Monthly Archives: February 2010

Feeling like an ass

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I had a few bits of really sad news this past week. The first was that a friend from when I was on JET died. He wasn’t a good friend, and I hadn’t seen or heard from him in at least 5 or 6 years, but it is incredibly sad, nonetheless, to know that he is no longer here. Even sadder is that he took his own life. I’m not sure of the details. I heard everything 5th hand or so, but there is a Facebook page dedicated to him, and reading it made me cry like a baby. He was definitely not the type of person I would ever believe could do something like that. He was funny and good-looking and nice to everyone, and really, really smart. Apparently he had become depressed while teaching in Africa, and returned to the States, where he was still depressed, but refused treatment. I just hope he is happier now and at peace. Rest in peace, my friend.

The other bit of sad news was also a death. My first boyfriend ever’s mother passed away. It looks like it was from cancer. Again I found out through Facebook (better than the evening news, that Facebook). I’m not in touch with him that often anymore. He lives in LA now, so I saw him 5 or 6 years ago when I was there visiting my aunt and uncle on my way home, and I’ll drop him a line now and then, but he’s a successful (not really famous though) actor/dancer/comedian/public speaker, and is constantly traveling or filming something. I just figure he doesn’t have time for the little people anymore and only contact him when I go home to see if he’ll be around.

Anyway, I was so shocked to hear that his mother passed away. It made me cry like a baby again for the 2nd time in as many days. There were so many posts on his Facebook wall with people sending their condolences, and I wanted to send mine too, but writing something on his Facebook wall seems so impersonal. I wanted to call him, but it was only a day after his mother passed, and I didn’t know if it would be appropriate to call him. So I sent him a message on Facebook, and I was crying the whole time I was writing. I wrote it and re-wrote at least 6 times, and it took forever. I had no idea what to write. I couldn’t think of any words that would portray how saddened I was to hear. I just said that I was sorry to hear the news, that I thought of calling but didn’t know if it was appropriate, that I was sorry there was so little I could do from so far away, but I would like to send flowers or make a donation, so when you have time please let me know where I can send one or the other to, and I shared a memory that I had of her.

I read everyone else’s messages, and they were so well-worded and sounded so heartfelt. I felt like I had made a total ass of myself and that what I wrote didn’t seem heartfelt at all. I’m just not good at expressing myself in these situations I guess. If I could see him or talk to him, it would be different, but in writing, I don’t think I come across very sincere at all. I just feel horrible. I wish I hadn’t sent the message at all and just sent flowers to the funeral home or something. I seriously feel like an ass. (big sigh)

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Perfect cure for a hangover (long)

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Yesterday was a great day, and today even better! Though I expected a horrible day since I woke up at 7a.m. with a pounding, painful headache and completely nauseous, but that is what 6 Heinekens will do to you.

It has been gorgeous every day this week so far. On Monday it was a whopping 13.5 degrees! We didn’t really do much though besides grocery shop rather late in the afternoon, so I promised myself I wasn’t going to let us waste anymore beautiful weather inside the house, because who knows when winter will rear its ugly head again. I made okonomiyaki for dinner and 1. it was not a disaster 2. it was fast and 3. it actually came out quite delicious, so I think it will be a permanent addition to my very limited cooking repertoire.

Yesterday morning it was warm enough to put Sara in the stroller and actually walk to play group. It’s about a 20 minute walk, so when it’s cold it sucks and I end up driving, but yesterday was totally enjoyable. We were the first to arrive at playgroup and the last to leave. Sara ran around like the mad little monkey that she is, and tired herself out enough to fall asleep in the stroller about 3 seconds after I put her in.

Left playgroup and went to the Docomo shop because my phone is fucked. I’m dying to get a new one, but I want the brand-new, super shiny, fancy shmancy Experia, and it’s not coming out until April, so I went in to see if they could fix it at least temporarily, and it turns out they can, and for free, which is even better! But it’s going to take about 2 weeks, so they gave me a loaner in the meantime. And I got to reserve my brand spanking new phone too! Left the Docomo shop on a total retail high!

