Aug 29, 2008

Missing America...

This is a really good lonely day song!  My mom prefers the version featuring Aaron Neville.  I like this one!  (Though don't go knockin' the Neville Brothers.  They rock too!)

Aug 28, 2008

It Wasn't Raining When Noah Built The Ark!*

The other day after church Doug and I wanted to make cookies for some of our new friends. (Or shall I say, the people who will be our friends after being slowly worn down (but fattened up) by baked goods until they finally accept us into their social circle.) 

Unfortunately, we realized we were missing a few minor ingredients; like salt, vanilla, butter, baking soda, baking powder, a mixing bowl and cookie sheets. (But hey, I had chocolate chips and flour!)

So today I went shopping with my mind geared towards stocking the pantry with essentials as well as trying to remember the stuff I threw out, couldn't bring, or gave to my neighbor before leaving. (oil, yeast, salt, corn meal, cookie ingredients, etc.)

But when I walked into the Base Commissary, this is the first thing I saw...


Beautiful, brown, chocolaty, Hazelnutty, fatty goodness in a jar.

The big-size jar!

Then all of the sudden I thought of my friend Marni. She recently wrote a blog post about preparedness and how we need to be ready in case of a disaster. And instantly my mind switched to FOOD STORAGE mode! (For those of you non-Mormons out there, Mormons like being prepared, and we like our preparation to come in #10 cans, wheat barrels, and thousand gallon drums of water.)

I was overtaken with my dire need to start stock-piling food. For the last few months in Rhode Island, I was under the false impression that the Air Force wouldn't transport food so we were busily eating away our very meager food storage. (Come to find out, they'll move just about anything that isn't liquid or flammable.) Consequently we brought very little food with us. No large plastic buckets of whole wheat, no 48-packs of Cream of Chicken Soup.

So here I am, in a foreign land, and if tragedy or a natural disaster strikes, where will I be?

In Japan.  With no Nutella.

So I put 6 jars in my cart.

Then I took 2 out in case people looked askance.
Then I brought it home and added it to what I bought last week.
(Otherwise known as the non-emergency short-term supply.)

And now I feel at peace.

*Today's blog title comes from the saying that was plastered on all the boxes of food we had in our food storage room down stairs. I still remember the 70's style orange umbrella logo.  I believe the brand was Rainy Day Foods...?

Aug 27, 2008

My Japanese Auction for NieNie!!!

Welcome to the first (and only) "Acte Gratuit Not-So-Gratuitous Auction" in honor of, and in behalf of, Stephanie and Christian Nielson.

Here's how it'll work.  The bidding will start at $20.  If you'd like to place a bid, enter a higher bid in the "comments" section.  (Full dollar increments only).   The highest bidder as of Sunday night at midnight WINS!

Next, the highest bidder will send me a check made out to The Nielsons.  When I get it, I'll send you your box of goodies and forward the check to the appropriate place.  

Be generous!  After all, you're getting all this awesome booty AND serious Brownie Points in Heaven.  You've got nothing to lose!

Now, for the items up for bid:
***drum roll please...***
(This is all coming in one box.  The winning bidder takes everything.)

First, we have the MAIN attraction:
This FABULOUS Sushi set!  
It comes with two plates, two sets of chopsticks, and two chopstick rests.  It is lovely, and beautiful, and awesome and can be used to serve just about anything if you're not big on raw fish.
The symbols on the plates and matching rests stand for "Good luck" and "Longevity".  Just what we wish for the Nielsons.

Next, we have...
the rest of the stuff!

In addition to the fabulous Sushi Set, you also get...
  • A sweet little bi-fold felt Geisha wallet,
  • a LOVELY printed fan,
  • THREE packs of Watering Kiss Mint gum (with Xylitol!)
  • ONE pack of assorted fruit flavored hard candies (At least that's what I think they are...)
  • ONE pack of Strawberry-dipped Hello Kitty sticks, 
  • and ONE pack of Winnie the Pooh Sea-Weed Garnish!
Total retail value:  MORE THAN $20!!!


But wait...



Act now and you could win not only the Sushi Set, the wallet, the treats, and the fan, but also 

this adorable letter set! 
Featuring 12 sheets of paper, 6 envelopes, and charming graphics accompanied by nonsensical captions!!!

