Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Happy New Year!!!

Okay, this has been a busy year for me. I have taken on new tasks and responsibilities but have also let some other things slide. I have enjoyed all the time I have been able to give back to the community in the last two years, but I do see that winding down as we prepare to move again. I have a limited amount of time left here in Japan and I want to make the most of it. I can't believe that we are already out of the first decade of the 2000's...wow, time flies.

I hate doing New Year's resolutions, especially with my perfectionist personality because it generally just means one more thing on my To Do list...that might or might not get done and then I might or might not feel bad about.

So let's just say this....I plan to be more flexible, both physically and mentally (and for those that know me the mental part will take some work). I plan to spend more time on myself and get back to some of the things that I love to do and have not had time for. I plan on trying to get some paid experience under my belt so I will be prepared to re-enter the workforce full steam after we leave here. I want to enjoy things that I will miss from here while I can and experience some new things before we go. I want to look in the mirror and admire the person I see there (both mentally and physically) and that means devoting some time to me (both mentally and physically).

There is a lot to be done and not much time to do it in so I am tackling the New Year with gusto and anticipation of all it holds. Tonight we are heading down to the beach for a party with our friends, some food and a bonfire. The wind is blowing fierce and it will be chilly I am sure.

I hope this finds everyone else enjoying their holidays, and staying safe and healthy!!! Happy New Year!!!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Old Family Friends

One great thing about the holidays is that you get to reconnect with people that you might not hear from on a day to day basis...especially when you live as far away as we do.

R has been a friend of our family since I was a little kid and lived in a commune in Compton, California...that translates to many, many years. We have been off and on in touch most of my life.

He recently recorded himself singing a duet with himself and wanted me to post his video....since it is a Christmas carol...I thought it nicely appropriate...so here goes!!!

Kitty Flu

Chase has all the symptoms of the kitty flu...weeping eyes, running nose, sneezing and what I think is also coughing. I have been trying to hold out from going to the vet because all my books and research say that it is viral and as long as she is not getting cloudy, white/green mucus coming out, she is still okay and that it can last 7 10 days just like it does with humans.

I have been keeping her indoors at night so far and giving her lots of pets and tons of food to keep her immune system humming. She acts pretty much normal so I am not too worried but I feel bad for her as I wipe her eyes and face a few times a day that I can't explain to her "blow" so she could just get some of it out...she knows I am trying to help her and she is a pretty tolerant cat anyhow so it hasn't been too bad.

One of the things recommended to make them more comfortable is to put saline drops in their eyes and nose to help break up the mucus....somehow I don't think she would enjoy this. Another one is to take them in the bathroom when you are showering so the humidity can help break it up...and I have considered running a hot bath and putting her in the room with it while it is steaming to see if it helps her at all (not in the bath itself though). We can't do the shower thing as the entire room is a shower and she would get soaked being in there while either of us was showering...but the bath is definitely a possibility for tonight.

If she stops eating or seems to get much worse, I will take her to a local vet here and see what they can do...thing is that antibiotics won't help her unless things get a lot worse...and since antibiotics also give her gastrial intestinal problems that neither of us want to deal with, I think we will wait and see how she feels in the next couple of days...poor kitty.

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Two Years Ago on In My Words...Chase's Catnip Christmas
Chase fully enjoying a little catnip toy at Christmas time.

Tree Up

So I did manage to cross off quite a few items this last week and getting the tree up, and the house decorated was one of them. I had to buy a new tree this year (just like the old one, only less expensive somehow) and it seems to be a bit fuller than the old one as well. It is a small tree since we don't do a real one here, and I usually set it up on our DVD cabinet. We use LED lights we bought in the States that don't get hot, last forever and are very bright. I am able to leave them on all the time so the tree always looks twinkly and bright. This is nice since it took me weeks to even get it up and decorated, so I have to get in all my "tree" time I can...haha.

So due to the fact that we are using the little tree, I have to be selective in what ornaments go on it. Every year that J and I have been married, we have a new ornament so I have to get out each year's ornament and make sure I have them all. Those go on for sure. Then I also have a few favorites that are small enough to fit on this baby tree. Unfortunately most of my bigger ornaments won't be out and about until we are someplace again where we will have a bigger tree.

I managed to put out our stockings, a stocking/wreath on the front door, some Christmasy candle holders and our Christmas cards around the entry door to the livingroom. Overall, the place looks like a little bit of Christmas touched us and I am enjoying the season knowing I am pretty much finished with all the tasks.

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Four Years Ago on In My Words...Trees and Snowflakes
I haven't cut any snowflakes this year...but it sounds like fun so I might have to do a few for our sliders...

Monday, December 14, 2009

Christmas Fun Or Not

It is supposed to be the season of cheer, joy and well wishing but it seems like it has gotten lost behind stress, pressure and greed somewhere a long the line. I want to enjoy the season but as of right now I don't even have my decorations up because I have just not been in the mood nor have had the time (I do actually intend to remedy that right after I post this).

I made about 50 cards in November (when I was feeling some motivation) and put most of them up for sale at our little gift store. I figured that if they didn't all sell by the time I started addressing and sending out cards, I could always use them for my own cards. I managed to crank out 40 more over the last two weeks (mostly it was just that I have been so busy that I couldn't devote any direct time to them).

Today, I was able to send out 40 cards...mostly to those east of the Rockies since it takes longer for mail to get to them than it does for our west coast friends and families. I also pulled those cards I had at the store so I can start addressing and mailing them out as well....so in reality, I should be feeling pretty good about it all.

