Friday, August 28, 2009 this makes my heart soar

From the new Disney Nature film

The Crimson Wing: Mystery of the Flamingos.

Have a beautiful Flamingo Friday...

may something happen today

(and everyday, for that matter, my friends)

to make your heart feel

as if

you are


Thursday, August 27, 2009

Stuff that needs to be said....

To the young mother in the grocery store yesterday, about 6:30, p.m. with the screaming little girl in the candy aisle~~

your beautiful little girl was NOT going to be happy until you let her put whatever it was she was throwing the fit for, into that cute little basket you let her carry and your standing there, staring at her... looking put out and pissed off was NOT going to help either. Believe me...that bag of tomatoes and liter of milk you had in your arm were NOT worth it...put your stuff down...pick up that out-of-control little girl and calmly walk out of the store. We've all been there...and really...walking out is the best thing to do.

To all other drivers either behind me or meeting me in traffic~~~

due to the fact that I spent approximately one month driving in the United States, please bear with me and remember.....if you suddenly see my windshield wipers fwapping back and forth, I am either going to turn or change lanes. Thank you for your cooperation...we hope to have this remedied very soon.

(Note from Debbie...not only are we getting re-accustomed to the whole left-lane/right-side steering wheel thing again, our main slight confusion comes from the fact that the windshield wipers and the blinkers switches? Yeah, they are on opposite sides of the steering wheel over here.)

To the one who was a perfect example of "right person-wrong time" in my life~~

Thank you for your message. Though we met briefly a very long time ago, your impact on my life was a strong one and your "I am sorry for hurting you, but not sorry that our path's crossed as they did." (though about 22 years after the fact) meant so very much to me. Oh...and just for the record, you were the only one to pass the

"Jimmy Buffet quiz of true love"...ever.

To four very special ladies....I must apologize to you all (I'm sure more names could be added to this list, but let's start here, shall we?) I have letters started to all four of you, but am having a hell of a time getting them they actually get in the mail:

Cheri~~I did so enjoy meeting you, Koji and Issei want to come and stay...maybe we could work out a trade for a while?

Katy~~I totally agree with you and yes....the beer!!

Steph~~so glad you liked the tea is also good as 'sun tea'...try it!

Jenn~~my heart just smiles when I think of you and the whole BitchHer group. Thanks again, for a wonderful evening.


To the makers of bras, these days~~

What is up with all the padding in your new bras??

Yes, they did take some getting used to and they do (how do I put this delicately?)....put "my girls" in a more "Whoa! There they are!" sort of position, but they also sort of make me feel like I'm 12 again and really wishing I had some boobs to fill up the training bra that mom just bought, and.....seriously....

Good Lord, people!! They stand up on their own!! No really....put one on the floor or on a counter and it will.....stand up!

Anyone care to enlighten me on why this is the new trend?!?!

Here's wishing you all a "perky" Thursday!!!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The one where Debbie reached out and touched someone....that she probably shouldn't have...but she doesn't really care, it was great!

**or....Can we just blame it all on a six-pack of Blue Moon?? one of THE best pictures taken during our month-long stay in the States, is one that diiiiiiiidn't really turn out the way I had planned....
but that's okay, because, a couple of us will remember what happened for a very long time...and when we are old and reminiscing on someone's front porch, we'll have the DVD (or whatever that will have replaced the DVD by that time)...and we will smile.

Saturday, August 8, 2009.

It was a wonderful day for a concert.

The sun was shining....the air was clear...and there was a feeling of something special surrounding us all.
The day was one for family members and friends to eat fried chicken
and drink cold beer surrounded by other party listen to some great music...and to dance.

Oh! How we danced!

Downtown Denver at the Civic Center Park...
a beautiful area in the city and the perfect place for a gathering of people in the late afternoon sunshine.

Denver is home to Opie Gone Bad...a local band that is just pretty awesome.

They played for about an hour, warming us up for the main event and believe the time they were finished? We were hot, babies...ready to go.
The main event? Gary Sinise and the Lt. Dan Band.
Didn't know that Gary Sinise had this band? Don't worry...many of us didn't until we learned of the concert and did a little research. The band is one that travels to military posts around the world to play for the troops. Reading about all they've done and the places they've been reminded me of the old Bob Hope USO tours....full of music and entertainment for the men and women who are in the service.
The music? Awesome. Even though Gary wasn't the singer (he played bass), the band still rocked.
And so did the audience.
We had such a great time.
And by "we", I mean mainly my good friend Dena and I. Oh, honeys. Sure, the rest of the family had a good time. But Dena and I? Being in that situation with her was like being back at university, 25 years ago, when we first met.

