Friday, January 30, 2009

The "no title...just a Friday post" post


Yesterday, the weather here was pretty crappy. It was cold...rainy...and the wind was blowing big time. NOT a great day to be out and amongst 'em.

But....there I was...amongst 'em. And I'm so glad!

You see...yesterday was the annual
Kyushu Hula Association in Nagasaki Annual Hula Party.

Take 461 Japanese women and one American.....dress them up in their finest of performance outfits....let them gather at the Best Western Hotel in the largest of the ballrooms they have....add some live Hawaiian music by a really good band...give everyone food and drink....let them dance when a song comes on that they know....give them a chance to win some great prizes for everyone at the table.....and what do you have?

You have, in spite of the inclement weather, 462 extremely happy women!!

The last few posts, I have had the 'unintended theme' of age and growing older or, better yet, the denial of the whole process.

I have to chuckle a bit to myself here now. Did you really look at the pictures from the party? In that room yesterday, I was surrounded by women of all sizes and shapes....and seriously...there were maybe....maybe 10 of us under the age of 50!!

These women are amazing. The outfits they wore would rival any at a hula show in Hawaii. The colors were so bright. Some of the flowers in their hair were amazing. One woman laughed when she told me that one of the main reasons she does hula is because she can wear colors and outfits that she would never wear outside the house....and wasn't the hair accessory that she just bought pretty? (Yes, it was, actually!!)

One of the best things about this group? I am one of them. I'm not "Debbie, the foreigner." but, I am "Debbie, the tall one with the big smile...and, oh yeah, she's a foreigner." I even got pulled up on the small stage, just like many others, to dance a song we know best. Oh sure, I don't understand most of what is being said around me, but....I noticed that many of them slowed down their Japanese for me so I could follow the conversations. THAT was a wonderful thing!!

We laughed. We laughed a lot!!

Also, since I had not seen many of them since August, the comments about my weight were so flattering. "Where did the rest of you go? (That one made me laugh!!) You look so smart (smart = thin in Japan)! How did you do it? Please tell us!!!" were enough to make me get over the "Meh! Diet schmiet." feeling I have been experiencing since the holidays. No more, my friends....those last 5 kilos? I started working on them today! They will soon be history, baby, like the other 12!!

When it was time for everyone to change back into their "regular" outfits, I noticed that these women are a bit.....dare I say, different, from your basic Japanese obasan ("older lady"). They have a bit more flair about them....their lipstick is a bit brighter than others...their hair? Perfectly coiffed. Earrings? check. Necklaces? check. Make-up? Amazing. Many of them seem to walk as if they have a special secret and they really want to tell you, but....they won't...they'll just tease you with it for awhile!! They make me smile.
What a great day it was!!


Let us be grateful

to people who make us happy;

they are the charming gardners

who make our souls blossom.

--Marcel Proust.

How true. How very true.

I wish that for you today....something that makes your heart feel happy. It's a great feeling....and then, may you share it...pass it on.

Have a great Friday!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

I took a test and it's official......

I am Sponge Bob Square Pants!!!

(The boys will be just thrilled when I tell them!!!)

Here's what the "test" also told me:

You are the classic person that everyone loves. You are the best friend that anyone could ever have and never wants to lose. You never cause harm to anyone and they would never not understand your feelings. Life is a journey, it' s funny and calm for the most part Stay away from traitors and jealous people and you will be stress free. know...if you ever need it or in case it comes up in a conversation or's just information to keep in the back of your mind.


And in keeping with an 'unintended' theme from the last post.....

No matter how young you feel, this one hurts. . .

Now...I'm going to go and read an article I found interesting in the latest issue of AARP....if I can find my glasses, 'cause you KNOW my eyes aren't what they used to be!!


There is a quiz going around on the e-mail circuit that asks many different of them is:

How old are you today?

My answer?

"Today? Hmmm....I think that I'll be 38. Yeah...38. That's how old I am today."

Sunday, January 25, 2009

A message for Mom

The other day I got one of these in the mail.....
...knowing that it was from my Mom, I quickly opened it up and as usual, it was full (seriously...she is the Queen of Stuffing Those Suckers Tight).