J and I decided (actually, he didn't get a say) that we would do donations gifts for those that we normally exchange gifts with, with the exception of bookstore giftcards for nieces and nephews. This of course, has made my Christmas much easier because even though I tend to shop all throughout the year during our travels, I only wrap and package in the weeks before Christmas and due to the distance we have to get things in the mail very early. I didn't have to worry about that this year...all I had to do was these cards...so really, I have no excuse for feeling humbugish...must just be all the other stuff I have on my plate that is causing me to not feel the season. I think too that Christmas starts so early now...we had Christmas stuff in the stores here before Halloween, that makes me a bit sick of it by the time it rolls around.

So as of this post, and the dispursement of my Christmas decorations, I am determined to get into the spirit. I think I can manage that for at least the two weeks we have left...and then I can get back to the craziness of normal life after the New Year!!!

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Five Years Ago on In My Words...Bathroom Kitty A funny little story from when we first moved to NC.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

My Christmas

Hey look! Survey time! For those of you bloggers or those who are reading on Facebook, please feel free to copy and reuse for yourself. In all your "free time" this holiday season. Heh.


1. Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate? Both...I like Eggnog but know it is so bad for me and can only really drink it one or two times, but I love hot chocolate as long as the weather is chilly.

2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree? As a kid, Santa did both, but I think that for the most part, our Santa wraps them ahead of time but usually stuffs the stockings with unwrapped small items...

3. Colored or white lights on tree/house? Colored and blinking randomly...

4. Do you hang mistletoe? If I have some and remember to, but it doesn't last from year to year...gets thrown away at the end of the season.

5. When do you put your decorations up? In years past, it was the day after Tday but this year, I still don't have anything up and we are already at the 6th...guess I better get to it.


6. What is your favorite holiday food? Mashed potatoes, cheddar squash bake, or stuffing...any of the three make me very happy.

7. Favorite holiday memory as a child? I don't know that I have a favorite, but I do remember the Christmas that I got my ballerina Barbie pretty vividly for some reason...

8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? My mom could probably answer this better than I can. I don't remember it being a big revelation...I just knew at some point that my parents were involved. I do remember being re-convinced of his existence when I was in middle school because he came to visit all of us kids in the middle of the night and woke us all up.

9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? As a kid, we always opened one gift on Christmas Eve and then the rest had to wait until Christmas morning (even if we didn't get a fun gift that night). These days, we don't have much under the tree (being that we are so far away from family), so I think we open everything on Christmas day.

10. How do you decorate your Christmas tree? While living in Japan, we do a different scenario than we would if we were in the States. Here we have a small fake tree that we put up on one of our cabinets. I put lights and are ornaments from each year on it and that is about it because it is really little. In the States, we usually have all our ornaments out and we either have a real dead tree or a real potted tree depending on our location and the availability of potted trees.

11. Snow! Love it or dread it? I love snow...

12. Can you ice skate? Don't know because I have never been ice skating.

13. Do you remember your favorite gift? I think this answer would change over the years...I have particular gifts that stand out, but I don't know that I would call any of them my favorite.

14. What’s the most important thing about the holidays for you? Friends and family (if we can swing the family part logistically).

15. What is your favorite holiday dessert? Pumpkin pie or my mom's Mexican fruit cake.

16. What is your favorite holiday tradition? One that I don't get to do anymore...caroling. I love to sing and I miss that we used to go to friend's houses when I was younger and we would all sing Christmas songs. Music has always been a pretty big thing in my house growing up and I miss that.

17. What tops your tree? Here, I have a little angel ornament that gets put up there, but in the States when we have a bigger tree, I have a capiz shell star that lights up.

18. Which do you prefer giving or receiving? Honestly? Both.

19. Candy Canes: Yuck or Yum? I don't like to eat them by themselves but I don't mind them dipped in hot chocolate...

20. Favorite Christmas show/movie? All the ones from when I was a kid, Rudolph, Frosty, and Charlie Brown...

21. Saddest Christmas song? Don't think I have one.

22. What is your favorite Christmas Song? Funny, since I am not religious, but Martina McBride's rendition of Oh Holy Night is one of my favorites to listen to. Dona Nobis Pacem is my favorite to sing and I usually can be caught singing it all year long...

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Five Years Ago on In My Words...Locked Out

Monday, November 16, 2009

Muy Feo

Okay, I think I purchased the ugliest pet fish out there today...but it is cute in an odd sort of way. It is a white, mottled fancy goldfish (meaning it has a really great tail). It has one black eye, and ruby red lips like it is wearing lipstick. Seems to be adapting to aquarium life okay...along with the two other fancy goldfish I bought at the same time so they would know people when they moved into the neighborhood....I tried to capture some pictures...my apologies in advance if they aren't clear as it wouldn't stop moving enough for me to get a decent shot of it.

I need to think of a name for it....right now I am calling it "Feo"...but I don't know if that one is going to stick or not...

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Four Years Ago on In My Words...Whip Lash

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Project Kaisei: voyage to clean up the plastic vortex - CNN.com

It would be so hard for me to go to this place and not stay there until it was all cleaned up...this is exactly why I don't do individual plastic drink bottles anymore and why I have stopped using plastic bags too...humans should be ashamed of themselves for letting this happen to the ocean.

Hopefully now that we are aware, we can get to cleaning it up before we permanently damage the ocean. We know now that our existence on this plant depends on the environment around us and the ocean is one of the most important parts of that environment.

We need to get out of the mindset of convenience and the present tense, and start thinking about doing what is right for everything living on this planet and the future for all of us.

