Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy 2008!!!

Just wanted to wish everyone we know and that reads this a happy New Year!!! Hope this finds you celebrating with family and friends and staying safe and healthy.

Another Mission Accomplished

I managed to post something (not always quality something) every day this month (December) in my attempt to meet the Holidailies was fun and not really that difficult as long as I had material to go from....haha.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Blog Post Icon Issues

I noticed this morning that my email post icon was missing from my blog posts. I had to reset the widget to get it back and in the process the template wouldn't save. So I ended up having to reload a fresh template and then I had to put in all the hacks I have to the template to make it look the way I want....guess that will deter me from changing up my template for a while....grrr.

It took me several hours to get it back to the way it is supposed to be and I just now noticed that it is messed up on my fitness blog as well. I might have to try a different approach there because I really don't want to go through all of that again.....

I wish blogger would just fix this issue and not just leave it to us to do work arounds.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Chase's Catnip Christmas

Just a little something I put together today from a couple of clips I took of Chase yesterday.

Property Taxes

I am in the midst of a bit of a property tax issue with the county our new house is located in. They have my house valued at 70,000 dollars over what I just paid for it, which I think is blatantly wrong.

They didn't send me my tax bill on time (which you need to have the house re-appraised), so I was late in getting my taxes paid (which I did, even though I don't agree with the amount). I don't want to be in the rears even though I am displeased.

Anyhow, the clerks at the county office have been very helpful, it is the appraisers who need an attitude adjustment. I requested another appraisal as I just had the house appraised myself when I bought it and know exactly how much it is worth. It doesn't make sense to me that I am paying taxes on a value that even the bank would not agree too.

So they did an appraisal sometime last week. The new appraiser agreed with the old one, so I am filing an appeal. I got notice that the appeal had to be done before the end of the year (this year). Fortunately the forms are online, I filled them out and printed them. I had to include a copy of my tax bill and the appraisal I had done (both of which I was thankfully able to find considering my filing mess right now) and I express mailed the entire thing. I found out after the fact that it could be postmarked before the 31st and still be okay but I am glad to know it is on its way and will be there before the end of the month with no reason for it not to be addressed this year.

I realized based on the way our county does taxes (not on the real market value but on this other number they have made up) that I might not see much change in my bill itself but it is the principle of the thing for me. I should not have anywhere on my tax paperwork that my house is worth more than I am paying for it (at least not in the same year I have purchased it in). The housing market is not still going up where the house is in a lull so there shouldn't be much change this year at all from last year (but the bill reflects a 40,000 dollar change in real market value). Would be nice to have that much equity but who is fooling who here?

I think our county is just looking for a way to get more money out of people that mostly don't have any extra to give in hopes that none of us will notice. I did notice that a large portion of my tax bill goes to the local community college and school district when both should be supported from our EDUCATION lottery....not sure how that works either but it is interesting to ponder*.

*Please do not misunderstand, I am all for paying for our schools, and I think that teachers should make much more than they do, but I question where our lottery funds are going if they aren't going to the school as intended when the lottery was voted in a million years ago. I am sure I don't know all the ins and outs but I do know that a lot of it was supposed to be earmarked for schools.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Beat Up

I have managed to ding myself a bit in the last few days. The other day, I was trying to find a cache that was located in a stupid spot and had to reach through some very sharp palm leaves to get it. I was stabbed in the arm a few times and then slid on the coral have scratches on my knees and shin.

Then yesterday when vacuuming the house, I ran over my big toe on my right foot with the vacuum during the back pull. My toe ached all night.

Last night after vacuuming, I was putting the bath mats back down on the floor of the bathroom and on the way down to the floor, I wacked my head on the glass sink counter. I actually saw stars...and now I have a tender lump on my forehead. I haven't looked in the mirror yet but I might also have a nasty bruise.

