Saturday, September 25, 2010

Flamingo Fri~~~turday!!

Is it possible to have 'spring fever' in the fall??

Mother Nature, quite suddenly, decided to cool things down a bit and it has been absolutely wonderful here in Nagasaki.  We have had a bit of rain (squalls, if you will) but nothing that would cause any trouble.
Plus, the rain allowed me to use my new new FLAMINGO UMBRELLA, thank you very much...and I felt oh so very special walking down the street with it, not-so-oblivious to the envious stares of those I met. 

For years, I said that the springtime was my favorite part of the year, but that opinion is slowly changing.  The fall here is lovely....the afternoon sunshine is still quite warm, but not that "oh my God, I can't breathe!" hot and humid we have in the summer (though Wednesday was quite steamy, that particular adjective hasn't returned...knock on wood.).  The fall flowers are so pretty and the festivals that are soon upon us are ones I look forward to (one more than others!!)

So...on Friday...
having a really good "good hair day"
(thank you dry hair loves you!)
....driving in my car with the window down letting the cool morning breeze come in....

 having a day full of bright sunshine with not a cloud in the sky....
 ...I ended up at "one of my favorite java joints" ...

I took my new shoes out for a chai latte.
It was delicious and the shoes? Oh...they were down right giddy with happiness.


A special note to my friends:

Thank you so much for the words of advice, support and even better...the words of "you are not in this alone" from my blog post earlier in the week.
We have not had another "episode" (again...knocking on wood) with the 12-year-old, but it hasn't been perfect...just a little better.  I guess, I truly do have to just deal with this one day at a time...and keeping myself calm is of most importance.  (Hence, the trip for that chai latte!!)
It's nice to know that you (yes, you!!) are in my corner...
Mahalo, my friends, maholo.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Did the Jonas Brothers' mom and Justin Bieber's mom have to put up with this shit, too?? I think I'd feel a little better if they did.

angst:  a feeling of anxiety, apprehension, or insecurity

As the mother of a 12-year-old boy, this word has become a major part of our vocabulary.
And just for the record, before I go any further, let me just say this: 
I am NOT liking this stage...not. one. bit.

We've all had it....the angst.  I'm pretty sure that it was recommended as a 'life study' in junior high.
Some of us survived surprisingly well....and my mom our parents should be commended for not sending us up the river at first chance.

I am, at this very moment, sitting across the table from one very mad, very frustrated 12-year-old.  He is doing homework that should have been done during the summer holiday.  It is homework that he told me was done.  He looked me straight in the eye and assured me he was finished.  Guess what?  He wasn't.  But, he thinks that he should still be able to play his Nintendo AND buy a new game (to the tune of about $45!!  Not just "no", but "hell, NO!!") 

It doesn't matter how many times I remind him that the situation he finds himself in now is his own, I am the enemy.  I don't know what I'm talking about.  And if he knew how to use the word bitch correctly, I'm sure it would have been mumbled countless times under his breath.


I'm not really sure how we got to this point in our lives.  The hardest thing is that most everything that comes out of his mouth of late?  The feeling of "oh....I remember that" comes over me like an ugly,
pre-teen tidal wave.

I know what it's like to feel as if he is the only person in the world to not have something.
(In his case, a particular DS mine, I'm remembering a pair of saddle oxfords in 6th grade, among other things).

I know what it's like to fall behind in a class (or three) and feel like there is no way that everything is going to get done.

I know that there will always be smarter kids, but that doesn't make me dumb.

I know what it's like to have kids in class that seem to get everything that they want and they never really seem to have to work for it...all they do is ask and voila! it's in their hands.

I know.

But, in the process of growing up and becoming the adult, I am now the one who doesn't understand...the one who is being unreasonable....
the one who is partially responsible for the angst, it seems.

So, my friends, here is where I ask for your help...your input...your advice....words of support or...escape routes. (Just kidding about that last one...I'm trying to find some humor here.)
Have you gone through (and survived!) something like this?
As I am the main "parental unit" in situations like these (And please, don't ask why, the explanation is too  hard to understand for anyone not in a relationship with a Japanese man), I'm finding myself at more of a loss than I have ever been....which is causing my own angst.

And as I have been told for many years and firmly believe:
If momma's not happy, nobody's happy.

