Dec 28, 2008

"'Live Forever' Might Be You!"

For those of you who are just using me for my Japan, here's a little photo essay of a recent lunch date Doug and I had off base.  (Obviously this was before we got two feet of snow.)

Introducing Cafe Live Forever:
Like many restaurants near the base, Cafe Live Forever caters to both Japanese and American patrons...but seems to try even harder for the American customer.  Not only do they offer menu's in English, but also some American-ish-style menu items.  Consequently, it was filled about half and half with Americans and Japanese.
The menu also offers an explanation for the restaurant name:
While waiting for my order, I took a closer look at the decor.  The pink flowers below are called "Live Forever".

I ordered the Mushroom and Chicken Pasta on the recommendation of an Airman at the next table.  It was actually very good, though I admit I didn't try the side salad.

Doug had the...I think....Sweet and Sour Pork?  I'm not exactly sure, but he did enjoy it!

After we ate, we ordered some of their famous scones to take home with us.  This time we tried the caramel.  They were good, but the chocolate is still my favorite.  The scones come with a little cup of butter and whipped cream to put on top.

Gabe was just there to look cute.  He's good at that!

So there's a little taste of Japan for you.  I'll try to post about an "off base" activity at least once a week now.  

Happy?

Alright then.  

GOODBYE!

Dec 24, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Pretend this came to you in an envelope!  
If I know you, (and your address) it will actually come in an envelope...hopefully soon!  If it never arrives, well...you have this...!
From the Mixed-up Files of the Douglas D. Warner Family
12/18/08
This year has brought many changes into our lives starting around the beginning of July when we (miraculously) sold our home in Rhode Island and moved far, far, (far) away...to Japan.

First and foremost, Doug’s wardrobe has taken a decided turn for the worse. Lately he’s been showing a startling inclination towards drab olive green and brown. It’s amazing I even let him into (or out of) the house like that! Strangely, though, it seems to be the trend in this neighborhood so no one even gives him a second glance! One of the biggest changes for Doug is that he’s no longer a student or even a resident. He is the Pediatric Dentist for the entire Misawa Air Force Base. (And yet, he still has to take orders!) He loves it and the kids all seem to love him.

As for me, Emily, I have been extremely traumatized by a sudden decrease in my usual retail shopping options. There are no Targets in our new neighborhood. No Costco’s, either. It’s been incredibly difficult going cold-turkey, but I’m making progress and finding some solace in on-line shopping, the “100 Yen Store”, and pottery. (Starting in January, I get to teach two night classes; wheel throwing and hand building!) Mostly though, I just chill at home and try to convince the boys that I really am allowed to use the computer and occasionally make a phone call during daylight hours. (Some things never change no matter where you live.) As for the boys, well...

Max (7) has been heard to exclaim both “I ate seaweed and I LIKED it?” followed shortly (when he regained his senses) by "I do NOT like Sushi”. He has discovered the beauty of martial arts (i.e., sanctioned violence sometimes involving swords and sticks) and is taking piano lessons. (So I’ll let him take drum lessons later!) He is now in first grade and has a marvelous and patient teacher who will probably be sainted by the end of the year. His favorite thing is reading at night with Mommy. (Turns out, Daddy stinks at doing different voices and accents.)

Sam (4.5) says he just wants to go back to New Yoke, (He never did catch on to the fact that we lived in Rhode Island) but is mostly happy because all of his Lightning McQueen cars made it to our new house successfully. He goes to preschool three days a week (sometimes even with SOCKS on) and has only been forced screaming into the carpool car a few times!!! Sam enjoys routine, his nightly lullabies, (including Rock-a-by-Baby cause it’s “so beautifoe”) routine, and things that don’t change. Ever.

Gabe (19 mns) is exhibiting disturbingly familiar signs of being yet another boy who loves wrestling and sword fighting. Despite being exposed to his mother’s collection of dolls and dress-ups (kept on-hand for small female visitors, of course!) Gabe is changing from our sweet and happy angel baby into a sweet little devil toddler. hmphf. Luckily, he’s still adorable so we love him anyway.

And we love you too! We hope you’re all doing well and having a fabulous Christmas season. Don’t ever change! (Please. Sammy is begging you.)

Best wishes from Japan,


The W's

As always, if for some strange reason you want even MORE information about our lives, you are welcome to check our blogs! 
Em: www.actegratuit.blogspot.com 
Doug: www.fromcoast2coast.blogspot.com

Dec 21, 2008

Blah Blah Blog...

I've sort of lost my will to blog lately.  Lots going on, only some of it good.  The good is, it's almost Christmas, we just got 11 inches of snow, and Doug has the next week off.
The boys are basically going crazy with joy.  
One bad thing is, we're away from all family this year.  This isn't the first time, and it wont be the last.  So for that reason, last night Doug and I were discussing what traditions we want to establish for ourselves.  We made a list of traditions we remember from our families growing up, and now I want to know if YOU, Gentle Reader, have any fun traditions you want to share. 

Something you did growing up, or something you do now.  It can be silly or sentimental or spiritual or whatever.  Help me out.  I need cheering up!
I'd turn this in to a contest if I had any will to mail, but I don't.  I have no will to mail.  So just do it as a favor to me.  If you want to enter a contest, go to Doug's blog.  Maybe I'll contribute a little something to HIS prize package.   And if I don't post again for another week, MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!

Dec 14, 2008

I've had some complaints

that I'm not talking about Japan enough. Well, it's true. I'm not. (buncha whiners.)
And I'll do better. Later.

WHEN I'M NOT DEATHLY ILL AND I ACTUALLY MANAGE TO LEAVE MY HOME LET ALONE THE BASE!!!

Alright, so I'm not actually deathly ill. And I did go to church off-base today...begrudgingly.

But after finishing two different simultaneous courses of antibiotics along with an oral steroid, my tonsils are still as big as grapefruit, and my sore throat has returned along with a snotty nose. Which always leads to tonsillitis. Which always leads to an ear infection. Which always leads to me being Miss Cranky Pants!

So lets just say I'm a little testy at the moment. BUT, being the stoic martyr that I am, I still managed to do this:


(Don't say I never gave you anything.)


Turn the volume up. It's a darn good song.

And stay tuned for more Japan adventures and cultural commentary.