I posted a few months ago about her and these wonderful little packages that she sends to me every 2 weeks or so. When I first got here light years 17 years ago, she was so good about getting something in the mail pretty much every week. Back then, we didn't have these handy-dandy little mailing it was manila envelope or small box, all the way.

Anyway.....this particular package contained some reading stuff for the boys and I.....two weeks worth of:
The Mini Page (a fun page for kids from the newspaper),
the comics (Oh, bless you!!) and
the county newspaper...of which I read every. single. word. (Remind me when we talk next...I have some questions about some things!!)

There were also the monthly magazines that we look forward to...yes, even the religious one!!

There was also Dave Barry, the crossword puzzle, an editorial and a special section from the newspaper about Buffalo Bill (I do love historical stuff about Colorado!!).

Then....a shock.
I know I should prepare myself for things like this, but, I forget sometimes in my total excitement for all the wonderful goodies, that you sometimes toss in some reading material that does bring some "What the $&%*!! is that?" into the whole situation.

I mean.....I know this particular magazine has some really interesting articles...something about maybe getting finances in order....and then some other stuff about....something....

I'm sorry.....even just typing this out I'm having a hard time keeping my emotions under control......for you this package...

was also this month's copy of


Holy Hell Mom!!! It's not like we haven't had this conversation before.....may I refer you to
this post....(go on the the part at the end. I'll wait for you to come back.).

It's not that I don't appreciate the thoughts behind the articles...I do..and I'm sure that the information will prove to be vital to my life.
This is YOUR mother's magazine.
It's NOT for ME!!!

SO, if you feel compelled to do this again (I'm pretty sure you will!!) and if you would like to spare my much younger feelings, might I suggest that you use some old wrapping paper...
birthday....Christmas....shoot, even an old newspaper or grocery bag would work (you could write a note or a poem or make a list of all the ways you're going to make me pay for these posts on the paper!!!). Use something you were going to throw away anyway...what a great idea!
Old wrapping paper

around the cover.

Think about it.
**I love you!!**

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Say "good night, Debbie-doodle"......

Since staying up until about 3:30 watching the inaugural festivities on Tuesday night/Wednesday morning and theeeeeEEEEn getting up at 6:30 and doing my very best impersonation of "seize the day"......I still haven't caught up on my sleep.
It's midnight here...and I'm exhausted.
But....since it IS Friday......

And...since it HAS been such a very long time......
I wish you all a great Friday....may it be a really good start to what is going to be a wonderful weekend!!!

Oh!!! One more thing.....
It seems that I missed the whole "delurking day" last week.....I managed to do some delurking of my own, but didn't say anything here. is your chance, you lurky-loos you.....make a comment...please. I do so love to get them...and who knows, I might just send you a message back....(I'm kind of crazy like that!!) You don't have to say much....come know you want to. And think of how happy you will make me!!

To those who come back here, time after time and leave really great comments....
thank you.
Did someone ever give you flowers...for no reason...not your birthday or anniversary (yeah, like THAT would ever happen here!!!) or anything....they gave you flowers just because they were really nice people who liked you and knew the kind of flowers you liked?

When I get comments.....that's how it makes me feel.
All warm fuzzyish all over. And thank you for that.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

My Pledge....

I pledge

to do what I can

to help change the negative image that we Americans have
with people from other countries around the world.

Knowing that I am hated just because of where I was born or that my children are disliked or bullied just because their mommy is an American makes me incredibly sad.

(And if you think this doesn't happen....think again.)

I pledge

to become 'greener' and encourage those around me to do the same so future generations will have a beautiful and safe place to live.

I pledge

to not be in such a hurry~~slow down and save gas~~ everyday, to take my time and spend more time with those who mean the most to me~~my family and my friends.

I pledge

to make Random Acts of Kindness part of my daily routine. It just takes one to make someone smile...and that makes me smile.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Happy Monday....

Here's how it goes for some of us expats who have been away from "home" for far too long:

We start to forget holidays and celebrations from our home countries.

Oh, not everyone does this....and not all the time. But me? Yeah.....I do...a lot of the time.

I find myself having to really think to figure out exactly when Labor Day vs. Memorial Day is.

