Friday, February 25, 2011


look what i noticed in our garden today...
the weeping willow-esque ume (plum) tree that is in the corner of our garden 
is blooming.
though there are only a few blossoms now, 
the promise of the sweet aroma to come is definitely
something to look forward to. 

spring is by far, my favorite time of year, i think.

******* what i bought at the fabric store the other day.....

flamingo fabric?   check.
sewing machine?   check.
an idea for something for that niece of mine?   oh yeah....check..
i'd love to tell you, but....i want this to be a secret...just in case it doesn't turn out like i'm imagining it to be...
i have classes and whatnot tomorrow so will have
to wait until sunday to do this.
wish me luck.
*what do you think i'm thinking of making? can you imagine?*

happy friday, everyone.
may you have something to look forward to this weekend!!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

of weddings...birthdays...birth days....and hopes and prayers

in the last fourteen days, we have had a rush of events and occasions here at kamp kuroiwa.
one pretty good and another?
absolutely freakin' awesome.

on saturday, i attended the wedding of one of my students.
actually.....she was my student when she was in high school.  she graduated 13 years ago and for the last three years, has been my student, again, in one of my smaller classes.
when she was in high school, she was in a group of five friends that hung together in the class....when the k-man and i were about to get married and were moving into our first apartment together, they came and joined the many other friends that helped us move.
in the 5 years at that high school, i taught so many students and i pretty much just fell in love with almost all of them.  they were all such really great kids.
when i think of my time at that school.....
i smile.
the teachers...the was all just a wonderful package.
but these five girls....
i have watched them grow and become the most incredible of young ladies.
one of them is in australia, where, i'm thinking, she will probably live forever....the last time i saw her, i realized that she was actually more 'foreign' than she was japanese.
another is happily married and has a little gorgeous little girl....
one spent a year in canada on a working holiday visa and is now back working in a research lab at the university hospital doing the office work and helping in the lab,
another one also works at the university hospital, but in the office of one of the big departments,
and then....there is shiori.
she was working at the city library, but has moved since her husband was transferred to another city.
and it was her wedding we attended...well, everyone but the one in australia...we missed her.

the wedding was beautiful....they had a western-style ceremony in the chapel, performed by a foreign man (most of the ceremony was in japanese, but the prayers and blessings were in english...
it's very trendy now).
the reception was small and very elegant. shiori wore two dresses....a white wedding dress and then she changed into a fabulous evening gown.
the food was delicious.
the cakes were yummilious....there was a 'cake buffet'.
we may or may not have over-indulged....just a little.

our friend, tomomi, got the bouquet and was very, very happy.

so even though i woke up early on a saturday morning, had on pantyhose before 8:00 in the morning, had to ride a bus for 2 was still a pretty good day. case you're wondering....the black dress from my christmas part rocked another party!!

i wish only the best of everything to
shiori and kenji....congratulations.
and thank you for letting me share in your very special day.

on first baby...

....the one that makes me smile sometimes....just by looking at him.....
.....the one who sometimes likes to go on adventures.....

the one who was really happy when his little brother was born....

 the kid who loves a good costume...

and though it's not as evident these days so very often, he really does love his momma....
(oh yes he does....i promise)

he's the kid that looks matter how old he is or where he is...
and he's the one who also loves a good cake...
fyi...carrot cake with real carrots on it. yeah. we're all cool like that 
yeah....he really likes a good cake....
.....this "baby" turned 13 on sunday....
happy birthday, issei!
you're a nutter sometimes, but...we love ya!!
i have 6 nephews that range from 8 to 18 years old.
i have 2 sons that are 8 and 13.
i love "my boys"...all of them...almost more than life itself.
in my mom's family, technically, i'm the only girl
(i'm thinking "princess aunt debbie" sounds good, don't you?)

in my father's family, there are three girls.
and now....
one more.
yes, my friends.....
i have a niece.
she was born on valentine's day and she's. just. precious.
it's a girl!!
i'm so excited to be able to go into certain stores and actually look for stuff to know..for other
than myself!!!
Congratulations to my sister and her husband.....
aunt debbie is oh so very happy.

but tell me, honestly....
do you think it's too early to buy her a bento box? or a back pack?
or a really cute little thermos?
from me and those around me...
we are sending hopes and prayers for those in new zealand.
what a tragedy this is to happen.
we are eternally gratefully that those we know personally there are safe
 and hope that others will be found soon.
may those who have lost loved ones or who are still searching
find comfort in those around them.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

...when a nostalgic memory almost brought it all to a standstill...

yesterday....i was on my way home from a doctor's appointment.
i had rushed from my morning class to the clinic to get there before the "last call of the morning", which was at 12:30.  i hadn't been able to stop for lunch so i was pretty hungry.
i had bought a Pepsi Nex (not sure what it's called in the States,'s a pretty good diet cola) and was stopped at a light.
remembering the peanuts (omiyage {souvenir}brought to the class by a student),  i dug in my bag to find one i had saved for something to snack on until i made it home.
the light turned green and as i drove off, i popped a few peanuts in my mouth and took a quick drink of the soda.
at that moment,
a nostalgic feeling of tsunami proportions washed over me.
i almost had to stop the car the feeling was so strong.

somewhere in my memory, i am with  (and here is where i'm a bit fuzzy)
my Granddad Vess...or maybe even Daddy Charles...
i'm standing in the the old Jett Hardware Store (a store long gone from my hometown),
the doors are open (as they sometimes were during the summer), the wooden floors polished and shining.
the sounds of the men talking over the day.
the smell of cigarettes in the air.

the feeling started as soon as i took a drink of soda to wash down the peanuts.

somewhere in that memory
someone put some of these...
in one of these...
for a cool afternoon snack on a hot summer day.
and at that time and place, oh so long ago,
it was just delicious.
and many years later...a half a world away...
i was that little girl again, spending the afternoon--or at least, a few seconds--
 with a grandad (or daddy!) that she dearly loved.

