Thursday, March 15, 2018



I felt really crappy this past month, so I'm trying different things to get myself out of the funk. I tried journaling again, and it's kind of good. I'm trying to get back into exercising. It's pollen season and kind of windy, so YouTube exercise videos are good.

I'm also trying meditation. I don't mean meditation like the religion I married into. That would be much too intense, plus, I can't do the lotus position (I think it's because my legs are too short).

No, I mean what the self-help people are calling "mindfulness." Before bed, I listen to one of the online guided meditations available on YouTube. I'm not sure if it actually helps me relax or sleep well, but it isn't hurting, and it's only about 10 minutes I would otherwise spend fooling around on the internet.

I'm not a religion expert, but mindfulness and meditation as defined by my (husband's) religion seem different. I can't imagine myself heading to my husband's family temple and sitting in the lotus position while the resident monk hovers over me with a bamboo sword. Mindfulness seems much more accessible with smartphone apps and YouTube and FB pages. While conclusive evidence of efficacy is debatable, it can't hurt, and it's only 10 or so minutes. Worth a shot. We'll see how it goes.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

If it works

Umaku iku nara

I decided I would try journaling again. I tried it once, and it made me depressed, so I stopped, but I kept on hearing about it, so I decided to give it another try. I watched the You Tube on bullet journaling and went to the page and read all the information on it.

I know you're supposed to use a nice notebook with good paper, but I'm on a budget so I got a notebook with a vinyl cover at the 100 yen shop. I saved three pages for the index and used three pages for a "future log" and additional notes, and two facing pages for the monthly log for the month of March. Then I dove in and wrote whatever I felt like. I logged things I had to do and did and other stuff that I thought was cool that I came across during the day, and whenever a question popped into my head at work, I wrote it down, and when I had a minute googled it or looked it up in the books we have at work and wrote down the answers.

I ended up with over a page and a half of notations just for today.

Somehow, I don't think it's how bullet journaling is supposed to work.

But I felt like I was getting stuff done, and I looked over the notations before going to bed, and felt really good about my day, so whatever works, right? And I felt so good that I exercised for the first time in over a month, and now I'm sore all over but I'm feeling good about it, so it's all good, right?

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Lying is one answer

Uso mo houben

The other day, I took the day off to get a breast biopsy. Yes, a breast biopsy, you know, what you do when you get an abnormal breast exam and/ or mammogram and the surgeon does to make sure it isn't cancer? Yes, that. But I didn't want to deal with explaining to my husband what a Category 3 breast lesion was, and how stabbing it with a needle and sucking out some cells involved a blood-draw-caliber needle was more a precaution than anything. I don't know if he would have been "oh, ok" like he was supposed to, or if he would have freaked out like I was afraid he would. I wasn't ready for the latter. So that morning, I packed a lunch just like almost every other day the past two weeks, and left the house when I usually did. The procedure was done by 10:30, so I drove to the mall and ate the lunch I packed in the parking lot and bought a T shirt at Uniqlo (last year's shirts were on sale at 50% off and I found the discontinued color I liked) and walked around until it was time for my consultant gig. After I finished that gig, I went to Costco and the adjacent home improvement store, and then I went to Starbucks (and remembered to NOT get a decaf latte)
and did some English proofreading and fooled around on the internet until it was the usual time for me to go home.

So technically, I've lied to my husband. Oh what a tangled web we weave. At least it was a cheap web (500 yen for the T-shirt, 380 yen for the Starbucks sakura latte).

(And it was good.)

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Note to self


A blog post from a year ago reminded me that I was depressed this time last year. Maybe next year I'll remember this and take steps to prevent it (or at least catch it early).

So here's another reminder to myself:

Finishing a consultation gig early but not wanting to drive back to your office even though you have work to do is perfectly fine. Spending 500 yen on a Starbucks latte so you can sit in a sofa for an hour or so to get that work done was great idea. It was smart of you to remember that you'd probably never get it done at home (kids/ housework/ miscellaneous distractions, you know the drill). That's why you've packed lunches the past couple of weeks, so that you can spend that 500 yen you aren't spending on overpriced convenience store lunches on something more useful. Like sofa space away from home. Oh, and coffee.

However, in the future, try to remember you don't like Starbucks decaf lattes. Deal with the insomnia and go for the regular latte, or order one of those cutesy seasonal sweet frothy things in interesting colors. 

Oh well. At least the cup was cute.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Murder in the laundry room

Sentakushitsu satsujin jiken

I was taking pictures of Tiny Vader and Tiny Storm Trooper with their new washing machine, and the Pumpkin Prince said,

"It's Darth Vader. He wouldn't do laundry nicely."

"Oh, is that so? Well, what do you think he would do?"

"I think he would do this."

Oh dear.

"And I think there would be a witness. Hey, I think you should take the picture from above."

"Like this?"

"Yes, like that. And I think he would tie up all the loose ends."

"Like this. Oh, wait, I think he would use something better. Like this."

"There would be signs of a struggle, of course. Like this."

My son needs:

A. to watch less violence on T.V. and YouTube
B. extensive checking of his manga reading
C. intensive therapy
D. all of the above

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Bare minimum requirement

Hitsuyou saiteigen


The week's make-ahead is six dishes, and one of them is steamed broccoli...I also have my usual soy eggs and shredded carrot salad. The one on the bottom left is ground pork with ginger and mushrooms stir fried in sesame oil and soy sauce. I could add a little broth and tofu to it, or maybe put it on toast with cheese for a quick breakfast sandwich.

My mom has the flu. She didn't want to go to the doctor's, which I get and would have respected if I hadn't been so sure it was the flu and I was afraid of my dad getting it. Managed to convince her let me take her to the local clinic open Saturday afternoons and have the test done and get the Relenza inhaler. The pharmacist was super nice and counseled her on how to do it and asked if she wanted to do it right there, and she did. The whole process took about an hour and a half at the local clinic and pharmacy. Mom paid 20%.

You can pry universal health care from my cold, dead fingers.

Thursday, February 15, 2018



The Pumpkin Princess didn't get into that competitive six-year college prep school she wanted. I'm glad she tried. She writes better than I did at her age. I'm also kind of glad she didn't get in. She would have been blown away and gotten depressed or something. She isn't naturally smart enough to get by in that school without major effort. I think she is smart enough to get by in the best schools with major effort, but she doesn't make major effort on her own. She only makes enough effort to get by. Which is one way to live, except she seems to think she's making major effort. I am torn between trying to let her figure this out on her own, or calling her on it. I didn't while she was preparing (or not preparing, depending on how you look at it) for the entrance exam.

The local JHS where I went and she's headed is kind of boring and depressing (see also: Year of Requirement) but there aren't any major issues like violence and crime. It'll do. The area private schools are not worth the time and money. (Don't get me wrong. They're good schools. I have friends who went there. It's just that they lived a lot closer to said schools when they did, and are not worth commutes of an hour or more.)

We're talking about choosing extracurriculars that will help her get her into the school were the cool, smart kids go (i.e. the same high school as her mom.) I want to get back into teaching her English, if she'll let me. We'll see if she wants to make a major effort to get the things she wants. And if she doesn't, that's all right too. She can work on being happy with what she can get with the effort she wants to make.

Because I think in the end, that's what life is about. Being happy with the things you can get, and the things you can give people, with the effort you are willing to make.