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Four Years Ago on In My Words...My God! It's Full Of Stars

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Flu or No Flu?

I keep hearing from all sorts of friends and relatives in the States (mostly via Facebook), about everyone getting the flu this year...(not necessarily H1N1 but the regular flu). So I am wondering...

1. Is it just a case of people talking about their ailments more this year?

2. Are more people actually getting the regular flu this year than any other year I can remember?

3. Or is the fact the media has talked so much about H1N1 and the regular flu this year just made everyone think about it so much that they are basically "willing" themselves to have it?

I am beginning to wonder if it is just not a just collective lowering of the immune system due to media hype, that is causing everyone to get sick. I swear I have not heard about this many people getting the regular flu in the past as I have this year. I know that the mist "shot" this year is a live virus so perhaps more people are getting it from that, although those that are talking about being sick have not mentioned that they got the "shot" this year either.

I have not had the flu this year and I hope to not get it. Of course now that I have talked about it on here, not only will I get it, you will get it too for reading about it because I am just propagating the media machine...haha.

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Two Years Ago on In My Words...Urinal Balls

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Typhoon Lupit

Not tracking towards us at all but is supposed to reach Super Typhoon (Cat 5 Hurricane) strength in the next few days and will (if it follows its current tracking) be the third direct hit to the island of Luzon in the Philippines in the last 2 months...that place just can't take another hit and this one looks strong so far.

News reports already have people evacuating out its path.

I love the image of it though...so defined and organized and still not even up to full strength...

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Four Years Ago on In My Words...Epiphany

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Little Miss Erika

I had the priviledge of watching this angel the other day for my friend. She is a happy, easy baby and it was a treat to have her to myself for a few hours. She definitely likes to be talked to and have all eyes on her (but what girl doesn't...). She has so many expressions, it is impossible to only take one picture of her. Funny thing is, that she would smile for me, face to face but as soon as I would put the camera up, the smile would go away (she couldn't see my face anymore). So I got more shots of her looking a bit perplexed, than ones of her smiling.

Mom and Dad will have to beat the boys off with a stick when she gets older...I don't envy them the teenage years with this little one...she is a big flirt already.

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One Year Ago on In My Words...Rocktoberfest This one is perfect since Rocktoberfest is this coming weekend.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Amazing Colors

I had to pull over and take this picture today. A storm was bearing down on us but the sun was shining brightly and the water had such beautiful colors in it. So many times, I see something beautiful and don't take the time to stop and record it. This time, I found a spot and took advantage of it. The light was just too cool to pass up.

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Two Years Ago on In My Words...Fish S3x

My Memory Board

Here is a pic of the memory board that the Sakura class (4 year olds) made for me after I subbed for them for two weeks. I love how they drew my picture on it with my curly hair and sunglasses on my head. (I blurred out my name in two spots). I was so touched by it and I am so excited to have it to keep. What an amazing experience.

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Three Years Ago on In My Words...Fantastic Foliage

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Weather On My Side of the World

Just love this picture from the JMA site....both storms in one shot. Parma is hanging out and probably flooding parts of the Philippines before it looks like it is going give Taiwan a drive by, and Melor has moved through the Guam/Yap area (haven't heard how much damaged might have been caused there), and is going to turn up this way towards mainland Japan. We aren't supposed to get anything but some peripheral weather from either of them but they are sure beautiful to look at on this satellite image.

I have heard on the news that Taiwan has evacuated some of the hill villages in anticipation, since the last storm that went through that region flooded everything and killed people. From what I have heard Manila (which flooded just last week from another storm) is being spared from Parma for the most part, but if Parma hangs out for the three days that it is forcasted for, they could still end up with more rain than they need during this recovery period.

We are cloudy and rainy today and I am sure it will last until Melor gets past us and up towards mainland. It is nice because it means that I don't have to water, but it also means that all the other yardwork I need to do is kind of on hold....

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Four Years Ago on In My Words...Epiphany

Friday, October 02, 2009

Teaching Preschoolers

For the last two weeks, I have had the priviledge to fill in for my friend at her job teaching preschoolers English on Fridays. It is only one day for less than an hour but it is the best way to start the day, seriously.

There are two classes, one of three year olds and one of four year olds. We teach each class for about 20 minutes. The curriculm involves lots of singing, standing up, dancing, and pointing out letters and numbers on flash cards.

I was a bit nervous the first day on my own (I went the week before with my friend to just see what she did and be introduced to the kids). It is funny how little kids can do that to you but I think I was more afraid that they wouldn't like me.

No problem there...soon enough, you realize that no one else speaks English so if you make up stuff or goof up, no one knows and no one cares. As long as the kids repeat what you say and are smiling at you, you are doing good.

So I boned up on my Old MacDonald and Head, Shoulders Knees and Toes and went for it. It was so much fun.

When we leave the second class, the kids get up and want to high five you and tell you goodbye over and over again. Then when you get out to the yard, if there are kids out there with their teacher, they will stop paying attention to the teacher and shout goodbye to you over and over while waving until you are in your car and driving away.

This last Friday was my friend's first day back but I guess the school thought I might be there so they made this cute little memory board for me with pictures of me teaching the class and the kids drew pictures of me on it as well. It was so cute and now I have this awesome experience to take back with me when I leave here someday.

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Four Years Ago on In My Words...Bug Issues

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Car For One

Look at this cute little car I was behind the other day...it had three wheels...like an enclosed moped basically.

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Four Years Ago on In My Words...Travel Karma

Melor Too?

