Monthly Archives: September 2009

Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow


Akinori went back to Japan yesterday. I was sooooo sad all day. I don’t know how many times I cried. I think there was a bit of PMS mixed in with the loneliness though, and EVERYTHING I watched on TV made me cry. EVERYTHING. It was getting a little ridiculous, and I think poor Sara was very confused at her mother’s uncontrollable weepiness. I really wish he stayed longer, and of course he said several times, “I should have stayed longer”. He said the same thing when we came two years ago, and this year extended his stay by one bleeding day!! I told him a zillion and a half times 4 flipping days was not long enough, but of course he never listens to me. Sometimes I wonder why I even bother offering my opinion when I know he’s only going to disagree. Besides my constant griping though, I love him to death and miss him terribly. I was so relieved when he called to say he got in okay.

We ended up not getting to the cemetery until Monday morning. The cemetery is closed on Saturdays for the Sabbath and it’s closed for all major Jewish holidays, and of course Sunday was a major Jewish holiday, so we finally got to the cemetery on Monday. It was kind of cathartic to finally visit my grandmother after so long, but still made me very sad. I was happy to finally introduce my husband and daughter to her and my grandfather though, and I’m sure they were happy to meet their grandson-in-law and great-granddaughter too.

After the cemetery we went shopping downtown and got some good omiyage for Akinori’s family and all the neighbors. Of course we forgot to buy some so I have to get more before I go back. I’m going to have to ship a few boxes I think because there is no way we’re getting all of our stuff back to Japan in only the suitcases I brought with me, and certainly not under the weight limit. We then met my parents at the local mall to get some family photos taken. My shithead brother was supposed to make it into town in time for the family party the day before, but didn’t. Then he was supposed to get here in time for the photos, but he and his wife decided to go to her parents’ house first even though we told them about the photos way ahead of time. We went to dinner after the photos and my brother’s family was supposed to meet us for dessert, and by the time they showed up it was nearly 10p.m. and Sara was a mess. So we skipped dessert and made them come back with us to my parent’s house where we had a nice visit, but it was ridiculously late by the time they left and we finally got to bed. Plus I was having trouble being warm to them since they had been pissing me off for days on end at that point.

Today is now Wednesday and Sara and I met my friend J and her daughter to go to the zoo. I knew that getting out today would undo all the yucky feelings I had the day before. It was great to see J too. It was probably about 12 or 13 years since I had last seen her and she really didn’t look any different than I remembered her. She has a great house and her husband is an amazing artist. I really enjoyed spending time with her and her daughter today. I only wish we had more time to spend. I had to leave around 2:30 because I had a belly dance class today. Another great class. I really love this teacher and can’t wait to go back to Japan and teach my students all the wonderful things I’m learning. I’m going to a group class tomorrow night and then my last class is next week. So sad.

Aside from the belly dance class tomorrow night I have lunch plans with T. If I had never moved to Japan, T and I would probably be married with children right now, which is why we have a lunch date with Sara and not a dinner date while my parents babysit. I could write a whole book about my romance with T, and I definitely think it would make a really great movie, but it is completely innocent these days. I just enjoy seeing him for drinks or lunch when I come into town, and we reminisce about the old days and have a good catch up. Of course I make sure I am looking my absolute best when I see him, but really, what else would you expect? Speaking of which, it’s time for me to go and get some beauty rest for tomorrow. ‘Night!


Small favors and small pants


So yesterday I was unfortunately unable to find anything to do that didn’t involve whipping out the credit card OR going to an ATM machine, so I did both and went to the mall and got some shopping for myself done. Up until now I haven’t really seen too many clothing items that I just *had to have* so I hadn’t really purchased anything for myself, besides shopping for Sara, my little dress-up doll, is so much more fun! But breastfeeding has been an absolute godsend and I am at a weight now that I haven’t seen in at least 6 or 7 years, and even then it was just for a little while, so really since high school, and my clothes, especially pants, just don’t fit anymore. Like even a belt doesn’t help, don’t fit. So even before coming to Chicago I knew I needed to buy at least a few pairs of pants.

First on my list was a pair of jeans and I found a really nice pair at Express. Then I went to the GAP thinking I’d get maybe one more pair of jeans, but I found a nice pair of capri pants on sale and tried them on in a size 10, but found to my very, very pleasant surprise they were too big! So I tried a size 8, and they fit, even a little roomy! Of course I couldn’t say no to buying a pair of pants in a size I hadn’t bought in nearly 20 years! I wore them all day today and they feel like maybe they are even a little too roomy. Could I possibly be a size 6?! I think I might have to throw a party for myself if that’s the case.