I remember the days themselves, but I forget as to where they fall on the calendar.

Which is why, when I began reading blogs this evening and many people were talking about the "three-day weekend", I was all like..."Eh? It's a holiday?"

I'm starting to lose it. It's been slowly happening, and thinks it might be official.

Martin Luther King Day. I remembered. Really I did.

To my American blogging buddies....have a great weekend. I hope that you are spending it doing what you love to do. To everyone else....what are you doing? It's getting late!! Get your lazy butts to work!!! Go on....I'll be here when you get back...or if you're at work, when the boss leaves the office!! :-D


A couple of months ago, I got an e-mail with a link that truly made me laugh out loud. It was to a website that I have found myself returning weekly to see what is waiting for me.

(on a quick side note...does anyone, when or if you ever type "i found myself", also want to type "even though i didn't know i was lost"?? do i? mmmmmaybe.)

Uncle a hoot. He explains the news in a way that is pretty damn entertaining!!
Go and check out this week's update all about President-Elect Obama. It's really good!!
Uncle Jay Explains the News's a pretty good place to visit! And while you are there...and if you have the time, check out some of his other videos. Good stuff, my friends, goooood stuff!

(This is Uncle Jay, by the way. )

I wish you all a momentous kind of day.

(And if I were in a Dr. Seuss-y kind of mood I'd end this post with gay....or may....or even fray....but I'm not really in that kind of mood so I'll just leave you with....

oyasumi nasai. (Which is close enough, wouldn't you say??)

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Making 'keeping warm' a little, well...warmer

Today was a bit of a melancholy kind of day. The weather was cold and sometimes rainy...the K-man took his mom and uncle to a funeral (I'm still not really sure whose it was...isn't that terrible??), the boys were outside (yes, in the rain...but with umbrellas!) playing for part of the afternoon and me? I spent quite a bit of time sitting in my favorite chair, wrapped up in a wonderful piece of handmade comfort and remembered someone that I miss something terrible.

This quilt....lovingly handmade by my sister-in-law is a "working" memorial to my father, who passed away three years ago. This is "Grandpa Charles' Blanket".

As soon as the weather turns cool, it comes out of storage and is a permanent item in our living room. All of us have spent time under the warmth of that quilt at one time or another...and like Grandpa Charles himself, that quilt just "makes you feel good". (Koji's words!)

I was lucky enough to have two fathers I call my own. One, I was born to, the other, I was blessed with. Charles had been in my life since I was about 3 years old when he married my mom. We had a good that grew stronger, year by year. Oh, we had our problems (Hello! Teen-age years?!?), but....we all survived.

When Daddy passed away, my brothers and their wives and I had the job of going through the bulk of his stuff. Since he had just moved back to my hometown, he hadn't really unpacked all of the boxes and that made the job of sorting through things so much easier.

(This was Daddy and my cousin Vic. YeeHaw there cowboys!!)

Among all those boxes, we found a couple that were full of jeans. No...not Levi's...are you kidding? Daddy was a Wrangler man....and in those boxes were a few years worth of many jeans....all neatly folded....starched within an inch of their lives, because, well, that's the way you do your Wranglers in Texas, don't ya know?

Looking at all those jeans, we couldn't imagine what on earth we were going to do with them. Daddy, you see, used to be really thin. And his legs? Oh skinny. Looking at my brothers, we realized that they were never going to fit into them...and by the time my nephews got tall enough and big enough to wear them, well....we just didn't want to have to find someplace to store them. So, my sister-in-law took them....maybe she could find something to do with them.

And she did.

She and my mom ripped apart all those jeans, then she cut them into squares and with some beautiful pieces of flannel, she made quilts for my brothers and I. If you go back up to the top picture, you'll see that she put one red square at one corner and then three at the opposite corner....I am the oldest...I am 1 of 3.

I had no idea that she had done this....and two summers ago, when she gave it to me....I had no words that would formulate to tell her how much I loved her for making something so incredibly wonderful. I stood there with tears in my eyes and all I could say was "Oh!! Daddy's jeans!!"