While I was in the Docomo shop though I got a text, text, text, phonecall, text from Mrs. X. I’ve managed to avoid her for a month or so, and that’s usually when the guilt starts to settle in, so I was feeling rather guilty and agreed to meet her for coffee. I have finally realized why I can’t stand spending time with her though, I find her incredibly, insufferably boring. We have absolutely nothing in common except that we are both married to Japanese men, but even our husbands and marital situations are as different as night and day. If we were married to Saudi Arabian men, she would be married to a sultan, and I would be married to a basket weaver. So when she complains about trying to convince her husband to buy her a Mercedes instead of a fully-loaded Toyota van, I really cannot sympathize with her plight, nor am I interested in any of it. Okay, enough about that.

Went back home, got changed and ready to teach. Had 5 students show up again at last night’s lesson, which is fantastic for me motivationally and financially. I feel like they’re improving a lot too, which is the best feeling. I feel like I’m actually earning the money they pay me, and I get a great work out while doing it! What could be more satisfying? We decided last week that after class this week we would go out for a drink, so we did. That’s where the 6 Heinekens made their very welcome appearance. God I miss beer! I figured it was probably (hopefully) one of my last chances to really get liquored up for awhile, so I just went for it. I even smoked 2 whole cigarettes (and I felt totally guilty about it the moment I walked in the door)!

Lots of talk about sex, hot guys, drinking, sordid pasts. It all made me really, really miss being young and single, well being single. I’m pretty happy with my age and who I am at this stage, so I don’t really feel like I need to get any younger, but man, the damage I could do without a husband or a child. I think it was probably all of those thoughts that propelled my drinking, and I stumbled (literally) into the genkan at around midnight I think. I had two sips of water before going to sleep, and in my impaired state I thought that would be enough to prevent a hangover in the morning because I couldn’t be arsed to actually go into the kitchen and poor myself a glass. I was so wrong.

Sara slept until 9 yesterday, so I was hopeful that she would today too. Murphy’s law and all that. She woke up at 7, and I popped a bottle in her mouth, which will usually buy me another hour or two of sleep, but not this morning. Wide awake, bright eyed and bushy-tailed 10 minutes later. It was so beautiful outside though, I didn’t care as much as I thought I would. Plus my hangover wasn’t really letting me get the best sleep either. I can’t believe I used to sleep all day after a night out drinking. Well, I would also get home at 5 or 6 in the morning, on an early night, 10 or 11 if I was really enjoying myself. So I guess sleeping all day made sense.

Anyway, we got up and I let Sara run mad around the living room while I tried to keep my dinner down on the sofa for a few hours. I finally decided that it was time to clean myself up and get out and enjoy the day around noon. So for the first time EVER, I turned on BabyTV, left Sara alone and took a shower. Don’t get me wrong, we turn on BabyTV all the time, but I have never left her alone for more than 2 or 3 minutes when she was awake, or when I couldn’t run right back into the room if she started screaming. We have the living room gated off so there’s not that much trouble she can get into if left alone, but she can still definitely get into trouble unfortunately. Our house is just so poorly designed that I can’t really do anything in any other room and confidently leave Sara alone in the living room. But lately I’ve been feeling like Sara has matured enough that maybe she won’t kill herself or the cat, if I take a quick 10-minute shower. So I did and it was a brilliant success. No tears, no injuries, intact baby and cat. Clean me. Yeah!

So first we went to 7-11, took out some money to pay the bills and bought some snacks for the park. Went to the post office and paid the bills, of which there were many, sadly. Then off to the park. We passed by the local fruit and vegetable stand and Sara used her feminine wiles to snag 3 tangerines. We then stopped by the photo studio where we took ridiculously expensive photos last month and had them made into a book, only they spelled our last name with a “d” instead of a “t”, so Akinori had me take the book back so they could create a new cover with our name spelled correctly. Now we were finally ready for some fun, except Sara was asleep.