My only worry now is what will happen when I stop breastfeeding? Is this weight going to all come back? Will belly dancing keep it off? I also have all these clothes that don’t fit now. Do I sell them or give them away or do I keep them so I can wear them as maternity clothes the next time I get pregnant? I’ve heard one of the best ways to keep weight off is to get rid of your “fat” clothes because then you have no choice but to lose a few pounds when your new “skinny” clothes start getting tight. Hmmm. I’ll think about that when I get back to Japan.

After shopping, I had a belly dance lesson, that I felt much better after than the one on Tuesday. I told the master guru teacher about how crappy I felt after Tuesday’s lesson, and she kind of helped me get through everything I was feeling. She is such an amazing teacher. I really wish I had more time here, like a year, so I could really, really study with her. She teaches not only moves and steps, but the rhythms and which of your muscles are moving in order to move the body parts you want to move, and how to teach certain things, and Arabic vocabulary, just amazing. I really loved my teachers in Japan, but this master guru is truly a master guru. Oh I am so glad I found her! Too bad I can only fit in 2 possibly 3 more lessons with her. Makes me sad. But we talked about her maybe coming out to Japan to do some workshops so hopefully we can make that a reality sooner rather than later.

Akinori arrived today. I am so happy to see him! Of course I missed him, but I really missed having someone to help me look after Sara. It’s been really hard looking after her on my own the last two weeks. I already explained in a previous post about my parents and their grandparenting, so having another pair of hands that I can pass Sara off to, guilt-free, is awesome! And Sara is really happy to see her father. The smile on her face was priceless. When I get on a computer that can take a memory stick I’ll post photos because I rarely get to see a smile as big as the ones I saw today.

I had planned to take Akinori and Sara out to the cemetery where my maternal grandparents are buried after picking Akinori up from the airport. My grandmother raised me, and I haven’t been to her grave since her funeral. I’m still not over her death, and just the thought of her can bring tears to my eyes, so going to her grave has been more than I could handle for the last 12 years, but I really want my grandmother to meet my husband and my daughter, who I named after her, and I want them to meet her, so to speak.

So we arrived at the cemetery at 3:50, and there was a sign posted saying it closed at 3:30, but the gate was open, so we drove in. A car was following us as soon as we got in, making me think someone else was there to visit a grave and the sign was just old and wrong. But when I eventually stopped, the car pulled up next to us, and the man inside told us that the cemetery gates were closing in 10 minutes. I tried to explain I was looking for my grandmother’s grave, and I just started crying. I think the man in the other car was a little surprised because his gruff manner all of a sudden softened. The cemetery is huge and I knew we wouldn’t find the graves within the next 10 minutes, and the office with people who can help you do that was already closed according to the man, so we turned around and left. I cried and cried and cried.

We plan on going back tomorrow, and I know I’m going to cry a lot more again tomorrow, but this is something I need to do. I miss my grandmother so much (crying again). It hurts just as much today as it did the day I got the phone call from my mother she had died. Will it ever get any easier? I don’t know how to get past this pain. I think that’s one more reason I prefer living in Japan. I’m not faced with the absence of my grandmother every single day. She lived with us since I was 2 years old, so being in my parents’ house is a reminder everyday, that my grandmother is not. I sit on the sofa and look at where her easy chair used to be, and I can still picture her sitting there watching TV. Her bedroom is now my mother’s office, and it pisses me off to no end that one would never know that was where my grandmother slept every night for 20 years, unless you told them. Her bed and dressers are gone. Her clothes are no longer in the closet. Needless to say I have a hard time going in there. I miss her so much. I wish my husband and daughter could meet her in person, she would just adore them and I’m sure they would adore her back.

Alright, gotta get to bed and get some rest before the crying fest tomorrow.

p.s. My mother has been sitting next to me jabbering away about something or other the entire time I’ve been typing this not even paying attention to the fact that I’m not paying attention to her OR crying. Oh mom! Now I have to get her off to bed too!

Belly Dance Blues


I had a private belly dance lesson on Wednesday night. It was a great lesson. I learned a lot and was reminded of moves and other things I had forgotten. BUT I was having trouble keeping up with some of the combinations or getting them down really. I know if I practiced them at home and then went back and did them again, I’d get it, but it really made me feel like a beginning dancer and what the hell am I doing teaching kind of feeling, and kind of depressed in general. Let’s just say it was a very humbling experience. I think the master guru belly dance instructor was also a little bit disappointed with my performance. And the most horrible thing is that when I get frustrated I don’t perform as well, and then I get more frustrated and perform even worse, and it’s just a vicious cycle. I have another lesson tomorrow night so I am hoping I wasn’t too traumatized by the last lesson and can perform at the lesson tomorrow night. I think I am going to need a bit of ego stroking before I go back to Japan to teach and really make an effort to build my school. I really felt like I had no business teaching after that last lesson. (sigh)

In other news, yet another friend canceled on me. I was going to meet my friend and her daughter to go to the zoo tomorrow, but her husband developed pink eye, and she’s not sure whether she or her daughter have contracted it yet, so we decided to play it safe and postpone til next week. Not a big deal, I think another friend mentioned going to some park tomorrow anyway, so I’m sure we can find something to do that preferably doesn’t involve me whipping out the credit card or stopping at an ATM every hour or so.

