Sunday, August 31, 2008

How much is true?

Doko made hontou?

I thought this video was interesting, chilling, and amusing at the same time.

I can't place the show, but judging from the television personalities in the clip, it seems to be from to be a semi-legit news show somewhere between "Inside Edition" and "60 Minutes".

Assessing photographs for their authenticity is a valid academic field. I haven't bought and read the book, but I am convinced that at least the photos shown in the clip are either doctored or from entirely different incidents from the Nanking Massacre. I am more than willing to believe that the Chinese side did not have convincing photographs of what happened. They were overpowered and underresourced. I would not be surprised if none of them had cameras, or even if they did, none of them were able to take photos. I can understand how the Kuomintang thought it necessary to use doctored and unrelated photos for propaganda purposes.

However, I am seriously frightened that the commentators (most of them are not legitimate commentators as in educated and informed critics, but television presenters and personalities) conclude that it supports evidence that the Nanking Massacre did not happen. These people are Nanking Massacre naysayers, and they need to be lumped in the same category as Holocaust naysayers and Hiroshima naysayers. It scares me that they are on television and expressing these views to the general public.

Oh, and could we please use the word "rooster" or "cockerel" to describe male chickens?

Friday, August 29, 2008

"Do you like me?"

Watashi no koto suki?

There are, in fact, people who (gasp!) actually like the Japanese. One of them are the Finns. Finland was under Russian rule during pretty much the entire 19th century. This continued until the fall of the Russian Empire, when Finland became an independent nation for the first time in about six centuries (the Swedes ruled Finland before Russia). The fall of the Russian Empire is closely associated with Russia's losing the Russo-Japanese war. They like us because an enemy's enemy is a friend. Oh well. At this point, I'm ready to take what I can get...

Kidding! About the enemy's enemy, that is. And I'm not sure if Finns actually like Japanese. Since Finland was a part of Russia, I am sure there were Finnish soldiers fighting against the then Imperial Japanese Army. I do know that Finns and Japanese communicate in similar ways (in a way some cultures would call "passive-agressive". Which I can understand. But it works. Most of the time, anyway). I also know that most Japanese who go to other countries say most people were nice to them but some people muttered racist slurs in stage whispers or tried to overcharge them or sell them inferior merchandise, and that most Japanese who go to Finland say that everyone was nice to them.

BTW, grab a Japanese person and chat to them about Finland and they will tell you that Finns like us so much, they named a beer after their favorite Japanese, Admiral Togo Heihachiro. This is not accurate. The Finnish beer label "Amiraali," whose name translates into "admiral" has labels which feature famous admirals from around the world. Admiral Togo's label is the only one imported to Japan on a regular basis :)

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

"(I feel) tired and sick."


I'm feeling tired and sick, because, well, I'm sick! No big deal, just a runny nose and mild cough. Before I gave birth, I used to catch a cold once every other year or so. Now, the Pumpkin Princess brings home all sorts of pathogens from day care. Most of them only affect the Pumpkin Princess, but sometimes they make their way into my system.

In the news...the government of South Korea is complaining the name they use was not used in the Beijing Olympics. Well, OK, but look in any atlas (outside Korea), and that body of water is called "Sea of Japan". No matter where you are looking from, that sea is adjacent to the Japanese archipelago, hence the name. It is to the east if you are looking at it from Korea, but not if you are looking at it from Japan, which is why the name you use is not used outside your country.

Now, go do something productive like plan tours on that uninhabited island with no industrial or strategic use that you insist is yours. Um, you've got an obviously troubled man running a crumbling country right next to you, and you go and build a military base on an uninhabited island with no strategic use. Yep, that's practical application of military resources.

(Disclaimer: I am poking fun at the South Korean government, not the general populace, although the opinions of the general populace seem to reflect those of the government to a certain extent.)

Monday, August 25, 2008

"Wake wakaranai!"

I don't get it at all!

Well, the Olympics are finally over. The competitors did beautifully and it was good to watch.

Except. I have come to the conclusion that Mainland Chinese really, really, REALLY hate the Japanese. In volleyball, the (mostly Chinese) spectators booed every time the Japanese scored. In soccer, every time the Japanese team got possession of the ball, the (mostly Chinese) spectators booed heavily, and cheered madly every time the opposing team got it back. When you think of how the game of soccer is played, that means that the spectators were booing about half the duration of the game, or 45 minutes total. That’s a lot of booing.

The most convincing argument has got to be badminton. Every time the Chinese pair hit the shuttle into the Japanese side of the court, the spectators would shout “Sha!” which means “kill”. In badminton, of all sports. Wrestling, I could understand, but badminton?

Yes, I know, Nanking Massacre and all that, but isn’t that like me shouting at Americans “this is for what you did in Hiroshima and Nagasaki!!!” at the end of the softball final? (I think, the historical/ political perspective of the average American regarding the atomic bombs is rather one-sided and unrealistic, no thanks to the Smithsonian Institution, but it’s got nothing to do with Yukiko Ueno or Crystl Bustos) Yes, World War II was awful but I didn’t start it. I didn’t fight in it. My father was six years old when it ended. My mother, then an infant, nearly died of fever on the evacuee ship traveling back to Japan from Shanghai. My paternal grandfather failed his draft physical. I suspect my maternal grandfather bribed his way out of it. The average Olympic competitor is probably younger than me by about a decade, so they are even less responsible than I am. It’s really disheartening to hear the Chinese throw back their heads and howl “NANKING MASSACRE” every time something happens that they don’t like, and that this includes when Japanese competitors do well in sporting events. Sheesh. For centuries, China was the most civilized country on the planet. So far, the 21st century is NOT one of those centuries.

