Wednesday, December 31, 2008

It's all about "apple polishing", miracle sponges and cows..

Yes...apple polishing...or as we say here, goma suri ("grinding the sesame seeds")...whatever you call it, it works here in this house...at least with Mom.

Do you remember this from a few weeks ago?
Take that cabinet....plus one 10-year-old who reeeeeaaaaalllllly wants his Nintendo DS back...(it was "lost" yesterday...remember?).


Momma got a clean cabinet...and Issei got a day or two closer to being reunited with this exiled DS. We're both happy. 'Nuf said.

And the Kuroiwa Family cleaned all day long. Debbie swears there are parts of her kitchen that positively shine and sparkle!!!


You gotta wear shades when you come in the house!

Okay...some serious talk now.....do you know of these little creatures?
Here they are called "Miracle Sponges"....I know that my mom sent some to me a few months ago.... maybe they were from Mr. Clean...we just bought a big one that can be cut into about 4 nice sized sponges...we paid about 150 yen (about $1.35...maybe).

Whatever they go by.....GO AND GET SOME!!! Holy Moly Batman!! I wish I had time to take a picture of my sink because it is just purdy!! I can actually see myself in the chrome!! And my walls?? Oh!! Amazing!!! So clean! The wall above the stove? Beautiful. The "artwork" on the bed and dresser? Gone! (Didn't really work on the wall "artwork" as it is paper and with a pattern...must try something else! Damn.)
The floor in the kitchen? Looks new!

These little sponges are wonderful. They made the day so much easier!!



And believe me....it was a loooong day!



But it was worth it....the house and garden and car and motorbike...all are clean and we are ready to welcome in the New Year.

We worked so hard that before dinner, we treated ourselves to an onsen ("hot spring" bath) and that was heaven. Then it was back home to a big pot of homemade chili, a couple Coronas, and then some goofy Japanese TV (okay, so we get goofy TV most nights, but since it is the New Year, it's "special goofy TV"!!)






From the Kuroiwa Family to you....

May the "year of the cow" be a good one....may you be safe...may you be happy...and may you always know that you are thought of with a smile and with love.


Happy New Year everyone!!

**This is a part of our New Year decorations...it is called a kagami mochi.....the cow was added for effect!!
This particular decoration is one that most people will have in their houses. I went to Wikipedia for an explanation and here is what they said (those people can explain it so much quicker than I can!!):
Another custom is creating rice cakes (餅, mochi?). Boiled sticky rice (餅米, mochigome?) is put into a wooden shallow bucket-like container and patted with water by one person while another person hits it with a large wooden hammer. By mashing the rice, it gets sticky and forms a sticky white dumpling. This is made before New Year's Day and eaten during the beginning of January.
Mochi is also made into a New Year's decoration called kagami mochi (鏡餅, kagami mochi?), formed from two round cakes of mochi with a bitter orange (橙, daidai?) placed on top. The name daidai is supposed to be auspicious since it means "several generations."

(Actually...the "pounding of the mochi" is another tradition and we will do it at Koji's daycare in January....and yes, of course, I'll take pictures!!!)

The picture of the ship, in front, is supposed to be good luck...we also have little piles of salt by the front door for good luck. The K-man is not going to let a chance pass by to "welcome good luck" into our house!! I may have to go and buy a lottery ticket soon...just to see!!
Have a good New Year everyone....and don't forget to eat some black eyed peas on the 1st!! My grandfather used to say that if you ate a couple of spoonfuls of them on January 1st, then that would be the worst thing you would have to do all year!!! :-D
Big kisses to you all at midnight!!
**mwah**

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

How many more days until the holiday is over?

I have so much to do....I'm not sure where to start...or how...or...oh look, Dr. House is on!
*Thanks Google for the white board and first three items on the list!!*

In Japan, the New Year is a big thing....so big, it is given three days to celebrate!!! When the K-man was a young pup, those three days (Jan. 1-3) were complete holidays...everyone celebrated...no stores were open...no gas stands (or "stations", if you're in the States)...there were no convenience stores back then to run to for something...it was a holiday for family (on the 1st) and friends (after the 1st).

Though today, many supermarkets and departments stores are open and you can find a convenience store without actually trying to find one, the preparations by people (mainly the women, it seems in most cases, but not all) for those days are still pretty much the same as they have been for years and years.

