more of these "realities", the biggest one right now is.......THE HOLIDAY SEASON IS SOON UPON US!!!

*sigh* My last blog was on Halloween and most every night I sit here at my computer surfing a bit, reading e-mails, Yahoo-messaging friends (some of whom I haven't seen for many moons!!)and reading my usual list of blogs.....and yet...I have had a hard time getting the energy to get past the Halloween post. Ah..denial...what a great state to be in!!!

So....I'm working on getting over this...I try not to scowl at the pink and blue Christmas trees that are around town...and I have dusted off my ability to totally ignore really loud Christmas music being sung by rap "musicians" (and I use that term very lightly!). Even though I actually forgot that Thanksgiving was this week....hey! give me a break...it's a regular day here but this year Friday is a National Holiday in Japan....don't have a turkey, but will find a chicken and improvise!!!

I told Issei that we would get out the Christmas decorations in a week or so...we have to start soon, though, on convincing the K-man that we NEED to put up the lights outside!! Last year, he "did it for Lila"....hmmmm......what will I use this year?!?!

The weather has gotten cooler....the hot carpets and katatsus are out and up ("hot carpet"..exactly what the name says..an electric carpet...and a "kotatsu" is a small coffee-table-like table with a heating unit underneath...we put a futon/comforter over the top...kind of like when we were kids and made forts...then put a tabletop over that....absolutely toasty to sit under!!) and the kerosene heaters are filled and ready to go!! Though it is pretty chilly in the mornings, the afternoons are still warm....just waiting for that wonderful cold to hit. Maybe then it will feel more "holiday" like!!

I hope you all are having a good week. If you are driving anywhere to be with family or friends during the Thanksgiving holiday, please drive careful.

"Talk" to you soon and Much much love to you all!!!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween!!!

So...even though we only decorate here in the Kuroiwa House for Halloween, it doesn't mean we don't enjoy it!! Here are a couple of pictures we took last night....Issei's wearing a hat that one of my students (Thanks Misako!!) gave the boys.....plus, it had candy in it, so we were all very happy!!! **Issei saw this picture and said "Koji looks like ET when the little sister put him in the closet."---------Maybe...sorta...kinda....
And this is just a picture that the boys and I REALLY love!!! After we carved our pumpkins last week, Issei was all like, "Oh man....we should have made one like the picture!!!"
Maybe next year.....if we remember.....


I hope that you all have a great Halloween....get lots of candy and have tons of fun......Have a Booooooo-tiful day!!!

**Oh....and Happy Birthday, to my brother, Doug!! A few years ago, I wrote a poem in his honor...can't find the original but here's the gist of what I wrote:

Ode to my brother. by Debbie
Of all the memories that I have
Here's the one I remember most
When coming back from Trick or Treating
and Grandpa said, "We got ourselves a little ghost".
**Actually, this was pretty much how it happened!! I just remember being so incredibly happy that he was finally here. A little sister would have been great, but Doug
turned out to be pretty good!!!
I'm glad that we kept him!!!
You all have a great day......

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

And which part of a baby do YOU like to "num num num" on??


Okay....so let's face it...our culture is a bit strange, at times. Case in point...what's with this whole "eating babies" idea and where did it come from?!?!
I was going through some of the blogs I like to visit and came across one post: "What's up with wanting to eat cute babies? And other involuntary impulses that freak dudes out."
I don't know about you, but....I do it. Give me a cute, chubby baby (see example #1 ...Koji, at about 5 months) and I will just start "num num numming" on cheeks, arms, fingers, tummy, thighs, or my favorites..."piggies"!! Why do we do this? And....is it only us girls that do it, or do the guys do it too?!?!?!
I remember about a year ago when, with a group of Japanese friends, one of them had her daughter....who, swear to God had THE most noshable cheeks!!! After sniffing that area near the cheek and ear, I made a comment like "I just need to get a bite of this."......The looks on the ladies faces were such a "Kodak Picture Moment"......so I'm like "What? Don't you do that?" "Yes," one good friend replied, and with a slight giggle, said,"but usually not to other people's kids and especially not with other people watching."
Well.....how sad for them, I thought!!!
So.....bring on the chubby babies!!

**While I am on the topic of 'eating babies', I thought I would add something else in the lines of slightly older "babies"....over that past few weeks, I have heard (by friends and yes, even from myself!!) in conversations about men....incredibly sexy men, to be more specific:
*"Well, I could just eat him with a spoon."
*"I could take a bite outta that."
*"Spread him on a piece of hot bread." (first time for that one!! but I like it!!)
and now, my personal favorite,
*"Ooh...I could just sop him up with a biscuit."

Obviously.....we have some "Hansel and Gretel" issues that need to be dealt with!!

And on a final note....speaking of wanting to "take a bite out of" something....

I give you....Matt Holliday....of the Colorado Rockies.
Yes....yet another bit of proof, that there is a God and He (She) likes to give us nice things to look at!!
(Somebody get me a biscuit!!!)

I was very sad that the Rockies didn't do better in the World Series....not really sure what happened to them in Games 1, 2 and 3....had they played those games like they did Game 4, it all might have ended up differently. Despite the loss of the Series....the Rockies are STILL an awesome baseball club!!
And hopefully, next summer, we can catch a game....and I pray that the RockPile tickets are back to their 'regular season' price of $5....and NOT what they went for during the World Series ($65-100, depending where you looked!!).
So....as with anything else in life...when crappy stuff happens...stop. take a break. get yourself together again. and then do what you have to do to make it better.
Go Rockies!!!

