Saturday, August 28, 2010

a SHOT with flamingos...with a small side of angst

Christmas in August and a very cool shot glass...
what more could a couple of flamingos ask for?
Well, they could ask for something other than that ornament to go in the shot glass,
but, that's just me and my crazy thinking.
**Thanks Dena, my lovely BFF.  I love you and miss you something wicked!**

Are you wondering why I'm posting Flamingo Friday on a Saturday or does this not faze you anymore?
Let's just say, I was in a non-blogging kind of mood last night.

Yesterday, I went to the dermatologist.  On Monday, I had an itch on my back and was bending and twisting around to reach it when my fingers came across something that honestly? Was NOT there last week.  Or if it was, it wasn't noticeable. this is the day and age of being extra careful about our skin and bodies and such, I made plans to go to a doctor that a) speaks English,  b) is the brother of one of my students and c)comes with a ton of really good recommendations.
I got there about 9:30 and entered the waiting room and was like.....whooooooah! Crap.
There must have been 75 people waiting.
I felt a bit better when I realized that it was the waiting room for 5 doctors.
Even took about an hour and a half to get in to see the doctor.
After a quick examination, he assured me that what was growing on my back was indeed a normal thing and though it would probably get a little larger as time goes by, was "a benign skin tumor".
What a wonderful word that is.
Skin tumor...I can do without but as long as it comes with benign, I'm okay.
He suggested that I watch it for awhile and recommended a procedure to remove it, but not yet...maybe in a year or two.

I went down to the main desk to get my medicine (for the itchiness!) and to pay my 1,250 yen (about $11) for the examination and meds.
I left the hospital and made my way to the car.
As I paid for the hands started shaking.
I dropped a couple of coins on the ground.
I got in the car.
Turned on the A/C.
Pulled out of the parking lot and.....
I had to pull over to the side of the road.
And cry.
I would love to be able to tell you how I was feeling but....
Relief doesn't even begin to touch the feeling I had at that moment.

Thank you, dear Lord for giving me a wake-up call to really start taking better care of myself and to pay more attention to what's happening
to my body the older I get.
Watch over and protect me.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

some dancing and then...wait. is it the 24th? of august?

The hula festival that I was angsting about so terribly last week has come and gone and I survived.  Oh, I knew I would be okay, it's just I have this tiny little fear of getting on stage and then forgetting everything that I've practiced.  In Japanese, they call this ma shiro ni natta...."my mind went white".
The ladies in our group and I walk out on the stage and get into our starting pose....deep breath...focus..."crap those lights are bright" kaholo here we go.

One of the best things about this event, other than the actual dancing and whatnot, is this....

...brought to me by these two...


These two friends come to these events and it's a bit of a tradition that we sit outside the auditorium, after my group's performance and drink a beer (or two) to celebrate.  People no longer look at us strangely as we are sitting on the floor or on the stairs, talking...laughing...and having a beer while the hula goes on around us.

When people ask me who my foreign friends are, I tell them that while I know of many foreigners here in the city, there are especially two that I consider really good friends.
Jan and I have known each other for almost 18 years....Karen and I met about 15 years ago.
Our lives are similar in some ways...married to Japanese men, we all three have kids...and yet, our differences are what keep it interesting.
These two are my "oxygen masks". 
When life gets tough or hard to handle, when I can't breathe.... Karen and Jan are the forces that help me keep it all together.  I think I'd be making a correct statement by saying that the 'oxygen mask' idea is a mutual one.  That's what friends do.
Life would be very different without them in it.
Mahalo, my friends....Mahalo.
Today is the 24th of August.  This morning it dawned on me that today is the K-Man's and my anniversary.
We met a little more than 16 years ago.
We've been married for fourteen.
For someone who had not planned on staying in Japan for so long, let alone actually getting married (here or anywhere, for that matter) and having a family, this has been an interesting adventure with the K-Man, and now the boys.
Happy Anniversary, K.
who loves you? yeah yeah yeah....

*Aren't those little boys the cutest? Three of them are my nephews and 14 years later, they are still cute... handsome, even...and bordering on muscle-bound, mandomhood....but this picture? This is one of my favorites and how I will remember them for many years to come.

Friday, August 20, 2010

a virtual FlamingoPalooza

A flocking.
You've seen pictures or maybe you have even experienced it yourself.
A birthday...a housewarming...a new baby...any kind of celebration is the perfect time for a flocking.
Actually, it really doesn't need to be a celebration.  It can just be someone (or a group of someones) wanting to make another someone feel loved.