The sky was so perfectly blue I had to take a photo:

The beautiful WARM (16.5 degrees!!!) weather, having a shower and eating a bowl of rice smothered in cheese and salsa right before we left the house was doing wonders for my hangover, so I was quite happy to just sit outside while Sara slept. And we were at the park, and so was everyone else, so it was just a matter of time before the screams of other children woke up mine. And once she was up there was no stopping her. She is a little machine!! And boy has this girl got balls! If anyone gets in her way, she just pushes past and soldiers on. Not necessarily a trait I want to encourage, I can’t wait for her to understand the concept of “excuse me”, but that’s not for a little while I’m guessing.

I am absolutely exhausted though after our day. Forget the fact that I was hungover, I got a full workout at the park today. I was definitely not planning on climbing walls over and over and over, but that is what happened. Sara has got a thing for climbing. For those of you not on my Facebook, this is a video we took a couple of weeks ago http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eeYhmJwmqgM of her climbing in and out of her highchair. She loves to do that, ENDLESSLY! So I wasn’t too surprised when she started climbing up this:

It’s not stairs. It’s just logs screwed together with two ropes running down to hold on to. Of course my little monkey isn’t old enough to grasp the concept of holding on the ropes, so she just did it holding on to the logs. I wanted to take a photo of her on it that far away, but I was not about to risk her falling backwards and cracking her skull open. So this is what I managed to take as I was climbing up after her.

There was a 3 year old girl who wanted to climb up too, but she kept saying “kowai yo! kowai yo!” (I’m scared). The mother said “Look at that wee little baby climbing up. She’s way tinier than you and she’s not scared.” The mom was very impressed with Sara’s – gumption, shall we call it? This was far from the first time that another mother has commented on Sara’s lack of shyness or fear. I’m a little worried to tell you the truth. Is this one of those things that will wear off with time, and as she gets older she’ll become more shy and careful? Or is she a daredevil for life? Right now I think it’s great that she’s so fearless, but I’m wondering how I’ll feel about it when she starts talking back or gets a little older and starts experimenting with really dangerous things.

This was the first time she has really had free reign to walk around outside since learning to walk, so she was just enraptured with everything. Dirt on the ground, grass, rocks, manholes. EVERYTHING! Watching her run around was amazing! Days like today are why people have children. I kept thinking about how funny it is that last night I was almost regretting being married and having a child, and today I felt such complete and total bliss at being a parent.

I tried to stay out of her way as much as possible and just let her do what she wanted. But man, I have decided we need to have “outside play clothes” and “inside play clothes” She was absolutely filthy by the time we left for home! I’m far from being OCD, but not as far as some people I suppose, and I need a little mental preparation for getting my hands dirty kind of play or whatever. I guess that’s just something I’m going to get used to really quick. I’ve also learned that I need to bring snacks to share with other kiddies we may meet at the park since Sara definitely mooched way more than her fair share off of other kids. That was pretty embarrassing, so on the way home I gave one of the mothers two of the tangerines we got from the fruit store (we had already eaten one).

So that is how my hangover was cured. But now that my body is free from aches and pains, that incredible exhaustion is setting in, and it is time to go to bed. Man am I going to sleep well tonight!

Still here

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I haven’t posted in nearly a week. Not that I haven’t wanted to, but for some reason I have been totally and utterly exhausted at the end of every day, and could not possibly even think about turning on the computer, let alone blogging. That has not kept me from reading everyone else’s blogs via my iPod Touch though. (I swear iPod Touch is the BEST invention EVER!! If you’re wondering what you want for your birthday…you want an iPod Touch, and no, unfortunately Apple is not paying me to promote their products.) Although I have wanted to comment on several blogs I haven’t had the energy to do that either. Apologies all around.

