Thursday, March 29, 2012

Well-Documented but Boring

In an ironic twist, I managed to take photos of my outfits for six days of the last seven--yet they are some of the most boring ensembles I've shown to date.  Meh. 
Let's see what kind of excuses I can give for my lack of sartorial initiative:
*my husband and son are in Tokyo and I'm not so I'm jealous
*my youngest daughter is newly potty trained and newly graduated from her crib, forgive me if I already said this yesterday but it bears another mention because it takes her an hour (or more!) to settle down at night which leads to a lack of sleep for her and general grumpiness for me
*the weather is confusing (which sounds extra lame but is actually true)
Enough about me...maybe someone could tell a joke or something, please?!
On Thursday 3.22, I had my photo taken by my five year old daughter and we had some friends over for a playdate (thrifted shirt and skirt)
On Friday 3.23, the day turned out to be MUCH colder than I thought so I spent all of it with a hoodie hiding my rarely seen collared fashion (thrifted) but at least showing my chambray trousers (Target)

On Saturday 3.24, false representation is happening here again, since I didn't wear this coat all day long, but I wanted you to see it because I just thrifted it last week. It's a little too big, however, I decided I could live with that because I think the color is fabulous~

For Sunday 3.25, though my Conservative Baptist background generally prevents me from subscribing to my church's "jeans OK" casual vibe,  I was signed up to help with three year old Sunday School so necessity won the day.  I had to lose the (thrifted) sweater pretty quick, though, as it was way too hot! (Tshirt and clogs from Kohl's, jeans from Costco)
On Monday 3.26, I didn't take a picture of myself in work out clothes because the point of WIWW is to NOT dress like that, and to make matters worse, I didn't even work out anyway...there's my full disclosure...

On Tuesday 3.27, the best part of this outfit was my fancy necklace (Premier Designs); alas, you can't particularly see it here.  My zebra shoes (Wal  Mart) also livened it up a bit in theory, but in practice, the only comment I got on this day was a friend and fellow preschool mom saying my outfit was not very bright (a poor translation of the Japanese word "jimi," which is rarely applied to me/my style) (trousers from Old Navy, sweater from Kohl's, "heat tech" shirt from Uniqlo). 
For today 3.28, guess I might possibly maybe be starting to get over the excuses mentioned at the top of this post?  I was pretty happy with this outfit, I thought Converse and fishnet knee high socks were a good combo (thrifted tunic, leggings from Uniqlo, stockings? and Converse from Target). 
Off to bed so I can do better next week!


pleated poppy

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Ten Things on a Tuesday

Random latte photo, meant to evoke peace in advance of you perusing this random, long-winded witty, interesting post.  See underlined points for the short version, but I encourage you to take in all the details as your schedule allows.   
One: as of a couple days ago, this blog is officially SEVEN years old.  In blog years (similar to dog years, because it rhymes), this baby is ancient.  Rather than analyzing what I may perceive as lacking, let me instead congratulate myself, for lo, I am still posting here!  

Two: in case I haven't mentioned it already (hey, if I can't remember, then you probably can't either.  Right?!), I'm in a group called "Long Creative Project" right now.  It consists of people who are working on books, screenplays, documentaries, and other Creative Projects that are, well, Long.  You know, instead of the short ones like coloring and sand castles.  OK, those can be long too, never mind.  Anyway, I would like to thank the group for some encouragement it gave me the other week.  I wish I had written it down.  One point stuck: they called me a writer.  Someone even said I have a novel in me!  Wow!  I wonder if I will ever get it out.

Three: a complete change of topic, but then again, I have specified "ten things" so anything goes, I say.  As of Saturday, March 10th, my 2 year old daughter Misaki is potty trained.  This is worth mentioning primarily due to the angst I felt about it before it happened.  I would talk it up and try to make using the toilet sound like the most fun she'd ever had and she was utterly disinclined to agree or engage.

Four: so the way I trained her was as follows (OK, I know this doesn't seem like it should be a separate point, but it is, trust me)-- on the aforementioned date, as we were out to the market in the morning, against all the anti-sweets/candy/food dye convictions I've formed lately, I said to her, "Misaki, if Mama buys you some m&ms, will you go oshikko (yes, that's the Japanese word for "pee," and yes, I mix languages when I don't want to be perceived as talking about pee in public) in the potty?"  And she said yes.  We came home, and put her underwear on.  She had one accident.  Following which, she had a perfect record all day, and pretty much since then, doing her business in the toilet.  Hallelujah!

Five: which means that in two weeks, right after she turns three, my "baby" can go to preschool with Izumi for two months until school is out.

