Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Wordy Wednesday...and some visual aids

**And yes...I know...most people are doing "Wordless Wednesday"...well...what can I say...I'm a rebel. Dare to be different....I sometimes live by that!!!***

My class started late this morning and I had some extra time to do blogging and surfing some really important stuff on the computer and I found a little extra "sunshine" in my little corner of the house! I got this "birthday" hibiscus plant from two of my most favorite students, Masami and a couple of days, I might have 4 or 5 more flowers!! Love the color!!!

Oldest son went with his friends to a shopping mall and look what he came back with. Yes, they are shiny. Yes, they are very pretty. Yes, THEY ARE BEATLES!!! ~~sigh~~
Between the 8 fish, 4 turtles, unknown number of even more unknown kinds of larvae soon to hatch and now these's like freaking Wild Kingdom in our entrance way. ~~~~sigh~~~~~
After looking at so many wonderful colors of azaleas that are blooming around our neighborhood this year....these....(I'm pretty sure) are my favorites!!!
So, tomorrow, gas prices will go back up again...about 25 yen...lines at the gasoline stands were a) something I don't remember ever seeing here in Japan and b) about 25 cars long at one place. I filled up the car earlier in the the station that I usually go to (which by the way, is "full service"...remember those?!??!) Wednesday is "Ladies' Day" and for those women who fill up their cars and pay cash, you get.......a loaf of bread....from England....the it's also "100% Bread" (must get the K-man to translate what that squiggle means in the middle).....and yes, there are only 5 slices. Bread usually comes in 5 or 6 slices...8 slices in a loaf are hard to find. To me, the bread here is waaaay too much like Texas Toast....made with Wonder Bread!!! mmmmmmmmmmm!!
More color from our garden....these are starting to bloom...I think we might have secretly took cuttings got them from one of the ladies down the street. (Ergo) They are in the back yard!! :-D

Good-bye sox....HellLLLlooooOOo Sandals!!!
The weather was so warm today...I dug these out...and yes, I do know that a pedicure would have been so much prettier before posting such a picture...and yes, that's why I chose the picture that was the blurriest!! I got these sandals last year for about $3 at Tar-Jay...I do love the "end of summer sales"!!! I don't really like them as the thingy between the toes is too thin and hard to 'grasp' when walking...but until I get those other ones I have been lusting after, these will have to do!!! (Where did my other pant leg go, I wonder?!?!)

Just something that makes me giggle!!

And finally....a hug...for you all. Whether you need it or not, take's yours. I'm a hugger and in this "anti-hugging" society, sometimes it really gets to me...thank goodness there are "hidden huggers" here that I have become friends with. They have saved me!!

Enjoy your Wednesday....hug someone...pass it on!!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Happy Green Day...Showa Day...Whatevah!!!

Today is the first "official" holiday of the "Golden Week" that we have at the beginning of May. I went to Wikipedia and from them I got the some kanji ("Chinese characters") that I can't type on my "English only" keyboard.

Golden Week (ゴールデンウィーク, Gōruden Wīku), also known as Ōgata renkyū (大型連休, Ōgata renkyū) or Ōgon shūkan (黄金週間, Ōgon shūkan), is a Japanese term applied to the period containing the following public holidays:
April 29
Emperor's Birthday (天皇誕生日, Emperor's Birthday), until 1988
Greenery Day, or Nature Day (みどりの日, Midori no hi), till 1989 until 2006
Shōwa Day (昭和の日, Shōwa no hi), from 2007
May 3
Constitution Memorial Day (憲法記念日, Kenpō kinenbi)
May 4
holiday† (国民の休日, Kokumin no kyūjitsu), until 2006
Greenery Day, or Nature Day (みどりの日, Midori no hi) (from 2007)
May 5
Children's Day (こどもの日, Kodomo no hi), also customarily known as Boys' Day (端午の節句, Tango no sekku).
†: May 4 is called "kokumin no kyūjitsu", which is a generic term for any official holiday. It is an official holiday because of a rule that converts any day between two holidays into a new holiday. is April 29 and the boys and I are home....oh...the K-Man? No...he usually works on rest for the weary! The mailman delivered a small package from my mom it was the book by Jill Conner Browne called "The Sweet Potato Queens' Guide to Raising Children for Fun & Profit" is going to be vurrrrrrry difficult not to start reading that book!! I have so enjoyed her other books...they do make me laugh out loud!!! I was looking at the chapters....I'm very interested in reading her take on "Housework Kills Plenty of People All the Time" (Chap. 26) and "More Play, Less Fray" (Chap. 27).