Tonight however, I went to CLK’s house for dinner with his family and CM’s family. It was so nice to see everyone. I was thinking in the car on the way home how I knew CLK and CM before either of them were married, or even dating their wives, and now all three of us are married and have children. It was one of those nights that make me sad I don’t live here and can’t see those people I hold near and dear to my heart more often. And it was a school night, so we had to say goodnight early because everyone has to work or go to school tomorrow. Of course there’s no guarantee I would see them more often even if I did live here. CM is so busy with work and his 3 kids, I don’t think anyone sees him very often.

CLK has a really beautiful home. The kitchen alone is about the same size as the first floor of our house. That’s another thing that kind of makes me sad about not living in America. Not that we would ever be able to afford a home of that size even in America, but it would cost millions of dollars to build a home like that in Japan, and it would start depreciating in value the moment we moved in. To tell you the truth, I don’t necessarily want to live in such a big, glorious home, but it’s really nice to have the opportunity to visit them once in awhile. 🙂
Ah well, someday (hopefully in the not-too-distant future) we will build our own home, and it will be nice, and comfortable, if not spacious, and I won’t have to lust over other people’s homes anymore.

CM also has a little girl who was born 1 week before Sara. It was really funny to see the two of them in the same room. Sara is a little taller and a LOT skinnier and moves, A LOT more. Abby is very content to just sit apparently, and although she turned 9 months last week, still has no desire to crawl, where Sara on the other hand is a crawling, climbing, getting-ready-to-walk monster on wheels! Both sets of parents tonight agreed that in their experience of the 5 children among them, they had never seen a baby so incredibly, not just mobile, but active. Yes, we have one 8-kilo ball of trouble on our hands, and boy are we proud! Actually, having every parent I meet be amazed and astonished at how active Sara is just makes me feel more and more justified that I am such a bad housekeeper and cook. Maybe not the desired effect, but at least I don’t feel as guilty about not vacuuming or being able to make dinner most nights of the week anymore.

Off to bed now so I can recharge for another fun day of chasing baby!

The Saga Continues…


After the teariest dinner in the history of the world, Sara went to sleep, still clothed and unbathed at 7:30, and although she has woken up several times since (it’s now nearly midnight), I have nursed her back to sleep because I am not dealing with a fully awake baby at this hour of the night, and even if it means she’s going to be up at an ungodly hour of the morning, I’d rather deal with her then.

So, yesterday Sara and I went with my mom to the festival held every year by S’s place of work. She works at a facility for severely developmentally disabled people aging from infant to senior citizen. It’s a really amazing place, and every year they hold this festival to raise money. I wasn’t planning on going, but since G canceled on me for the day I figured why not. I was hoping we weren’t going to run into S, and since there are literally thousands of people at this event, I thought the chances were fairly slim. Nope, guess again. Within 5 minutes of walking in the gate, who do run into? It was all fine and pleasant. I think I might have been a little distant, which I think she might have picked up on. She asked if I had been by Novelty, where we both used to work, and I said I had, and then proceeded to explain that I had a friend from Japan staying with us the first week and was showing her around, which was why we went. Why did I feel the need to justify the fact that I went to Novelty and saw those folks, but didn’t bother to contact her? Why am I still trying to pacify her and make sure I don’t step on her toes? God that bugs me! From what she said, she will still be showing up here on Sunday, so I guess we’ll have to see what happens then, and hope there’s no big showdown. I think she has taken a step back from the relationship also though, so there probably won’t be any big showdown and everyone will just play nice for the day and that will be that for this trip home. I made the mistake though of telling the whole saga to CLK at Novelty though and he has a super big mouth, so I’m sure if I don’t tell him not to say anything, he will go mentioning something to her at the BBQ like “So I heard you and Brenda aren’t getting along because you had a tantrum at her wedding.” I’m going to dinner at his house on Wednesday, so I’ll have to warn him then to keep his big trap shut!

In other news, I have another belly dance class tomorrow afternoon and this one is happening for sure since it’s a private lesson. I can’t wait! I want to SWEAT! I’m sure I’ve put on a ton of weight just in the two weeks I’ve been here. There’s so much crap food just lying around this house and I keep sticking it in my mouth! Arrgghh! I keep telling myself it’s only while I’m here on vacation and I’ll work hard to take off the weight when I get back. That is like putting one foot into the black hole of weight gain. Bad Brenda! But I am very excited about the lesson, and really glad that my mom has been a lot more proactive about dealing with Sara lately. The fact that Sara has really taken to my mom has seemed to help a lot. My mom is a total egomaniac, and loves it when people love her, so we have a win-win situation here. Poor Grandpa though, he’s gaga over Sara and she would rather sit in my mom’s lap.

