Mar 31, 2009

A Visit to the Archives

Last night I was looking through old photo's (on the hard drive) trying to find this:

Photographic evidence for Sammy that he (Sammy) does indeed like beans.  Contrary to his protestations last night when faced with having burritos for dinner.

(After being confronted with such glaring proof, he did in fact eat his burrito two hours later in order to earn a before-bed-time bowl of cereal.)

In the same folder of pictures taken in July of 2005 near the time of Sammy's first birthday...
(Remember the cute puppy party I threw for him and the awesome puppy cake I made him?
  No, you don't.  Because it was before I blogged.  Yes.  I am wearing a sweater in July.  It was San Francisco.  Summer=BRRRR!)

...I found this gem:

The extraordinary cuteness of this video overwhelms me.  I just want to go back and smother that innocent little stinker with kisses.

Here's another season-appropriate memory:
Friends Camden, Ani and Maggie sitting on the stairs of the church building with Sam and Max on Easter Sunday.  Man, I really miss San Francisco sometimes.  We loved it there!

and just one more little piece of eye candy:And Doug wonders why I want more kids!

Speaking of kids:  I'm doing a Frame-Name give-away on Gratuitous Reviews right now.  You can get your kids an awesome gift for their Easter Baskets!!!  FIVE WINNERS!  But HURRY!  You only have 48 hours to enter!!!!!

Mar 24, 2009

Trip to Toys R Us in Hachinohe, Japan

It takes about 30 minutes to get to Hachinohe.  Longer if you make any detours.

First stop:  The beach... (Doug ran down to the water and then back to the car.  He has needs too, ya know.) where we acquired four neat-o shells...

...then we had to swerve off the road to get a shot of this super cool house.  Wealthy plantation owner perhaps?

Next stop:  Lunch at the newly opened 100 Yen Sushi in Hach.  The boys really needed some chicken nuggets (and mandatory cucumber rolls).  I like the tempura shrimp rolls.  YUM!
Two and a half hours later, we finally made it to Toys R Us.

Where many wonderful surprises awaited us.

Example:  It's a Seat Cushion!  It's a Back Rest!  NO!  It's a HEAD COVERING!!!

I believe these constitute some sort of flare (You learned all about flare on Katie's Blog, right???) since they seem to be made to dangle. Only, these flare are only for the Hard Core who want to be cute:  (I should have gotten me one.)

Remember Sylvanian Families from when we were kids?  I don't either.  But Gabe evidently digs 'em.

Every little girl dreams of having her own rice cooker.  And now she can!!!  (I thought the sunny-side up egg was a nice touch.  It's a very common garnish around here.)
But wait!  There's more!  You too can have your OWN 
(Why?  WHY DON'T I HAVE A GIRL????????????)  
Seriously though...isn't this awesome?

I just thought this little kid in his olive green three-piece suit was super cute.  (That's 'kawaii' to you!)
And finally, if only I were a woman with disposable wealth, I could have made all of my wildest dreams come true...with Mango flavored KitKat!!!

Okay, so I'm not actually a huge mango fan.  But still...awesome, no?  Just not quite $8 awesome.  
Ah well.

Life is good in Japan!

Mar 22, 2009

Fashion in Japan

Back in November when I did NaBloPoMo and was trying to write a post a day (man that was tiring) I asked for topics and ideas.  Miss Kate Coveny Hood over at The Big Piece of Cake said, and I quote:  What about Japanese fashion? Everyone loves reading about what people are wearing. Or maybe that's just me... If that sounds boring - it could be humorous - about the more bizarre trends.

And then I looked down at what I was wearing and laughed and laughed.  Why?  Because I am probably the last person on the planet qualified to offer fashion commentary.

None-the-less, in the next few days whenever I was out on the town, I tried to pay attention and "notice" fashion.  Here's what I noticed:  Lots of face masks.   Surgical masks...On little old ladies, on bus drivers, on store clerks, on little kids.  

That's about all I noticed.  (I live in the Rexburg, Idaho of Japan.)

I was baffled.  And still not prepared to write a fashion post.

So I gave up and solicited my friend Katie for help.  See, Katie knows what she's about.  

Katie was my debate partner in 10th grade debate.  She actually knew what she was doing.  I had no clue.  (I just liked the idea of  arguing and getting school credit for it.)  

***That year we went to San Francisco to compete at Berkley:  
I sucked, Katie rocked.  But boy was that a fun trip!  ***
(Who knew I would end up living in San Francisco for four years?!? Not me.)

Recently, we reconnected via the wonderful world of Facebook.  AND turns out, Katie lives in JAPAN!  In Tokyo!!!  And listen to this, before moving to Japan with her b0y-fri, (now fiancé)  Kevin, (ALSO from my 10th grade debate class) she was a BUYER for BLOOMINGDALES in NYC!!!

