Thursday, October 30, 2008

Funny Kid

Yay, I figured out how to post videos! Here's my laughing daughter. She get's deliriously happy right before bedtime.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

At Last

After about $200 in shipping, they're finally here. I spent a couple hours last night thumbing through these treasures, while Hannah spent a couple hours trying to eat them.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Oh yeah, so THIS is why I haven't learned Japanese yet.

How to count to ten in Japanese: ichi, ni, san, yon, go, roku, nana, hachi, kyu, juu.

How to count flat things like paper, Cd's, shirts, plates and pizzas: imai, nimai, sanmai, yonmai, gomai, rokumai, nanamai, hachimai, kyumai, jumai.

How to count books (which aren't included in the flat things): issatsu, nisatsu, sansatsu, yonsatsu, gosatsu, rokusatsu, nanasatsu, hachisatsu, kyusatsu, jusatsu

How to count electronics, appliances and bicycles: ichidai, nidai, sandai, yondai, godai, rokudai, nanadai, hachidai, kyudai, judai.

How to count candy, coins, pencils, furniture, hats, cups, bowls and boxes: ikko, niko, sanko, yonko, goko, rokko, nanako, hachiko, kyuko, juko.

How to count minutes: ippun, nifun, sanpun, yofun, gofun, roppun, nanafun, hachipun, kyufun, juppun.

How to count shoes and socks: issoku, nisoku, sansoku, yonsoku, gosoku, rokusoku, nanasoku, hachisoku, kyusoku, jusoku.

How to count trees, bananas, knives, spoons and forks: ippon, nihon, sanbon, yonhon, gohon, roppon, nanahon, hachihon, kyuhon, juppon.

How to count small animals like dogs, cats and fish: ihiki, nihiki, sanbiki, yonhiki, gohiki, roppiki, nanahiki, hachipiki, kyuhiki, jupiki.

How to count large animals like cows, lions, horses and elephants: ichito, nito, santo, yonto, goto, rokuto, nanato, hachito, kyuto, juto.

How to count people: hitori, futari, sannin, yonnin, gonin, rokunin, nananin, hachinin, kyunin, junin.

How to count coats, jackets, suits, pants and skirts (but not shirts, because those are flat, remember?): ichaku, nichaku, sanchaku, yonchaku, gochaku, rokuchaku, nanachaku, hachichaku, kyuchaku, juchaku.

Friday, October 17, 2008

And Now I'm Stuck in the Web You're Spinning

It really sucks when the people you work with don't trust each other. I feel myself getting stuck in the middle of some pretty complicated webs of he-said-she-said exchanges. It's gotten to the point where I'm having to write contracts of agreement between people. I'm not qualified for this!!!

Thursday, October 16, 2008


This past weekend Hans and I took a day trip to the artsy island of Naoshima. It's about an hour-long ferry ride across the Seto Inland Sea from Takamatsu. It's main attractions were contemporary art museums, a museum dedicated to the James Bond book The Man with the Red Tatoo, the Art House Project, and a recycling plant. I know a recycling plant doesn't sound so exciting, but this one boasts creative and artistic slag ceramic byproducts generated in the melting process of recycling industrial waste. Cool, huh? You can also make reservations to participate in slag pottery-making and painting classes at the ceramics studio. Unfortunately, we didn't have time to tour the recycling plant or ceramics studio. Maybe next time...

The Chichu Art Museum was my favorite. It features works by Claude Monet, Walter De Maria, James Turrell and Tadao Ando (the architect who designed the building). "Chichu" is a Japanese play on words meaning "underground." The entire museum is inside a rolling hill on the island, and all of the lighting within is natural. I was most impressed by the works of James Turrell. His works present light as the actual art, and he creates spaces in which to experience different aspects of light. My favorite work was "Open Sky," which was simply a room with a square hole in the ceiling. We sat in that room for quite some time, contemplating this fascinating piece. It took us a while to figure out we were staring at the actual sky! The design of the hole was an optical illusion, because we couldn't see its walls. It just goes to prove that the greatest works of art are still in nature, and while most artists spend their entire lives trying to imitate it, Turrell just said "why not let nature be your canvas?"

The Chichu Monet garden featured plants that inspired many of Monet's paintings, including his "Water Lily" series, which was on display.

For lunch we found this cool little vegan restaurant called "Aisunao." Their specialty is brown rice, which is VERY hard to find in Japan! The food was great. I especially enjoyed the vegan chocolate cake for dessert. Yummy!

As you can see, Hannah also had a lovely time. Here she is playing at the restaurant, and in her stroller with her "sail" up.