We (as in "we in Japan" NOT as in "me included"!!) have osouji that has been going on for days...weeks, in some households. Souji, pronounced /soe-ji/, is cleaning...but Osouji....is big, biG, BIG cleaning!! Today, walking around the 'hood, we saw so many people outside cleaning windows, gardens, driveways.....even saw a few people outside with their paper doors putting new paper on the frames (not an easy job...we just paid someone to do it!!!). Japanese feel that it is best to welcome in the new year with a clean home.....and yes, this is a good idea....a clean home is always a good thing. I just prefer to do my "big cleaning" in the spring...I'm silly that way.

But...because I am part of a Japanese family...I, too, will be doing some cleaning tomorrow...finding the floor in my room might be the #1 thing on my list. I did get the tree down and decorations put away today, so I feel like I have already done most of my part...but I think that the K-man may have a different plan....it's just that it's supposed to get really cold here tomorrow...possibly even snow...and really....doesn't sitting on the sofa with a cup of hot chocolate, watching a movie sound like a much better idea?!?!

Yeah...tomorrow's going to be fun (and I don't mean the "whoohoo" kind of fun either)....getting the boys to help is going to be the challenge. Of course, after today and all that came with it, they won't have as many distractions, so maybe they can get some things accomplished. Distractions? Yes, distractions like Lego's and Nintendo DS.

Koji lost his Lego's today....and I don't mean lost as in "Hey Mom! Have you seen the box of Lego's?" I mean lost as in "You didn't put them away so I did and now they are gone for awhile."

And Issei's DS? Uh-huh....lost, as in "I told you to come back at 1:00 for lunch.... it is now 3:30 and you are just now coming in, so hand over the DS."

(Insert here the sound of a cracking whip.)

By the way....if you want to find out more about the Japanese New Year and what goes on....you can go here....or here to Wikipedia for a glimpse in this holiday!! I was going through both of these sites and just in case you are wondering...yes, we do most of all that!!

Now...I have to go and find a good cow picture for tomorrow's post. Why a cow? Well, 2009 is the "year of the cow" (or ox...I prefer the cow...much cuter pictures to choose from)...and I want my greetings to be complete!! Plus, I need to get as much done tonight/this morning because I have no idea as to what the K-man has planned for us to do tomorrow. He does seem to really get 'into' this whole cleaning thing. ~~sigh~~I better get to sleep soon...it's going to be a long one tomorrow!!

Good night. oyasumi nasai.


Sunday, December 28, 2008

John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt...That's my name too


Yeah...don't ask me about the title of today's post....it was the first thing to pop into my head when I decided that the theme of day was about 'names'. Work with me here folks...it's late...I've got a ton of stuff to do before I can go to sleep...just keep moving...


So...names. Here in Japan, the names that some owners give to their places of business are generally a source of great humor for me.



For example....

we have a karaoke place named "Voice Shower",
a bar on the second floor of a building is called "The Basement",

a bar in the basement of another building is "Over the River",

I go shopping almost everyday at the "Mama Center",

another karaoke place is "Enjoy Time"...

I could sit here and type and type and type..because there are just that many that make me smile, but, I won't...I'm pretty sure you get the idea.


Anyhoots....a few weeks ago, I noticed a very small, quaint restaurant on a road that I drive on quite often. As with most places here, it just sort of appeared one day.

Then, a student was telling me about this really great Italian restaurant that just opened up and that I "should go because it's delicious".

Come to find out, he was talking about the little place that I had seen.


I asked him about the name of the place because, as I am speeding driving past, it's hard to see the sign on the front and I thought I knew what it said but.....I wasn't sure.


He said the name.

I asked him to repeat what he had said.

He repeated the name.

"Goo-ray-pu Natsu"

And I was all, "????????????".


Did he mean "Grape Nuts" like this??




Well, yes, but no.....it's more like "grape nuts" like these little lovelies...