Fudge Is Here

I got a tin full of Darlene's fabulous fudge in the mail is sinfully awesome. I will have to take some of it over to my friend K's house because I will die if I eat it all by myself....

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Feeling Better

I think I am feeling better today. Will probably get up to the post office and the library at least so I can get mail and change out some rental dvds....haha.

I watched Nanny McPhee, Red Eye and Pavement yesterday while laying low. The sun is out today as well so I might sit on the deck for a while and absorb some rays and some Vit D...I remember when I was a kid, sometimes the best thing was getting outside into some fresh air and sunshine when I had a cold.

I also am supposed to be getting some flowers from J today....he didn't forget me after all...haha. We were able to talk on the computers yesterday with webcams so I was able to at least see one person on Christmas day....haha.

Depending on how I feel, I might head over to K's for a while to see the kids and all their new toys since I missed out on going there yesterday.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas

Hope this finds everyone having a safe and happy holiday season.

I managed to catch a cold yesterday (Christmas Eve) so I am probably going to stay in and just watch movies today....right now, I am going to make some soup so I can see if I can get rid of this yuckiness in my throat.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Happy Birthday K!!!

Today is one of my good friend's birthdays. She is turning 40. She seems to be taking it pretty well, better than I think I will but that is just me. We are going to do some stuff with her this morning and then I have a few gifts for her. I am sure growing up with a birthday on Christmas Eve must have been hard.....kind of overlooked I bet.

Well, it won't happen today...we are going to try to chill and just have fun before all Christmas chaos breaks out tomorrow....(she has 5 kids...haha).

Saturday, December 22, 2007

New Cache And Bug Drop

Went geocaching on my walk yesterday for one that is along one of my walking trails. It was in an interesting area but the spot itself was not the best. I would have chosen a few other spots but oh well. I probably won't ever go to it again. I was able to drop two TBs I had had for a while...and that was the main purpose of the search.

The walk was nice, it was blustery out but not cold and I was able to get 2.5 miles in by the time I was done. I should have done some lunges but I didn't....will have to try for that tomorrow.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Our Christmas Tree

Okay, a more reasonable size for the tree picture has been obtained and now I can post it. The boxes below it are the tins I keep ornaments in...I just thought it looked too bare with nothing under it (since I don't have gifts under there). The basket is a giftswap gift that I gave away at a party I went to a few nights ago. I ended up with a cigarbox purse that has a sushi theme on the back.

The tree is sitting on top of a cabinet I use to hold DVDs so it is up high (not a figment of your imagination). The lights on it are the led lights I bought last year for our porch rail and they seemed to light nicely on this tree and since they don't get hot I can leave them on all the time...which is nice for me.

Obviously, I didn't put all of our ornaments on this tree (or you wouldn't be able to see the tree) but picked out some that I love and then some that are just sized right for a tree this small. Our new ornament for this year is on it and I believe I put our first year ornament on it as well....just to cover the span. The angel on top is actually another ornament but she is perfect for fitting up there.

I'll try to get some pics of some of my other decorations now that I have all the wrapping mess put away....

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Mum Lights

We live in the country on our small slice of the world. This means that while there are still houses everywhere, we do have quite a few fields of various crops, some animal pens and some roosters all very near by. Most of the crops are this wonderful purple sweet potato, sugarcane, or mums. They grow mums here and send them up to mainland for sale. The interesting thing about the mums is that they use grow lights on them at night to increase their growth time. My understanding is that this causes them to not only grow faster but also grow straighter and longer (which is apparently ideal for the market in mainland Japan).

Since we live the in the "country" we get to see a lot of the processes involved in all of these different kinds of crops and the mums in particular have this very cool feature (at least to me). On certain nights after 11pm or so, the farmers turn on the grow lights. So you are in pitch blackness and there are fields and fields of lights hanging from wires drapped over all these mums lighting them up. On balmy nights, it is so amazing to see. There isn't a sound but these lights, and it is just serene and beautiful all at once. I always have to stop and admire them on my way home if I am out and the last two times I have seen them, I have tried to put my new camera to work.