Friday, October 26, 2007

A little catchup??


Yes...it's that time again....time for me to come up with a good excuse for not posting and then hope that I am forgiven....I think that this time I am going to blame the "instant messaging" program and my favorite high school volleyball coach (whose girls are about to do some major damage at the District Tourney...GO T!!!)
I have recently started this IMing.....and, don't get me wrong, it's GREAT, but....I'm getting crap done here on the computer that needs to be done for my classes!! I have "spoken" with the beforementioned Coach T almost every night (along with a few others who won't leave me alone!!! she said smiling!!!).....as I am here at my computer in my PJs in the very late evening, she is at school, getting ready to start her day...or even having already started and sends a message when there is a lull in class!!!
As she and I have a hard time getting our schedules to fit for a phone call, this is super!!! We have talked more in the last week than we have in a very long time!!
When the time changes, it may be a bit more difficult....but, since I usually don't get to sleep before 1:00 in the morning very often, maybe it will work out okay!!
If you want to get in touch with friends....send an instant message...I can't speak for anyone else, but when I see that someone is "on" and I can send a message or that I have a message from one of my friends, it just makes me smile....what a great way to either end...or start a day!!!
I hope you all are doing fine...living healthy and happy....
I have posted some new stuff, so read on, if you wish!!
Much love and hugs to you all....
d.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Just a message to my Rockies


Game 1 is over....shake it off...no problem...you can do it...People all over the world (well, a lot of us in Japan, anyway!!) are cheering for you and know that you will get it together again and kick some major Red Sox butt!!!
(by the way....I cancelled my morning class on Monday so I could watch Game 3 from Denver with Nancy who has spent the last 4 games sending me updates on my keitai (cell phone). I will pick up Starbucks coffee and then run by Mr. Donuts....don't think it would be wise to drink beer and eat hotdogs at 9:00 in the morning!!!
And....to make things interesting....I think she's a Red Sox fan...I hope I don't have to hurt her!!! *smile*

The mad "cake baker" strikes again.....


Some friends had a baby shower for our friends Beth and Vitor who are expecting their third baby very soon. They have 2 little girls and this one is a boy!!!
I was asked by the hostesses to make a cake for the day and here is one of the ones I took.
I'm still getting the hang of this....one of the ladies gave me some of those tubes of frosting you can buy in the States to use in decorating....yes, they may be incredibly convenient, but...I prefer to use my own frosting and do it myself....hard to control a tube of stuff.
That said....I think that it turned out pretty good...plus it was delicious!! This one was a carrot cake with cream cheese frosting....can't go wrong with that combination!!!
(and the cake is a baby's "onesie", for anyone who can't see what it is!!!)
*The other cake's photo I need to find...it was, shall we say...interesting. The hostesses requested something and I just did what they asked. Let's just say, for those of you who are curious, that it could also double as a Biology project...with an egg and swimmy things with only one attached to said egg with the "male" symbol on it!!! One of the ladies said later..."So...you can pretty much do anything, theme-wise, with a cake then?" I just smiled....I can sure try!!! :-D

Getting ready for Halloween....sort of...

So...thanks to my friend Nancy and her husband who have base privileges over in Sasebo....we have REAL pumpkins this year. And by REAL, I mean, one that has to be held with both hands!!! Almost didn't know what to do with ones this size....the boys were really excited!!!
The first pumpkin was "Mommy's"....I went for more of a 'traditional' look, while Issei....

welllll.....
I gave him a piece of paper and told him draw the design he wanted for his pumpkin.
He sat right down and in about 10 minutes handed me the final product. He poked out the pattern with a thumbtack and then connected the dots with a pen so I could follow the lines correctly.
This is the finished product!! He is a fan of DragonBallZ and supposedly, this is one of the characters....I say "supposedly" because I really have no clue....but the kids in the neighborhood knew immediately what it was so a) Issei does know his "manga" (cartoons), b) he's a pretty good artist and c) not bad cutting job either, Mom!!!
We have hung up the Halloween windsox in the trees outside and displayed the other various items we have collected over the years!! We don't really do more than that...Issei does remember going "trick or treating" one year with our friend Jan and her kids...he thinks that was really fun...may have to work on doing something next year.....maybe!!!

A few photos from a very big festival!!!


So despite pouring rain at 6:00 in the morning, the show, as they say, went on! The day was great!! The weather cooperated pretty well, with just a bit of rain at one point, but not enough to damper any of the "spirit" of this incredible festival!!

Here we are, sitting all scrunched up around the performance area in front of the temple. This particular area is quite small, but the show is good. I was sitting with my friends Kyoko (behind me....she's the one with the "temple connection" for the great seats!), Miwa (next to me) and her husband (behind her) and then Travis (in the front) and his wife Leigh (behind the camera!!) and her brother and his wife!!




