Friday, March 27, 2009

This....just makes me smile.

I don't know about you, but....really and truly...from the bottom of my heart....Thank God It's Friday!!!

More tomorrow, after I have spent some much-needed time cruising around YouTube and then getting caught up on the backlog of blog posts that have been waiting patiently for me.

(I've been a really sucky reader this month week...not sure why, exactly, but....I'm bowing down in many directions to show you...yes, you....and oh,too....that I'm feeling bad about neglecting you. I wonder if there is a Hallmark card for this?!)

TTFN, my friends. Happy Friday!

Monday, March 23, 2009

And the preparation for 1st Grade begins

Public school kids, all over Japan, have one thing definitely in common. They all carry a randoseru, or special backpack to school. (If you'd like, you can read more about the randoseru over at Wikipedia.) Traditionally, girls had red ones and boys had black ones.

But nowadays, more colors are being made and sold. While boys will usually stay with the darker colors (blacks or blues) and some girls stick with the red...there are many that choose to be a bit different and go with orange, green, or pink.

These bags, which are usually purchased by grandparents, can run anywhere from about $90 to close to $500. There is actually one that I saw listed at about $850!!! Granted this backpack will last for the 6 years of elementary school, but still.....$850?!?!?! No...sorry...I don't think so.

Tonight, when Koji and I got home, sitting on the table was...a box....a big box....and in that box....his new randoseru!!!

The excitement that ran through that little boy's body was so much fun to watch. From the time he and dad opened the box, to the time he went to bed...I counted 7 times he had the randoseru on and was walking around the house....practicing.
You Koji, finally getting the randoseru means that he is truly going to be a
pika pika ichi-nen sei, or a "bright and shiny, 1st Grader".

And this.....makes him very happy!!!

Koji, 5 years ago with Issei's new randoseru.......

....and Koji, tonight, with his very own.

He is such a happy camper.

May we all find something that makes us feel this good, if even for a short time, at least once a day!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Koji's Graduation Day....March 20, 2009....and Spring!!

Anatomy of a Kindergarten/Daycare Graduation
The day was perfect. We woke up to sunshine and warmth and it was an absolutely beautiful day. The ceremony was nice, with tears being shed by many...yours truly, included. Yes, I know that crying at a ceremony for one so young is a bit, maybe silly, but, it wasn't only for that.

During the time when the incho sensei (the principal) was reading each student's certificate, she read not only their names, but also birth date and how long each one had been coming to the daycare. Koji, for example, has been going to Yuai Daycare for 6 years and 6 months. After listening to about half of the kids' being read, it dawned on me that here in this room was a group of kids that Koji has been with since he was a baby. These were kids that he has played with almost everyday of his life....and in 10 days, he will say "good bye" to them. Oh, he will see them at times, we will make an effort to get together, but still.....6 years is a long time.

And then...something else hit me...and hit me hard.....I have been going to that daycare, seeing most of the same teachers, almost everyday for over 11 years. When we first started going there, my ability in the Japanese language was so incredibly low....but, in spite of that, the teachers and I formed a bond of friendship that I am going to miss.
It was the incho sensei who, when I was fired not signed to another contract at a job I thought I loved, who let me sit in her office and just cry because I was seriously at a loss at what I was going to do next. She speaks no English, yet, she sat there...listening...with one hand on my arm and the other handing me tissues.

We have laughed about funny things that the boys have done (and believe me....we laughed a lot!!), they gave me advice and support, we talked about being a foreigner in Japan and different things about the English language. (I was the one who explained why it wasn't such a good idea that the older kids were 'flipping the bird' to each other and it probably should be stopped before someone did it to a person who understood what it actually meant.)

Other than the K-man and my family, this is the longest relationship I have had. I'm probably going to go through withdrawals....they said I could always stop by. That made me feel a bit better. But now, I'm trying to find a way to adequately say "thank you" for being such an important part of my sons' lives...for taking such good care of them while I worked....for being there, when I couldn't does one do that? I'm thinking that a Hallmark card might not do it.
I have a couple ideas that I'm bouncing around....what about you? Any ideas? are some pictures that we took to remember the day. Go ahead and watch...speed through if it gets too boring...I don't mind! :-D


After the ceremony and before the party....we ran by Grandma K's to pick her up and then we all went to the temple. Friday was a National Holiday to celebrate the equinox, but, it was also the day in the middle of what the Japanese call "o-higan"....a time when many Japanese go to the graves of their ancestors and pray. As my father-in-law doesn't have an actual grave, his bones (yes, his actual bones, not ashes) are kept at the temple (I'll tell you more about that later...that's a whole blog post in of itself!).

