Thursday, October 30, 2014

New Conference

Today I plunged into my first ever round of Parent Student Teacher conferences as Teacher. 
Thankful that I'm a co-teacher, therefore conferencing as a team.
Thankful that the first three went well. 
Thankful that I'm getting to bed a teeny bit early. I'll need stamina for seven meetings tomorrow!
Thankful that I decided NOT to buy the pictured snack at lunchtime:

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

WIWW: Black and White and Blue All Over

Patting myself on the back (awkwardly, because who can really do that?) for taking seven photos this week. I didn't do many other things I probably should have but I did this. It always feels good to jump over a low bar I've set for myself. 
On to the outfits!
Wait, first, to my friend who commented last Wednesday that I have a lot of clothes:
Maybe. But what I have now is SO MUCH LESS than I used to have in the U.S., when I had a much bigger house and much more access to recycle shops and sizes that fit. 
What I have now is probably 25% of what I had back in the day (also known as "18 months ago"). 
And I'm working on deep thankfulness. I understand I don't need even this amount and that it is more than most people in the world have. 
However, the truth is that I also feel regretful. I still remember a lot of the clothes I left behind. They were "just clothes," but they meant something to me and I wish I had kept them and brought them here. 
Recently I was talking with an American friend about how traumatized I was by closing up my former life in just a month, before moving here. She said, it's a good idea to bring along things that make you feel at home. 
I brought some things that give me a home feeling but if I could do those four weeks over, I think I would make different choices. 
Well. Clothes are a bit of a fun diversion for me, so I am truly thankful that I still have plenty for staying entertained!
Note to self: "need" some black and white striped socks,
so next time I can really overkill it

Casual Friday at work, in which 82.5 of 84 people on staff wear jeans,
is tricky for me. Jeans are not my favorite. But last Friday I decided to go with the flow.
Bought this hoodie, that is covered in a jaguar print, at CAJ Thrift Shop last spring; then it was too hot so I put it away. In other words, though I've owned this hoodie for months,
last Friday was the first time it saw the light of day. the park....I think it was the Fourth of July...
Am I the only one who matches the words in my head to random songs from the 80s?
Like, I can't even think the word Saturday without "playing" this song in my head. 
The inside of my head is noisy. 

Sunday.....Bloody Sunday....
No, there was no actual blood. 
Just (over)sharing my thought process again. 

Monday. Too bad you can't see my inspiring Tshirt, which reads:

Yesterday I tried to vary from my uniform by wearing a button up shirt.
But it was too cold so I put a sweater over it, which made my outfit look the same as
every other day. Oh well, this is how I like to look, embrace it, I say!
Attacked by jungle cats with fuschia accents
pleated poppy

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

New Non-Negative No
Barely edited musings about saying NO

I am NO good at, the saying of NO

Because NO is just so, you know, negative

And I don't want to be that but I'm finding out what most of you already KNOW

Which is, an utter lack of NO is a little too much yes, sometimes becoming yes to things I don't want, which is then actually and in fact a negative, that is NO

Following my mathematical equation?

Though I am the person who wants to do all the things and be in all the places but
crushes me to admit
I can't

If you wonder what this about, I'll give an example that is true:

(Recently I read something similar somewhere, I apologize to that person, I am not trying to steal what you said, what you said was just so universal)

Say yes to subbing, good, helps out the sub organizer and 
the teacher who has to be absent, Helps my wallet
But means NO to picking up my daughter from school (must arrange for someone else to do it, not bad but it's not me there for her) and NOt much time for the doing of house things....

All you people who are skilled at doing NO gracefully, advise me, please

Monday, October 27, 2014

New Game

No one is paying me to say this. 

A friend is here on business, from Manhattan, and she brought a present for the kids. It's a dice game called Tenzi. 

It kept Koji, his two friends, and Izumi busy with non-screens activity for 15 minutes today. And if/when the prospect of speed-rolling 10 dice until they all show the same number loses its lustre, there are other games we can play with 40 dice!

