Tuesday, May 24, 2011

a 1-day car trip...quality family time...and something we'll probably never find again

during the last 'golden week' holiday a few weeks ago, we loaded up in the car and headed out on a
kuroiwa family adventure. as usual, it was a one-day trip....literally....one. day.
22 hours. about gazillion kilometers.  one car.
one angst-ridden teenager.  one aggravating little brother.
mom. and dad.

we loaded up in the car and headed out at 4:00....in the morning.
during the trip, we drove a little, took a ferry, drove some more, ate ice cream at eight in the morning, and despite the close confines of the vehicle, we all survived it quite nicely...and yes,
we can admit that we had a pretty fun time.

here was our trip:
we have taken many a day-trip over the years, but never had we journeyed down to this part of kyushu before.  it really was quite nice. 
at one point, looking at the navigation map, we all got a bit of a chuckle, for this is what we saw:
 f.y.i.....the road goes through, out and around and once again through the mountain. very cool.

an interesting part of this trip was when we got off the highway and near the city of miyazaki.
issei asked, "are we in california?"

this part of the island of kyushu is famous for it resort-ness.  a long time ago, it was THE place for japanese to go on honeymoons.  the palm trees...the beaches...the pacific ocean...
it really is very southern california-ish.

aoshima was one of the places we really wanted to visit.  there is a very small island that is just off the shore.  on the island is a shrine (famous for good luck in love...hence the many couples we saw!!) and a small jungle-like area with a few more very small shrines. 
koji gave a tarzen yell while we were in there, so that should tell you what it was like!!

the best part is not just what is on the island itself, but really....what is around it.
all around the little island (and all along the coast, actually) you see this

*note to self:  burn the overalls. they are not the most becoming article of clothing in the closet. 
they call it the "devil's washboard".  it really is quite amazing.
but the most amazing thing was what we found....
koji and issei were running along the rocks and suddenly stopped....
"mom!!!  come here!!!"
wondering what on earth it was they had found, i had prepared myself for just about anything....
but was NOT prepared for this...
oh sure...it was probably carved into the stone by someone, but....
really....i don't care.  what are the odds of finding something (heart-shaped, no less) so incredibly small
in this

so. very. cool.

after playing/running in the rocks for awhile, we headed on down the coast to another shrine that is up in a cave overlooking the ocean.  we hit some major power spots, my friends.  we prayed in many places and
all was right with the world.

our final stop was a place we had all been really looking forward to.
it's a place that was kind of cheesy, but, we like places like that.

you know the moai statues on easter island, don't you?
well, here on our island of kyushu is the only place in the world where the people of easter island have given permission for someone to replicate those statues.....
and we were there.

it really is a nice place...but one that, we decided, you don't really need to see twice.
that happens sometimes.
the boys had a good time
**in case you're wondering...no, there was no glass...it's just the frame. silly boys!!

yeah, yeah, yeah....we ALL had a good time!!!


Sunday, May 08, 2011

when i realized that Motivation and her sisters WillPower, Energy and Miss No-Thanks-I don't-need-that had left the building

does that explain why i haven't posted a sentence or picture or even a joke for such a long time?
a lot of things have been going on.
a lot of nothing has, too.
i have done some soul-searching...some deep thinking....
given myself some pep talks...drank a few beers....read more than a couple books...
and have spent some time just..... being.
i also signed up for this month's "blogging everyday" group (who is using the theme of "maybe" and i was thinking that "hey, that's the theme for me!"....obviously....i was wrong  maybe next month.).
but  now, after a long-ish holiday (last 10 days, 8 days off)  i think i'm ready to do this again.
so....let's start with something i do best....
my mom sends me her magazines after she is finished reading them.  one of my favorites is specifically for those us over the age of 40 (but, not yet ready for that AARP one, which she sends, too, by the way...you know...for the articles..."they're good!"  whatever.)
every month they have a section called
"this is what *insert particular age* looks like".
they ask questions so we can see just how much alike you and i are with that woman.
one question they sometimes ask is "what was your most memorable birthday?"
the lady of one month said that her 40th was because her husband rented a club and dave matthews was there to play for her and her close friends.
yeah.  okay.
that happens to me all the time.
so.....and not answering any questions (because that will interfere with my randomness, ya know)...
this is what 49 looks like...
as for my most memorable birthday....i'll say this last one.
i had the most incredible of birthdays this year.
if you are not one to celebrate a 'birthday week', then, really,
you need to change your way of thinking.
(and fyi....if your birthday is one that ends in a -0, then, you are entitled to a 'birthday month'...
keep that in mind)
my b-day was on a wednesday this year, so the celebrations started on the saturday before...and seriously, continued for 7 days.
we went from
a box of krispy kreme donuts from a student/friend

(which, of course, i shared with my family...sigh)

 and this (hi janet...thanks, again luv!!)
to this with a very dear friend...
and flowers and goodies from my other friends and students...
(and yeah....that is a bottle of tequila....from the husband of one of my friends...he thought i'd like it.  smart man, he is.)
everyday there was some little goody or surprise....
and the last day, i had dinner with some friends (one who had just come back from a trip to the states where she met my sister and her husband in las vegas and my cousins in denver....isn't that great??)
the place we had dinner was also the same place another friend was having a dinner, so she and i met up later for drinks (a really bad margarita and some coronas).  it was early enough that we could enjoy the drinks, the company, the conversation and a laugh or two and still make it home on the last buses to our respective homes.  the icing on the cake my friends. 
 it really was.

have you ever tried any of this stuff?

i got some from that friend who went to the states as a souvenir and it says that it is
" A deeply hydrating lip plumper".
it's to make your lips a bit more.....poofier.
after putting some on,  my friend who i was having drinks with said,
'if they get any poofier, i'm going to have to kiss you!!"
i guess that means it works. 
this is the toilet in our house.
yes, the room is fairly small, but...it serves it's purpose.
but...look again....
do you see what i see?
obviously, not only am i the only one who can put a new roll of toilet paper where it belongs,
i'm also the only one who knows how that silly trash can works.  it's tricky, i know.
i wonder if the men in my house know that the cardboard tube can actually go into the trash.
note to self:  give "what trash goes where" talk to boys.....again.

(and just for the record....yes, i could see those tubes on the floor.
i was just waiting to see how many could amass before someone, other than myself, noticed them.  i finally folded after i took this picture...i couldn't take it anymore!!!)
yet another reason why one particular coffee joint is the one for me:
from: me
to:  me
you gotta love that!
and finally....'cause this really is what is about me the most....
(did that even make sense??)
from my friend in ny....taken from a mural at the american museum of natural history
i would love to have seen this....thanks, luv, for letting me see it through your eyes (and camera!!).
oh...one last thing....
look up at the header
see that first picture?
that is a card that was made by my friend, maggie.
she has a shop over at etsy and it is full of some of the most interesting pieces.
go and check out what she has made...she has something for everyone!!
she is such a creative spirit.....and the card?
i love it.
it's perfect!!
i hope you all have a great week....
to all those moms and soon-to-be moms who are reading this...
happy mother's day.
i hope your day is full of wonderment and love.