If you look very closely, on most of the squares, you can see the creases that were made by years and years of being starched and pressed by the cleaners. Whenever I see those creases, I just smile, remembering all the razzing we used to give him about those jeans and how spoiled he was having them cleaned, starched and pressed every time they got dirty. But...that was Daddy. And without those creases, the quilt just wouldn't be the same.

In memory of Daddy Charles.

March, 1940-January, 2006

Daddy and me....March, 1995

I wish you all good memories and happy thoughts today.

May they make you smile.....and feel warm all over.

Friday, January 16, 2009

T*G*I*F.....really...I mean it

Hero Worship

"We're not worthy!! We're not worthy!!"


Despite the fact that it has been an interesting week, what with all those pen light creations and many, many more in the works....I'm going to jump on the "my kids are making me nuts" bandwagon that seems to be making the rounds to many of the blogs I read.

On Sunday and Monday, Issei worked his little butt off to finish his winter homework that he stuffed behind his desk and then told me he didn't have he conveniently forgot to tell me about....and then we did a little math tonight to help him figure out exactly when his DS is going to come out of exile. House rules are that he only gets to play his DS on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday during school...and I told him that since he played for 14 days (pretty much every day) during the winter holiday and didn't do his homework, then, for the next 14 days, he would not get his DS. Thinking that he had finished one week, he was feeling pretty good thinking that he only had one more week to go.'s look at this again....not next week....try sometime in February, my little friend. Try in about 4 more weeks, my love!!! (I didn't count the days he doesn't get the DS....that would be silly and nice of me and since he blatantly lied to me about that beforementioned homework....nope....not going to play it that way. New rules, baby!!)

Seriously...after all this finally sank would have thought I had told him that he would never get it back!!! " HAVE to give it back to me. I won't make it that long. I have to plaaaaaaaaay."

Ooh...and something I learned tonight....when a 10-year-old boy is really mad and ranting like nobody's business....don't ever smile. That makes them really mad. "This is NOT a joke!!"

And then there was this morning........

Here in Japan, the majority of the houses are heated by kerosene heaters. These are not the heaters that your Grandpa used to have out in the garage because your Grandma was afraid the damn thing was going to blow them all to smithereens. While some people still actually use that kind of stove, (those actually are the hottest...or that's what my MIL said and you can cook soups and stews on the top!!), there are many brands and models to choose from, depending on the size of the rooms you want to heat and how much you want to spend.

At our house, we have a newer version of the kerosene is called an "electric fan heater". It still uses kerosene, burns much cleaner. And's incredibly toasty. We have three in our in the kitchen/living room, the K-man has one in his room and I have one back here. And yes, that means that if you are in a room without a fan heater in our house, you are cold...really, really cold! (BUT....even though the toilet is also like a refrigerator, we have heated toilet seats that are, well....just heaven on a cold winter morning!!!)

That was the conversation I had with Koji this morning:

Koji: Mom!! Can I turn the heater down?

Me: (in the kitchen, with a scarf around my neck because I was just an ice cube!!!) What??? Why would you want to do that???????

Koji: Because I'm hot!!

Me: ............................................(Looking at him from the kitchen.........)

Me: Then....move your little bottom away from the heater!! Any closer and you will be IN the heater!!!

Koji: This is such a pain. Just push the button and turn it down!!


**This was him actually after he had already moved back a little. Another rule of the house....If you are on the little blue rug, you are too close! Move back!! **

It's Friday. The end of the week. The start of the weekend.

I hope you have a wonderful....relatively stressfree weekend!!!

And cake.

I wish you cake.

Strawberry cake would be great, don't you think?!?!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Fun with Pen Lights


How we entertain ourselves after dinner here at Kamp Kuroiwa

Here is the after-dinner conversation that started it all:
d: "How was your meeting today?"
k: blah blah blah blah...something about taxes and more write-offs.
d: "What do you mean I can have more write-offs?"
k: "Parking receipts, shopping receipts...."
d: "Shopping receipts??"
k: "Like at the stationary story for paper and pens."


k: "That pikapika site was really good, wasn't it?"
d: "yeah...I watched so many of them and posted about them that night."
k: "We could do that."
d: "Eh?"
k: "I have a pen light."
d: "Really? We can do that?'
k: "Of course."
d: "Cool. Let's do it."
k: "I'll just go get my pen."