Yep!  So like I said:  She know's what she's about.  And she FINALLY wrote some fashion related posts on her blog with PLENTY of pictures!  So please GO HERE!  and enjoy a lesson on FASHION IN JAPAN!!!
(Pic stolen from Katie's Blog:  Tune In Tokyo)

Mar 17, 2009

Mormons and Temples

If anyone were to ask me my opinion of the HBO series "Big Love", (which no one has) I would say "It's not a good place to get information about Mormons and/or The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 'Cause, ya's a cable show...made by people who are not themselves members of the church...and are definitely not religious scholars."

Then if that same person asked me about temples, (which they haven't) I might refer them to this video:

Then I would say this: "Since moving here in August, Doug and I have not been able to visit the temple. The nearest one is in Tokyo and we haven't made a temple trip down there yet. (It's about a 12 hour drive.) But we are planning to go soon and can't wait. Our ability to visit the temple is one of the greatest blessings we have as worthy members of this church and we both love visiting the temple." 

The End and Amen.

Any questions?

Mar 15, 2009

Watching "The Office" in Japan

I think it's time to cover an important topic concerning my time here. Something you are all dying to know but are too ashamed to ask: 

Namely, what's the T.V. situation in Japan?

I'll admit, this is something I was rather embarrassed to ask about before we came. I wanted to know if I'd be able to watch "The Office" over here, but I tried to play it cool like this wasn't a huge priority in my life. (Which it is. How else am I supposed to get the laundry folded?)

At the very least, I figured I'd be able to watch most things on-line.   Turns out this is a little complicated.  But let's start with the basics...

Here's how we click over here: 

On base, we have something called AFN. I thought it stood for Air Force Network, but it's Armed Forces Network. This tells me all branches of the military are getting the same thing.  (I haven't bothered to check this, though.)

AFN is comprised of a handful of different channels: AFN News, Sports, Kids, Family, etc. Each channel shows programs from multiple networks. For example, AFN News shows some CNN programs and some Fox News programs. AFN Kids shows some PBS cartoons and some Nickelodeon cartoons, etc. etc. It's just a random sampling of different programming from different networks on every channel.

The big differences are these;
#1 No commercial commercials. There ARE commercials, but they're all produced by AFN and they're not peddling a product. There are Patriotic commercials, commercials dealing with Military Life, "Hometown Spotlights" giving facts and info about different state capitals, warnings about drunk driving/gambling/domestic violence/excessive debt/etc., commercials encouraging you to get off the base/be a good ambassador/respect the local culture/support the local community/etc., and commercials that are specific to our base.

#2 The popular shows they do show (The Office is one of them) are played at random times (like 7 p.m.!?!  The kids are still up!  Or 9:30.  Who starts CSI at 9:30?!?!) and they don't start when the regular season starts. Usually it's a few weeks or months after the show has aired in the states.

#3 In addition to AFN, we get Navy Movie Channels. These three channels show movies non-stop all day, every day. The problem is, there is no way to know what the movie is once it's started, and more importantly, they're not edited. So if you stumble upon an old movie you've always wanted to see and you're excited because you assume it's been edited for television, prepare to have some graphic nekkidness burned into your unsuspecting retinas. (*bleh!*)  I pretty much avoid the Navy Movie Channels.

and #4 Aside from AFN and NMC, we get "local" channels as well. And I use local very loosely. We get channels from Japan (obviously) Korea, China and Australia, just to name a few. Some of the programs are in English, some are dubbed, and some are just amusing to watch even without having a clue what they're saying! (I got pretty engrossed in a Japanese Soap the other night while waiting for Doug to come watch a movie with me.)

SO!  What happens if you can't start your favorite show at 7:00p.m. or you don't want to wait an extra month for "The Office" to begin?  Well, you turn to the Internet.  And find out that many TV websites limit their viewing to Internet Users in the U.S.    WHAT?!?!?!?!?!?  Yes, that's right.  Many websites for America networks can't be viewed by overseas IP addresses.  (i.e. CBS and USA)

Luckily, there are some websites that do allow you to watch some of your favorite shows for free: is the best of them.  (Although for CBS shows it redirects you back to CBS and you're out-of-luck.  Again.)  (Good article about Hulu in a recent Newsweek.)   

Anyway, that's the TV scoop.  Most of the shows Doug and I watch, we watch on Hulu at our leisure.  Usually around 9:00p.m. while we eat popcorn and fold laundry.  (Our favorites are:  The Office, 30 Rock, Lie to Me, Psych, Burn Notice, and NCIS) 

Well, I hope that answered your burning questions!!!  

I leave you now with the Japanese version of The Office.  


P.S.  FYI, If I were living off base, this post would be totally moot.  I don't think they get AFN off base, and I think they have even less Internet access to on-line viewing.

Mar 10, 2009

The Crafty Crow!

I was looking at one of my favorite blogs today and "starring" almost every post when I had the thought, "hey-I love telling my friends about this blog.  I should just tell EVERYONE about this blog." 

So I'm gonna!  

If you ever need an idea for a fun kid-appropriate art project/craft project/holiday decorating project/or rainy day project, The Crafty Crow is the place to go!  She culls the blogosphere for clever ideas and puts them all in one place!

No one is even paying/bribing me to say this, that's how much I love it.  (Does anyone want to pay me for saying that???  I'll take it!)  I love it even though I despise crows!

