Monday, June 29, 2009

Fickle bitch...thy name is Pri.....ahem...thy name rhymes with Slicefine

Remember a couple posts ago, my question about rent-a-car companies, especially ones that said they would give you a great deal and you could name your own price?
**Thank you all so much, by the way, for your comments!!*
Remember....I had found one company that had said they could get me in a car in L.A. for about $22 a day?
WHEN will I ever learn that if I get too excited about something too soon, I am sure to be disappointed?
Obviously, this is not a lesson I will learn anytime soon.

Long story short....yes, they accepted my bid of $22.
The companies they deal with, on the other hand, "did not accept" my offer.
But....I would be able to put in another offer.....but not for the next 24 hours.
So....I played their game for a few my bid up to about $40.....and
not accepted....why don't you raise your offer a bit?

And then I got really.....

Okay. You wanna play this game.
You talkin' to me?
I'll play.
I spent a few more hours days trying to think of an alternative, whilst waiting to see if my last offer had been accepted....when....
An idea!!
(an energy-saving one even)
Doing a bit more figuring and plugging in dates and times and what-not, I realized that it is waaaaay more expensive to rent a car from LAX than it is a few miles away.
**And for those of you who knew this and think I'm kind of silly for NOT knowing it, please keep in mind that I don't live judgement on many things is pretty cloudy.**
Some more figuring....and I also realized that I could get a car from a reputable company about a 20 minute walk from our hotel (right across from The Mouse, man!!) for about $33 a day.
Add to that, the cost it will be for the four of us to get into one of these babies....
...from the airport to the hotel (and back about a week later!) and I'm still saving more than $150...from what that other place could give me!!!!
"More than 40% off the regular price" big, white fanny!

I wonder if I'd be pressing my luck to think that we'd get a car like this? wish you something that makes you you can go anywhere, kick butt, take names, and still have time to go and get a pedicure! you've got some time and you wanna know a little bit more about me...I wanted to try my hand at writing something other than blog posts and ended up spilling my guts all over the place over at The Colony....a place I obviously feel very comfortable doing both.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

just a thought.....

Watching this last season's American Idol, I had to chuckle about all the brouhaha concerning Adam Lambert and his obvious love of all things cosmetic. From his "guyliner" to the black nail polish (that "shocked" Randy Travis!!)....Adam never failed to entertain. Oh yeah...and he can sing, too.
Though this might have been a bit much for 'small town America' to handle....from an "entertainment" point of view--he pulls this look off very well, also.
One group of students and I were talking about why this was such a big deal. The idea that in America, where anything seems to be acceptable, a man wearing make-up could cause such a discussion among so many, was really very interesting.

Now...from a Japanese point of view....a man wearing make-up...
not such a big deal.
And...I don't know if you are familiar with Japanese entertainers or not, but on any time of the are bound to see one of these men or any number of the others like them on pretty much any kind of program you turn on.

Yeah.....they make Adam seem pretty harmless, don't they?

I have to admit that when the whole "guyliner" thing came out, I thought of an episode of Friends.....enjoy!!

Adam....come to Japan. We're okay with your look. You'll fit right in with the rest of the boys!

*Pictures....thanks to GoogleImages.

Friday, June 26, 2009

It's I really need another title?

When I opened the door this morning....this incredible hibiscus greeted me.

The drive to my first class was actually, pretty good.

As I was driving, I was listening to some great music....but not singing...not too terribly loud anyway...and not loud enough for other people to hear me. Or at least I hope that's the way it was!!

3 things contributed to this great "WhooHoo!! It's Friday!!" kind of feeling:

After class, I quickly made my way to the movie theater nearby and met 2 good friends. We then went to see this incredibly fantastic movie:

And then pink carnations.
I hope you have just an really nice day.
(I suggest buying yourself some flowers...they just make a person feel good!)

Quick car rental question for....someone....anyone

So...we are in the final planning stages of our trip home...which means, we are locking down hotels and rental cars and getting rides from various places to other places. I am now down to the last leg of our trip and have a need for some advice.