(Disclaimer: I don’t hate the Chinese, it’s just, that, well, you try pouring foreign aid into a country while your own country is in its second decade of recession, and have the favor returned by being booed every time your country gets the ball. I really, really want to like the Mainland Chinese, partly because there are so many of them to like, but what am I supposed to do if they don’t like me because of a war neither of my grandfathers fought in? I couldn’t find any non-Japanese commentary on this topic, so I wanted to get some English about it online.)

Friday, August 22, 2008

"I don't believe it!"


My Olympic heros for the moment are, of course, Oksana Chusovitina, and after yesterday and tonight, Yukiko Ueno. She's the 26 year-old ace pitcher for the gold medal winning Japanese sotfball team. Yesterday, she pitched 9 innings against the USA (Japan lost) and then, several hours later, get this, 12 innings against Australia (Japan won). Then, today, she pitched 7 innings against the USA. That's 450 pitches in 28 consecutive innings in 36 hours. All three games were wonderfully exciting, but I expected USA to get the gold.

The only low point in those 21 innings was when Yukiko Ueno walked the American designated hitter Crystl Bustos. She'd got one sent over the fence the last time this woman was at bat. I wish she hadn't walked her, and I wasn't surprised when Yukiko got booed heavily, but I guess anyone who throws 450 pitches in 36 hours gets to walk whomever they want to walk.

Japanese women's soccer lost to Germany and didn't win the bronze medal. This did not surprise me. Nor am I surprised that the (mostly Chinese) spectators booed every time Japan got possession of the ball. It was a decent match so that was a lot of booing. Yes, I know, Nanking Massacre and all that, but seriously, the oldest Japanese player on the pitch was 29 years old. Her father probably wasn't even born yet when August 15, 1945 rolled around, so how does that entitle her to booing when she's playing good soccer?

Sunday, August 17, 2008

She did it!


Oksana Chusovitina won a silver medal in the vault. Interestingly enough, it's her first individual gymnastics medal. She has a gold medal from Barcelona, but it was the team gold as a member of the Soviet Union.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Mothers are strong.

"Haha ha tsuyoshi."

There's probably very little a mother would not do for her child. If the child is sick, mom will take him to the hospital. If the hospital he's been taken to can't provide sufficient care, she'll take him to a different hospital. If the treatment is costly, she'll find a way to earn enough money to pay for it. It might involve getting better or staying good at her current job, for example. She will find a way. She just will. That's what mothers do.

At age 33, Oksana Chusovitina is currently competing in her 5th Olympic games. If her event were something like archery or equestrian or swimming, it wouldn't be that unusual, but her event is gymnastics, which is notorious for being dominated by pigtailed teenagers too young to get a driver's license. If the country she were representing were someplace like Toga or Palau, not known for their gymnasts, it would not be that unusual, but she represents Germany. Germany's not Romania or the USA, but they are consistent participants of the games. She has been around since she herself was a pigtailed teenager too young to drive. I remembered her name from back then and I noticed her name this time around and thought, no way is it the same girl. But apparently, is is the same girl.

She has continued to compete this long because of her son. She used to compete for Uzbekistan, but she moved to Germany so that she could get better treatment for her son when he got leukemia. She continued to compete so that she could earn prize money to pay for his chemo (I Googled and found an article written in 2005 that her son was in remission, and I couldn't find anything that said he'd had a relapse).

She placed 9th in the individual all around for the Beijing games. She'll compete in her specialty event, the vault, tomorrow (August 17th). Unfortunately, they don't broadcast women's gymnastics much here in Japan since it's not one of our strong events. I hope she does well, though.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

"Kore mo unmei!"

This is also destiny!

(used in the context of "that's life!")

In the Pumpkin Palace kitten saga, when I went outside this morning, only one of the kittens was sitting under my car. I gave it some more of the homemade kitty formula while wondering how many of the remaining three had turned into pancakes on the road. However, they weren't pancakes...yet.

Apparently there was a cardboard box in the nearby park where the Pumpkin Princess likes to go on the slide marked "please love these kitties". Somehow the kittens had made their way to underneath the Pumpkin Daddy's car, checked out Bistro Ayako with varying degrees of enthusiasm, and gone their separate ways. The local council (kind of a semi-official branch government for the local community of 400 or so families in this part of town) were collecting recycleable materials there this morning, and the box without kitties had become a topic of concern. Three of four kittens had been found under different cars and different porches and put back in the box, and the kitten I'd fed this morning was the fourth and final. One of the kittens was taken by a little boy and his mom, and will have a good home if his dad agrees to a new addition to the family. The plan was to put the remaining three kittens back in the box under a tree and see if anyone would take them home, and then take the remaining kittens to the health department on Monday. It would cost 1000 yen per kitten to have the Health Department take them, but that would be paid for by the local council. Before I had a chance to protest that putting the kitties in an open cardboard box where they could crawl out and potentially become pancakes on the asphalt, the Pumpkin Daddy handed over the final kitten to the local council officer.

The Pumpkin Daddy checked later and said that the entire box was gone, kittens and all. I'm hoping one of the kids playing in the park took them home and convinced mom and dad that she'd get straight 5's (A's) next semester if she got to keep the kittens. I'm hoping it's not some cruel mentally ill person taking them home to torture and decapitate. I regret not having brought the kittens in the house last night, but if I had, that kitten that found a nice home this morning, well, wouldn't have. It's really hard to say which decision would have been right. I'm trying to remember that at least one kitten will be given the love he deserves (yes, I checked while I was pooping him, it's most definitely a he).

Saturday, August 9, 2008

"Watashi no sei ja nai!"

It's not my fault!

