Friday, April 27, 2012

Linguistics Around Here

Eggs In The Grass by Ed Hoskins

After owning this egg and muffin toaster for at least four? years, one would think I would be familiar with its functions by now.  Or not.  Just recently understood: it not only toasts bread, cooks sausage and poaches eggs, but it also steams eggs, which is the same as boiling them.  Only better, 'cause apparently steamed eggs are easier to peel.  I have a point here, and it's this: my girls LOVE hard boiled (steamed? now I don't know what to call them) eggs.  Misaki in particular asks for them regularly.  Like this:

"Mama, can I have rotten eggs?"

No, I haven't bothered to and don't want to correct her, because I need more humor in my life and this, whenever she says it, makes for a guaranteed smile-inducing moment.

Another speech quirk I let be: she'll tell me she's hungry, then I'll say "no you're not," (even though the parenting book I've been reading advises not to say that, oops) and then she'll say,

"Yes I mam"

It's not that she's trying to say "Ma'aam," I'm not from the South, nor am I striving for a higher level of politeness in my children.  She just thinks the word "am" has an "m" on both sides?  I guess?

Let me end by noting, this is a language related point though otherwise irrelevant, today I went to Koji's school for class observation.  The class I saw was "Kokugo," which directly translates as "the country's language" but means "Japanese".  The teacher first had the kids all stand and warm up their voices since they would be reading aloud.  He told them to try and make their voices come out of their stomachs.  Uh oh, now my English recall is bad; I know "stomach" isn't the word I want there but what's the thing called you're supposed to sing with instead of your throat?!

OK, moving on, the next thing he did was go over some proverbs  (very interesting link!) with them, the Japanese equivalent of things like "early to bed early to rise makes a man healthy wealthy and wise" etc.  Now, I consider myself to be relatively fluent in Japanese, having passed Level One of the Japanese Language Proficiency Test.  Alas, conversational and daily life fluency is just not philosophical enough.  Of more than 10 that were covered, I maybe knew two? One?!

This is where you slap me on the face and shout, "Snap out of it!  You don't need to know Japanese proverbs and you're not less of anything because of it".

Wow.  Thanks for that perspective, everyone.  Helpful.  Seriously!  Good night~

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Show Time

Good morning everyone!  Here's what I wore!

Last Thursday I played tennis.  For an hour and 45 minutes, and no, I am not used to that, and yes, I was totally exhausted afterwards.  But it was fun!

Friday was Koji's birthday so I didn't get around to taking this photo till late that night.  I would have dressed more festively, but I also had a choir performance that day (which I ended up missing because I double booked myself...).  Black + Jeans is our choir "uniform".

Saturday.  I busted out this new shirtish sweatery top with sequins and it was well received by my friends at the baby shower I attended.  It was not well received by Misaki, who claimed that the sequins were too scratchy when I picked her up.  So I switched her to piggy back. 

Sunday, new to me silk dress.  It said dry clean and I washed it anyway so it was pretty wrinkly but I still like it and I think it works.  This may be my favorite outfit for the week?

Monday--I should have taken a close up, or you can zoom in on this photo and see for yourself, this sweater has my name on it!  Thanks, Forever 21!  And please note my sparkley socks, which were 50 cents at Unique~

Yesterday at choir practice, the friend next to me said, "Oh, autumn colors for today?".  I guess so...I was pretty happy to have any sort of ensemble that wasn't pajamas since I gave myself all of nine minutes to get ready for the day.  My socks and clogs are not working as well as a couple weeks ago when Gina mentioned me on her blog but I was going to go out sockless and couldn't do it!  My ankles were cold!