Anyway...sometime during the concert, the band began to play Lady Marmalade and in a decision that he might have regretted later, Mr. Sinise invited the ladies to the stage to dance.

Now if you are wondering if Dena and I went to the stage, then don't me very well, do you?!
Of course, we went on stage (along with about 100 other ladies!)...cameras in hand...dancing as we went...oh, and singing...yeah, baby...we were singing (and I don't even know French, but that really wasn't even an issue!)
We got on stage and danced inched...our way closer to Mr. Sinise.

(No zoom, my friends...we got that close!!)

Thinking that I could surely get a closer shot and one of him AND me with my new very cool cellphone camera that has the flip screen....I danced even closer.
I made my way, seductively (I'm so sure!!), and found myself front...of...GARY...SINISE....the actor...of Bubba Gump fame...CSI New York...The Green Mile...Apollo 13.

I was prepared and had already turned the phone screen around...I was ready....

I got him (and myself, of course) in the viewfinder....clicked...and....turned back around (remember...standing front...of GARY SINISE!!)....
I said "Thank you, doll".....I might have also winked (oh yeah...uh-huh...I did!!)...and then...I briefly brushed the fingers of my left hand
down his cheek.
(What could the man do? He was playing the guitar!!! Dude!! It was perfect!!)

The moment was brief. But, the tingly sensation in my left hand is still evident.

So is the feeling of the body guard quickly grabbing my arm as we danced off the stage when the song was over.
(I got away, by the way.)
Yeah. I'm thinking that they now have my fingerprints and my name is on a list of
"people who should stay 50 feet away from Gary Sinise".
I don't care. It was worth it.
We also have video footage of the whole incident....gotta love the K-Man and his ability to capture priceless moments on film.

Oh...and the picture of GARY SINISE and me?
Yeah....I really gotta learn to click...then....pause for just a few nano-seconds before moving.'s a great picture.
I know who it is.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

The homework battle

Or....How I saved $20 by NOT buying this game, and still got the same results.In Japan, during the month-long-ish summer holiday, our kids are given homework to do....a lot of homework. Not only your basic math/science/kanji kind of homework, but also reports, arts & crafts things to make and, as in the case of our 6th grader--food to make and things to sew and for our 1st grader--morning glories to observe and count every day. (By the way...Issei made pancakes today for breakfast....he did a pretty good job and only one small 'flipping' incident, but, other than that, it was a success!!)

IF a child were to work for an hour or so everyday, then, by the end of the vacation, all should be done.

No problem. at Kamp Kuroiwa, that is not the case.

Oh, we did so good during the first part of the vacation...working at Grandma's house at the kitchen table every morning. But then...Daddy came and we started the "family" part of our summer and..well...holy hell.
And I can almost guarantee that this last week will be just that...hell.

It's 11:00, Sunday morning...breakfast is just barely over and already we have had tears, loud voices and I do believe that an eraser was thrown. It's not going to be a pretty day here, folks.
Not. Pretty. At. All.

Issei? Issei does good. He is old enough to know that if something doesn't get done, on the first day back at school, when everyone is turning in papers and projects, NOT turning in something is a bit embarrassing. He's been there. He's not the only one to have gone through that...but he learned his lesson back in 2nd grade and he is really good about getting things done. He understands it when Mom says, "If you get these two pages of Math done, then you can go outside and play for an hour." He understands the need to prioritize what needs to be done, what has to be done and what can be saved for later.

But now....Koji.

My youngest is an example of why, when I was an elementary school teacher, I refused to teach ANY class younger than 4th Grade.
My youngest is testing the patience of everyone in this family.
We will be lucky if we all survive.
As far as what I had planned to do today? As far as what the K-Man had planned to do today?
Not important.
Today, we are making paper from milk cartons for fans and a lampshade (Dad and boys) and sitting at the table next to Koji to keep him on task in Math and Japanese (Mom). (Which is why I am so glad I have my new little makes the process of standing guard sitting at the table soooo much easier!! Later...a cold beer will also help!!)

Now? We are going outside for a bit of a 'working break'....looking for leaves, flowers and such to put into the paper for our projects.
Wish us luck today. We are going to need it.

Funny thing...when I Googled 'homework frustration and kids' to see if I could get some pictures for this post...'cause I know how that sort of jazzes up a post.....this picture came up on the second page~~it was titled "Avoid Homework Frustration". I kid you not.

I do so love Google.

**Blog update.....we survived the day...the projects got made and are now drying in the entrance way....hopefully they can get finished in a few days. Koji? After more tears and a few more bouts of loud voices, he did manage to get a few more papers done. One more week to more week to more week to go.....