While we were walking up the stairs, the boys noticed that the cherry blossoms were starting to do their was quite lovely up around the temple. Spring has come to is a beautiful time of year, probably my favorite. All over the city, the cherry trees are filled with buds and some early bloomers and hopefully even with last night's wind and today's rain, they will be okay and in full bloom probably sometime by the end of the week.

Here are the pictures we took of the cherry blossoms....and the camellia tree in the middle of the yard of the temple.

Oops...I just notice that one picture is on there twice. Oh's still pretty!!

I wish you all a day with some spring in it!!

Friday, March 20, 2009

some flamingos...and then color my butt in bed and asleep

Today for Flamingo Friday, I thought I would share with you some pictures that people have sent to me. It' s great that the pictures were accompanied with "I saw this and thought of you" messages. That totally makes my day!
So, to Jenn, Ms. Lea, my BFF Dena (Will the plastic one fit in a suitcase, you think?), my student Yasuko who is studying English in Calgary, and the K-man....the smiles I have right now are thanks to you!!!
Happy Friday everyone!!!

Just in case you were wondering....Yes, the graduation went off without any trouble...except for the fact that Mom's hair looked like crap (that's okay, because thanks to a cold?/the flu?/a sinus infection?/ allergies? she felt like crap, too!)...but she did find an outfit and yes, she looked pretty good despite the hair that wouldn't do right, Dudley!!!

I took some medicine earlier and am now feeling a big hoojie...and hooji-blogging is not good blogging, my friends. So...I'm going to leave you with just a couple pictures and a promise to give you more details tomorrow ('cause I know you're just a'waiting, right?!)

Mom and the boys....all dressed up and waiting to go. seriously....the tie, the jacket, the shorts (with suspenders) and the knee socks...not just anyone can pull off an outfit like this!!
What is it about little boys and pulling socks up waaaaay over their knees?!?!
Yes...someone pulled them down a bit before we got to the daycare....don't want to have a "fashion don't" following us around, do we?

Good night...sweet dreams...may the meds kick in soon and help me to feel better!!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Of Kisses and Sharp-dressed little men

I am a lover of kisses. Both the real kind **mwah** and the chocolaty kind.

If you go HERE to the main site of the very famous chocolate company that makes the most delicious little bits of chocolate yumminess, you can find out all sorts of interesting stuff. I have to admit that I was a bit curious as to how many different kinds of Kisses are actually made. According to Wikipedia, many flavors are "limited", some are "international", but I'm thinking all are delicious. Have you ever had a bad Kiss?
(The candy ones, my dears, I'm thinking we've all had at least one bad one of the other kind!! Blech!!)

I do have a special weakness for the peanut butter ones....and the cookies n'creme ones...and ones filled with caramel ones....and...well...I could just go on and on. can add another kind to that list.....this one:

One of my students brought back a bag from her trip to Hawaii. Yes...macadamia nut Kisses. They are.....maybe not as high on the list as the peanut butter or the caramel ones, but, the top 5. A huge Mahalo to my lovely student...thank you so much for thinking of me. We do so appreciate your kindness. (The caramel corn was great, too!!)


Tomorrow is a special day for us here at Kamp is Koji's graduation from kindergarten. Here in Japan, kindergarten is NOT a part of the public school system. You can choose a private kindergarten or, as in Koji's case (and Issei's before him), the last year of daycare is the equivalent to kindergarten.

Graduation is a pretty big deal here. Everyone gets dressed up in their "good clothes" (Issei got a new pair of pants and shirt, the K-man got a new tie, and Mommy? She hasn't decided yet what she's going to wear....grrrrrrr.) The little girls will have on new frilly dresses and the boys might have on their jackets and ties. Everyone is sparkly clean and on their best behaviors. After the ceremony and all the pictures have been taken, the parents, some of the teachers and the kids (of course) are planning on going to the Best Western Hotel for a nice luncheon to celebrate. It is indeed, a very special day.