This festival consists of "floats" that are carried/pulled around the town to different performance areas and to local businesses who pay big yen for each group to come and perform in front of their buildings. Some, like this one, is made to resemble a boat and can weigh up to 4 tons!!! CanNOT imagine pulling that up the stairs at the big temple!!! Each group enters the area and after making offerings to the Gods, they do their thing!! Usually, they move their particular boat or whatnot up and back and then spinning it around and around all the while chanting. It really is hard to explain and as I told Rochelle in Australia..."you really need to see it for yourself, to appreciate it"!!! **If you can, click on the picture and see in the enlarged on the expressions on the faces of the men. During the next week of classes, the "word of the day was INTENSE....the men, the dancers and so many involved were so very intense...it was quite impressive!!!



This boat was the 'Ja Bune'...or Dragon Boat. My friend, Richard took part in this and he said in an interview on TV after it was all over that he didn't even have the words in English to describe how he felt!!! It was fun watching the boats, but actually knowing one of the guys taking part was just that much better!!!
All the people involved start practicing on June 1....some of them work pretty much every evening and on the weekends to make sure the performances are without mistakes!!



The Ja O Dori, or "Dragon Dance" has become one of the performances that is repeated every year. The tourists who come to watch...and they come from all over Japan and possibly Korea and China, too....love this dance. I have to say that this year's Dragon Dance really wasn't the best I have seen, but one of the little old guys sitting near me told me that "next year would be better because that town has done it many times'.



These girls were incredible and again, intense. Their performance was a dance using swords and then later fans. The youngest girl was about 6 years old and she was the funnest to watch. She took her part very serious and you could tell that she, as well as everyone else, had worked very hard for this festival!!!

Sunday, October 07, 2007

A true "belly flop"....by Koji

So after repeated attempts to send a video from YouTube to my blog and having each try fail, I realized that I can put videos directly onto my blog.....so here is my first try....turn up the volume when you watch this so you can get the full effect of the "belly flop"!!! Too funny!!!

Koji and my nephew Luke were trying to be like the "big boys" and do 'some really cool stuff' (as Koji told me!!). It was so much fun watching them....sometimes a bit painful, but still fun!!! ("Aunt Leslie's" comment prompted the title of this post!!!)

Yeah...Yeah...yeah...I know...it's been a while....



So...as my friend Jan pointed out to me, the last time I posted, we were waiting for typhoon #11....now #15 is blowing around (not coming too near yet, but, the week is still young!). "It's time for a new post!!" :-D



And......how have you been? Things have been good here...busy, but good. Mother Nature FINALLY decided to cool things down a bit....still pretty damn warm in the afternoons, but the evenings.....aaahhhh....the evenings are wonderful!!! So cool....so comfortable...I can actually get a good night's sleep!!! It's not so humid now, which helps to make the fall, probably, my favorite time of the year!!!



With the coming of fall, we have in Nagasaki, a very important festival that started today and will go for the next 2 days...weather permitting. Of all the festivals we have (and we do have a bunch!!), this one really defines Nagasaki. The festival is called "kunchi" and is said to be one of the top 3 festivals in Japan!!! (Of course, one of my students said that all big festivals, all over Japan say the same thing!!!)
Anyway....the picture I put up above is one of the "Ja Odori"...or "dragon dance" that is only one of the highlights of the festival. I was trying to explain the festival to my friend Rochelle in Australia, and....nope...really can't very well so that she could understand. Finally just told her she had 2 choices: 1) go to the Internet and search for "Nagasaki Kunchi" or 2) (and my personal favorite!!) come to Nagasaki next year and experience it for herself!!! I think that she penciled us in!!! :-D
If you want to check out this over-350-year-old-tradition , there are quite a few sites on the net you can find...or go to http://www.ltcm.net/~telkamp/japan/kunchi/kunchi.html and read what somebody, who visited here 7 years ago wrote about....his pictures are also pretty good, which you can click on at the bottom of his page!!
The different towns ("machi") in Nagasaki, all do performances every 7 years....so the pictures from his site are the same things we can see this year!!
Tickets to see the performances are really hard to come by and pretty expensive if you do happen to get them. I happen to be very lucky to have a "connection" at one of the venues for the performances on the second day of the festival. SOOOOooo, tomorrow, I will get up around 4:30 to get my self downtown to the shrine for the start of the performances which is at 7:00. But....due to the beforementioned typhoon, the weather channel is calling for rain....which will really tick me off!!! They will postpone to the next day, but I have classes....hmmm...IF that happens, I will just cancel classes for the morning....my students will all understand!!!
I will say a quick prayer for cool weather, and no rain for tomorrow!!!!
Okay.....I will try to post some more....might even do a bit after my bath and before I "hit the futon".....I am sorry about not posting, but as most of you know my schedule, I'm thinking I am forgiven!!!
I hope that you are all having a good one..."talk" to you later...
Ciao my lovelies!!
d.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Ah...what a fickle wench a typhoon is,....


Typhoon #11 update....So, when I went to bed last night, the typhoon looked to be headed in our direction...if not directly over, then she was to be coming pretty damn close...close enough to give us some pretty good wind and rain. Now....this morning, it seems that she has decided to head on west, into the China Sea....away from us. *whew*

Now, as much as I love a good storm I am relieved as you just never can tell what kind of power will come with a typhoon....that kind of wondering I can do without!!
So....the good news is that there is a nice breeze blowing today which means all the laundry I hang out today will actually dry today!!! (and no, most people don't use dryers here....too small, takes too long and cost waaaay too much in electricity!!!) It is almost 10:30 and I have already hung out 4 loads, with only 2 more to go and then I can move on to something else....the windows are all open and a lovely breeze is doing a great job of cleaning out the air in the house!!! There is a good chance it will rain a bit tomorrow, so the more I get done today, the better!!! It's also cool enough that I might just get some candles made today...gosh, the list of "things I could do today" is so long!!!
I better get moving on doing something constructive and not spend the whole day sitting here at the computer!!!
You all have a great day and a wonderful weekend!!
Much love,
d.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Something that just kind of made me chuckle....