(geez, it's like people don't even come here for my wit and/or cute kids...!)

Sayonara!

Dec 12, 2008

Remember How I Made My Bed...

the other day?

Well...last night when all the clean clothes had been dumped on the floor and "Psyche" had been turned on, I did something extremely out of character.  I IRONED!

Part way through my fourth shirt Doug said, "Can you stop ironing and help me fold now?"

I said "This is the third time in eight years I've ironed.  Are you SURE you want to discourage me?"

"NO!  I'm sorry!  You're right!  Keep ironing!!!  Sorry!  SORRY!"



Yeah.   I thought so.

Dec 10, 2008

Happy Birthday, Maxwell!

A few days ago Max had his birthday and turned 7.  He got to ditch school, have chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast, go ice skating, eat at 100 Yen Sushi for lunch, miniature golf with Daddy and Sam, and have Mac and Cheese for dinner.  It was pretty much an awesome day except for one thing:  I haven't had the heart to blog about it because the birthday cake I made him was such a dismal failure.  

Yes, I know his birthday shouldn't be all about me, but it just didn't feel right to do a birthday post in his honor which featured a cake that looked like a pile of bird poo.  It pretty much broke my spirit.  I haven't quite recovered yet.  But he still deserves to be honored so I'm going to tell you what a great kid he is.  Birthday cake not withstanding.  But first, an update:
This week Max was officially diagnosed with ADHD.  Now, for those of you who know him, right now you're thinking "Well DUH!  I could have told you THAT!"  But for some reason, I've always held out a little hope that he wouldn't take after his ADD mother and could just breeze through school like his Daddy.  No such luck.

See, Maxwell has always been an extremely busy boy.  As a baby, he was incapable of cuddling.  He was too busy looking around and smiling his big toothless, slobbery, open-mouthed grin to be bothered with relaxing his head on my shoulder.  At 10 months, he was walking--which immediately led to running and climbing.  Around 16 months, he started climbing out of his crib.  So we got a crib tent.  He learned to open it.  So we would safety-pin it.  And he'd open the safety pin and continue his midnight forays to freedom.  He was the same with all child-proofing measures.  He'd just figure out how to open them and continue on his way.  (Who knew bedroom door locks could be popped open just by twisting the knob really hard?!)

His intelligence and independence have been a bonus in many ways.  For example, when I got pregnant with Sam and was sick in bed every morning, Max--at 2 1/2--would get up and get himself breakfast.  

*First, climb over the baby gate into the kitchen.  *Next, climb up on the counter to get a bowl from cupboard.  *Open child-locked top drawer and get spoon.  *Get out box of cereal and quart of soy milk and pour.  *Eat cereal, dump bowl in sink, turn on cartoons.  *Later: sneak chocolate chips & de-fluff couch cushion.

All while I lay in bed groggily calling "Good job, Max!  I'll be up in a few....zzzzz..."  

As the years have gone by, Max has always had endless energy, and I've always been endlessly exhausted.  But also highly entertained.  And never, EVER bored.

Here are 7 things I love about Maxwell:

*He is diligently learning to play the piano because I told him he has to do that before he can take drum lessons.  (How cool is he for wanting to play the drums!?!)

*He can make Gabey laugh harder than anyone else.  Like, really really belly laugh.

*He still gets up and gets himself, and Sam, breakfast so I can sleep in.  (until 7:30ish.  He usually wakes up at 6:30ish.)  And he gets himself totally ready for school.  (If it weren't for the other two boys, I could sleep in until 10!  ...and I would.)

*He loves to be read to, and is trying hard to learn to read himself.   (His teacher says he has extremely high language and comprehension.) 

*He's good at sports and really good at card games.  (Thanks to Grandma W. giving us Rat-a-Tat-Cat a year or two ago.)

*He's a great photographer.  (Though is interest has waned ever since we actually gave him his own camera.  Evidently it's more appealing when you're using your parents camera without permission.)

*He's very good and finding diapers and wipes and delivering them to me immediately upon hearing me yell "MAYDAY!"

*bonus* He's very handsome and his beautiful blue eyes look a lot like his daddy's.  AND, he loved his birthday cake even though it was ugly.

I sure love my boy and I'm glad we have him in our family.  I can't imagine life without him.

I love you, Maxer!
HAPPY BELATED BIRTHDAY!  


Dec 3, 2008

I (Doug) Need To Clear Up A Few Things Before I Begin:

(Get caught up here!)  

* First off, I'm more like Andre Agassi than the earlier Billy Jean King era of tennis. I never wore short shorts, except on the 8th grade basketball team. And tennis is awesome--as is country music. However, I think the country music animosity is the only reason my brother approved/s of Em. (The ONLY reason? That's the ONLY reason he let me into the family? Thanks a LOT Dave!!!)

* I wanted to defend Em's honor at the film shoot because just the night before in General Conference President Hinckley had lectured the world on respecting womanhood. And I didn't equate Playboy models as being an honorable tribute to women. I'm over it though. You're forgiven Matt.

For me this story is all about Tuesday's. It was a Tuesday when I felt strongly that I needed to break up with my then girlfriend. (Yes it was sudden.  Yes I may have been a jerk, but I felt compelled to do it and do it RIGHT THEN!) 

It was the following Tuesday when I decided to take a break after my O-Chem test and go climb at The Rock Garden.
(Did you get that people? We met a WEEK after he broke up with his girlfriend. Of course, he didn't tell me that so I was still feeling guilty I'd broken off an engagement so recently. HA!)
I can only recall one other time when I had even tried to get a girl's number, whom I didn't know. It was definitely not my style to hit-on girls in public. Yet I found myself sitting next to her on a bench watching others climb and talking to her, asking her where she was from, if she had been climbing long, etc. 

As I was leaving the Rock Garden I decided to go ask her for her number. I went over to where she was getting her shoes on and struck up another conversation so I could tell her I was going climbing on Friday with some friends and ask would she like to come. 