Now, it is 11:35-ish....the weather is absolutely beautiful...nice breeze blowing through my window....I have done 4 loads of laundry...put out the futons to air out (something I should do much more often, but....), I have chased a river crab that Koji was supposed to keep in the small aquarium, but it somehow escaped and was running (?) rampant through the kitchen. After I post this, my goal for the day is to look for our carp flags to hang in the yard for Boys' Day. You can see these wind-sox hanging all over the place. We drive by a school that sits next to a river...every year the people of that neighborhood hang the flags over the river...there must be 200 of them!! It really is cool to see...especially on a breezy day, the fish actually look like they are trying to swim up the river!! And that is why we hang them....the carp represent "strength" and we want our kids to grow up strong!!
I KNOW we have them....somewhere.....because I have these pictures as proof....

I'm thinking that Koji was almost 2, so Issei would have been 6....four years ago.

The boys and one of the neighbor boys...Just look at Issei posing...what a nut!!

I think I mentioned before that the azalea were in their absolute full-blown glory in our neighborhood....but many other flowers.

Here is my contribution to the color.....

The peony plant that I have is blooming now!! There are three flowers and they are each one about 6-8 inches across!! Today, sadly, they are on their way 'out'....the petals are kind of foofing out and a couple petals have fallen off. For one week, they are so pretty!!!

Before, I mentioned to you about the car that we now have....I made a mistake...I told you that it was a Corolla.....well....actually, it's a Toyota Corona. It's a great car...a bit like one that an old man would drive, but....I don't care....that's part of the fun of it!!

But....but...I'm looking for a bumper sticker...or better yet, a part of a bumper sticker to put next to the name of the car that's on the trunk...can you imagine what I am thinking???

TeeHee!!! No matter what kind of car you drive, you have to make it yours!!!

Have a beautiful sunshine-y day!!!

Now...I'm off to dig in closets to find those damn carp!! (so thankful I'm not having to look for a small crab!!) Wish me luck!!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

A quick post before I fall into my futon...

Today was absolutely one of those days that I wish we could have every single damn day!! The sky was clear...a light breeze was blowing...and it was warm enough for a short-sleeved t-shirt for most of the day. Both boys were out almost all day, doing...whatever it is that they do!! I could finish up as much laundry as I could hang outside...and...I got some stuff done around the house I have been wanting to do for awhile!!! I really wanted to post something before going to I came up with a hodge-podge of things.

Every Sunday, in the Nagasaki Newspaper, there is a supplement paper that is full of store information, food andthings about town...and in the center is a "People" page, where they highlight one policeman/woman, a class or circle (dance, English, TaiChi....) and then a daycare or nursery.
Last week....much to my surprise...was Koji's daycare!!

Here is the picture.....I wonder if you can figure out which one is my lovely son?!?!?! Go ahead, click on the picture and you can see it a little may not need to do that to find Koji!!!

Did you find him? Yes, he is the goofy creative one, back row, yellow t-shirt. *sigh*

His class became nen-cho , which would be the same as kindergarten in the States. Here, kindergarten is NOT a part of the public school system. If your child goes to a daycare (which is for children of working moms, only!) then the last year they are there is basically kindergarten. The other kids (children of SAHMs) will go to private kindergartens.

This year, they have many things planned for them that only the nen-cho group gets to the summer, they take the kids to the Prefectural Forest (like a State Park) and go camping for 3 parents!!! They usually have a blast!! Issei didn't get to go because we went to America, but, this year, our schedule works out that Koji will be able to go!! They are already getting so excited about it!!!

I'd like to send out a happy birthday message to my youngest sister Anna!!! She and her husband, Joe live in Las Vegas (baby!)....they have had some bad luck this month (suicidal pyromaniac almost burnt their apartment down in the process of burning his own down before doing himself in....and that was just the icing on the "proverbial" cake!!) But, like she said in an e-mail message...."it could have been so much worse"!!! my 'positive thinking' little sister.....I hope you have an absolutely wonderful day!!! We love you!!! We are sending big hugs...sloppy, wet kisses, and lot's of love your way!!! mwwwwwaaaa!!! (smooch!!)

I took this picture on a walk around the neighborhood....I think that these two, delicate flowers are the last of the sakura (cherry blossoms) this year!!!

This year seemed to be even more beautiful than's always beautiful, but this year just seemed different for some reason. I always tell people that if you want to come to Japan, the springtime is probably THE best season!!! (*hint hint* )

I was perusing the Margaritaville on-line catalogue on one of my breaks from all that cleaning I did and found these sandals....

It's always nice to have a goal, goal for the month of May is to find the extra money so I can get these. The flip-flops I have now are just about to fall apart (I think they were hand-me-downs from my mom a few year ago!!!)....they look like I just came from the beach, about 100 miles away that I walked from!!! I need a pair of fairly nice, slightly casual sandals to teach thinking that these are just the right kind!!! Love the hula motif!!! And, really........ they would look soooo good on my feet!!! :-D

Oh...and by the way...just in case anyone was head is feeling much better. :-D The "exploding head" feeling passed and now we are just waiting for the next time...'cause you know there will be one!!!

Have a good Sunday!! I hope your day was as nice as ours was here!!!

