Sunday, August 30, 2009

4th of July

I figured I'd better blog about Independence Day before Labor Day rolls around. I also needed to get some space between that pic of my squishy hip, and the top of the page!

The Services Squadron put on an awesome July 4th Festival this year. Lots of fun, food and entertainment, and all of it was free!

There were bouncy castles and other carnival rides for the kids, a petting zoo, BBQ buffet, drinks, sno cones and live music, it was really an all-American 4th of July celebration, ending of course with a spectacular fireworks display. And did I mention that it was all free?

As you know, Otis and Meg were in the States most of July, Gabi went to the fest w/ her friends, so it was just me and E. We stayed for about 2 hours, stuffed ourselves with all the free food, enjoyed my fave Air Force Band of the Pacific, Pacific Trends, Ethan jumped for a while in Scooby Doo's belly, took a few spins on the mini go-carts and made nice with a massive, mutant bunny. Later on we met some friends for more food and watched the fireworks (E hates fireworks, but he endures them for mommy, I looooooove fireworks!). We had a really great day and completely exhausted ourselves.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Love hurts

Hoop love, that is. Just as I suspected I woke up today with a doozy of a bruise on my right hip (I uploaded it small to spare you a little from my flab and stretch marks!). Surprisingly, I'm only a little tender around my hips, not sore at all, and nothing hurt when I broke out the hoop this morning!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Hoop Update

I've been hooping (or attempting to hoop) off and on for nearly 12 hours now, and there's definte progress! My form needs serious work, I look like I'm channeling about 10,000 kilowatts of electricity as I flail about inside a sparkling rainbow, but I'm able to keep the hoop up for nearly a full minute!

Who knew hooping could hurt so much? I'm sure I'm going to wake up with bruises in the morning.

Hoop Love at Last!

I've finally taken the first step towards something I've been interested in for a long time. Hoop Dance!

I became interested in hooping over 2 years ago. When we found out we were coming to Japan, I scoured the internet for months looking for anything and everything I could find about Japan. That's actually how I found many of the blogs I follow now.

In my obsessive searching, I came across the absolutely hoop-awesome Sushi Zume Tokyo. Deanne is just.......indescribable, a hooping goddess. She's funky, fresh, hip, oh-so-creative and totally addicted to hooping. When I first started following her blog, she had just started hooping as a hobby and was still teaching kindy. Eventually she stopped teaching to hoop full time! She's built this whole hoop-tastic world where she teaches hoop dance and does her own hoop dance free-lancing thing where she puts on hoop shows and clubs and parties, etc. So awesome.

Not long after I found Deanne, Lulu, who also lives in Japan and who I'd already been following began hooping too. I still have dreams of the three of us hooping together in Yoyogi park. Although Lulu will probably be spinning with Goma-chan strapped to her back!

As always, I procrastinated in epic proportions, and never got around to getting my big ol' booty inside a hoop. But that ended today! I ordered a rainbow hoop from eBay and my sparkly bit of circular fun arrived yesterday. Big thanks to Amanda, the Supa Dupa Hula Hoopa, for making my first hoop! She's a beauty!

I've tried it out off and on all today. I've only managed to keep it spinning once, for about 15 seconds. Grrrrrrrrrr But it's really fun (and funny, apparently) and I work up quite a sweat in my efforts. The girls have been showing me up all day (when they weren't bustin' a gut laughing at me) hooping for 15 minutes straight, doing all kinds of tricks, double hooping, I'm thinking they both may find hoops under the tree on Xmas.

In my disasterous hooping defense, I've never hooped in my life. Not even as a kid. Otis was surprised to learn that I didn't own a hoop as a little girl, but it just wasn't my thing back then. I did, however, kick butt with a Lemon Skip It - did anybody else have one of these? You put your foot through the loop and it rests around your ankle, then you skip and jump over the cord as you spin it round and round with your foot. I totally rocked that lemon when I was kid, I think my record was like 550 skips!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Kaeru Matsuri

Back in June when we went to see Matsumoto Castle, we happily stumbled upon the Kaeru Matsuri (Frog Festival) going on along the Metoba (I think. Fuka-chan, do you know?) river. I don't know if it's an annual event (Fuka-chan?) but it was fun, and we had a good time.