Has anyone ever used Priceline when renting a car????
I have been going through different sites, all touting to have "the lowest car rental fees" for our vacation. We will be in Los Angeles and San Diego for the last part of our trip and have figured that, to save time and money, renting a car from LAX would just be more economical.

Now, Priceline has a deal where you can "name your price". While most of the companies are charging an average of $65-75 a day for just your basic, everyday,economy-boring(zzzzzzzzz)style car....I ventured into Priceline's "name your price" area and played around a bit.

While I found that $15 a day was "not high enough to be accepted"....$21 a day was OKAY! "*Holy moly, Batman*!!", says I...."that's almost half of what the other sites are offering!!"

*That's not really what I was waaaaay more colorful...but...I'm practicing a cleaner vocabulary for our trip home!! You're welcome, Mom!*

And question....
Have any of you ever used this "name your price" system when renting a car?!?!
Your input on this topic would be greatly'd have my love and never ending gratitude...for a really long time!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

It's been mentioned in jest before....but could be true.


could be either one of my sons...

on any given day....

at any particular time.


(Yesterday's cartoon in the paper.)

(Today's cartoon.)

One of my all-time favorite pictures of the boys....

Our very own Stupendous Man.

Happy Wednesday!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Deja vu?

Happy Father's Day!!

(Gosh...for some reason, I feel I've been here before!! )

To the father who watches the kids while mom is out.....

To the father who has his own "Garage Mahal"....

(very much like my youngest brother....and my own dad!)

To the father that may be a times.....

To the eye-candy dad...
(Even though those probably aren't his kids at all....who cares!)

Happy Father's Day.....

To my dad....

~~Dad and the girls~~
( sisters-Anna and Sara, me and Koji and Dad...and grandma in the background..oh yeah, she was wearing was summer, honey, and hot!!)

And Happy Father's Day to my brothers.....

...they are the two bigger ones in the back. This was taken in 2007 at our family reunion.
From what I hear....they may not be the tallest ones in our family for long...those three in the middle are about to take over.
And yeah....there are no girls (other than yours truly!!) in my mom & step-dad's family. We are pretty much a family of men...handsome men at that. My brothers have helped raise some incredible I am very proud to be called Aunt Debbie by.
And finally....
Happy Father's Day to the K-Man.
We love ya!!

I wish you a great day today....whether you can be with your dad or not...have good thoughts, good memories.....
Smiles, hugs and laughter to you all!!

Friday, June 19, 2009

It's Friday...and no...I'll never run out of flamingo pictures

(and yes, that picture was taken today!)
I'm totally knackered...but in a good way (if that's possible).
Had a great class in the morning.
Ran home to get supplies (food, drink and flamingo lights) for my afternoon class...the second of the new Circle of Friends chatting class. There were 3 ladies today and it was just a much fun as the first one was.
Got the room cleaned up then drove really fast (but always safe!) to my next weekly, girly-girl fix (today, I got a spray-on's a fancy heart and oh so cool).
Then, home again (home again) long enough to change into something cooler and I was off again for a meeting at the school, which lasted for a little more than 2 hours.
Here it is midnight:45 and I'm about to drop....
I hope you have a great Friday...and I hope that you are cooler (in a temperature sort of way) than we were here...good lands, but, when it decides to warm up here, it warms up big, ya'll.

Monday, June 15, 2009

There are days when my 'blond moments' are just mind boggling

My name is Debbie.
I'm blond.
I would say that I have been blond since I was born, but....since I had very little hair to speak of, we'll just say that I've been blond for a very long time.

I've been A Blond....for longer than what I want to admit.

Some days, I'm blonder than others.

Yesterday and today....I was freakin' Marilyn Monroe, Jean Harlowe, Jessica, Paris and Britney all rolled into one! just for the record.....

No. Japan's Father's Day is NOT a week earlier than everywhere else.
It's just that way in DebbieVille.