All this could be yours!

Place your bid in the comment section NOW!!!

THANKS for bidding!!!

P.S.  For a complete list of all the sites doing auctions for NieNie, go to and view her Thursday post!

P.P.S.  For details on Stephanie, Christian, and their accident, go to NieNie's sister's blog:

Aug 26, 2008

Auction for NieNie

I'm doing a fundraising auction tomorrow. (my Thursday)
Why? Because I declared Stephanie Nielson my nemesis and like a week later she got in a plane crash with her husband. No, I'm not joking.

So I figure I owe her.

And I am in the unique position of being able to offer something the other "For Nienie" auctions wont be able to offer: Japanese Treasure!

What kind of treasure? You'll have to tune in tomorrow to find out.
All the deets will be given then!

See you tomorrow!

Aug 25, 2008

My Boy is Growing Up! ( Japan!)

Yeah, I know...everyone is doing the same blog post: Pictures of their kids on the first day of school. But how many FIRST kids are going to their FIRST day of FIRST GRADE in JAPAN??? (Yes.  It's still weird to me that I live in Japan.)
And in how many places to you see half the parents dressed almost EXACTLY ALIKE!?!?!?!

Alright then. I'm justified in doing this post!
(Yes, Doug dresses in camouflage every day for work. No, I don't love it. No, I don't know how to spell 'camouflage'.)

P.S.  For all of Max's school and soccer friends (Hi, Soccer Moms!) out there, Max would like you to know that he is signed up to take PIANO (So he can eventually learn to play the drums), and BUJIN KAN BUDO TAIJUTSU which (we believe) is one of the Martial Arts that involves WEAPONS!!!  (Wont that be FUN?!?!?!?!?!?!)  Everything starts next week.  Wish us luck and no severed limbs!

Aug 22, 2008

New Adventures in Old Japan

Yesterday we went on a base-sponsored tour of Misawa. It was designed to help us learn to live in Japan. We learned a LOT!!!
Our first stop was a Buddhist temple! (very cool!) We learned how to properly summon Buddha;

We learned a little about how they honor their dead...
and we rubbed Buddha's belly for good luck.
Next, we went to a "briefing" where we learned all sorts of good stuff and got a card with all sorts of useful information on it. Like how to say
"I'm lost. Please direct me to Misawa Air Force Base." in Japanese.
Plus, we got free sushi.
(Gabe gives it two thumbs way up!)
Next we took a tour of a Samurai house . It was all set up like it would have been back in the day. (What day, you ask? A day long, long ago. That's all I remember. Give me a break.) It had cool rice paper walls and the rooms were all furnished and even came with creepily surreal wax figures.
FYI, do NOT walk on the stage in the back. It's for display only. NO FEET!Next, we did some other cool stuff. But I don't really remember what anymore. (Did I say this happened yesterday? It's two days ago now. I've been a lazy blogger lately.)
The important thing to remember here, is what I DIDN'T learn. I DIDN'T learn how to get my Google Reader to Read to me in English.

That's what I didn't learn. And since that's pretty much all I needed to learn, I feel cheated. And I'm going to take it up with the Chief. Or Colonel. Or Commandant. Or President. Or whatever.

'Cause this stuff is important. Obviously.

I'll let you know how the President responds.

In the mean time, anyone know how to fix my Reader?

Aug 17, 2008

Driving in Japan

First, I need to clear something up with my sis-in-law Chrissy who recently cast dispersions upon my driving skills. (Through veiled references to long-ago harrowing driving experiences.)


I am not a bad driver!

I MAY have been an extremely FAST and DISTRACTED driver with about 12 fender-benders to my name, but that ended at age 18. And I haven't been the cause of an accident since!

(Unless you count the little scraper I got into a few months ago when I side-swiped a telephone pole on a dark, narrow, and twisty street in Rhode Island. But I TOTALLY blame my night blindness and lack of reflector strips on the telephone pole for that one! And there were no other cars involved so it can hardly be considered an "accident" in the strictest sense...right?

