Oct 31, 2008

NaBloPoMo--Did You Know?

It's NaBloPoMo ya know? What is NaBloPoMo you ask? Besides something that's sorta fun to say 10 times fast, it stands for National Blog Posting Month. And it was set up to inspire people to write a blog post once a day, every day, for the whole month of November.

I'm gonna try it.
Why the heck not. It's not like I have kids or a husband or housework or a life or anything else to do!
Will I succeed in posting that much?
Umm...I have no idea.
Do you actually want to hear that much from me?
Highly unlikely. But you're going to have to learn to deal.

Sooooo......guess I'll see you tomorrow!?! (Pause for awkward look...)
Alrighty then!

hasta manana!

Oct 29, 2008

Why Does My Floor Look This Way?

Why?  I'll tell you why.

Because they're boys.  
And they wanted to build a track.  
And they wanted to destroy that track and leave the detritus all over my family room floor, of course!

This pretty much sums up my feelings on the matter...

Oct 28, 2008

I Make Bread, He Makes Mess

Monday night we had guests for dinner.  
I wanted to impress them with my mad skillz so I made 
in the Bosch.   
I was about to dump the dough onto the floured counter when something, (possibly a smell?) made me turn around.  
Aww kids!  You gotta love 'em!!!
(Actually, you don't, but it sure helps...!)

(The bread was very good, btw.  Go to my recipe blog if you want the recipe.)

Oct 26, 2008

Weekend Update: Meet Yuri and Natsuki

We had some very special visitors this weekend!  Meet Yurina and Natsuki!
Two beautiful 17-year-old students.  They came to stay with us through a home-stay program through their English Club at school.    (Do you like my new curtains from Target.com?)

Saturday, we took them with us to The Salmon Festival.  

In this picture, Natusuki is eating "Devil's Tongue".  She said it's very good and offered me a bite.  I politely declined.

The main event at The Salmon Festival, is the Salmon Catch.  You wade into a shallow pool of water and have 3 minutes to catch a live salmon swimming past.

Of COURSE Doug did it!  He caught his salmon (with his bare/masculine hands!) in just under two minutes.
(I think he'll probably post the whole story on his blog, so keep an eye out for that.  We have video and everything!!!)

That night, we went to dinner at the base Mexican restaurant, Los Guerros, and then to the base Halloween festivities which included a Trunk or Treat, bonfire, and a Haunted Forest.  

(Doug took Max and the girls through the Forest while I stayed at the bonfire with the little boys.  He said they screamed all the way through.  The girls, not Max...)
We said good bye on Sunday and were sad to see them go!

Sayonara Ladies!  Keep in touch!!!

Thank you for teaching me how to say "you're welcome"!

("do u i tashi mashite")

Oct 21, 2008


Gabe just climbed into the dryer to play.  Instead of getting him out, I ran to find my camera.

I think he was lured over to the laundry area by his clean blankie in a laundry basket, then decided to climb in for a look-see.

Unfortunately after a quick circuit through the main rooms of the house, I realized I wouldn't find the camera before he got bored and climbed out.

Fortunately, once he learns a new trick (like climbing from the toilet into the bathroom sink to play with the hand soap) he usually repeats it a few times.  I'll just have to remember to leave the dryer door open and a basket of fresh clean baby blankets in front of it.  Then I'll be able to capture photo documentation of his adorable/naughty-ness.

In other news, I just told whiny Sam to "Get a drink out of the carton!"  So I could quickly finish typing this post without further interruption.  Oh, yes I did!  All while picturing my teenaged brother Brandon, in the kitchen at Camino, swigging from the gallon jug while being severely chastened by my mom.

How far I've fallen!!!
Heaven help me!

Oct 19, 2008

Wanderlust in Japan

Listen here people...99% of the time, I'm perfectly happy and content with my life here in Japan!!!  

(Italics added for emphasis!)

The other 1%, I'm reading the blog of a friend of ours who now lives with her family in Switzerland.   And then I'm just slightly discontented.