I have to admit, there is a little part of me that would love to wake up one morning, look out my window and see 30 or so pink plastic flamingos placed strategically around my yard, but....since pink flamingos are not the kind of kitsch that Japanese like, that is probably not going to happen (those damn garden gnomes/Disney dwarfs/various animal figures pretty much rule the garden spaces here).

That said....
I think I experienced my own, slightly different "mini-flocking", of sorts, this week.
And it was wonderful.
On three different days,
I was surprised by three different friends
(one here, two over "the big water").
A teeny, yet incredibly perfect, ceramic flamingo bookmark came first....then,
I was surprised by an umbrella I have been lusting after for months looking all over for...
and then a glass flamingo and necklace arrived this morning.

If you think about it, this is a way better flocking than the other.  Those 30 or so flamingos that are put in your yard are usually there for a short time...a day at the most. 

But for me,
everytime it rains...anytime I'm in the living room...
whenever I pick up my book...when I put on that neckace...I will smile.
I've been flocked...sort of.
And it's a great feeling.

Muchos mahalos to Karen, Val, and Nancy...
You made my week.

Happy Friday everyone....may something really great happen today
that makes you smile!!!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

it's time for debbie to get her mojo ready.....

...her hula mojo that is.

This weekend is a very special event for those of us in Nagasaki City who belong to the Kyushu Hula Association.  Our annual Hula Festival will be on Saturday and, thanks to an incredible number of groups who are going to dance, also on Sunday.  Over 100 different groups are getting ready for their 5-8 minutes of fame.
It's a big day that we have all worked very hard to get ready for.

It's exciting....and for me, also nerve-wracking.

Getting on stage in front of 1,000 or so people who just enjoy watching the dance is one thing, but....add another, say, 800 women who know the dances and are watching for the mistakes?  Yeah.  That makes me wanna throw up a little.

So...for the next couple of days, I'm going to be desperately seeking some hula mojo to help me through this.  Though I come across as being a very confident, self-assured, super-woman (of sorts) kind of person,  I'm also....a big ole' scaredy-cat.

I have to admit that it takes everything I have to walk out on stage and remember, not only the dance steps for the next 5-8 minutes, but also my name!

So...that said....
I have my ticket.

 I have the dress.

 There are the flowers for my hair.

 And a lei to match.

Technically....I'm ready.

When I first started doing hula 6 years ago, I didn't tell many people. 
For awhile, it was something that was....just mine. 
Hula was not only something that I had wanted to do for a long time, it was also something that helped me keep my shit together.  Life is hard and having something you can count on to be there on a regular basis helps to keep everything else in focus. 

That is hula, for me.

I have downloaded a video of the dance my group and I will be performing on Saturday. 
Whenever we learn a new dance, I come home and have the K-Man video it to
help me remember the steps.
This is from a few months ago...I guarantee that I've improved...that's what is nice about recording the dances.....I can watch them and I can see where I made the mistakes...kind of like the way my brother, the football coach, makes his boys watch their games to see what they did that was good and/or bad.

Please be's far from perfect....but, it's helping me get my mojo going!

From HulaMay'10

I've been practicing this particular dance since May.
I'm ready.
I can do this.
Bring on those 5-8 minutes.

Friday, August 13, 2010

What do you mean it's not Thursday?? Really? It's Friday?? Are you sure?

Well....kiss me on the lips and call me cute.
All day long, I've been thinking it was Thursday.
Sure, I had my Thursday night class last night...on Thursday night.
But...when I woke up this morning....yep....Thursday again.
Or, so i thought.
Yeah, yeah,'s all a part of the charm.
Friday, huh?
I perused through some of the flamingo pictures I have collected--from the Internet, ones I have taken myself, many that were sent from YOU--and found a couple that I don't think I've used before.

Yummm.....this definitely has possibilities...
....and served by a cabana boy of my choice....

