Sunday, September 30, 2007


We had a small earthquake yesterday morning. I was on the phone with a friend and J was in the tatami room. It sounded like an explosion and was very short so we weren't completely sure it was an earthquake except for the fact that my friend lives several miles from me and she heard and felt it too.

I found some info on it today ad we did indeed have one. It was a 3.8 just off shore. Don't know why specifically it was so loud compared to others that I have been in but it was definitely different. Just a little reminder that we are a bit smaller than we all think we are...and not really in charge either.

New Fish

Well, I went with K to the Makeman store and we were able to get some fish. I decided to start out with three mollies (silver ones, 1 male and 2 females) and 4 neon tetras. She purchased some fish for her tank too.

In the morning I checked the tank and all seemed well but 2 of the neons were missing. I found one stuck to the intake and figured that they must have died from stress but questioned whether the mollies might have eaten them. Now I have had mollies with tetras before in a tank and never had any issues but neons are pretty small and the mollies here seem kind of aggressive.

So yesterday, J and I stop at an aquarium place we happened upon while paying rent and eating at Yoshinoya and I got 10 more neons. I didn't want the two to be in there alone (they like to be in bigger groups). As soon as we dropped them in, I saw one of the mollies try to grab one and I had to tap on the tank to get them to let it alone. I immediately put some food in there to see if that would help and it seems to have. This morning, all the tetras were still in there...but I had another suprise.

One of the females gave birth last night and now I have about 15 little mollies swimming around in the tank. I don't think the tetras will eat them (they usually do but the neons are pretty small to eat these fish) so I might end up with a buttload of fish without even trying....we'll see how many survive. The tank has not even established yet so I would be surprised if many of them survive the ordeal...

UPDATE: This morning (Monday) the baby fish are all dead and missing, and 4 of the tetras are missing. I don't know if they were lunch or if they just died because the tank has not cycled through yet so it is not balanced yet....too bad for the babies, that is for sure but I think the male fish is not wasting any time getting the girls pregnant again so we'll see. I want to set up a vase with guppies in it....and a bamboo plant...we'll see.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Friday's Feast

Appetizer How are you today?

Doing good but sore from working out the last few days.

Soup Name 3 television shows you watch on a regular basis.

We are pretty limited these days on TV but I would say ER, Medium and CSI Las Vegas.

Salad What’s the scariest weather situation you’ve experienced?

Weather doesn't really scare me (although it probably should). I think I was in a pretty good earthquake in college that got my heart pumping though.

Main Course If you could wake up tomorrow morning in another country, where would you want to be?

I am in another country so I guess if I could wake up somewhere other than here, it would be in Thailand or the States.

Dessert What do you usually wear to sleep?

Boxers and a t-shirt usually.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Sentimental: Good Or Bad?

I am a sentimental person...always have been, probably will always be. Not sentimental in the traditional sense though, more about putting value on things. Sometimes this is a good thing and sometimes it is not.

In my travels and moves, I have learned to shed a fair amount of things but then I think of all the stuff I can't part with (most of which I hardly look at) and I wonder if I am really doing myself or anyone else any good with it all.

For some reason, this came up for me today very vividly.

My biological father is deceased. He has been for a while now and even when he was alive, we were not close. I actually dreaded the idea (and this probably makes me a horrible person) that when he got old, it was going to fall on me (as his only child) to take care of him. He never got old.

As a kid (and to this day), I love(d) my dad (the man I grew up with) and felt a lot of angst and confusion about how I should feel regarding my biofather. I knew I was supposed to love him and I guess I did in a way. When I got to know the "real" him later on in life, I was interested in the similarities we shared and the things that really made him tick (none of us got to see that much of the "real" him). As a kid, because I got very little from him, I treasured those things I did get...not out of love but out of something else I can't really describe. I guess because he made a choice in life regarding me and my mom (and thankfully he did because I would have missed out on a great dad, sister and childhood, had he not) and I felt like those little gifts were some kind of validation of that choice.

