Thursday, June 28, 2012

Water Day (WIWW)

In Japanese, Wednesday is called "water day." I don't know why and I'm too lazy to go research it now (anyone? anyone?) but it was appropriate for today's high of 88 and consequent necessary trip to the pool with my girls.
To which I did NOT wear the below.  What you see below is what I wore over the last two weeks in an utterly disarranged melange.  You'll note I don't have one for each day; I am sticking with tennis wear for most of the day at least once or twice a week, and I am just fine with that~

For your useless information file, the days of the week in Japanese are as follows:

Nichiyobi (Sun Day)
Getsuyobi (Moon Day)
Kayobi (Fire Day)
Suiyobi (Water Day)
Mokuyobi (Tree Day)
Kinyobi (Gold/Money Day)
Doyobi (Earth Day)

How have you been lately?  What is my "best" outfit below, in your opinion?  What's your favorite way to dress during the summer?

PS. I understand these wide legged Indian style trousers are likely not my most flattering look.  But the air circulation was infinitely better than jeans!

pleated poppy

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Hunger Walk Induces Hunger

Saturday morning, along with literally thousands of others, we went down to the Soldier Field for the annual Hunger Walk.   It's a three mile fundraiser walk to benefit the Greater Chicago Food Depository and its affiliates (our church is one).   

I talked the event up to the kids for several days.  I also presumed (note to self, stop doing that!!) Aogu wouldn't want to go, so I didn't talk it up to him.  Then Friday night rolled around, and after the excitement of five nights in a row at Sky Vacation Bible School, I couldn't get the kids to settle down until after 10.  

Then, sure we wouldn't be able to wake up at 6 the following morning to get ourselves downtown on time, I emailed the organizer of the group of walkers from our church.  "So sorry, but the kids need sleep and we aren't going to make the walk after all".  

Again (note to self, stop doing that!), I underestimated my son of the uncannily accurate "stomach clock (haradokei)".  He sprang out of bed at 6 am and wasted no time; let us all know immediately, we must get up so we can get ourselves to the Hunger Walk.  See evidence photo below.  

With the help of our dusty double stroller and my trusty Razor scooter (vintage!  bought in Japan in 1998 for 15,800 yen!), we made it to the finish line.  The next day at church we heard this exciting news: our church received a $1000 credit from the Food Depository due to the size of the team of folks who walked.  

So thankful we could help, at least in some minuscule way.  Not as thankful for the moment that evening when Koji and Izumi said, "Mama, we didn't eat breakfast OR lunch today!".  HUH?  We did eat, but it didn't count because we were in the car?!  Or...?!  

Monday, June 18, 2012

Beach Debut

Happy Father's Day to my Dad, whose most recent fatherly in-person gift to me was teaching me to mix and pour concrete.  Which probably sounds sarcastic; I do leak sarcasm approximately 47.2% of the time.  Down from a lifetime high of 67.8%, achieved in the year after I graduated university.  
I utterly digress.  My dad is super hard-working, helpful, reliable, kind, funny and fun.  He has the most tricked-out garage of anyone I know, and I love that he plays the same games with my kids that he did with me:

"Pease porridge hot pease porridge cold pease porridge in a pot nine days old" 
(which is either totally disgusting, or actual ancient wisdom advocating for the nutritional punch of fermented foods.  we will never know)

I love you, Dad. 

Happy Father's Day to my husband, or perhaps I should say "Papa's Day," because that's what he is for our kids.  By the age of nine, I suspect a majority of Japanese kids have switched to calling their dads "Otosan," which is a little more formal, more like "Father".  But why would our kids address Aogu that way?  It just wouldn't fit.  He's very tender with them; when they get hurt, they run to him for sympathy over me.  He keeps them safe, makes them laugh and takes care of them in ways they don't know or understand.  Thank you for loving our kids well.  

I love you, Aogu.  

In celebration of Father's Day, we spent today as follows: 

batting cage (Koji & Aogu)

library (me, Koji & Misaki--
we had to check in on our summer reading program.  Koji's on fire for reading in English for the past week, ever since he figured out the library has Pokemon comic books in English.  Er, not the fine literature one might hope for, but I have to take what I can get)

(for Aogu's dream lunch and shopping)

tennis at the local court (me and Aogu, and 15 minutes of Koji--
and during which Aogu said my lessons are paying off, woo too!)

back home to change to swimsuits

beach (girls only, as pictured below) 

how was Father's Day for you and your dad/husband/brother/significant other?

Friday, June 15, 2012

What I Wore on Whatever Day It Is

Hello everyone.  And by everyone, I mean my sister and my mother.  Summer is befuddling my already handicapped sense of time.  A friend and her family are moving back to Japan next week; I asked her today when they are leaving and she said, "the 21st".  I had no sense of when that might be in relation to now.  Even a normal comment like, "wow, that's in a week from now!" (I just looked at the calendar) was too much for me so I just nodded feebly and said, "wow, you must be busy".  Good one, right?  

On to the outfits, and I can't believe I actually have any.  Remember, the point of "What I Wore" is for moms to be accountable to one another as far as making an effort in the appearance department.  Making an effort is different for everyone in different ways.  For example, putting together outfits like you see here isn't too difficult for me, because I think it's fun.  But if and when I require more than one outfit in a day, oh my,  what an insurmountable challenge!  Specifically, I'm discovering the days I have tennis are days I end up staying in my (stale? sweaty?) gear for the duration.  I'm sure those around would appreciate me more if I would change, but I haven't mastered the prep work yet.  If and when I do, I will keep you posted.  