And I think the next Tuesday was a temple dedication that we attended together at the Marriott Center or something of the like.   (I'm pretty sure we did this separately but talked about it on the phone later.) (Yes, you may be right on that one, so that Tuesday must have been the one that there was a letter on my door from my ex-girlfriend...but that's another story.=))

After coming home from the Rock Garden the night I met Emily, I immediately went to find one of my climbing buddies. First, I found Jason who said he was otherwise engaged.  (Probably doing something lame with his girlfriend/fiancee.)   (You know he's totally kidding, right Christina?  Don't worry.  I tell him all the time that he's NOT FUNNY.)   So I got a hold of Mike, who I believe had sworn off all women after a BAD experience which involved buying a ring and losing possession of it and seeing it on the For Sale board in the WILK. (Now I would love to see that blog post Mike/Lindsey!) 

He agreed to go climbing with me on Friday. (But probably not before making some sort of snide comment.) The next day I looked at my phone list and called Emily. Unfortunately, I called the wrong Emily. After recovering and chatting with the other Emily for a while I hung up and called my new Emily. Emily's account seems to follow pretty accurately.

The next big event begins the following week when I called her up on Tuesday to ask her to do something. When she answered she said, "I was calling to see if you wanted to go camping this weekend?"
I need to interject here and tell my side of this story so I don't sound like a total hussy. That week, Anna and Travis were planning an over-night climbing trip. Anna told me to come along and invite Bryant. I said, flippantly, "Neh...If I invited anyone it would be Doug..." The thing was, I had no intention of doing any such thing. I was raised in a household full of very strict rules concerning girl/boy relations. Most of the rules were categorically ignored by me. 
Except the one that said "Girls don't call boys!" 
I tended to follow that rule very strictly with boys I liked. (Male friends and actual boyfriends, no big whoop. Suitors, no.) Not only did I not CALL them, but I definitely didn't call them up and invite them on over-nighters after only knowing them for A WEEK!

But Anna decided that that was indeed what I should do. After approximately two hours of arguing, I conceded defeat to her superior debating skills and intellect, and sheepishly and nervously went to my room to call Doug for the first time. To not only ASK HIM OUT, but ASK HIM TO JOIN ME ON A CAMPING TRIP.  I was thrilled when I got the answering machine. I left a quick message and hung-up hoping I hadn't just branded a scarlet A onto my forehead.

I was thinking, "I thought I was the one who called. Hmmm."

Then I said yes. I was excited to have such a huge invitation so quickly. I asked my brother if he thought I should go and he gave his blessing.  I, however, distinctly remember not asking my mom for advice on the unchaperoned camping trip with a girl I had just met and she had not met. =) Later that day I checked the answering machine for messages and found one from her. I thought "Ohhhh, now she doesn't sound so crazy." That next weekend we went down to Maple Canyon (located South West of Fountain Green Utah) with her roommate Anna and Anna's boyfriend Travis and I think Anna's cousin or something. (Yes. Cousin Reggie.) It was a very NICE date.
You can't beat new love, outdoors, campfire, darkness, a fire, and s'mores! We camped there overnight and went climbing the next morning. (Don't worry children reading this in the future: I didn't sleep in the tent with her. Reggie and I slept under the stars.) (Oh, and Tevas melt when they get too close to a fire, FYI!)
I remember she wore a white tank top and thinking she was so beautiful (Still is). She made a good tuna fish sandwich, which I had never before liked. She only dropped me about 8 feet while I was climbing. I remember thinking she was so awesome and fun to be with. We were always in good conversation together. Despite her Country shortfall, we had similar tastes in music. Right from the beginning it felt like we were great friends not awkward new dates. When we took that picture of us on the rocks on that trip I remember thinking it would have been a good spot to take an engagement picture. So even early on it must have already crossed my mind.

The last detail of this trip that I can find in my memory is when we were on the way to pick up the afore mentioned Reggie. She had some sort of note sticking out of her back pocket.  I found out she did not want me to see it. Naturally it became my only desire to see the note. It was a vicious struggle that unfortunately I lost after about an hour of driving and two or three venues. It turns out it was an e-mail she had printed out that day where she told her guy-friend Jayson that I was "the one".

So there is my account. I'll contract out one more post. It will be about the most controversial memory: the first time we held hands. Yes it is an innocent gesture, yet it symbolizes oh so much. Anyone can hug and most people can even kiss, but the first time you hold hands it tells the other person that you have much affection for them. And it is probably the only point upon which Emily is completely wrong (regarding our courtship that is. She has been completely wrong a couple/many times).

*Also, if anyone is faulting us for getting engaged/married so quickly you need to realize that if took all of our dates, hang out times, activities together, road trips, etc. and put them to once a week, then we dated about 1 year at least. That's how well we got to know each other. Yes, I too made fun of people like us who married quickly, yet we've been married over 8 years and still have never had a fight. Well, maybe I do lie just a little.

Well everyone, I hope you're happy.  You now have at least part of Doug's version.  And he's agreed to do at least one more installment.  In other news, I just found some old e-mail's, written to my family, about Doug, when we were dating.  So my job is getting easier by the minute.  

Until next time...

Dec 2, 2008

Just So You Know...

Since it's a rare occurrence, and no one will see it or appreciate it, I just want you all to know that...

I made my bed today.

Throw pillows and all.

Sometimes I just need to toot my own horn.

Sincerely,
Emily

Dec 1, 2008

And the WINNERS are...

#12.

#9.


#4. Number 12 and Number 9 tied for first place in the Reader's Choice  catagory.  

Number 4 was picked from my hand by Sammy boy who at first refused to cooperate, but was then bribed into compliance since he and Gabe are the only other two people in the house and I obviously couldn't be trusted to draw one from my own hand!

WHEW!  This has been quite the contest!  

Congratulations to the winners!  Ladies, please send me your first name and e-mail address to my e-mail address (emilydeon(at)gmail(dot)com) and I'll get the info to the proper place!  (I'm sending your info at the same time, Marni.)
Then go praise me on your blog and tell all your friends they should be reading my blog because I'm awesome.

If you didn't win, JUST BUY THE DANG BOOK!!!  It's only $30 with the coupon code GRATUIT and it's worth it!  Just look at those cute covers!!!!  (And let me reiterate, the INSIDE of the book is awesome too.  You'll love it.)   Plus, you're helping the economy.  It's pretty much a win/win, people!

And then you should go to your blog and praise me too, because I really did want you to win, also.  I really did!

Thanks for playing everyone!  It's been fun!
I have one more give-away coming up before Christmas, (courtesy of my Dad: Dale-Bud) so stay tuned!

