Wednesday, March 31, 2010

A pep talk...of sorts

Dear Debbie,
I had just a few moments before I needed to turn off the computer and thought that it would be a great time to get this started to you.  I've been meaning to send this know how it is.  A great idea ends up spending most of its time on yellow sticky notes...going from place to place, from notebook to notebook and then....where do those notes go, anyway?? (^_^)

I wanted you to know that I am so proud of that son of yours.  Issei looked so handsome at his graduation!  It's hard to imagine that he is already getting ready for Junior High.  Remember what you were like at that age? And some of the things you did?!?  Honey!!  You really need to send your mom a letter and just apologize for all the grief you wasn't so much (you think!) but...still...she'd probably like to hear you just say the words....and then...she'll probably laugh....and say "what goes around comes around" and you can just "yes, mother. it does." and go on.  Think about it.

By the way....the pictures from graduation were great......and I know you don't really want to hear this need a haircut, sweetie.  Seriously.  I know that your friend, Eduardo, told you one time that "you may not be from Texas, but you got a Texas attitude".  Texas attitude is okay....Texas 'big hair' is not.  Call your lady.  Make an appointment.
Oh....and I know that you're thinking of getting a perm...right? Well....don't.  You've seen that movie, you know how it turns out.  It's not pretty.  Just go for the cut.  I'm just saying.

It's now almost the beginning of April...are you ready?  There are so many things happening...Koji goes back to school and starts 2nd grade next week....Issei's entrance ceremony is on the 7th...(Do you have your dress? What are you going to wear?)
 And patient with the boys...I know they are having a hard time right now,'s just a stage.  Personally, I'm thinking that they are both a little stressed about how things are going to change next year (plus all that other stuff going on emotionally and physically in their little bodies!!)....just do what your momma told you to do years ago when Issei was a baby and almost driving you to drink with that damn colic-----go outside. Take a walk.  Leave the house for a little bit....the boys will be okay.  YOU need to get control of YOUR emotions and sometimes, stepping back from the situation is the best thing.  It's okay.  You are NOT a bad mom....and when you get back from your walk, try to find that Nanny show...those kids are waaaay worse than yours.  Go on.  Watching those rude little bastards kids will help you appreciate your own.

Oh...I thought of something else....have you put together your bloggy giveaway thingy yet?  I know you're busy and about to go crazy, but.....taking care of the people who come here and read your slightly off-the-wall ramblings might help take your mind off of the other stuff breathing down your neck.

Might I suggest something?  You already have a couple of those "funny English" t-shirts that I just love...why not some more of those slippers that you gave away last year?  They were pretty popular's an can make those yourself!!  (Oh, yes, you can!)  That would be something fun to do.  You could turn that into an English lesson with some students....I bet they would love that!! And....go through those drawers you've got stacked up in the corner of your room...I'm sure you can find something to use that wouldn't cost too terribly much to send.  Didn't you get some really nice Japanese washi paper a few months ago?  That stuff is so pretty!

Have I forgotten anything?  I'm sure there is more I needed to tell you...I've got a sticky note around here somewhere......hmmmmm....

You take care of yourself.  Oh! (I remembered!) one more thing.... that whole "I've gotta lose 10 pounds by my birthday" train of thought you keep jumping on?  Don't do that.  Just work on changing your way of thinking to "Let's see what we can do this week.", why doncha?  You're going to be turning
40-*cough cough*-something soon and's time you just got happy with your body and quit beating yourself up whenever you eat something you shouldn't or, God forbid, drink something that isn't 0-calories. You were doing so good there for awhile...get back to that, okay? okay.

Now....turn off the computer and get some sleep, will ya?  Tomorrow is only've got a lot to do this week....get it all done and then you can go out with your friends on Saturday night and just have a great time.  (Though...Lord only knows what kind of trouble the 4 of you crazy foreign women could get into...really, girls...remember...moderation, moderation, moderation!!)