Okay...so I have been trying for 3 days to post a video from YouTube to share with you, but for some reason, I cannot!! And this is really frustrating because I have been posting videos to the blog I have for my students (using the same Google information!!) and have done so with no problems!!! AAAARRRRGGGHHHHH!!!

ANYWAY.....what I wanted to post was the information about a new movie that, really, is one of those "things that make you go "hmmmmmm""!! I must admit..I am intrigued......


This is a new movie opening up in Japan on September 15 (soon!!) and honestly, I really want to see it!! First of all, it is a movie by director Takahashi Miike, who, I once read in an interview, is a Quentin Tarentino wannabe!! And he proves it, I'm thinking in his new movie "Sukiyaki Western: Django".
So here's the drift: If you like "spaghetti westerns" AND Tarentino movies, me thinks you're gonna love this!! The previews are great!! There is alot of cool sound effects, grungy guys staring at each other...just think Eastwood, Van Cleef, Terrance Hill (a Hutches-family favorite!) and any movie they were ever in that was filmed in Italy!!!
The film is actually a remake of Sergio Corbucci's Django.
Quentin Tarantino has a part in the movie.
Set during The Genpei Wars at the end of the 1100s, the Minamoto and Taira gangs face off in a town named Yuta, while a deadly gunman (Ito Hideaki) comes to the aid of the townsfolk
And now...the best part about this movie is......ALL THE ACTORS (except Tarentino!) ARE JAPANESE AAAAAANNNNNDDD IT IS IN ENGLISH!!!
Yes...all the actors and actresses are speaking English....
Now, I don't know how many of you have spent much time around Japanese people, but...with the exception of a few (like my man Ken!!) very few movie stars can make themselves understood in the English language.
I have watched the teaser a few times and, honestly, there are a few places that I have no idea what is being said!! I told my friend Karen that we will probably need to take beer with us to the movie...that might help!!
Of course, I told my students that they will probably be able to understand the dialogue as it will be in "Japanese English" and that is what many of them speak!!! :-D
Okay....so here is the YouTube link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S61ySyaJQSE
Go and check it out...then tell me what you think!!!
(and yes, I am smiling to myself....hoping that it's here next Wednesday when I have an afternoon free AND it's "Ladies Day" at the theater and I can get in for a bit cheaper!!)
I hope you all are having a good week...it's getting cooler here now and as I have been teaching my students..."Fall is in the air."!!!
much love...
d.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

And now...a word from our sponsors....

Yes....I know....it has been way too long to wait to post something...anything...on a blog. *sigh* I really wish that I had an excuse that would let me off the hook, but....alas...'tis out of the realm of possibilities, so.....will just say, "I'm deeply sorry" and get on with it!!! :-D

So, it is now September.....crap....I still have things from MAY that didn't get done. Ah, and so it continues. Let's see....the past couple of days I have been thinking about what to put in this next post and decided that I would pay tribute to some of my favorite things, favorite people and just ramble about this and that....('cause you know, I do that so well!!)!! So, here goes...this blog is brought to you today by:

*The letter "k"....for Kahlua. I was talking to a class yesterday and we started on the topic of drinks and such and it reminded me that I need to make some Kahlua. I did that a few years ago and gave small bottles as presents to various people....hmmmm....me thinks it's time to do it again....

*The end of the summer holiday. Gosh...talk about your "mixed feelings"!! Though sad to see the vacation end....am actually glad to get back into a regular-type of schedule. I have to admit that I missed my students....as most of you know, I teach oldER learners of English. The average age of my students is about 58 (give or take)....the oldest is 84!!! They tell me that I give them energy, well....that road goes both ways...all my classes are so much fun and I find myself smiling and laughing....it's great!!! So....anyway...back to the end of the vacation...along with the end of the holiday also came......

*The end of "summer homework"!!! Kids here, during the summer holiday, are loaded down with various packs of pages to do, notebooks to write in, and projects to do. As Issei takes after me in the area of "procrastination" ("No, really....I'll do it later".), getting things done came down to the proverbial wire. Thank goodness it rained most of Sunday which meant that he couldn't go outside to play and could stay inside and get his last project done!!! As my friend, Jan and I were talking about, no, it really isn't that much to do....all the kids have to do is work on it a little every day and it would be not problem. BUT....as most parents will tell you, their kids are trying to get it all done in the last couple of days. Issei, thankfully, got it all done (finally!!) and did a couple of really good projects...he made a calendar using rocks (will post photo later!) and put together a book of the two museums we visited in Denver. PLUS......he had to write a speech for the opening ceremony about "Memories of my summer vacation".....he did a great job!!! He and 4 other students read their papers in front of the whole school yesterday in the gym.....I was very proud of him!!!

*The Susan G. Komen Foundation's Race for the Cure.