Prior to the few weeks I spent staying with him and my grandmother the summer after 6th grade, I had received a plastic doll piggy bank that had a musical base, and two glass piggy banks shaped like pigs filled with money from him. I still have all three of those items (minus the money of course). When I hear the music on the doll, it brings me back. I keep the doll in storage with a lot of other sentimental items but the piggy banks are on my dresser. One is big and one is little. The big one even has a broken part but I keep it anyhow because it is functional. I can't believe that neither of them has been broken in all these years. Now I keep my foreign coins in the big one and pennies (before they get rolled) in the small one. I move them everywhere we go. I would cry if one of them was to break by accident. I don't know why really but I know that I would.

When I stayed with him after 6th grade for a few weeks, I ended up with a few stuffed animals (some of which I still have) and trinkets of sorts, but nothing that has stayed with me emotionally like the others. I don't know if it helps me feel like there is a connection to a person who did little but donate genes to my being, or if it helps me to remember a time ( I hoard memories...which explains the pictures, journals, blogs, etc). I just know that I am terrible about keeping things (this is only a small example of what I keep and why) and sometimes I wish I was able to let things go a bit easier.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Visit To Columbia University

I found it immature and ridiculous that Columbia would invite this man to come speak at their school and then introduce him in such a way. While I don't agree with anything the president of Iran stands for and I feel that most of his beliefs and judgements are incorrect, I would never invite someone as a guest and then treat them that way with no warning.

I think the president of the school felt pressure for having invited him and figured this was the best way to get out from under that pressure. I think it just made him look like a j@ck@ss.

Puss n Boots

I took Chase in today to get shaved again....she was about half way grown out and I wanted her to remain cool, and not have hairballs. She did okay until the bath time and they squeezed her glands and boy, she didn't like that at all....

Anyhow, they leave quite a bit on the feet here and I think it looks like she is wearing little fur boots....the pic is not great, but I think you can see what I mean. What is funny is that the fur on her feet will continue to grow and get much furrier looking as the rest grows will be months before she evens out....haha.

She is standing on the tatami mats off the side of our living room and it took three tries for me to get one of her standing still...

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Sunday Treats

A new friend of mine is from Taiwan so when she invited J and I for dim sum brunch this morning...we knew we were in for a treat. I was dying to find a place that had dim sum and we weren't disappointed.

We drove south a bit towards Ginowan City and ate on the 13th floor of the ANA Laguna Garden Hotel. The buffet is all you can for 1800 yen which is a bit different from the dim sum I have had in Seattle and Hong Kong in the past but I wasn't going to complain because that is a great price. We were given some appetizer-like dishes to share amongst those at the table, and then the steam baskets started to come with various dishes inside. There was soba soup, and also a soup of the day (in our case, Egg Drop) along with several pastries, fruits and drinks available to us at tables set up in the area. Jasmine tea was offered at our table and was delicious.

The food and experience was great and I definitely plan to return on another Sunday to enjoy again.

Tonight, I made yakisoba w/beef because I had the makings, it doesn't take too long and it makes great lunch leftovers. I use cabbage, carrots and green onion in mine but I am sure you could add any other kind of fresh veggies you had sitting in the fridge as well. I know mushrooms make a great addition to this dish. I cheat because I buy premade yakisoba sauce at the grocery as well as fresh soba noodles but I am sure you can find a way to make all of this from scratch if you were so inclined....

Anyhow, just thought I would share our fun with food for this day, since we didn't get a lot else done (just some laundry and yardwork...haha).

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Coming Along

Today I feel like I made a real dent in things and that always motivates me to do more. I was able to get the fishtank set up and filled with water. It is running happily in the dining room with no fish in it yet...we'll wait a bit before we put any in there.