...which tasted like Baklava disguised as cookies. Yumminess in yo mouth, luvs!!
Taking the advice of my student, I stopped in one day to make a reservation for a couple of my students and myself for Saturday (to celebrate the end of another year!!). The place is cute and comfortable and the owner and his wife (Hi, Natsuki!!) are really friendly. She was in New York for about a year and the cookies are her own original recipe...similar to something she ate while she was in the States!!
While I was talking to them about the name of their place, I asked if they knew what most Americans would think of when they heard "grape nuts"....okay, so yeah, Euell Gibbons comes to mind, too...but he would have been really hard to explain and I was running short on time, so I just tried to explain breakfast cereal...fiber...not very good...crunchy concepts to them.
Here..."breakfast cereal" is pretty much "Frosted Flakes"....hard, crunchy things that aren't actually grapes OR nuts were very difficult to understand.

We went yesterday for lunch...which was delicious!! The prices were very reasonable and I will definitely go back again. I will also tell my students about this place...they like to try new places!


I made a point of taking with me a small bag of Grape Nuts (oh yes, I do have some...I actually like 'em!!)....just so they could see for themselves what I was talking about. We all tasted the cereal and came to the conclusion, very quickly, that we preferred the cookies...hands down!
a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_kZO7Nt-NzG0/SVehRSaPEWI/AAAAAAAADzA/o6P9OSP3mt0/s1600-h/grapenuts+007.jpg">

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And since we are on a "name" thing....the K-man Yahood me the other day...he must have been really bored to do that...but we found out something kind of interesting.

Are you ready for this???

I'm not the only Debbie Kuroiwa.

Now....I can understand other people being named Debbie. In 1962, the names Deborah, Debra and Debbie were #'s 9, 15 and 32 in the Most Popular Names list.

As for the name Kuroiwa, though not the Smith or Jones of Japan, there are quite a few "black rocks" (kuro=black, iwa=rock) running around the country.

But....to have another Debbie Kuroiwa?!?!?! Well...that's just a little weird, don't you think?? Aaaannnddddd...she is 47 AAAANNNDDDDd she lives in Hawaii.

I wonder if she is a teacher, too....THAT would be freaky!!

Have a great Sunday....may many things make you smile today!!!

Friday, December 26, 2008

she is cute and I'm going to call her Lola

If I were a pink flamingo hanging on someones tree or wall....THIS is what I think I would probably look like!!!

I'm mean, really....she's wearing a grass skirt, for crying out loud!!!

Her flip-flops are great...and she's carrying a bucket of fish...though, if it were me, I'd say "no" to the fish and "Come to mama!" to a bucket of Margaritas, or even some Coronas!!


I just got her on Christmas Day.....she's a feisty little thing...the story is that she just "jumped into the shopping cart" as my friend, Lori was doing some Christmas shopping. Aren't flamingos funny like that...and how talented, huh?

This little lovely certainly helped brighten up my day!!

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I wonder if Picasso's mom had days like this??
Picture if you will....a white wall.
And then....imagine a blue permanent magic marker.
Make it a BIG one, you know...for the reality factor.

Put that marker in the hand of a 6-year-old ....

and this is what you get:

Every time I come out of the boys' bedroom, I see this because Koji drew it right next to the door.....and it's not a small picture either. I'm going to say that the character itself is about 10-12 inches tall. A new mantra: "Picasso. Monet. Dali. Van Gogh. Koji."

Poor baby. When I first saw this lovely piece of artwork (and it is very cute!!), I couldn't really talk. No words were coming out of my mouth. Oh...I had words I wanted to say, but..they would have come out like this, " #^@&@*# &@#^@&#)@77#&#&!@@@@!!!" so I thought I'd better just say nothing.

The bad thing is.....this is NOT the first time this has happened!!! Oh, it's the first time you can actually tell what the character is or what was drawn...but, no...we've seen this movie before!! There are other "examples" of his artwork all over the house!!! This one though is by far the largest!!

And the kicker? Right in the middle of the room...on his table that he uses as his desk....was a PILE OF CLEAN WHITE PAPER!!!! aaarrrrrgggggghhhhhhh!!

He spent about an hour with a wet cloth and some cleaning stuff trying to get it clean. Can just you imagine how blue it was when he first did it?!?! ~~sigh~~The K-man has a running total of what we are going to have to replace if and when we ever move from here....we may have to take out a loan just to pay for "artwork"!!

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It's Friday. Christmas is over. Hopefully by the end of the weekend, all your leftovers and holiday company will be gone. I wish you some peace and quiet and some time to just relax.