Okay, now it looks like Parma might not come too close to us (assuming it doesn't turn north at the last minute), but we have Melor churning out there as well...both could be within weather distance of us in the next few days...even if neither gets close enough to hit us. I am excited to see what the satellite imagery looks like when they are both in the same screen...

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One Year Ago on In My Words...Outdoor Kitty Today is the 1st anniversary of moving the litter box outdoors...yeah!!!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Kimono Adventure

Okay, I promised to post some pics from my kimono experience. Since this is a public blog, I can't put any recognizable pictures of myself but I can show you parts and pieces. These are all duplicates from the album I posted a week ago on Facebook. If you hover the mouse over (at least in Blogger) it will give you a description for the image.










It was a great experience and I would do it again in a heartbeat. I was not uncomfortable at all, and I didn't feel restricted in my movement either. The one thing I had to do was sit up straight because any time I tried to lean back in my chair, I could feel the obi knot being squashed.

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One Year Ago on In My Words...Chase in Miniature

Crazy Weather

Okay, both the Philippines and Vietnam get slammed by a tropical storm this week causing flooding and deaths, then Samoa gets hit with a huge earthquake that caused tsunamis all over Asia and now Indonesia just got hit by another big earthquake which has the Indian Ocean on alert for tsunamis...on top of this we have at least two tropical storms/typhoons churning out there...whew!!! The rest of the summer was pretty unexciting but I guess Mother Nature has decided to pack it all in at once.

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Three Years Ago on In My Words...Spectators

Parma

Well, we have a doozy of a storm churning out there. It is over Palau and Yap right now and we can't see the tracks out far enough to see if it is going to turn up our way, but I am sure we will get some weather (which we need the rain) from it at some point next week.

It is already very well formed...I love the definition you can see near the eye of the storm...you can see the depth and strength of it. I hope it gets a bit closer to us and we get a decent storm this year...so far it is has been pretty slow in the storm category.

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Four Years Ago on In My Words...TriMet

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Yummy In My Tummy

I haven't induldged in Coco's curry for quite some time...usually it is because when I am out on the road, I am not ready to eat and when I am home, and hungry, driving out to get food is not on my agenda...needless to say, I have been craving it but not getting it.

So the other day, it was lunchtime and I was on my way home (right past Coco's) and I decided to get an order to go (since I didn't have a book with me to keep me amused at the restaurant).

I got the corn salad (and I am hooked on corn salads) with sesame dressing and a half order of seafood curry. It was yummmyyyyy!!!

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Three Years Ago on In My Words...In Geocaching News

Monday, September 28, 2009

Construction Woes

What is the deal with our homes and construction? If you have read my blog for a while, you will know that last house was nice and serene until after the first winter when they decided to build a house, and then a second house (not at the same time but consectutively). So it really shouldn't surprise me that it is happening yet again (although this is a rental).

This lot has been sitting vacant (used for parking) for the last two years. This is the only window in my entire house that looks out from our property...all others are internal to our fortress-like walls. As you can see, there is a small grassy field (which our owner owns) and then the dirt lot at the corner.

The first day of construction, they brought out the big back hoe and tractors and started leveling the dirt lot. They seemed to dig awfully close to our fence as well onto our owner's land. There is not much I can say since I don't own the land and I did inform our rental company so they could let the owner know just in case he hasn't driven by recently.

Now, and I'll have to post the picture later, I have big huge hills of dirt behind the house with rebarb and cement forms. Hopefully whatever they are building won't be too huge or they will be able to see over our fortress-like walls and all privacy (since 1/3 of the house is glass) will be gone.

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Three Years Ago on In My Words...Tiles

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Fruit Bats Galore

The other night, I was heading out for a walk...sometimes I don't get all my exercise in during the day and have to take walks at night...sometimes kind of late at night.

We have these huge fruit bats here. They don't bother humans, they usually just hang out in the berry trees eating fruit and you only really hear or see them at dusk time.

I don't know what was different about this particular night, could have been the lack of moon, the nice breeze, the coolness of the air (we have been hot and humid consistently prior to this) or maybe it was just a bat social night I didn't know about. Anyhow, there were bats everywhere and they weren't hanging out in the trees. They were hanging on the telephone and electric wires. In my 6 years of living here, I have NEVER seen one of these bats outside of a tree. And it wasn't just one, I passed at least 5 of them on different parts of my neighborhood (I did a 2.5 mile walk) hanging on wires.

This one in particular was there when I went by at the beginning of my walk and then still there when I went back by so I stopped at the house and grabbed the camera. He stayed up there and let me take tons of pictures of him. I wish I could have gotten better ones, but I will be taking my camera with me for now on during my night walks just in case.

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Two Years Ago on In My Words...Don't Mix Them

Insanity

This week, in fact, the last several weeks, have just flown by...I have been so busy I don't even realize half the time what day of the week it is.

I have been slacking on my posting here...it is not that I don't have tons to say, I just can't say everything I want, and I sometimes just don't have time to say anything at all but I am going to improve on that.

I have been working out at least 5 days a week for the last two weeks. I had just gotten to the point where I had to do something and getting back into a routine was it. Now getting the gym is easier because it is automatically a part of my day rather than trying to fit in it and I am already feeling fitter and much better about myself.

For two weeks, I was covering my friend's preschool class on Fridays and her tutor student on Wednesday along with the usual stuff I do, so my week was a bit more jam-packed than normal. Her tutor student has graciously accepted to keep me as her tutor permanently (extra money for me and a great opportunity to talk with a local Okinawan about whatever we want to talk about). Takako is a great student and we have fun together.