I also attacked our storage area in the garage because I want it to be organized and so far we have just been throwing stuff in places without really organizing so we could get to the bottom of the pile. Well, we are at the bottom of the pile now and I need to know where stuff is and make sure it is not just willynilly. I took everything out of it, organized it, labeled totes and then restacked everything in a much nicer way. I was sweating my brains out by the time I was done but it is done.

I am hopefully going to a flea market next weekend (not this weekend) to get rid of some stuff that is filling up my laundry room right now and then I'll be able to put more stuff away where it ultimately needs to go. I still need to figure something out for this little storage area we have in our big bathroom so I can put some totes in there of stuff we actually do use without them falling over, but it will have to be later on that I do it because other things are calling right now.

Anyhow, just a little update on my anal little life....haha. (I definitely see some more of those space bag things making a home here).

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Busy, Busy

I have way too much stuff to do and not enough time to do it in.....I hate that. Our weekend is already getting busy with friends and such. We are going to have some dimsum with friends on Sunday morning....I am excited because then I'll know where a place is. I have never had it in Japan, only in Hong Kong and in the States.

Saturday we are going to a bbq in the afternoon but in the morning, I (and J if I can get him to go) am doing a beach cleanup. It is only for two hours but I'll feel like I am making a dent since recycling is so difficult to do here.

I better run, have to get some tea made...perhaps that will help me get over my nap feeling. Since lunch, I have felt like I need a is probably a mixture of feeling full and also the fact that I spent the morning walking in the sun and wind exercising and looking for a know how the sun can be. At least I am not pink from it....haha.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Now Super Typhoon Wipha


Well we have another one out there. This one is not supposed to get near us according to its forcast but we are (as you can see from the satellite picture) getting some weather from it....lots of blowing rain today folks....

1:57pm update on Tuesday:

It still isn't going to hit us but it is definitely getting us some weather. We have had a lot of wind and rain for sure. It looks like it is going to hit Taiwan while very strong and then hit China on the way out.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Loving The Space Bag

We have these two mats that we bought last time we lived here so that when people came to visit they would have something to put on the tatami mats to sleep on. They are about twin bed sized but thinner and fold into thirds. Normally in a Japanese style house the tatami room has a big closet in it that the mats and bedding go in everyday after everyone gets up. Because this house doesn't really have a separate tatami room (it is just off the living room but not really separate, we don't have that big closet and finding a place to store these mats where they won't get dusty or buggy has been an issue for me.

I found the Original Space Bag at the store and thought I would give it a try. The jumbo size looked like it might fit one of these mats in it so I bought two of them to try it out. Since it was a combo package, each one came with an large one as well so I figured I could use those ones for our sleeping bags.

Back story: this house actually has quite a bit of storage space, but the issue is the biggest areas are 1. the storage area in the open garage (which locks but is subject to humidity and heat and is not air tight to bugs or mold) and 2. the laundry room area off the back of the house (which is also very hot and humid but seems to have less of a bug issue). So the stuff in the storage area outside has to be able to handle the weather and can't be anything that we are worried about bugs or anything. So far, we have yard equipement, empty boxes that we have to keep, and some camp chairs, or pop up shade tent and our golf clubs out there. The laundry room has our bikes, our dive stuff, some sports stuff, tools that won't rust or don't have electric parts, all the boxes of stuff that I am donating or selling at the swap meet, and the laundry stuff. I would like to be able to store more out there but I won't be able to until we get some of the donation stuff out of there. Anyhow, I didn't want to put any clothes, mats or sleeping bags out in either area without having a way to keep them from molding or getting bugs. So this limits quite a bit what can go where and finding places in the house for all the stuff we have to store has been fun. End of back story.