Here, at Kamp Kuroiwa, we are starting in on the yearly "o souji"...or "big ass end of the year house cleaning" that the majority of people are doing. While most of us of the "foreign persuasion" opt for Spring Cleaning, Japanese like to enter the New Year with a clean house. Though I do my "BAEYHC" in April, I am going to get some things organized/put away/trashed in my room....and then maybe..just maybe.... I'll be able to see the whole floor!!

Have a great weekend!!!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas, everyone!!

It's midnight:15 here....the children are nestled all snug in their beds, while "Santa" waits for her coffee to finish brewing so she can get busy wrapping presents...would hate to wake up to the sounds of said children crying in the morning because there was nothing left under the tree!!
**sigh**
I wanted to make a quick post to wish you all the very best of the holiday season. May your days be filled with laughter and love and may you be surrounded by the ones you enjoy the most...and if those who are surrounding you seem as if they are choking you (as we know it sometimes can be), may your days be filled with lots and lots of eggnog...or Bailey's...Bailey's is good in coffee...any time of day!!! Bailey's makes all things just so much better!!
Hmmm....maybe even present wrapping would be better...yeah....I'm sure it would!! teehee.


Tonight we celebrated with a small party....complete with sashimi, ham & cheese, roast beef, fried shrimp, spicy fried chicken and ika (squid), rice and of course "kid" champagne for the boys and ume shu (plum wine) and Coronas for me and the K-Man.
Under the tree, the boys have put the cookies and milk for Santa and a carrot (for the reindeer, of course!!). Koji put these cookies together for baking and though they don't look really purdy, they are mighty delicious!! (Mom didn't have any peppermint essence, so she used crushed candy canes and they turned out okay. Daddy thought we could just use toothpaste, but...we all pretty much vetoed him down on that one!! "yuck"
The candy canes worked just great!!)

And so....with that....the coffee is done and this "Santa" needs to get to work.
Merry Christmas....Happy Holidays...to you, one and all.



Sunday, December 21, 2008

A story that is the same in any language

Koji, like Issei before him, goes to a Protestant daycare. Like all other churches the world over, the kids perform the Christmas Story every year....to a standing-room-only crowd of parents, grandparents, siblings and friends.


At Yuai, only the older kids are in the performance....the 3-and 4-year-olds are "stars" or "sheep" and each group will have one song to sing.
The 4-and 5-year-olds are the shepherds (singing a song as a group), Roman soldiers, or the owners of the inns.
The 5-and 6-year-olds are the main characters....this year Koji was one of the three Shepherds. All of these kids have speaking parts AND they sing solos...some parts are longer than others, but that doesn't matter.
The show is wonderful!!


I think that what I like most about a Christmas Pageant is this....so many times I'll say something or tell a story and someone in my class will say "Oh we say something kind of like that in Japanese." or "There's a similar story in Japan."


But....this story....the Christmas Story...is exactly the same in any language.

The songs? Same.


At Yuai, there are also a few new ones they have put into the story.
(And by "new ones" I mean "songs included within the last 16 years that are new to me", because that's how long it has been since I've been "home" for the holidays and seen a pageant in English!)
So, I give you now a 'picture slide show in movie form"
(because I couldn't, for the life of me, figure out how the heck to download a slide show from Picasa onto the blog...grrrrr. Anyone willing to give "helpful hints" to the incredibly blond author of this blog suffering from a serious case of memory loss, will gain the love and affection of said author for a really long time..or for as long as she remembers!!)



And just in case you were wondering how Koji did on his song....here's a little extra. I didn't realize that he was going to sing at that exact moment and my camera wasn't ready so I missed the first part. Crap. (I hope it uploaded okay. Let me know if it didn't. Thanks.)

We could almost title this, "The Shepherd with a scratchy leg"......but we won't.

video

I wish you a day of songs sung by children and warm feelings in your heart that make you smile all day long!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Flaminament? Ornamingo?

The pressure from the younger men in this family finally got to me and the tree is now decorated...the stockings are hung just waiting to be filled with goodies.
In the midst of all the lovelies that were chosen to be displayed this year....

...two make the cut every single year, without fail.


And then...we have this.



Yeah....not every one, my friends, can get away with wearing something like this.
(Here's where you say, "Why yes, Debbie...you DO look good in that!!")
The things I do in the name of "Flamingo Friday"!!!
(Just for the record...I wore pink sox, too!!
(Thanks Mom for the sweatshirt! I was just too cute today!!
And the scarf you made?? Matches the flamingo's scarf and hat....did you plan that?!?!)