Friday, April 25, 2008

To 'borrow' from a fellow blogger...."and then my head exploded"

Sorry, Katydidnot...I had to use was the only thing that really fit!! I think that is really and truly what was about to happen tonight....

Issei goes to a gakudou, an 'afterschool' program, that is for kids of working moms. There are about 45 kids who go....everyday until 6:00 and all day on Saturday, if needed. During holidays when there is no school, I know that there is some place safe for him to go.

Since April is the beginning of the school year, we had to meet to "welcome" the 1st grader Moms...and then to introduce the new "Mom's in charge" for the year. Tonight, the meeting started at after working all day, about 35 of us trudged to the gakudou and the meeting commenced. After about an hour, the "official" business was over and the teachers left....we stayed.

The main teacher is someone that we are really not sure should be the teacher and then for the next 2 hours, we each took turns (a basic part of ANY meeting of parents!!!) and voiced our concerns, thoughts and ideas.

Oh, wait....let me remind you that the whole meeting is in Japanese!!! everyday conversation....I can hold my own with pretty much any Japanese person that comes my way. When it comes to what I can understand, I'm at about maybe 65%....if I don't understand everything, I can at least get the gist of what is being the specifics.

I was following it all pretty was my turn to speak. Holy Hell. As I was trying to formulate what I wanted to say so it didn't come out like this: a;skldjfoi vnoifjk ksfj;ow!!!.....I flashed on an image of my head...just blowing off...right then. I seriously got a little tickled....the mom next to me nudged me and made a comment like "Come on, Kuroiwa, you can do it." with a smile!! Oh...if she only knew what I was thinking!!! :-D
(By the way...I did okay...some of the moms were nodding their heads in agreement with me...or maybe their heads were about to explode too, I dunno...but I think I got my thoughts across. At least, that's what I'm telling myself.)'s almost midnight and...well...crap...the night is almost gone. I was going to work on a picture meme that Grandy posted about...but will do that tomorrow. (She also gave all of us on her blogroll an award and I need to get that put up!! tomorrow...tomorrow!!!)

Until then...I checked the Friday Feast questions tonight...and they're not too lame...will do them and then say "Good night, Gracie."

Name something you would categorize as weird.

So much to choose from....okay...and I will offer a blanket apology to anyone who actually does this...I'm pretty much a casual type person...jeans, sometimes a skirt, and a t-shirt or henley t-shirt...but not all together!!! So many girls of every age possible, have started wearing jeans....under a short skirt.
If you are over the age of 10 and dressing like that...for seriously... then....that's just weird.

What color was the last piece of food you ate?
Oh...I am so busted on this one....the last piece of food I ate was the color of peanut butter, surrounded by chocolate. I was standing at the kitchen sink drinking some tea, when I heard this voice from the cabinet...."debbie....DEbbie...helLLLlloooOOOoo". (I hate it when food talks to me, don't you?!?!)

On a scale of 1-10 with 10 being highest, how much do you enjoy being alone?
It really depends on the day (weekday vs. weekend), time of day (day vs. night)...but, generally, I'm going to say a 9. I spend so much of my time with other people, sometimes I just "vant to be alone."

Main Course
Fill in the blank: I will _________ vote for ___________ in _______.

I will definitely vote for President in October.
**Yes, October...I vote by absentee ballot and I'm thinking I will get it sometime in October!!

Describe your sleeping habits.
Sleeping habits?? Well....even though I only get about 5 or maybe 6 hours of sleep a night, I still have to read before the light goes off. Then....I will almost always lift up my feet and make sure that the blankets are tucked in under my feet. I sleep with 2 for my head and the other one I put so it makes an upside-down "L" shape with the first pillow...that part goes behind me....I usually sleep on my left side or on my stomach, with the one pillow gathered up in my arms.

And with that....oyasumi nasai!!! (Good night!) Sweet dreams!!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

"Not so wordsy Thursday." (Work with me people...I'm tired!!)

Are you feeling a bit edgy? Tense? Have the urge to do something, but no energy to actually leave the house, or get dressed, for that matter?? Feel the need to exert some energy, but not really sure which way would be the most effective?
If you are feeling this way...or you just want to have a bit of fun....
...go HERE....for some frustration busting fun!!! Point and left click on your mouse...or hit "manic mode" and go really crazy!!!
(*Warning....if your kids see this, they may have control of your computer for a verrrry long time. Speaking from experience, of course!!!)

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Driving a dream....for 57 days

About ten years ago, the K-man and I were driving a really cute little van (it really looked like something flower shop delivery people would use!!!). It was mainly a "utility vehicle" and so, the back seats had no seat belts. Since I was pregnant with Issei, we knew that we needed something, oh, I don't know...safer?!?! :-D

At that time, Nissan had a new car that both of us really, really wanted. It was called a Rasheen and it was strong and sturdy enough to be good for a "family car" (seat belts for all my friends!!!) yet, it was cool enough to So we got one....and for 10 years, this is what we drove...