This picture is from the first night I tried to capture them. The camera automatically lowers the light intensity but I thought the picture came out well. The lights are very bright and this pictures is definitely muted but it kept the feel for me so that is why I like it. I took a bunch of other pictures last night with the night feature on my camera and while they are more realistic of what it looks like, the feeling was not captured like it was in this one.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Santa Cup

This santa cup has been a part of my Christmas as long as I can remember. We used to put milk in it when I was a kid to go with the plate of cookies we left for the old guy....(no not you Dad).

When my parents divorced, my mom sent some of Christmas with my sister and I and I ended up with the Santa cup. For a while, I stupidly put a candle in it since we weren't leaving milk and cookies for the old guy anymore but I finally came to my senses (and I am lucky the candle didn't ruin him).

Anyhow, I always have this cup displayed at Christmas time. It is one of the things that takes me back.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Late Presents

Okay, the ones I haven't gotten out yet are going to be late. Some of the ones I did get out are probably going to be late but these ones that are still in my house are guaranteed to be late....sorry has been busy here on this side of the ocean.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Snowflakes For Me

I did this one last year but Sourpuss reminded me of it so I am going to post a new one this year.

If you want to make one too, you can go here to get started.


Do you ever get irritated about something and say something you wish you had better control over later?

I didn't say anything I regretted saying, I just wish I hadn't let such a small thing make me so irritated in the first place. Sometimes there are things about my daily life that just make me want to say GRRRRRRR!!!!!

Okay, got that off my chest, now I am okay....

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Christmas Tree

Well I was going to post a picture of our Christmas tree right here since it has been up since the first of the month but I didn't have a camera to take pictures of it with. I can't post it today because I need to reduce it in size to upload it here and the picture I have is over 2 MB. The camera defaults to its second highest setting which is 12 Mpixels.....and that is too big for MS Photo Editor (the easiest way for me to reduce file size) to open. Can you believe that?

So I would have to open it in Fireworks and bring it down and I just don't feel like messing with it right now so I will have to post it later. I'll take another picture of it with the setting a bit lower on the camera and see what we come up with....

I did take pictures of the blanket I made my friend so I can get that sent in the mail too, before the kid is walking and doesn't even need a blanket....wouldn't that be nice? I know, it shouldn't have taken me so long to do it but I was busy moving to another country and I didn't manage to get it done before she was born because I am a terrible procrastinator and I had school work, and such to do as excuses...I just need to get it in the mail.

Oh well, enough for now...I'll get the Christmas tree pic up tomorrow so you can see its cuteness.

Mishka's Friday Feast on Saturday

So I am a day late....fills in my need to post today so there!!!

Make up a word and give us its definition.

Schmirgurl- a term of endearment for my cat

What is currently your favorite song?

I don't have one, and I am so filled with Christmas music right now, I wouldn't know one if it bit me.

What’s at the top of your Christmas wish list this year?

Something I can't have and can't talk about here.

Main Course
Name a scent that reminds you of someone special in your life.

Jungle of Gardenia (my mom), this musk perfume I can't remember the name of (one of my grandmas), this spray all over body spray I can't remember the name of (one of my other grandmas), lilac (my grandma, because we use to pick them together), rose (my sister). There are more but those will do for now....

Who is someone on television that you feel probably shouldn’t be, and why?

Any TV evangelist that takes money from people for their own desires.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Not Happening

Well since it is Friday and our post office is not open on weekends, and I only have 1/2 hour before the last truck leaves for the day, I would say I am not going to get my packages out....those that love me will understand and those that don't can just.....well you know.

I feel relief though, knowing I can now wrap and package at my own leisurely pace for the remainder of the weekend to dump the motherload on the postal workers on Monday morning.....(insert sinister laugh here).