I am peeved. Last night, we went to a fair/ carnival type deal at the Pumpkin Daddy's workplace. When we got home, I saw something sparkle under the Pumpkin Daddy's car as I backed mine into our covered parking area. I went back later with a flashlight and I discovered that the sparkly things were four pairs of kitten eyes.

I did research on the internet and found out that mother cats will leave their kittens alone for hours to hunt for food, so I thought perhaps that was what had happened to these kittens, and that they would be best off left to themselves.

Well, it's been 16 hours and there has been no sign of mother cat. Since their eyes and ears are open and they will walk for short distances, I think they are about 3 weeks old or so, if what I'm reading on the net is true. I'm beginning to think that they were deliberately left here, after their mother's owner decided he didn't want them. I don't think they would have survived out in the open for three weeks by themselves, and I don't recall seeing any mother-ish cats during the past few days.

The plan for now is to look after them as best I can until Monday (I've whipped up some homemade kitty formula from an online recipe) and fed them from a squeeze bottle), when the Pumpkin Daddy will notify the Health Department. Yes, they will probably end up being euthanized after the three day holding period, but we can't keep them and it's probably more humane than dying a slow and painful death from hunger or dehydration.

Does anyone have any suggestions on what to do, besides two parents with full time jobs and a 2 year-old with a non-kitten proofed house adopting four kittens? In the US, this is where I would call an animal shelter, but unfortunately I haven't been able to find one. The usual solution is to leave them be and wait for them to go away, but I don't think they are mature enough to do that, so if they starve or die of exposure, they will likely do it under my car (which is where they are now after the Pumpkin Daddy took his to the auto shop for a quick repair job) or on my front porch (which is as far I have caught them venturing).

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

"Yatto ochitsuita."

Finally settled

OK, got the old blog posts copied and pasted, and am now ready to leave Yahoo! for Blogger as my primary blogging site.

It's been seriously hot and humid these past couple of days. Today, I was walking down the hall with my co-worker, and she asked "Is it just me, or is it foggy?" And it did seem like visibility was slightly impaired. We went into one of the rooms, and the air seemed to clear. The rooms are air conditioned, and the halls are too, but since the hallways can't be completely shut off from the exits, it seems the outside heat and humidity are more severe in the halls than the rooms. I have been finding myself planning my trips through the hallways to limit exposure to the heat and humidity ("I think I'll cut through that room instead of walking down that hall, and while I am there, I will grab my book and laptop") .

I keep falling asleep as I type this. I think I will turn in early tonight.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Entry for August 03, 2008

"Kanashiku nacchata!"

(I) felt really sad!

Yesterday, I saw a woman who was emaciated, as in, I just came from a Subsaharan African village plagued by drought for the past two years emaciated. She didn't seem the least bit concerned about this, as she wore shorts that showed brittle-looking skin stretched over the bones and tendons in her knees. Eating disorder, I thought to myself, as someone ill with cancer or other disease would not be so cheerfully showing her body like that or be walking outside in the intense summer heat. I felt so sad that this woman wasn't getting the help that she needed, or if she were getting help, it wasn't, well, helping. Which happens sometimes, and it's no one's fault, not any more than it is when someone loses a battle against cancer even though they were fighting with everything in them and getting the best possible care.

Then, I saw two boys, who looked to be about eight or nine, calling this woman mom. They were both morbidly obese, as in, seriously at risk for diabetes and heart disease obese. Behind me, a couple of average looking boys about the same age were pointing at the kids and snickering and saying "Pigsy!"

I had this image of this woman's struggle with food, to want to eat but not being able to, and channeling it toward her children, who consume all the junk food that she sets in front of them. I had an image of the boys struggling daily with their weight, how it keeps them from normal physical activity, sets them up as a bullying target, and puts them at risk for all sorts of health issues now and on into adulthood.

I know that I shouldn't be slapping psychiatric diagnoses and creating imaginary family dynamics about people I don't know, unless they are fictional characters. But this family made me very very sad.

Entry for July 25, 2008


(I am) loved

I'm posting this from a McDonald's on the way from one outside gig to another. I feel like such a high-tech person. It took me a few tries to get connected to the Wi-Fi, but here I am.

The other day, I was trying to get connected to the Wi-Fi at work. We're not actually supposed to have it, so please don't tell anyone. Shhhhh. One of the ubergeeks at work brought in a Wi-Fi device and connected it to the LAN network without official permission. It's there until one of the network people figure it out and decide it's a problem, or it breaks. Anyway, ubergeek A transferred to a different gig, and no one I asked knew the password or how to get connected. About four different co-workers kept trying to help me (did you try this and this? Did you ask so-and-so?) and they were very nice about it (some of them had semi-ulterior motives, as they had tried before to get connected and failed. They were hoping if I figured it out, I would help them). It didn't work, so I decided that I would ask ubergeek A when I ran into him.

The next day, I went into work and there was a sign taped to the Wi-Fi device that said "password: riceandpickles" ("riceandpickles" isn't the actual password, I'm just using that as a random example). One of the people who were trying to help me ran into ubergeek A and told him I wanted the password. I thought it was so sweet of ubergeek A to do that (if unsafe from a security POV) and so sweet of the co-worker to remember my problem and ask ubergeek A about it. I really felt loved.

Or maybe they are scared of me and don't like it when I am in a bad mood and make it a point to do everything in their power to prevent it.

Entry for July 20, 2008


(it) ate it!

Yahoo's been eating my blog entries. I had always realized stability had been an issue, but I'd never been affected by it until now. I have started copying and pasting posts to a Blogger account I'd started for posting comments on my friend's blog. I will make sure to post the URL to the account in question if I drop Yahoo entirely for Blogger.