Seemingly every weekend they're either on an awesome European travel adventure or busy hiking up a beautiful mountainside.  Reading her blog pretty much makes me green with envy since--as we all know--I'd L.O.V.E. to live in Europe.  

Anyway, recently they took a vacation and stayed on a "Bio Farm" in Austria.  (All Organic, I believe...?)  The pictures and descriptions made me moan in anguish and abject self-pity.  I want to visit those places sooooo badly.   (And I'm pretty sure I saw the exact place they're staying on the Travel Channel...)

BUT when I'm not reading her blog, like I said, I'm perfectly content with my current residence.

(Abrupt change in topic...)
Now, a few days after I read the Bio Farm post, a friend who will remain nameless, 
invited me to join her for a mid-week picnic off base.  (I threw in 'mid-week' to emphasize the fact that sometimes I leave the base, sans-Doug, during the week.)

I followed the caravan to...
Kawayo Green Farm.

Did you know Japan also has "Green Farms"? (Which I'm betting are just as eco-cool as 'bio' farms?)  I personally did not know Japan had anything of the sort!  

We walked to a grassy hillside with a beautiful view of the surrounding farm and countryside and ate our picnic lunches.   (PB&Honey and apple slices for us.)
It was remarkably idyllic with rolling green hills and farm animals grazing in the distance.  

After eating lunch, we ventured down the hill and sheepishly fed some hungry sheep...  
(Gabe was slightly afraid...)
then visited a barn with a large and intimidating bull 
(Gabe was very afraid...)
bypassing some cows and horses along the way...
and then inhaled some very rich and creamy ice cream!
(Gabe was not even remotely afraid.)
(Nor was he inclined to share.)

There is also a Fancy Restaurant, Youth Hostel, and Golf Driving Range on the premises.

Who knew?

(Besides her...!)

It was a great day and a SLIGHT consolation that I'm not living in Switzerland.  Or Germany.  Or ideally, England.  But whatever.  Bloom where you're planted, right?

Japan rocks 99% of the time!  

I've just gotta stop reading Tanya's blog.  

(Wanna share Tanya's wanderlust?  Click here to read about her Bio Farm adventure!  After leaving a comment here, that is...)

Oct 17, 2008

The Code Works Now!

Lyndsay fixed it for me!!!  You should now be able to copy the code in the post below to get a button!  (I'd copy it to this post, but I'm not messing with it!)
Thanks Lyndsay!

Oct 16, 2008

Fame and Fortune, here I come...!

I've decided I want to be a writer when I grow up! I mean, basically that would mean doing exactly what I'm already doing, but I'd get paid for it, right? So I think it's a worthy goal.

Unfortunately, I'm not exactly qualified...

I don't have a Bachelor degree in English, (or anything for that matter) or any work history in Journalism...(I CAN un-jam a photocopier like NOBODY'S bizness and I make EXCELLENT flyers though!) so I'm left with this: My blog.

I'm just going to keep blogging along and hope a book publisher stumbles into this blogspot and decides to publish all my past posts into a book that will sell a million copies and earn me a million dollars which I will then use to hire a maid. And a personal chef. And hair stylist. (just for Sunday's though, cause I'm SO not that vain.)

To that end, I actually paid someone to make me a blog banner, (Thanks Lyndsay) and a button.

Here's the code!

Now I would very much appreciate it if you'd all put my button on your blog and nominate me for multiple awards. (Is that too much to ask? I'm typing my little finger tips off here, people!)
Thank you for your immediate cooperation.

When I'm a millionaire, I'll fly you all over to Japan for a visit.
(Those of you with a BUTTON that is...)

Thanks!!!  :)

Oct 10, 2008

Oirase Gorge and Lake Towada

Lest you think we're not getting out and experiencing Japan, we are!
(whether Sammy likes it or not.)  

Monday everyone had the day off for Columbus Day.  We decided to go back to Oirase Gorge (our second trip) and see if the leaves had changed color.   The mouth of the gorge is about an hour away from Misawa.
 (We were still about a week early for the fall colors, but it is still very very pretty...)