On October 7, Denver will be having it's annual Race for the Cure and I encourage everyone, if you can, to join, or at least go to my friend, Lila's personal page and pledge some money to help her. Her goal this year is to raise $500 and she is almost there. Lila is a SURVIVOR and is such an incredibly strong woman....I am so proud of her...I wish I could be there to walk with her and her "team"...but will do what I can from here! Go to:
http://www.komendenver.org/site/TR?pg=personal&fr_id=1050&px=1275804 and give a little!! It's for a cause that could someday save you or someone you love!!!




*Cocetti Wines. As a close, personal friend of the Cocetti Family I am proud to include them on my blog. I have known the Cocetti's since 1984....their daughter Dena is one of my closest friends and they have pretty much adopted me into their family. I was once christened "Debbie Willsoni" so I could, at least, sound like I was Italian!!
You can now go on-line and order their incredibly delicious wines from their new web-site....though it can't be shipped to all states, there are many places in Colorado you can go and purchase it...and I suggest you do just that....you won't regret it. I can honestly say that I have tried most of their wines (some from the basement out of the barrel!!) and given the choice, I'd stay with the Cocettis!! Go to their site at http://www.cocettiwines.com/ and check them out!!!






*FOX TV. Since we upgraded our cable a few months ago, I have turned into a FOX addict. House, My Name Is Earl (where, I swear to God, I can recognize many people from home on that show....Love It!!!), Queer Eye for the Straight Guy.....the list goes on and on!!! Since cable has gotten so much better over here, there hasn't been the NEED for videos from Mom.....which I am so sure she appreciates immensely!!!





*And, last but not least....good friends. This picture was taken our last night in Denver at the traditional "Eat at Joe's before we go" dinner....here we have Dena (back left) from the beforementioned Cocetti family, in the middle is Katie-Bug, gorgeous daughter of my friend Caroline (on the right), then Lila (Bless you luv for driving through storms and such....it would not have been the same without you!!) and then me. Also joining us that evening were my Uncle Bob, Aunt Marcia, my cousins Robert and Jeffrey and Jeff's fiance Robyn....Issei and Koji were having such a great time at Joe's, I'm not sure if they sat down long enough to actually get their pictures taken!!!
This evening is always such a fun time....a great end to a wonderful vacation!! We have been doing this for quite a few years now.....a lot of the same people join and then sometimes new ones join....but always an evening of fun, laughter and lots and lots of hugs!!!
So....to all my family and friends....those I saw and to those it didn't work out to get together (Cheryl, Kim, Anna/Joe, Lauren/Eduardo, Jay, Terri, Ms. Ginger.....) I love you all....you are always in my thoughts!!
And now.....I think I am done.....*whew*.
Have a great day!!

Monday, August 20, 2007

Yes....we are "home"...now it's "back to work"!!!



Actually....we got back to Nagasaki on Friday night, but I have only just now found the motivation to turn on the computer and post something!!! So sorry about that!!! :-D

Our flights back went surprisingly well....no major problems and all connections were made with plenty of time to spare. The boys both slept really well on the long flight (10 and 1/2 hours long, mind you!!) and even I could sleep a bit. On Saturday and Sunday, the boys were out and about catching up with friends and catching an assortment of bugs....Issei was wondering why kids in America aren't really that interested in bugs and beetles and such.....He was glad to be back out there in the trees searching for whatever creepy-crawly thing he could find!!!

I, on the other hand....did absolutely nothing for 2 days. Couldn't. Had no energy. No motivation. Didn't really care. Plus, after spending a month in relatively no humidity, coming back here was like walking into a sauna.....yuck. Debbie was not really a happy camper. BUT....I am getting over that...of course, today is rainy and almost cool outside...does wonders for a person's emotional well-being!!!

I will try to get some pictures posted in a few days....various family members have sent pictures and I need to go through and find the best ones to post!! Plus, I think that Kiyoshi got the ones I took loaded onto a disc so I can go through those too!!

Before I close this post....I just want to tell everyone what a wonderful time we had this summer!!! It was great to see everyone....to talk and catch up....and to just "be" for awhile!! On the plane coming back, Issei and I were talking and he said that he thought that we should go the the States "every summer".....I agreed. I hadn't realized how much I truly missed everyone....we will definitely be home next year too!!!

Okay....so I need to close this up....I am slowly working back into my "frenzied" work week, and I have a class this afternoon....for the first few days, I only have a class a day...next week we will be back to our "regular scheduled program".....*sigh*....sure hope I am ready for this!!!

I hope that all is well with all of you....

much love and lots of hugs and kisses to you all....

debbie

(just in case you were wondering....the picture of the boys above was actually taken before we left...notice the longer hair on Koji...this was before the "I think I will cut my own hair" incident!!!)

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Ahhhhhh......we are temporarily away from the blogging world...



Oh...yes....the best laid plans of mice and women.....so, I had such a great plan that whilst on vacation I would be able to blog and let you all kinow what was going on....yeah, right.

So.....for those of you who I haven't seen here in sunny and hot Colorado, I'm hoping that you figured out that I was not going to be able to do much in the posting world!!! We got a new camera right before we left Japan and didn't bring whatever it is that I need to download pictures onto the web....and even if I had brought whatever it is that is needed, there is absolutely no guarantee that I could actually figure it all out. Yes, my friends, I'm a slug....but a nice and friendly slug!! :-D **I will get photos on when we get back to Nippon!!

