Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

I was not looking forward to Thanksgiving especially much this year, but since we were planning on Jose finally coming home next week, I bought a small turkey and some trimmings to make a good Thanksgiving dinner a week after, so we could celebrate with him.
Its been a long time since he first left, in mid-April I think. I learned that I can read my own sewing machine manual and put thread on the bobbin myself. I learned that it is possible to be a single mom in Japan when you can't read or speak the language, and live across the globe from your family and still be ok.
You can take care of the kids, the house, the car, and the dogs, make friends, volunteer, go out, teach English, have fun and basically have a life.
But having Jose in my life just makes it richer and more fun. He is my best friend and the person who I always want to talk to at the end of the day. He understands me better than anyone. After 15 years of being married, I've discovered that having him around is definitely better than doing this life on my own!
So, when the Turkey came home early and surprised us, the night before Thanksgiving, we were so shocked and excited! All I could do is grab him and hug him. The kids and dogs danced around him and I didn't want to let him go.
Sure, my hair was a mess, the dishes weren't done, I had muddy paw marks on my jeans and the floor could use a sweep, but I couldn't have asked for a better homecoming!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Taz takes a walk

Whew! I just got back from walking the dogs and let me tell you, I worked up a sweat. I gave up trying to make Natsumi heel, and focused on trying to break up fights! When I say fights, I mean fights to the death, where Natsumi tries to shake Cricket by the neck and Cricket turns into the Pekingese tasmanian devil. I do not speak dog very well, so I'm not sure what brings on the fights, but I have learned not to break them up using my naked furless human hands. Using the leashes, I held them apart as best as I could and we made a bee-line for home.

Doggone it.

Here are my two strategies: tell them a firm "no" and tug them apart roughly using their leash.

Frankie's favorite: tell them a firm "no" while squirting a strong stream of water directly in their evil little faces.

I am all for Frankie's strategy, except that I have noticed that after Frank made up the official dog separator and discouragement device from an old bottle of that 7th Generation counter and pee spot cleaner, he began having too much fun with it. He developed an evil glee about him as he began using the spray for such infractions as: looking at his guitar, sniffing the remote control, and yawning loudly.

Friday, November 21, 2008

English Club - Thanksgiving theme

Aw, and I was worried that the kids wouldn't like my pumpkin bread! :) I think that is her fourth and fifth piece!!

A blurry shot by my Frankie, the helper of the day. Here, they are making their paper turkeys using their handprints for the feathers. It was fun, because they put alot of creativity into the turkeys, not just looking forward, etc. I showed them a couple of examples, including my make-up diva gal turkey and my running in the breeze turkey.

Here are some more cuties eating my pumpkin bread. Now, no one has to know it really came from Betty Crocker originally. The important thing is, I slaved over a hot oven for 25-35 minutes.
I also made some little turkey kabobs with a cube of turkey and a cube of cheddar cheese, on a toothpick. I made many many of these. Unfortunately, there is not any evidence left over to take a picture of. I heard cries of "is that real turkey?" "It's turkey!" and "Oishiiiiii!"
The Japanese are so sweet and polite, I think they will always tell me my cooking or treats are good, no matter what.
Today was my first day of teaching without a partner, and it was great fun. This time, I felt like a got to really do things my way and have fun with it. I made a fake thanksgiving table and gave each child a picture that I cut out of a magazine, and asked them to help me put the food onto he table.
For each child, we labelled what they were bringing to the table: all thanksgiving food. It was fun because I tried to make them yell out the name of the food after I told them what it was. I had my stuffed friend Tom the Turkey that I actually got in Duluth.
I explained that Tom is very hard of hearing, and needed the children to please speak loudly.
They can be very intimidated by speaking English out loud, but I have noticed that several of them know quite a few words and phrases and some are familiar with the alphabet. If they loosen up a bit, they can really belt out the words also.
Anyway, time to start thinking about the December classes. I am planning to make some gingerbread houses for the private lesson: "glue" graham crackers together with frosting to make the house. I have scads of candies hidden in the hall closet for this, just for the record. Just for that, not for me to seak bites of.
The boys and I rented a few movies to watch tonight while we snuggle on the couch, to celebrate the end of a long week of school and getting ready for the class. We've got popcorn in the cupboard, and I found a cinnamon apple soy candle at the commissary that smells pretty good. So even though we don't have Daddy home yet, we are going to have a good night together.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Here are the lovebirds.

Matt and Krista right before the wedding. I wish I had gotten some better shots of them, but for some reason the camera wasn't focusing. I'm sure it was something with the camera. Yeah. But hopefully they will give me a nice little picture for Christmas. Right, guys?

go catch Noah!

Nate, I said, go catch Noah so I can get a picture of him! Quick, there he is!

Yet more wedding pics from Duluth

Me and my boys. Who would. Not. Smile. For grandma.

Aw, my Mom and Dad are just so cute sometimes. I guess.

My sister Heather, her husband Leroy and one of their boys Petey. I am sad to say I could not get any pics of her other fellow Noah, who is two and a half, that were not action shots: blurred beyond recognition. Still love you Noah!

More pics

We see you!

Little Jeanne, or as we call her, DeeDee, Beans or Bean-nerd. The cute one.

Frankie and my little brother Ben cannot possibly be up to any good.

These good looking people...

Matt had the groom's dinner at Grandma's in Duluth. It was a great location. they had a pizza and pasta bar and a huge salad which was good for us dieters. Downstairs they had an arcade and pool tables for the kids and the eternal adolescent boys that make up my family. The bride and groom were radiant. Here is my little brother Joe and his wife Lyndsay. Who by the way, is beautiful, smart and naturally thin but we love her anyway.

My little sister Jeanne, who is the cutest girl in the family and the only one who can get away with any color hair she wants. And my brother Matt.

Matt and his fiancee Krista, who is one of the sweetest people I have ever met. I mean, just a pure sweet and good person. Stands out as such, seriously. And I don't mean that as an insult. What a cute couple.
Missing here is my sister Heather and my brother Ben. Heather was getting her kids settled down at the hotel suite we shared up in Duluth, and Ben is deer hunting or whatever. The gall! Killing Bambi during Matt's groom's dinner. The gall.

wedding cross stitch

Well, this is the cross stitch I made my brother and Krista for their wedding. They are both wonderful people and deserve something cool to hang on their wall. At least, it better be hanging on their wall when they get back from their honeymoon! I mean, when I come over you'll have enough time to run to the closet, grab it and quick hang it up in a central location before I get there. Love ya, bro!
Little baby bro, I should say. Mee Mee. Little Mee Mee.

8 pm, must be time for bed!

Yup, we are back from our week in the States and since we got back, getting tired out at 8 and waking up all perky at about 4 am. Honey, your girls are waiting for you to come home!!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

weeere back!

We have had a very busy two weeks, so I haven't been posting much. First, halloween, the halloween English class party, my friend Yuri moving as well as other friends here moving the same week. then, my brother Matt getting married in Minnesota.
We were there for a week, and now we are back. Whew, what a whirlwind!
That was the highlight of it: seeing my wonderful little brother get married to a really great gal who makes him happy!!
I will be posting some pics that only a grandma would love, once I recharge the camera.