Six: and that will allow me time to work and perhaps break even on their school fees, which I don't want to think about too much, because how does that actually make sense?  My tentative plan for working is to teach some private English conversation lessons to Japanese ladies, and perhaps kids.  I don't mean to be elitist or snobbish by only accepting Japanese clients.  But it makes sense for me since I'm able to explain elusive points (which are many, have you ever stopped to think how difficult English is?  Try explaining it and you'll see) in their native language.

Seven: not only will I make the school fees I need help with, I will also make my clients smarter.  If I succeed at moving them closer to bilingualism.  The project will probably work out better if I lower the bar to "I will help my clients make an articulate order at the deli counter in their local market". 

Eight: this could be two points if I insisted on splitting it, but I'm started to run out so I'll do a twofer.  Aogu and Koji are in Tokyo right now, having a grand time.  I'm truly glad they are making lots of memories.  However, Aogu has another engagement there the week after he comes back here.  The other day I made the mistake of noting to myself the following: "Between March 19th and April 15th, Aogu will be home for six days".  In other words, nearly a month of parenting on my own.  Dear Single Moms, I must publicly acknowledge this: you are amazing, and I admire you and pray you get support and help from your community!  Seriously, because this can be rough and I'm only on Day Eight. and I only have two of the three kids here...

Nine: Nevertheless, I'm trying to enjoy the Matsuoka Girl Time I've been given.  But the downside of point #2 is, I must wake up in the night to take M to the potty.  Which causes me to take hours to get back to sleep.  Which increases my cortisol and makes me want to eat exceeding amounts of dark chocolate.  So I should be slimmer in no time.

Ten: yesterday I returned this family heirloom rocking chair to its rightful owner after using it pretty constantly and faithfully for nine years or so--two years longer than this blog's been around.  Believe it or not, I am extremely sentimental and I can literally make myself cry at any moment if I think the right "gooey" thoughts, particularly about my kids.  So though I'm not crying now, I could, would and might if I indulged in any memory lane walking around the hours and hours and hours I spent in this chair with them when they were babies.  Thanks for the memories, sweet rocking chair!

And now, since I am talking to my former chair's ghost, it must be time to go to bed.  Good night.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Daffodil Glade

Yesterday was Izumi's last {weekday} of spring break.  The previous four weekdays saw her and Misaki out in their swimsuits every day as we enjoyed a completely unprecedented warmest March on record.  It was fine, so fine with me! 
However, on the day I'm speaking of, things moved back from summer-like to spring-like with some showers.  My Oregon soul was not deterred from visiting the Daffodil Glade, as you see above.  In fact, the rain, the cheery blooms, the girls' umbrellas and rainjackets all made for a really sweet (OK, it was brief, but still sweet) stroll through the glade.  Let me mention here: I saw Izumi's weekly trips to the Forest Preserve with her preschool class paying off and even influencing Misaki.  Neither of them was bothered a bit by the rain or the mud, and they quite enjoyed examining the flowers and exclaiming how pretty they were.  Perhaps the moment would have been longer, but the girls' little friend wasn't as enthusiastic as they were...
Thanking CLC for another adventurous memory ('Cause it's not like the day was done there, we also went for some coffee at Grounds for Hope Cafe so the girls could play at the KidStreet space of Trinity Lutheran Church, which could charge admission, but doesn't.  Throw in a random trip to the doctor, a delicious abundance of pita crackers, muhammara, spinach artichoke dip, naps on the sofa for the girls, a providential gift of lightbulbs, and I have all I need to be sure I won't forget the Day of the Daffodils anytime soon).  And thanking God for making daffodils.  Seriously.  He didn't have to do it, but He's thoughtful like that. 
Happy Spring!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

On the Catwalk

Last Friday was spring graduation at Izumi's preschool for the kids who will be starting Japanese first grade next month (which is the normal Japanese school schedule).  This is how I appeared in the morning, and then I changed into something more suited to spending the entire day and early evening at the school, just hanging out and having a barbeque.  Good times. 

My friend Gina C. is a style consultant.  She arranged a small fashion show on the second floor of Macy's this past Sunday.  I volunteered to be a model, and this is one of the outfits I wore.  No, I didn't buy any of those pieces.  It would have been nice but Tiffany sunglasses just aren't in our budget right now.  I guess.

Monday Aogu and Koji left for two weeks in Tokyo and after all that packing and preparation for a trip I didn't go on, I was tired.  And indecisive, I guess?  "Should I wear diagonal stripes?  White polka dots on pink sweater, or?" etc.  Apparently my answer was all of the above, but I was OK with it.  What do you think? 