Nov 30, 2008

NABLOPOMO is ALMOST OVER! & Here's your chance to PICK A WINNER!!!

This is my last lame entry!  SOOOO to celebrate, I will be giving away the LAST THREE "AMERICA AT HOME" BOOKS!!!!

If you haven't entered, you have one last chance.  If you don't want to enter, maybe you want to help PICK A WINNER!  (Get your finger out of your nose.  Gross.)

Go to Gratuitous Reviews now and vote for your favorite of 12 Custom Covers!!!
:)

P.S.  Doug says he's finished his (probably highly inaccurate) version of our Dating History but wants me to review and edit it--(as if I WOULDN'T)--so it'll probably be here tomorrow.  

I'd work on it tonight, but after the events of last night, my bum is too sore.  

So I'm goin' to bed.



Nov 29, 2008

Don't worry...

the gratuitous blogging will end in two days and be replaced with intermittent blogging that is actually inspired by more than just stubborn adherence to a pointless goal.  In the mean time, here's a run-down of some my extremely disturbing hygiene habits and medical traumas...

*WARNING!  This post includes graphic descriptions of an absolutely disgusting lack of personal hygiene.  Seriously.  If you're a man, don't read this.  If you're a woman, have a garbage can handy.*

Last night when after the kids were tucked in, Doug insisted I get out of bed and come watch a movie with him.  I'm not entirely sure why he wanted my company.  After arriving home from our Thanksgiving Feast around 7 p.m., I fell immediately into bed fully clothed.  With every subsequent trip to the bathroom, (there were MANY) I watched in total apathy as my appearance deteriorated from bad to worse; my previously styled hair getting ever bigger and rattier and my applied-specially-for-the-holiday mascara creeping farther down under my eyes.  I'm pretty congested thanks to allergies, but I'd wager my womanly pheromones were also ripening like a good cheese.

None-the-less, Doug demanded my presence and I was too weak to argue so down I went.  After the movie, (21 with Kevin Spacey.  Pretty entertaining but one or two fast-forwardable s-e-x scenes) I checked my e-mail, stared blankly into space for a bit, and then dragged my stinky, sorry, self back to bed at around midnight.  

And there I stayed.   

Until noon today.  

When I got up for the first time in 12 hours to go to the bathroom, let's just say my visage hadn't improved any from the night before.  The mascara that had started on my eye-lashes had reached my chin.  The grease in my hair had weighed it down a bit, so it wasn't astronomically high, but it's rattiness had only increased.  

And then there was my mouth.  I vaguely remember Doug bringing me cereal at some point this morning along with the Advil I requested (to dull the throb of my left eardrum.)  Well, I'm pretty sure there was an entire bite of Honey Bunches of Oats glued to the roof of my mouth indicating that I fell asleep mid-bite and couldn't be bothered to swallow.

Fortunately, my stomach had stopped acting like an active volcano and was no longer somersaulting tumultuously.  This allowed me to stumble, on weak legs, into the shower/power washer*.  Allowing me to leave the land of the dead and rejoin the land of the living.  

The day has been improving steadily since then.

----
later

Good thing I didn't push publish because my day just took a rapid turn for the worse...

It's now 10 p.m.

After tucking the boys in tonight, I decided I'd procrastinated long enough.  My sore throat and ear infection haven't cleared up on their own and I didn't want another night of crappy sleep.  So I went across the street to urgent care.

Where I was clucked over and and finally given...

TWO SHOTS IN THE BUTT!!!

Yes, that's right.
I have an abscess in my left tonsil, an ear infection in my left ear, and strict orders to come back on Monday morning to see an ENT.  Oh, and I need to get my tonsils out a.s.a.p.

Why aren't any of  you Med School friends doing ENT???  WHY????  I NEED YOU!

 Gotta go now.  Doug made Hot Chocolate to console me.  

Maybe this day isn't going to end badly after all...

See you tomorrow!



*We have so much water pressure that after my first shower here I felt like a battered woman.  Emily tested-Kramer approved.

Nov 28, 2008

Bah Humbug

Still sick. (see yesterday's post or Doug's most recent post.)

Will NaBloPoMo ever end???

Nov 27, 2008

Gobble gobble goo and Gobble gobble gickel...

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

On thanksgiving in my family and in Doug's family before dinner begins, we go around the table and all say one thing for which we are thankful. We didn't get to do that this year so I'm going to go ahead and take the liberty here.
I am Thankful for:
My Family.

Now, since this is my blog, and because I can, I'm going to add a few more...(ADDED FRIDAY!) In no particular order...
*I'm really thankful for my printer/scanner. I was pondering it the other day and just had to stop for a minute and praise it's goodness. I mean, how cool is it that I can find a Thanksgiving nameplate template on Martha and immediately print it out in color? It's WAY cool! Even if I never made the nameplates...
*I'm also thankful for my relative good health. I've spent the last 24 hours either in bed, or on or near the toilet. Just so you know, I'm dying of dysentery with a throbbing ear infection thrown in for fun. And I've been whining like a nap-deprived two-year-old all day as a result. But in the back of my head I keep thinking..."at least it's not always this bad. At least I'm not ALWAYS sick..." And I am truly grateful for that.
*I'm thankful for having a good book to read today. I love reading. I love love love reading a really good book. Being allowed to stay in bed all day reading ALMOST makes up for the fact that I'm dying a slow, painful death.
*And finally, I'm thankful for T.V.! Because now that I've finished "Goose Girl" (started this morning) I'm going to find an old episode of Scrubs on "watchtvsitcoms(dot)com" to cheer me up and keep me busy while awaiting the return of my family from HSM3. And really, what more could a girl ask for?!?

Hope you had a happy Thanksgiving. What are YOU thankful for???


*BTW Doug has agreed to do the next installment of How I Met My Husband. It should be ready in the next two days, he's a bit slower than me. Which is sad 'cause I'm pretty slow.

Nov 26, 2008

Thanksgiving Tips

*Make sure you put a cookie sheet under your Turkey otherwise you might wake up to your house filling with smoke.  (Go by the temperature, not the recommended cooking time.)

*Lifting a 28 pound turkey is harder than you might think.  Your hands wont work.  Neither will a large spatula.  Try two large dinner plates, one under each end.

*Electric knives are excellent for turkey carving.  