I'm calling this game a win, and I'm so thankful to my thoughtful friend, S.!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

New Angle

Here's what happens when you ask your young daughters and then a random acquaintance to document your time with a long-lost classmate. 

We loved seeing our high school friend for the first time in 10 years? or so. 
It didn't have to be this way. Ironically, for all the years of our marriage, until we moved here, we were just a five/six hour drive from one another. At times, when Aogu was working for his former company and had work gatherings in Indy, we were less than an hour away. But somehow, for some reason (babies?!) we weren't able to get together, until she came here after 11 years' absence. 
Well. What remains is, we got to spend time together yesterday, and we promised to do it again next year. 
By the way, we may be hiring for the position of "photographer".....

Funny Faces Friday

Thursday, October 23, 2014


Super convenient of someone somewhere to make up this thing called TBT. I bet it was some mom feeling squashed by her week but not wanting to give up her streak of posting to Instagram every day? 
Or maybe I'm projecting. 
I learned about projecting in Psych 101 at Biola and I've been calling it what it is ever since. 
On to the photos: 

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

WIWW (What I Wore Wednesday)

I understand the point of What I Wore Wednesday, it's to demonstrate that one has dressed properly and not just sat around in yoga pants. Well, I actually have the opposite problem: when can I please wear yoga pants?!! (and for that matter, when can I do some yoga?!) So I present this photo of my sketchy track pants with denim shirt, because on this day I was subbing for elementary PE. I HAD to dress this way!

Yes, I am looking at God
(excuse me if that sounds irreverent, I don't mean it that way!). 

I present two shirts from GU (you'll recall this analogy: GU is to Uniqlo as Old Navy is to Gap).
One is a cardigan covered with lemons.
The other is a tank top with a white logo on the front.
But I didn't want the logo or the too-low-for-kindy (don't imagine anything scandalous,
nearly any shirt can be too low for kindy with all that bending to help tiny people) front showing.
Solved all those problems by wearing it backwards, but only after picking the tag off with a seam ripper. 

Proof it's truly getting chillier in these parts: I'm wearing trousers.
Let me call them that because I've now got enough British friends to know
that pants are on the inside of clothes. Or at least, they should be. 

Nice shoes. And elephant socks. Always keeping it classy.

pleated poppy

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Zoo Birthday Party

Yesterday Izumi's lovely friend M-chan invited us to celebrate her birthday at the Inokashira Park Zoo. Lovely day!!
This is where I let pictures speak loudly. I'll be back with words at some point!

New and Old Too: Kindy Sports Day

There are certain Australian phrases I think Americans should adopt. For example, "kindy" for "kindergarten". Americans are forever shortening each other's names to one syllable, right? That's why I grew up as "Jame" and "James". And when things can't be shortened into one syllable, acronyze them! (Is acronyze a verb meaning, "to make into an acronym"? Because it should be.)

Anyway, yesterday was Misaki's Kindy Sports Day!

New Language

First things first: the very happiest of birthdays to the best mom ever, mine! 
I love you, Mom!
Wish I could give you a present: 

Speaking of moms, lately my mother-in-law has been studying French. I've been to Paris once and I had a wonderful time, but it was thanks to my friend's friend, a native speaker. French is wonderful and beautiful, yet full of vowels and nasal inflections my face isn't trained for. So I admire her efforts. Though today is not my mother-in-law's birthday, but my mom's, because the latter is an ocean away (sniff!!) and the former needs encouragement, my daughters and I presented this: 

Tres bien, no? (Is that French or Spanish, struggling with the facts) 

Bonne Nuit!