I'm here if you need me....
{{hugs}} to you,

Some sakura (cherry blossoms) for you...we have been pretty much in full bloom this week....
...and some yamazakura ('mountain cherry blossoms')
Japan is very pretty right now! I do so love this season!!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Taking "I'll be there in spirit" to a whole new level....

This is my sister (my bebeh sister) and her husband....

they live in

Their very good friends

decided to get married in that exciting town
and this man performed officiated.

The wedding party stayed at the

so of course they thought of Debbie.
But....since Debbie lives a gazillion miles away,
she could only be there "in spirit"...

on a stick.
She is pretty sure that she had a good time.

*Click on the collage if you want a bigger look.*
Thanks ya'll for letting me be a part of such an incredibly wonderful celebration!!
I can say, in all honesty, that THIS? Oh yeah...this made my week!!
**mwah** and {{hugs}} to everyone!!

(I'm just wondering though...did you leave me here??)

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

500 Down...Strange happenings...sucky weather=no flea market.....graduation...

500 Down...many more to go!!
It's sort of amazing, really when I start thinking about it.  It took me so long to get this blog up and moving....after a couple test-posts in May, 2006...I finally got serious about this in October of the same year.  I've had my ups and downs...but...all in's been a fun ride.
Today....this my 500th post.
I feel like I should be doing something to mind is kind of busy right now thinking/worrying about....junior high preparation...end of school year stuff..."what are we going to do spring holiday?"..."how can i get more students in my classes?"..."how long can i go without paying taxes/pension?", life in general kind of stuff. (^_^)
So....if you hang in here with me for another week or two, I'm planning a special kind of giveaway..things that maybe you can only get from here.  I'm thinking of Japanese culture kind of things...some treats...and definitely some "stupid English" t-shirts ('cause you KNOW you want one!!) in a leave-a-comment-get-a-chance-to-win kind of giveaway.  Keep coming back....I'll try not to take too long!!

And before I forget......Thank you for coming here and reading my thoughts and rambly kind of ideas.  I started this blog as a way to keep in touch with family and friends in the States....who on earth would have thought I would make so many friends all over the world?!  Thank you, my friends.
You help me more than you can ever imagine.
arrigato gozaimasu. (^_^)/*

Strange happenings....
Remember last week when I was perplexed?
(yeah, I know....I'm usually that way, but this was a special situation!!) ring.  Remember? Well.....

Stranger things have happened in my life but...this? Yeah.
This is in the top 5.
Long story short....took ring off to make pizza. It disappeared (and's wasn't in the pizza dough!).  I put the ring on the window was gone.  We looked everywhere.  I sadly accepted the fact that it had disappeared.
Fast forward 3 days...I was in the bathroom sorting laundry...I had made different piles to wash....3 sweatshirts weren't going to fit so I tossed them back into the basket. 
I look down and there was my ring.  On the my foot.
Where did it come from? I dunno.
Where the heck had it been?  I have no clue!!
I would love to tell you my theory on this but that would mean explaining about a great-grandmother who passed away quite a few years ago who likes to take things...and then you'd think I was a bit crazy and you might not ever come, let's just keep it at----the ring is back and Debbie is very happy!!

Last Friday, I was busy getting my things ready for a big flea market that had been planned since December.  I had made candles, packaged up some fresh rosemary, sorted out clothes and made some other little bags filled with souvieners that were left over...everything was ready and then...the weather report came.
"Rain...50% chance on Saturday."
Ergo...the flea market was cancelled.
But all is not lost...I have more irons in the fire....
more about this later!!!
(Ooh.....can't you just feel my positive energy?!?!)

Issei's 6th grade graduation was last Thursday.
It was a good day...pretty emotional as 46 young 12-year-olds get ready to go to "the big school" in April, complete with uniforms and almost 5 times the number of students.
I put together a photo montage, but, I'm cheap so I didn't fork out the big bucks for explanations on the pictures, so...will just have to give you a quick rundown of the day so they might make more sense.