We had a great dinner. (temaki it yourself sushi rolls)

I made Blueberry Shortcake with whipped cream...from scratch. oh uh-huh, I did, too.

The boys made really cute cards.

It was a great day.

Yeah. I know.

Father's Day is the 21st.

I'm just a week early.

Imagine my surprise when I went into the shopping mall today and saw all the Father's Day signs.

I was standing on the escalator, between the 4th and 5th floors when the lightening bolt came down and tapped me on the shoulder.

I started to giggle....a lot.

People started to stare.

Which made me giggle even more.

I had tears in my eyes...and still...
I giggled.
Then...when I get home, I confront the K-man....
"Why didn't you say anything?",
says me.
"I wasn't sure (says he)....until I was at the store today and was wondering why they still had all their Father's Day signs out."

We both had a bit of a giggle at that.

Hmmm...I wondering....
do you think he's expecting
the same really nice treatment,
on the 21st??

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Home...where I long to be right now

It's a beautiful Sunday afternoon here in Nagasaki. "They" tell us the 'rainy season' started, but it's hard to see that on the clear, almost hot kind of day that it is. It's Father's Day....happy day to you all...I hope that you can spend some special time with yours, or if you can't...I wish you a day of wonderful memories.

As the time for our trip draws closer (July 16 is the day of departure for the boys and I!), strangely enough, I'm finding myself feeling, almost.....wistful about my home. My students keep asking me questions about what I will do while I am there and who I will see and the more I talk about it, the more I want to be there yesterday!

Today's post is going to be a re-posting of two I have done before....almost a year and a half ago. Both were good, I think, and by doing this....I can now go outside and enjoy the sunshine with my boys...before we come back inside and make strawberry/blueberry shortcake for Daddy for Father's Day.

My hometown is a very small town on the prairies of Colorado. I'm not sure exactly how many people live there, (my friend Susan, the County Treasurer could help with that!!) but...if I were to take a guess, then... maybe no more than 2,000...maybe.

It's kind of funny, not in a "hahaha" kind of way, but more in a "hmmmm" way of thinking that, when I was 18, many of the things about my hometown that I didn't like and wanted to "escape" are now the things that draw me back home as often as I can get there.

Take any road out of the town in any direction....and this is what you will see.

It is flat. There are few trees. Very few cars are on the road with you, but when you meet someone, that driver will give you a wave...doesn't matter that you if know them or not ...that's just what you do.

This is looking up Main Street. There are no traffic lights. There is really only one main road of shopping....and this is it. When I was in high school, every Friday and Saturday night was spent "dragging Main". Oh, the miles I put on my VW...or my friends cars!! We would spend the whole night just going up....and then...down...up...and down....honking at people as we met them...sometimes stopping at the Napa parking lot or the grocery store parking lot to get out and talk to friends, sometimes just parking our cars and then getting in with others to go riding around.

Every August, there is the county Fair and Rodeo. On the Saturday of this event, there is always a parade. It used to be down Main Street, but since there is so much traffic going through, they decided to move it a couple of streets over. We are a patriotic town...and always leading the parade, on horses, will be the Colorado State flag and the US Flag.

As my Mom's house is on the street of the parade, her front yard is a gathering place for family and friends.(She's the one in the yellow t-shirt, by the way.) We set up saw horses so people can't park in front (that would make it so we can't see!!) and bring out the lawn chairs. There is always cold tea and if you're lucky...a cold beer!! (As it does get incredibly hot and is oh so very dry here, a cold beer is just what you need on a day like this!!!)

Again with that blue sky.....and flatness. I used to dream of being in the mountains or just somewhere that had buildings or something on the horizon!! Now....I dream about sitting on Grandad's old swing on the farm, just listening to the wind (always wind a 'blowin'!) and sometimes catching the singing of a bird or two...the wind blowing through the grass or, even better...blowing through the wheat is a sound this is just pretty close of Heaven.