We had no idea there were so many waterfalls along the way!

This time, we drove all the way to Lake Towada.  (Approx. another hour of driving.)  We had a fabulous and fun picnic by the beautiful lake and I marvelled at how great life can be sometimes.
After our picnic but before heading back down through the Gorge, we drove through a typical lake side town.  

It sorta reminded me of Jackson Hole.  It had all the usual stuff;  

Quaint shops filled with souvenirs, 
sidewalk vendors selling treats,
(Yeah...that is FISH ON A STICK!)
and even one of those super fun painted boards with the face cut out so you can take your picture with it!!!
(No.  This is not supposed to be Adam (with child-bearing hips) and Eve.  It's two ladies bonding by the lake.  There's a sculpture of these lovely ladies somewhere nearby, but unfortunately, we couldn't find 'em.  Had a hard time reading the signs for some reason.)

What a great day!  We love Japan!!!

Support for Prop 8

Listen Peeps, I plan to live in California someday and I don't want it going to hell in a handbasket. (Anymore than it already has.)

I support Prop 8, and you should too!

If you don't live in California, there are still ways you can help. (i.e. Donate Money/Blog about it/etc.)  

Don't let California make laws that set a dangerous precedent for the whole country.

(Gavin Newsom, you're a major lame-o!  Have you cleared up that little homeless problem in San Francisco like you promised?  I didn't think so!)

It's not about discriminating against gays.

It's about protecting religious freedom and doing what's right.

Vote YES on Prop 8!

(I was very excited to see that cute Dan Fife, one of Doug's dentist friends, is in this film.  He's the cute shaved-headed surfer dude!)

For more information visit; 


and www.protectmarriage.com

Oct 9, 2008

Important Stuff

Guess what?

No, I'm not pregnant.  Guess again!

Wrong again.  Just give up.

No, the answer is...
I HAVE A NEW BLOG!!!  (aren't you sooo excited...?!?!)

It's called Gratuitous Reviews.
And THAT'S where I'll be sticking all my reviews from now on!  
Book Reviews,  (I'm reading four different books at the moment so there should be a few of these coming right up.)
Recipe Reviews, 
Product Reviews, 
Rants about Boys Cargo Pants...
You know...that kinda stuff!

Why?  I dunno.  Just seems more orderly.  Like keeping the peas out of the mashed potatoes. And also, when someone offers to pay me boat loads of money to place an ad on my site, I can stick it on that one so as not to muck up this one.  (Um, did you want to offer me boat loads of money?  Anyone?  Anyone?)

So if you're a Google Reader-er (and you all should be...) go ahead and add www.gratuitousreviews.blogspot.com to your subscriptions.

And if you're a reader who is also a seller and you want some free advertising, let me know and we'll set up a giveaway on the new site!

Get it?
(You say "Got it.")

See you there!

Oct 8, 2008

Sibling Response...

Since my siblings don't read my blog regularly, I had to e-mail them to tell them to read the post they were featured in. Here are some of the responses I got via "blog comments" and e-mail.

Chrissy: (Brandon's wife) You should have seen the look on Brandon's face the first time he tackled you and pinned you to the driveway, after you were married, and I said,
"Brandon, you can't do that anymore."
and he asked why, and I said,
"Cuz you never know when she could be pregnant now."
Since he saw you as only being 6 years old, I thought he was going to yak!!!

Laura: You're full of it Emily! I am NOT a tight wad but I AM very frugal! Which incidentally, is why Jeff's law school loans are paid off and why we have very little debt (unless you count our lovely mortgage). However, in spite of my frugality, we are still broke so I must continue in my quest for ultimate frugal living!

And if you could see my house right now, NO ONE and I repeat NO ONE would ever believe what you said about the clean house thing! Just ask Jenny...

Jeff (Laura's Husband): Em, you've go some huevos writing those descriptions!

Karie: Well said. I did do voodoo on Dad. Why do you think he's home from the hospital after only 3 days?!?!?