Our elementary school graduation, because the school is so small, includes the whole elementary school.  The parents (all dressed in their finest for the day) and students were in the gym, waiting.
The 6th graders entered the at a time...each one stepping up, bowing, taking a few steps forward entering the gym.
After each student received their diploma, the principal and then a representative of the Mayor's office each gave speeches.
 (At times like these, NOT understanding what is being said might possibly be a Godsend.) 

Then the graduates stood up, turned around moving their chairs with them and proceeded to give a recap of the last 6 years...each one standing up and speaking one or two times. 
The last part of their speech was a "good luck" to the younger students.
And then...they sang a song.
And then...the tears began. was the first through fifth graders' turn.
Different kids from each class all added to the speech that basically was about memories of the graduates that they had.
And then....they sang a song.
And again....more tears.
For me....this was the one that got me.
Though I didn't really understand the words of the song, it was the sound of over 200 children's voices singing so beautifully that got to me.
And the end...they all said, in very loud and strong voices,
"Sayonara! Sayonara! Wasurenai de ne!!"
("Good-bye! Good-bye! Don't ever forget!")
To which the graduates answered,
"Sayonara! Sayonara! Wasurenai!"
("We'll never forget!")
And Debbie was a puddle.

We all went back to the classroom and Issei's homeroom teacher (a wonderful lady who we pray will be Koji's teacher in April...she was the best teacher for Issei in 6 years!!) gave her farewell speech.  It was really nice and then.....we were done.
As we left the school, the rest of the students had made an aisle outside for the graduates to walk through and held up an arch for us to walk under.  Amid applause, cheers, and  more than a few high fives, the 6th graders said their final farewells.
It was a great day!!!

Congratulations, Issei.
We are so incredibly proud of you!!!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Flamingo...she come early today

Good morning!!
Yes, I know...I'm usually posting my 'Friday thang" very late on a Friday night/early Saturday morning, but...not this week.
Today is going to be one of those "holy Hell!!" kind of days.
Busy, busy, busy.
Classes all day today....meeting tonight with the 'after-school' parents where Koji goes....and then I have to finish getting everything ready for a flea market that I'm doing tomorrow....IF it doesn't rain!!!
Most is done, but...still have some last minute "hmmmm....should I sell this?" to go through!!
So....since I have a few minutes to spare this morning, thought I'd just do this and then get on with my day!!

My friend, Setsuko sent this to me the other day......

Her grandkids are here and Tuesday was a beautiful day so they went to the Bio Park.  The Bio Park is a zoo/botanical garden combination kind of place.  It really is a great place to take kids!!!  Lots of things to see!!
Thanks, Setsuko for getting so close to all that really sinky beauty to get the great picture!!!
And with that....I leave you with a quick onegai ("on-e-gai"---favor)....
Please be thinking
warm breezy
kind of thoughts for me on my Saturday....
Much appreciated.

(You could also toss in some
"Please let everyone buy everything that Debbie has to sell so she can pay for Issei's junior high crap she has to buy on Tuesday" kind of thoughts, too!!  Okay? Okay. Thanks.)

Oh....will post about Issei's 6th grade graduation in a day or two....
so, don't be a stranger...come back.

Have a great day....whichever day you are in!!!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Monday?! Are you kidding me??? ......Bite me!! (but it all ended surprisingly great!)


was just one of those days.....

You know....the kind where it rains/pours/drizzles pretty much off and on all day long....
...the kind where you lose a that you've had for almost 10 years...the one you took off on Sunday night as you were making the pizza dough and put it on the shelf above the sink and then this morning? pffft. It was gone.  After wearing a ring there for over 30 years...yep...pretty much you felt naked all day long.....
.....the kind of day where your umbrella gets stolen from the place you were teaching and you have to go out in the rain umbrellaless...