And then....the fun began!!!

It took us a little bit to get the hang of how to do it and how to time it just right, but...after two sessions of playing with the lights~~one before dishes, the other after~~I think we have the makings for many, many more projects!!! The boys even got into it!! And for those who actually know the K-man...really...this doesn't surprise you, does it? :-D
For something in the future....I see pictures set to music...with more colors of pen lights!! Thank goodness I'll be able to write them off as "Teaching Supplies"!!!

By the way....on the last line...after the two 'happy faces'..."dad", "mom" and "kids"....kind of hard to read...sorry!! Also that one next to the last....the K-man's attempt at lips!!!

Posted by Picasa

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Of deLIGHTful procrastination and pounding mochi

Hm....let's's Sunday....
*Sleep late? check...woke up at 10:00.
*Get dressed? check...but sometime around noon.
*Chat on Yahoo Messenger? check...with two friends, actually.
*Talk to Mom? check...for about an hour.
*Make dessert and potato salad to take to dinner at friend's house? check...both delicious.
Get Issei's desk clean and room vacuumed? check...he also is almost finished with homework.
Clean room?....damn.
Plan for classes on Tuesday?
Do some blog reading? ....well...double-damn.
And thanks to the K-man and this group on YouTube, I got very little else done.
As I was about to do some blog reading, he came in and told me about a group in Tokyo that he saw on TV last night. They are incredible. The name of their group is PikaPika...pikapika means bright. After you watch this clip, if you are interested, go to their site and check out some of the other amazing stuff they have done.

This isn't done with fancy computer graphics...just a group of people with cameras and pen lights. If you go to their site, they have a bunch of shorter clips they have done...the "Happy Birthday" one is really good and what they did to the Statue of Liberty is pretty amazing!! All of their clips are good!! I love to see people being creative!!


Mochi pounding....another Japanese tradition that we really like!!

According to those great people over at Wikipedia:

Mochi (Japanese: is a Japanese rice cake made of glutinous rice pounded into paste and molded into shape. In Japan it is traditionally made in a ceremony called mochitsuki. While also eaten year-round, mochi is a traditional food for the Japanese New Year and is commonly sold and eaten during that time.

Mochitsuki is the traditional mochi-pounding ceremony in Japan.
Polished glutinous rice is soaked overnight and cooked.
The cooked rice is pounded with wooden mallets (kine) in a traditional mortar (
usu). Two people will alternate the work, one pounding and the other turning and wetting the mochi. They must keep a steady rhythm or they may accidentally injure one another with the heavy kine.
The sticky mass is then formed into various shapes (usually a sphere or cube). Kinako mochi is a mochi dish that is traditionally made on New Year's Day for luck. This style of mochi preparation includes roasting the mochi over a fire or stove, and then dipping it into a mixture of soy sauce, water and sugar, before finally briefly coating it in kinako (soy flour).

And that is what Koji and I did at his daycare yesterday....

** one place I typed "moshi" when it should have been "mochi"! Sorry!! Cold fingers make typing a bit more challenging than usual!!**

For not really doing much, we were kind of busy!!

I hope you all had a chance to see the moon this weekend...holy moly, but it was be-yoo-ti-ful! The boys and I did our "moon dance" on Saturday night...we were lucky because it had snowed and rained all day long but, about 5:30 it was clear enough to see the moon long enough to do "our thing" in the garden...and then we came in and sat by the heater!!

Have a great Sunday everyone...may you feel good even if you don't get everything done today!!

Friday, January 09, 2009

If I lived in the States.....

....I would want to live very close to this....
Everyday, I would prefer drive to work in this....
These would be my "shoes of choice" on most days....

And I would probably always have this full of coffee or, if after work, full of something else.

And I would most definitely have these in my yard...

You know....I just realized...
I do live relatively near the beach and
I do have that thermos cup full of whatever with me on most days.
I don't have a very cool, old green Chevy...but I do have a middle-aged,white, Toyota that looks like something an old grandpa would weekend....
I'm surfing the net for
some flamingo stickers for my car
I'm going to see if my military base connection has access to some pink "fun" for my yard
the first stop will be over at that Vans site, because those shoes?
Yeah. They rock.
I love Flamingo Friday!!!
You....have a great one!!