It's late....I'm tired...we have to get up early for Koji's Christmas Pageant tomorrow morning....a class in the afternoon...and then flu shots for all my boys (and moi) after all that...it's going to be a full day...topped off by ice cream....ice cream after flu shots sounds pretty good to me...I'm thinking the boys will agree.



Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Divine Intervention? Good Karma? Freaky Coincidence?

Or...maybe just a great combination of all three??
Today did not start out to be a very good day....at all. I didn't sleep well last night worrying about the "Santa SOS" I had found myself in on Sunday evening.

Koji's daycare, which is attached to a Protestant Church, is having its annual Christmas Pageant this Saturday. (It's a good thing I know the story and the songs because it's all in Japanese!!! My grandfather thought that was so wonderful...."no matter where you are, there is God", he told me once. This year is Koji's last year, so he and his friends are the main characters....he is a Shepherd and he tells me that he has memorized his lines and he can sing the song. )

Anyway...after the pageant, of course we have a Santa come and deliver the presents (A small Christmas cake and a Christmas book)to all the kids.


As I am the "lone foreigner" in the daycare, and have been for quite a while, I am asked every year to help them find a Santa.
My data base of "foreigners of the male persuasion" has dwindled incredibly over the years, but...after doing some digging I did come up with a couple that agreed to help.

And then, on Sunday....one sent a message that he couldn't help due to a medical condition ("allergic to red felt and fake beards?", thought I.) and the other guy just plain backed out.


And then....Whoa! Time to panic. So last night I was on the phone to a couple of students who I know are in contact with foreigners and asked for their help.
This morning, due to a lack of sleep from "stress thoughts" invading my consciousness...."what if I wore the suit? Would the kids know?" and other questions rumbling around in my head...I was not a happy camper.


I dropped Koji off this morning and had some time before I had to get to class, so I went into the church for a little peace and quiet and time to gather my thoughts.
I go there sometimes for that....it's a beautiful place and no one bothers me.
I said a quick prayer for strength and guidance and a little help in that Santa Department....and went to my car.


My cell phone was ringing....it was the K-man...."call Mr.C. (one of my students)...he found you a Santa". (Can I get an Amen from someone?!?!)


Still giddy from that news, I skipped went to my class and when I got there, the two ladies who work there were all serious when they said "We need to talk to you about something."
Despite the "oh my God, I've got to find another class!" feeling that hit me, what they had to talk to me about was good....not great....no....absolutelyfreakingfantabulous....IF it all works out!!!


Now, I'm a big one for 'not tempting the powers that be' so I'm not going to tell you yet what it was all about....just believe that:
1. It was great to hear.
2. If this happens, it would mean that "dreams really do come true" because I've been thinking about doing this for 3 years!!!
3. I'm still probably not going to have much money, but....at least there is the possibility of a little more that what there is now.
The day was not going to be so bad after all.
And...tonight..before I went into the daycare to pick Koji up...I went back into the church...sat there for a bit..and said a quite "thank you".



And then....
to file away in the "Reasons we are so happy we met the K-man and married him" folder....tonight when Koji and I drove up to our house.....THIS is what we saw.....
No....those lights weren't there this morning when we left.


(The red lights are chili peppers!!)
And then.....I think I might have cried a little....THIS was just what I needed.
For a man who, every year will say how mendokusai ("bothersome") hanging the lights is...he does it. And he'll say that he does it for me...which is partly true, but.....though he will NEVER admit it....he likes them, too!!!
Here's wishing you a day of answered prayers and wonderful surprises!!!


Monday, December 15, 2008

...and then we did some jamming to Jingle Bells.

Are you sitting here reading blog posts, when you really should be doing some holiday shopping but you're here because you have no frickin' clue as to what to get (insert name here)???


Well...honey....have I got some advice for you!!!



A very long time ago, when I was in university (the first time around!), my step-mother sent me some incredibly wonderful goodies from a company that I have used again and again and again (they like it when I do that, you see!!) for the last 30-some odd years..for holidays, birthdays, special occasions, get well, I'm thinking about you kind of situations!!