Whenever I go "home", I know I will spend the majority of time, not only with the many, many family members I have...but also...the friends. Some of my best friends, ever, are here. Seeing them again is always so refreshing. They help me remember who "Debbie" really is!!

I also know that every 5 years, those of us who graduated together will meet for a reunion (as do all classes from my high school....I think that the Class of '45 might have been the oldest group the year we had ours!!) It is tradition for the class members who are there to jump on the back of a truck or whatever and join the parade. The last reunion, someone got the crazy idea to have water guns....I think they were "outlawed" by the parade "police" after that!!! (I'm in the sun visor, waving my hand and water gun!!)

Being "home" means having "patio time" Mom's patio is perfect for this. Whether it's a small group or a large one, you can count on it always being fun. Whenever I think about the times with family and friends, out on that patio, protected from the the outside world, so to speak, by the fence and trees...I think of laughter...and talking....and more laughter. These are the times that are most special to me. Sometimes, in the morning, my Mom and I will sit out here in our pajamas, drinking coffee and just talking. These are the moments I treasure the most.

My hometown is a place where a father and his 4 sons can build a fort in the backyard...together. It may take a while, but that doesn't takes time to do something right. Here is a place where, sure, people are busy, is important...building that fort will be something they remember forever. In my hometown, relationships between family and friends are strong...bonds are made that are very rarely broken.

My hometown is also a place where little boys (and girls!) can run around Grandma's yard without a shirt, or even pants, for that matter....where being barefoot is a given.

It's a place for memories....

It's a good place.

Friday, June 12, 2009

A flower show with MY name on it, honeys!

Back in April, I got a quick message from a friend and she directed me to one of her friends who lives in New York and had posted some beautiful pictures on her blog that she thought I'd like.

Every year, Macy's has a HUGE flower show and this year the theme was....oh yeah, babeeee...Flamingos. I lifted borrowed a couple of her pictures....I'm thinking....hoping she doesn't mind....they are great shots!!!

And so...being the curious one that I am...I went to my favorite place to look for images (otherwise known as GoogleImages) and did a quick search for more pictures and here are just a handful of some I found:

Very cool.

Happy Friday everyone!!

Tomorrow after my morning class, we are meeting some friends for a BBQ...I'm hoping that the nice weather hangs in there for a little bit longer.

Here's wishing you laughter, maybe some cold beer and some nice beef cooking on the grill....or some mushrooms and eggplant if you're not into the whole meat thing!!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Oh how I wish someone would have been with me...I hate giggling by myself

I had to go today to get the batteries changed in a couple of watches for the K-man and Issei. The shopping center I happened to be in didn't have someone who could do that so the nice ladies at the information desk told me of a place that would be able to help me.

The shop was very small....only about 8 feet square, give or take a few. Walking into that room, I was magically transported back to, what I'm sure it must have looked like, about 30 or more years ago. The pictures on the wall were all old and yellowed. Watch bands in the glass case that had gone out of fashion more than a few years ago.

The owners lived in the building (I could hear the TV and dishes clanking) and upon walking in I hear from the back room (behind the curtain) "Welcome...I'll be right there." A few moments later, a little man, stepped from behind the curtain and after a quick double-take (not many foreigners go in there, I do believe!), he smiled and asked what he could do for me.

After I got over thinking that he really resembled the old toy repairman from Toy Story, I told him what I needed. He sat down at a small table in the corner, pulled these funky "I'm working on small objects" kind of glasses and got to work.

No music.
No talking.
Just the sound of the rain outside and the traffic on the street....and me trying not to giggle. Wondering if he would be upset if I took some pictures because, really, there were some things that were just screaming to be blogged about...I debated with myself if I should ask to take pictures or just take them on the off chance he had no clue as to what I was doing. The latter won and I got out my handy dandy cell phone and started to take some shots, then remembered that there is a little shutter sound. Damn. In that quiet room, you KNOW it was going to sound LOUD!! What to do? What to do?