Which outfit is your favorite?

pleated poppy

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

To My Heart Friends Far Away

When I was around the age Izumi is here (five), I distinctly remember the torturous after church hours, in which I was dreadfully hungry with no food in sight (back then, we didn't have snacks every minute all the time the way we do now).  My parents would be chatting to their friends, I would be pulling on them, begging and pleading, "Can we go NOW?! Please!".  They would say, yes, yes, brush me off a bit and continue their "fellowship" (that's what conversation was called for Christians in the 70s).  
In general, I don't actually have a great memory, especially for details.  However, I think there are a couple of reasons the moment mentioned above is still with me.  First, I'm not entirely sure it WAS just one moment, I think this memory is more of an amalgamation of many moments over multiple Sunday mornings, and Sunday nights, and Wednesday nights.  Also, somewhere in there, I said the following to myself, "When I get big like Dad and Mom, I'm not going to do that".  
HA!  Falser words have never been sworn to the self!  Indeed, if I had my way, I would certainly be the last person remaining in the church lobby after any given gathering.  Amend that to be, not just church lobby, but any space where numbers of people have gathered and I have been among.  So what am I doing?  Why am I flagrantly ignored my childish self--or perhaps more pertinently, my in-the-flesh children who have moved up to be the ones pulling on me?
Because I am hungry. 
Not down in my stomach, but in my heart and in my spirit, I MUST connect.  If you and I stand in the lobby long enough, and Sunday after Sunday enough, and then go to the movies together, and then you come here and I go to you.  And if we have coffee together and cry and laugh together, and if God gives us the miracle of the time and space and desire to just BE, just like that. 
Well, then. 
I will feel safe, I will know, even if you leave or even if I leave--though I haven't yet--and even if I am desperately, achingly sick with the longing for all sweetness and wonder that were those ordinary moments, even then.  You are still with me, so that when long times go by and we live worlds apart and have children we haven't introduced to one another.  No matter, all those things gigantic in our seemingly separate lives, because when we speak again, we may as well be in the church lobby or in the dorm room or in the office or wherever the unassuming space we first connected.  
Don't you think that moment holds just the very teeniest sliver of the glory, 
that Glory, the one where we will see Him? 
I do. 

Inspired by E who I was privileged to talk to today, for the first time in months (years?)

Monday, April 23, 2012

Lincoln Park Zoo

I'm wanting to try try try try to post something to this blog every day but I'm only two minutes away from tomorrow.  So I give you this picture of us at, well, you can see where we are.  It was that Zoo Lights thing, we went the day after Christmas, it was fun. The End.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

The Fastest Nine Years of My Life

just went by, as of yesterday. They started when God gave Aogu and me him:
My fear of sounding cliche often holds me back from speaking my desperate and deep my love for my kids.  But in honor of Koji's birthday, I give you (and him and me): 
 above, he's pictured the day after he was born on April 20th, 2003 in Evanston Hospital. 
All I knew then was his smallness and sweetness, but they were enough.  And now!
Now, we know he is also clever, kind, handsome, athletic, dedicated, loyal, funny and quick...
 God's heart is so gracious, loving, trusting and patient towards us. How could it be otherwise for Him to give us such an amazing gift? And truly, our love for him has intensified as we've experienced sending his brothers and sisters ahead of him to heaven. Not every day with him is sunshine, snails and puppy dogs, but I would not trade any of them. The gift of sticking together through all of our ups and downs is what I treasure. I want to savor our ordinary days even more in the next year--I suspect it will move even faster. 
 So please, look at my boy now! Isn't he great?!!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