Brandon: I read it. Pretty good

Jenny: Emily,You are a genius! You completely nailed every one of us (especially Karie).
FYI, I'm only assertive when someone messes with my husband or kids, or when I guess I feel like it.

Jenny/Pacifist/Enigma: Karie, I wasn't trying to offend. So don't be mad at me that I said Emily nailed you. But, Emily is pretty darn funny and you can check my chakra anytime you want. Hey, she outed me as a liberal, but since I never talk seriously about politics, one can never be really sure. I'm so glad I got to see you and that you got to see Darren and his chubbiness. Love- Jenny

Brandon: I wholeheartedly agree about Emzer's mad skillz. She pegged us all pretty good. J-Bird, I miss Darren! Can I adopt him if we give you visitation rights? I hate to be selfish but he is pretty darn cute and cuddly...

Chrissy: Em, I think you need to publish all these comments on your blog!! All your sibs are pretty dang funny too!! (Your wish is my command, Chrissy!)

Emily: Laura; ToMAYtoes, ToMAHtoes. "Tightwad" is a badge of honor. Just like "geek" and "witch doctor". No offense intended. I felt justified since I KNOW you used to own a book called "The Tightwad Gazette."

Oct 5, 2008

Dale-Bud and The Call Kids

Last week my dad had a heart attack.  They took him in to do an angiogram and realized his main artery was 99% blocked and he needed immediate surgery.  A few days ago he had a double bypass and is now in recovery in ICU and doing very well.  He'll have a long recovery, but his heart should be good for another 100,000 miles!

I've been feeling pretty hopeless being here and trying to communicate using Skype and working around a 16 hour time difference.  But one consolation is that all four of my siblings went to Central California immediately and were there for him before and after his surgery.  

I knew when I heard my brother Brandon would be there, that everyone would be in much better spirits.  I was right.  Evidently Brandon got kicked out of Intensive Care and subsequently banned by the nurses because he got my dad laughing too hard which was causing extreme pain.  (He was telling the story about Laura, two chestnuts on his mantle, and the vasectomy...It's a good one.)  

Aside from thinking and worrying a lot about my dad, I've been thinking that I'm really really glad I come from a big family.  I'm the youngest of five kids, (six if you count my foster brother Ferlando,) and I'm very very grateful for all of my siblings.  There have been times I've been REALLY REALLY mad at each and every one of them, but MOST of the time I like 'em all.  And they each bring a completely unique dynamic to the family.  

Let me introduce you:

Karie is the oldest and also a practicing Witch Doctor.  (She may even be an Internet Minister...just like Joey on friends.)  She freely dispenses gratuitous health advice (both physical and mental) and will gladly check your aura/chakra/feng shui-ness if you want her too.  She has no butt to speak of, is an excellent graphic designer, still looks like she's 30, and keeps in touch with ALL of her ex-boyfriends.  (Way worse than me, people!)
Laura is the second oldest.  She's a tightwad, (but still generous) and a perfectionist which means her house is always pretty darn clean.  She has the best singing voice in the family and the biggest addiction to chocolate.  She tries all the time to claim she's not creative and therefore CAN'T be genetically related to the rest of us, but we tell her to quit dreaming.  She'll never be rid of us.
Brandon is stuck in the middle of four sisters, poor guy!  (He claims he still hasn't forgiven me for coming out female!)  He's a computer geek who can fix any computer problem over the phone in 20 minutes or less.  (Usually closer to five.)  He's the family comedian and is one of the craziest people you'll ever meet.  (If you meet him.  Which you probably wont since you're a blog lurker and therefore a complete stranger.)  He's extremely generous and hard-working and is just an overall good guy despite his penchant for practical joking...and in spite of the fact that he sometimes goes through Emergency Exits on purpose (setting off hospital alarms...) and told all of my in-laws at my Wedding Dinner that I had a tattoo on my b-u-t-t.  (I don't.)
(As far as YOU know.)