Meanwhile, if you are still reading this blather, well, the above outfit is what I wore last Friday the 8th.  Note my flip flop style sandals.  I do NOT like this type of sandal at all, but this one is by Vera Wang for Kohl's, patent leathery looking plastic and has a bit of a wedge.  Oh, and it's orange.  Until I find a more suitable pair of orange sandals (which seems like it won't be easy), guess I'm stuck with these.  

Sunday the 10th.  Things to note here: first, yes, these are the same *hated* sandals as yesterday, only in purple.  I am stuck with them for all the reasons listed above.  Seond, I made this shirt.  Sometime long ago when I ever used to get a moment with my sewing machine.  

Monday the 11th.

Tuesday the 12th: in an unconscious and unplanned echo of my previous post, here I am in my yukata.  A friend arranged for a group of us to learn how to put on yukata by ourselves (it's not terribly difficult but a little fussy alone, practice is helpful) so here's the result.  This was made for me by my host mother when I was sixteen and going to school at Hokuriku Gakuin Girls High School (no longer just a girls high school!  didn't know 'til I searched for this link!) in Kanazawa, Ishikawa, Japan.  The obi (belt) is hard to tie properly but with the teachers' help, I kind of sort of did it.  Good enough! 

Hope all's well with you?!

pleated poppy

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Yukata Means Summer's Here

Cutest Girls Ever
So awhile back, not a couple days but months ago, a friend loaned us the shoes you see here on Izumi's feet.  The box the shoes came in is bright red and very ornate; of course Izumi had to know immediately what was inside.  When I explained I had borrowed the shoes from a friend for her to wear with her kimono, she said, "huh?  I have a kimono?".  Then I had to show her the goods and further explained my plan to have her wear them and be photographed.  
Super great, all except the part where I didn't make time to actual put the kimono (or is this a yukata?  Excuse my ignorance!) on her and snap the picture.  Not that day, or the next, or the next...
Meanwhile, with the same persistence I believed is mentioned in the Bible (somewhere!  I'm too lazy to go find it right now), she continued to ask me very regularly when I would put it on her.  
And so.  FINALLY I did, and thank the Lord (I mean it!), I had this pink yukata for Misaki to join the fun with.  Dressing them up and then retaining some photographic evidence was so fun and it didn't take that long.  
Note to self: Listen to the kids and say yes MORE.  I am the queen of saying no to them simply because what they are asking for isn't convenient for me at that moment.  I know I can't/won't/couldn't/shouldn't give them everything they want.  But our days are passing too quickly and I want to make them sweeter by flavoring them with YES.  

PS. Can you tell my Long Creative Project Group started up again tonight?!  I am infinitely grateful for inspiration and accountability.  And perhaps those folks would be interested in this little fact: before I wrote this post, I went into Google Reader and unsubscribed from a whole bunch of blogs.  If I have free time, I'd like to spend it here in my space and be free from other (written) voices echoing in my head.  

Thursday, June 07, 2012

WIWW: Doozy

Greetings from the long lost me. And believe me, I am feeling a little lost. Last Friday was my girls' last day of preschool and it was a doozy. In the fine tradition of their school, specifically the mamas of the school, we were there from 9 am until 9 pm. The morning and early afternoon were full of official activities: preschool graduation ceremony, kids on stage for a song, the usual tear-drenched slide show dedicated to the graduates. Which reminds me to report this fact: my continually amazing three years and two months old daughter got up on the stage with her class. She then proceeded to calmly stand in her spot and sing along with the class, for the duration of the performance. Sounds like no big deal, but let me repeat: SHE IS THREE. Her teachers were exclaiming about it after the fact, as well. Apparently they were mentally prepared, expecting her to be a wild card. If only she would go to bed so calmly. Back to the topic at hand: from two-ish in the afternoon when the official stuff was over, Playtime began. And it must be capitalized because it is Serious. What else to call a gathering which is essentially a six or seven hour playmate with all of your school friends? In the midst of it all, I ended up getting us--and by us I mean approximately 85 people of various sizes and appetites--dinner from Costco. Let me share the secret of buying food for, or ordering at a restaurant for, a large number of people. It's this: establish a per-person budget that is realistic for your venue. For example, with the help of Costco's budget friendly food court and gigantic but inexpensive deli salads, one should be able to eat up for about six dollars. You can do the math, and I'll tell you this: we had more than enough, and each adult only paid six dollars. It's now the middle of the first week of summer break for the girls. Remember, or let me tell you if you didn't know: Koji is still in school until July 22, Japanese-style. Which works for us, and causes me to walk around with a giant question mark over my head. My question is this: what will it take for the American education system to change? Whoa. Didn't mean it, but I may have inadvertently introduced a whole other topic that is in outer space, it's so far beyond the scope of this post.
On to the Wednesday report, and if I don't hurry, it won't be Wednesday anymore: I couldn't get excited about my wardrobe this week so for several days I didn't even take my picture. Then, when I did, I was back into last week's rut of knit skirt and Tshirt. Still, when polka dots are involved, I am pleased. The above outfit was for Monday, 6/4. Which was also my sister's birthday. Happy Day to You, Laurs!
This outfit turned out well considering the context: I threw the components into my bag and then threw them on in the locker room when I was done with tennis. Same shoes as the day before, I was just too lazy to put them on at 10 pm last night when I realized I need a photo.
Today. Most of my trousers and I are not on good terms at the moment, thanks to the excessive driving and snacking while driving I've done lately (but Aogu and I just talked about implementing a no-eating-anything in the car policy, which might help). However, I squooshed myself into this pair because I was planning to take the girls ice skating. And, there you have it, folks. Good night! pleated poppy