Thanks for "listening"....I feel a little better just typing this all out.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

some special thoughts...Eat, Pray, Love...and God bless Chuck Taylor

A long time ago, I remember my grandmother telling me that she really hated the fact that as she got older, time seemed to be going by much faster than what she would like...and sometimes she felt as if, when she woke up, she had slept through more than one night.  I laughed and she said "Just you wait and'll happen to you", which made me laugh even more.
Well, guess what?  She was right.
Holy crap. 
 Here it is Sunday afternoon and really, I'm not absolutely positive what happened to
Thursday, Friday or Saturday.
I looked at my schedule for the rest of the month and then for October and November and I don't see it getting any better. Between classes, festivals at both of the boys' schools and the two community centers I am associated with and just trying to keep this house from going completely to the dark side, I'm thinking that one day very soon, I'm going to wake up and I will have completely missed Christmas
and the New Year holidays altogether.
(Oh great...that reminds me that I need to get started here in the next few weeks planning my annual Christmas party for my students!)

Thank goodness I have things (like this blog and a certain social networking place) to help me keep my life in balance...which means all of you are helping, too.  I appreciate that oh so very much!!

Dear Janet,
I was thinking about you today.
I know that things are not going exactly the way you'd like them to, assured, those of us out here who love you, are sending you our warmest thoughts of the
i hope you are feeling better soon kind.
On Friday, I wore your mother's pin you sent me....with the hope that the sunshine we had happening here, my good thoughts and most of all....the incredible good hair day I had going on..were all somehow getting to you.
Much love,


Eat, Pray, Love....a great book and a pretty wonderful movie, but....
even though you may not have had a 'movie date' with you husband in a really long time, this probably isn't the best movie to go and see with him.
Granted, you will both enjoy it're gonna want to talk to a friend about parts of the movie and he won't really understand what you're talking about because, well, you know why....and that friend knows why, prepared to probably go and see it again....the next time with a really good friend (who just got back from Australia and needs to get over her jet lag quickly as I'm in dire need of some java time.
 I'm just saying.)

After watching the before mentioned really good movie, the K-man and I were wandering around the shopping mall, meandering about the shops (much of them too young for us, but was
like a real date, ya'll), when we finally found ourselves at the shoe store.
(I didn't even know we were lost! heh heh heh!)
Now, let me stop right here and tell you that I very rarely never buy shoes in Japan...unless they are mens' shoes.  I wear a size 25.5-26 (which is 8 1/2-9) and those sizes are almost impossible to find, if you're looking for a nice pair of pumps or heels or hell, even a pair of ugly flats.
I would have loved to have found a cheapy pair of plain white Keds but, such luck.

Buuuuut......suddenly a pair of pink/yellow/green plaid VAN'S caught my eyes...they were just almost what I didn't know I was looking for!!  And because they were Mens'/Women's....they had my size.
I was looking for a bench to sit down and try them on when....yoohooo...again, with the eye-catching-shoes....
but this time....Converse...and, oh yeah...these...I wanted...definitely.
Oh please, oh please, pleasepleaseplease let them be in my size.....
because really...
this little piggies
...definitely need to be spending some time
in these...

Oh yeah...
My week month just a got a whole lot easier to handle, me thinks!!

Monday is a holiday here....Respect for the Aged day.  We will  treat Grandma K to dinner at a restaurant of her choice....we'll also probably buy her some flowers.  She doesn't really need for anything and flowers are good in any situation for anyone...shoot, I might pick up some for me, too.  I'm not aged yet, but....I may need some flowers to match my new shoes!!!

Have a great week, everyone. 

Friday, September 10, 2010

Some Rock n' Rollin' Flamingos...

...from a time when rock stars wore suits, skinny ties and danced like no body's business!!

This was a week of an  almost typhoon,
(one came close, but not close enough for any damage...we here on the western side of Kyushu fared much better than many north of us),

getting back results of the "so. did you study anything during the summer holiday?" tests
(Issei had exams the second day back from vacation...and from his results we can see that his answer seems to have been "Nah. Not really very much." (~_~)grrr),

having a regular teaching schedule and seeing some students after about a month break,
(I'm pretty gosh-darned tired here folks!)

stressing more than a little bit for a few weeks about a new class of 5 little girls that I started, and after the class on Wednesday was finished realizing that I had been angsting about nothing....
the class is going to be just great,
(for the last 7 years or so, I've taught mainly older students so having 9-, 11- and 12-year olds in a class is very, very different...but in a really wonderful way!!!),

yadda, yadda, yadda
(the daily ins and outs of life here in the Kuroiwa house).