Friday, August 21, 2009

Flamingo Friday...'cause that's just what we do...usually...unless we're on vacation

I know.
You've missed your weekly flamingo fix, haven't you?
You didn't realize how hooked you were....right?
So, make up for my lack of pinkness lately
I give you....
Wearable Flamingos.

Some of them....I have.
Many of them....I'll probably have someday.
A couple....I'm totally lusting for and would do almost anything (within the boundaries of our legal system) to get my hands (body? feet?) on (in?).
**By the way.....the glasses I'm wearing?
Oh yeah...give a good friend a pair of flamingo sox and see what you get the next week??
Thanks Caro and Katy-doo!!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Hello? HeLLlllooOOoo? Is anyone still here?


My name is Debbie.

Remember me?

I'm the owner/writer/ of this particular blog. It's really nice to see you again. I know it's been a long time...almost a month actually...and though I had such great plans of posting whilst on vacation...well...pfffflllttttt. Whatevah!

And now? It is Day 2 of being back in 'the land of the rising sun', which could also be called 'the land of incredibly hot/humid weather and grumpy American women'!

Yep. That would be me.

Jet lag, anyone?

As I am having a hard time formulating any really coherent thoughts at this moment in time, can I be random with you? (You know you've missed that, right?) I'm thinking that a little bit of random is what I need to get back into the swing of things here at ETC.ETC.ETC., dontcha think?
There are so many things I would love to tell and show you about our vacation, but, I need more time to get the 998 pictures in order (And no, I won't make you look at all of them. Say, "Thank you, Debbie."). we go....

Random thoughts of a jet lagged traveler just returned home:

*LAX? If you're planning on leaving from there and flying on United, might I suggest getting there at least 3 hours before your flight? All United flights, foreign and domestic, were going through the same lines (ID check and security)....and with only 2 people doing the ID check...believe me, on Sunday, there were about 584 really pissed off people.

Funniest thing said by Koji:

"Can we get a fast pass?"

As we had been to Disneyland a few days before and had gotten fast passes for most rides, this was a logical question for him!!

*I really need a new pedicure. My friend, Lila, and I spent a morning pampering ourselves and getting happy feet a few weeks ago and now, my piggies are loosing a bit of their luster. I can do a pedi (if I have to) by myself, but who will paint the really fun flowers on my toes??

*When I retire, I'm really thinking that I would like to be one of the greeters at Denver International Airport.

I like the hat/vest combo and think that I would do a really great job.

*Has my keyboard always been this sensitive and persnickety? Jeez Louise, you'd think that it was mad at me for being gone so long, or something? Or...wait...maybe she's jealous of the new little computer I treated myself to? I bet that's it. Maybe spending time back here will make her feel better. Take THAT cute little pink netbook, sitting all alone on the kitchen table. (Oh yeah...she's pink...I'd put up a picture, but I'm afraid it would cause more trouble...later, okay?)

*I wish we had the ability to travel through space like they do on Star Trek. You know where I'd go? San Diego. We had THE best time and not only did we get together with my sister and her hub and some friends we met here in Nagasaki many moons ago, but....I also met some of the most wonderful new friends know, friends of the blogging kind. (Some who even traveled great lengths, just for the visit...and that? Yeah, that made my heart smile.) I'll write more about the visits, but, until then, you can go HERE to read what Jenn (our "hostess with the mostest" had to say). There were other meetings with equally fun and wonderful friends and I can honestly say that even though I was a bit nervous about meeting everyone for the first time, there really was no need for that. I felt as if I were walking into the homes of people I have known all my life....getting hugs from friends I had gone to school with...sitting on the patio/sofa with friends I had known forever.

Thank you ladies....You are part of my lifeline...I hold your friendships near and dear to my heart. And.....I will come again....count on it.

*I need something cool to drink. Not tea. Not a soda. Not a beer. Hmmmm....wonder what it is?

*So, I got on the scales this morning and was very pleasantly surprised. As I have spent the last month eating pretty much anything and drinking more beer and fun drinks than I could in 6 months here....I was expecting some weight gain. On average, I will gain 6-10 pounds while on the month-long "I don't care" eating and drinking part of my vacation. This year? I gained only 5 pounds!! Yeah me!! That's makes me feel so good. With a little luck, those extra kilos will come off quickly and all will be back to normal.

*That said....I'm really craving some ice cream. A little won't hurt, will it? :-D

And with that....I'm done....for a bit anyway.

I hope you all are doing good and have had a great summer.

I wish you all a relaxing kind of that has a nap in it would be perfect.