And then there was the other little scrape a few weeks later when I tried to squeeze between two large trucks. But that also was also OBVIOUSLY the fault of the trucks, and I'm sure those white lines can be buffed right out!)

So you see, other than those two minor "incidents", and the, uh, follies of my youth, I am a GOOD (If somewhat slow and directionally inept) driver!!!

Just wanted to clear that up.

Now I have a few more questions to answer:

These are for Marissa:

Mars: What did you have to do to get a drivers license?
Me: On Wednesday we went to a class where an instructor talked us through a PowerPoint presentation. We were instructed to take notes. After the lecture, we took a 36 question multiple choice test. Open note, open neighbor. I passed with 100%, thank you very much!

FYI, 40 KPH is the max speed on the entire base. And it's 13 KPH in parking lots. (Don't ask me what KPH stands for or how fast one is!) And stay 20 feet back from school buses. And you can only turn left at a red light if there is a white arrow pointing left. And that only applies on-base. Not off! See how good I am? Oh, and don't forget that the turn signal is on the right hand side and if you mess up and turn on the windshield wipers everyone will know you're a newbie dork.

Did you have to take a drive?
Nope. That was it. We got our license on our way out of the class!

How much English is over there?
Off-base, not a whole heck of a lot that I can tell. Granted, I've only been here 2 weeks so I'm not exactly an expert yet...

Are their menus in English or do people that work at stores speak English?
No and No. So far, off-base, we've gotten by with pointing and saying "domo arigato gozymas" which means (I think) "thank you very much." I had to have my neighbor come to the store with me to point out the "water-based" paint because everything is in Japanese and I wouldn't have been able to find it otherwise. When I went through the check-out, I just handed the lady my credit card, grinned, nodded, said "domo!" and left! (By-the-way, there are only about 15 pre-mixed color choices so options are very limited.)

The base is pretty much all English right?
ACTUALLY, we (the Americans) share the base with the Japanese military. It has something to do with a World War II treaty. (Don't quote me on this. My military history is a little shaky.)

Anyway, so there are some Japanese people living on the base and many of the jobs are filled by local Japanese employees.

But on-base, pretty much every one speaks English. (At least everyone I've spoken to or had dealings with.) And I don't see too many Japanese people shopping at the commissary or BX so I don't know if they have a different store on-base, or if they just prefer going off-base to shop. Or maybe I'm just not very observant? Probably the latter.

Now, I wasn't asking all of these questions because you asked for questions, but I am going to complain that you said Beth was the only one who asked you questions and if you look at my comment, I asked 2 questions!!!! So you have to be my friend too, but I might not want you for my friend since you don't notice my questions! By the way, you pretty much already answered my original questions through your posts.

SORRY MARS! I promise to be a better blogger! Please keep being my friend!

I know there are other (new) questions I'm neglecting, but it's getting late and my brain is getting fuzzy. Soooooo...


Syonara for now!

Dear NieNie revisited...

Dear NieNie,
You are no longer my nemisis. I wish you and your husband a full and speedy recovery!


Quotable Quotes

The important things I'm doing instead of blogging:

Discussing whether or not to buy a life insurance policy for Doug.

E: If you die and leave me in Japan, I will never forgive you in this life.
D: If I die, I wont care.
E: Yes, you will because we're sealed and I'll be down on earth cursing your name.
And then when I get to heaven I'll kick you in the shins.
'Cause there's a little adjustment time in heaven before you have to get all holy.
D: Yeah, for you! It's called "hell"!

Aug 14, 2008

Dear Journal,

Dear Journal,
Yesterday I got my Japanese DRIVER'S LICENSE!
YES! I am officially licensed to drive on the left side of the road! (Doing my darnedest not to kill anyone!) I've driven twice now, and so far I'm doing okay. No fatalities, anyway...

So when Doug and I got home from the class yesterday afternoon, I stayed over at the M's house to use their Internet. They are our Sponsor's and have been very good to us.

