Thursday, December 02, 2010

If a Tree Falls in the Forest, No One Hears a Thing

Another mark of the extreme nature of my extroverted (extraverted?  is there a "right" way to spell this word?) is that I often feel things haven't properly happened unless I've experienced them with someone else.  Thus, when I have "incidents" and I'm alone, their status seems debateable.  That is, maybe nothing happened after all, unless I told someone.  Note that I do understand and believe that God is always with me, but I confess here that I don't always get cozy feelings from that reality.

So the flip side: if something embarrassing occurs, bonus, it needn't have as long as I don't make it reality by telling someone....except, I can't help myself.  And I mean, really, I can't help myself.  You'll see what I mean. 

Spent this afternoon jumping ahead of a rare fire under the bum for the cleaning and organizing that I usually can't be bothered with.  Which is why it takes soooo long whenever I do hop to it.  Well, the pleasant end of the run around the house was six bags of stuff for Salvation Army, three for the moms at Izumi's preschool and one more for a friend's house.  Just before I was to pick Izumi and Koji up, I unlocked the van from inside the house and then made several runs to get it all loaded. 

I then ran back into the house, grabbed Misaki and all of our luggage, and ran back out.  And closed the locked door.  Note I did not say "picked up my keys".  Because I didn't.  Pick up my keys.  Feeling ever so relieved and thankful that at the least the van was unlocked, I got Misaki and myself settled in to what I was sure would be our temporary home for the next hour or two.  Then I started making the incident real by calling and reporting; first to the friend who had Izumi, next to the friend that could pick up Koji. 

Finally, I called Aogu and asked him to please hurry home so he could unlock the door.  I explained the entire incident, including why it was so great that at least we could sit in the van.  That's why he said, "Why can't you use the lockbox?". 

Right.  That thing with the key in it that we bought because I am prone to locking myself out of the house. 

Please picture me with a sheepish look on my face.  And please note that I was on time to pick up Koji.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Dinner @ Hardys'

During which, as with all old friends, we had to discuss when we saw one another last and how we can't or at least shouldn't let that much time pass before we meet again. Hope to see you in less than eight years!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Monday, November 15, 2010

Breaking All the Rules

Though I like to think of myself as a free and easy person, the truth is that I have a lot of rules. 

For example, "no talking on the phone at night".  There's nothing inherently wrong with talking on the phone at night, of course, but I would much rather connect in person than on the phone.  And by the evening, I have usually expended my energy for the day already.  So all I'm good for is holding a book in front of my face.  Or looking at the computer for way too many hours on end.  Which is another topic for another time. 

At any rate, last night a long time and long lost friend got ahold of me at around 9:30 pm.  I made an exception to my rule for her.  And then, then, after that, before I knew it, when we finally said good-bye, it was 1: 20 am and my rule was blown to all kinds of tiny smithereens. 

Lesson: talk to long lost friends, in the evening or otherwise, more often than once in four months.  Two birds with one stone effect: long lost friends will be found, and rules will be obeyed.   

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Hail Holy Queen

Back in April after Koji started going to the Japanese elementary school, I joined the chorus for moms that is associated with the school. I love it. The only thing I don't love is that we only practice once a week. I would be up for more, that's how much I enjoy singing in a group! "Hail Holy Queen" is a song that we're practicing now. I hope I can get all that tricky clapping down.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Monday, November 08, 2010

Friday, November 05, 2010

Ryuichi Sakamoto

Last week, or maybe it was the week before? we went to see Ryuichi Sakamoto perform at the Vic Theatre with Erik and Jan.  We were still jet lagged, as were the kids, so it was pretty traumatic for us just getting out of the house.  But once we extracted ourselves, once we found somewhere to park, once we met Erik and Jan and once Mr. Sakamoto stopped making strange noises while cleaning the inside of the piano, we had a wonderful time.  The above is meant to be a picture of the front of the theatre with Mr. Sakamoto's name on it, but alas, the backlighting was too much, so you'll just have to take my word for it.  At some point, maybe I'll replace this with the photo that actually has us in it.  Until then, please use your imagination. 
Thanks very much to Erik and Jan for a wonderful night out!  I hope we can do it again soon!

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Dearest Misaki

Please sleep this soundly at night, all night, in your crib. I know you can do it. Love, Mama

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Yearly Kick

Oops, I'm already one day late for that yearly kick in the trousers of this blog

*pause to imagine a blog wearing trousers*


Which brings me to discuss, am I the only one who thinks Americans, when referring to split-legged garments worn on the bottom halves of their persons that aren't jeans, should really give up "pants" and switch to "trousers"?  Please?  Anyone?  Perhaps it sounds a tad hoity-toity on its first trip off the tongue, but one can get used to it.  Meanwhile, the word pants is entirely too close to "panties," and it in fact means just that in numerous other languages that aren't American English. 