Here is a picture from Issei's graduation in 2004. He and his friends looked so handsome.

Graduation marks the beginning of the end....the end of Koji's daycare life. On April 1, he will officially go to the "after school care program" that Issei goes to most days, Saturdays and during the holidays. He will be leaving his daycare friends.

As was the case with Issei, Koji is the only one that will be attending this elementary school. Everything and everyone will be new. He does so dearly love his friends at the daycare and we spend most mornings on our drive there talking about how he can meet his friends maybe during the holidays and how he is going to be making so many new friends.

This is a little scary for my usually brave little man.

I know that he will be fine. We just have to convince him of this.

Last night, after bath (hence, the wet hair), we did a dress rehearsal of sorts, for Koji. He has a different jacket and shirt...but the tie and the shorts are the same ones Issei wore...which is really funny, because I don't think of Issei as being that small~~he's pretty husky, now!!

One very excited 6-year-old.

I'll try to post pictures from our day in a day or, I really have to dig through my closet to see if I can find something...anything...that will be appropriate for tomorrow.
~~sigh~~This could be very interesting...wish me luck!!

**Pictures from Google Images and my camera.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Just an opinion by little 'ole me

Seriously...I got such a chuckle today. On the Yahoo main page, I found an article about Disney's "Race to Witch Mountain" which raced to No. 1 at the weekend box office , bypassing expectations with $25 million in ticket sales.Witch Mountain.

The article went on....and here is where the chuckling on my part came in:

"I think audiences this weekend were really drawn to the action adventure of 'Race to Witch Mountain,'" said Zoradi (President of Disney Motion Picture Group). "There was also this element of parents over 30 who remembered the original and were drawn to this one, so I think that combination is what helped us exceed what folks in the industry thought this movie was going to do."

Memo: To Mr. Zoradi

From: Debbie

Sir: While your opinions on why this movie is so popular are valid, might I give you another little something to think about?

As moms are the main ones to accompany their children to movies...especially Disney movies...your theory looks good on paper...but.....this....this looks even better. Think about it, Mr. Z.

I'm just saying.

Friday, March 13, 2009

A mis-diagnosis and then we turn Flamingo Friday up a notch or two

Koji update: Yesterday, I thought we were over the worst part of this whatever it is that the little man has....boy was I wrong! He woke up this morning...fever of about 37.9 (about 100 degrees for those of you dealing in Fahrenheit!) I cancelled classes again and took him into the doctor to get some more medicine.

While we were there, the Dr. did another influenza test...on Monday, the results were "negative" and so we were given cold meds and sent on our way. Today....the doctor looked at me with a really perplexed look on his face and said "Koji had influenza." The results this time were positive. Well, what?

Too late for the wonder-drug Tami flu (or however you spell it!), so he said that he was almost over it and would be fine in a day or two. Alrighty-right then. So...I took him to grandma's (I actually had classes this afternoon) and when we came home this evening, I gave him some 'little kid Tylenol' and put him to bed. I felt his forehead and palms and he isn't as hot as he was....please let's hope he on the road to recovery!!!

Thanks to all of you for your concern...through comments, e-mails and Facebook. Soon, I hope to post of picture of "Genki Koji"!! :-D


I volunteered for this meme from SmallTownMom Name 10 things I like,all beginning with the letter she assigned me: F

"OK, Debbie, your letter is F. Seriously....I didn't pick it because of your flamingos! I wrote down a random list of letters and it's the next one."

Personally...I'm thinking it's just great blogging karma!!

Here we go!!!

1. Flamingos.
(You were expecting maybe something else for the first one? Silly you!)>

(The K-man sent me this picture!!)

2. Flip-Flops

From the kind-of plain.... the pretty fancy. I love 'em.
3. French Fries
Sure...the regular ones are good, but....
...I prefer the curly fries.

4. Fajitas
Someone once asked me what my "last meal" would be (in the event I were ever in that particular situation) and this would be it.