Happy Friday, everyone.
As soon as I click "publish post", this camper is off to the bath where I hope to soak for a bit and read a chapter or two in whatever book I can find on the shelf in the bathroom.

I'm also hoping that the little lizard I had a deep and meaningful chance meeting with last night in the shower has vacated to another room in the house. 

I need a vacation!!

Sunday, September 05, 2010

What? It's September? Are you kidding me? But....I've still got lists of things I should have done in August!! Crap.

So much to much time I don't, ahem didn't have.
I know that I have complained about the heat here this summer.  Oh, and wait.  Don't forget about the humidity.  I was actually starting to feel like I was just being a whiny baby about it all.  Then, it was made official.

This summer has been the hottest on record in Japan since 1946.
19 freakin' 46, my friends.  That's 64 years of summers and this year?  Yep. The hottest.
My complaining has been justified.

My students tell me every summer that it gets cooler after the o'bon holiday, which is August 15. 
And every summer?  Oh yeah....I laugh. HAHAHAHAHA!!!
Personally, I think that this is a case of "if you believe it, it will come".
In my opinion?  It is hot all through September and warm the first of October...THEN it starts to cool down.  Really.  It does.

So, I will apologize for any whining...complaining...boohooing that might be evident here for the next few weeks.
I'm just tired and sweaty and I'm really jealous of anyone wearing jeans and long-sleeved shirts right now2.
Really.  Jealous.

Elementary school students have to do some sort of project during the summer holiday (yes, along with all the homework they are given, thank you very much).  Usually, the Kuroiwa family is running around like mad little critters right before the start of the new semester, furiously working on art projects to turn in.
But this year....we got smart.  Koji got his done a few weeks before school started.
He made some cacti.

It's amazing what you can do with a couple of old sox, some styrofoam balls, green paint, rocks from the garden, and toothpicks.  And yes, I know...that one on the right has three eyes.  One does not question the artistic creativity/imagination a an 8-year-old.
He is pretty proud of his "cactuses" (his word, not mine).
Summer observation #378....
sharing a box of mac n' cheese is probably one of THE best lunches for a kid and his mom.
The "last hurrah" of the Kuroiwa Family....
a day at a water park
(which really? by the western meaning of "water park" was just
a really fun swimming pool with a couple of awesome water slides...but still really fun!!).
We got there early enough (after a short drive and a ferry ride) and got a table with an umbrella near the wave pool.

We were in the pools from 9:30 to about 3:00...the shaved ice and cold drink breaks kept us going.

But this.....mocked the K-man and I most of the day.
This monster of a water slide...all 23 meters tall of her (that's about 8 stories tall, yo!)...was whispering our names.

Finally, the pressure was too much.  We just said "to hell with it"...climbed to the top and with a "Sayonara" were pushed down.  Let's just say that it was the most exhilarating 3 seconds...going 60 km. an hour...DOWN.
I'll swear to you that at one point, my butt? Was NOT touching the was like I was just free falling with the water.  It was awesome.
What was NOT awesome was the wedgie that comes with going that fast down a water slide.
Oh...and just for the record.....wearing a tankini suit probably was not the best choice either.
I'm just saying.
It's a good thing that the summer is almost (cough, cough) over....
on Tuesday, my very favorite sandals gave up the fight.
I was at a shopping mall when it happened and had to shuffle (only my left foot!) to the elevator and then to the car.  I giggled to myself as I kept thinking I was doing a really good Igor impersonation (from Young Frankenstein, please!).
I had noticed in the morning that the heel was a little loose, so took another pair of know....just in case. ~~whew~~
 In the car, I changed into the substitute pair and went on my merry little way.
Fast forward a couple of hours to me at the grocery store.
I had a total Margaritaville moment...yes, dear friends, I Jimmy Buffetted the substitute sandals.
"...blew out my flip flops....."

Double crap and where is my margarita, dammit?
I was in the middle of
Again with the shuffling, this time a bit more creatively.
It better get cool soon.  I only have one more pair of summer sandals.  If they go...
I'm in deep, hot, sweaty foot doodoo.

Have a good week my American family and friends, have a fun and safe Labor Day.