I have been battling our pond for the last month. The owner has it cleaned once a year usually but last year when the contractors were here, they were here for 8 days and during that entire time, they were powerwashing rocks (we have a very shallow rock pond in the back yard). It was noisy (since the pond is right off the dining room), and my electricity and water bills went up. So this year, I have been trying to keep it from getting green on my own. This means being proactive with leaves that fall into it and also hosing it out regularly to keep the temp down and the algae at bay...right now, I am losing the battle but tomorrow morning I am getting out there to wage war. I have half of the yard work I have needed to do for two weeks done, but I just need to find time to do the other half.

Being the membership chair for two great organizations in the month of September means being busy, busy, busy since this is when the year starts for each org. I know that the rest of the year won't be as hectic but September has just flown by because of it.

I spent a good portion of my day on Saturday at a fundraiser for a third org I am part of, but it was a lot of fun because good friends were there with me.

Today, I pretty much locked myself in the house to work on cleaning tasks that have been neglected this week...I am happy to say my house is pretty spotless now.

What amazes me that amongst all this, I still manage to get some of the little nagging tasks knocked out...most it is a time management thing (which I know I am improving upon). It helps that I seem to have kicked the procrastination bug for now (otherwise I would be drowning in all this).

So tomorrow is Monday and I am going from the start...grocery shopping, meeting, babysitting for a friend and gym time...we'll see what else I can squeeze in.

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Two Years Ago on In My Words...Puss in Boots This post is relevant because I just had Chase shaved again and she looks just like this picture right now.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Monopoly's Hidden Maps Help World War II POWs Escape - ABC News

What a cool story...gives me a whole new respect for the game and for the industry...

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Two Years Ago on In My Words...Buss n Boots

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Trying to Figure Things Out

I made some changes recently and since I seem to be in the swing of things, I am finally posting about it now. I didn't want to post until I was sure I could get back into the routine...rather than just reposting a post here, I am just going to link you back to the post I wrote on my fitness blog.

I already feel better...and that is a pretty good feeling.

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Four Years Ago on In My Words...NW Geocaching

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Kimono Quest

So, having been in this country for 6 years now, I have never had the desire to wear kimono. While I do try to embrace and experience the culture where ever we go, I just thought that kimono wearing was not for me. Now, don't get me wrong. I love them, think they are totally beautiful but the cost and the fact that most kimono's are not made for average sized Americans has always kept the idea of it at bay.

In the past, I have purchased a few used kimonos at resales to give as gifts to friends or family. I have even purchase a couple of yukatas (a summer casual kimono) to use for lounging around the house. Recently, I had managed to get my hands on a beautiful formal kimono kurotomesode (worn mostly at weddings by the bride's mother) that I thought was beautiful (and it only cost me a few bucks), but I was only planning to hang it on the wall...not wear it. It actually looks very similar to the one pictured at the link.

Fast forward to this month...we have a luncheon at OIWC that is traditionally one that many members wear kimono or yukata to. The cool thing is that the ladies that know about kimono wearing, help those of us that don't. I didn't wear one last year because I didn't have one (or all the parts you need) in order to be able to do it. This year, as the date started getting closer, I figured I would see if I could find all the parts for a reasonable amount of money and finally experience this aspect of Japanese culture.

I managed to find an antique formal silk kimono irotomesode (a step down in formality from the kurotomesode and an antique obi to go with it. I have been told that new, each of these items would be in the thousands of dollars and I managed to get both for 100 dollars each. After getting the hard part out of the way, I started to look for all the parts and pieces that go with wearing a kimono. I needed the under kimono nagajuban (which needed to be formal as well), the shoes zori, the socks tabi, the ties koshihimo and bands datejime, and cords/decoration obijime/obiage.

Since my kimono ended up being such a formal one, I decided to stay as traditional as possible and wear white for the majority of the accessories. This meant spending a bit more but I figured it is a once in a lifetime kind of thing. I will have a master kimono dresser helping me to get dressed for our luncheon, and while I am sure I will not be able to breathe or eat the entire time (not to mention not going the bathroom), I know it will be an experience I will remember and always have.

I have pictured my yukata here with its accessories as well....as you can see, a lot less goes into wearing the more casual summer yukata.

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Two Years Ago on In My Words...Sentimental: Good or Bad?

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Bucket List 2

The Bucket List.

Place an 'X' by all the things you've done and remove the 'X' from the ones you have not. At the bottom of the list, add something you've done that's not already on the list. NO EXPLANATIONS! If someone asks you about something, then fine - explain away. Tag 20 friends (including me) and then publish.

