Thursday, June 30, 2011

The big 4-Oh NOOOOOOO!

My 40th birthday is quickly approaching.  Bearing down on me like an out-of-control bullet train, and I'm tied to the tracks, helpless to avoid the impending carnage.  People say "age is nothing but a number" and "it's how you feel on the inside that counts!"  Yeah, well, guess what?  INSIDE I feel 60!!!!

The last two years have really kicked my ass emotionally, mentally, even physically.  I'm exhausted, disheartened, disappointed and discouraged.  I'm working really hard to get to a better place, and most days I'm okay.  Better than okay actually.  Most days I'm actually pretty good.  But with this major milestone birthday looming in just 13 days, I'm feeling......ill at ease.  A little shaky, very uncertain and more than a little sad when I look at where I am at this point in my life.  THIS is all I've managed to accomplish in my 4  decades on this planet?????  (Shit, in 10 short years I'll be half a century old!!!)

So, with all that negativity hanging over my head, I've decided to accomplish something monumental (well, monumental for me at least):


Somehow it just seems fitting, conquering that mountain, reaching the summit.  I'm hoping it will be the jump start I need to make forty a FABULOUS year.

So, T-8 days and counting.  I'll be climbing Fuji-san next Friday night with two co-workers (both much younger and in much better shape than me!).  I am determined to reach the top, to watch the sun rise on this new decade of my life.  Wish me luck!!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Beijing, baby! or China, please accept my humble apology.

Booked our tickets on Friday for 4 days in Beijing, the first weekend in September.

For whatever reason, I've never had any interest in visiting China, at all, ever.  It's just never interested me, and I've got a miles-long list of other Asian countries I must visit before we leave Japan, so I had no plans of ever going.  Honestly, when I thought of China the only things that came to mind are Communism, pollution and a massively huge population.  Then one day, Gabrielle mentioned she'd always wanted to visit the Great Wall.  Since she's shown absolutely ZERO interest in visiting or seeing anything at all the entire 4 years we've been here (sadly, she did not inherit my incurable wanderlust) I pounced like rabid cheetah.  WE ARE GOING TO CHINA!

Usually, I'm obsessive about trip planning, spending months and months in advance scouring the internet for any and every scrap of information about our destination, picking the perfect hotel, planning itineraries down to the minute, mapping out routes, deciding restaurants and meal plans for every single meal of every single day. I'm always so worried that we'll miss something awesome if the trip isn't meticulously planned in extensive detail (it sounds tedious, I know, but I absolutely love it, it's nearly as fun as the actual trip itself!).

Seeing as China's never been on my travel list and I couldn't think of a single thing we absolutely had to see, I figured this would be an easy trip to plan. Great Wall, check.  How will we ever spend the other 3 1/2 days???  After a little Googling to figure out how to entertain three bored kids in a completely foreign country for 3 1/2 days.........holy shit.  There is NO WAY we'll see even half the stuff I want to see in just 4 days!!!!  I honestly had no idea.  How could I not have known how awesome China is?  I feel like a stupid shmuck who's been left out of some kind of global secret.

I'm so freakin' excited about this trip!!!!!  I think we're going to need to extend it at least one more day. The only thing is, I booked for the weekend right after school starts, as it's a 4-day weekend for me, and a 3-day weekend for the kids, so they'd only miss 1 day of school and I wouldn't need to use any vacation days.  But it's China.  IT'S CHINA!  Surely they can miss two days of school to visit CHINA?!?!?!  Even if it's literally at the beginning of the school year, right?  GAAAHHH!!!!

Anybody ever been to Beijing?  Any tips, advice, "must see" spots?

China, I'm so very sorry I underestimated you all these years and I can't wait to meet you!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Things-I-Love Thursdays #2

It's been a rainy week, plenty wet to dampen even the brightest mood, but I've been okay, helped greatly by the 4-day wknd plus the additional 1.5 days I took off yesterday and today.  What a perfect segue to the first thing I'm loving:

1.  I LOVE my job.   I'm the only member of my department, besides the secretary I share with the rest of my section, which means there's not a whole of need for accounting for my time or my whereabouts.  It's the kind of program that no one ever notices, unless something goes horribly wrong, so I can pretty much do as I please as long as things stay on track.  No suspenses, no deadlines, no stress at all, and my schedule is super flexible.  I'm free to take off during the day to do dr and dentist appts w/ the kids, attend their school functions, have lunch w/ them.  Because my department works independently of all the other sections, with no real deadlines, I can take time off w/out worrying that others are being burdened by having to do my work while I'm gone, or that I'm preventing others from getting their work done b/c my work is missing.  There's nothing in my department that will suffer in my absence or that can't wait until I return.

2.  I love the brazen bamboo attempting a coup in my backyard.  I have a nice, thick stand of bamboo separating our yard from the neighbor's, and in the last 3-ish weeks, crazy shoots of bamboo have started exploding from the ground all over the backyard.  That stuff grows FAST, shooting up over 2 feet in less than a week!  Unfortunately, I'm going to have to hack most of it down as it's busting through my garden tiles, literally tossing them aside as it springs up, but it's fun to watch how fast it grows and seeing the random places it pops up.

3.  I love our new kitten, Nyan-chan, curled up purring on my lap.  It's been over ten years since we had a cat and I'd forgotten how sweet and cuddly kittens are.  She's also a lot fun to watch when she plays, jumping, pouncing and flipping all around, chasing anything that moves, including the cursor on my computer screen!

4.  I love curry, which is weird, because I HATED curry before I moved to Japan, couldn't even stand the smell of it.  And then, I was introduced to CoCo's Ichibanya.  Everyone around here absolutely raved about CoCo's curry, how addictive it was, insisting I'd love it.  The first time I had it, I really wasn't impressed.  It wasn't bad, but I really didn't see what all the fuss was about.  A few days later, I had the most incredible craving for more CoCo's and I've been hooked ever since.  Add some cheesy-garlic nan on the side........pure bliss.

Happy Thursday everyone, it's almost Friday!!!