*Stick your turkey drippings in the freezer and the fat will be easy to scrape off the top.  (FYI, you can use potato flakes in your gravy to thicken it up.)

*If you're making Peanut Butter Pie, don't cook the custard too fast, (it'll burn) Don't cool the milk in the sink (it'll get a dirty spoon thrown in it and water poured on it) and don't forget the sugar.  (It just doesn't seem right somehow without the sugar.)  (I'm working on my third batch.  Wish me luck on this one.)

Gotta go to bed now.  I have another Turkey to cook in the morning.  And mashed potatoes.  And a couple of Peanut Butter Pies.  

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!!

Nov 25, 2008

In Preparation for Turkey Day(s)

I almost didn't blog today.
I'm really tired.
Doug had to bring me the lap-top in bed.

See, I've been wrangling a 28 pound turkey all evening. And it's no easy task for my twiggy little arms.
Last Friday I told Maxwell's cute teacher that I would bring a turkey to the harvest festival at school tomorrow...and then I sent Doug to the store to buy a second turkey.
And he did.
A 28 pound No-Name brand.
(We all know from America's Test Kitchen that no-name brands are a no-no, right? The tasters prefer Butterball, frozen. Which is what I bought for OUR Thanksgiving meal.)

Anyway, No-name has been in the fridge all this time, but when I took him out for a little cursory feel-up this afternoon, he was still pretty frozen. So I put him in a cold-water bath hoping by tonight he'd be ready. (for quick thaw, place in cold water bath for 30 minutes/per pound. Yep, that would be 14 hours if I were starting with a completely frozen bird.)

Unfortunately, tonight when I reached in to remove the neck and giblets, he was pretty icy inside. I'm just hoping in his new hollow state, he'll take the opportunity to finish thawing-- before 3 a.m.

That's when I have to wake up.

To put the turkey in.

28 pound turkeys take a long time to cook.

This is going to make my 16 pound Butterball seem like a CINCH on Thursday.

The thing is,
despite it all,
I'm still feeling thankful for turkey.
I'm happy my 28 pound ugly-step-brother No-Name and sweet, adorable 16.5 pound Butterball have fulfilled the purpose of their creation by offering themselves up for my dining enjoyment.

And I'm thankful for a husband that will do my shopping for me. Even if he does buy gargantuan turkeys.

But now I must sleep. And dream dreams of giant frozen turkeys and cooking calamities (as I know I will.)

Here's wishing YOU better dreams!

Good night!

(And see you tomorrow!)

Nov 24, 2008

This and That

Okay, so maybe I was a little abrupt.  I was T-I-R-E-D last night.
I'll do more.  And I'll try to convince Doug to guest post.  But not today.  LATER!

In the mean time, I'd just like to say, THE GIVE-AWAY ISN'T OVER!!!  For all who didn't enter and for you whiners who didn't win, you still have THREE MORE CHANCES!  So if you're a non-enterer, get on it!  It's takes all of two minutes!  And if you've already entered, be patient!  You'll have another chance!

Now GET BUSY!  I want to see more awesome covers!!!!!

Nov 23, 2008

How I Courted Your Father -- Part IIII

(No idea what I'm talking about?  Get caught up here!)

Two days after our first date
, Douglas joined me at my cousin Wendy's apartment for a dessert party.  Wendy(Rama) and I got together with our Carlsbad friends semi-regularly and the functions usually revolved around food of some sort.  Usually dessert.  


Doug and I arrived at Wendy's apartment at The Riv where we were joined by Kristen and Shawn (married), Wendy, (maybe her latest boy-toy?) probably some of her roommates, and Mindy and Matt who were dating.  

It just so happened Wendy's parents were in town.  My fabulous Uncle Clyde and marvelous Aunt Jeanette.   (Remember Uncle Clyde has already been mentioned as an important character in this saga!)  They stopped by that night and Doug and Uncle Clyde immediately hit it off.  My Uncle Clyde is a dentist.  He actually served in the military in the Vietnam War as a dentist.  I watched them talking animatedly and felt happy that Doug was with me.

(When they went home to Carlsbad, they gave my mom, who was living there at the time, a very favorable review of the boy I brought to Wendy's party.  Doug had earned their seal of approval.  They weren't the only one's he impressed.  All my friends told me later that they really liked him.)

The thing about that night was, I had an additional engagement scheduled for after the party that I hadn't discussed with Doug.  When the party was wrapping up, I told Doug that Matt had asked me for some help and asked if he'd like to come with me.  

Matt was a film major and that night he'd gotten permission to use a local photography studio for a few hours to work on a film project for school.  He was making a Mac Computer commercial and had asked Bryant and I to be in it.   Yes, the same Bryant from the Rock Garden.  (I met Bryant through Matt and Mindy.  They were all in the same ward.)  (Yes.  I did find Bryant on Facebook.)

The instructions Matt had given me for that night went something like this:  "bring a really sexy outfit."  Hmm.  Okay.

The premise of Matt's commercial was this:  A man (Bryant) has a choice between two doors.  He walks up to door #1 and looks in the peep hole.  He sees a ravishing and fantastically beautiful woman... (that would be me, people).  He then goes to door #2 and looks in the peep hole...he sees a Mac computer.  

He picks door #2  
(jerk.)
(just kidding.)
(It was actually a really funny commercial.)

When we got to the studio, Matt and Mindy were setting everything up to do Bryant's part first.  Matt led us into a dressing room and offered me his theater make-up telling me to get prettied up.

Then he left us alone sitting in front of the dressing room mirror.  For the next hour or so, we talked.  We talked about life and school and family and friends and all sorts of things.  The conversation flowed smoothly while we stared into each other's eyes by way of the mirror.   (Did I ever mention that Doug has the BEST blue/green eyes?  They're very pretty!)

I was sorry when we were interrupted...

"I thought you said you knew how to put on liquid eye-liner!!!"  Matt rebuked when he entered the room.  

He then proceeded to put it on for me and thus began my film career.

Now, you know how when Oprah started out, her show was pretty trashy?  Well, my job that night was to sit on a stool in a short skirt and look seductive.   (Hey!  You take what you can get in Hollywood!)

I was woefully unprepared for the part.

As you may have noticed from reading my blog, I don't take myself very seriously. 