....the kind where you run to the shopping mall to pick up some newspapers for class and the parking garage is so damn full and you don't really realize how full it is until you are already too far in the garage and you can't turn just have to tuff it out.....and try not to go postal on anyone...

...and then....when you feel like you just canNOT take another thing, you come home....
and find a box waiting for you... on the table...from a great friend you feel you have known forever (but really only met in August!)'s a box that makes you smile...possibly even tear up a bit....
.....and then the day just gets a whole lot brighter.
Have you ever had a day like that???

Then Debbie....with her (incredibly) flat hair....and the boys....put in that CD....and danced.
Good Lord a'mighty....did we ever dance!!!! rawk! I'm just wondering why Adam
forgot to mention you in his notes...have you spoken to him about this??
<3 you!!

Friday, March 12, 2010

HEY! You damn flamingos!! Step. Away. From. The. Brownies!

See what happens when they come to my Friday class!!
Never again, my friends...NEVER...again!!
(At least not when I take peanutbutter brownies!!)
I'm feeling a little about it?

So....which one would YOU be??
A few weeks ago, a couple of friends of mine and I were out shopping for a wedding present for another friend and after deciding on a coffee maker for the new couple, we went to a trendy coffee shop to buy some trendy coffee to go with the coffee maker. (Are we cool, or what?)
While we were there, something caught my attention....after laughing like a goofball and taking a picture ('cause I'm always thinking about my blog, ya know!!) I decided that I? Yes, I.... am more of a House Blend (balanced? Yeah...I know....that is an adjective open for discussion!).

Speaking of that shopping trip....we were looking at a couple of possible items to give as presents.  This food processor caught my attention.  I don't think I have ever seen one quite so small before.....and pink!!!
*And yes...."HI" and "LO"!!
A few years ago....well, more like 9 years...the K-Man discovered a program for being creative with pictures and here's one that was a bit frightening.  Funny, yes...but a little scary nonetheless.

And with that...I bid you all adieu and goodnight
Tomorrow, the boys and I will be getting up at the butt-crack of dawn to go with the afterschool group on a day trip.  We are supposed to go to a theme park called Mitsui Greenland but.....there is a really good chance that it is going to rain (damn), so the alternate plan is to go to a place called Marine World in Fukuoka (foo-kuu-oh-ka....don't hurt yourself on that one!).  Either place would be fun, but, I'm hoping that the rain doesn't come until the afternoon, because I really want to ride a roller coaster...or jet coaster, as they are called here!!! forecast for Sunday? Warm...sunny...and dry.
Isn't that the way it usually goes?!

Have a great Friday should make some brownies...they definitely made our day better here!!!
(and if you make them and the flamingos show up....take a picture, please!!)

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Monday meanderings....and some 'hip shooting' at school

This weekend, something slightly eye-opening was brought to my attention.  I realized that the hard-rocking singer/songwriter Jon Bon Jovi? Yeah...he is just a little more than one month

Yes....this man....this incredibly hawt man....
....and I....

...are the same age.
In the process of discussing this realization over on "that other social network", the question of botoxing came up.  Now, I don't know if Jon does this or not....many people did speculate about it...but we do know that there are people out there who botox regularly...get surgically enhanced....have lypo-suction...get strange things injected into parts of their bodies...all to look look better.

I can sit here and say
"Oh, my gosh..... I can't believe that people do that. 
 Why can't they just be happy with the way they are?"

But....if I were totally honest with myself?
I would probably have to admit that if I had the money....yeah...there are some "things" I would definitely like to have something done with.  I'd like to have certain areas of my body back up to where they belong. 
I'd like some tucking.

But...since that will probably never happen (unless that Lottery comes in!!) and after years of dieting and working out and never being really happy with the results (when there were results, that is...I do so love my nachos and beer!), I have decided know what? I'm okay with me. 

Sure, I could stand to lose about 10 (or 15) more pounds (I lost about 30 a couple of years ago!) and if I did all those push-ups and sit-ups I might possible actually get those steely abs I keep hearing about.
I'm okay right now.
Really.  I am.