...oh yeah.
But then, I'd probably drink too much and decided to get a tattoo, which would definitely look like this:

Maybe next know, if I go to the States.
I hope my own personal cabana boy is okay with that.
It is now Obon here in Japan.  Obon is a three-day holiday to honor those who have passed away.  The Japanese believe that the spirits of our loved ones come back for three days.  You can read more about HERE.
But, if I were to give you a quickie explanation, I'd have to say that it is a combination of memorial day, Halloween, a family reunion and here in Nagasaki, Chinese New Year.
Nagasaki celebrates the final day of the holiday with a special send-off for those who left us in the previous year.
It's called shoro nagashi and it is something that you will only be able to observe here, in Nagasaki City.
There are many videos on the Internet of this event and if you want to see (and hear!!) what this is all about, click HERE.  We haven't decided if we're going down to the main road to watch or not...Koji is not real thrilled with the firecrackers (Which is ironic considering his obsession with pop guns these days....I'm thinking he can control those, so they are not so scary.)

Happy Friday, everyone.
And really is Friday. 
Trust me.

Friday, August 06, 2010

Flamingo Friday is baaaaaaack...and really? It's a good one!

I love days like this. 
Days when things happen that just make me smile. 
When things happen that remind me that 'all is right with the world'.

Tonight, I got a message from my friend, Janet....who passed on a picture from another friend, Gary, of some things that, well, I need would like to have.  I really do.
Gary is an incredibly talented potter who does some very cool stuff
(go to his blog and check it out..just click on his name or 'his blog'...but,  after you're finished here, okay? okay.) 
and though I would love to have many of the pieces he has made, I have a hard time taking the chance with shipping.
I'm so afraid (and rightly so) that what I order, will arrive here in pieces.

little pieces.

But....that thinking may change.
Take a look at the cuteness...

*Now, please, in your best Groucho Marx voice....
And the flamingos aren't bad either. do we get that cuteness...the ceramic Japan???
( and your lovely are welcome anytime!!)

I am definitely working on a plan....

I hope that you have a thing (or two...or three) today that makes YOU smile!!!

Thursday, August 05, 2010

i don't know...does it seem a little brighter in here to you?

So....the whole 'floating message' has been taken care of. 
Muchos arrigatos to my friend, Cheryl, in Santa Fe, who was reading another blogger having the same trouble and passed on that blogger's address, who I quickly e-mailed ("hi, you don't know me, but....") and got a speedy reply and remedy.
All I had to do was go to the place where I got my background, do some changing around and...voila

We are back in business.
But, it's still hot and humid and I am moving slower than
a snail with a head cold, so....yeah.
I got a new look...and that's about it for now.
(And yes, I know..."a snail with a head cold"?? i really have no idea as to where that came from.   sometimes, you don't need to question it....just keep moving, folks.)

A beautiful butterfly that I chased around the garden for about 15 minutes, to get the perfect picture:
After seeing the picture, I did feel a little better about getting so sweaty in the process of getting the I'm sure the neighbors were wondering what the hell I was doing, so it really was a win-win kind of day!
Why are chubby thighs on a 9-month old cute and make people smile, while chubby thighs on a 48-year old are a whole 'nuther story??
It's not really fair, is it?

Oh. Em. Gee.
Imagine my surprise and glee (whee!!) when, on a regular grocery shopping outing, I happened across
a shelf that had a few jars of this:
I'm not going to question its existence. 
I've learned that when you do that? Yeah..things disappear.
I did, by the way,  buy 2 about $4.50 a jar, I had to draw the line at 2....the boys need their milk in the morning a little more than I need something for my chips (this was a very hard decision, though.).
***************** what happens to empty (or not so empty, sometimes) boxes, when there is an artist in the house.

Happy Thursday, everyone.
Thanks for sending the cool thoughts....they are most appreciated!!
(Don't stop, though...keep 'em coming!!)

Monday, August 02, 2010

having a 'wicked witch' kind of feeling of late.....

No....not that kind of Wicked Witch feeling, it's.....more of the
"I'm melting" kind of feeling.
Mother Nature has suddenly decided that it is summer.
Hot.  Humid.  "Good Lord is it a sauna out here, or what?" Summer.

You would think that after 19 years the 5 in South Texas..(I also did time in Atlanta and Ohio)..that I would be at least a little bit accustomed to the sweltering summers.  You'd think I be more able to handle the  "it's not the heat, it's the humidity that will kill ya." kind of summers....but no.
Sorry. Not happening.

I have no energy to do anything more than what is absolutely necessary.
Which is why, until my bloggy blahness dissipates, my posts may be a bit irregular.

If you've got cool thoughts...send 'em....I'll trade hot ones for cool ones.
if you can tell me
 how to get that Photo Bucket message
 to disappear from my page,
 THAT would be great!!!