There were booths and tents set up along the river, selling all kinds of frog stuff, there were frog crafts for the kids to make, and all sorts of froggy games.

Before we came upon the festival, we were walking behind this group of kids, all dressed in green. This was during the Iranian election protests when everyone was wearing green to show their support and we thought "That's kind of weird, but great, they're supporting democracy in Iran!" Turns out they were dressed up for the frog festival! D'oh! (In our defense, that guy was not wearing the frog hat when we first saw them)

The first tent was run by some Japanese scouts, there were all sorts of froggy crafts for kids to do for free. E made a cute little wooden frog charm.

We poked along down the river, checking out all the vendors, I bought a few froggy wares and we watched some of the performers that were set up along the street.

When you bought something from one of the vendors, you got a ticket good for one play at various carnival-type games, Ethan wanted to play the ball toss game that was down in the river

We bought some tomatoe flavored gelato (blech!), and fresh squeezed orange juice, then packed in and headed for a big farmers market that was supposed to be in the area. We never found it and ended up driving all the way to Nagano! We finally made it back home after a 5 hour drive, the expressway was jammed packed, as usual for a Sunday evening!


Sunday, August 23, 2009

Stupid F%&*$# Blogger

Definitely not a great welcome back from Blogger! That last post? Took me over an hour to get it up! And the spacing is still crap! But now it's past 11:00p and I'm exhausted, so it is what it is. Better than no post at all I suppose. Grrrrrrrrrrrrr


Last month, thanks to the tip by Tokyo5, Gabi, Ethan and I headed to Odaiba to see the life size Gundam robot. The robot was erected for the celebration of Gundam's 30th anniversary and is on display until Aug 31.

It had been a blazing hot day, so we waited til late afternoon before heading over from the New Sanno (we were spending 3 days in T-town for my b-day). We stopped at Decks, a great mall in Odaiba, for dinner at one of my favorite restuarants, Ku'aina. They have awesome burgers, I had a pineapple cheeseburger. YUMMO!

Outside Decks.
Yes, that's the Statue of Liberty, with the Rainbow Bridge in the background.

Ethan was very excited in the days leading up to the trip. "Today? Is Gundam today?" He wiggled and squirmed all through dinner at Ku'aina, fairly bursting with excitement. But knowing him like I do, I tried to warn him that the robot was going to be HUGE, but he just couldn't grasp the concept, and a gigantic robot just seemed like all his wildest dreams come true.

As we rounded the corner and the robot came into view, he stopped dead in his tracks, completely stunned, then said "Um, I changed my mind, can we go to Toys R Us now?"

We sat at a "safe" distance for awhile, watching as the crowd milled around the robot and walked under it, between its legs. Finally, he decided it was all okay. "I was just kidding" he informed me.

We headed up to the queue and made our way between Gundam's legs, then went back to our spot on top of the hill and waited for the action.


It was everything we hoped it would be, and we had a great time. We're planning to go back again this weekend, taking our neighbors who have 3 young boys, and Meg, who of course was in FL when we went the first time. Otis has had some kind of work related crap every single weekend since he's been home, and this weekend he's on call, so he'll miss Gundam. Too bad.

If you're in Tokyo before the 31st, definitely head to Odaiba!