Things you have done during your lifetime:
( ) Gone on a blind date
(x) Skipped school
( ) Watched someone die.
(x) Been to Canada
(x) Been to Mexico
(x) Been to Florida
(x) Been to Hawaii
(x) Been somewhere tropical
(x) Been on a plane
(x) Been on a helicopter
(x) Been lost
(x) Gone to Washington, DC
(x) Swam in the ocean
(x) Cried yourself to sleep
(x) Played cops and robbers
(x) Recently colored with crayons
(x) Sang Karaoke
(x) Paid for a meal with coins only
( ) Been to the top of the St. Louis Arch
(x) Done something you told yourself you wouldn't.
(x) Made prank phone calls
( ) Been down Bourbon Street in New Orleans
(x) Laughed until some kind of beverage came out of your nose & elsewhere
(x) Made a snowman
(x) Caught a snowflake on your tongue
(x) Danced in the rain
(x) Written a letter to Santa Claus
(x) Been kissed under the mistletoe
(x) Watched the sunset with someone
(x) Blown bubbles
( ) Gone ice-skating
(x) Gone to the movies
(x) Been deep sea fishing
(x) Driven across the United States
( ) Been in a hot air balloon
( ) Been sky diving
( ) Gone snowmobiling
(x) Lived in more than one country
(x) Lay down outside at night and admired the stars while listening to the crickets
(x) Seen a falling star and made a wish
(x) Enjoyed the beauty of Old Faithful Geyser
(x) Seen the Statue of Liberty
(x) Been on a cruise
(x) Traveled by train
(x) Traveled by motorcycle
(x) Been horse back riding
(x) Been to Disneyland --- or Disney World
( ) Truly believe in the power of prayer!!!!!
( ) Been in a rain forest In baltimore...aquarium
(x) Seen whales in the ocean
(x) Been to Niagara Falls
( ) Ridden on an elephant
(x) Swam with dolphins
( ) Been to the Olympics
(x) Walked on the Great Wall of China
(x) Been water-skiing
(x) Been snow-skiing
( ) Been to Westminster Abbey
( ) Swam in the Mediterranean
(x) Been to a Major League Baseball game
(x) Been to a National Football League game
(x) Thrown up after riding a roller coaster or other carnival ride
(x) Buried a pet
( ) Auditioned for a television show
(x) Peed in the woods
( ) Visited the Taj Mahal
( ) Been to Iran
( ) Given birth
( ) Walk on the bridge at Royal Gorge
( ) Been knocked out
(x) Been to a National Hockey League game
( ) Been to Jamaica
(x) Won a school spelling bee
(x) Been on TV
( ) Hit a 'hole in one' in golf (i.e. not miniature)
(x) Spoke with someone over 100 years old
( ) Been to all 50 states
(x) Been to the top of the Empire State Building
(x) Fallen asleep in church
( ) Been to a World Series Game
( ) Been to a High School Football State Championship Game
(x) Wet your pants
(x) Lied to your mother
(x) Rode the NYC Subway
( ) Been to Africa
(x) Stood at the Continental Divide
(x) Been rock climbing
(x) Spoken more than one language
(x) Eaten fried grubs from a vendor in Bangkok
(x) Went scuba diving on the Great Barrier Reef
( ) Ridden a gondola in Venice
(x) Saw the Vegas lights from above
( ) Been to the Alps
(x) Gotten married
( ) Seen a play on Broadway
(x) Been Tailgating
(x) Found the love of your life
( ) Been to a Bob Dylan Concert
(x) Gotten a tattoo that really meant something
( ) Been to CREATION!
(x) Stood on top of a mountain
( ) Found Jesus
( ) Appeared in a play outside of school
(x) Danced like nobody is watching
( ) Ran a full marathon
(x) Egged someone's house
( ) been to the Vatican
(x) Dissected a human
( ) Ran into someone famous
(x) Made a difference (for the good) in a someone's life
(x) Found the value of the friendships you have
(x) Been on a sailboat
( ) Been to a game at Fenway Park
(x) Had a song or poem written for you.
( ) Had a book dedicated to you
( ) Been to Apple Studios in London
(x) Been to Mt Saint Helens & Mt Ranier in the same day
(x) Been to the top or the world trade center
(x) Rode in a boat along the Mekong Delta
(x) Been to the top of the Taipei 101 building
(x) Been in the tallest hotel in the world
(x) Gave back more than you took
(x) Camped near Denali
( ) Been to Mile ZERO
( ) Biked down a volcano
(x) Been scuba diving
(x) Been on a jet ski
(x) Saved an animal
(x) Been to a pow wow
( ) Been to the top of Eiffel Tower
( ) Caught bird poop in your hand more than once
(x) Eaten sushi in Japan
(x) Watched the sunset from inside Angkor Wat
(x) Been snowboarding
(x) Eaten at Pho 2000 in Saigon

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Last Year on In My Words...Kitty Land

Saturday, September 05, 2009

AP picture of wounded Marine sparks debate - Yahoo! News

I am sorry, this picture should not have run if the family asked for it to not be used (unless the Marine had previously signed an agreement with the embedded journalists to include pictures and quotes).

It doesn't matter to me what the AP feels needs to be expressed in the news or not, what matters is what that family wants. Why is it that their privacy can be invaded in the name of news, when you have to get permission from everyone else to use their likeness in the media?

Sure, I would agree that most Americans probably don't have a clue how much the servicepeople sacrifice so they can shop at Walmart and bitch about gas prices and that showing bodies in the news would help to clarify that issue, but they were specifically asked by this family to not use this specific photo...several times in fact, and they still did it anyhow.

It is appalling to me their complete lack of compassion and taste in this case.

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Two Years Ago on In My Words...Sentimental: Good or Bad

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Sen. Ted Kennedy Dies At 77 : NPR

I knew he was struggling against the cancer, but I didn't know it had already won....so sad to hear.

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Three Years Ago on In My Words...Unsatisfying

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Looking Back

This weekend has been a walk down memory lane...

When we were still in the States, I started on a project to convert my journals (that I have kept since 1981) to electronic versions before the spiral binders all completely fall apart. I got quite a bit done during that time, in between school, volunteering for Google and maintaining our household. Then of course we moved to another country and projects were put on hold (yes, there are more than just one).

It has been nagging me for a long time but I just haven't be able to convince myself that I have the time to deal with it, so I haven't. But I have decided that none of these projects are going to get done if I don't make time for them and it is just a matter of managing my time into little bits...doesn't matter if I get them all done in one sitting, I just need to take little bites out of them until they are done.