To Do: Clean the Mirror

Ugh. This post is not as much a recap of my outfits over the past week as an embarrassing, public, and smudgy multiplied by seven times reminder: I really need to clean the mirror. I won't lie and tell you I'm going to do it now. There's a slightly better chance I'll do it tomorrow. Keep you posted. Ha ha! Get it?! This is a blog, that's pretty much all I do here is "keep you posted"...on whatever. Wow. Not going to lie about another thing, and this is also embarrassing, but for some reason I've gone into confession mode and I can't stop. Well, it's this: can't stop eating carbs! It's like some kind of bizarro, useless and even slightly masochistic rebellion against what I know is true. What I know is true goes like this, per the way I tell it to my kids, "sugar is bad for your stomach". In this case, bad=turns stomach into paunch. Which is actually related. This past week, I was (as usual, or maybe a little more so) here, there and everywhere. In other words, not at home. Not an ideal location for sticking with one's food convictions. So partly out of frustration and stress, and partly out of the sheer boredom and weariness of being in the car excessively, lately (at least, more so than before) I've developed the unwise habit of eating in the car. I was telling a friend, maybe I should name my van the Pavlov Mobile, or something. Seems like every time I get in the car, my kids and even I feel very triggered. As in, if we are in the car, it must be time to eat. Got to stop that behavior, it only relieves stress for a moment. However, stress that can be relieved is better than suffering On to the clothes, I'm falling asleep!
Last Thursday, with no shoes because I couldn't decide which to wear and I kept going out, coming in and then changing my shoes every time.  So I figured, better to just not show any so I'm not cheating.  Scarf is new, from the Laura Ashley Uniqlo colleection, freshly and personally imported from Japan.  Dotted sweater from Target, and sweater from a TS (thrift shop). 

On Friday I was still grumpy so I proved it by wearing all brown and all stuff from TS.  Except for my fancy leopard print clogs, which are from Kohl's.

All dressed up with nothing to do but drag the kids to Costco.  Dress and scarf are from a TS, sweater is ancient and from Kohl's, as are the shoes.  Socks from Target....

On Sunday, in an effort to raise my own lack of enthusiam for the week, I wore the above. Shoes and dress from TS, leggings and sweater from Kohl's. aannndd....please make up your own captions for the below, I must go to bed immediately!!  Good night!

Must mention: linking this with WIWW
Which of my outfits is your favorite? 

pleated poppy

Friday, April 13, 2012

Where Did Wednesday Go?

Oops! Aogu's in Japan again this week and it's silly but I can't keep the time here straight 'cause I'm so busy constantly calculating what time it is there. Which should theoretically help me do things earlier since it's 14 hours ahead there. Busted. Oh well, on with what I wore:
Last Friday some friends came over to celebrate Misaki's 3rd birthday.  I snapped this after the party and therefore I was trying to hide my dishevelment with balloons.  As for where these clothes came from, well, I snagged the printed shirt at the Goodwill recently.  The LS shirt and tights are from Target, the skirt was also a thrift shop find, and my trusty purple wanna be ugg s are from Kohl's. 

Saturday was more birthday stuff, this time we went as a family to Pump It Up to celebrate some friends.  My Doc Marten mules and the trousers are secondhand, black shirt is heat tech from uniqlo and the Tshirt is Old Navy.  I guess you can't quite see it but I'm trying to show you my owie.  Even (so-called?) adults have to do that sometimes.  Yes, I slid down at Pump It Up headfirst, which is not allowed.  Then I was promptly "punished," losing a big patch of skin off my right elbow right through my shirt.  I wouldn't bring it up but I'm typing this five days later and it still hurts. 

Easter: Jesus is Risen, Indeed!  Goodwill dress, Old Navy tights, Kohl's for the sweater and shoes (which are barely hanging in there, I must remedy my sad black shoe situation). 

On Monday I noticed my three previous outfits seemed to have a similar color scheme so I tried to break out by wearing orange.  Look at my fancy sleeves! The left side of my "tunic" (hate that word, it's so medieval squire) was a little too short for my leggings but I was too lazy to try and rig some kind of skirt.  So the sad truth is, I spent a good chunk of the day with my coat on.  In my defense, it truly was colder than anticipated...Goodwill top (note I avoided the dreaded word, though I don't like "top" much better), Uniqlo leggings and Nike outlet shoes. 

Tuesday Izumi was recovering from a low fever and it was also our last day to be lazy at home.  So at three o clock in the afternoon I put on the outfit you see here in order to make a trek to Target.  I'm feeling a little love hate about Target lately, but I can't dismiss this fact: more than 50% of my socks come from there.  As do the ones pictured.  And my shoes.  And that red tank top.  Grr.  But the culottes (another hideous word...) and the top are second hand.  This outfit also served me as I met with my book club so we could all discuss how much we hated the book we tried to read.