Being one to think quickly in situations like I was about to take the first picture....I coughed. And then....I sneezed for the second one. For the third one, I just cleared my throat. There was a fourth one I wanted to take, but I didn't want to chance it...there will always be another watch...another time.

I'm sorry...but, what time is it.....really?!?!
The whole time I was sitting there, that George Carlin routine where he would do the news kept going through my head:
"It's 10:00 in New York, 8:45 in Los Angeles and 2:47 in London."
Oh and yeah...that's a real tortoise carcass hanging up there...Nagasaki is big on tortoise shell items...pins, necklaces, earrings...personally, I'm pretty much against that, but....the man was changing the batteries in my watches....and well, it's his shop. He can hang whatever he wants.
I would like to ask him what that strange machine was starting to look like the
Little Clock Shop of Horrors....and with that thought, I really had to leave because
"Feeeed me, Seymore." jumped into my thoughts and I really needed to giggle.
Note to self: next time, take a friend or Issei, he'd appreciate some of that stuff!

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

When "Nothing, Mom" is actually something...and it's good

Saturday was a lazy kind of day for Issei and his buddy, Satoru. Neither young man is big on sports so they hang together, usually playing their Nintendos or doing whatever it is they do with the gazillion Dragon Quest cards they have. Saturday was just a regular day for them.

I finally kicked their butts out gently pushed them out of the entrance way of our house and they ended up on the stairs, near our house that lead up to the next landing and a small park. They sat there for a long time.

"Issei....what are you two doing?"

"Nothing, Mom."

(a little later)

"Issei.....what's going on?"

"Still nothing, Mom."

(Such a smart ass, that one!)

We had this conversation....or similar ones...a few more times over the next two hours. The last time, I knew I had bothered them enough when, I swear to you, I saw both boys roll their eyes. ~~sheesh~~ Kids these day, huh? :-D

A little after that...they came in and borrowed my camera and were kind of excited about what they had done. This is what their "nothing" was:

Do you see what it is? They scraped the moss off the cement and got a little creative....

Wait.....let me give you something to compare it to.....

How's this?

I do so love that boy of mine...and his friend, Satoru, too!
May they have many more days of "Nothing, Mom."
As the weather is changing, ever so slowly, from the beautiful spring weather that we are usually blessed the nasty, icky, muggy, sticky, "oh my God I can't breathe" rainy season...our garden is loving the weather.
Our ajisai (hydrangeas) are starting to bloom and the colors are very bright this year. Right behind the house, the K-Man has his "fruit orchard"....okay....not so much an orchard as just some blueberry, raspberry and blackberry vines....oh and he planted an olive tree, too.
The blueberries are producing almost faster than we can pick and eat them...and this is a good thing. Every morning we have fresh blueberries with our yogurt or cereal....I made pancakes and there were more than just a couple blueberries per pancake....they were awesome.
(Which is sooo much better than that first year, when I made blueberry muffins, there were 2, count 'em, 2 blueberries stuck in the top of each muffin!!!)
The raspberries are blooming and it will be awhile before we can have any fruit. The blackberries haven't even started blooming...or even looking like they are thinking about blooming, so it may be quite awhile before we can munch on those.
(The olive tree? hmmm...I'm hoping we're still able to remember what it is by the time it starts to produce....!)
The last picture is a dessert that I made last weekend....sponge cake on the bottom sprinkled with mango juice, a layer of sliced mangos then homemade vanilla pudding (oh yes, I did!), some blueberries, then whipped cream and topped with mango sauce and more blueberries.
The only way we could have made that better is if there had been some cream cheese in there somewhere....hmmm...maybe next time!!

Also, last the cleaning frenzy that we had going on around here....the boys' room got did the living room (moi)....and the K-Man tackled the garden.
Some before/after shots to show that the Kuroiwa's (at least the older two!) were a hard working duo this weekend!!
(Personally...I think I was channeling Martha AND Anthea...I was a tired puppy on Sunday nite!!)
Yeah...except that last room....still a "work in progress"!!
That room is going to take forevah!!