So let’s see. There was Valentine’s day on Sunday which was basically just another excuse for us to order Domino’s pizza. Doesn’t take much for us to find an excuse to order Domino’s though. I asked Akinori if he wanted the heart-shaped pizza they had, and he said no, not enough volume, so not really anything Valentine-y about ordering Domino’s at all, is there. I did make him brownies though in order to fulfill my chocolate giving obligation. And this time, they were actually successful! Screw Betty Crocker, I used a Japanese mix I found at the local supermarket, and although they were not as moist as Betty Crocker, they were still yummy! I think the moistness factor may be because I baked them too long. Which just means I now have an excuse to make brownies again in an effort to perfect my baking method. Anyway, here’s a before and after photo of the brownies, as in before and after hopeless decoration attempt.
I really do not bake, let alone cook, so I was actually pretty chuffed with the outcome. Perhaps there is hope for me yet as a semi-decent housewife and mother.

I also taught the trial lesson at the dance studio on Sunday. It went well I thought, but I have a feeling there will only be 3 or 4 people in the class of the 8 that came to check it out. I did meet one really cool girl there though who is a friend of my BIL’s ex-girlfriend (who’s British and went back to England about a year before I moved to Nagano, gutted about that since I really, really like her!) She’s married to a Canadian guy and really nice, and an ex-party girl pre-marriage herself, so we had lots to talk about as we walked home together. I’m looking forward to hooking up with her again.

After the lesson I came home and FIL, SIL and her 2 kids came over. I hadn’t seen them since New Year’s, so it was nice to catch up. They brought shitloads of chocolate and sweets though. We’re getting close, but are still trying to finish off the St. Valentine’s Day chocolate massacre this house has suffered. Nice to feel loved, but really, didn’t need nearly that much chocolate. SIL #2 sent over a box of chocolate, and MIL sent over a box via courier with a truly ridiculous amount of chocolate in it. I laughed when I opened the box there was so much chocolate inside. And despite this, we are nearly finished with it all. I am going to suffer serious chocolate withdrawl when it’s all gone since I refuse to buy sweets. Maybe I’ll try the brownies again when all the chocolate is gone…

Baby making week has come and gone so now we are in the “wait for what seems like FOREVER” stage. I hate this part of the month the most. Hopefully there will good news in a few weeks. I have since found out that 2 more good friends of mine are currently pregnant with their 2nd children, so that means I personally know 10 women who are pregnant right now, and those are only the women I know IRL. I can think of at least 5 more that I have either never met in person, or are friends of friends. That is what makes this more difficult. On the other hand, I was just thinking yesterday about how I really absolutely love spending time with Sara, 1-on-1, and that will all end when we have another child, and we can never get that back again, nor will any of our future children be able to experience what Sara and I have this past year. It’s a really special time, and I need to treasure the fact that it is just me and my gorgeous little girl right now (and Akinori, but you know what I mean). So although I really do want to be pregnant, part of me wonders how much of that is feeling pressured by everyone else I know being pregnant and some sort of competitive feeling about having a 2nd child first, or giving birth first or something stupid like that. Either way, I’m definitely in a better place about the situation than I was a few weeks ago. Whatever will be, will be, and I am okay with that. Just call me Zen master, if you like.

Oh my gosh! I can’t believe I nearly forgot! I got a call today from the company in Osaka that throws me lots of juicy translating bones, and apparently there might be a big project coming up in March that they want me to do a part of. So yeah for income, but even better…it’s a convoluted project and they want to explain the process in person, so they will pay for me to travel to and from Osaka!! I’m thinking that I will try and work it so I can spend a few days there. Hopefully I can find someone to babysit Sara while I’m in my meeting with the company, and then we can hang out in Osaka for a few days. That would be so awesome!! Otherwise, I’ll have to leave Sara in Nagano and at the most just go for one night, if not just for the day, which would not be so nice, but I’m not looking any gift horses in the mouth. You want to pay for me to go to Osaka? I’ll take it!

And with that, I am going to clean up the cat puke that my cat has just left next to me on the sofa, and go to bed. Sweet dreams world!

Might as well

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I am supposed to be working on a short (but incredibly boring, though aren’t they all?) translation project, and I’m not getting very far with it as I keep turning back to Facebook or my e-mail every time I have to use the online dictionary, so I figured I may as well post.