5. Football
(oh how I do miss my football!! Go Broncos!!)

6. Fresh Flowers

7. Flirting

(And just for the record...I'm pretty good at it, too. I have an award...Senior high school..."Biggest Flirt" can check it out.)

8. Fall Out Boy

If you need some rocking music to get you going or when you're walking or exercising...I suggest you give these guys a try. I've downloaded 2 of their albums and I do like them a lot.

9. Fragrant Candles

These are my weakness. I'm partial to vanilla and freesia scented ones, but...pretty much any scent will do!!

(These are the ones I made for the Christmas Party!!)

10. Facials and Feet Massages

If you want play, let me know in a comment and I will toss a letter your way!!
(Thanks GoogleImages for all the pictures except that candle one!)

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Yeah, so it's Thursday...I've started something here...

Random Bit #1

It's a boy!!

Our friends Mel and Tatsuro just found out today that they have been given the "okay" for the adoption of a little boy they have been working so very hard to get!!! They have been filling out papers, going to interviews, having visits and overnight stays and waiting...always waiting to see if they were going to be approved. happened!! My heart is just so full of excitement and happiness for this couple....they have wanted this for so very long. They will make wonderful parents and that little 3-year-old boy is one lucky little kid to get to grow up with them.

Congratulations.....and welcome to the wonderful and wacky world of raising little boys....let the fun and adventure begin!!!

**Issei...3-years-old...asleep...wearing his new sea monster goggles.**

Random Bit #2

After 4 days of this.....

...Kamp Kuroiwa is now on its way to getting back to regular chaos normal. Koji's class at the daycare was struck by some kind of wicked, evil bug that took most of the kids out of school this week. Since Sunday night, he has had a high fever and complained of headaches and his tummy was (and I'm seriously quoting on this) "hoojie". That's my boy!!!

Today, he is home again, but the fever is gone, with only a lingering cough that will soon be history, also. It's amazing how different it is around here when one of the boys is yelling....such 'mixed emotions' I am wrestling with here!! But, I am glad he is feeling better....a quiet and lethargic Koji is not good....makes Mommy kind of sad and she wishes she had magical healing powers.

Random Bit #3

Not to tempt the Gods and Goddesses any, but....have you heard the latest news on air travel?

Last summer, when we were making plans to try and come "home", the surcharge that was being added to tickets (for the high fuel costs) was adding a total of about $2600 to our tickets. According to random (of course) sources, it seems that from April, those surcharges are going to be drastically cut. They will go from 80,000 yen per ticket (about $800) to possibly less than 5,000 yen ($50).

As I am once again tossing about the idea of coming for a visit this summer, this bit of news makes me oh so very happy!!!

Now....again with those Gods and Goddesses and planets and moons and whatever it takes to make this happen...let's just hope we can get some good prices on tickets...great connections...and that my gracious, wonderful friends (Waving Hello to Southern California and Denver!!!) will let us camp on their sofas and floors for a day or two!!

Just in case...I'm going to the temple to say a prayer and make sure I have enough good luck charms to cover this!!

Random Bit #4

A special announcement:

This is to let all interested parties know that the PS (Packrat Society....not to be confused with the BS group, of which I am also a member) will be trying to schedule a meeting for sometime in the near future. We would like to discuss certain topics such as "Living with Compulsive Clutter Disorder" and "Disposaphobia is something we can beat." We are also looking into asking guest speakers who are known for their confusing ability expertise in these areas. If you are interested in joining this group, please contact Debbie. Thank you.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Hi. My name is Debbie. I'm a packrat, but I'm trying to change.

I admit it. I tend to not ever throw anything away in case I might need it later hang on to things a bit longer than what I should. If you ask my mom about this little problem of mine, she would probably roll her eyes and say something on the lines of "Oh, she's been that way forever!!"
And yes, she's more than likely right.

Yep...that would be me.

The thing about my messiness, though, is this: it is organized messiness. No really...ask me where anything is and I can tell you exactly where it is. I think that the K-man sometimes does this just to see if the object he is asking for can actually be found. Silly man. You would think that after 14 years of being together he'd learn. Bwahahahaha!! Bring it on!!