Friday, October 17, 2014

New International Relations

This afternoon there was a special program for the 5th graders at Koji's school, which includes Koji. 
The group that put on the event didn't have enough people from other countries, so they asked me to join. 
It was a flashback to those good old JET Programme days, where I became a complete expert at flashing pictures of myself, my parents, Oregon and my hobbies. 
Fortunately, there was much more on the docket than my blathering. The lady wearing a yellow dress in the above photo is second generation Japanese-Paraguayan. The dress she has on is crocheted by hand and took more than a year to make. In my ignorance of Paraguay, I assumed Spanish is the main language. I wasn't completely mistaken. According to Wikipedia, 
"The Republic of Paraguay is a mostly bilingual country, where both Spanish, an Indo-European language, and GuaranĂ­, an indigenous language of the Tupian family, have official status.[1]"
This lady counted to 10 in Guarani, and the sound of it was compelling. Compared to English and Japanese, it sounded so..... Foreign. 
Here's a list of the numbers 1-10 in Guarani:

I have more to say but I'll have to add it later, Friday night is overcoming me~~

Thursday, October 16, 2014

New (to me) Day for Memory of Loss

We still miss them. 
The one we hoped to welcome in April 2005. 
July 2005. 
May 2008. 
October 2011. 

Koji was our first baby and we had no incidents with him (other than unplanned C-section, which is its own source of grief).
Then, our first (lost) baby was 10 weeks old. Though we hadn't as much time to imagine life with her (I don't know, just choosing to think of this one as a girl), in some ways this was our most terrible loss. It opened up a dark box full of the knowledge-not just a suspicion but a definite knowing-that babies die, not every pregnancy comes to fruition. Utterly unwillingly, we joined the Miscarriage Club. Please don't think me crass. It's just, after this experience, I was astounded to find so many others who had also lost their baby, and I didn't feel quite so alone. 
Second baby was 16-17 weeks old. He was given to us so soon after his sister was taken, I hardly knew how to feel. I confess though I believe God, I sustained myself with logic: "we just lost one so this one will be fine, he has to be". Or not. 
Thank God, then we had Izumi. Fountain (of Life), how could we name her otherwise when we were so relieved she was Alive?
Our third baby was 20 weeks old. I've mentioned her here before. Her name is Ai, which means Love in Japanese. 
Then we were given Misaki, which means a Heart in Bloom. Her life seemed to signal a spring, the end of the winter we had been in since Ai. 
But then,  our fourth baby was 15 weeks old. He was "born" in Rome, so we'll always feel a connection deeper and stronger and sadder than might have been forged on a different 10th anniversary trip. Perhaps because the memory of him is stronger, perhaps because I so wanted a brother for Koji (though again, I don't actually know for sure he was), when I think of them all I now, I long for them but my heart longs for him particularly. 
Life is full of loss, and God brings life from all kinds of death over and over and over again, praise Him. But these, I cannot explain or leave, I just carry them with me and pray their memory will encourage me to treasure my living children more? 
I tend to be about fun (see ENFP and Enneagram Type 7) so I don't approach this place often, but I think it's important so I'm talking about it here. 
Have you lost a pregnancy or a baby? If you are willing, please tell me about your experience.  

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

WIWW (What I Wore Wednesday), Getting Chilly Edition

Right in the door from work, focus on those beautiful backpack straps!
This shirt is from Uniqlo and dress is from GU. I should probably branch out
from these two stores but my budget won't let me?!

Cheetah skirt and Japanese print shirt go together. Promise. 
Seing as it's mid-October, thought I'd bust out a sweater. Then I stepped outside
and realized the day would likely heat up, so tried to balance with sandals.
Go ahead and copy!

Today I was extra narcissistic (spelled that right on the first time, whoa)
and took three photos. Here's what I was actually wearing, but since this sleeveless
shirt and cardigan are both very thin knits, I had to.....

Add this jacket to try and keep warm. It helped somewhat but giving up
the peep-top socks probably would have done more?

Finally, because I'm in this for amusement more than elegance etc.
here I reveal my stunning rainy day look.
Wide load looking, but effective when one cannot (will not)
bicycle and hold an umbrella at the same time.

How is your week going? Any stories to tell, fashion-related or otherwise?
pleated poppy