Sunday, January 31, 2010

"A great example showing you why it is I don't go clothes shopping here in Japan" debbie

Here is a new t-shirt that I (and the other ladies in our hula class) spent about $20 to purchase.
Knowing that sizes here run a incredibly freaking bit smaller than what I need to buy, I opted for the largest they offered...and that was a 3L.
(I was not the only one to order this size, two other "slightly rounder" of the ladies also ordered that size!)

Now....for some are two of my favorite t-shirts...they are both just a little big...but they both fit very nicely.
The gray is an XL....the pink is a L and the black? Yes, a 3L. (an XXL, perhaps?)

And people wonder why, when I go to the States, I take with me an almost empty suitcase.

Hmmm...even if I were to somehow miraculously lose enough weight to fit into that, I'm thinking my bones would have to be gone and I wouldn't be able to stand up, let alone dance the hula so.....
I can see myself, in the next few days, cutting out the designs and putting them onto another American sized,
black t-shirt....that I bought last summer....probably with the premonition that I would be needing exactly that color.'s not like I haven't done that before!
And if you are sitting there, reading this and shaking your head saying, "Jeez Louise, Debbie....when will you ever learn? It's not like you haven't lived there for 18 years! Where's your head woman?"..... go right ahead. I deserve it.
Thanks everyone for the "feel better" thoughts on Friday. They helped...they really did!!
I spent most of Saturday on the sofa....and today was one of those how-long-can-you-stay-in-your-pj's kind of day (until 2:30) and the only time I left the house was when I went outside to hang out laundry and then again when I brought it back in a few hours later...and even then, I only went into the back yard. It was a great day!!
Oh...and by the way....I don't have a neti pot but after some Googling, I found an alternative to the actual pot (a small soap bottle..rinsed many, many, many times!!) and I think it actually might have helped. I know it made my breathing feel much better.
I will continue using it....Issei has even started doing it and his breathing seems a little better!!
(He has a terrible time breathing sometimes...we're hoping this clears that up!!)

Friday, January 29, 2010

Just say "God bless you, Debbie." and it'll almost be like you're really here...

(Yes, I know those are probably turkeys, NOT with me on this one, wouldja? Thanks.)

So....the Japanese cedars have decided to do their thing a bit early this year and it has caused quite a kerfuffle with my health. It all started yesterday morning and has made my life quite interesting. Runny nose for part of the time....stuffed nose beyond being able to formulate words correctly, the other part of the time....oh, yeah...and the sneezing. Good Lord....the sneezing!!!! Thank goodness tomorrow is a no-class kind of day....I plan on doing as little as possible to try and get this total yuckiness under control.

Yep. This is pretty much what I feel like.

And I'm just needing a warm bed, some sleep and yes, some flamingo love.
**This was made for me by one of the kids I teach...she loves to create things with those beads you melt together. I love this one in particular.**
Wishing you all a day where someone always says "Bless you" when you sneeze....and hands you some of those really nice tissues with the lotion in them....yeah...those are nice...

Friday, January 22, 2010

this...and that....and then..whoa mama...some of that


My friend, Janet, has a special weekly photo-post called Weekly Word Challenge. Every week, she comes up with two words and asks those who would like to join, to find pictures of those two things. Janet, one of my favorite bloggers and a very good friend I have never met....but also one of the most incredible photographers I have ever seen. Though my photos are not in the same category as hers (hell, not even on the same floor of the exhibition...maybe not even in the same building), I'm still going to try this photo challenge. I sometimes like a challenge and this is a good one.

This week, the words are "food" and "drink".
I'm posting this a little late and had to use photos that I had already taken that were just sitting there, waiting for me. I had very few pictures of "drink" seems that many of the ones I did take were of beer. Go figure.

(Click on the picture if you want to get a bigger, more delicious view!)


A movie review.....sort of.

The other day, as I was rushing out of the house to get to class, I get a message on my cell phone....from my BFF, Dena, in Colorado.

It said,

"ok. I'm going to pull out all my teeth and wait for the tooth fairy. Yummie. Love ya."

I'm thinking that was a "two thumbs up"...what do you think?

Happy Friday everyone....I hope you have a great day...

and just in case you're NOT having a great day....take a look at might help.

( sure can't hurt!!!)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

and then the goddesses said, "let some light shine down on that girl"....

.....and that's just what happened.
Today......the dark clouds started to break away and the sun, I'll swear to ya, began to push its way though (in spite of the rain that was falling here in the city).