Entry for July 20, 2008

"Aru imi yokatta to omou."

It was good in a way.

Today I went to pick up my new glasses with the Pumpkin Princess and Pumpkin Daddy. The Pumpkin Princess kept wanting to try on the children's frames and come show me what she looked like in them. I'm hoping the positive attitude toward eyewear lasts, because, let's face it, with both parents needing glasses to do desk work, the kid is pretty much doomed to a life of myopia.

Then we went to the new big electronics store. We couldn't park on the premisis but we did manage to find cheap parking space nearby. The Pumpkin Daddy found a Mac compatible Wi-Fi connecter, or so he thought. They were out of stock and it was kind of like watching a Three Stooges episode when the sales people tried to find one with the same functions in a similar price range. The Pumpkin Princess started getting cranky, so I looked in my bag for her sippy cup and found the barley tea had leaked out completely and drenched the bag. The Pumpkin Daddy asked me if my cell phone got wet, which it had, and he quickly turned it off, removed the battery, and dried it as best he could with his handkerchief. So, to explain today's phrase, at least it was barley tea and not something like orange juice, and aren't I lucky to be married to someone who knows what to do when your mobile phone gets wet?

So now the Pumpkin Daddy's iPod touch and my new MacBook are now connected to Wi-Fi. The Pumpkin Palace is now a high-tech location...sort of.

Gardeing update: I had thought I'd uploaded this picture before, but it apparently it hadn't worked the first time.


Entry for July 15, 2008

"Sensei no e wo kaku!"

I'm going to draw a picture of my teacher!

This is what the Pumpkin Princess announced five minutes before we were going to leave for day care. I did a very rapid assessment of my options.

1) Tell her no and deal with the consequences.

2) Give her a pen and a sheet of paper and have another cup of coffee.

I decided 2) was going to get us to day care faster, with less stress for both of us. She finished her picture in about five minutes (her pictures of people actually have eyes and noses and mouths these days) and we headed for day care. When we got to day care and she got out of the car, she was holding the picture she drew very tightly.

I noticed I didn't have phrases for the last two entries. Oops!

In my endeavors to "Increase my Productivity Tenfold," I read a work related magazine during the "between times" (gaps of time between times I actually did work). When you think of the work that goes into making magazines, including but not limited to the time the author spends researching the subject manner (this is probably the most time consuming of all), choosing the words and phrases and pictures to share the information involved, the editor going through what the author has sent him and giving feedback, the author revising according to said feedback, the editor re-checking the author's work, the senior editor looking over what the junior editors have sent her (I checked, the senior editor for this particular mag is female), everything going to the printers, everything being printed on reasonably high-quality paper with reasonably high-quality ink so that the pictures show up reasonably clearly, and the printed magazine being sent to bookstores and individual subscribers, you're getting quality information for pretty darned cheap. The authors are all experts in their respective fields, so if they were being paid hourly what they usually make hourly, there is no way the magazine would break even. I think the quality of the informative author depends at least partly on the quality of his work when he is not writing. Full time informative authors are probably less likely to give you quality information because they must get you to buy their information, and they are more prone to be tempted to embellish and sensationalize it. The part time informative author will be prone to care less about how much money he will make writing and more about writing something that won't discredit his usual work.

(When I say "part-time informative author", I am talking about economists who write about economics and engineers who write about engineering. When I say "full time informative author", I am talking about someone like Robert Kiyosaki. I think full time authors who write to be entertaining (including but not limited to novelists) are probably more likely to produce entertaining material than those who do it on the side. Journalists are probably another breed altogether.)

Entry for July 14, 2008

During the past month, I've read two books by Kazuyo Katsuma. She's a Japanese woman, mom of 3, certified accountant, and currently an author and freelance financial analyst. The books have interesting titles like "Study and Increase your Income Tenfold" and "Increase your Intellectual Productivity and your Income Tenfold." I don't think it's realistic to want to increase my current income tenfold, but I do have time management issues (understatement!) and I'm always up for suggestions on how to finish more work more quickly.

Some of the things she suggests are not realistic for my particular situation. For example, she suggests that an efficient way to get the aerobic exercise you need is to commute by bicycle. For me to wrangle 8 km (6 miles) on a bicycle with the Pumpkin Princess on a bicycle seat, every single day, rain or shine, is not an efficient or practical way to do things.

Still, the way I see it, it's kind of like Flylady. She has some valid points (like doing a little bit of housework each day and a little bit is so much better than nothing), but a Japanese buddhist woman cannot do absolutely everything a Southern Christian Fundamentalist tells her to do. I think I have more in common with Kazuyo Katsuma than I do with Flylady, though.

Entry for July 13, 2008

The Pumpkin Daddy pulled rope around a pillar and a pergola slat to give something other than the improvised poles for the morning glories to grow around.

morning glories

upgraded morning glories

There, they look much happier now, don't you think?

In other news, I bought new glasses. The sales guy was a cute late 20s/ early 30s man and my gaydar was pinging so hard it was funny. It was like watching Mark from Ugly Betty, except the salesperson was sweet and professional. I got semi-sassy frames which are quite different from my current ones. I also found out that 1) I am correctable to 20/15 (1.5 if you're Japanese) 2) my current glasses let me see something like 20/17 (1.2 if you're Japanese) or therabouts. I asked non-Mark to make my glasses let me see 20/20 or less since my job consisted mostly of sitting in front of a computer all day.

Entry for July 08, 2008

"Konna ni takakattakke?"

Was it always this expensive?

Today's phrase is brought to you by the subprime loan induced investment fund money induced rise in oil and food prices and the things I purchased to upgrade the old iMac so that it would be compatible with iPod Touch.