So anyhow, I decided we could put the mats under the guest bed in the office. Thing is that the cat is in that room and I didn't want them to get dusty or too much infected with kitty germs (haha). So these bag things work great in that aspect. Now the kicker on these bags is that you vacuum out the air and it makes the mats super small (I can actually stack both of them on top of each other under the guest bed (which has the smallest clearance of the two beds)). They won't get dustmites or allergens or even mold because there is no air in there. We put the sleeping bags in the other two bags and sucked the air out of them and now they are so small I can put them both in one tote and store them in the closet.

I might end up finding some more of those bags and putting lots of other stuff in them. I am thinking I could probably reduce my 3 totes of winter clothes down to would be heavy but it would only be one....we'll see.

Anyhow, I just wanted to tell you that even though I felt like I was stepping back to the seventies with these things, they work awesome and if you are cramped for space, and/or have weather issues that make storage tricky....these things are the bomb!!!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

We Have Football

Yeah, we finally, after much fiddling, got the satellite to get signal and we have all ten channels now. We can actually watch some football and the final two rounds of the Fedex Championship in golf.

I know it sounds trivial but sports are about the only thing we watch consistently on TV (except for me with my ER), and we were basically cut off completely from them except for MLB which neither of us likes to watch on TV much (in person is fun).

Besides that little project (that seemed to take all day), I managed to get some things organized and put away. Right now, things are functional so it is hard to get motivated for the finishing touches, but I need to do it. I can't live with it like it is around here for long. So yesterday I got all the little shoeboxes (clear ones for storing) off my kitchen counter, organized how they need to be with all the little misc household stuff in them and put away. Whooooohooooo!!!!

Today, I am going to get the fish tank up and running (has to run for about 2 weeks before we can put fish in it), and maybe even some work done on a blanket I need to finish before the child is so old they can't even use it....haha.

Oh, and I did I mention this will all occur while watching some FOOTBALL!!!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Storm Is Over

It was raging pretty loud when we went to bed but I put my earplugs in and around 3am it was quite again. We didn't have any damage and J is outside trying to get our satellite dish set up so we can get more than one channel. It will be nice since they don't broadcast any of the sports that we like to watch on the one channel we can get but we can get a bunch of channels through the satellite company and they are even in English!!!!

I found a trojan on my computer this morning but Norton and Spybot put it down with no problems. I think it got on there yesterday when I was trying to help some bloggers with their sites....seems that there is a lot of malware floating around blog sites these days, so be careful in your surfing. I didn't have Spybot turned on for continuous scan and that is why I didn't know when it first hit that it was there. Fortunately my scheduled full scan w/Norton last night caught it. I have enabled the continuous scan on Spybot now...

Luckily, it didn't transfer onto my thumbdrive or to the laptop (which hasnt' been on the Internet since we left the hotel). I need to get the wireless set up today if I can, so we can at least print from the laptop without having to use the thumbdrive.

J and I went to the Eisa Festival a while back and I have some great footage and pictures from that. I want to make a little movie from the footage but I need to do some harddrive shuffling now that we are settled so I can get things organized before starting a new project. I'll try to post about the festival either here or on my travelblog and upload some photos from it in the meantime.

Oh, and I have been playing a bit with my site over on I kind of like their set up over there but am loyal to Blogger as well (along with the fact that I don't want to transfer everything over there). I might just start blogging occasionally over there as well. They have some neat features. I'll get a link to my page over there on my site here soon. Problem with them is that commenting requires membership (free, but still one more thing to sign up for). Grrrrr...

Kitty Diet

Chase is on a diet. While she was at the kennel, they were leaving her bowl full of food all day long. This is not how I usually feed her. So, when she came home the first night, she was following us around like she wanted to eat more. We just ignored her. The next morning, I put the normal amount of food in her bowl and she ran over and scarfed it right down. Then she kept checking back all day long to see if there was more in there.

This morning, I put the same amount in there, and she has slowed down to allow herself some throughout the day....I can't believe how fast they remember things. I will be curious when we take her into the vet for her 30 day check up, if she has gained pounds from being at the kennel.

She gets another hair cut on the 24th....I am going to keep her short at least until it gets cold here.