Anyway, turns out, they're health food nuts. They eat a very "nutrient dense" diet which consists of LOTS of fruits, veggies, and beans. (And shockingly, not a lot of ice cream.) Well, it just so happened that my previous post took so bloody long to finish, (Lot's of pictures...) that I was still there at dinner time; and J, being the kind lady she is, insisted I stay and eat with them.
She made homemade pizza and this is how she made it:

Take a pizza crust. Add a very small amount of pizza sauce. (3 Tbsp?)
Add 2-3 heaping cups of sliced bell peppers and onions.
Then add 2-3 heaping cups of mushrooms, broccoli, and olives.
Then add some artichoke hearts along with some steamed, drained spinach.
Cover the top with sliced tomatoes and then VERY SPARINGLY add a little mozzarella cheese. Bake and serve.

So, can you picture this pizza? It's stacked about 6 inches high (no exaggeration) with veggies. And guess what?? I ATE IT!!! The WHOLE SLICE!!! And it was surprisingly good!
(Mom would be so proud of me! I'm growing up!!!)
Yep. I'm pretty awesome!
(I may have picked off a FEW of the tomatoes, but COME ON! I ATE PEPPERS!)

Anyway, that was yesterday. TODAY, was ALSO a big day. We got to move into our new home! Technically, it's a 4-plex. Or town home. Or something. Anyway, it's the end unit in a group of 4 attached units. And we didn't so much "move-in" as transfer our suitcases from one place to the other.

It has 4 bedrooms and 2 baths upstairs, and an eat-in kitchen, dining area, family room, and half bath downstairs.

It is just up the road from the elementary school and within a short walk to the hospital where Doug will work. So it's a pretty sweet set-up. And the best part is, someone in the neighborhood has unprotected wireless for me to steal until our Internet can be turned on in a week or two! (Did I say steal? I meant "share".)

Some other highlights from today? Car shopping in a torrential down-pour and visiting the "100 Yen" store for the first time. Awesome.

More later, I'm pooped.
Elora Danan Cusack

Aug 13, 2008

The Horse Park

On Saturday our Sponsors and compulsory friends “The M’s”, along with another couple “The F’s” (who are also new in town) took us on our first Japanese adventure. (Not counting dinner on Thursday night to Cheese Roll House.)

The M’s said we were going to “The Horse Park”. A place they’d been meaning to visit which came highly recommended by friends. Evidently, “The Horse Park” contained not only horses, but a large slide. Not knowing what to expect, (besides horses and a large slide) we crammed ourselves into two respective cars (they make ‘em small over here) and set off.
When we arrived, we found a fountain area decorated with streamers (which made me feel happy because obviously the Japanese people like a good party as much as I do.)

After walking through the main building which contained an eating establishment offering ice cream (immediately catalogued for future reference) we encountered a large slide. A horse slide? Possibly. Hard to say. But definitely a slide. And slide we did. (You might say we slid.)
Next, we walked to another much larger playground area, where some FREAKIN' ADORABLE little Japanese girls were chattin’ me up. (Me: "HI!!! MY NAME IS EMILY! WHAT'S YOUR NAME?!?!" It always helps to talk extra loud.)...
...and then, eventually up the hill to a fenced area which contained the “horse” part of the “horse park”. i.e. Horses. But not just horses, PONIES!!! The dream of every rainbow-and-horse-loving little girl on the planet. (I must admit they were pretty darn cute...for things with excessive hair...)
And then I stopped at the bathroom.
And my jaw dropped.
Because I was under the (VERY WRONG) impression that they only had “squatters” in China. Evidently not. Don't worry, I found the handicapped stall which accommodates not just the handicapped, but the American visitor as well. (Some may claim we’re one and the same.)

(Evidently this is one of the nicest bathrooms ever seen by the M's because it has not only toilet paper, but the handicap (American) stall, and hand soap as well! (Janeen just told me some disturbing information about squatters, but I'll save it for another post.))

And finally, the last surprise: The REAL big slide. Not the strange animal-esque thing in the front. No, THIS was the big slide they were talking about! A ginormous serpentine cage traveling down the mountainside. With no supervision, and no monitoring by park employees, we all agreed this was DEFINITELY not something that would fly in the states. But, of course, it DID have these safety posters!
I love Japan already!

Aug 10, 2008

Your Japan Questions: Answered!

I have a lot of photo editing to do before I can post about our fun Saturday adventure. So instead, I'm just going to answer all of your most pressing questions.