The non-geeks reading this will find their eyes crossing. The geeks will have their eyes crossing at my sheer ignorance.

I bought the iMac, the kind that looks like a white LCD monitor stuck into a scoop of vanilla ice cream, sometime in 2003. Until recently, it was running OS 10.3. I didn't think there was anything wrong with it, save that iPhoto was rather slow. I could surf the net, read and write mail, play CDs, save them on iTunes, write Word documents and work out Power Point presentations.

(Oh, and I could blog, too.)

Then the Pumpkin Daddy announced that he would like an iPod. Not just any iPod, but iPod Touch. Preferably with 16GB or more.

His birthday was coming up, and it seemed a good a thing as any to get for a tall handsome man who swiffs floors and does laundry and dishes without being asked. So I did research, and discovered that the iPod Touch was only compatible with OS 10.4 or later. So I did research, and discovered that my iMac, which was running on only 256MB of RAM, was not going to be able to deal with 0S 10.5.

So I bought a new memory card online. And it went in without too much trouble, and the iMac ran so much faster than it did. Particularly iPhoto. So I though it would be able to handle OS 10.5 and bought that too, at the Apple Store Then I found that I couldn't get it to load. Apparently, the DVD player had broken, and I hadn't realized it. Since I bought the iMac in 2003, any warranty it had was void. Repairs would cost 4,9500 yen ($462 or thereabouts at the current exchange rate of 107 yen to the dollar). Um, no. So I did more research and found a DVD unit with FireWire, and bought that online. And then I bought a USB hard disk online for data backup purposes. I managed to install OS 10.5 with the new DVD unit.

So I was all pleased with myself and I decided I would blog my success, along with pictures of my ripening tomatos and the wonderful thing the Pumpkin Daddy has done for my morning glories. Then I discovered that iPhoto didn't want to start. So I did some current version of iPhoto is not compatible with the new OS.

I can't live without iPhoto. I have all the pictures of the Pumpkin Princess since her conception there. So I will bite the bullet and buy the new version at the Apple Store.

I've bought a new memory card, a DVD unit, and OS 10.5. I am doomed to buy the new version of iPhoto. All together, they cost more than the 8GB iPod Touch.

This has got to be the most expensive birthday present the Pumpkin Daddy has ever received...and I haven't even bought the iPod yet.

Entry for June 29, 2008

"Koremade wakatta koto"

Things learned so far

So it's my first season of gardening (the three years or so of growing herbs on the veranda doesn't count). June is almost gone and I've learned a few things.

1. Plants will probably grow taller than the support poles you buy for them. When in doubt, buy the longer poles, unless you want to have to improvise...badly.


I do have an excuse...I wasn't planning on growing morning glories. Our neighbor gave the pot to us, sans poles, and I used what poles I had. The vines wrapped themselves around the bamboo poles, we blinked, and the poles were suddenly too short.

Then again, those poles are too short for the tomatos as well. And yes, that's duct tape I used. Hey, at least it matches the color of the bamboo.

2. If you want to have cilantro for cooking all summer, you probably should plant or buy (probably the former, since the gardening stores don't have cilantro plants after late May) once a month.


At least I'll have seeds to plant...

3. If you plant one kind of flower at once, they will bloom at once and they will die at once. (No photo for this one, it's just too sad)

4. If you want to enjoy edameme with cold beer while the idea of cold beer is still appealing, you should probably plant them before the last week of June.


I've heard they're pretty hardy and grow fast, so I haven't given up entirely. I'm hoping I'll have a harvest sometime late September.


I think this looks OK...impatiens and tomatos grow well together.

Entry for June 26, 2008

"Warui koto ha kasanaru."

Bad things come in groups.

Saturday morning, my new OS 10.5 disk was delivered. I popped it into the DVD drive, and...nothing happened. I tried again, and nothing happened. I re-started the iMac and popped it back in, and the DVD drive spit the disk out. I decided I was getting nowhere by myself so I called the toll free tech support number. The tech support guy was very nice but he only had bad news. My DVD drive was broken and needed repairing. Repairing might or might not involve the loss of all my hard drive data, and I needed to back up. But my DVD drive was broken, which meant I was going to either write my data on 20 CDs or find another way to do things.

So Saturday afternoon, we drove to the big electronics store in the next city to get an alternative back up method (I was thinking a hard disk with a USB connector). It was a half hour drive. They'd closed down! We knew that they were going to move to a different location, but we thought that they'd be open until the new store opened later this summer. The Pumpkin Princess had fallen asleep in her car seat, so we just went home.

Saturday evening, I cut myself while chopping onions.

Saturday night, the Pumpkin Princess developed a fever.

Sunday afternoon, I asked the Pumpkin Daddy if we could go to the local electronics store. So we drove there, I found a good sized hard disk at a resonable price, I paid for it with my credit card, and we got ready to go home. The store was crowded (summer bonus season and everyone wants a new computer/ new bigscreen TV/ new speaker system/ new video camera) and the parking lot attendant didn't quite have his act together. I'm not quite sure how it happened, but the Pumpkin Daddy whacked his car against a pillar in the parking area and ruined the bumper.

So we have a broken DVD drive, a cut finger, a sick baby, and a car with a bent bumper to show for this weekend. The only thing that has been fixed is the baby (Actually, she fixed herself, I think. She woke up Sunday morning cool as a cucumber and happily ate pancakes with chocolate sauce). Just one of those days, I guess, but only two in a row.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Entry for June 26, 2008

"Kaizou keikaku"

improvement plan

I'm trying to keep track of time and get stuff done. I realize that's a rather vague (read "difficult to visualize and hence easy to forget") goal. Right now, I'm trying to remember to read up on work stuff when I have little bits of time between each task, instead of raiding the snack counter or starting a conversation with someone trying to work. I keep something with me to read at all times, along with my planner so I can jot down that I've read something and feel all proud of myself. I'm not sure if it's helping things, but I am definitely doing more work reading than I used to.