If that person on your list has a sweet tooth, likes popcorn/cookies/chocolates/snack food....link on over to The Popcorn Factory and take a look at all the wonderful goodiness they have to offer. The containers that everything comes in are positively the cutest and can be used long after the popcorn (or whatever you choose to fill it with) is gone. The gifts are especially good for families as some of them are quite abundant and will keep the whole family happy...for a short time anyway!!



My personal favorite is the canister with different flavors of popcorn....they are offering one for the holidays that has 7 different kinds!!!!!

(Photo from The Popcorn Factory site.)

Go and check them out. You might find THE perfect gift for someone...maybe even a little something for yourself!!!


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Ah......there it is!!!!


Thanks to the help of these very important things on Saturday night....

I do believe that I feel the slight beginnings of the Christmas Spirit.

Yes, it's amazing what some ume shu ("plum wine") and Elvis can do for the spirit.


I had taken out the holiday Cd's for the party and on Saturday night, while I was waiting to get dinner started, I poured a glass of homemade ume shu and then put The King on.


Amazing.


By the third glass, I was crooning along with E and even tried to get Issei to dance with me.


(He pretty much ran from me, but Koji? He's my dancer. He and I were two-steppin', baby!!)



I woke up on Sunday with, no, not a hangover (surprisingly enough) but, a new outlook on this whole "holiday" thing. After getting some laundry started, this girl got busy.


The boxes full of Christmas decorations actually got taken down, opened, and some things taken out of the boxes.



Lordy, Lordy, but it's beginning to look a teeny-eensy bit like Christmas!!

So...the lights and paper bows are on the tree....the ornaments may have to wait until Wednesday when I have more time to go through what I have, to see which ones "make the cut" this year!! (I have quite a few ornaments and I would need another tree or two to be able to display them all....our little artificial trees are small so if I had a real American-sized one, it might be a different story!!)
Most importantly...the nativity scene is put up. For me, that is usually the first thing that gets done and last thing to get put away. It took me a very long time to find just. the.right. one to buy....the pieces are made of hand-carved wood and they are beautiful, I think.



Since I had worked through that whole "I gotta listen to Elvis" thing, I needed some different kind of music to help me through the day. I have quite a few from which to choose....Hawaiian...Neil Diamond...Jazz..a wide variety of compilations.....Spanish...Oldies but Goodies....and yesterday, I chose Vince Gill and James Taylor.

I also learned a couple things about myself and Christmas music today:

This man......

....this man and his incredible voice can make me cry.


And this man....

...this man, I would marry in less than a heartbeat.

And...he can do a mean version of Jingle Bells. The rest of the CD is awesome, but it was the Bells that got this family a groovin'!! If you don't have this CD, get yourself to the store and buy it today!! You truly won't regret it!!!

So....here you go....click on the link...turn up the volume...push whatever in the way there is because, you might just wanna dance!!! We did!!



Have a great Monday!! I've been singing Sweet Baby James' version of "Jingle Bells" all day and it really has made a difference!!! {{smile}}

Friday, December 12, 2008

Because it's Friday....that's why.


The day mayhem and destruction struck the garden...
it wasn't pretty.




(Twisted? Yes. Funny? Oh, hell yeah.)


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Turn out the lights...the party is over.


Yes...the party that started as a mere thought way back in October...is now a moment in history.


And what a party it was!!!

The place? Perfect.


The guests? Wonderful...all 64 of them!!


The food? Oh. My. God. Delicious.


Did Debbie eat? Not much....she was too busy being the "hostess with the mostess".


Did she drink? Oh yeah...first time in about 2 months she had beer. Lot's of beer.
(She's going to have a headache tomorrow, she just knows....so she took 2 Advil, a multi-vitamin and drank a large glass of water....she's soon going to bed.)


Did she look good? No. She looked "awesome"!! (True comment from one friend!!)


Was it a good party? No. It was "wonderful" and "Oh, so much fun". (again...true comments)


Will she do this again? .......................Ask me again later...like in July.


I didn't get many pictures...had too much going on...but here are just a few...
First of all....
and incredible flower arrangement that I got from a student who couldn't come....

The placards for the tables......(oh yes, I did!!! HelllLLLloo...it's Friday!!)

The idea of a "secret door prize" was new to everyone. Remember the candles I made last Sunday? I used those as the prizes.....there was one of these papers under the table under one lucky person's place setting. (Those are artificial poinsettias, just in case you were wondering!)