We loved it!!! We put many a kilometer on it...taxied around many a friend...and just thoroughly enjoyed having this as our mode of transportation.

Sadly....over the past couple of years, the money we spent on repairs was getting to be a bit ridiculous. In February, our shaken or "yearly inspection" was up. Now, in Japan, insurance, tax and whatnot are all included in the shaken. If you have a new have to have this inspection every 2 years. After 10 years, you have to have it every year. Now...that doesn't seem so bad, but.....keeping in mind what one of the main products of Japan the car gets older...the shaken...gets more expensive. Yeah..."they" are financially strong arming encouraging you to buy a new car more often. February, we had to make a decision....our car was 10 years old...the shaken was going to cost us about 100,000 yen (approx. $1,000) plus....there was a problem with the front right tire that, even though we could still drive the car safely....the inspection would not pass because of this problem. To fix it, would have cost us about 80,000 yen ($800). The K-man and I had decided to "bit the bullet" and go ahead and pay the big yen....then spend the next year trying to find a car that we could buy, next year.

But....the Gods and good karma were on our side and things changed....for the better.

Tomorrow....we will go and pick up our new, yet used car. It's not quite as "cool" as the Rasheen, but...we got a super sweet deal...yeah...., I'm going to look like I'm driving a "business man's car" big deal...I have some great bumper stickers and have an idea for some seat covers that are going to be good.

This....will be our car from tomorrow.... It's a Toyota Corolla...ours is white...and it has an awesome sound system, TV and navigational system. I can handle this for a while.

So, what have I been driving for the last 57 days, you may be make a long (and pretty boring, I'm sure) story short....a very good oh my God, if I could give her a lung or kidney or something vitally important that she needed, I would friend and her husband have let us borrow this.....

Oh, yeah....I'm going to have a very difficult time handing over the keys to that baby tomorrow. My "dream car" (that little yellow car up in the top right corner of this blog...see it?!) is one that is possible ...I will someday have one of those Beetles. But....a Mercedes....not in this lifetime...or two or three other lifetimes for that matter...will we be able to afford one of these!!! I have had so much fun....the power that thing has is unbelievable!!! A person just feels better sitting your butt in those really comfy seats...looking down on most of the other vehicles on the road. The K-man was vrrrry impressed with the Bose sound system!!! And the boys have said that any car we get must have a sunroof!!!

My friend has said that since no one really drives that car (CAN YOU IMAGINE?!?!?!), if I need to borrow it any time, I am more than if guests come from, oh I don't know, say, America...I can borrow it to take my friends around. (I'm just saying...ya know...if anyone wants to come for a visit or anything....!)


Oh.....I never did find that Margarita salt-thingy I was looking for the other I did a search and actually, it is called a "Margarita Salt Sombrero".......

Definitely something that the "serious margarita drinker" needs to have in her kitchen....and I know I have one somewhere....I just have to keep looking!!!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Would you like some catch-up with that??

We have been experiencing some difficulty with Blogger for the last couple of wouldn't let me download any pictures!! And me...with my "oh, screw it, I'm going to bed" attitude that I have had for the same amount of time...yeah, no posts.
It's amazing how many blogs get piled up in my Google Reader if even one day goes by that I don't read!!! There are some serious bloggers out there!!! You'd think that would be incentive, wouldn't you?!?!?! hahahahaha!!! In Japan, the phrase "my pace" is used quite often to describe that kind of behavior.....yeah...uh-huh...that would be me!!!

So anyway....Sunday was my 46th one. And from now on, I have decided that I will no longer be celebrating birthdays. Oh...don't get me wrong...there will be celebrating going on...but instead.....

the 10th Anniversary of my 36th Birthday sounds really good doesn't it?!?! So, I'll be celebrating anniversaries.....not the birthdays!!!

In the comments of the post where I was whining about lamenting the passing years...KarenMEG posted something that I'm going to keep as my mantra...she said,

"The number is one thing... how you live it, is another."

Thanks Karen for reminding me of that...and thanks to everyone else for the comments!!

On Sunday...I had decided that I did want to do something to commemorate the event, so I sent a message to 3 friends and told them that I would be in my garden about 2:00, drinking a margarita and if they wanted to join me, they could and their presence would be appreciated. No big preparations....nothing fancy to eat...just some good quality time...outside in the lovely weather with my laundry drying around us.

The night before, I had mixed up a big-ass bucket of margarita mix....with a spigot, no doubt!! Believe me...I may try and use this puppy again!!!
I'm sure they would have been better had they been frozen...but...the bucket wouldn't fit in my freezer!!! (Freezers are not what they are in the States!! *sigh*) But...that's okay...I got my plastic cactus glasses....some ice..I couldn't find my really cool margarita salt-thingy (the top is yellow and shaped like a put water in there to dip the rim of the glass then into the's very cool...but for the life of me I canNOT find it!!!), so I had to improvise. the the the Tupperware bowl...the white stuff is Ranch Dip....only the best for my friends!!