Entry for June 20, 2008

"Nandemo takai!"

Everything is expensive!

Today I remembered to fill a plastic bottle with tap water to take to work. That's five days in a row. Since the cheapest 500 ml bottle in the workplace store is Crystal Geyser at 110 yen, I've saved 550 yen this week, not to mention there being five less plastic bottles clogging the local landfill or being recycled into plastic there doesn't seem to be much of a market for, so, yay!

Plus, today, the Pumpkin Princess was very cooperative about leaving for day care, so I dropped her off in time to get through the expressway gate before 9 a.m. (if you get on or off the expressway during certain hours, you ony pay half the regular toll). So that's 850 yen saved today.

Since I got on the expressway early, I tried playing a geeky game of how much mileage I could get out of the Pumpkin Prius.

(geek alert)

Since wind resistance varies directly to the square of velocity, the more slowly you drive, the less wind resistance you get.

(end geek aler)

Of course, driving too slowly is inefficient for the engine, so there is a happy medium somewhere in between. It was low traffic, so I wasn't elevating anyone's stress level by driving betweeen 90 and 100 kph. The Pumpkin Prius has averaged 22 kilometers per liter (51.8 mpg for my American friends) this tank. Driving the Prius to jack up the fuel economy used to be a purely geeky game. Now, it's starting to make financial sense.

For lunch, I spent the 850 yen saved at a Korean restaurant I'd been meaning to check out. I had the sundubu jjigae lunch, which was delicious! Although it's considered bad table manners in Japan, apparently in Korea, it is perfectly OK to spoon your soup on your rice or vice versa, so I took full advantage of the cultural discrepancy and ended up with a delightfully spicy seafood risotto.

This afternoon, one of the co-workers asked me if I wanted a cream puff. One of the clients had brought a couple packs of them. They were from a local pastry shop known for their delicious cakes, so I did not hesitate to take one. I bit into it, and, well, it was good, but it wasn't a cream puff. The filling was the lovely custard cream that the pastry shop is known for, but the shell...wasn't a shell. It was more like a skin. A sticky, pasty skin. It tasted a lot like a yukimi daifuku skin. Then it hit me. Wheat (and hence flour) prices have been steadily rising in current months. Butter has also been incredily hard to come by (Japan imports most of its milk for butter, and domestic dairy farmers only produce what's needed as fresh milk, and then the global market for dairy products abruptly got larger, leaving us with no butter. Or cheese. A couple months ago, you could not find butter in the supermarket. Period.) hitting bakeries and pastry shops very hard. It makes financial sense to develop new and different sweets that don't use flour. Using mochi skins, which would be made of rice, makes good business sense, because in Japan, rice prices are regulated by the government and will not be rising for at least several more months. In addition, making mochi does not involve butter.

Not everyone agreed with me or like the quasi-cream puffs as much. The combination of mochi and custard might not be a universal taste. I'm thinking those people don't like Yukimi Daifuku, either.

So the recent climate changes, global oil market, and rising grain costs have made fake cream puffs and my geeky mileage game financially practical. Cool, but you have to wonder what is going on for people who are less well off. I just eat less bread and more rice (and mochi skin cream puffs). What do people living on less than a dollar a day in developing nations eat? If anything?

Please go click on the Hunger Site if you haven't already today.

Entry for June 17, 2008


Too bad!

The other day, I made this for the Pumpkin Princess, because I thought this way she might eat her vegetables.


(computer mouse for size comparison, I didn't actually serve it this way)


Ratatouille of tomatos, zuccini (courgettes to my Brit friends), eggplant (aubergines to my Brit friends), bell pepper and onions.

The Pumpkin Princess saw the pumpkin on the way to her bath and wanted to eat it right then and there. I was patting myself on the back for being so clever and Martha Stewart-ish. After her bath, the Pumpkin Princess took a bite...and spit it out. And cried when we told her she couldn't have any more sausage until she ate her vegetables. The thing is, it actually tasted good! The fresh vegetables were full of sweet flavor. I don't know why she didn't like it. Oh well.

Another unhappy incident, this one from this morning...

Two Fridays ago, I painted my toenails bright red. I applied base coat, three layers of the red nail polish, and top coat. Last Friday, I touched up the chipped places and applied an additional layer of top coat. I thought my toes still looked pretty good, so I figured I was good to go for at least another week. This morning, I hit my big toe against the corner of my bathroom counter. It hurt terribly the moment I whacked it, but didn't take very long for the pain to subside, so I went back to brushing my teeth while making sure the Pumpkin Princess didn't start playing with the breakfast dishes in the sink. A few minutes later, I noticed a good sized defect in the block of shiny solid red that was the toenail on my big toe.

(TMI alert!)

Upon further examination, I realized that I'd chipped the toenail. Two coats of top coat, three coats (plus touch-ups) of red nail polish, base coat and the very top layer of the actual toenail had parted from the rest of the toenail and had gone flying...wherever. I had about five minutes before it was time to leave for day care and work, so all I could do was to paint over the layer of toenail still left on my toe.

Such is life.

Entry for June 16, 2008

"Konna ni taberarenai!"

I can't eat that much!

More pictures of the ryokan from last month.

the bathroom

This was our bathing area. The bathtub was made of Japanese cypress.