One side of the hall....with the buffet table in the middle....Oh the glorious food!!!
(and my friend, Megumi, taking my picture!!)


....and the other side!!


I was so surprised that 6 women had worn kimonos!! They were gorgeous!! All the women looked beautiful...and the men were handsome.
I 'm hoping that people got pictures of the great prizes we had for the Bingo game...some people donated things (shopping gift certificates, a wallet, beer gift cards, a Nagasaki cook book written in Japanese and English...the author's sister is my student) and other donated things that were handmade (quilted pillow covers, leather bag, leather wallet, wreath, scarf, jewelry....).
And I'm hoping that someone got a picture of the food!! Holy Moly Batman!!
The sashimi (raw fish) tray was incredible!!! Koji and the K-man took me to the place and went in to have a look around....I thought that both of them were going to dive into the trays!! Koji was really sad he had to leave and go home to eat curry and rice!!!
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Fabulous Friday Freebie Giveaway Extravaganza!!!!
No....not me....but if you go over to my friend Very Mary's place, she is having a really wonderful kind of giveaway!!! (and by mentioning her doing this on my blog earns me a few extra chances!!). Very Mary is one of those people that, even though she is much younger than you (me!), you want to be like her when you grow up!!!
I wanted to do a whole post about inspirations and who we count as them in our lives and in the "arty" part of my psyche, I was going to mention her inspiring me to venture out into paper craft and all that it can be...but I'm tired and we'll be lucky if this part of the post actually makes sense!!!


Very Mary is a whiz at coming up with great ideas...plus she's a killer at the thrift shops and can find the best of deals!!!
So....if you are interested in a chance at receiving some really great paper products....go and check her out....right here....or see if she has something in her Etsy shop that tickles your fancy...she'd like that (she's fun like that!)!!
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And with that my loves....'tis time for this camper to call it a night.
May your Friday be filled with laughter...fun...good food and cold beer!!!





Thursday, December 11, 2008

As of today (Dec. 11) at 10:35 AM.....



Lost: my Christmas Spirit


Due to a variety of circumstances...some not of my control...the energy to do anything in the way of the holiday is gone....adios...sayonara..see ya later.








Usually, by this time of the month, I have the entrance way in our house decorated with my snowman collection (see...up there...at the top of my blog...that was just part of my collection from last year!)....the nativity scene is displayed and the trees are decorated and we are ready for the holiday.


This year? eh.

I am hoping that after the party tomorrow night (for which I really should be working on some things, but here I sit....I procrastinate so very well!!) I can work on getting some of my usual holiday genkiness ("excitement") back.

On Tuesday, I was feeling so blue that I bought myself some flowers....they helped brighten the mood a bit. Aren't they pretty??


And then this morning...after reading the comments from my last post and realizing that since we don't get certain TV program reruns 24/7 over here, I had completely forgotten about the Seinfeld episode with the "mansierre" (or the "bro", whichever) and was going to go to YouTube and see if I could find it when, lo and behold, my good friend Cheri actually left the link for it!! (Whatta Gal!!) If you have about 6 minutes to spare....or longer if you click on the other links they have for funny Seinfeld moments....go and watch. It made me laugh. Thanks Ladies for reminding me just how funny that show was...and for helping lift me out of "the blahs"!!


Here's something else that helped me today.....


I don't know who he is....but isn't he pretty??

(and I seriously doubt he'll be needing a "man bra" anytime soon!!)

~~sigh~~I think I'm going to put him as my screensaver!!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Warning!!! Please read the following carefully....

Due to the highly sensitive and humorously volatile subject matter of the following post, the author requests that readers refrain from drinking any beverages (at least the first time through) as...and she is speaking from experience here...there is a possibility of spewing said beverage.
Thank you very much.
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The K-man and I have had some very interesting dinner conversations over the past 14 years and tonight's was no exception...oh...except for the fact that it made tea come out of my nose...possibly a first for a dinner time topic. Seriously...I've been chuckling about this all night!!



It only got worse when he sent me an e-mail message with the advertisement he found on the Internet proving what he had told me was the truth. It seems that this particular product was introduced on television the other night and it has gotten to be quite a popular item here in Japan....so popular, in fact, that the little guy and his wife who designed and made these lovelies said that the items are now back ordered and you might have to wait 2-3 weeks for delivery.