And, for a little treat we found these suspiciously shaped popsicles! And yes, they were frozen in mysterious rubber "balloons." We had great fun joking about them. Too bad I didn't try the peach flavored one. It was flesh colored. :)

Monday, October 13, 2008

Jim Henson's "The Storyteller"

Hans and I bought the definitive collection of "The Storyteller," and have been watching one every night. Why don't they make childrens' shows like this any more?! Storytelling is a dying art, and I am proud to own this gem of a collection for Hannah. There are absolutely no cliches, and most of the endings are bittersweet - some more bitter than sweet. My favorites are "The Luck Child, " "The Soldier and Death" and "Sapsorrow," which is a MUCH better version of the Cinderella story. For those of you who are avid Jim Henson fans, I highly recommend adding this series to your collection.

I am a teller of stories, a weaver of dreams. I can dance, sing, and in the right weather I can stand on my head. I know seven words of Latin, I have a little magic, and a trick or two. I know the proper way to meet a Dragon, I can fight dirty but not fair, I once swallowed thirty oysters in a minute. I am not domestic, I am a luxury, and in that sense, necessary.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Crispy Crunchy Juicy Goodness

I love Japanese produce. So fresh. So organic. So yummy! There is something to be said for locally grown fruits and vegetables. I appreciate knowing my produce wasn't picked before it was ripe and sprayed with some chemical to make it LOOK ripe. Right now apples, kabocha squash (Japanese pumpkin), Mikan oranges, persimmons, figs and Naruto sweet potatoes are all in season. I love autumn! Every time I go to the checkout counter, my shopping cart is so colorful! Now I know why the Japanese live so long.

Edamame plants - next door to our apartment

Isn't your mouth watering?!?!

I wasn't crazy about sweet potatoes.....until I tried these.

And the variety of MUSHROOMS!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Hannah Banana

Here she is, basking in the glory of her latest trick - sitting up! I can't believe how fast she's growing. I don't know how soon she'll be crawling, but she sure does try to reach things that are pretty far away. She's such a delight. I know I say that all the time, but she really is. She loves to eat, she loves to play, she loves to sleep, she loves to snuggle. . . she also likes to pull hair, scratch, screech, and spit. She does this cute tongue-clicking thing which I have yet to catch on video. She also smacks her lips and nods her head, mostly when she has an especially delicious mouthful of food. Her favorite toys are books. She hates getting dressed. She'd rather go all day in just a diaper (or less, if we'd let her!). She loves bath time. She loves people.

I'm going to eat you!

Friday, October 3, 2008

VP Debate - Biden my time to BaRACK ON!!!

I was much more impressed by the VP debate than the presidential debate. Questions were still avoided (more on Palin’s part than Biden’s), but a lot more was discussed. They even hit on gay rights! My impression at the end of the debate, actually, was that BIDEN should be the one running for president. We’ll see how Obama pulls through in the next month.

I was going to give a lot of opinions in a long, drawn-out play-by-play, but you don’t want to read that. Simply said, Obama and Biden will win this election. If they don’t, then America is even more masochistic than I thought, and I probably won’t be returning to live there any time in the next 4-8 years. I appreciated Biden sticking to the facts, and even pointing out where he and Palin agreed. I thought it funny, though, when Palin was SO vague in her stance on gay rights that Biden capitalized on the opportunity and said they agreed on that one, when they both knew they didn’t. Palin has said before that same-sex couples shouldn’t receive state health benefits, whereas Biden and Obama support giving them visitation rights in the hospital, rights of joint property ownership, and rights of health and life insurance. Am I to understand, then, that treating same-sex couples like normal human beings and average US citizens is actually OPTIONAL? Scary.

All in all, I learned a lot more from these two than Obama and McCain. Palin has a hard time covering up her inadequacy in any topic other than Alaska, and even THAT is questionable. Biden is your average politician, able to spin any sentence on a moment’s notice. I have to give props to Biden, Obama and McCain – campaigning for the presidency as members of senate is SO much harder than running as a Governer, especially when your voting record is out there for all the world to see.

Waiting for my absentee ballot to arrive in the mail….

Wednesday, October 1, 2008


I quit caffeine cold turkey when I became pregnant with Hannah. Before that, I had a minor caffeine addiction - headaches, sleepiness after the high, etc. It was difficult to overcome, and not something I want to do again. Last week I had my first Diet Coke in a long time. It was heaven in a bottle. I got so much done that day! So the little wheels in my addiction-addled brain are beginning to turn again. Is caffeine really so bad, if I learn how to take it in moderation? There's a certain "zing" I get from it that no amount of rest or exercise can duplicate. Is that bad?

So, today I had my second Diet Coke, and I'm restless! I want to get things done - lots of them. Laundry, cooking and work are all fine, but they aren't satisfying. I want to create. My resources here are limited, but I can write. I just don't consider myself creative enough to write something worthwhile. Instead, I spend most of my time reading, critiquing and editing other people's work. When is it my turn to be the author?