And I had no other acting skills to speak of.  I never took dance as a kid, (which involves using your body to relay a message to the audience...usually while wearing spandex of some sort)  or drama or acting...I took 10 years of violin lessons.   And I was never, EVER required to look seductive at a recital.  

This was entirely new territory for me.  I was so embarrassed I couldn't do anything but blush and giggle.  I made Mindy and Doug leave the room but it didn't help.  (Little did I know they were right around the corner and were still watching and listening.)  

Matt tried to coach me and coax me into hamming it up.  "Come on!  Pretend you're a Playboy  model!!!" he joked.  It didn't work.   I couldn't relax and I couldn't make myself stare deeply into the camera and wink.  I just couldn't do it.

Matt DID finish the commercial, but my acting career began and ended that night.

On the way home, Doug let loose on Matt.  "I can't believe that guy!  That was totally inappropriate!  I was THIS CLOSE to telling him off!"  

I was shocked and amused!  We'd just met and yet he wanted to defend my honor!!  I had to laugh and assured him Matt really was a good guy and my virtue was still intact.  (He eventually forgave Matt.  They're friends now.)

That night I came to an important conclusion.  But before I tell you what it was, we need to jump even further back in time.

Flash back to June, 1994

I was 16.  I was the last kid left at home living in Salt Lake City with my parents who were NOT happily married and hadn't been for as long as I could remember.   (Six months later I would move with my mom to Carlsbad.)  

In my Mia Maid class at church, we had a lesson on marriage.  We talked about what kind of person we wanted to marry.  We were then asked to list everything we wanted in our future spouse, in a letter to ourselves.  We were given stationary and told to seal the letter and keep it for the future.  We could open it later when we found the man of our dreams to see how he measured up.  

Remember how I said I keep everything?  Sometimes being a pack rat pays off.  This is the letter I wrote in June of 1994:  (It currently resides in my Wedding Album.)
And now back to April, 2000.

Shortly after meeting Doug, I started keeping a mental tally in my head of his pluses and minuses.  

Pluses;  Goes to BYU, has a definite career goal, (good aspects...I mean prospects!!) spiritual, handsome, funny, down-to-earth, rock climbs, similar family values, gentleman, worthy priesthood holder, loves his family....CHECK CHECK CHECK!   

Minuses; played tennis in High School* and listens to Country Music. (bleh!) 

I decided those last two were of no eternal import and decided to forgive him.   Oh, and he was tall, BLONDE, and handsome instead of tall, DARK, and handsome as clearly specified on the reverse side of my letter.  But I let that slide too.

That night I made a decision.  It was our second date and I distinctly remember thinking;


  "I could marry this guy!"



And four months later, I did!





The End
(Was that too abrupt?  Should I go on?  You tell me.  I'm just really tired tonight.  But  I'm just here to make you happy, so tell me what you desire!!!)



*Sorry tennis players.  It's just that at the time I associated tennis players with short white shorts and sweaters draped over shoulders.  I've since forsaken that evil view and now look very favorably upon all the tennis players of the world.

Nov 22, 2008

Did I Say Today?

Because I meant tomorrow...
Tomorrow I'll do the next installment of our love story.

And for you inquiring minds, I picked six action figures from my wreath.
SIX!  (little hellions.)

Nov 21, 2008

Important Announcements

ANNOUNCING the first winner over at Gratuitous Reviews!!!
There will be one every Friday...for three more Fridays. SO ENTER NOW!!!

NEXT, tomorrow night I'm going to write the next installment of my love story. Now, I don't think I'm going to take you through our whole courtship. (Although I could...we didn't date all that long...) But the next date is pretty important so I've got to talk about that.

The final announcement is this: Max threw-up this morning. Sam threw-up this morning, and then later in the morning, and then in the afternoon. And I'd just like to state, for the record, that mothering is not as glamorous as I've formerly led you to believe. Sorry. Just wanted to get that off my chest.

That is all.

Good night!

Nov 20, 2008

Let's Play Hidden Picture...

Can YOU discover how many Star Wars action figures Samuel stuck in my wreath???  
(Hint:  It's more than 4.)

Speaking of pictures, have you entered the contest over here yet?

Nov 19, 2008

Winter Has Come to (Northern) Japan

Before I was even out of bed, Max spotted the first snow fall of the season...When he came home, it looked like this:Between the snowfall, and Daddy coming home, my boys have had a FANTASTIC day!  (I'm just happy that Doug's home.)

P.S.  Have you been HERE yet?!?!?!?!?  GO NOW!!!

P.P.S.  Doug flew home from Tokyo today and said it was 60 degrees there when he left.


Nov 18, 2008

Giveaway Tomorrow!

I'm tired!  Doug's been gone for a week, and I'm just plain tired.  I've probably never mentioned this before, but my boys are a handful.  Two handful's, actually.  And I'm just pooped.
Which is why all I can muster for today's blog post is this announcement:

Tomorrow, on Gratuitous Reviews, I'll be hosting an awesome give-away.   I can't even spare the energy to turn on caps lock, so you'll just have to believe me:  It's awesome.

See you there tomorrow!!!

Nov 17, 2008

How I Met (and dated) Your Father -- Part III

(Read Part I here, and Part II here)

"Hey, I'm going climbing with some friends this weekend, do you want to come?"


This is probably the first and last lie Doug ever told me. He made it up on the spot. And I knew he made it up on the spot. And I was thrilled!

Me: "Um, YEAH! Let me get write down my number for you!" (as I leap towards the front desk to grab paper and pen.)

I went home happy!

Doug went home and called his friends to make arrangements to climb that weekend.

This was a Tuesday. On Wednesday, I got my first phone call from Doug. We made plans to climb on Friday. He would bring a friend and I would bring a friend.

Friday came. Doug arrived with his BFF Mike (a very nice guy who was planning on going to Law School) and picked up my BFF Anna and I in the car he shared with his brother Dave. (an old Taurus named "The Maroon Marauder")

Anna was actually dating her future husband Travis at the time but she came as a favor to me...and 'cause she loves climbing. (And Travis loves climbing. So I'm sure he totally understood. Right, Travis???)

***Unimportant Aside: As we were pulling away from The Old Mill, I saw something in the road and made Doug stop so I could grab it. It was a key chain of a cartoon character holding flowers behind his back. When you push his button, he blushes. The cartoon character's name is Doug.

