Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Downsizing

As mentioned in a previous whine post, we are thinking about moving. Not for anything job related, but to a smaller space in a condominium.

The biggest appeal this has for me is to reduce the amount of stuff we have. I am a person who likes to throw away/recycle things as fast as possible. Too many things around bother me. If i haven't used it in a year, i don't want it around.


The Mister, on the other hand, does not like to throw things out. In case it might be needed. Someday.

One of my sisters-in-law is like this too. The basement of her house used to be filled up with things like old milk cartons and boxes of magazines. I asked her once why she saved the milk cartons. She said it was in case the kids might need them for a school project.

(I can see this if she thought they might enter into the milk carton derby, but that never happened.) They eventually moved to a house with no basement and had to throw out (literally) tons and tons of stuff. I know because i helped.

I admit that there have been a few times when i got rid of something that i wanted back, but for the most part, i have been happy to part with the stuff.

I have this theory that your stuff expands to fill any space you have. So in reducing the space, i hope to reduce the stuff. Stuff makes me anxious.

Friday, May 23, 2008

We've been through worse

We are not taking very good care of each other right now. Tempers are short, irritation is high.

**The Mister is in negotiations for a "bigger job." You know, to take up more of his time and energy and health. (Bitter much?) Update: Last night he found out he got the job. Now he's even more anxious.


**We are thinking about moving, which involves selling a house, buying another and getting rid of years of crap. I quail to think of it.

**Em will be taking off in August for college.

**The last few weeks of high school are filled with activities, many of which require my time and attention.

In the past, after a while, (click
here for back story) i have pitched a hissy fit and dragged his ass back to reality, back to the family i mean.

I wonder if i'm willing to do it again.

I don't know. I'm a pretty solitary creature. I have some friends, i do some social stuff, i have lots of time alone. If i want sex, i know where to turn (to my left.)


Maybe it's because i don't feel as if there is as much family to protect.

i dunno. Maybe it's just part of the sine wave of a marriage. Maybe i'll just let the wind fill this marriage. Maybe i am out of energy.

Maybe.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Peeved

I got this idea from Gina at My Very Last Nerve.

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Dear Ford F350 driver,

Was it really worth the half gallon of gas your car guzzled for you to jam on your car's gas pedal so you could pass me and get one car ahead? That's $2 worth of gas right there, dude. And how many times a day do you do it?

It's not just how far you drive, but how you drive.

Love,

26-miles-per-gallon-in-the-city driver

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Dear husband,

I hate it when you brag. It makes you look small and petty in front of other people. Just calm down and listen. You have nothing to prove.

love,

your wife

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Dear crazy mail lady,

Just hand me the mail. I do not want to gossip with you about the neighbor's remodel, or the past occurrences in the neighborhood. I am not interested.

Love,

mail customer

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Dear neighbor,

That huge lawn you planted a few years ago takes most of your weekend to mow and weed eat. I hope it was worth it. I'm glad you like yardwork so much.

I am grateful that the geese like your yard better than mine, and you now have to plow through piles of goose poop when you mow instead of me.

Also, it makes me sick when the Chem Lawn people arrive in their big truck and spray chemicals all over your huge lawn. Do you think about how some of that fertilizer ends up in the lake?

love,

Your greener-than-thou neighbor

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Dear friend,

When you use your daughter as a way to present your ideas to me, i am not fooled. I know who's opinions they really are.

love,

parenthood-is-not-a-competition


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Who would you write a letter to?

Friday, May 16, 2008

A random bunch of pictures from Japan.

So you wanted to see a picture of Em dressed for the prom? Well, how about one of her dressed as a geisha?

She's the blue-eyed one. Upon viewing these pictures, her Japanese teacher said that she could tell right away which one was Em, as no Japanese woman would ever stand with her feet apart like this. (Raised by wolves she was.)


picture by Azuki's dad

The family that Em stayed with took both girls into Kyoto and paid for them to be costumed like geishas. When i saw this picture, i just couldn't believe it was my Em.

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This woman has a table along the walkway where she cuts out your likeness from paper. I thought it was cool. And no, that's not me.



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This picture shows that there are assholes everywhere. Although seeing Kanji characters carved into a tree amused me. It probably says "Yuki-n-Hatsumi 4 ever!"

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This was taken in the bamboo forests. This does not do the place justice because it doesn't capture the beautiful light and the blueish colors of the bamboo.

And again.

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This is a Japanese puppy we saw in a pet store. He costs around $1,600. Isn't he precious?

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Some graffiti from the streets of Kobe. I thought it was kind of eerie and sad and beautiful.

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In Kyoto, the Mister and i wandered away from the main tourist area and ended up walking along a river. Lots of garbage and some pretty birds. This is an egret.


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A close up of some dried mushrooms at a food store.



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Some pickled bits of something sold in bags. Loved the colors. Why did blogger decide to post this picture sideways?

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A man on a bicycle looking in the window at the meat store.