*The images on this post are from Google Images, Vans, my camera and MoxyJane (YOU rock!!).

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Holy Moly, Batman...It must be gomi day!!

Yes, my friends, after the long holiday during which the gomi (trash) was NOT picked up...the city of Nagasaki is looking quite...not so pretty.

This morning, the 'gomi station' near the community center where I had class, was literally piled high. "What a great thing to post about," thought I...and I proceeded to take a few pictures making the three little ladies walking past me smile...I'm pretty sure that one laughed.

I could just imagine the conversation they were having:

A: "Was that incredibly beautiful foreign woman taking pictures of the trash?"
B: "I think so....I wonder why she was doing that."

C: "Well...I read somewhere that foreigners actually like trash and they sometimes dig in it to find things."

B: "Do you think she's going to dig in our trash?"

A: "Maybe we should go back and keep an eye on her."

C: "No, we can't...we'll be late to the grocery store and all the eggs will be gone."

Here in Japan, we take our gomi quite seriously. Well...think about it...the country of Japan has a population of about 128 million living in a space that is slightly smaller than California!! California, by the way, has a population of approx. 37 million...and....just to make this more interesting...the population of the United States is about 301 million!!

Yes...gomi is an issue that we are dealing with...we have to.

When my mom came to visit a few years ago, she made the comment that you needed a lot of patience to figure out our gomi system. In my hometown, all the trash goes into one bag...and the trash man comes to pick it up. If you want to, you can don't have to, but you do have that option.

Here? We have no options.

In our part of town, we have 4 different gomi bags....other places have 5!! for burnable trash..nama gomi (raw trash)...paper (but not newspapers for they have their own day and pick up!!), food scraps, etc.

Yellow...plastic bags and containers and styrofoam. Here is where you put the labels and lids to PET bottles...yes, we take them off!! for glass bottles, cans and PET bottles with the labels taken off and disposed of in the correct bag. for all other non-burnable stuff...things that don't fit any other category. If you have broken glass or pottery, for example, you put it here. One day, I found a toaster oven wrapped up in a blue bag...if you are a "dumpster diver", these are the bags you want to look in!!

When I first came to Japan, we didn't do this...or if we did, I was naive and unknowingly playing the "Gaijin card" (foreigner card). Ask any foreigner who has lived here for any amount of time about gomi and I would almost lay money that they have a story...we all do.

For example, my friend of mine lived in an area where the "gomi police" was a little old lady who would watch to make sure that you didn't put the trash out before you were supposed to. We all have specific days (ours here is: Monday--burnable, Thursday--burnable and all other trash) and my friend was leaving very early on gomi day for a short holiday. To save time in the morning, she put her trash out the night before. But...when she went to leave her apartment the next morning....she found her trash bag...sitting in front of her door. One important rule of that neighborhood: Never put your trash out the night before.

Many times I have driven by gomi stations and have seen groups of people going through the trash bags to make sure that no one put something where it is not supposed to go. A few weeks ago, on a Thursday, I came home to find one bag of trash sitting all by its lonesome where the gomi station is. Curious....I walked over to see what the deal was and found that it was OUR bag (the Corona bottles were a dead giveaway!!). Looking more closely into the bag, I could see that someone had not taken the labels or the lids off the bottles of coffee that he drank. was the walk of shame as I carried the bag back up our stairs. Thank God we live close and I didn't have to walk far!!

(Another look at the gomi pile this morning!!)

Tomorrow is our gomi day...and because someone didn't wake up in time and get the gomi out on the last day before the holiday, we have our own small mountain of bags that need to be taken out to the gomi station. It's going to take a few trips.

Okay...okay....It was me! I woke up late! Sheesh! It's not like I didn't take off a freaking label or anything like that!!!

I gotta get to's going to be a long day early day, actually, as tomorrow is the first day back to school!! Poor Issei is NOT thrilled....he's more upset that I found out that he out and out lied to me about how much homework he actually had during the winter holiday. The boy is in trouble BIG TIME!!! I foresee the Nintendo DS being gone for a very. long. time. Oh yeah...Momma was NOT a happy camper.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Tomorrow's Monday? I have classes?