Thanks for all of the validating comments on my last post. It’s over a week later and there is still absolutely no line whatsoever on the last test, a very faint line on the 2nd test, and a definite line on the 1st, so I’m pretty sure it was a chemical pregnancy, not that it even matters anymore. It was what it was, and it’s time to move on and try again. We are now in “子作り週間” (baby-making week) as Akinori calls it, which last night he told me is his favorite week of the month. No surprise there I guess. Please keep your fingers, toes and t’s crossed for us. Thanks in advance!

The dance studio couple called me again on Wednesday to ask if I could come in for another fucking meeting about the trial lesson I’m doing on Sunday. I don’t know how many of these ridiculous meetings we need to have before I finally do this trial lesson and we get things moving. I guess they had complaints from prospective students that 2000 yen a lesson was too expensive. I told them there was no way they should charge any cheaper considering 2000 yen for an 80 minute lesson was already cheap as, and no decent belly dance class charges any less, ANYWHERE! I’m sure you could find cheaper at some kominkan somewhere, where some woman who has taken lessons for a year up and decides she’s ready to teach and gathers some other women who have no idea what the difference is between belly dance and hula, and only charges them 500 yen or some nonsense. But no respectable belly dance teacher is going to accept any less than what I charge.

Anyway, I finally convinced them not to change the price, and they finally agreed to a 60-40 arrangement for payment. Thank goodness! I really was not looking forward to fighting with them about money forever and ever. AND I was able to back out of the English teaching deal too. I just told them that I really have no interest in teaching English, which therefore means I really would not be a good teacher, and I’m sure there are tons of better teachers out there who are genuinely interested in teaching and would love to teach their son (though I can’t guarantee they’ll do it in return for ballroom dance lessons). The father/husband is such a stubborn, fruitloop he basically dismissed everything I said and said, “Well the biggest problem is that you have a young child. That makes everything difficult.” I’m sure if I was really interested in teaching his son, I would figure out a way to do it even though I have a small child. But I wasn’t about to go over it with him again, and he was finally taking no for an answer so I left it. Let him think what he wants about me not teaching English to his son, just as long as I don’t have to do it.

Unfortunately that’s not the end of my belly dance drama this week. A Japanese friend of mine passed out my flyers at her mommy/baby English conversation group, and the leader of the group decided that once a month I should come and teach belly dance in English. At first she asked if I would do it for 500 yen/person, as she taught them all English for free (she’s Japanese btw). I told her I couldn’t do it for any less than 1000 yen/person, and that is my super-best-friend-thank-you-for-the-introduction rate. So she agreed and I went to the lesson for the first time this past Monday.

My friend couldn’t go to the lesson because her younger son developed an ear infection, but when I got there, the leader of the group seemed to be the only one actually interested in the lesson. The other moms were just kind of going along with it. One mom couldn’t even participate since her daughter refused to let go of her. When she tried to pay me at the end I refused to take her money. It’s one thing if people WANT to take a lesson, it’s another if they are being forced to, and that’s what I felt like was going on. So my friend e-mailed me later in the day to find out how the lesson went and I told her I didn’t think anyone was really into it besides the leader. She wrote back saying that I was right in thinking that the leader was really the one who wants to take lessons, and she just decided without really asking anyone, that once a month they were going to do belly dance. So we have plans to meet up and talk about this later next week.

This whole situation bugs me for a number of reasons though. The leader knows I have a mommy/baby class on Thursdays that she can bring her daughter to. She also knows that I charge 2000 yen for that class. So in bringing me to her little English group, she gets lessons at half price. Plus she promised me there would be at least 10 women at the group, which is part of the reason I agreed to 1000 yen/person, and there were only 5, 1 of whom my conscience wouldn’t let me take money from. Plus I don’t want to be put in the middle of some teacher/student impending mutiny thing. (Big sigh) why do things have to be so complicated?

Alright, guess I really should get some more translating done before going to bed. Have a great weekend everyone! I’ll leave you with a gratuitous photo of my belly dance flyer that Akinori designed for me (only took him 64 years to finish!).