Our vacation is moving along quite nicely...have seen lots of people and have spent some fun times getting caught up with old (as in "have been friends with for a LONG time"!!) friends and "patio time" has proven to be, yes, one of the best parts of any vacation!!! :-D

Okay....so my computer time at Mom's office is about to run out and I need to get going....I hope that all of you are having a great summer....adios mi amigos!!! Mata ne!! (See you later!!)

love and kisses to you all,

d :-D

Sunday, July 15, 2007

"Man-Yi"....the typhoon that really wasn't..at least in Nagasaki!!


Here it is a sunny Sunday afternoon and we are all thankful that typhoon #4, or Man-Yi, as she was named...didn't really hit Western Japan.
We were extremely lucky because the eastern part of our island just got hammered!!! After having it rain for basically the last 2 weeks plus the typhoon, things have gotten pretty dangerous what with landslides and such. Yesterday was actually calm with only some wind and strangely enough, no rain...at all!! I kept thinking that the skies would just open up, but that never happened!!!
So...today....yes, we are doing "power laundry"!!! I have just put in the last bit of anything that needed to be washed and I won't be packing dirty clothes to come to the States!!! *whew*
The boys are outside playing with friends that they won't see for a month..."power playing" perhaps?!?! :-D We are having dinner with some friends this evening and tomorrow will be spent getting suitcases ready!!!
This is a short post, but I just wanted to let you know that we were okay!!!
Ciao babies!!
d.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Welcome "typhoon #4"...please be kind to us!!!

So...here it is...Friday night (Friday, the 13th, mind you!!)...and we are patiently waiting for Typhoon #4 to come to our area. Our "typhoon season" has started really early, this year. Usually, they don't hit until more into the month of July...of course, we do have early ones sometimes, but our "rainy season" isn't over yet, which makes it really bad for some areas that have already gotten tons of rain!!
On this map, you can see where it was at 8:00 this evening. Okinawa felt the effects for about 24 hours (said the news a while ago!)....lots of rain and wind. One driving range at a golf course pretty much just blew away....and yes, it is headed towards us!! (the typhoon, NOT the driving range!!!)
Right now, we just have some wind and it has started raining, but just a little bit.
It won't come directly over us, but the whole typhoon is expected to almost completely cover the island of Kyushu throughout the day tomorrow.

On this map, you can see the red outline just south of the island of Kyushu (that's us!!). Right now, it looks as if tomorrow around noon or so, it will be the closest.
I guess, my class tomorrow morning will probably be cancelled....I better call some students and find out!! :-D

Tomorrow morning will be spent bringing in the potted plants...the lawn chairs....anchoring down anything that might blow away!
We have metal shutters that we close on all our sliding doors....and we have a lot of those...but, we try to not do that until the very last as it makes it completely dark in the house!! Issei just said that we will be okay as long as he and Koji can watch the DVD's that we rented earlier....you should have seen the rush at the video store!!! (The grocery store was just as busy!!) The funny thing is....usually, during a really bad typhoon....the electricity will go off...at least for a little bit...sometimes longer!!!
The candles are ready and the flashlights have new batteries....we have food....and we are ready!!!
As Bette Davis said in one of her movies...."It's going to be a bumpy night!"

(** But, since I really like storms, it will also be kind of exciting!! I just hope and pray that the typhoon goes more in an eastern direction and the main part misses us!!!)

Will keep you posted....
And....if anyone hears of this storm on the news....could you let me know what name they have given her?? We just go by numbers here!!!!
(Uncle Bob....Dan-O Man....do your stuff!!!) :-D

More later from the stormfront......
love,
d.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Happy 4th of July.....and....

...HAPPY BIRTHDAY, KOJI!!!
Hard to believe that he is 5 years old already...my, my, my how the time does fly by!!
So, to celebrate this special day, we went out for sushi and Shrek!! This was Koji's first time at going to an actual movie theater, and he did pretty good. Thank goodness the movie wasn't really very long...he started to get a bit "wiggly" towards the end!!!
(The movie, by the way, was...just okay. We are big fans of the first two movies and this one didn't really have the same "punch"!! We did laugh though...Kiyoshi got a kick out of some of the music numbers!!!)

Oh...if you are wondering about the haircut....no, Koji has not decided to look like his brother....Koji decided, sometime last night, that he needed a haircut....and he did it himself!!!
This morning, when he came into the kitchen, I was all ready for the morning birthday song, when all I got out was "Happy Birrrrrrraaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhh What did you do to your hair?!?!?!"
Haven't really gotten a good explanation yet....fixed what I could before we went to the daycare (swear to you there are places that are completely bald!!). Before we met Kiyoshi and Issei for dinner, I ran by a salon and begged for their help. The guy there did a pretty good job!! Ah...the joys a raising little boys!!! :-D

Koji and his new swimming suit he got and in his "muscle man" pose!!

This next picture is probably one of my most favorite ones of Koji....it was taken just a few hours after he was born!

Even then, you can kind of tell there was an element of "fun" in his personality, can't you!!

What a cutie-patootie, huh?!?!?!

Happy Birthday, little man....we love ya!!!

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Gotta love that Kinki Group!!!