MRI update:  the examination went okay.  i'm still curious as to why the one on my back took almost 20 minutes, but the one i had on my knee? oh yeah...30 minutes!!  wild.
i go next thursday (or friday) to get the results.  until then...i'm to take it easy, don't do anything that will cause  pain ("Duh!!") and continue wearing the brace".
done. done. and done (or at least, most of the day!).
thanks for your good thoughts.
sure do appreciate them!!

a last note:
how silly is it when the spell checker recognizes "Duh" as a real word!?

**Thanks Google for the Images**

Monday, February 14, 2011

this post is brought to you by the letters L, W, M-R-and-I, of course....F

**I started this particular post a couple of weeks few days sidetracked by life and now, I'm back, thinking that I need to get this finished or it'll be lost forever.**

Happy Valentine's Day!!

If you celebrate it, I hope it is a wonderful one for you.
Here in Japan, we do things a bit wonky.
To make a long story short:
girls give boys chocolates;
if a boy likes you, he'll give you something white a month later;
sometimes girls give chocolates because they are obligated to...they don't mean anything, really.
No flowers.
No heart shaped boxes of chocolates for girls.
No balloons declaring feelings of love.
Pretty much sucks. my one-person crusade to change all that, I made some Valentines for the little girls I teach.
They weren't anything too terribly whoop-de-doo, but....
I put them in really cute envelopes.
I delivered them to their mailboxes.
Nine little girls love me.
(And one little boy...I gave him a small box of chocolate...he said "This is cool."
I know.  I rock.)

And yes....I did give chocolates to the hub and sons.  Of course, I did.
I know I'll get something really nice on March 14 (White Day).
I also threw together a spongecake with whipped cream and fresh strawberries....
Oh! and  I bought myself some flowers.
Happy Valentine's Day, Debbie.
And to you, too, of course!!!

....and now...back to our regularly scheduled blog post.....
is for....
i'm thinking of heR so often....she had heR suRgeRy on thuRsday (last week)...and the message fRom heR dad lateR in the day was that she had come thRough the suRgeRy and was sleeping.

**update....she is home, resting, hanging out with her mom and some very good meds....she is in a bit more pain that what she expected and is taking advantage of the pain relief she was given.

Rest my fRiend.
let youR otheR fRiends and family take caRe of you.
heal, my fRiend.
be stRong.

And on a related note...
is for
Lila had her surgery on Thursday....a double mastectomy, my friends...and by Saturday evening....she was home.
Now....I know a hospital is noisy and the food is terrible and Lila laughed at me and said "oh Deb, you've been in Japan too long."
But, really?
Two...2 days???

Here.  In Japan....that surgery would require, at least, a 3-week hospital stay.
(I asked many students and "3 weeks" was pretty much the minimum they came up with.)

Maybe, doctors here do tend to keep patients a bit longer than what is truly necessary...but as the K-Man said, "What happens if a patient goes home too early and something bad happens?"
Well...there is that.
But....2 days???


A long time ago, there was a list of "You know you've been in Japan too long when......"'s going around...some were really funny, and yes, I've been in Japan too long.
  I think this would have been a good one:
You know you've been in Japan too long when you think nothing of going into the hospital to have a baby and not being able to leave for 6 days.

But, that's how we do it here.
So, last Wednesday,
 I'm wearing my very cool American-made shoes...
...minding my own business, on my way to hula class, when suddenly....
unbenownst to me, there was some water on the sidewalk on which I was walking...
and in what I'm sure took only a few seconds, but seemed much longer since I was doing that whole slow-motion kind of thing....
my left foot?

My right knee went
It was not pretty.
It was, though, pretty damn painful.
Also...a bit embarrassing as it happened in the afternoon at a place where many people are milling about.
Again with the long story short---
Big swelling...went to drained said knee
(ew. That was  totally gross.)
Doctor gave me a knee brace that, when I put it on, I'm referred to by the men in the house as
"Bionic Debbie".

I have a date
with this bad boy

Some other letters, having to do with my knee, were tossed around by the doctor, but until we get the results back, I'm not going to say them.  I believe that we sometimes tempt the Gods and this is something I don't wanna mess with!

Okay...I just realized that most of my post today has dealt with medical stuff and complaining about aches, pains and medical procedures.
I apologize.
I'm obviously channeling my grandmother at the moment and this will pass soon....really, it will.


is for...

Have a great Valentine's Day, my friends!!!

Dear friends,
I want to say an extra special "thank you"  for all your kind words in your comments from my last post.
No, I haven't found my R, but....
it's in my heaRt....Lila knows it.  I know it.
I'll find it someday...hopefully, I won't need it then.
Much to YOU, my fRiends.