Got some more good shopping in today, and I found it really strange that I just wasn’t into shopping for myself. I find it a lot more fun to shop for Sara now. I also keep thinking about the ridiculous amount of clothing I already own. Half of it doesn’t even fit me anymore after all the weight I’ve lost, and I’d like to get rid of it, but I keep thinking that if I get pregnant again, I’ll probably want those clothes around then. Hmmm. I guess I’ll have to take a look at what I’ve got when I get back. It was just a little sad though that shopping wasn’t as much fun. I got lots of yoga pants and sports bras though, so I am ready to teach belly dance everyday if I have to. Bring on the students!

Alright, I should get off to bed so I can deal with Sara in the morning. Goodnight!



Today was not the best day. I think I’m premenstrual again because the whole day just started out with me feeling kind of crappy for no particular reason. I was pretty excited about doing a belly dance class though, however when I got to the studio I was the only person who showed up for the lesson, so they canceled it. They need (want) a minimum of 3 students to hold a class. I shouldn’t have been so disappointed since the woman teaching it was filling in for the master guru teacher who is out of town this weekend. But I think I just really wanted to move and sweat. I NEED to move and sweat! I chatted with the woman behind the counter and the fill-in teacher for about 30 minutes, and when it was painfully obvious that there was no way she was going to teach this class just for me, I left feeling pretty crappy.

What better way to drown one’s sorrows than shopping, so I decided to go and look for the really cute sports bra I saw the other day at the Target by my parent’s house, but they didn’t have my size. I went to the Target by the belly dance studio, and the bra was like half price, but they still didn’t have my size. Feeling even crappier now. I get home and my dad comes running down the stairs with Sara saying “You’re mother’s home! We’re saved!” And poor Sara’s face is all tear-stained and her nose is all runny. Poor thing was thrilled to see me, so that was kind of nice. We then ate some lunch, I had a shower and mucked about the house for awhile. I hate doing that I feel so damned unproductive when I do that.

So around 4:30 I finally decided to put Sara in the stroller and take a walk up to Devon Avenue, otherwise known as Little India. It’s about 3 blocks from my parent’s house and I was hoping to find some nice material for belly dance veils at one of the sari shops. Lo and behold the shop right at the end of our street is the same shop that was advertised in the belly dance studio, so I go in. Lovely little Indian woman behind the counter practically forces all kinds of belly dance accessories on me, and I can’t say no. What is wrong with me? Well I managed to say no to the veils she wanted me to buy that were absolutely inappropriate for dancing with. She kept trying to tell me they were good for it, but no way. Just would not work. The veils she did convince me to buy are actually way too short for me, but I figure they are good lengths for my little Japanese students to use, so I bought two (was only going to buy one) and hopefully I can sell them both to my students. She also convinced me to buy FOUR bra tops. They are really, really beautiful, and I’ll have no problem selling them, but still, I felt like a total heel for saying okay when I was only going to buy one or two. Aaachh! So instead of feeling accomplished and productive I left the store feeling like I had been taken for a ride and a little apprehensive about whether or not I’ll really be able to unload all this loot on someone.

Got home and then we all went out to dinner. Sara fell asleep in the car and luckily stayed asleep through the first half of dinner. When she did wake up, I sat her in the high chair and fed her her dinner to keep her quiet and happy, and by the time she finished, dad was finished with his meal and he took her for me so I could finish eating. It was the first time in a long, long, long time we had a relatively quiet meal, with little cause for stress. That was probably the best thing that happened today. Unfortunately because she napped at such a late hour (in the restaurant) getting her to go to sleep at 9:30 was impossible, and it was more like 11 before she finally fell asleep. At least she’s down now.

I was supposed to see one of my friends from high school tomorrow so I texted him to find out what the plan was, and he totally bailed on me. Said he and his wife had to paint before furniture arrived or some shit like that. Whatever. I suppose I’m a little relieved because now I don’t have to worry about where we can go with my little screamer in tow, and instead I can continue hunting down that sports bra at various Targets around the city. There is still other shopping I want to do too, so I guess I could do that as well.

My parents are going to the annual fundraising festival held at the place where S works. I could go with them, but there is a 99% chance that I will see her there, and I’ll have to talk to her, and it’s going to be awkward since I haven’t called her, and I don’t know if I really want to go through all that. I guess we’ll see how I feel tomorrow.

Time for bed. Here’s hoping I have some nice dreams to put me in a nicer mood tomorrow!