So, for some reason, yesterday (Saturday here), I decided to at least figure out where I was with the journal project and get it organized. I went through them all (I brought them this time around so I could continue this project, last time I left them in storage) and figured out exactly where I was. Turns out, I am in the middle of 1985.

So I grabbed the one I was working on and the next one and decided to get to work. Now converting them to electronic copy entails actually typing them all in to my computer (spelling and grammar errors included). This is actually time consuming for several reasons, mostly though, it is due to the fact that a lot of it is in pencil and hard to read so I have to actually go over things before I can start typing.

Okay, so I told myself as a goal for the weekend, I wanted to get the two notebooks done (the one I was already in and the next one). I worked on it last night while watching a movie and then this morning while watching a movie.

The funny thing is that during this time in my life, I was REALLY into Prince....loved the 1999 album and the Purple Rain albums...and listened to them constantly. So you know what comes on the movie channel as I am finishing up the second notebook this afternoon? PURPLE RAIN!!! Wow, what a flashback...nothing takes you back like music can.

One thing that really struck me is that (at least at this point in my writing), I dont't really talk about what I am doing or listening to or watching at the movies...I am purely focused on crushes, and friends....I guess at that age, nothing else much matters. In most of the journals, I don't even have the year listed so I had to figure out some if on my own yesterday. I guess you also don't think that 25 years down the road, you will be reading what you wrote when you were in highschool.

I wish now that I had written more about what was going on around me, what music I was listening too (I only know about Prince because I remember it), what movies I was watching, where we were living, what my sister was doing (besides annoying me)...I will start paying more attention to what I write in my journal currently so that I do cover some of those things....it seems like otherwise it is just the ramblings of my mind rather than an actual account of my life at that time. Although now that I blog my everyday activities, I guess it might be okay for my journal to just be the ramblings....who knows.

I also noticed that I can spend several notebooks in one month because I was writing it in several times a day depending on what was going on in my life at the time. But as an adult, I have smaller handwriting and I don't write as frequently, so one notebook (I have switched to bound Mead notebooks) lasts me at least a year if not longer. I guess I have other outlets for my feelings and thoughts and that is part of it as well.

It is so funny to read my journals and realize what a teenager I was and how every thing that happened was so important and life or death. I was convinced that whomever I had a crush on at the moment was forever (which we all know is not the case) and that my life would never be right if Mom and Dad didn't let me do something, or my friends at school didn't like what I said or wore that day. It is amazing how small your world is when you are a kid and how easy life really is even though you don't realize it at the moment.

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Four Years Ago on In My Words...Little League World Series

Friday, August 21, 2009

Making A Cup Of Coffee

I have fallen in love with the one serving coffee filter you can find here....it makes coffee for me so quick, with less work, and definitely less mess...

First I turn on the hot water pot, this one is from Taiwan and makes a pot of hot water in the time it takes me to brush my teeth. It is great for tea, the French press, cups of soup, or my individual coffee filters.

This is the individual pouch...I get 30 of these in a bag for about 10 bucks.

This is what the filter looks like when out of the bag. It has directions for opening printed on the side of the filter.

You open the filter by tearing along the line...making sure to knock all the grounds to the bottom first.

Fold the side handles out and then pop the back piece in to make a little hook.

You fit the now open filter pack on the top of your cup with the side handles and the little back handle.

You pour the hot water in, and let it drain. You have to do this several times to get the cup full but it still only takes a few minutes total.

It is actually handy to use the wrapper as a holder for the spent coffee filter.

And finally, my finished cup (waiting of course for a teaspoon of sugar and some milk).

I hope that someday when we live back in the US, I will be able to find these somewhere...they do not taste like instant coffee, but like freshly brewed drip coffee and the hard thing about getting addicted to something from a new place is that you might not find them later on when you live somewhere else.

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Three Years Ago on In My Words...Rolling, rolling, rolling

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Round 1

Yesterday was my first time at Round 1...an indoor play area for adults and kids alike. We had a girls night there and I thought it was a great opportunity for me to find out if it was the kind of place I would want to go to more than once and perhaps even bring the better half and some friends to.

I HAD A BLAST...and we only saw a portion of the place. It has 7 floors total. The top one is an open air area that allows for playing team sports against/with other people. Then the 5-7th floors are part of the Spo-cha which is a "pay an entrance fee and play all you want during the time limit" kind of place. It has arcade games, athletic games you play against a computer, roller skating, pocket bike racing, massage chairs, food, karaoke, and tons of other things to do.

I managed to do the following in the short time I was there last night:

-played a few rounds of computer golf (just one hole each time)...it was kind of like the instructors driving simulator you see at golf stores
-played a game of tennis against the computer, which I am determined to do better at next time
-kicked boxed this computer bag that yells out numbers in Japanese and you have to hit the right number to score...Heather beat my score
-watched a pocket bike race
-sat in an awesome massage chair
-checked out the karaoke room (although we didn't karaoke while we were there)
-rode a bull and practically got thrown off it...note to self..don't wear shorts on the bull
-kicked a soccer ball against a computer (need to have shoes on for this one next time)
-shot an air gun at targets
-tried to get a prize out of an arcade game but didn't

Floors 1-4 have bowling, an arcade, darts, karaoke, relaxation and food for individual prices. We paid for 90 minutes in the Spo-cha part and it was a ton of fun...and in the summer, this was a great way to spend some time in the AC too...of course, we went on a Tuesday night so it wasn't super busy but I bet the weekend nights and days are crazy.

You can get membership for 500 yen a year (about 5 bucks) and that gets you 200 yen off the Spocha each time you go and discounts of the other paid floors if you chose to do them.