Really.....I should be hanging on, swinging here....
...because..remember that list of things I needed to get done...


Honestly...I tried to get something done today...I really did.

I was in my room earlier, going through some clothes and trying to sort out the different piles
(1. can wear/ 2. won't wear/ 3. haven't worn in many years but might be able to now /4. trash and /5. "fat" clothes I refuse to wear again.).

During the holiday, I didn't consciously make any New Year's resolutions. I find that when I do make them, I put too much pressure on myself and then the guilt trips I can take myself on!?!? Honey!! Please! No, Thank You!!

But...I do make semi-subconscious ones and when I was looking at pile #5, I told myself that we would never....EVER...wear those clothes again. make a point to myself (because, really...sometimes I just don't pay attention!)....I dug out a denim jumper that I have/HAD....then found some Hawaiian material that someone brought from their trip that I have been wanting to do something with and in about an hour and a half later.......

Voila! I give you....denim on one side/Hawaiian print on the other place mats!!!
(Don't look too terribly close...I'm not much of a seamstress ...I'm sure they are waaaay below the standard of what most of you can do...BUT...I've never made these before...had no clue as to what I was going to do and I learned a few things for the next set!! My sewing is a work in progress...I think they turned out okay....but again, don't look too close!!)

And we's midnight...Sunday night... I still have classes tomorrow...and I still have planned absolutely nai!

It seems, so far, as if 2009 will be no different from 2008...oh well...I'm a veteran teacher...I can do this. My ability to "drop back and punt" when it comes to lessons is astounding. Really. It is.

I think I'll go now and find some "Knock Knock" jokes for the kids I'm teaching tomorrow. They lived in the States for a year and the oldest girl's ability is really very high. I taught her some of the easier ones that I know and I think I might have peaked with:

Knock knock.

Who's there?
Hutch, who?
God bless you.

**She cracked up at that one...and the next 2 girls thought it was pretty good too!! The boy? He finally got it, but it took a few times of doing it. The baby? She doesn't really care!! And yes. They have 5 children!!**

I may have to resort to elephant jokes.
Anyone have any good ones?? Maybe if I just Google "elephant jokes"....or "kids jokes"...hmmmm.....wish me luck!!

**Images thanks to Google Images and Natalie Dee and Me!

Friday, January 02, 2009

We're just a party waiting to happen

(AND....this stuff can be easily packed and taken to another location if necessary!)
Happy Flamingo Friday, everyone!!

According to the Meriam-Webster on-line dictionary:


1 a: disinclined to activity or exertion : not energetic or vigorous b: encouraging inactivity or indolence 2: moving slowly : sluggish

synonyms lazy , indolent , slothful mean not easily aroused to activity. lazy suggests a disinclination to work or to take trouble. indolent suggests a love of ease and a dislike of movement or activity . slothful implies a temperamental inability to act promptly or speedily when action or speed is called for .

See example:

This was me. All day long. No, not with Koji relaxing with me on the sofa, but for the most part, it was just me. On the sofa.

All day long.

I did get dressed...if you call a sports bra, ratty GAP sweatshirt and a pair of old, hand-me-down, thread bare, I-can-see-my-knees and the color of my panties jeans that really should be trashed dressed. I'm pretty sure that I brushed my teeth. I put my hair in a bandanna and voila! ....good enough.

There was no newspaper today so really, there was no need to go outside. I did have to stick my head out the door when one of the boys' friends came over looking for them...but it was just for a few seconds...not enough to qualify for "going outside".

What did I actually do today?

I listened to my new KBCO Studio C 20th Anniversary CD that my good friend, Lila, sent to me for Christmas. The radio station KBCO in Boulder, Colorado, every year puts out a most incredible CD of performances in their studio by artists who are in town for concerts. The proceeds of this CD go to the Boulder County Aids Project.