I found it ironic. I kept it. (I keep everything) He currently resides in my underwear drawer--He's happy there.***

Now, if you'll recall, because of my recent painful break up, I had determined that I wasn't going to care deeply about boys anymore. I wasn't going to try too hard, put on an act, or take myself--or dating--too seriously. I was just going to have fun. And I did.

We went up to Rock Canyon and while I waited my turn to climb, I made jokes and played in the dirt.

Here is my creation photographed by an amused Doug:
Here is my butt in a harness:
And here I am climbing:

Do I look hard core?

Because I am.

I'm super hard core.

Please note my casual attire. Baggy shirt and pants. Hair up in a twist. I was probably thinking derogatory thoughts about girls who get manicures while I climbed. ('Cept not you PB. You're still hard core even if you do have nice nails.)

The day was great. The climbing was great. Everyone was laughing and joking and having a good time. Everyone was relaxed and seemed happy. Mike knew Anna had a boyfriend, so there was no pressure there. They both seemed to have fun anyway. On the way back to the car, we started talking about food. I mentioned that I was going to a dessert party at Wendy's that weekend. I jokingly invited Doug and Mike to come. Doug said okay!

As we continued to walk, Doug asked me if I had plans for that night! Now, it was a Friday night. If I were following "The Rules", I wouldn't have accepted a date on such short notice. But I'd decided not to play games. I didn't have plans, and I was happy at the prospect that our date would continue.

He took me home and arranged to come back a few hours later.
When he picked me up, our first stop was a little hole in the wall (basement) sandwich shop in Provo called Gandolfo's. If you've been there, you know it's awesome. It's a local favorite and is always packed.

While we waited in line, I blew the wrapper off of my straw and hit Doug in the face with it. When we got our food, Doug asked the cashier "Do you take American?" while holding out his money. (I laughed. She stared in confusion.)
Yes, this is the foundation upon which we built our eternal relationship: Dirt Land, straw wrappers, and general silliness.

Next stop was the local bowling alley where we reconnected with Mike and some of his female friends.
(I probably bowled between 60-70. I stink at bowling. I usually get one or two strikes and 5 or 6 gutter balls. That's just how I roll. (pun intended.))

Last stop was a typical last stop for Provo dates: Village Inn for dessert. Of course, even though it was late, it was packed. While we waited for a table, I made myself comfortable by sitting on Doug's lap. I say the rest of the seats were taken. He says I'm a brazen hussy.
Tomayto, Tomahto!

During dessert I continued to sweep Doug off his feet by dumping a packet of sugar onto my tongue and blowing it at him starting a sugar-spitting-fight.

It's hard to be as mature as I am.

It's a real burden.

That night, Doug dropped me off precisely at midnight.

(Did you know BYU students have to sign an Honor Code in order to attend school there? They do. And it includes a 12 o'clock curfew. Doug was one of the only guys I ever dated who actually kept curfew. I couldn't help but be impressed.***)

He gave me a hug at the door. I don't want to brag, but it was a pretty darn good hug.

You might think after my earlier performance I wouldn't get asked on a second date. You obviously underestimate my hugging ability...

To Be Continued...
(yet again.)

***Alright, alright Zoobies! I stand corrected! The curfew meant that the opposite s-e-x had to be kicked out by midnight (or 1:30 on Friday). Which means I had probably invited him in and he declined and THAT'S why I was impressed. Anyway, you get my drift...!

This--for you non-BYU-alumni out there--should give you further insight as to why the Provo Denny's and Village Inn were always packed in the middle of the night. CURFEW!

Nov 15, 2008

Sunday Deep Thoughts

How I Met Your Father Part III coming on Monday morning.
(Sorry to string you along, but it's just so fun.)

For today, I only have one thought:

Doug wasn't here for church today.  I got myself and the boys ready and we were only five minutes late.  This beats our latest late trend by about 10 minutes.

This leads me to only one conclusion:  It's Doug's fault.

Doug's excessive primping is the reason we're late every week.  I blame him.  And only him.  As a matter of fact, I would have been right on time if Doug hadn't previously hidden the lesson manual.  (Let's just say I didn't do a whole lot of prep for the lesson this week.  Sorry girls.)

So yeah.  It's you sweetie.  It's all you.  I guess YOU'LL have to get your pretty little self out of bed earlier...not me.

Sorry.  
I love you anyway!


Nov 14, 2008

How I Met Your Father -- Part II

Read Part I here!

I was about to give up and drive the 4 of us back to Old Mill when Anna walked in to The Rock Garden and saved the day.  She quickly got behind the counter, told the other employees we were "okay", and grabbed us all climbing shoes and gear.  

Now, Doug teases me all the time that I was on a date with another boy when we met.  I maintain that it was strictly a "hang-out" and that Bryant was just there for the free climbing.  This is evidenced by the fact that he disappeared from my side as soon as we had our climbing shoes on.  (I don't deny I had a crush on Bryant, but I am pretty positive the feeling was not mutual.)  (Now that I mention it, I think I'm going to try to find Bryant using Facebook. Maybe then he can settle this once and for all!) 

The point is, Bryant disappeared into the depths of the gym as did the girls from church, and Anna and I did our own thing.   

For me, that meant attempting a "bouldering problem".  For Anna, it meant staring at a long-haired, tattoo-covered, bare chested Tarzan on the wall opposite me.  After awhile, I got tired and sat down to watch also, with a small crowd, as Tarzan attempted the last few moves of a particularly difficult climb.  At some point, someone sat down next to me and somehow we started talking.

It was just the casual chatter of two people taking a break before going back to what they were doing a moment ago.  But we chatted long enough for me to draw two conclusions.  1) This guy was hitting on me, and 2) I didn't mind this guy hitting on me.  I do remember feeling vaguely worried that Bryant might walk up and scare the new guy off, but he didn't.  Like I said, he was busy doing his own thing. 

After a few minutes, we went our separate ways and I wandered over to Anna.  She was still watching Tarzan and made some comment about his climbing magnificence.  I pointed across the room--toward a total stranger as far as she knew--and said "I want to go on a date with that guy!"

Part III tomorrow!

Just kidding, I'll keep going.

So anyway, Anna hadn't seen me talking to this person so she was a little baffled that I was pointing to someone random in the crowd. 