It is time for lunch during my slightly unproductive day so far, but I did watch a movie and that counts for something right? Oh, and I folded a load of laundry too...whooeeee! I am on a roll. So as long as I get some exercise in I will feel accomplished today....I know, life seems easy for me, huh? Well it is don't know the half of it but I can't explain it here because that would be telling oh too much. Let's just say that you can't judge a person by their blog...okay?

So, I am going to go have some left over tacos (when you cook for one, it means eating the same thing for days on end because it is impossible to just use half a packet of taco seasoning), and iced tea and get started on some packages, exercise and maybe some yard work if I really feel like stepping out.

Packages Are Rolling In

Well, I got the second calendar now....guess the third one will not be far behind. I haven't gotten an email back on what I am supposed to do with them so I haven't opened this second one but my friend K is waiting on one too (the same one) so if her's don't show up before the end of the month, I might just give her one of mine....

I also got the phone I ordered so we could have a phone in the guest room/office....this makes it easier on me when it rings so I am not running from one end of the house to the other.

I am still working on getting the last of my packages out....I finally gave up on making any cards this year and everyone is getting store bought ones...I just don't have the time right now and I was getting tired of worrying about is too damn short as it is.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The Urge To Search

I so need to get out and get some geocaching done. I have two TBs that I need to move along and I just got notice today of a new one placed not far from my house. I wish I was a bit more adventureous because I am often afraid when people place them in places that I don't think are public areas. I don't want to get yelled at in a language I don't understand for breaking some rule I didn't know existed...this makes me a bit more careful than I would be if I was geocaching in the states.

I still have not found the one near where I took this picture because the tide has to be out to get to it and you have to climb up on something in a very visible place to find it....not a big deal but I think I am more geared to the caches that take me to new and interesting places or require some effort to get to, than the ones in popular spots that require a ton of stealth. I never feel I am being stealthy enough....

Monday, December 10, 2007

Christmas Shipping

I managed to get four boxes off in the mail today. Two to the East coast that were my big worries because the East coast takes longer from where we are. The other two were Westcoasters but didn't need to be wrapped inside so they were I have to get the rest of the stuff wrapped and boxed and hopefully out of here in the next few days (definitely by the end of the week). Then I will feel like I have one less thing hanging over my head.

I still have cards to send but the pictures are here so I just need to get them out. I am probably going to not make as many cards as I was going to because I am just out of time and don't have the time to spare but I will at least get cards in the mail to everyone on my list....and I guess that is what matters.

Next year, I will get a much earlier start...I will be adjusted to the time by then....haha.

Good News, Bad News

Good news is that the calendar I ordered in October for the new year, finally came today. Bad news is that it is the very first one that was sent out, to our old address, which means the two replacement ones that they have sent out will probably arrive at some point too....

Good news is that I did get a great walk in this morning and even some yardwork done (11,000 steps today). Bad news is that I had way too many peanut M&Ms at my friend's while helping her to move furniture around.

Good news is that the package I have been waiting for with my new camera in it came today. Bad news is that they sent me the wrong camera (the one I ordered and paid for is 130.00 bucks more than the one they sent).

Good news is that I can get the camera I want (and did) at our local store. Bad news is that with the email receipt for one camera and the packing sheet for another, I am not exactly sure how I am going to go about returning the wrong one and get my full money back.

Good news is the package that my sister sent for my birthday got here today. Bad news is that my mom's didn't yet....thanks Sis and hang in there Mom....

Good news is that I am done Christmas shopping (even the online stuff). Bad news is that I still have tons of wrapping and shipping to do and I still have cards to make and send...

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Little Thing For Me

I got one of these yesterday. I was getting one for a certain someone for their birthday and decided that I wanted one too. I know they are trendy and I am not usually one for trendy things but we were able to get some cool charms only relevant to this area and I didn't want to miss out on them. I actually have one that has Yoshi's face on it and another one with some sushi on it....