The bathwater, which is pumped directly from the local natural hot spring, flows constantly into the tub.

view from bath

The view from the bathing area.

view from bath

The view of the room from the bathing area.

ryokan food

Part of our dinner (yes, there was more!) The top center and top right are part of the Pumpkin Daddy's dinner. Second from top, center is shabu shabu (thinly sliced beef with vegetables in broth. There's a can of heat under the pan). Clockwise from there is mushroom tempura with matcha (powdered green tea) salt, sashimi (it's covered in a dome of shaved and packed ice), dipping sauce for shabu shabu (ponzu, which is a blend of citrus juice, vinegar, and soy sauce), plain soy sauce, pickles, and a basket of appetizers (I don't remember what they were, only that it waas all good!). The covered bowl in the center I think was steamed unagi (eel) and egg wrapped around soba (buckwheat noodles).


Close up view of the sashim igloo.

mushroom tempura

Close up view of the mushroom tempura with matcha salt (blend of green tea crushed to powder and plain salt)


I don't know why, but she freqently ends up in this position when sleeping.

Entry for June 15, 2008



I think I've used this phrase before, probably sometime last summer. The Pumpkin Princess got bitten by a mosquito right outside her right eye. Poor thing! I hope she doesn't scratch it too much. Still, if I were a mosquito, I would probably have a hard time resisting something so soft and smooth and sweet smelling as the Pumpkin Princess.

Entry for June 13, 2008

"Yatte moratta."

Someone did it for me.

I forgot I had an electronics engineer in the family...

I now boast 1.25 GB of RAM. I think my geek readership is amazed that I got by with only 256 MB until today. It was only frustrating when I was doing stuff with iPhoto.

I think I could have done it myself, if the Pumpkin Daddy hadn't done it for me. I did, after all, change the hard drive on my first computer. That laptop had a 1 GB disk that I upgraded to double that. So now this iMac has more RAM than my laptop had disk space.

I remember having plenty of fun on that laptop. It was what first introduced me to the internet, and some of the net friends I still have to this day. Everything is bigger, faster, stronger, but does it have to be?

Entry for June 13, 2008

Dounaru kana?

What's going to happen?

I just got the 1 GB memory I ordered online for my iMac. Either I will come back crowing over how high-tech I am or I'll have trashed this 5 year old machine and come back all sheepish on a different computer.

Entry for June 10, 2008

"Dareka itte yo!"

(Why didn't) someone tell me!

(TMI alert!!)

When we were in 5th grade, the girls were gathered in the music room for a Very Special Assembly. We were told not to not tell the boys what we were told. We got the standard issue information about the menstrual cycle, passed around feminine hygene products, and got little pamphlets that we were, again, told not to show the boys. The pamphlet touched on how "you might feel a bit sad or irritable before or during" but that was it.

I wish it had explained this "you might feel" stuff in greater detail. I think this is very important information.

I used to think these mood swings were a result of a character flaw or lack of intelligence. I was an independent woman, gosh darn it, I would not be swung by hormones.

Goodness, when I think of all the time and energy wasted trying to prove my cerebrum would pervail over progesterone, it makes me want to cry.

OK, not really. But there is a part of me that wishes I had figured out sooner that if hormones can do things to your body like grow and change your heart rate and your blood sugar, there wil be times that they will alter your mood. And it has nothing to do with strength of character or intelligence. Strength of character is what will keep me from lashing out at the Pumpkin Princess and the Pumpkin Daddy for things like not wanting to eat all her toast and not wanting to eat a dinner without meat, and intelligence (or would that be wisdom?) will make me avoid scheduling strenuous events (like trips to the in-laws) for suspect dates, or even (gasp!) take charge with medication and mess with the schedule to my liking.

I hope, when the time comes, I will be able to share this with the Pumpkin Princess, and that she'll understand its relevance. Knowlege is power, don't you know.

Entry for June 07, 2008

"Ii yu da na!"
What a nice bath!

A couple weeks ago, we lucked out and went to an onsen (hot spring) on a weekday. The edited for television (and blogging) version of the story is that my workplace had booked the rooms for someone else but they bailed and it was too late to cancel without having to pay a ridiculously large fee. So I picked the Pumpkin Princess up from day care and made the hour long drive in the Pumpkin Prius through winding hilly roads. We got there first. It was a nice room.


It had its own rock garden. The private bath is behind the glass window. The room is on the 4th floor, so you can't be seen bathing even if you have the window open to enjoy the view of the beautiful ancient pine tree. The three of us took a bath together.


Lovely decor.


Even an old style ryokan (Japanese style lodging) will have a flat screen TV these days. What was funny was that the TV has digital capabilities but it was only set for analog reception. We're so used to digital at home, the picture looked strangely grainy.

We had dinner brought to our room. There was a lot of very good food, all beautifully prepared, but the pictures are in the Pumpkin Daddy's camera. Hopefully I can get them up on another day.

Entry for May 23, 2008


(They) look alike!

My Favorite Aunt has come to visit my parents. Favorite Aunt is the Pumpkin Granny's younger sister. They look quite a bit alike, so I figured the Pumpkin Princess would fall in love with her. I was right! I think my cousin, Favorite Aunt's daughter, will probably get along with the Pumpkin Princess as well.

We went over to the Pumpkin Granny's for dinner and we all had beer (half lager, half Guiness) and wine (Chilean red wine) and sake (local brew) and got quite drunk. Yes, I am blogging under the influence, be very afraid. The Pumpkin Princess went to sleep and after a bit of discussion, we decided to leave her there. The Pumpkin Daddy and I walked home drunk, without a Princess. Granny will bring the Pumpkin Princess tomorrow morning.