Typhoon Nari


Well the second one to hit while we have been here is upon us. This will be our first in our new house. Looks like it won't be a bad one but it is getting here faster than most. Should be here by tonight. I guess I will have to get outside and get things situated so we aren't suprised in the middle of the night by something coming through one of the many glass walls we have in this place....

Update at 6:18pm:

Nothing major has happened yet but I did find this cool picture of it on the radar site. I went outside and made sure that most everything is tied down or put away. Highest winds are supposed to be later tonight.

Update 1010pm:

The storm is getting a bit stronger but seems to be passing by the bottom of us rather than right over us. The winds should shift to the other direction here soon. Windows are whistling but nothing is too bad. Chase is not thrilled with any of it.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Dead Gecko Movement

Geckos are a part of life here. I don't mind them too much as long as they don't get too big in the house because then their poops get big and it is a pain in the ass to clean it up. They eat lots of bugs and having them around actually keeps other things away. The ones we have here chirp a lot and I guess that is normal for the gecko species as a whole. Sounds like a bird in the house.

Anyhow, when we first moved in, I found a dead gecko on the steps in front of the house. It was being attacked by ants. I kicked it off to the side in the flowerbed just so I wouldn't accidentally step on it. I came home a few hours later and it was in the sidewalk again but much further down. I kicked it off to the side again. Next day, I didn't see it until the afternoon when coming in. It was on top of a 5 foot wall that borders our front porch. I have no idea how it moved that much (birds or ants I presume) but I was amazed at how fast it was moving about. I flicked it with my finger into the flowerbed that the wall borders and figured that would be the last of it.

No such luck, since then I have seen it move all over our front walk, porch and beds. It hasn't show up in a few days so I am assuming it has been completely consumed or a bird moved it completely out of the area. If all this movement was due to a troop of ants working in organization, we might have a few things to learn from them. It would take tons of them to move that thing and that means a lot of coordination so it wouldn't just sit there spinning in circle like a boat with too many rowers that don't know what they are doing.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

She's Home

Brought the kitty home today...she is busy checking the place out and laying in the sun.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


Here is a pic of the house from the outside. It is pretty cool on the inside too...

As you can see, it is very modern and industrial looking. The walls on the inside are just like the walls on the outside except where you can see the little dark spots, we have things we can hang pics on on the inside. You are looking at the corner where the deck, living room, and pond are. This is all behind the high wall. The windows you can see near the roof are the vaulted ceiling in the living room. We are planning to put some curtains on them (although we love the natural light) to try to keep the room cooler in the summer and I suspect warmer in the winter. It will also keep the floor and furniture from fading as the sun coming in that window during the day is direct midday sun and it is hot.

I like that the style of the house is very simple, and that there is the mix of straight lines and gardens. The kitchen is much bigger than the one in our last house in Japan so we can't complain there. We had to buy some pans and pots (the owner bought them and we'll leave them with the house) in order to use the stove because two of the burners are IH which is a new safety type of heating for stoves. It works great now with the new pans but for a week or so, I was cooking everything on one burner and that was a pain in the butt. We even have a little itty bitty dishwasher (which I use for drying dishes). I probably won't use it just to cut back on electricity use. There are lots of cabinets and counter space and that makes preparing meals much easier. We were worried for a bit that the refrigerator wouldn't fit but it does with room to spare.

The bathroom is split into two, one room (near the front of the house) has the toilet, a urinal, and a sink with cabinet, and the other room (near the bedrooms in the back of the house) has a sink w/cabinet and then a separate glassroom with shower and tub. The tub has jets but J tried them out and they aren't like our hottub jets but still, it will be nice for soaks in the winter for sure. Both of the bathrooms have windows looking out to little garden areas that are enclosed in a high wall so no one can see in but you get a feeling of being outside when you are in them.