Yesterday, lo, the day I should have put this post up, I busted out my new pink wanna be ugg s.  They're not in the least bit elegant, but really, is elegant what I'm after most of the time?  Maybe it should be...anyway, my feet were very warm but I was also dismayed at how dirty these boot are after just one day of wear.  I guess I have to wipe them off and spray them with waterproofing stuff.  Or something.  Jeans are from Costco, sweater from Old Navy, heat tech from Uniqlo, scarf is a present from a high school friend, and I think she gave it to me in high school?

How was your week?

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Recycling Mona Lisa

Good bye Mona Lisa. 
I will miss you a little, but not as much as you perhaps deserve.  For one thing, the "you" in this instance not so credible.  You are actually an unsolicited educational print we received in the mail from some company wishing to tempt us to sign up for monthly deliveries of this sort of "art." 
For another, Koji thinks you are creepy.  Sorry, Mona (or is it Lisa?  I've never sorted what to call you on a casual basis, and now I suppose I never will).  You have to wonder, and I do even if you don't, about your eyes that somehow seem to follow your viewer across the room.  Were they perhaps JK Rowling's inspiration for the moving paintings so commonplace in Harry Potter's world? 
I wanted to keep you and use you to teach the kids things like: Paris and Louvre and Jesus' Mama and Leonardo Da Vinci.  I haven't lost faith in you, Mona, after all, you've been around since the early 15th century (or what century does one call the year 1503? I'm confused). 
It's not you, it's me. 
I'm the one who's great at seeing potential and much less great at realizing it.  So please forgive me, but for these and myriad other reasons, I have to put you in the recycle bin and let you go.  As people love to say to one another, but I really truly mean it: 
"Let's meet again in Paris".    

Sunday, April 08, 2012

Two Wheelin'

Izumi's been practicing riding her bike with the training wheels off.  Today she got it!

Congratulations to my biggest girl~

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Do I Look Like a Dwarf?

It's Wednesday everyone!  Time to prove that I expended sartorial energy this week~

Last Thursday, March 29, I got to play tennis!!!
So no picture because I was geared up for that all day.  

Friday the 30th brought rain. So I wore these boots (Skechers outlet, Torrance, CA).  Too bad I did, the obscured psychedelic leggings should have been the most interesting part of my outfit.  Obviously I was struggling to get over the boring streak from last week.  
Saturday the girls and I were on our 12th day of girl time.  So the girls never put their clothes on all day, and the jeans I had on weren't worth documenting.  

Sunday April 1st, I was delighted to debut this new (to me) dress, grabbed from the Salvation Army...or was it Goodwill?  I do remember this clearly: $4.99!  That sounds like a Goodwill price.  I should have taken a sans sweater photo but I was too cold.    

Monday the 2nd, another debut: this down to the floor black sweater coat thing.  I probably should be wearing five inch heels, I'm pretty sure it makes me look like some kind of dwarf.  But I like it, so I'm planning to wear it now and then and embrace dwarfiness....and maybe keep my eyes open for a platform shoe sale?!

By Tuesday the 3rd, I was very (legitimately) concerned that my outfits for this week were going fast in the direction of boring and dark.  I figured this Salvation Army blazer would be the antithesis.  Figuring isn't my strong suite, but in this case, I think I was right.  Bonus, it wasn't constricting as blazers can be. 

Today I may or may not have gone entirely over the pattern mixing edge, but I actually feel like this sweater and skirt together are good not bad.  The green tights and patterned innerwear (pictured below) maybe should have stayed home?  Most people I see must be entirely used to me, though, because I didn't really get any comments....?

This sweater is dedicated to golf bags.  And Scottish shields.  
Final note to self: this Premier Designs necklace is so pretty; next time wear it with a plainer outfit so it's actually visible.  