Lila, the dearheart that she is, will stand in line for this CD every year because there is a limited number of CDs available....and yes, I know she also buys one for herself...I appreciate her buying one for me so I always offer a lot of sympathy when she gives me the "I stood in line for 2 hours, in the snow and cold....just for you." guilt trip spiel. I love ya honey!!

I also watched about 5 episodes of the sitcom "Joey"....from the second season. I didn't even know that show lasted that long!!!

Even though I can totally understand why the show tanked, there were some incredibly funny parts. I'm convinced that the writers know my brother D. because some of the Joey's lines....I could hear my brother saying exactly the same things!! (And just for the other brother? Yeah...he could have been Chandler. When we all get's a laugh a minute...though sometimes, only we think we are really that funny!!! I think I'm probably Phoebe....just in case you were wondering....maybe Rachel.)

Today....I also did a lot of thinking about getting prepared for classes that are starting back up on Monday. Mental preparation for going back to work takes a long time...I may need another day to work on that.

The thing about today is this.....I almost never get the opportunity to do this. There is always something that needs to be done, someone to be taken somewhere, shopping to be done, lessons to plan, mothering to do, laundry and other householdy type chores that have been put off that really need to be taken care of, or a list of 20 other things that are important.

Today....that list? pffffflllltttttt.

The boys? They were off playing for the majority of the day.

The K-man? One of his old high school buddies who lives in Tokyo and only comes back to Nagasaki two times a year is here and they got together at noon with a couple other friends. He didn't get back until later this evening.

Dinner? Leftover chili from New Year's Eve. We made taco rice (taco salad on's actually very good.....the people in Okinawa started this dish!!). Then the boys watched more of the Sponge Bob DVD and me? got it...after a nice soak in a bubble bath, it was back on the couch for me...this time with a romance novel (Sorry Bad was necessary...but I thought of you...and smiled!!!)

Tonight, my dear friends....I wish you all a most relaxing-do nothing-feel great kind of day!!

A pretty normal New Year's Day here in Nagasaki

It's late and I should be tired because we had a full day....full as in "busy" and full as in "Oh my God, I can't eat another bite!! Hey! Is there any crab left?"....but I'm not really tired. I'm like Issei sometimes....tomorrow is a holiday so going to sleep at the regular time is just silly! {smile}.

We did a lot of walking and climbing of stairs today...but we weren't the only would have thought the cold air would have kept many inside!! But, no...the streetcar was packed and the sidewalk we were walking on was almost dangerous there were so many people.
In Japan, the first visit to the shrine (or temple) is very important and though this visit can be done on any day, most people will try to go on Jan. 1. We went to the largest shrine here in's waaaaay up on top of a hill and there are many,many, many stairs to climb. (Actually...when my mom first came to Japan, she thought I was trying to kill her because I made her climb those stairs...granted, it was in August and freakin' hot and humid, but I did have a cold beer in my backpack as incentive!!)

And then there was the
Random Act of Kindness that almost gave a woman in a wheelchair a heart attack!!

At the place right before the last set of stairs before the entrance to the shrine, we had stopped to take a family photo. As we were about to start our climb again, I noticed an older woman in a wheelchair, slowly inching her way across the way. Keep in mind that the surface of this area is all rocks...and they are not very even. At one point, she got kind of stuck and her chair wouldn't roll up and over.....the people just kept walking around her, no one bothering to stop and help. So....I walked up behind her, took hold of the handles on the back of her chair and leaned in asking (in my most polite of Japanese) if I could help her.

She thanked me and said yes.....I pushed her to a place where she could take over again and as she was turning around to thank me....she realized that I was NOT a Japanese person. If you could put into English what her reaction was, it would be something like this, "ThankyouaaaaaaAAHH!"

I smiled.

She smiled back, bowed her head, then raised her head and looked me in the eyes and said, "Your Japanese is really good."

I laughed...."Thank you very much. Happy New Year."

To which she replied, "Hoppy New yee-ah."

That was just the best.

And so now....the slide show. Enjoy.

I hope that you are having a good New Year's Day.
If you're watching football, I hope your team wins.
If you are running a race today, I hope you do good.
If you are staying at home, I hope you are warm and you are with your family or friends.
And...if you are not with anyone today...thank you for stopping by and visiting us...vicarious visits are good, too!!