Me and ko' u hoaloha

In the side garden...My friends and me.....Jan (in the hat) and Melodie, me (in white with some "WHOA"-kind of hair...crap!!!) and then Karen, in the blue chair. We are an "international group" of sorts...American (Jan and I), British (Karen) and Canadian (Mel). We are all married to Japanese men and even though our situations are slightly different, it's nice to have not only a good friendship, but also really strong support whenever it's needed.

Mom and her boys...and the cake that got "beat up" in the box on the way home on the back of Dad's scooter!!! (It was still pretty gosh darn good!!) Notice the glass margarita glass in the bottom right corner...."plastic outside, glass inside"!!! Always a good rule to follow!!

Some of the bounty of the evening.....2 new "buttons" for my Crocs....the hibiscus and honu ("turtle") were from the boys!!!
It was a Hawaiian kind of night from my ohana ("family")!!
Though I lurrrvvee all my presents, there are two that are extra special. The first being the flowers....from Issei. He had spent the afternoon with friends at a shopping center not so far from the house....he bought them then. When he gave them to me, I hugged him and said that I "loved the flowers"...he then proceeded to tell me that he got them for 150 yen (about $1.50). Gosh, the young man knows a) to buy Mommy flowers on her birthday without being told and b) that the not so pretty flowers or the older ones are going to be cheaper...go for the bargain!! (He used his own money, so I can appreciate the's the thought!!!) The second extra special gift is the Hawaiian/English Dictionary. In hula class, the sensei (teacher) will explain the Japanese!! Sometimes I really don't understand the meaning...and if I don't understand the meaning, then...the hand movements are just that much more difficult! We always get a print with the Japanese and the Hawaiian words.....NOW....I can use my dictionary and figure out, at least, the gist of the song!!! la hanau was kupaianaha thanks to my ohana and ko'u hoaloha!!!
birthday / wonderful / family / my friends

Saturday, April 19, 2008

The one where we hiked up 330 meters...and it was fun!!

On most days....I feel like this...., the boys and I went to an ensoku ("school hike and picnic") with Koji's daycare, so I had to wake up at 6:00 to get our bentos ("boxed lunch") ready. When making bentos for the boys, they are very different about what they want to eat...Issei is pretty much "anything will be good", while Koji is a. bit. more. particular. Karaage ("seasoned fried chicken pieces"), meatballs, small sausages, onigiri ("rice balls") with seaweed wrapped around and vegetables,please." Yes, sir...I'll get right on that sir.

And here is what it looked like when we had our picnic!!

So...from the daycare, parents, kids and teachers walked UP, through the neighborhood...and up...and up....

We stopped about 1/4 of the way up to take a break....this was the view from where we were...

Issei (in back) and Koji (l) and his very good friend Ma-kun. Koji said that Ma-kun was his best friend...he has a lot of friends, but Ma-kun...."I like him."(His real name is Masayo, but..."kun" is used for little boys, we use "chan", as in "Debbie-chan" for girls!!)

And still, we went up....and up......and....

....until we finally got to the top (1 and 1/2 hours later!!) where there is a beautiful park overlooking the whole of Nagasaki City!!! The day was absolutely clouds...slight breeze and the temperature was about 65 degrees (I'm taking a major guess at that!!!)

The boys spent most of their time taking their sled...which Koji carried the whole way.... up the hill and then sliding down. The majority of the kids were doing this on a really nice grassy hill...but, no...not my boys and their friends...they were sliding down on the hill next to the nice one....the one with the rocks...and sticks...and bumps...Issei said it was more fun..."kind of dangerous"!!! *sigh*

Then it was time to go home again....many people chose to go back down the mountain on the road...or they went by bus or taxi....and we (me grudgingly!!) went back the way we came....down the mountain path..(notice how many people didn't do this!!!)

By the time we got home....I was so tired, so I had a couple of these....

...then took a nice long bath.

And now.....this is me....

...I'm tired...but it's a good kind of's one of those "we had an incredible day" kind of tired.

I like to have body will disagree with me tomorrow, I'm thinking, but for now..yeah...anytime I can spend the day, like that, with my boys....then it's a day to wish for again.

**Some Photos from Google Images**

No...not yet...just getting prepared!! Have put a red hat "on hold"!

While my computer went on a holiday, I received a buttload ton messages and am just now getting around to carefully deleting, but not yours!! going through them. Tonight, I came across an incredibly funny video from YouTube that my mom's friend, Karen sent and I thought that I would share this. (and if you happen to be a reader of the 'man person' type, then I'm sure you know someone who will think this is funny....or maybe she won''s your chance to take!!!)

I am soon to be celebrating a birthday....and though I'm not sad or depressed about the birthday's the number I'm not too terribly thrilled with at the moment.