Okay...so....I'm trying to be calm and levelheaded about this...but....am finding it hard at times....My friend at the Kinki Travel Company (!!!) came through and now I have, not in my hand, but in a safe place, our tickets for the trip home!!!! YEAHHHHHH!!!!
Ayako (my Kinki agent!!) got us some great connections at a price that didn't make me feel like I needed to cut off a body part to help pay!! They weren't cheap, by any stretch of the imagination, but....less than what I was expecting. This year, the "fuel charge" is jacking up the price for each ticket about $350!!! *gag*
Anyway....not going to think about that....just going to let the friendly people of United take care of me and my boys and pray we get to you safely and without any major mishap. Am thinking I will drop by one of the big temples here and see if they have an "omamori" (good luck charm) for traveling!!!

Issei, Koji and I will be arriving in Denver on July 18...we will camp out at Hotel Cocetti for a night or two, then head on down south. We have a family reunion that weekend and my youngest brother and his family will be there from South Carolina. Our friend Lila is going to try to journey down around the 24th or so for a day or two (we do love our Lila....she and Kim were two people that we really hated to see leave Nagasaki....sniff sniff!!)
Anyway....we will be back to Denver sometime around the 13th or so....as we leave to come back (wow!! that went really fast, didn't it?!??!) on the 16th.

I hope to see you...or at least talk to you on the phone....you can reach us at Linda's....if we don't answer, let it ring....sometimes we can't hear the phone when we are having "patio time"!!! *smile*!!!

SEE YOU SOON!!!

CONGRATULATIONS.......times two!!!

**First of all....I want to say "Welcome to the family!!" to the newest member of our clan.....Joe!! My youngest sister, Anna and Joe got married a few weeks ago in Las Vegas!!! They moved out there in March and though they were planning on a wedding in August (or September, sorry, can't remember!!) they decided to just go ahead and do it!!! I think that Anna offered us 2 different versions of what happened, one being the logical one (having to do with school, insurance and what-not) and the other being the romantic one (anniversary of first date, that sort of thing!!)
I think that it is great and, to be honest, had really wanted to do just that....but I would have had an Elvis or two to help out!!!







Here is where the wedding took place...I think that this is in the Guinness Book of Records or something...for what? I have no idea...maybe "most weddings" or something like that! :-D

We are so very happy for you two....I hope that we can meet Joe someday....most everyone got to meet him at Sara's wedding in December.
We wish you both the best of everything!!!
Much love...
*big hug*









Congratulations #2 goes to our very good friend Kim in Seattle and Brian!!
They were also married in Vegas...on Wednesday!! (what is it about Las Vegas these days?!?!)

They planned to be married at the fountains at the Bellaggio Hotel....a few close friends and family were to be there. (I was there in spirit as if there had been any way to be there, I would have!!!)

Kim and I met here in Nagasaki...we knew each other for a couple of years, then ended up working together for about 3 years. I have been lucky enough to have met some incredibly wonderful people here that ended up being some of my "bestest" friends, and Kim is definitely one of those people. I've never met Brian, but...if Kim loves him, then that's good enough for me!!! Welcome to "the family"!!! (I hope I can meet him someday, too!!)
Congratulations again....I'm looking forward to the pictures and hearing all about it!!! (especially in "real time", when I am only one hour ahead of you, instead of 15!!)

It's been a "far side" kind of day....


So....one of my favorite Far Side cartoons (oF which, there are MANY!!) is the one where there are two spiders at the bottom of a slide in the park. They have made a web that goes across the end of the slide and one spider says to the other, "If we pull this off, we'll eat like kings."
In our garden, living in the trees, we have 2 of the hugest spiders I have ever seen....though they make absolutely beautiful webs that sometimes go from tree to tree, they are still quite scary looking!
Anyway...today, I came home after my morning class to get some laundry done...there was a break in the rain and there was actually some sunshine for a bit....sticky sunshine, but sunshine nonetheless!! (FYI...very few people here use driers....most laundry is hung outside...or on rainy days, hung all over the house!!!)
Ahem....back to my point....so, I haven't been able to hang out laundry for a few days and on the first load to hang up...I'm walking around the corner of the house and all of a sudden it was like..."what the hell?!?!?!" I walked into one of those huge spider webs!!! They had made one that went from the house over to loquat tree (about 4 feet!!). I was trapped!!! :-D
I *flashed* on the cartoon and thought to myself...."Wow!! That Gary Larson really knew what he was writing about!!"
I was laughing (while getting myself untangled from the web!!) thinking about that....the spiders were probably very disappointed when I got "out"!! (and my neighbors probably think I'm a nutter....carrying on like I was....I might have actually said something TO the spiders......!!)
Oh well....just another goofy day here in Japan!!

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

I'm baaaaaacccckkkkkkk!!!


.....and I do apologize for the delay....and I'm sorry you had to keep coming back to see that damn rug!!! :-D The only excuse I have that might possibly work is "temporary insanity brought about by having too much to do and not enough hours of the day in which do all of it in".

There. That said. I would like to let you know that I have downloaded about 40 or so pictures onto my Flickr account and will attempt to share them here. I'm not sure if they will let you in with this link, but let's give it a try, shall we?
Click on:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/loladivine/ and see what happens!!
I downloaded photos from May....we have our one-day trip to some incredible caverns....the Boys' Day celebration and what-not...Issei's sports festival at school...some birthday cakes that I made (and actually got paid for!!!)....a cooking class that I just did with some really great people...and...well....maybe that is it.