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A machine that automated the making of little sweet cakes. It was fascinating to me. I could have watched it for hours. At the end of the process a final motion stamps a picture on top of the cake.

And they were tasty too.



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At a park in Otsu. As you can see, it was cherry blossom season. Everyone spreads out those blue plastic tarps to sit on. Not a blanket in sight.

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I thought this was interesting. I can't tell if it's a homeless encampment or what. This is up the lake from the park in the above picture. Again, we were wandering far from the tourist area. Note the chickens and the heron fishing in the foreground. The water was full of garbage and turtles and frogs.

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This was just a collection of pictures for which i couldn't/didn't feel like coming up with a theme, but i wanted to show them to you anyway.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Oh Deer

I hope y'all aren't sick of Japan yet, because i still have some stuff to show and tell. On the home front, we survived Senior Prom this past weekend, but it was SO WEIRD seeing my tomboy geek daughter dressed all the hell up and looking incredibly beautiful.

Back to Japan:

The Mister and i visited Nara one day, where deer are considered sacred. They are all over the place. (This led me to wonder how many "incidents of unfortunate contact" occur between the deer and cars.)

Anyway, as i said, the deer are just wandering around in the street.

Every year (we read) the deer are rounded up and their antlers are sawn off. The brochure said that this is to avoid the deer hurting each other. I think this is to avoid the deer hurting people as they are pretty aggressive.

You can buy deer food from street vendors all over the place for 150 yen (about $1.50.) Here are some deer being aggressive. Wonder if her coat tasted good.

We were lucky enough to be there during cherry blossom season. The petals are falling like pink snow in this picture.

Of course there were signs telling us what not to do so as to avoid pissing off the deer. I did not see any deer that looked this angry, so whatever it was, we didn't do it.

Along the sidewalks there are traditional Japanese vendors selling yams baked in these portable wood burning ovens. The proprietress is talking on the traditional Japanese cell phone, somewhat ruining the anachronistic appeal of this scene.

This is the deer that caused me to finally give in to deer pressure and part with 150 yen for some deer wafers. Come on, BABY DEER!!! Tell me you could have resisted.

I believe this deer was posted there to help tourists find the bathrooms.

And hey, look at this! Meno pops her video posting cherry, takes a video of the deer and forgets to turn off the camera so you get to see her purse too. What could be better than that? C'mon, it's only 6 seconds long.

video

Thursday, May 08, 2008

It must be a sign

I am easily amused. So here are some signs i took pictures of in Japan, with my interpretation of them below each one.


(When i first looked at this one, i thought it meant no jumping into puddles. Then i realized that the figure was a dog.) "No skateboarding, no dogs off leash, no fireworks, no eating or drinking. No fun in the park at all. Don't even smile."

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"If you give birth in the park, name the baby Dust, and take it home with you." (The Mister and i speculated that the phrase "Take Dust Home," might have come from the word dust bin. I can't explain why a stork was used as the image.)

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I'll just leave it up to your imaginations what i thought when i saw this sign. In my defense, i was so tired as to be giddy. I laughed so hard i was crying, even though it wasn't that funny. Clearly, i need psychological help.

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"If you ride your bike here, it will piss everyone off and bring shame to your ancestors."

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This from the side of an escalator. That kid sure doesn't look Japanese.

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"If you get your hands caught in this door, you will cry loudly and bring shame upon yourself and your ancestors."

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We didn't eat here. I hear the food tastes like shit.

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"900 meters to the Ghibli Museum." This is for all you Miyazaki fans out there. The museum was great.

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On the trains, this was to indicate to whom you should yield your seat. Although why that second man is carrying a beach ball-shaped speaker is a mystery.
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"If you drop your hat down upon the railroad tracks, do not jump down to retrieve it. Inspector Gadget will fetch your hat for you."

Monday, May 05, 2008

Gifts

Giving gifts is a big thing in Japan. Not big expensive gifts, but little things that are usually edible.

This is a sweet custom.


(Although i wonder about giving large gifts to people who then have to pack and fly across the Pacific with them.)


Below is one of the gifts The Mister and i received from the the family with whom Em's friend stayed. For size comparison, the scantily clad model holding this box is 5'5". The box is also about 4" deep. We first opened this on the Shinkansen (bullet train) traveling back to Tokyo the day before we left.

This is what was inside:

The box and its contents are both beautiful. But we weren't quite sure what it was.

Em's friend asked a nice Japanese man who was sitting next to us on the train. He told us that they represented the tiles found on top of traditional Japanese houses.

Still slightly puzzled, i asked "But, is it food?"

He started laughing and said that Yes, it was in fact, food.

It's a cookie! Three of them in fact, nestled together, shrink wrapped, wrapped in bubble wrap and placed lovingly inside the box.

They tasted like fortune cookies.

We also received a box of chocolates, some strawberry filled cookies, and a large Hello Kitty stuffed animal.