(They're all over around here.  Betcha didn't know that about Misawa, Japan, didja?!?)

The only thing that could make me love this site more would be for the "writer" to do a lengthy blog post about how awesome I am.  And then change the blog name from "The Crafty Crow" to The Crafty Sparrow.  Or Mockingbird.  Or Seagull.  
(On second thought, I don't much like Seagulls either, but you get my drift.)

Anyway, check it out.  You can thank me later. 


Mar 3, 2009

Sleep in Bathroomly Peace

*Warning:  Disturbing Mental Images may commence.*
**If you go to church with me on Sunday, you're gonna feel like I've done a whole bunch of over-sharing next time you see me.**

I've been reading a lot of non-fiction lately.  It's not always fun, but sometimes it's necessary for overall life and familial improvement.

For example, right now I'm reading a number of different books.  (All scattered through-out various locations of the house and car and read at different times.)  One is about ADHD, one about Mental Health, one on Gardening and one about Organization.  (Oh, and I frequently reference "How to Choose the S-e-x of Your Baby".)

The one about organization is called "Sidetracked Home Executives" and this is my second (third?) time reading it.

Before Gabey was born, I read it and used it to get my life in order.  The system recommended, though it takes some time to set up, really works well for Mom's with ADD or a high level of distractibility.  (That would be me.)  

Unfortunately, after Gabey was born, I took an organization-vacation and let my good habits become a distant memory.   So now I'm starting all over again.

But it's hard.

Really, really hard.

For example, one of the recommendations/rules is to get up half an hour before your kids.  That way, you can shower and dress before they get up and you're ready to start your day.  This is excellent and sound advice.  

In theory.  

In reality, my kids get up WAY too early.  I'm a night owl and I'd much rather sleep until 9 and let the little hellions fend for themselves.  But THAT tends to backfire and always results in a big mess in the kitchen and Max putting three cups of sugar on his oatmeal.  Oh, and me spending the day in sweats; bra-less and make-up-less.  Which isn't the breakfast of champions.

So I've resolved to do better.  Actually, I've resolved to have Doug force me to do better.  This means, he (literally) drags me out of bed at 6:30, gives me a swift smack on the rear, and shoves me into the bathroom.  (Oh, and by-the-way, usually at least one kid is already up at this un-godly hour.  It's just that I'm not willing to get up any earlier.)

This has been working relatively well until today.  Today we (I) hit a snag.

The problem is, we have a hamper in our bathroom.  

Why is this a problem???  Because when it's pulled in front of the toilet and a sweatshirt is sitting on the lid, it makes a perfect headrest.  For me.  When I'm sitting on the...*eh-hem* throne.

At which point...I fall asleep.  

That's what happened this morning.  I fell asleep.  For a good 15 minutes by my estimate.

So when I woke up with dropped trou and wicker marks embedded deeply into my forehead, I just gave up trying and went back to bed.  

***IMPORTANT!  Doug had neglected to pull up the comforter, so really, this is all his fault.  The book, which I forced Doug to read, clearly states that an unmade bed acts as a high-powered magnet to pull a Sidetracked Home Executive, like myself, back in.***

I nestled back into my cocoon of Nova-Form Mattress Topper and Synthetic-Down Comforter bliss.  And of course, fell immediately back to sleep.  

Unfortunately, it wasn't the peaceful sleep of the innocent.  It was restless and haunted by the knowledge that Doug was still somewhere in the house and might at any moment discover my treachery.  Which he did.  Just before he left for work at at 6:50.  
This time, when he grabbed me by the ankles to yank me from bed, he was far less gentle.  And there was considerable "tsk-tsk"ing and reprimanding accompanying this second shove into the bathroom.

This evening when he recollected my fall from grace he said, "It's like living with a 12-year-old!"


I don't know If I can handle this kind of abuse to body, mind, and spirit.  I don't know if a clean house and orderly life are worth it!  Do YOU?!?!?

I think I'm going to use my Pottery Teaching money to hire a Mama-san to clean for me!

And then I'm going back to reading fiction!!!


Mar 1, 2009

It Is No Longer February!

But you probably already knew that.  

What this means to me, though, is that I can start blogging again.  Regular like.  Because the end of February means the (self declared) end of my S.A.D.  (Seasonal Affective Disorder.  See my boastful sister's blog for more info.) 

So even though it snowed today (*harsh sob*) I'm not going to let it sap my strength and will to live!  I'm going to prevail!  I'm going to BLOG!!!
Maybe I'll even finish a few of the many posts started in the dreary month of February.  (Which we all know should have MUCH better weather if it wants to host my birthday festivities.)

But before I start, I need to find my super-long down-filled winter coat and super-warm, super-tall winter boots.  

Sam wants me to play soccer with him.  

Outside.  (*more harsh sobbing*)

(And you wonder why I self-medicate with Hot Chocolate?!?!?!)

Wish me luck!  You'll be hearing from me again soon!

P.S.  It was too cold.  We came right back in.  (Fortunately.)  Do you think 45 seconds of sunlight is enough to fulfill my Vitamin D requirement?