What on earth, you might be asking yourself, could this possibly be???


Dear Readers......


I now present to you....


The Man Bra.

Yes, my friends...it seems that men who suffer from "man boobs" are actually asking for support. And they are going to get that support...in white, pink and black!!

A Christmas present, perhaps, for the tranny in our lives.

You can also go here to see more....even though you probably won't be able to read what it says, you don't really need that particular ability...just look at the pictures...scroll down and you can see the "good points" of these bras. (Actually...I think I have one that is strikingly similar..... yet in a slightly larger size....to the pink one!!)

When the K-man first mentioned this to me...after I cleaned up the tea "spill"...I imagined something more in the lines of a sports bra...a jogging bra, mind you...to hold everything in a bit tighter. These? A bit too....shall we say..."girly", me thinks.

Personally....I can't imagine buying this for any man in my life. Yes, I know that "man boobs" are something that can happen and do to the chosen few. But, to actually purchase a bra for any one of those men (brothers, dad, uncles, good friends)...other than those who I think would actually like this and might already have one or three (you know who you are!!), I'm going to have to say....no...sorry...huh-uh...unless of course it was meant as a joke.

Okay...so readers....Man Bras. Discuss.



**Translation of ad by the K-man (who, by the way, does NOT need this item!!) and Debbie.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Procrastination--5.5....Debbie--4.5....damn. beat again.

If this were a true sporting event, a reporter might write that......

"It was a good fight until the last seconds of the game and Debbie scored some well-deserved points but they were just a little too late in the game to make a difference....she was just no match for her opponent. We see a rematch in the near future."


You're wondering about that ".5" though, aren't you?!? Well...from my list of "things to do" from Sunday, the laundry was the "almost".....as I had run out of hanging room outside AND inside (remember....no drier!!!) and yet still had more to do in the baskets....I sacrificed the half a point......will try to work again on the list.....hopefully sometime this week...maybe...possibly....who knows? :-D


My main objective for the day was to get the candles done. They really need to sit awhile to get the full effect of the scent.

So...my day started with a table full of all that I needed to finish this particular task.


I had this stuff....wicks, scent (a lovely "cinaberry"), and colored wax
...some of these warming in the toaster oven. I had to get the wax that was stuck on the molds from the last time I did candles and this is the best way to do that (or so I have found!).
...and this melting on the stove.

I made two different "kinds" of candles....the cinaberry ones and then, I was looking for another "Christmassy" scent but the one I have called "Christmas Tree" was voted down by all the men in the family....."smells weird", they said. Whatever.



So....after sniffing through my scent collection, I ended up with one that, while not so much a Christmas scent, it's still pretty....I chose Honeysuckle Vanilla. Both turned out really nice.

See the ones on the right....I actually used little cake tins for those!! I came across that idea a few years ago and they work really well.


These will used for the "door prizes" and only 10 people will get them. I went to the 100 yen store (beautiful, half-sister to the $1 store in the States!) and found some really cute, small saucers to put the candles on. I wrapped some raffia around each one....

...and put them in nice gift bags (with lovey-dovey English written on them, but...that's just more fun, I think!).
Yes, they would be more suited for something other than Christmas, but....that was pretty much all I could find......a little gold ribbon and some red packing stuff inside...who's to know but you and me...and some of my students who will actually read and understand it?! Believe me...all will get a giggle!
Here's what I am working on this morning...the goody bags. The bags have a snowman memo pad, a couple of wintery pencils, and some Christmas candy. It's not much, but....my students will enjoy the contents, I think.
**By the way....if any of my students are reading this....SSSHHHHH!!! Don't say anything to anyone!! It's a secret, okay? Okay! I am open to giving out "be quiet" presents!!!
Is my house clean? No.
Can you see the floor of my room? In certain places...yes.
Is the laundry done? No. It's rainy today and not a good day for drying.
Christmas decorations and tree? Hahahahahaha!!!
Not yet.
Am I still in my pajamas? You betcha.
Have I even brushed my teeth yet? No...but will do so soon.
No classes this morning so will work some more on that list from Sunday...maybe...I might just go and see what FOX has on its line-up this morning...THAT is sounding like the thing to do for just a bit.
Have a wonderful day!