I've had some birthdays that really weren't the best of celebrations....take for example, my 30th....I had been in Japan for about 9 months...and having hated the first 8 of those months, the thought of turning 30 was. just. the. freaking. icing. on. the. cake. Here I was, in a country that I wasn't really sure I liked, not able to communicate with people on a daily basis, and I was alone. Oh, I had friends, but....being single at that point in my life, just pretty much sucked.

Birthdays after that were pretty good....I got a good job, met the K-man and things were definitely on the up-swing. My 35th birthday was was the number!!

I remember being in high school and seeing people coming home for reunions and such, that were probably in their 30's, and I remember thinking that they were sooooo old! And forward...really fast....and there I was, same age, and thinking that 35 wasn't old...I could wear those short, shorts and skimpy shirt!!! "Silly high school kids!!"

#40 was probably one of the hardest birthdays I have had so far. When "younger Debbie" made that list of "Things I want to do before I die".....I can guarandamntee you that "turn 40 AND be 6 months pregnant" was NOT on that list!!! fun for Li'l Debbie that birthday!

Last year, next to my 16th and 18th birthdays, was probably one of the best. I realized (much thanks to the subscription to More magazine..."for women over 40") that 45 was a good age. The number didn't even bother me. I had a party here that the neighbors are still talking about!!! (It was a "hula" themed party....everyone came dressed appropriately...and we danced...and sang...and ate...and it was an incredibly wonderful day!!)

But this year, for some reason 46 is making me a bit cranky!! Maybe it's just the cold that I have... the fact that I can't freaking breathe out of my nose is not helping the situation AT ALL...or just a combination of all that, plus a busier than busy schedule. I'm sure I'll get over's really just a number isn't it??!!

So...when I opened up this video...I laughed....really loud. I haven't (she typed, searching for some wood to knock, knowing from past experience that this probably won't work but will do it anyway) started any of this next stage of my life....but, I know I will.....AND I know I am not alone in this....laugh....and then mark it as a "Favorite" 'cause you just might wanna watch it a few more times!!!

Enjoy!! (and thanks Karen!!!)

(not really sure WHAT the picture is supposed to be on this first part of the video...just click "play" gets better!!!!)

Thursday, April 17, 2008


My kingdom for some of this.......

'cause I feel like this!!!!!
That whole "knock on wood" idea....what a bunch of crap!
On Wednesday, my class and I were talking about illnesses and aches and pains....and I made the comment that I hadn't really been sick this year....and I knocked on the know...just to make sure I didn't tempt the Gods.
Well.....sure as anything...last night before going to bed, I felt a little like there was something coming but I wasn't really quite sure. So...I took some Contact before I went to bed, just to be on the safe side, for once!!!
Today....I jumped back and forth between runny nose, watery eyes and sneezing to a stuffed head, "oh my God Ethel, she's about to blow!" kind of feeling. Yeah...and I was feeling mighty purdy too!!
Tonight, before my class, I went to the *Super Drug Store* and found some stuff that will hopefully work. The kind, yet nervous-because-obviously-he-doesn't-get-many-foreigners pharmacist said it would work quickly, after I had told him that "no, I don't want to take the Chinese remedy...I'd like to feel better before May."
(If you have the time, those herbs and such actually work, but..I want relief and I want it now!! )
Maybe....he he just gave me something so I would leave....I better have the K-man check the know...just to be on the safe side, for once!! :-D
Nyquil....nectar of the cold-ridden Gods...where are you??
I need to sleep...per chance to dream.....about this.....

.... because you know tht Nyquil is great for stuff like that!!!

Here's to a good night's sleep....hopefully....or at least a really nice dream!!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

....and then....there was sound!!

I really had every intention last night of posting something really witty and charming, but....the "guru" came back and in a matter of minutes had my speakers "doing their things"!!! It felt as if an old friend had come back after being gone for waaaaay too long!!!
So...instead of that incredibly awesome post I was thinking about.....I got in to YouTube...and I couldn't get out!!!

It started with the really HAWT pretty video that my sister Anna sent....Good Lord a'mighty, men really shouldn't be able to look that nice!!! (she said, fanning her self delicately with an US magazine!!) And from really...just. went. downhill.

But...I did make it back from the twisted works of Nip & Tuck, to view some ELO (yeah...old stuff...but, so good!!), Jimmy Buffett (but of course!!!), some bands that the K-man had me looking for that, honestly, I have no freaking clue as to who they were...but he and The Guru were lovin' it....David Cassidy (okay...where's that magazine?!?!), and then I watched some Everyone Loves Raymond, Brothers and Sisters, and of my favorites...David Letterman.

I will now give you one of my favorite clips from his is "Matt Damon doing Matthew McDonaughey"....and if you haven't seen it, watch it. The boy is spot on!! And seriously, if you thought that Matt Damon just couldn't get any cuter....well....he does. Wonderfully!!