Validate me!

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So seeing as my period was due one week ago today, I decided today would be just as good as Sunday to try the HPT again to make sure I am, in fact, not pregnant. Did not get even a faint hint of a line, so I think it’s safe to say that I’m not. Although I checked the test again this evening because I wanted to compare what it looked like to the other two tests after some time had passed. Reading up on the internet, it says you shouldn’t consider faint lines that appear after the prescribed amount of time to be positive indicators because the test becomes more sensitive as time goes on and will start to respond to trace levels of HCG that can be found in both male and females. Anyway, the first test definitely had more than just a faint line. The second test was quite faint, but still darker than today’s result, which was nothing, even after a full day of sitting out.

The first test I took is on the bottom, the middle was the 2nd, and today’s test is on top. The lines look much fainter in the photo, but even in the photo you can see the line in the bottom test, right? I should have known when I got a fainter line the next day that something was wrong, but there is really nothing I could have done, is there. I think I just need for someone else to see the tests and agree with me that the first was definitely positive enough to allow me to reasonably believe that I was pregnant.

I am trying to look at the positives.
– All of our attempts last month, were not in vain. We did in fact fertilize an egg, so my timing was not off.
– It is believed that chemical pregnancies tend to happen because of chromosonal abnormalities in the fertilized egg so if the egg had matured the baby would have most definitely had certain health problems, and it is definitely easier to raise a child without significant health problems.
– Miscarrying sucks whenever it happens, but the sooner it happens, the less time it takes for my body to recover, so we can start trying again this month.
– Miscarrying so soon means I didn’t have a chance to become truly emotionally attached to my baby. I think miscarrying, even a week later, let alone a month later would have been much more traumatic.
– Because chemical pregnancies usually go undetected, it doesn’t technically count as a miscarriage on any medical history.

Anyway, on to happier stuff. Last night’s dinner party was actually quite fun. We had tomato nabe, and Akinori was really, really good about making sure I didn’t have to do anything for it. Akinori promised to do the clean up in the morning before he went to work, which he didn’t, but I just left it, and he did it when he got home. Luckily only 4 girls showed up, instead of 6 because there was no way another 2 adults would have fit in our tiny kitchen. The girls didn’t leave until after midnight, so I couldn’t get Sara to sleep until after 1 which I wasn’t too happy about. But she slept until 10:30, so at least that was good. The tomato nabe so totally yummy and there was enough ingredients left over for me to cut them up and throw them in the nabe again tonight, so dinner tonight was easy-peasy, just the way I like it. I bet you’ll never guess what we’re having for dinner tomorrow night…

Lunch today was great! My friend C is American, and has been living in Nagano for 19 years, or something crazy like that. Her husband made us all the most delicious pasta and ratatouille with homemade cheese for lunch. I don’t know where she found a husband who not only likes to cook, but is amazingly good at it, but I would like to trade mine in for one of those models please. The other woman C invited to lunch is English and has two super sweet girls who are 4 and 2. Our 3 kids had a great time making a huge mess of C’s house, and then C’s 3 kids came home from school and the fun was doubled. We didn’t leave until just after 6 or so and we got there around noon, which to me is an undeniable sign of a truly fabulous day. I talked so much my throat hurt when I got home! We have decided that we have to have a girl’s night out sometime soon, so I am really looking forward to leaving Sara at home with her daddy and having some ME time with friends. In fact it is just so nice to have such nice, normal people that I actually would like to be friends with, who live relatively close to me, and not feel like I am trapped in some skewed relationship with a psycho stalker woman.

Sara and I have gomi toban in the morning so I really need to be getting off to bed! Gomi toban is serious rubbish in every sense of the word, if you ask me, especially on the coldest morning of the year when it is supposed to me -7 out and snowing! I have a 1 year-old baby for christ’s sake. Aren’t I allowed to switch with someone else for a warmer month at least? Will have to ask Akinori to look into this further. Goodnight!