But...after talking about it and thinking about it....I went over to my favorite "play with photos" site and did just that....I played with a picture.
I came to another realization.....
if I could air automatically lose 8 pounds just by pushing a button every morning...I probably would....

untouched                              yeah baby!

Shoot from the Hip.....literallyThe other day I had to go to school for a meeting about...hmmm....well...I'm not really sure what it was about, but I  was there, dammit.  Anyway, the meeting was right after lunch and we were all gathered in the conference area of the library.  While the very important meeting was going on, I noticed that some of the kids were in the other part of the library perusing the shelves. 
Then, I noticed....on the tatami mat they have for the kids to sit on...and in a very relaxed position, just like he would be if he were at home.....
Issei (in green) and his friend Takumi....hanging out amongst the books.
How's that for "shooting from the hip"??

A taste of things to come.....

On Saturday, we took Issei to a department store to find clothes for him to wear for graduation on the 18th.  Up on the third floor, we took a look around at the uniforms that were on display for the new junior high school kids....which Issei will  officially be on April 7.  (All Junior High and High School students wear uniforms here in Nagasaki in most cities in Japan.) 
We haven't bought his yet....we are going to go with Grandma, sometime next week, as she is the one who is going to be forking out the small fortune. 
But, while we were there, Issei tried on one of the jackets...
oh....Lordy, Lordy, Lordy...I don't know if I'm ready for this.....

Saturday, March 06, 2010

flamingos.,...all over da place!! here's the deal:  after weeks and weeks, nay...months and months...of pretty much every Friday posting some of my most favorite of things here....I fell off the wagon and landed in a big 'ole pile of meh last week and didn't post a one of my pink feathered friends.  So...this make up for that....I give you muchos flamingos!!!               

This flamingo was part of this year's annual Lantern Festival that Nagasaki City has every year.  This was the first year for lanterns to be in one of the rivers near all the festivities!!  She was part of a menagerie of birds....swans, ducks, cranes...they were actually very beautiful!!

The following pictures are ones that nice friends have sent, knowing full well how much I do so love getting them!!

This one is from Jenn who snapped it on her way through the Flamingo Hotel in Las Vegas (baby!), for me.

Another friend Lea....posted this one for me and ssshhhh...I borrowed it.

My little sis AP sent me this one.....Issei thinks we can do this ourselves!!
  I love a kid with a positive, creative attitude!!

For the last few years, I have been toying with the idea of getting a many of the onsens ("hot springs") that we frequent have very obvious signs that say "No Tatoos", I'm not yet brave enough to say "Oh, screw it." and get one anyway.  But.....if I were to find some "big ones" and actually get one next time in the States....this might be something I would get:

(but without the word flamingo under...that would be a little much, don't you think?) a moment of silliness.....

You all have a great Friday....

**Oh...and by the way...a bit of an FYI....this is blogpost #495....Holy Hell!! That means that #500 is very close at hand. thinks this calls for something special to happen.....I wonder what we will do..... (^_^)

Thursday, March 04, 2010

of babies...and birthday wishes (late and early!!)

Once upon a time, there were three American women who met in Japan.
They each came with different missions and goals in mind...led slightly different lives...and yet, found themselves in one particularly similiar situation.
They were all pregnant at the same time.  (There were actually two others but today's story is just about the three.)
While one was due in January, the other two actually had the same due-date...really...they March.  (There was some speculation that the Hale-Bop comet might have contributed to this strange phenomenon.) 
The Christmas before all these blessed babies were born,  many friends joined the Kuroiwa's in their annual Christmas blow-out (in a house that they had literally just moved into...even 7 months pregnant, Debbie had more energy than most).  It was a great time, despite that whole "no drinking when pregnant" rule.

                                                  Debbie             Lauren             Jan

The first week of January, Kayla was born....then, even though he was not due until March, Issei was born in February.  Which leaves us with Aida....who, despite Lauren following pretty much all the advice given to her to get that baby to be born, did not join the party until the middle of March...more than just a few days after her due date. 