I'm going to try to turn off the computer now....the boys need to get rounded up and put into bed....and then, I am going to put my semi-cranky butt in the bath for a soak....then, a bit of planning for tomorrow's class and then....then.....hopefully before midnight, this camper will be in bed!!! Wish me luck!!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

A couple answers....and a meme for your Sunday reading pleasure

Before I start this portion of our program, let me just say a huge Mahalo/Arrigato/Gracias/Thank you so much for all the wonderful comments from Friday's HulaBula Momma post!! Warm fuzzies ALL over the place!!!
And yes....I'm not one to 'blend in' very much, am I?!?!
And honestly...I am lovin' the word vivacious!!! :-D

Hugs and smiles to you all!!!


Pam asked: "What kind of basket is next to the Easter tree?"
There are two of them (with the dried rice and flowers) is one that one of my students made for me. She and her husband go hiking in the mountains and collect twine for making baskets...Isn't it great?!?!? The shape is so cool!!!
The other one (the flatter one leaning up in the back)....the husband of one of my students made that....he took a plain, wicker basket that was falling apart and covered it with old Japanese paper...then painted it. If you look very closely, you can see the Japanese writing....isn't it wonderful?!?! I have a couple more things that he has made. I'll pass on the compliment!! Thanks!!

Gina asked: "Now could you please explain how your school year is organized? "
No problem...let's see if I can do this without having to check the calendar (which I am really not too sure exactly where it
School starts here in Japan, usually the second week in April. The first term is from then until summer holiday, which usually starts around the 20th or so of July. Summer holiday is NOT a time of doing nothing for students....everyone has pages and pages and pages of homework (usually Math and Japanese) and each student is encouraged to do some kind of project (art or science or whatever you choose). Junior High and High School students will also, more often than not, actually have special summer classes in the mornings for a few weeks.
Second term starts the first of September and finishes around the 20th of December.
Because the New Year here is such a big holiday, the third term won't start until the second week of January and then the end of the year is usually about the third week in March.
Our "Spring holiday" is actually what "summer holiday" is like in the States....just much much much shorter!!!
I worked for 5 years in a public school and 5 years in a private school and now with Issei in school, the American schedule seems a bit strange for me. A friend of mine teaches in L.A. in a "year-round-school" and he seems to prefer that to the traditional schedule.

And now...for a meme that Jenn tagged me with....

1. The rules of the game get posted at the beginning.
2. Each player answers the questions about themselves.
3. At the end of the post, the player tags 5 people and posts their name, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know they've been tagged and asking them to read your blog.

What I was doing 10 years ago:
Ten years ago, I was on maternity-leave with an almost 2-month old with colic. I was spending the majority of my time sitting on the sofa with boob out/child attached. Sometimes I actually got dressed and went outside, that seemed to make both Issei and I much happier campers. I must admit that even though this was a really hard time in my life, I learned a lot about myself and mothering in the process....and that I could survive a stressful situation without some kind of alcoholic beverage!!!

Five Snacks I enjoy:In a perfect, non weight-gaining world
1. Super Nachos with guacamole and lots and lots of cheese
2. Chunk Monkey or Chubby Hubby Ice Cream (my hips are happy I can get neither here!!)
3. Chocolate cookie dough (my roommates and I used to keep the slice and bake kind in our fridge)
4. Pretty much anything dipped in Ranch Dip
5. Potato Skins...the ones from the Hard Rock or Chilis are the best

In the real world
1. Apples or celery with peanut butter
2. Popcorn
3. Flavored senbei (rice crackers)
4. Quesadillas
5. Edamame (steamed and salted green soy beans...go best with cold beer!!!)

Things I would do if I were a billionaire:
1. Buy this house, because I really really really *heart* this house and the garden.
2. Buy the K-man his Jeep and me my VW Beetle
3. ALOHA HAWAII....see that nice house, on the beach with the beautiful garden and patio...that's ours!!!
4. Buy tickets to Japan for all my friends!!!!
5. Buy season concert tickets ("on the front row") to Jimmy Buffett....for Trenda, Dena and Lila too...and anyone else who thinks they can keep up with us!!!

Five jobs that I have had:
1. K-Mart (camera and jewelry then toys....Employee of the Month one time, too!!)
2. Waitress
3. Flagger for a crop duster
4. Drive-thru convenience store clerk
5. Teacher

Three of my habits:
1. Not being able to turn the computer "off"
2. I have been known to *snort* sometimes when laughing really really hard
3. Flirting....I just can't help's such a fun habit!!!

Five place I have lived: (This is easy)
1. Springfield, Colorado
2. Atlanta, Georgia
3. Greeley....then Denver Colorado
4. Weslaco, Texas
5. Nagasaki Japan...for the past 16 years and 7 months

Five People I Want to Get to Know Better: (a nice way of saying TAG!) But don't feel obligated! Just do it if you want to.
1.Mrs. Blogoway
2. Leeann
3. Ciara
4. El Pato
5. Ms. Teacher

I'm also going to add a 6th good friend, Susan, after faithfully ("love you"!!) reading my blog and lurking on others has decided to start her own, so I think this is a good chance to "jump into the blogging world" and start getting a "feel" as to how this all works!!!
I would love to tag more people, but....let's just say that if you wanna do this, go ahead...but let me know if you do so I can come and read!!!!