Awhile later it was time to go.  I'd kept my eye on "the guy" and noticed he was also leaving.  After my bold declaration to Anna, I determined I really did want to go on a date with him.  He was good looking, seemed nice, and was a rock climber.  But I could make the first move.  Dad said girls don't call boys.  And I didn't.  Nor did I approach them and ask for phone numbers.  

It was all in his hands.  But I was running out of time and was giving up hope.  He didn't know my name and definitely didn't have my number.    He had his shoes on and all that was left was for him to drop off the climbing shoes and leave. 

He set them on the counter.

He turned towards the door.

Then miracle of miracles...he turned around and caught my eye.  

He walked over to me on the bench where I was changing shoes.

(Bryant was nearby but not conspicuously close.)  

We started chatting again and I quickly learned the following facts:
1) His name was (and amazingly still is) Doug
2) He was going to BYU  (Score!  This meant he was likely a good student.  You need good grades to get into "The Y".)
3) He was majoring in Zoology and planning to go to Dental School  (EXCELLENT!  He actually had a real major and a PLAN!)
4)  He'd done a Semester Abroad in Jerusalem  (Bonus!  He obviously valued culture and travel.)
5)  He'd been on a 2-year mission to Germany  (Righteous!  'Cause, you know...he's righteous.)
6)  He was four months older than me  (Seemed important to him, but whatever.)

I have no idea what I said to him or what info he gleaned from me other than my name and probably school, but I guess it was enough.  Just before walking away he said, almost as an after thought;
"Hey, I'm going climbing with some friends this weekend, do you want to come?"




Okay, I really will do Part III tomorrow.  Don't want to use all of my best material when I still have 15 more posts to write this month...

Hasta Manana!

Fat Chance

Seriously...
Does he really think I'm going to unlatch the door and let him in the house with those hands?
Seriously?



P.S.  Part II coming tomorrow.

Nov 13, 2008

How I Started My Day...

An errand took me off base early this morning and I thought I'd finish up a little Christmas Shopping while I was out.

First, I drove to the house of a friend for directions.  (I took the same hand-drawn map she gave me last week to the door and she pointed the way.)

I knew I was a little too early for anything to be open, (Misawa wakes up at 10) but I headed over toward my destination anyway.  I pulled into the parking lot of the local "mall" at 9:45.  

There was only one other car there.  

I hopped out (and down...it's very high) of the car, got the stroller out, and started readying the children.

With 10 minutes to go, five or so more cars had now entered the lot.

I noticed an employee come and unlock the outer automatic door so I let Sammy push the stroller towards the entrance.  We joined a few other early birds inside the entryway, but still couldn't get past the second set of sliding doors into the stores so we just waited.

A few more minutes passed and I noticed a few things.  First, the parking lot continued to fill up almost to capacity before the store had even opened.  Second, all of those people tried to cram themselves into the same small space I had cluelessly meandered in to.  Third, I was a FULL head taller than every other person--man or woman.

As we stood there, I had a front row view of what was happening inside.  Just beyond the glass a group of young women were standing in a circle.  All were wearing black slacks, white shirts, and pink aprons.  There were two men standing near by and one was giving what I assume was a pep talk.  All at once there was a chant (probably "hi" which means "yes" which is used constantly here) and everyone bowed at once.  And then again.  Then again.  Then again.  And...I wasn't counting but...probably again and again.    

After the last bow, the circle broke up and everyone scurried in a different direction.

Five minutes later, they let us is.  

And I almost got flattened.

The sweet little old ladies who only moments before were ooohing and ahhhhing over my children, were now single-minded in their determination to get past me even if it meant trampling afore mentioned children.  It was insanity!  It was like Super-Walmart at 5 a.m. the day after Thanksgiving.  Those ladies (and men) were serious!

Once the stampede vanished into the distance, my first order of business was to get to the nearest bathroom, and quick.  Sammy had made it abundantly clear with word and deed that he REALLY needed to go potty.  

I walked up to the nice looking young greeter and asked "Do you have a bathroom?  Bathroom?  ...bathroom?"  hoping that it was a word she was familiar with.  It wasn't.  I was tempted to imitate some of Sammy's hand gestures, but refrained.

She had no clue what I was saying and called over an official looking male.  I repeated my question.  More baffled looks but no results.  Then I remembered my cheat-sheet...the little card they gave us our first week here with a few key words and phrases printed on it.  I pulled it out and pointed to the kanji sign for "bathroom".  Both employees brightened and said "AHH!  Toilet!!!" at the same time.  Directions were given and we got there quick.  

Disaster=averted.  

Note to self:  Next time ask where the "toilet" is.  

After that, it was pretty smooth sailing.  I got my shopping done, (oh, I WISH I could show you what I got...but I don't want to ruin the surprise for the recipients) and headed to play group at The Weasel's Den (an airplane hangar converted into a giant recreational space which includes a huge indoor playground).

All in all, it's been a pretty good day.  



Sooo...how's YOUR day been?



Nov 11, 2008

Love the 100 Yen Store

I'm uninspired today so I'm going back to my list of suggestions from a few days ago.

I'm going to skip the suggestion "Why I have the Best Husband" for now and use Marta's suggestion:  Favorite 100 Yen Treasures.
(Oh, and Thank you Marta for the compliment.  I also love my little yellow tea pot.  If only I drank tea it would be PERFECT!)

So let me tell you a little about the 100 Yen Store.  They're sorta like Dollar Stores.  Only much MUCH better.  The one we like is called "The".  Well, it's "The" and then something in Kanji.  So we call it "The."  Anyway, it's really cool.  

Now, not EVERYTHING in them is 100 Yen.  But most things are and we've gotten some real treasures.  Here's a list of everything I can think of off the top of my head;

Stationary
Chopsticks


(If you can blow up this picture, read the second to last bullet.)
Pottery
battery operated bullet train toys
A fly swatter
Plastic containers perfect for organizing cupboards
more stationary
Sushi Erasers
Plastic Samurai Swords and Shields
Small Plants
hangers
ties
socks
wooden toys
swim goggles
hardware
mouse pad

The 100 Yen store has a veritable plethora of treasures  (Yes.  I WOULD say plethora) and if we ever have visitors, we'll take them shopping there first.  In the mean time, let me know if you want me to pick something up for you.  

I'll take any excuse I can get to go again!