What? You say you didn't ask any questions?
That's right!
Only Doug's sister Beth asked any questions. So guess what?

Let's chat, shall we Bethy? Here goes:

"Is this a dream? Pinch me. No, not there."
I think that's a question. No. No, this is not a dream. We really truly are in Japan. And you don't get to choose where we pinch you.

"Where do you eat while you are at the Base hotel? Kitchenette or cafeteria?" So far we've done most of our eating in our room. Our hotel room has a small kitchenette stocked with a few basic small appliances and dishes as well as a fridge, oven, microwave and dishwasher. When we arrived we found it had also been stocked with FOOD by our new friends, Janeen and Merrill.

Aside from that, there are quite a few eating establishments On-Base. In the BX (Base Exchange) there is a food court with a Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, Subway, Charlies, A&W, & Baskin Robbins. We went there for lunch today for the first time. There are also a few other places around the base ranging from the Officer's Club Buffet, to a Mexican restaurant, to a couple of Coffee Shop/Cafe's. Oh, and a Burger King. (Bleh!)

"Important questions?" Extremely.

"Where did you go to church and what language was it in?" There is a newly expanded and renovated chapel a few minutes off-base. It has a Military Branch which we will attend, (in English) and a Japanese Branch that meets later in the day in the same building.

A little aside: The Branch seems REALLY super nice. The Relief Society is small, and the Primary is HUGE!!! But is was nice to walk in a feel right at home.

Bonus question: What's the Yen rate? 107 Yen = $1.00. So it's basically 100 to a dollar which makes it simple to convert. Even for the math inept like me.

So there you go, Beth. A few of your questions answered. I have a whole post full of answers to questions no one has asked yet, but it's still in my head. And the accompanying pictures are still un-taken. So that'll have to wait.

***UPDATE!!! After having a few days to really get excited about living off-base, Doug came home yesterday and told me that housing had offered to let him look at three empty units On-base. So we went and looked at the available units aaaaaaaannnnnnddddddd...
WE'RE STAYING ON-BASE! And I'm a tiny bit disappointed because I was all stoked to be in the SUPER CUTE brand new house. BUT, ultimately, convenience for Doug won out. Being On-base means he'll be close enough to come home for lunch every day and it'll mean no commute. Not even a short one. We'll be able to survive with one car, and we'll be right next to the school. A few other On-base advantages: the apartment has been freshly cleaned and newly painted, but we're allowed to paint when we move in and decorate however we want. Also, we wont have to pay any utilities and we'll have a dishwasher. BUT, like I said, the main thing is having more Doug time. And that's always a good thing. (Except, of course, when it's not.)

And with that, I leave you. (In Japan.)
(me, not you.)

The End.

Aug 9, 2008

Time Travel is Hard on a Kid...

Did you know that here in Japan we're 13 hours ahead of you folks back on the East Coast? (or thereabouts. Don't quote me on that.)

Do you realize what this means??? It means that we'll know EVERYTHING that happens HOURS before YOU will. (I'm totally going to get into gam.bling on sports.) It ALSO means that transitioning when you sleep and when you're awake takes some serious work! The following is a pictorial (with commentary) essay of our FIRST COMPLETELY AUTHENTIC meal in Japan.

The Cheese Roll House: Where they have Cheese Roll.
(What? You've never heard of Cheese Roll?)

These poor people had to wait outside since our two families took up pretty much the whole place.

So, Gabe is the first to suffer the ill-effects of time travel. It's only about 7 p.m.
One minute he's awake, the next minute...
Sammy nods off next.
They're dropping like FLIES! Then some of the food comes. The grown-ups are just happy to have some peace and quiet!Um, excuse me, I believe I ordered the LARGE Ramen!*
(Actually, Doug ordered the "XL Ramen". Good to know there is occasionally truth in advertising.)

Max didn't really want to eat his noodles.
So he fell asleep in self defense.They totally missed out. The Cheese Rolls were GOOD!

*If you don't recognize this as a "So I Married An Axe Murderer" reference, go rent the movie IMMEDIATELY!!!