*We do believe that Issei had a hand in encouraging Aida to be born....Lauren came to watch him for just a bit while I went grocery shopping and as he was in the beginning stages of colic and crying all the time, we do believe that she was born just so she could tell him to "shut the hell up"!!  But...that's just a theory, ya know. *

Lauren and her hub packed up and left Japan about a month after Aida was born....and they haven't been back since.  Well...Eduardo ('dad') came for a visit ("Hola. How are you? I gotta go to a soccer game.") about 8 years ago when the World Cup was here (and I was very pregnant with Koji!) and he came to watch Mexico play...but other than that, no...they haven't been back.  I've seen them a few times in the States...but we missed Aida this year as she was busy doing soccer....or swimming...or whatever it is that Southern California girls do!

Jan and Kayla (and the rest of their family) are still here in Nagasaki.  We don't see them as much as we used, schedules and what-not...but we do meet up ocassionally.

Issei and Kayla....just a few of my favorite pictures.....

(For the life of me, I canNOT find the pictures from when Issei and I met our friend Kim in California and we drove to San Diego for a couple of days to visit....hmmm....I wonder which box those pictures are in...I know I have some good ones of Issei and Aida. I'll keep looking.....)

I hope that someday, these three kids...along with their parents...can all get together again.  Issei and Kayla will both be graduating from elementary school on the 18th of March.....about the same time Aida will be celebrating her 12th birthday in California...milestones all over the place! 

I'd like to take this time to wish Kayla....and Aida....and of course Issei...a very happy birthday!!
The "year of the tiger" was made extra special by all three of you being born and our lives were forever changed for the better.  You were born to parents that have adventure in their blood...may you have many wonderful adventures of your own in YOUR lives!!!

Monday, March 01, 2010

we interrupt the silence you have been experiencing on this blog for a message from your hostess with the mostess

For the last ten days....the non-blogginess of this particular site can be blamed on the following, in any combination or singularly, at any given time of day or night:
influenza of the swine-ful kind (Issei),
birthday celebration (again, Issei),
 sickness sympathy symptoms (Koji),
apathy (lot's and lot's of that, but not about the sick son or the fake-sick son either),
feelings of being overwhelmed (taxes, bills,lack of funds to pay those...good Lord. it's official. i'm a cliche.),
very intense, down-to-the-last-seconds, hometown highschool basketball game on Internet AM radio---nephew-types on team,
PTA meeting (snore),
anxiety caused by the medium I had made plans to talk with not answering her phone---seriously...wouldn't you see that as an omen of the 'not so good kind'??  I know I've got some interesting people "up there", but would they frighten a medium? (She had a family sorry to hear that, and yet, slightly relieved.),
thank-you party by soon-to-be 6th grade graduates for their parents, beforementioned party (thank goodness I could understand only parts, I'd a been a puddle!), 
a stressful meeting with parents who don't understand that I can't be a leader of their group since I can't read or write this language which might hinder the proceedings, just a little..hello I have to freakin' cry to make this point??
Olympic madness,
PMS of the worst kind,
newly-turned-12-year old on his own emotional roller coaster NOT in the same theme park as his mom,
a really bad case of blogstipation,
oh yeah,
overwhelming feelings of
what the hell is going on and why isn't there
a Starbucks closer to my house???

Has this cleared the confusion at all?
(Was there any confusion even?)
Now... I just realized that the new Blogger editor does NOT have spell check...and that pretty much bites.
So, I guess I should apologize for any misspelled words.
Crap.  My spelling sucks.

"Mommy!! Help!!"

"Koji!! Did you cut your eyebrows?"
"No, my friend did."
"Allllrightyright then."

"I'm....that guy....on that movie."
(Yeah...uh-huh...just muuuuch shorter...and not as Australian.)

You all have a good Monday.