August 28, 2008

Home again, home again

Ah. The backyard. The old and new friends. Jesse sleeping on the couch.

I have a billion pictures and posts, including hanging curtains at Mimi's, visiting the the Smith's funny farm, and all the other fun we've had these last three weeks. And more... family is coming tomorrow. Now, I just need to get my computer set up.

August 22, 2008

Tonbo Massacre

Or driving to Sacramento. Every time a dragonfly hit the windshield I flinched because they were HUGE! It must be mating season because an hour out of Sac they were everywhere.

The 6.5 hour drive took 8.5 because I drove by myself with kids. "I have to go to the bathroom! I'm hungry!"

And tomorrow we do it again. YAY!

August 19, 2008

Jam Stats

24 jars of jam (1/2 pints, pints, and quarts)
6 jars of blackberry pie filling (5 quarts, 1 pint)
And my mom babysitting so I could do it all.

August 18, 2008

15 pounds of blackberries?

Make blobbler of course. That's cobbler in Monkey-speak. My mom made one last night and we've been feasting on it all day today. Sorry there aren't any pictures, but that would mean hooking my camera up to a scary pc. It's just too intimidating.

It's been a weird summer here, with late cold spells, so the wild blackberries are just barely. Usually we pick wild berries and call that good, but this time we went to a field and picked. It was delightful! All the vines were thornless and loaded with berries, especially around three year old height. Usually the kids get one scratch and call it quits while I pick berries for the whole crew to munch. Monkey, Mermaid, Anonymous (my mom), and myself loaded our baskets in under an hour.

And as luck would have it, the weather cooled considerably, about 20 degrees cooler. So tomorrow starts the jam jamboree. My absolute favorite is canning pie filling. Around January, a blackberry blobbler or pie sounds just right. yum. Too bad we don't have time or room for peaches this year. Peach jam. Double yum. Maybe we can make one batch.

We also headed to Wildlife Safari. As kids, we thought every town had a drive through safari park and occasionally had cheetah escapes on the news. Who knew that Winston, Oregon had one of the best cheetah breeding facilities in the world? You do, now. So as adults, Pete and I oohed and aaahed at the giraffe just outside the car, the brown bears cavorting 20 feet away, and the ria trying to see if we'd bend the rules and give it a treat. Mermaid was whining for McDonald's. Monkey was playing angel to make up for Mermaid's bad behavior. And even my mom, most patient person on the earth, was getting irritated. A little food, a trip to the uber air conditioned library (it was 105 that day) and everyone smiled again.

August 15, 2008

Car Owners with Jam

Thanks to all that were concerned about us and our search for the car. We found it. It's the same car we had before, now in the station wagon version and in an appealing turquiose color. It was dirt cheap. So cheap that I'm thinking of getting a new radio with an mp3 hook up for it. Needs a tune up and oil change. But we have our trusty mechanic here in Roseburg to check it out before we take it on the road. And we got towing included on the insurance, so we're good to go. Just have to make sure we have the cell phone with us.

So now I can worry about more important things. Like Jam. Marionberry, blueberry, cherry, grape. Which do I make? Luckily, I don't think this decision will keep me up at night.

Tell me which one you'd like, and if I'm going to see you in the next two weeks (Sacramento and Irvine), I'll hand deliver a jar to you.

August 13, 2008

Hello America

My first impression of America. Grass. Lots of green Grass. It's really pretty. Second impression upon receiving change for my meal at Ikea. Your money is GROSS! Dirty, yucky, icky. I didn't want to touch it. I'm still grossed out by it. Luckily, I can't remember my atm number, so I can't get any more of it until Jesse comes to America. What a relief.

It's also nice to go from GARGANTUAN GAIJIN to average sized american.

And now that I'm back in America, I need a car. And I'm having a doozy of a time finding one. I'm actually sick to my stomach about finding a car. Here are our options:
A- spend all of our money or go into debt for a good reliable car.
B- spend some of our money and get a decent, probably will need work car.
C- spend a little bit of our money and hope it lasts for two years, make sure to have towing covered.

Fun, huh? Can you imagine us buying a house?

August 5, 2008


This is my last post from Japan. I'm so sad. Especially since Jesse is not coming to the states for another 3 weeks. We do this to ourselves often enough you'd think we'd learn that we really hate being separated. And to make matters worse, he was really funny and sweet today. aaargh! It would be so much easier if he were a jerk.

I would probably be even sadder if Japan hadn't been giving me hints that it's time to go. On Sunday, we walked to a traditional Japanese garden park that's close to our house. It seemed like a good idea, to do something Japanese-y our last Sunday. Wrong. Koi pond = mosquito heaven. We left after 10 minutes. Then on our way home a crow pooped on Jesse's and my head. Thanks Mr. Crow. I hope you liked the rock Jesse threw at you.

On Monday, we took the kids to the pool and Monkey promised "to try not to poop in it this time." She didn't, because we weren't there long enough. The lifeguards kicked us out after 30 minutes because of distant thunder. Abunai desu yo! No problem. We were planning on going to sushi, so we'd just get there a little earlier.

Got to the sushi place and it was pretty good. Accidentally got fried oysters for the kids. I thought it was fried chicken. Ooops. And we were sitting right in front of the chef, so we couldn't slip it back on the conveyor belt (we wouldn't really do that). I ate them, because that's what a good mom does. And that could have been my mistake. Because later that night as Jesse and I are perusing Craigslist, trying to find a car, I shove him out my way and run to the toilet. The last time I heaved so suddenly I was pregnant with Mermaid, so I said half jokingly "gee Jesse, maybe I'm pregnant." To which he responded, "Or maybe it's just all that raw fish you ate for dinner." Right. Forgot about that for a second.

And today, the Coop guy came to collect.

I'm still sad that we're leaving. Even though Japan hasn't been that good to me this week. We'll come back. Try again. Relationships take work, and sometimes a little space is good.
Ja Mata!

image from flickr

August 3, 2008

Save The Date

Date: August 30, Saturday
Time: 5pm
Place: Our backyard
Bring: a picnic blanket, some sort of food to share
Why: We're throwing our own Welcome Back Party!! We want to see YOU!
RSVP in comments or an email to
Can't wait to see EVERYONE!


So most of you already know them, but those who don't, check out Faded Paper Figures. Love the sound, love that the Japanese love them, love that they are our friends. Go. Listen. NOW! Even you, Mom!

Giveaway Winner

Is...Anonymous, aka, my mom who entered for my Auntie Wendy. Promise, no nepotism here. picked the number. So Ma, send me Auntie Wendy's address. Sorry Rena. I promise you something perfect when I get back.

Watch out for an Oregon giveaway (not ganja). But perhaps some blackberry jam!

せみ, semi

Or cicada. 'tis the season. Here's a little video of Monkey with some background music.

August 1, 2008

Last Giveaway

Rena has persuaded me to have one last giveaway. I'm leaving on Wednesday (that's Tuesday in the states), so this one has to be quick. You have until Sunday midnight in Japan. So that's Sunday around 3 am in LA. And you have to get me your address quick like a bunny 'cause I'm going to the post office to send Mariko's taiyaki pan and a cool match game for Amy (got one for our kids, so you can come play August 26 in Irvine) and the cool giveaway to who?

So what's your prize? Well...
HNUT socks
1/2 meter of Little Red
assorted dollar store goodies

Is that fun enough?
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