Friday, August 21, 2009

I'm in love

Is this not the MOST amazing shoe you've EVER seen? I love it!
I'm normally not a shoe girl. Nearly every piece of footwear in my closet came from Wal-Mart or Target. When we lived in Florida I wore flip-flops 365 days a year. I'm currently the proud owner of not 1, not 2, but 3 pairs of Y599/pair Japanese Croc knock-offs. I've seriously never given a rip about what I cram on my dogs. But this beauty......... she's calling my name. And that's probably because, well, it's her name too! This baby is the "Brenda" by Jessica Simpson! How awesome am I? I'm an adorable pump by Jessica Simpson!
I've been scouring the internet for months trying to find a pair, but so far, no luck :(

No mojo

Nearly a month since my last post! Yowza! I guess I've just kind of lost my blogging mojo. Combine that with major computer issues and some crappy personal crapola and I just haven't managed to update.

So here ya go:

O returned from his U.S. trip on 07.25. His Shock Trauma course in Baltimore was really tough, he saw some pretty horrific stuff. It was so much more, well, traumatic, than what he deals with on a day-to-day basis, but he really learned alot. He was working at the University of Marlyand Medical Center, which is smack in the middle of downtown B'more, so you can probably imagine some of the stuff he saw. He did rotations in the ER, the trauma unit, the burn hospital, the ICU, and of course the operating room. The purpose of the course is to give him trauma experience for the battlefield. There's no other way for military medical personnel to get real, hands-on trauma training in regular military hospitals where they just aren't equipped for major medical trauma (people with catostrophic issues/injuries are taken to regular, civilian hospitals) so they do these shock trauma courses at major medical centers where they'll be exposed to the really gory stuff like massive burns, gunshot wounds, traumatic brain injuries, etc. After those very intense 3 weeks, he spent a great week in Florida w/ the kids, it was way too short, as always, and we're so happy that his parents were able to drive down for the week as well.

Meg is home from her summer in Florida, she had a great time with her dad and bonus-mom, returning to me 2 inches taller, sporting a Coppertone tan and full of that horrible, spoiled-only-child attitude she always gets when she's w/ her Dad for any length of time. We're exorcising that slowly but surely.

Both girls attended a 4-day running camp up at Tama Hills, Gabi went on 08.09 and Meg on 08.16. Meg seems less than enthused about running this year, but I'm thinking it's just residual laziness from her summer spent bumming around the beach and being waited on hand and foot.

Gabi really enjoyed her summer job, she worked full time for 6 weeks with the base maintenance squadron. They just did busy work: sweeping, cleaning AC filters, etc but she loved getting that paycheck! I was really proud of her, she got herself up every morning at 5:30a to catch the bus at 6:30a, arriving at work at 7:30a, working until 4:30p, then catching the bus home. She also babysat 2 - 3 nights each week. But she stuck with it and never complained. Some mornings I'd get up and drive her to work (her office is only a 5 minute drive, but the bus stop is a 10 min walk, and the bus only runs on the hour, so she'd have to catch it at 6:30 to get to work by 7:30) and on babysitting days I'd try to pick her up at 4:30 as most of her jobs started at 6:00p, but the bus wouldn't get her home until 5:30p. I made her keep $500 in her savings account, she used the rest of her earnings for new school clothes, shoes and glasses (beyond what I bought her) and a new camera.

Plans are in the works to bring our middle son to live with us for our last year in Japan (Hi Marcelles!). Hopefully he'll be here within the next 3 - 4 weeks. He's also 15 and entering the 10th grade, he's just one month younger than Gabi. We're all very excited, the girls especially have missed him so much. When I asked him what he wanted to do while he was in Japan he replied "Sky diving and snow boarding!" I have no idea how he's related those things to Japan.....

The girls go back to school on 08.31, as usual Gabi is excited, Megan, not so much. They're at that age now where having them home for the summer really doesn't affect me much, I'm still able to stick with my normal schedule and activities. Having Meg gone for 2 months, and Gabi working full-time for 2 months, the summer was hardly any different for me than the rest of the year.

I think that's about it. I've decided to go back to work full-time for this last year in Japan, I've got a shopping list 2 miles long, and a travel list even longer than that, so I'm going to need all the extra $$$$$ I can get. So the job hunt is on..........