We have a shallow rock pond off the dining room with a deck off the living room next to it. The pond has a little fountain we can turn on in the house. It is very relaxing to hear the water running and you can see the pond from the tatami mats so you can stretch or do yoga and enjoy the zen of it all. The entire house is fenced around so you can't really see the street at all unless you are in the kitchen (the only place where the window looks out over a shorter fence.

There is a large storage area/laundry room between the garage and the house so we have some things hidden out there until we can figure out where to put them. There are racks built in for drying so we don't have to use the dryer much either (another expensive electrical appliance I avoid). Electricity here is so much more than in the states so conserving is good for the environment as well as the pocket book.

I'll try to get pics of the various parts up soon....still trying to finish the unpacking along with all the other crap that keeps me occupied during the day.

Update to Mishka's Reading

Hey there....I updated Mishka's Reading with my reads from July and August today. I combined them because those two months are combined in my mind this year....they kind of just blended together.

Had some great reads so check them out if you have time....some highly recommended ones.

Monday, September 10, 2007

We Are On

Wow, I have Internet at home now!!!! I can't believe it....

For those of you that plan to contact me via Yahoo messenger so we can talk sometimes, I will try to remember to log on during the day and keep my status messages up to date. Right now I am using my laptop because the situation in our office is out of control but I hope to get it figured out and set up today....if it kills me.

I want to bring Chase home and I can't until I have a place for her litter box and that requires a bit of Rubic's cubing the room around. I am going to have to go old school dorm room status on it (you know, when you have lots of furniture and little space to call your own?) You have to get creative.

As soon as I get the PC up and running, I will get some pics of this place and our trip across the US posted for you to check out. Of course the good pics of the house will have to wait until I get the decor done (left for last) but I can at least put up some outside shots.

Anyhow, just wanted to update you all that we were up and running at home....whoooeeee!!!!

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Only A Few More Days

Well, we'll see how things go, but we might have Internet by next week and I will be so thrilled. I have been running to friend's or the library to just get the simpliest things done (which were so much easier when I had Internet at home). It is so weird to be without it and it is weird to think it wasn't all that long ago that none of us even had it.

I even remember the first time I really heard about it, and I was fascinated from the get go.

Anyhow, enough of that....just wanted to drop a line and say hello.

Random thought of the day:

Why, when you are turning something in for repair under warranty (shipping the item to the manufacturer for example) do you have to provide proof of purchase? Isn't the fact that you own the thing and are shipping it to them enough proof that you have purchased it?

Monday, September 03, 2007

No Internet Yet

Well, we still don't have Internet at the house so I haven't been updating things lately but as soon as we do, I will be much more consistent.

We are in the house and have all of our stuff....too much stuff. I have taken some cool pictures but can't upload them to the library computer so I will have to wait to post them until we get our own Internet set up.

I am not completely unpacked yet, although we are almost done with all the cardboard and now are just left with totes and finding homes for all the things that we have. I have already put together at least 6 boxes of stuff that I am going to sell at a swap meet or give to the thrift store here (the equivalent of Goodwill).

We have eaten at most of our favorite places (some of them a few times). It took a week or so to figure out the stove at the house because it has a new safety feature and you can only use a special kind of pan on it....we were able to get the rental company to buy the pans and then we'll just leave them with the house when we leave.

We had to bring our sofa in through the back yard (over the fence and pond) because it couldn't make the 90 degree turn in the entryway to get into the living room...that was a lot of fun. So far, nothing seems to be damaged although I am not all that thrilled with the packing job done in the states....stuff was moved around quite a bit and so I keep opening boxes that I think have one thing in them but in reality have something quite different.

I'll start updating the travel blog on my link list as well so you can also check in there for updates and if you want to be added to my subscription list for it, let me know.

Anyhow, just wanted to do an update to everyone would know we were alive and well. We are finally getting back into a routine and hopefully will have normal life flowing soon.

PS. Chase is still at the kennel for a bit....grrr.