Yes, I'm creative and using this as justification for my messiness has worked well in the past, except now....I'm going to have to readjust my thinking.
My oldest, and I cringe as I type this thinking of what my mom is going to say about this....yes, my friends, he is just. like. me.~~sigh~~
Funny how I can handle my own room being "creatively untidy", but as a mom with a child who thrives in an area like that? NO WAY, YOUNG MAN!!!
(I'm pretty sure that my late-father had a hand in this....this would be just the sort of thing that he would be ROFLhisAO about!!!)
Because children learn by observing...I have become a cleaning maniac this weekend!!! As he and his friends kept coming in and out during the afternoon, not once was I not in my room working. The pile of stuff that was for "trash" kept getting bigger and bigger.

I spent most of yesterday and a few hours today going through stuff and pitching out...throwing away...getting rid the things that really.....I don't need...don't use...don't even know why I have kept them anymore.
Tomorrow is trash day and there are 5 bags...5 heavy bags of trash waiting to be lugged to the gomi station...the trash "cage". My goal is to have 3 bags of trash from my room every trash-day until this room is clean.
(Note to self: buy more trash bags!!)
Many times in the past 24 hours, I have thought that having one of these would be easier.

Actually, while I was going through 6 years of magazines, newspaper clippings, pictures, class worksheets and what-not....I kept reminding myself of my 2 new ways of looking at this whole cleaning process:
*1. Clean and throw away stuff like I would if I were packing up and moving.
**2. If something, God forbid, were to happen to me tomorrow, how would I feel about people going through my stuff? How much do/did I have that would be totally embarrassing to me...even from Heaven (to which I'm sure I'd be going!) would I want to reach down and say "Oh no! Don't open up THAT box!!!!"
So, there you go. A new goal for me and hopefully, if the the Gods are listening and the moons and stars are aligned, then Issei will see this and realize that he, too, can change. I may have to leave more than subtle hints for him, but....we'll see.
Wish us luck.
And...if the Gods are REALLY listening and the moons and stars are aligned perfectly, then THIS well be on my front porch tomorrow when I wake up!!

Hey...a girl can dream, can't she?? teehee

**Pictures from Google Images.**

Friday, March 06, 2009

a great-hair day just makes everything so much better

Today....was a great day....even though it started out rainy and a bit dreary, it was the complete opposite of Monday...and believe me..THAT was wonderful!!!

About 11:00, the sun came out and it was beautiful...still chilly, but the sun was out was so nice.

Leaving the house this morning after no mishaps or arguments with getting Issei on his way to school, I glanced in the mirror one last time (you know how we do!)....

and seeing my hair doing exactly as it is supposed to pretty much put a spring in my step and a smile on my face.

It was going to be a great day!!

I may not have an incredible ponytail like the great ponytailed one, but....I can still have that same feeling with my short, slightly messy looking locks!!

My classes went great....and Issei's visit to the doctor today after last night's coughing fest turned out good because it was just his allergies acting up and not something more serious. Got some meds...some spray...and he will be good to go in about 8 days!!


Went into the Urban Dictionary, you know, just to see if MY word hoojie was in there...and....butter my butt and call me a biscuit!! It's in there!!! But.....I'm thinking that I need to get in touch with the powers that be over there, because my definition is just a bit is what they say it is:
A word that should give one a sour feeling; it is used often like a noun or adjective to describe something distasteful. The word can be stated randomly, without any prompting, and one should let out a slight chuckle (ever so slight). One could describe another's words to be "hoojie," or one's ideas, but hoojie cannot describe another's clothes, or their accessories.

No...I don't think so. Definitely going over there when I'm done here and see what I can do about adding another definition. My friend Jenn mentioned hoojie in her blog the other day....maybe what we need is more exposure....hmmmmm....proof of usage...I feel a plan coming....!!


Shana tagged me for an award! And it's an ass patch that I am supposed to pass on to ten people, link to their blogs and then comment on their blogs informing them of the honor of joining the sisterhood ass patch for your jeans award sorority. **But, I'm going to be a bit lazy and just send you all an e-mail message...okay? okay.**

FYI....the K-man is working on making an iron-on of this award even as I type. He's nice like that!