Before I go on......I want to say a huge "thank you" to those of you who left comments on my last post. I appreciate the support and advice on how to get out of this state of grumpiness I seem to have taken residence.
I took a bubble bath....drank some wine (actually, Japanese plum wine...homemade even!), tried to escape from my family for a bit and spent some time over at YouTube watching some really funny and cute videos.
I spent some quality time with Debbie....THAT hadn't happened for a long time. Though the reasons for the bitchiness are all still there, I think I have a better handle on it.

While I was on the Internet, I found something interesting....there was an article from some newspaper, by the spelling of certain words, I'm going to venture a guess and say it was from London...just guessing, though, I could be wrong.
Anyway, it said something to the fact that....
being sad is good because it makes you stronger and better able to cope with life's challenges. We need to learn to embrace our sadness (or depression) and then we will be motivated to make our lives better.

Finally. An official reason to have a pity party.

Then, on Monday....I was in the class that has been reading books by Patricia MacClachlan (Do you remember when I called and talked to her?!?!). We are now reading Cassie Binegar. We got to one part and something that Ms. MacClachlan wrote really reached out and grabbed me.

" is filled with small perfect moments that are only there for a short time. And then gone. Like catching snow on your hand."
The writer smiled. "Catching snow," he murmured.
"What do you think?" asked Cassie.
"I think," said the writer, "that catching snow is wonderful." He grinned at her.
"Just wonderful."

After class, I sat in the parking lot in my car just thinking about that.
Catching snow.
That's what I've been missing.
"Catching snow."
If I paid better attention to all the snow catching moments, maybe things will not seem so dreary.

So....I have embraced my sadness...took it to lunch today, even...and am now making a better effort to find some of that snow to catch.

Here's some "snow" I caught so far:

~~Spending the day with Issei...having burgers and fries for lunch...then picking out some great glasses...observing his total 11-year-old embarrassement when some college girls said he looked kokoii (cute!) in one pair of very cool frames.

~~During the snow we had last week, I went to pick up Koji after school....on our way home, upon seeing a pretty good sized space with beautiful 'virgin' snow, he proceeded to drop his bag and then run to a spot, yelling "Snow angel!!!" He made one...a pretty good one, then thought he needed another.....
I was laughing so hard, I almost couldn't get the picture!!!

~~Am I the only one that thought our snowman looked like a Shriner???
~~One daisy...peeking up through the snow.

~~The neighbors' car with the little snowmen all across the the way, our neighbors? Yeah...they are in their late 50's and live with their parents....and their own children
are grown and gone.
Some people catch their snow and do wonderful things.

~~Taking a nice afternoon walk on a cold day with sunshine for just a short bit of time.

~~Walking around our yard with the boys and looking at all the interesting ways the snow had piled up: on the laundry clips..... the branches of the trees....

....and how it made our orange tree look really pretty.

Things are getting better....
and here I'll be...
waiting for the next "snow".

Friday, January 15, 2010

...because the way I roll 3% of the time

I'm pretty much in a good mood 97% of the time.
No, really, I am.

But sometimes.....sometimes....that last little bit of my psyche rears up its ugly head and demands to be dealt with. It doesn't happen very often and it hasn't happened for quite a while. Welcome to one of those times.

My mom always says that "If Mom is not happy....NObody is happy."

Well....we're going to work on that this weekend.....we may be working on it the whole weekend. Whatever it takes.
What do YOU do when you need to help yourself get back into the light?
This one may take some extra TLC (and a little rum, perhaps) to work through...any ideas??

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

the one where debbie shares a word she read that has made her smile EVERYtime she thought of it

Everyday, I get an English newspaper that is published here in Japan. I try to read it to keep up on world topics and current events, but have found of late that all I really get finished in the paper is the crossword puzzle, which is great for my slowly failing English big-word vocabulary!! (One of the drawbacks to being an English conversation teacher in a non-English speaking country.)

Anyway....on Sunday, I was reading an article from the Washington post about the photograph that was taken of President Obama and then plastered across a billboard by the company of the jacket he happened to be wearing as he walked along the Great Wall of China. It seems that this is not the first time this had happened, where an organization has taken advantage, not only of the Obama's, but of other high-profile personalities, as well.

The article went on to talk about the PETA poster promoting its anti-fur idea that showed up in cities at the end of the year with Oprah, Carrie Underwood, Tyra Banks and Michelle Obama all posing for the cause. And here is where we get to the word that almost made me spew my coffee---it seems that the poster "caused a kerfuffle" because even though Michelle does not wear fur, there was no permission given to PETA to use her image on the poster.

Excuse me? It caused a what?? A kerfuffle??

Now...I'm an intelligent woman. Given the topic and the context it was used, I could figure out what was meant...but really...a kerfuffle??