***THANKS FOR ALL YOUR NICE COMMENTS ON THE LAST TWO POSTS!!! I feel all warm and fuzzy! If I had more time, I'd respond individually to all of them. But since I can't at the moment, know I appreciated them!!! A LOT!!!***

Aug 8, 2008

We Made it to JAPAN!!!!

Yes! We made it to Japan! We're really here!!! (And the fact that's it's taken me this long to do a blog post has been KILLING me! Seriously, I'm refusing to do any more blog-worthy activities until I get caught up! I'm already totally backed up! So forgive me...this is probably going to be a really long post.)

Anyway, right now I'm at the "Air Force Inn" computer lab. Unfortunately, there is no in-room Internet access and this room is not even in the same building as us. Which is why it's taken me so long to post. But anyway, now that I'm connected again, my heart rate is slowly going back to normal!

Now you're wondering how the flight went, right?

Here's the Cliff Notes version: It went pretty well. We made it in tact with all of our children and all of our luggage.
If that's all you want to know, feel free to skip the next several paragraphs. (I try for brevity, but I just can't ever pull it off!)

Now here's the Emily-esque version: Well, aside from a few poop-related-incidents, things on the first (LONG!) 13-hour flight went pretty well overall. Except when Gabe puked on Doug who then had to wear a blanket-skirt for the final 6 hours of the flight. That was pretty exciting. And then there was that thing at the beginning of the flight when no one could get their personal t.v. to work; The pilot came over the P.A. to say that Atlanta had tried to fix the problem, but to no avail...there would be no movies, and no television shows. He apologized profusely, and then offered everyone FREE BEER for as long as it lasted. Yeah, that part was freakin' awesome! But like I said, other than those two things, everything went pretty well. The boys stayed pretty happy, and Gabe only cried when we changed his diaper.
When we finally arrived in Japan after travelling all day, we were all pretty tired and ready to go to sleep. But we still had another plane to catch...from a different Airport. I'd like to say I spent the "Limo" (bus) ride to the 2nd Airport gazing out the window at the passing Japanese countryside, but I didn't. I spent it sleeping. Certainly with my mouth hanging open. Probably drooling.
When we got to the second airport, I immediately felt a sense of familiarity. I felt like I'd been there before. Then it hit me...I'd seen that JAL (Japanese Airlines) counter The Amazing Race!!! Yep, same counter, same young girls with snappy scarves, same friendly service...! I looked around for the film crew that should have been following me, but they weren't there! Oh well. Maybe next time.
So we hopped on our second and final flight which would take us to Misawa. This flight was short, and once again, I spent the ride fast asleep. The interesting thing about this is, the plane was full (FULL) of teenagers. Probably a school group. And yet, they were perfectly quiet the whole way. In case I had any doubts, this pretty much proved that I ain't in Kansas anymore.
When we got off the plane, we were greeted by a large group. Our host family, Merrill and Janeen and kids, (who I've been corresponding with for the last few months) Doug's commander (Doug was thrilled to get to meet him wearing puke stained shorts) and a few others. They loaded us up, with our considerable baggage, and took us "home". Home being the base hotel where we'll be for the next few weeks. I don't remember much of that evening because I fell asleep every time I stopped moving for a second.
This would be a GREAT place to stop. But I'm must press forward...

THURSDAY: Our first REAL day in Japan started early. The boys were up at 4:30ish. (As they have been every day.) The important thing about this day is that Doug went to the housing office. This is where he learned the fateful news; the 4-bedroom homes (for those of our rank) are all full. So he was given two choices:
1. Live in "The Towers"
2. Live Off-base
And guess what? We're going off-base. Why? Because The Towers are only 3 bedrooms, are located on "North Base," (which evidently is so not the place to be...) AND they have balcony's of which we all know I am terribly afraid. (Have you met Max? He likes to climb!)
The good news is, we found THE cutest house ever which is still being built, which is in a neighborhood with other military families close to the base, and has 4 bedrooms, and is in our price range, and is almost finished, (4-5 weeks) and did I mention it's brand-spankin' new and the cutest house ever? So yeah! Looks like we'll be living (renting) off-base! How's THAT for fearless, eh?!?!?!?!?!?!? (Sharks, foreign countries...nothin' scares me!)
Alright, well this post is plenty long enough and Doug is probably wondering if I'll ever come back and help him with the kids, so you'll just have to wait until tomorrow to hear about our first ever truly authentic Japanese dining experience. Aren't you excited?!
(That means "Syonara for now!" I totally just made it up. Feel free to use it.)
BTW, (that means "by-the-way", for your text-inept ones out there) BTW, if you have any questions, feel free to ask in the comments. Just so you know, I love comments. Even if I don't know you. Even if you're a deranged stalker. I still want your comments! And questions. I love those too. I'm a LONELY LONELY PERSON! I JUST MOVED TO JAPAN!!!
Any questions?
P.S. Is it kosher to Video Conference your boyfriend in a crowded computer lab which was moments earlier virtually silent except for the cheerful sound of fingers clicking away on keyboards? Evidently, the girl who just sat down next to me thinks it is.