No...really...well..okay...just one more and I'm done...maybe

When my "computer guru" closed up his bag of tools and tricks last week and told me that my computer was up and running...and running much faster than before...he failed to remember that, oh, I don't audio program might be important!!!

This has been one of those cases of "you don't know how much you need/rely on something until it's gone" kind of things. Believe me....YouTube is NOT the same, folks!! My sister sent me a really sexy pretty video to was from Nip & Tuck and Lawdy Lawdy Lawdy...even without the music it was hawt....the sound could only make it steamier.....but....I'm sure the music I had in my head was waaaaay different than what was really playing!!! Needless to say....I'm trying to stay away from that particular "black hole" of websites. ("I found myself there and I. just.couldn't.get.out.") least until I get some sound!!!

So what do I do? Do I read my backlog of blogs that are waiting to be read? Turn the computer off and clean my room? Cook dinner? Reacquaint myself with my children?, but it wasn't my best effort...and for a little bit (the weather is nice so they are outside playing).

What I did find was a little site called blog things (thanks Grandy and Ms. Teacher and a few others!!!) and I have put it at #2 on my list of "black hole" websites!! this site are just a bunch of quizzes...they don't take long...and you can find out such interesting things about yourself in a matter of minutes.

For example.....I found out that....

Kirk Cameron was my "80's Hunk"

My "Adult Film Star Name" is Nurse Naughty my Japanese "Smiley" symbol...look...I'm winking at you!!

I am 'Bud Light'

47% of my brain is cluttered (it seems that I need to let go of petty worries and concerns....DuH!!)

My "Hillbilly Name" is 'Lil Dolly Rambler

I am "Chunky Monkey" ice cream

(seriously...some of these are just a bit too's kind of scary!!)

and finally....

My "Girl Smell" (??) is Key Lime

So....go...if you have a few minutes or if you are bored or for some reason you are only able to use one arm...check out some of the quizzes....let me know what you found out.....I'm going now to see what Obama has done for me today!!!(Thanks Mrs. Blogoway....I just keep going back). That is a really funny website that changes every time you go there. For example, today, he "smiled when he heard me mention your name" and "he remembered my birthday"!!!

So go...go'll only take a few minutes...or 20!!! :-D (Depends on how much self-control you have!!!)

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Yes...I am a "HulaBula Momma"...and I love it!

Every 2nd and 4th Wednesday, I have an afternoon for me. Those are the only afternoons that I have no classes and are days that I look forward to like you wouldn't believe. For the last 4 years, I have been going to a hula class and, though I'm not "Hawaii-worthy" yet...I have improved and I will be ready for "the big island" in the future!!! I posted a bit about it back in November here...if you want to go and read a little more, please do...but come back!! :-D

To give you an idea as to just how popular hula is here in Nagasaki.....let's see...last summer at our big Hula Festival, there were 106 groups who performed....each group had at least 6 members...with the average membership being 10-12, I would guess. Our group had 23!! (and we were NOT the biggest group!!) That, my friends, is a lot of women!!

Every December, we have a special end-of-the-year luncheon at the Best Western Hotel here in the city. Not all members of each group go, but most of us do...the price for a ticket for the lunch, live music and dancing (of course!), door prizes and lots of fun is about $100....but I cough up the money and I go. It is such a fun.......and funny day.

Picture if you will.....650 women...of varying ages (but more towards the late 50's and older!!)...varying heights and sizes....and one foreigner (uh-huh...that would be me!!)...all dressed in performance outfits, flowers in our hair and leis!!! It is one of THE most colorful ways to spend a day that I have ever had the pleasure of spending!!! We laugh...whenever the band plays a song that we know, we get up and dance...but most of all, we have a wonderful time!!!

On Wednesday....I got the pictures that were taken on that day from my sensei ("teacher"). There were two tables of our group and the photographer went from table to table taking group pictures....of all the tables!!!
Here was ours......aren't we a lovely group?!?!

Our sensei is the one in the middle, sitting next to me, in black. I just love her...she thinks thatI am really a strange foreigner...but laughingly so....foreigners usually do Japanese dance, or flower arrangment, or tea ceremony or pottery...there are so many things to do here, culturally...Me? I do hula!!! She thinks that is quite funny!!!

Each of those outfits, have been worn for a performance at one place or another...we usually each choose the one that we like to wear for the party.

Oh..yeah...and we drink beer, too!!! (The big brown bottles are empties!!)

These ladies and hula have become part of my salvation....I go to class, put on my pau skirt, pin the flowers in my hair and put on my lei. When the music starts, I am no longer in Japan, but transported to another place....and I dance. Lordy I dance!!!

Mahalo, my friends...and good night!