Ferlando is my Navajo Indian foster brother. He came to live with us (for every school year) starting when he was 8 until he graduated from High School. (He lived with his family on a reservation every summer.) Fernie is a year younger than Brandon and was just as much my sibling as any of them.  Which means he tortured me just as much as Brandon did.  Unfortunately, he's had a rough post-high-school life and I haven't seen him in years. My brother Brandon hears from him occasionally, though!

We like to call Jenny "the Enigma".   (NOT to be confused with Enema.) She was a pretty shy kid, but darned if she didn't grow right into a whole boat-load of assertiveness.  She's the family pacifist and closet liberal.  She's an excellent cook, and semi-vegetarian.  She says she just wants everyone to get along but just when you think you have her figured out, she goes and moons you.   Since Jenny is the closest to me in age, I fought with her the most growing up.  In fact, I still have some tiny crescent-shaped scars on my arms from Jenny's finger nails.  BUT we get along great now and she only gouges my arms occasionally.  (In case you're humor inept, that last part was a joke.)

I'm the baby of the family.  Everyone claims I was the most spoiled.  In truth, I was the most TORTURED!  I was very precocious little kid, very bossy big kid, and very argumentative teenager.  Now I'm perfect and everyone loves me the best.  

Well, that's us.  I'm grateful for my big family and glad that even if I never have another kid (I want another kid) my boys will at least have two brothers each to watch their back. 

Thank goodness for FAMILIES!!!

Get well soon, Dad!!!

Oct 2, 2008


Saturday night Doug and I got a babysitter so we could partake in a unique cultural experience. I suppose it's not that unique, as it is something that's done in the states. But I believe the Japanese people have a very unique spin on this pass-time and definitely a very proprietary love of it.
We were invited by a group of friends to a certain establishment to celebrate some birthdays and at the same time, I believe it was also a test. A test of our coolness.

In an attempt to arm myself for the test, I pulled out a little extra help. One of the last polyester hold-outs in my wardrobe. A shirt I haven't worn in years but refuse to get rid of despite Doug's mockery. (He's such a style-nerd.) I acquired this shirt roughly ten years ago. It has seen many parties, dances and even the occasional first date. Sadly though, in the last 8 years of my marriage, all it's seen is the inside of my closet.

Which is why I thought it deserved to accompany me for my first time doing...
I think it helped.

I have to say, I was completely unprepared for what awaited me at LaLaLa...
I expected a bar with a stage and a good sized audience. I didn't know if I could get up the nerve to perform in front of strangers. (It's been a long time since my Suzuki Violin days.) Especially drunk Japanese strangers. 

But what confronted me was actually a bit MORE scary than anticipated. We were shown into a tiny padded room with a large t.v. and...
our small group of friends.
Yep, that's right. No far off stage with a spot-light blinding you to the audience...just a tiny room with nowhere to hide.

But I had my orange shirt. 

And I had "I Will Survive" by Gloria Gaynor. 

And I sang it even without the help of alcohol.  (Which I always thought was a requirement for doing Karaoke.)

And I DID survive! 

And I liked it! And by the time "Nothing Compares 2U" came on, I could have danced on the table with no shame.  (I didn't.)
As for the test? Only time will tell if we passed the "are they awesome enough to be our new friends" test. But in the mean time, see what you think...

I think it's safe to say we'll patronize LaLaLa again. 

And next time I'm wearing my orange shirt AND my Go-Go boots!

P.S.  You just met half the leadership of our local branch including the Branch President and Relief Society President.  And BOY can those two ROCK!  (I'm not tellin' who's who!)

P.P.S.  Doug made tonight's video for your viewing pleasure.

P.P.P.S.  It's Doug's 31st birthday today so hop on over to his blog and say hello.  And be prepared with something to puke into.  Love you, Babe!  (Wish you were here to help us celebrate again Mike and Lindsay!!!)


The blog post titled "Karaoke" will be edited, completed, and published shortly. It was revealed prematurely by an unknown perpatrator though it is suspected that the culprit is under four feet tall and has exceptionally dirty fingernails.

Thank you for your patience in this matter.

--The Editor