If you're not following me entirely but you're female and feeling a bit confused, another idea is to just switch to dresses and skirts.  It's working for me. 

No, I am not planning to use this space to blather endlessly about whatever I want for every single day this month.  But then again, even if I do, won't that be better than the lengthy silence that was here before?  I shall tell myself so.  Talk to you (whoever "you" are, if in fact "you" are still out there somewhere) tomorrow. 

Monday, October 04, 2010

Undokai 2010

Aogu can still sprint
Good news, here I am again after an extended absence from this space. Bad news, I may not be able to summon the energy to describe Izumi's school Sports Day. It's been so long since I tried to post here that I can't figure out how to upload my photos into a certain order. So the below is a true random sample of the day. Not nearly as pleasing as the chronological flow I had in mind, but perhaps you can get some sense of what went on.
Izumi and her friend Ayaka wait for their turn with...
...the gigantic green ball, which they rolled down to a cone and back.  I'm not sure they understood that it was a race; they were careful and precise and nice with their ball-rolling, at the expense of speed.
In which I try to explain to Misaki that she needs to walk out to the middle of the field and pull a toy windmill out of the ground.  She was excited about it. 
A temporary addition to the family: Koji's friend Yuma
In the past, the kids all got medals that were made of discarded CDs and plenty fancy for me.  This year there was a medal upgrade to the wooden, hand-stamped, dwarf-embellished prize you see here. 
This year these moms (in yellow) formed a coalition with the teachers (in blue) and did most of the work. 
Thanks, ladies!
Family picture.  But let's hope we can do better between now and Christmas.
At long last, Koji is old enough to participate in the grade school kids' event, which is a mini obstacle course.  This isn't the best picture of him or his finish, but I love it anyway because his friend Nobu, at the right side of the photo, is so delighted with the proceedings. 
I never would have predicted it, but Izumi claimed later that tug of war was her favorite event. 
This is the utterly triumphant and undefeated Red Mamas Team, showing the White Team how tug of war is done. 

Izumi's classmates in the first event, a 50ish meter foot race. 
The little guy in the front is called Gaku, and I love his expression!
You'll note an unfair division of labor here, with Aogu doing all of the ball holding and Izumi doing all of the clinging.  This event was a bit later in the day, and she was done!

Izumi and her friend Aya, on the right, could have perhaps run a bit faster if they weren't so intent on figuring out where we were cheering from...
Yes, the White Mamas Team was utterly cowed by my Red Bathrobe and our matching Red-Palmed Gloves.  They may look a bit murderous, but they were just the thing for tug of warring!
Misaki successfully grabbed her windmill.  Too bad it broke moments later!
Please try to imagine that this photo is at the very top of this page, where I long for it to be, if only I could figure out how to get it there.  It's the kids and teachers giving themselves a bit of a pep talk at the beginning of the Sports Day. 
This hat may seem a bit over the top for the beginning of October, but it really was very cold and windy, and Misaki is just getting over an ear infection.  Plus, it's RED, gotta go with the Team Color.
Koji's first year at Sports Day in the role of cheerleader, rather than main participant. 

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

I would rather have Los Robles

But if I can't, I am ever so slightly comforted by the return of vegetables to the dinner table:

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Mini Me

My mom found this cute jumper embroidered with my name. Apparently I wore it when I was around this size. Or perhaps I was a bit smaller. When I glanced at the tag awhile back, I filed this garment mentally as "18 months". More recently, I was sorting out the kids' clothes, rediscovered this jumper and checked the size, which turned out to be "18 pounds". Huh. A weight that Misaki left behind long ago.

So I stuffed her into it today, wanting to at least get some kind of photographic reward to my mom for saving this through the years.

Was it worth saving, Mom?  I'm thinking Yes!

Too Bad, Andy's

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Can't Walk Yet

Or even reach the pedals, but Misaki went on a tricycle ride today.
OK, I admit I was pushing from the back, but I was still impressed
that she hung on to the handlebars and never came close to falling off!

Monday, May 03, 2010

Sidelines of Nicolas' Soccer Game

He scored a breakaway goal that was so sweet to watch, Jan nearly
started crying!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Applesauce To Go

Right after she was heard singing,
"twinkle twinkle little star, how I number what you are"

Thursday, April 22, 2010


When I was in eighth grade, as now, I was concerned about being too fat.  At the end of that year, in my yearbook, a friend gave me the following sage advice:

"Don't eat too much.  But remember to drink a lot."

All these years later, these words still resonate with me.  It seems that for real weight control though, which I am still pursuing, another phrase needs to be added:

"And stand more than you sit". 

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Cherry Blossoms

Sighted in the front yard of a house on a random side street in
Niles?! Doesn't at all live up to the extravaganza that is "cherry
blossom viewing" in Japan, but then again, lots better than no viewing
at all...