Just to make sure and to check where on earth this word came from, I consulted the on-line dictionary of my choice and found this:

kerfuffle: 1. A social imbroglio or brouhaha. An organizational misunderstanding leading to accusations and defensiveness. 2. A minor disturbance or disagreement. Smaller than a contretemps, larger than a snag, involving more people or things than a SNAFU or a stink. 3. chaos, fuss, disturbance, everything's all out of whack, screwed up

*and yeah...I looked up imbroglio in my other dictionary of choice.

I also found that this word is basically a British one...which I find quite interesting because I worked with a British man for 3 years and one of my best friends is British and I've known quite a few British people in the 18+ years I have been here and never....not once...have I heard the word kerfuffle uttered from any of those people. Believe me....I'd remember if that had happened, because really.....isn't that a word you'd remember someone saying??


"I'm having a kerfuffle-ish kind of day."

"The snow in Nagasaki today caused quite a kerfuffle for my students."

Kerfuffle. Kerfuffle. Kerfuffle.

It's just a fun word to say. Go on...say it a few kind of tickles.

To find out even more about kerfuffle, I did a search...there's quite a bit of info out there about this word. Then....just to be a bit crazy ( I can get that way you know...sometimes this causes a bit of a kerfuffle with my family), I searched for images of kerfuffle. Even more interesting stuff...for example...

There is an Australian wine company that goes by this name.

This will be so time in the States, you know I'm going to ask my waiter if they have any.

There is a band called Kerfuffle. The band is from England and they play some pretty good folk music. (I also went to YouTube for a bit.)

There's a doctor in Australia that goes by the name of Dr. Kerfuffle. He and some other 'clown doctors', visit children's wards in Australia (kind of like Patch Adams did in America). Doing something like this is just amazing....I think there are some 'clown doctors' in Tokyo...humor helps. It really does.
I want to try and find ways to use this word....for example....

"There was a kerfuffle on the ice in the hockey game last night."

"Someone caused quite a kerfuffle at the music award show, didn't they?"

" a kerfuffle just waiting to happen."'ll be honest here...when I first read the word kerfuffle, it reminded me of those words that are nice words but they sound bad or.....nasty. You know what I'm talking about....shuttlecock is one that makes me smile. Masticate. Uranus. Joystick. Hedonist. Uvula. Kumquat. Just to name a few.
Now, when I think about it, kerfuffle sounds like something you might need to apologize for after it happens. {smile}

By the way....what's YOUR favorite word that sounds bad or nasty or makes you smile when you hear it or if you have to say it????

When I was over in YouTube, I found's pretty funny....and not as bad as what you might actually think!!! Enjoy!

I wish you all a kerfuffle-free day!!

Friday, January 08, 2010

...oh...and a recipe you might possibly thank me for

Is anyone else out there suffering from blogstipation? I tell ya. I sit here at the computer some days and....I know I have thoughts and things to say...I just can't get them from my head to the keyboard. I spend more time going through all the pictures I need to organize....notice I said need to organize....I don't actually do any organizing. I'm too busy just looking.

A while back, one of my students informed me that her husband was going to Las Vegas for a medical conference. She also slyly asked me, "Where do you think he is staying?"
Immediately noticing the twinkle in her eyes, I answered, "The Flamingo Hotel?"
She just smiled.
And then this was me: o(^-^o)(o^-^)o o(^-^o)(o^-^)o
dancing...but not really..... just in my head!!!!

Then I was reaching into my bag to pull out the emergency American money I had in my wallet. (What? You never know! I might have to leave like....NOW. What weird stuff do YOU have in YOUR bag? huh?!)
I handed her some cash and said, "I don't care what it is...just ask him to please, pleeease bring me something back."
She very calmly pushed the money away and told me that basically, my money was no good...but she would tell him how freaking crazy about fond of flamingos I was.
Fast forward a few weeks......
I got a bag with a Christmas version hand towel and a paper weight from the Las Vegas Flamingo Hotel.
(The coffee cup is mine! It's new!!)

I'm pretty lucky to have good friends (some with really sweet husbands!!)

Sometimes, I just have to be reminded of this.


My mom has a hobby. She knits. It's a relatively new hobby and one that she has worked very hard at. She started a couple of years ago at the church. Someone was teaching a group of the ladies how to knit once or twice a week and then their goal was to make "prayer shawls" to send to people near and far who just might need a little comfort.

Knitting was not an easy thing for my Mom to do, but....she kept it up, dammit....and she, my sister-in-law and I all have scarves of varying styles and sizes to prove it.

I love my scarves. Not only are they warm, look really nice, mom made them, so that in of itself, makes them so much more special.

This summer, when I was in Colorado, she gave me a small blanket that she had knitted. It's not so much of a blanket blanket, as it is a "something to put on your lap when you're watching TV on a cold night" kind of thing.