To continue with the "shaking up of things", I'm following Shana's lead and going with the last 10 commenters on my blog who have blogs of their own (bloggers that I do truly enjoy and count on almost daily to brighten up my existence, for a bit!!).

So step up, sisters, and accept your ass patch award!

Post it on your site, then tag other blogs. If you want to continue this trendy trend, make it the last 10 commenters on your blog :-D










I'm working on getting another award out, but this one is taking a bit longer than I had initially thought. I have to make the right choices, ya'll....sure wouldn't want to make any mistakes!! I'm thinking I'll get it up tomorrow...maybe Sunday....yeah, I way to get people to come back, right? :-D Oh well....a blogger's got ta do what a blogger's got ta do. :-D


Just in case you thought I had forgotten.......Some fun new friends from my BFForevah

(Dena, I do love ya, honey!!).

*Picture from the catalogue **The gang hanging out at the keyboard and then finally.......***My favorite one of the bunch. Aren't they all great!? (but that last one especially!!)

Now I'm trying to figure out where to hang my new lovelies!!!

Happy Friday, everyone!! I wish a good hair day to you all!!

Thursday, March 05, 2009

bumbkiss? bumpkiss? however it's spelled...i still got nothing

Many days, a thought will come to me that I could post about and (if it's possible) I will make a note in my handy-dandy notebook. But...for the past few days....zilch, babies, absolutely nada. I'm going through a bit of bloggy blues, it seems...can't post, reading is difficult and I can't even come up with mediocre comments...might be due to the weather, which is absolute crap right now. Last weekend was so nice and almost spring-like and now? Cold. Wet. Rainy. Blech!

AAaaAAAnd....I got some really nice bloggy love stuff last week----one of them is for passing on to very special friends and in the process of thinking about which friends to send it to, I worked myself into a very nice and tidy case of homesickness. ~~sigh~~

Calgon.....take me away!!!

So.....I'm just going to leave you with some random stuff ('cause you know I do random so well!)...and hope that by tomorrow night, we'll be ready to rock and roll and get over this whatever it is I got happening here.


Which 'morphing of debbie' do you think is the best...Faith or Reese? I asked the K-man and he just laughed...there might have been some snorting...sometimes I really don't like it when he does that.

MyHeritage: Family trees - Genealogy - Celebrities

MyHeritage: Celebrity Morph - Family history - Ancestry search

Since my mom is the number one throw your panties on the stage type a big fan of the Neil-meister, this is for her.
(The previous snarky behavior of the K-man helped in deciding to do this one.)

MyHeritage: Family trees - Genealogy - Celebrities

After looking at these pictures, I am so happy that I went ahead and treated myself to the good cell phone....

...with the awesome camera!!!

"Just beautiful" she said, while simultaneously typing and patting herself on the back.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Just because I feel like I deserved it, dang it.

As far as Mondays was a Monday in every sense of the meaning.

Waking up with some hoojiness still in my system and needing an extra cup of java to get my butt genki. (awake)...

Crabby little boys not wanting to get up in the morning...

Backpack not ready to go to school, even though Mom was told last night
"Of course, it's ready...I told you it was."....

Realizing that I had forgotten a load of wash in the machine yesterday and having to do it again because it didn't really smell very good....

Headache starting about 2:00...just in time to walk over to the school for my "walking home patrol" duty and walk 3....three...little 1st graders from our neighborhood home...3. I cancelled a class so I could do that because it's my responsibility......

Coming home about an hour later than usual and having to get dinner on the table...

Having an argument with little "dr. jekyll/mr. hyde" Koji about bad manners and yelling at Mommy and how both of those are pretty much NOT what we do around here.....

Realizing that a)the hoojiness was, yep, still there and b)there were no beers in the fridge.

Yes...because of all that (and a few other, smaller little tidbits)...

I deserve THIS tonight....
...and a little bit of this....

....and...oh yeah...some of this......

Just saying a little prayer thanking God for all the beauty and goodness that surrounds me that makes me feel better when I truly reach out and embrace it (oh Lord, if I only could!!).


Gosh....prayer really does help. I feel a little better already.

Happy Monday may come back for inspiration anytime you feel a need for it...or if you just want to look at something vrrrrry nice.