I looked for a website for the company but I don't see one. I can't wait to go again...I need to practice up on some of the stuff so I can give J a run for his money...heehee...

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One Year Ago on In My Words...Astronomy Picture of the Day

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

NASA - The Perseids are Coming

It is that time of the year again. This brings back wonderful memories of long hours spent staring at the night sky with my parents in our backyard when I as a kid.

The August meteor showers were always so beautiful and a great reason to just sit back, relax and watch the stars (not that we don't have a good reason to do that everyday).

So I am thinking that perhaps between 9pm and 11pm tonight (Wednesday for me), I might give it a go and see if I can see any of the "Earthgrazers" as well. Since we have had some cloudy skies the last few nights and it is supposed to be the same tonight we might not get a decent "full showing" but I can keep my fingers crossed that I might get a few. I know the moon will be bright and beautiful later on, and that might interfere with early morning viewing (since it seems to be coming up rather late at night), but from 9pm to 11pm, (if I can find a dark spot) might just be worth it.

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Two Years Ago on In My Words...Back On Island

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Typhoon pummels China, forcing nearly 1M to flee - Yahoo! News

It is always amazing to me to read the destruction that these storms cause other places. I guess we are just built for the storms here because we really do not have much damage other than trees even in the strongest of storms.

I have only lost power on one occassion and that was a super typhoon (cat 5) in all of the typhoons I have been in. I guess the smaller villages and low lying areas are what get hit the most in these other countries. We are pretty urban here but I know that some of our smaller islands that only have bamboo and nipa huts do suffer.

It is so sad to see that something I get excited about experiencing is so detrimental to so many others...

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Four Years Ago on In My Words...Led Zeppelin

Friday, August 07, 2009

Goodbye Typhoon

Today was the last of the wind from the typhoon that almost was...I shouldn't say that since Taiwan is being pounded by it right now, but it almost was for us.

We did get some decent rain and wind from it but no mayhem or disaster...and of course, no days off...in fact I volunteered one day at the giftstore and the weather kept customers away but was not bad enough for me to close early and head home...haha.

I am keeping my fingers crossed that there will be another storm out there on the horizon. I probably should get some of my yardwork done (why is it so hard for me to get out and do yardwork these days?) before we do get another, but I have so many other "projects" calling my name...

Oh well, on to the next storm we go and hopefully some opportunities for photos and video will present themselves.

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EIGHT Years Ago on In My Words...Seawall

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Typhoon Morakot Update

Typhoon Morakot is not going to come close enough for us to worry too much at this point, but we are still getting some nice wind and rain from it. You can see from this satellite image why we are getting weather even though we are out of the target zone. Our island is the one right on the center line above the storm. Taiwan is the one to the left in the path of the storm.

I have heard reports of objects flying around, so I recommend stowing anything that is light just to be safe. I put away a few things last night that were loose in our backyard.

From this other picture, you can see that this storm that everyone thought was going to stay small is supposed to get up to Cat 4 strength later today....if this were to turn and hit us, we would be in for some great weather for sure. I need to get down to the seawall today sometime, because I am sure the surfers are out in this for sure.

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Four Years Ago on In My Words...Microsoft BS

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Typhoon Morakot

Well, it is cranking up a bit and will be a Cat 2 storm as it passes us but it is not going to pass us as close as it was going to yesterday. It will only be within 130 miles of us at 3pm on Thursday but it will be gusting up to 126 mph near the center.

I guess I will keep watching it to determine if I am going to put everything away or just the light stuff. Right now on the radar pictures, the storm is not very defined...kind of just looks like a spray of clouds rather than a definite hurricane...I guess we will see what the day holds...the reading I am posting here is from 3am this morning so we should get an update at 9am.

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Two Years Ago on In My Words...Back On Island

TS Morakot

So we have this little tropical storm sitting out there churning up. Right now it is not forecasted to be higher than Cat 1 by the time it hits us, but I am keeping my fingers crossed that it will ramp up a bit and give us a good storm.

If you look at this picture, where the last little marker is, is where we are...so we are looking at Thursday night/Friday morning right now. I am trying not to get too excited about it, although I did send out a word of caution and advice to some of my friends here that haven't been in a decent storm yet...just to be on the safe side.

I will see how things go tomorrow before I start getting too busy with strapping stuff down and the like...I have cargo straps for anything I plan to leave outside and then we have a garage area for protection for the car. I don't really have a lot outside right now...and the teak table and chairs are pretty heavy but I usually collapse them and strap them together to be safe...last thing I need is for a chair to get smashed through one of my wall-sized plate glass windows.

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Three Years Ago on In My Words...Now You See It, Now You Don't

Friday, July 31, 2009

Bring On The Heat

So it is 7am and these are our current conditions. It will only get hotter today and if we do get the 30% chance of rain, more than likely, it won't cool things down, it will just increase the humidity.

I really don't mind the heat here...I even enjoy the humidity too, but you do get used to sweating a lot, all the time. I guess I am just used to the fact that summer means sweat and I try to plan for outdoor things first thing in the morning or in the evening when the sun is low (or gone).

We had a picnic the other day at the beach and even in the shade, we were all sitting there sweating. Of course we didn't have any wind either and that is a huge factor here. We need wind.

Currently, there are no typhoons on the horizon and we could really use one. I love them and we haven't had a decent one in ages.

Anyway, I better get off here so I can get a couple of things accomplished outside before it gets too warm.

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Two Years Ago on In My Words...Hitting Bumps But Living Through It