It's soft....and warm....and on a cold night, it's wonderful to throw over my shoulders and snuggle down on the sofa as I watch a movie or work on my computer.

And she said it really wasn't very big, but.....I have to tell you....'s the perfect size.
Thanks, Mom. You're the best.

I grew up with a grandma who made bread once a week...faithfully. With another grandma, I learned a few secrets here and there and she and I could whip up some damn good cinnamon rolls when we wanted to. I loved the whole process of mixing it all together...kneading the dough...letting it rise...and then smelling it as it was baking. Those first slices, as the loaf was almost too hot to touch, slathered with real butter were absolutely delicious.

When I have the time, I like to do that, but....very rarely (okay...never!) do I have the time. Yes, I could get a bread maker, and I have had one, but it broke a long time ago and I've just never gotten around to replacing it.
And that I've rediscovered a recipe for one of my favorite breads, I'll probably never get one.

If you like homemade bread and like me, don't really have a lot of time, then this particular bread is for you. Even if you say, "Oh, I can't bake anything....I'm terrible.", this bread will redeem you and give you the confidence you need.

If you have about an hour....some flour, a can of beer and a few other ingredients, you can make a most delicious loaf of bread. It goes great with soups (we had Chicken Tortilla Soup..yumm!) and is good toasted in the morning!
I'm not sure where I got this recipe, but, it's one that I have used for a very long time. Give it a might be surprised.

Beer Bread
3 cups flour...SIFTED
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
*if using self-rising flour, omit baking powder and salt*
1/4 cup sugar
1 (12 ounce) can of beer
1/4-1/2 cup melted butter or margarine

Preheat oven to 375 degree. Mix dry ingredients and beer. Pour into a greased loaf pan. Pour melted butter over mixture. Bake 45 minutes-1 hour, remove from pan and cool a bit before cutting.

*Seriously....SIFT the flour. You MUST do that. If you don't, your bread is liable to be "hard as a rock". Really....just sift it. Please.
*Different kinds of beer will give you a different taste. Be creative. Cheap beer? Works great!!
*I have also added different herbs to the flour...rosemary or basil are both good. I might have also at one time put Parmesan cheese...I've made a note on the recipe that it was "goooooood".
*I couldn't find my loaf pan the other night, so I just used a small round cake pan.
*I don't melt the butter. I just put little pats of butter all over the top before I put it in the oven.

Have a great weekend. I wish you something that keeps you warm on the cold winter days...something like hot, buttered bread....or a nice, warm blanket...and children snuggled in with you!!!

Friday, January 01, 2010

..just a few ramblings to start the year with....

January 1, 2010

2010 is the Year of the Tiger. This is a very special year for the Kuroiwa Family as Issei and I are both tigers. (oh yes, we are!!) I've been doing some reading about what is supposed to be happening for us in the coming year and it's looking pretty positive. Taking all the information with the proverbial 'grain of salt', it's still comforting....2009 was not the best of years for us. wasn't terribly bad and we did have some great fun, definitely wasn't in the top 10. celebrate the specialness of this year...
I give you my favorite tiger.....
how can this year NOT be a good one with this guy on our side?!?!

The other day when I was going through the old Christmas pictures to put in our family slide show, I found one that I had put that "safe place so nothing happens to it" place.
It's one that I have carried with me for many years. It has been to South Texas...and now here. My brother was a year old....I was 5. Issei and Koji are almost exactly the same years apart as my brother and I are. I hope when the boys get older, they keep their pictures taken with each other (especially that one of them in the rugby shirts!!!) somewhere safe.
These are special times!!

Here is what happens when a mom and two sons would rather NOT be cleaning when they really should have been......

A few months ago.....I posted this picture of some plastic ware I had seen.

One of my friends over at that "social networking" place, left a comment that she had seen them at the place she worked (something like Schmarget) but, she had only seen them during the spring and summer season. I commented back that if she happened to see some when she was home on break to please let me know because I would send her "something from Japanese child" if she could buy me some.

Fast forward a few weeks.....and look what came in the mail:

So....after a rousing game of Rock, Paper, Scissors (by which most major decisions are made here in Japan) was decided.....
.....but we need to find a bigger box.
(Thanks, Morgan....{{hugs}} to you, sweetie!!)
And finally......
The other day when I was making some banana bread,
I cracked one of the eggs and found this:
I've been cooking and baking for quite a few years now but this is the first double-yolk egg I have ever seen. In my surprise, I wondered:
*is this an omen of something?
*is it a sign of good luck?
*or just the result of a really lucky chicken?
Have a great New Year's Day.
If you are one to eat black eyed peas, please eat some for me (I personally love them!!)....and whether you are watching football or ignoring it...I hope you are with those you enjoy the most!!