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Happy 29th Birthday?!

りました。祝いにGlenviewのSweet Dreams Cafeでちょっと
お誕生日おめでとうございます!! また近いうち一緒にブランチし

Sunday, April 11, 2010


Recently we've had a string of important events, including but not limited to Koji's graduation from St. Matthew's Japanese Preschool, my parents coming to visit, Misaki's dedication, a trip to Galena, Misaki's 1st birthday and Koji's entrance ceremony to Futabakai Japanese Day School

This post is not about those things.

On April 7th, Koji's second to last day of extended spring break, Koji's good buddy N happened to get out of school at noon.  So we picked N up and had a little midday date of lunch and a movie.  The kids had lunch.  I was too cheap to pay $4 something for a hot dog, so I ate the chocolate raisins in my bag, and I ate their popcorn when they weren't looking.

The movie was How to Train Your Dragon (2D version, again, I was too pay extra) and we all loved it!  I hadn't slept well the night before, so I was afraid it would be an expensive nap for me.  But no!  My attention was captivated and held; I recommend this movie, especially to smallish boys and their associates.

Fast forward two days to when, as mentioned above, Koji has his school entrance ceremony.  It was all over before noon, so we had some one on one time since Izumi was still at school and Misaki was in day care.  First, we had lunch at DQ, courtesy of Tom & Andrea (aka Easter Bunnies) who had given the kids some gift cards for Easter.  Thanks!

Next, Koji and I were off on a mission to get him a new bike, an early birthday present actually partially funded by Christmas money that GG gave us.*  We tried Target, but no go, not a good bike selection.  Second attempt was at Wally World, where we not only found a super cool bike but were also sucked in by a display of How to Train Your Dragon (HTTYD) stuff.

So Koji had to have these pajamas.  Let this record show the truth, which is that he advised me to buy some similar dragon pajamas for Izumi.  Foolishly, I declared that she didn't need/want any since they were all boyish colors, and furthermore, she didn't even go the movie with us.

I.WAS.SO.WRONG.  Cut to one of the biggest fits in her almost four year old life, at the moment when she realized that Koji was all decked for dragon duty and she wouldn't be able to join the party.  Oh my.  The only thing that got me out of my temporary status as the devil was my solemn vow that I would return to Wally's and buy them for her the next day. 

That trip would be sufficient punishment for my misdeed.  Wally's on Saturday?!  Ha!  What sane person with any leeway in their schedule would do that?

Sure enough, picking out the pajamas was quick.  But then, there was the line.  It looked short enough.  The longer we stood there, though, the more I realized that the family in front of us, with four small children, was in fact buying an entire new wardrobe for said children.  Breathe deeply.

At LONG last, all of the items were rung up.  Except the two with no bar codes or price tags.  Wait.  Wait. Wait.  Everyone, including the clerk, look around and wonder who is going to supply the missing price tag.  Wait.  Wait.  Phew, someone brought a price for that shirt.  How about those toddler shoes?  Wait.  Wait.  Wonder when/if the clerk is going to move or say anything to anyone.  Wait.  Wait. Wait.  Watch incredulously as the father pulls the exact same pair of shoes in another size out of his cart and asks if the clerk couldn't just scan that tag?  Oh, yes, no problem, that brings your total to $527.43.

So, 350,000 minutes later, the Deadly Nadder pajamas were ours.   

Now, with the above photographic evidence to support me, I can say this:  it was all worthwhile. 
Don't you agree?

Saturday, March 06, 2010

My Baby is ELEVEN Months Old

today. Here is Misaki as we often see her; in her car seat, with her hood on, clutching her blankie.

Oops. One thing was missing from the last photo: the essential thumb.

What a precious gift! I never thought I would think/feel/say this, but I honestly wish that time would slow down so she could be a baby longer. These past eleven months have passed much too quickly, and I'm not just speaking from a place of sleep deprivation. I really want to savor each day with her.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Six Years and 10 Months is Close to Seven

Koji will be graduating from his school in about a month, so as last year, today we had a birthday party with his school friends for him and several other kids.

We went to the newish (don't know when it opened, it was new to me) Jump Zone in Niles. The kids had a super experience, and the only thing regrettable for me was I hadn't frosted the cupcakes and that took away from my play time!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Fast Forward

Someone has pushed a fast forward button on my life, and that's why it is January 25th already with nary a peep from me in this space. Don't even ask me what I've been doing for the last 25 days because it's a hyper driven blur. I really do want to catch up with my own life though, and I'm just presumptuous enough to think that there's maybe one or two of you out there who haven't given up on my blogging and would be so kind as to want to join in the process? Maybe? Any takers?

Will you pay more attention if I tell you that I now know how to make a "bacon mat"? See, I haven't wasted every minute of this new year! Talk to you soon, I am coming back here and you won't regret it if you do too!?!