I figure now that I have one, I can get extra cool charms when I come across them, which I figure won't be too often but still something I might see once in a while.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Christmas Shopping

Well except for a couple of small things I have to order online, I am done Christmas shopping. I finished up on Wednesday and it is nice to be done but now I have a tatami room covered in gifts and wrapping paper until I get the wrapping all done. I hope to finish up over the weekend and get the packages out on Monday if possible. Then at least they won't be too late....haha.

Since we are not near family, everything has to be shipped. I will try to send as much as I can in flat rate boxes since that will probably be the less expensive way to go and I think that also gets them there faster. I also got the photos I ordered online in the mail so I can get those cut up, put in the cards they go out in, and then I will be officially done with cards too....all 95 of them. Whew!!!

Friday Feast For Mishka

I hope this one counts...

What was the last game you purchased?

I purchased a game for one of my best friend's kids but if I put it here, they might see it and it is for Christmas....

Name something in which you don’t believe.

Many things but I don't want to ruin it for those that do...if you know me, you know what I do and don't believe in.

If you could choose a celebrity to be your boss, who would you pick?

I am not a big fan of celebrities in general, they get too much money and fame when it should go to people who do things like fight fires, and teach kids....I would never want a celebrity to be my boss.

Main Course
What was a lesson you had to learn the hard way?

Not to tell fibs. I figured it was better to do it than to get in trouble for whatever I did but my parents always knew if I did fib and then I got in trouble for doing whatever it was and for fibbing.

Describe your idea of the perfect relaxation room.

It is not a room at all. A hottub outside with no people or manmade sounds around . The only sounds I want are wind in the trees, the sounds of the ocean or another body of water, or the sounds of birds.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Fat Cat

When we were still in NC, we had friends who were cat sitting a couple of cats. They both had very interesting personalities but the thing that got me the most was the size and look of this cat. We called her Sissy...I think she had another name too but that was her nickname. She would hang out near the food bowls and keep the other kitties away.

She had some kind of nervous thing where if you pet her in the right spot, she would lick her forearms so she didn't have much hair on her forearms and I thought that just added to the Kliban look of her. We had several Kliban books when I was a kid (one our parent's wouldn't let us read until we were older) but we always like the cat ones the best. In fact I sometimes wonder if the Far Side was not inspired a bit by Kliban kitties....anyhow, when I first saw this cat, that is exactly what she reminded me of. The picture does not do her justice and you have to remember, we are talking about a 26 lb cat.....that is 2 1/2 of Chase.

By the way, who in our family still has those books? Anyone?

Tuesday, December 04, 2007


We have a small rock pond in our back yard. It is off the dining room and the deck that is off the living room. That side of the house (looking out over the pond and deck) is all glass. I was in the dining room when we first moved in and saw something flying around out there. Couldn't figure out exactly what it was because of the coloring until it landed and took a break. Amazingly, it stood still on the edge of the pond long enough for me to get close and snap this shot of it through the glass. Isn't it beautiful?


I am participating in a little holiday posting thing through this place. I didn't sign up in time to do the portal which I am now glad of because I don't know that I would have time to do the required summaries each day but I am doing the at home version and we'll see if I can do an update everyday this month...I am not going any where so it shouldn't be too hard.

I put a link button on my sidebar to them as well if anyone else wants to sign up for the at home version. I signed up on the third but fortunately, I already had posted each day so I wasn't behind....haha.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Taiwanese Tea

Today, I went with a friend to run some errands and after lunch we stopped by this shop on the way home that allows you to make traditional style Taiwanese tea at your table (very similar to the Chinese traditional style as well). She taught me how to do it and all that the different parts of it mean. When she goes home to Taiwan in a week or so for a while, she will probably be picking me up a set for myself since it is much cheaper there than it is here to buy it.

There is a whole complicated process to it and the cups are absolutely tiny (in fact the teapot is also tiny). We were there for several hours just drinking tea and talking. It was a great.