I will add more explanations in a day or two....I'm more concerned about the link being one you can actually view.....So....If anyone out there is actually reading this and would click on it for me...let me know what you can or cannot see....I would appreciate the help!!!
IF you can get into the account (and yes, the account's name is for "Lola Divine"...that is my 'stage name'!!!), make sure that you read the explanations for each picture. If you view them in a "slideshow", you miss on the information!!!

**FYI....plans and schedules are about to be finalized for our trip "home" this summer. Plan on us being in Colorado on July 18....and leaving out around August 17th or so.
Nothing has been "set in stone" as of yet, but....we have 3 different travel companies working on getting us the best deal!!!

Speaking of which....I just have to share this with you....one of the travel companies here in Nagasaki, has been the reason that I just have to giggle sometimes. I explained why I thought the name was so funny to most of my classes and it is so silly, even the lowest of levels get it.
So what's so funny???
Well....in Japan, many areas are given special names....the Kanto region, for example....and then there is the Kinki area.....(are you with me?!?!)....one travel company's name is...."Kinki Tourist Company".
Seriously....need I say more?!?!?!
One of my old students works there and I asked her if they had T-shirts, because I really want one that says "KINKI TOURIST" right across the front!!!!! I would even take a name tag!!!
Just one more reason that this country just makes me laugh sometimes!!! :-D

Okay....better go....have spent way too much time sitting here at the computer.
Oh...before I close this up....
I want to say a big Thank You to my Aunt Marcia for her advice and input on the cakes and the Buffalo Wings (for the cooking class!!) and to Trenda's man, Dave...for his advice on the BBQ sauce (what I came up with was awesome!!!). It's nice to have family and friends I can call up for advice!!! Love you!!

You all have a wonderful day.
I'll write more later.....
Toodle-oooooo

Monday, May 14, 2007

A very nice Mother's Day, indeed...


And "Why do you have a picture of a rug here, Debbie?" , you might be asking yourself....maybe....anyway...this was one of my Mother's Day presents!! This is in the kitchen, in front of the sink....isn't it great!! I told Kiyoshi that we may have to re-think our "theme" (mainly chili peppers!!) in the kitchen...we are getting a Hawaii/Mexico mix going on and I'm not really sure that it works!! Oh, well....we like it!!
I was very surprised to get this, along with presents that the boys picked out last weekend when Kiyoshi took them out for the day (from Issei---a decorative box with drawers for my desk that we have to make, and from Koji---air freshener....really nice "mixed berries" smell). Then, when we went to the grocery store, I gave the boys some money and left them at the flower shop (I just ran to the bank machines!!) and they picked out a very nice flower arrangement. (I do this on my birthday and Mother's Day...Issei has gotten really good at picking the flowers I like!!!)
I hope that you had a good Mother's day....if you're a mom...I hope you got lot's of good stuff and your family treated you extra-special...if you're not a mom, then...I hope you called your own mom or someone 'like' a mom and told her that you loved her!!! Share the love, everyone...share the love!!! *smile*
Oh...by the way...in case anyone is wondering about the "door" in the floor or our kitchen....many houses in Japan have a special storage compartment in the floor. There are actually 2 pretty big storage bins on rollers under there....lot's of stuff that we don't use very often is in there....very good idea for houses with very little "visible" storage!!

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Yes...I am still here....



....I'm just not very motivated to do much of anything! :-D Today is the last day of a holiday for us...."Golden Week"....it was actually only Monday, Thursday and Friday, but many companies just take the whole week off. Issei and I were neither one very happy campers when we had to go to school/work on Tuesday and Wednesday!!! Yesterday, Saturday, was "Boys Day"....Issei thought he and Koji should get some extra "fun" stuff....he didn't really understand my humor when I told him that I thought that "everyday was boys' day"!!! Oh well....I hope he doesn't suddenly understand the joke in a few days when I remind him that Mother's Day is coming soon!!!

I will try to get some more pictures and "stuff" up soon....but right now, I'm going to go to bed. Mondays and Tuesdays are my busiest days and pretty much kick my butt so I need to get some "re-energizing" before I have to "seize the day"!!

You all have a good week...OH...and yes, the VW....STILL my "dream car"....*sigh*....the only thing better would be a convertible VW....double *sigh*!

Friday, April 20, 2007

Just 3 more reasons I really like Mexico...

So....Lila and her good friend (our friend, too!!) went to Mexico during the Spring vacation. She was kind enough to send me copies of these pictures which made me really "homesick" for (even though I only lived there for 5 years) South Texas and Mexico.
What a great shot this is....can't you almost hear the wind rustling the leaves of the palm tree....I can picture this would be what I would see as I looked up from my beach chair to try and get a "cabana boy" to bring me another margaritta!!
("Blew out my flip flops...stepped on a pop top....")







Reason #2....the great beaches...and look at that sky!!! *sigh*













THIS CRACKS ME UP!!
Cheaper than Wal-Mart AND you get a free shot of Tequila?!?!?! No way!!! And with the perfect broken English I'm thinking this would be the place to just hang out!!

**Thanks Lila for the pictures....you can thank me later for NOT putting the one of you sitting at the bar IN the pool!!! That looked like soooo much fun!!! Please find one of those in Denver!! I'm thinking that would be a great place to be...and we could probably find people to join us!!! :-D