How was your week?  Which one (if any) of my outfits do you like or dislike and why?

pleated poppy

Monday, April 02, 2012

A Day Behind, No Fooling

In the spirit of April Fool's Dayirony (here's something to cook), I will confess this truth:

I often "don't have make time" to write on this blog because I am too caught up in reading other blogs.  It's honestly gotten to the point where I don't/can't read books any more, etc.  So maybe I should scale back the number of blogs I've got in Google Reader?  THIS IS NOT A JOKE.  I NEED HELP.

One of my favorites is Sorta Crunchy.  These are some ways I've felt compelled to copy Megan (perhaps I can't help myself because I'm also an ENFP), and I hope she is flattered rather than annoyed:

  • WIWW (scroll back to a Wednesday if you don't know what that is)
  • Once Upon A Time (further comments below)
and now,

  • What Are You Into this month, in which I talk about what I was into this month, but really means last month, 'cause I don't know yet what I'm into this month, seeing as it's the first and all. 

OK.  So, reading, um, The Forgotten Garden was the book I read most recently and that was probably in February, whatever.  Though it's not a style appealing to everyone, I enjoyed the way the story skipped around in time and challenged me to figure out who was connected and how. 

I'm also trying to read the Bible in 90 days with the reading plan portion of my app from You Version.  I've had to reset it several times already--God's grace is built into the plan in the form of a button in the settings called "catch me up," so I'll be closer to 150 days if I stay on track this time.  Though it's 12ish chapters of plowing every day (feels that way sometimes when it's lists of who was in whose clan, etc) I'm loving the daily reminders of God's amazing attention to individual lives while He simultaneously carries out His purposes.  Amazing. 

Watching TV: as I alluded to above, Megan loves Once Upon A Time, and I've been trying to love it too.  After all, it's fantasy and fairy tale, which I'm mostly all about.  And it's created by some of the same people that worked on Lost, making it an automatic contender for my rapt attention.  But I'm not loving it. 

I may give it up now that Megan has introduced me to Touch.  Because I maybe accidentally watched all three episodes available on Hulu right in a row.  Which was super fun for tonight but leaves me nothing to do tomorrow night.  Which also gives me my dream job: person who is in on the brainstorming/screenwriting of this story.  I can so easily imagine myself in some conference room, and the other people and I are practically yelling, we're so excited: "I know, then he'll put a number down with the popcorn and then the phone will ring and it'll be Clea's long lost mother only her mother doesn't say anything which of course makes you wonder, where is she and how come they aren't connected and how will they get connected?"  That's what the whole show is about--connections--and I can hardly wait for the next episode!!  I didn't even talk about how it doesn't feel like a coincidence that Keifer Sutherland plays the main character in the show, and that sends me right back to 24, mentioned first but not last here (because back when we were living in the downtown Tokyo room after which this blog is named, for Aogu and I, watching two, three or four episodes in row while huddled right up to the TV so Koji wouldn't hear was absolutely our drug of choice).

Is anyone still reading this?  Now I should talk about a movie I liked last month.  Alas, pretty sure I didn't watch any..., I know I didn't go to the theatre, and I was too busy reading blogs to watch Netflix...seriously, this is a problem.

Listening to music: was it TJ Maxx, or another random store I went into more than two weeks ago--I blame them entirely for the below: 
Heart to Heart by Kenny Loggins has been looplooplooplooping through my head only occasionally supplanted by Eternal Flame by the Bangles.  Now and then, a new song (as in, not from the 80s, though there could never be better music than the 80s, let's be clear) Somebody That I Used to Know by Gotye was also in rotation.  The inside of my head is loud. 

I made some black bean cookies with dried cranberries and chunks of dark chocolate.  They were pretty great straight out of the oven, but now they're in the freezer.  I can't be bothered most of the time to reheat them which is weird 'cause they're not that good cold.  I also made some peppermint patties out of coconut oil and they're irresistable.  I started with this recipe but I ended up tweaking it quite a bit so I should put it up on my other really woefully neglected blog.

Tomorrow, Koji and Aogu come back from two weeks away in Tokyo, after which I'll likely be more INTO cooking and laundry than I have been.  I'll let you know in my next edition of What I'm Into This Month!