Today we were out for an all day long bonanza playdate at a friends' place, so this is what I wore.  Not a particularly inspired outfit--my shirt is too big and my skirt is too long.  I'll just live with the memory of looking glamorous on the catwalk Sunday.  Good idea, no?
pleated poppy

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Uniform

When I was a 16 year old exchange student, commuting to a girls' high school in Kanazawa, Ishikawa, just next to Kenrokuen, I wore a sailor uniform everyday.  Does the description "sailor" work in English?  It was navy blue with maroon stripes around the sailor collar bit and a maroon scarfish tie-like thingy we had to wear around our neck.  Oh, and don't forget the lovely knife-pleated navy skirt, much too long for most of my fellow students' liking.  
At the time, I thought the wearing of a uniform was an exquisite punishment, calculated to squash any creativity that might embody itself in an interesting outfit.  Now, as a parent, I'm highly in favor.  Sure, uniforms can be expensive, but just think of the decision making power saved each day!
Perhaps some of this was in my subconscious this week because though I dutifully switched out pieces each day, when my pictures are lined up like this, I think I look rather uniform.  
Maybe not on the first day recorded, when I wore trousers.  Had to do that so I could join Koji and his friends for some rollerblading after their last day of school as second graders.  It was great fun!  

Above right you see my hostess of goodbye party look.  One highlight of the party, if you ask me, was the pork carnitas, which I made for the first time.  I like to live on the edge like that.

Sunday I lived on the edge by taking this (VERY BLURRY) photo with my left hand while holding me bag.  This outfit was actually better without the sweater, in my opinion--but I spilled coffee down the front of my shirt at church and I had to make up for it somehow!

This photo from yesterday was taking in a personal shopper dressing room.  More on what I was doing there later.  

Today's outfit was just right for the Fantabulous Weather we had.  Seventy eight?!  In March.  OK, I'll take it!  My kids thought it was SO hot, they had to put their swimsuits on and go out to the trampoline for a meeting with the hose.  
Forgot to tell you which items were thrifted etc: how about this scientific answer then?  Most of them.  
Until next time, don't be uniform!
pleated poppy

Monday, March 12, 2012

One Year Later

The Great Tohoku Triple Disaster hit one year ago today. 
As ever, I long to go and help, if there is anything at all I can do.  God, in His wisdom, has not sent me there yet.  Perhaps He never will.  If nothing else--though I truly believe there will be something else--I was given the privelege of fundraising on several occasions last spring.  I pray those funds are making life easier for someone in Tohoku even now. 
And I anticipate, almost with trembling: from this horrible tragedy will come opportunities, things, events and people so gloriously from God they will nearly blind us. 
So I say, go Jesus, go Holy Spirit, keep on with what You have begun from this.  
Amen.

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Momentum

This past week it took me till Sunday to get around to taking my picture. Also, specially for WIWW, a confession: in the three preceding days I spent at least one in a track suit.  Gasp!  It was comfortable.  And I think I may have even exercised or something.  The outfit pictured above was put together so I could take the kids to a birthday party at Make A Messterpiece.  You know a gathering is a success when a two year old is still talking about it days later...and you know an outfit is a success when you realize that your trousers, shirt and sweater all came from thrift stores.  And you know your photo taking has made an impression when the aforementioned two year old has to take a photo too (please scroll down to the previous post!). 

Blue Monday.  Sorry, nothing else to say.  Just kidding, I better admit that on this day I got an awful lot of free food, first at a goodbye lunch for a friend, next at the Official Residence of the Consulate General of Japan.  And I better also admit that I did NOT wear these psuedo Uggs when I visited the OR of the CGJ, not to worry!

Once I got rolling with my pictures, I didn't stop: Tuesday, the day after all that free food, I was feeling chubby so I went with stretchy skirt and voluminous shirt.  Here's hoping my matchy match clogs and police looking shades helped me pull it off?!

And three days of digital recording gave me the kick I needed to take this photo today.  The theoretical high temperature gave me a springy feeling; alas, I spent much of the day shivering because of the blasting wind.  Ah, well, the flowers on my leggings gave me some hope of spring.  Here's hoping your coming week is blooming! 
pleated poppy

Monday, March 05, 2012

Saturday, March 03, 2012

Expect Good Soup in Three Months

Betcha didn't make miso with your friends yesterday, but I did. Kinda weird for me to be all nanny nanny boo boo about it when the thought of making it or even the thought of eating it or even wondering what it is or even knowing that it exists has never even occurred to you before. So let me desist with lording it over and just say, if you've ever played with playdough or in a sandbox and thought that was a pretty good time, well, I think you would like this. But you might also agree that the part where you have to wait out the THREE MONTH LONG FERMENTATION PROCESS is not that great. Are you good at waiting? I guess anyone can be, as long as they really want the thing they are waiting for and believe the waiting is necessary. Who knew that miso could be such a philosophical topic?!