The process involves warming/rinsing all the parts with heated water before the leaves are even added to the pot. The entire set sits on a tray that drains away the water that is discarded during the process. After everything has been rinsed, the tea leaves are put in the pot, hot water is added and then discarded quickly. Then hot water is added again and allow to seep for about 1 minutes. After it is done, it is poured into a picture and then from there into a smelling cup (smaller than the tea cup) and the tea cup is put on top, then held together and flipped. You wait about 30 seconds and then remove the smelling cup from the top allowing the tea to flow into the tea cup. Then you roll the smelling cup in your hands and smell it (it should smell like the tea, and give you an idea of how it is going to taste). Then you start to drink the tea. Once the original process is over, you just refill your tea cup from the are basically done with the smelling cup.

Apparently this practice of tea making is very common in Taiwan but has become less common in China. I was thrilled learn this new cultural aspect of tea friend would probably hate to drink tea at my house....haha. I am planning to visit her while she is in Taiwan and I know she will show me all sorts of really awesome things about this country I have only flown through in the past.

Saturday, December 01, 2007


Well, I feel like I have been making headway on things but the list seems to grow as I work on it like some kind of virus.

I spent some time out of the house yesterday in the sun (which has been hiding behind a tropical depression for a week) and it was glorious. I think my cheeks even got a bit pink. Today is another gorgeous one and after I get some lunch in me, I am heading out to get some exercise in it...maybe even a geocache or two as well.

So this morning, I finished up another leg of the Christmas card saga....even with dropping some names off the list that we haven't heard from in years, I am still sending out over 90 cards, 30 of which I am making myself. Some of them I can't send quite yet because we have pictures coming in the mail that I want to include...hopefully they won't take too long to get here. Anyhow, that is a lot of writing, licking and stamping....but I figure we are only here once and we have to make it count and in the end the only thing that matters is who you love and who loves you (all the other material crap is dust once you leave anyhow), so I figure that I better make it worth it while I can, right?

I still have buttloads of Christmas shopping to do but since we aren't local to any of our family and friends that we shop for, it will be a light Christmas this year....nothing heavy or breakable if I can get away with it. There are a couple of cool sales going on at the various gift shops so I will see what I can find and hopefully get it all wrapped and mailed before Christmas gets here. We have a few things we picked up in our travels and adventures during the year that we are sending out so I have marked those lucky individuals off the list for now...haha.

I started decorating the house yesterday, and made a ton of headway. I need to get the little 3 foot tree out that I am going to use (we got this tree when we lived here before) and put on the ornaments I have already selected (it is small so I can't put everything up on it). I might be able to put some lights outside or on the roof, but I need to get out there and check out the outlet situation. I might need to see if I can find a solar cell too because if I do ones on the roof, I don't want to have to climb up there everytime I want to turn them on...and a solar cell would help me out (the outlet to plug them in might be on the roof too). Hmmm...will have to check that out before heading to the store.

Watched some college football this morning and can I just say that the Oregon Ducks uniforms were terrible....I know they are doing some kind of retro thing but I thought they looked like they were wearing leotards and tights. I shudder to think that these are their home uniforms sad. I have to think that might be what caused them to lose to the Beavers in DOT. Not really but I had to throw that in there. The game was actually very good and I had to see it because the others that I was interested in were the LSU and USC games and they weren't close at all. Chicago is playing the Giants for us tomorrow so I have to get my shirt out and show my spirit even though their season is not going as well as they hoped.

I have a lot of other stuff on my to do list but I think I am just going to concentrate on getting the holiday stuff done on time and worry about other stuff after the new year least it will give me something to do (this is a joke because for those that know me, you know I am always busy....).

Anyhow, how is that for a quick catch up on all things Mishka???? (or at least the parts I can share on the Internet....haha)

Mishka's Reading: November 2007 Books

Updated Mishka's Reading with the November books today.