Aug 5, 2008


Do you ever experience the following?

You make plans for something really far in the future, and you try to imagine it actually happening, but you can't even ever really believe it's real, and it just seems too far away, and you think that "the event" will just never "be here"...

So you just live your life...take your kids to school, watch your kids finish school, sell your house, (barely), watch your husband graduate from a Pediatric Dental residency, drive from Rhode Island to D.C., then to some other state you don't remember, then to Alabama, then to Florida, then to Alabama, then to Florida, then back to Alabama to watch your husband graduate from Officer Training School, then back to Florida, and then finally to Georgia...

Where you drop off your car. Leaving you entirely homeless, and car-less, and soon to be cell-phone-less...

And then you find yourself sitting at a computer, in the Executive Suite of some hotel, contemplating the next day which includes a non-stop 14-hour flight to Tokyo, followed by an airPORT change, and another short flight to your destination? Which is in a foreign country. That's foreign. Like really foreign. As in, all you know about it is what's in "Memoirs of a Geisha"...

And you have a nervous twitch that has developed under your left eye over the last few days which is now going pretty much non-stop...(Seriously. Non-stop!)

Have you ever had that experience?
'Cause I'm having it, and I've gotta say, it's a little crazy...
and scary...
and evidently stressful because the vein under my left eye wont stop twitching. (seriously!!!)

So anyway, basically what I'm trying to say here is...
And patience...
and cheerfulness...
and optimism...
and any other positive traits you can think of that will help me survive the next 24-48 hours...

Because I don't have a single Valium on me and I'm going to need all the help I can get!!!

Now lets all go to my side-bar play-list and listen to "Turning Japanese" by the Kinks. It seems like the only reasonable thing to do in this situation.

And did I already say "wish me luck"?!?!


Aug 4, 2008

North and South...again

Now that a month has passed and I've acclimated a little bit to the SEVERELY EXCESSIVE (ARE YOU LISTENING ALABAMA?!?) heat and humidity that seems to define Southern Summers, I'm in more of a mind to process, and more importantly, document, some differences I've noticed between "The North" (i.e. Rhode Island) and "The South" (i.e. Northern Florida and Alabama)

Not that I'm an expert on either part of the country. In fact, I look at these things with a very "west coast" eye, so don't get all up in my face if I'm inaccurate. (Or do. Whatev.)

Here goes...Differences between North and South:

North: Coffee Milk/Iced Coffee
South: Sweet Tea/Iced Tea

North: Naragansett/Cowesett/Quidnessett
South: Andalusia/Tuscaloosa/Okaloosa/Pensacola

North: Quahogs and Shellfish
South: Crawfish (Order as an edition to your Fajitas at your local Mexican Restaurant!)

North: Shaw's and Stop n' Shop
South: Winn-Dixie and Piggly-Wiggly

North: "Anner and Jennifa! Go get in the cahh so we can go to the pahhhty!
South: "Hey Baby-girl! Whatch'yall doin'?"

North: Barnes and Nobel/Borders
South: Books-a-Million/Books-a-Million

North: "Iggy's Doughboys and Chowder House"
South: "Jim and Nick's Southern BBQ"

North: Hot and Humid
South: REALLY REALLY Hot and Humid

I have about a million more, but my computer time is up. I'm afraid this will have to be finished in Japan!

See ya!