Entry for May 05, 2008

"II kisetsu!"

Good season!

It's Golden Week here, that string of national holidays in the last week of April and the first week of May. Some go on exotic vacations, others stay at home and fix up. The Pumpkin family did the latter. On April 29th (Showa Day. It was the previous Emperor's birthday, and I guess people don't really want to mess with a national holiday that was around for 63 years), we went and bought gardening supplies and plants. We now have a couple tomato plants, a basil plant, and some flowers. Some of the plants went to the garden, and others are in pots outside the terrace and front door. We also bought an olive seedling that we planted in a large pot on the terrace (exit from the kitchen). We're hoping that the new olive plant will mean olives on the tree in the yard.

This past Saturday, we bought a bench to put beside the front door. It adds a nice touch to the front porch-ish look of the entrance. and it's also convenient for putting things being loaded and unloaded from the car. However, I think the main reason the Pumpkin Daddy wanted it was so that he could sit down while smoking outside. I have a not-so-secret agenda about making him as uncomfortable as is possible about his nicotine addiction, so this is a step back (Yes, I know, it's meddling with the affairs of an adult, but it's because smoking is proven to be a health hazard and everyone knows the tobacco companies up the nicotine in your tobacco on purpose). Sunday (yesterday) we got some more gardening supplies and also some wood varnish for the pergola over the terrace. Today we re-potted one of our larger plants.

I know all of this probably doesn't sound like much. It used to be that I could get so much stuff done on holidays, but with the Pumpkin Princess around, it just doesn't happen. She either isn't interested, or is way too interested and she wants to "help" plant the flowers (read: smash the flowers to bits before picking them all off) and water the garden (read: soak herself from head to foot before rolling around in the dirt). Then she'll see a bug and come running while screaming her head off.

Yes, my daugher is deathly afraid of bugs (I think she tolerates the occasional butterfly, but that's about it). I don't know where she got this fear of bugs. I am OK with most of them (unless I know them to be dangerous, like wasps) and so is the Pumpkin Daddy. The Pumpkin Granny smashes cockaroaches in her hand after capturing them with 2 layers of kleenex. I think it's a phase because I distinctly remember her staring at an anthill while the worker ants hauled seeds and dead bugs into it. We'll see. It's modern society, a phobia of insects is compatible with life.

Entry for April 20, 2008

"Jidai ha kawatta!"

Times have changed!

The Three Beautiful Sisters are our neighbor's three beautiful granddaughters. They live in the next town, so they are here whenever their parents decide they need reliable babysitters. They are 10, 7 and 3 years old and all child starlet beautiful, but child molesters beware, the two oldest take karate lessons. Other than their beauty and karate, they are your typical happy, friendly, healthy, destructive little children. The Pumpkin Princess considers them favored subjects, and cries when she sees them playing outside from the window until I take her out to join them.

So today, the Three Beautiful Sisters were playing jump rope with the cord their grandmother uses to tie things to her bicycle rack. The Pumpkin Princess cried so I took her outside, and soon the five of us were playing jump rope singing "teddy bear teddy bear, turn around" or rather "kuma-san kuma-san maware migi" and turning cartwheels on the front lawn of the Pumpkin Palace. Or rather, the two oldest were playing kuma-san kuma-san and turning cartwheeles while the youngest and the Pumpkin Princess watched.

The 10 year old beauty asked me what my name was and I told her Ayako. Next thing I know, she's calling me Ayako-chan. "Don't you call your friends' parents obachan?" Obachan means auntie. It's what I called my parents' friends and my friends' parents.

"No. We usually call them 'so-and-so's mom' or by their names."

"Not 'obachan'?"

"No, because they're not. Obachan is older people."


Perhaps this is where I start rambling about the obsession with youth and how the current generation not only refuses to grow up but also decides that accepting normal healthy aging is a bad thing, but I'll just take it a sign that times have changed and consider myself lucky that I have a good source of current information.

Entry for April 02, 2008


(You're) strong!

OK, back from the OB. Standard TMI alterts apply.

Had my mom drive me and drop me off, dressed in a pink polka dot gown they give the mothers going into labor (I guess they only have one kind of gown), got situated on the OR table, had an i.v. started, got positioned in stirrups and had my legs tied down. It was something right out of a bad porn film if it weren't for the pink polka dot gown. The doctor came in and said hi, the nurse hollered that she was going to give the intravenous barbituate, the ceiling started looking funny, and the next thing I knew the nurse was calling my name and saying that we were all done and that she would carry me on her back to the recovery room bed. Which she did. She was a little taller than me and probably weighed less, so I was pretty impressed, but also kind of dizzy and nauseous. That passed in an hour or so. The dizzy and nauseous, not the impressed with the nurse. She plunked an emesis basin beside my head and told me that if I felt severe pain or anything else the phone was on the other side of my head.

This OB clinic uses designer label duvet covers. When I gave birth to the Pumpkin Princess, I had Etro duvet covers. This time, they were Celine.

While I was in the recovery room, the curtains around me were drawn so I didn't see any faces, but apparently there was a woman there for infertility work, and she went into the same OR I did (I guess they use it for harvesting eggs and stuff). I could hear (through the closed door) the same doctor that did my surgery telling her "your eggs look quite good and I don't see any problems with them. However, your husband's sperm has a high enough count, but there aren't very many of them who swim strong and straight. The sperm score is about 31 and you need at least double that to have a good chance of getting pregnant." So I was thinking, this woman had to go home and tell her husband that his sperm were low scoring, crooked, weak swimmers and that was why they weren't getting pregnant, so of the two of us, I probably had the better chance of 1) having a pleastant after-dinner conversation with my husband 2) bringing home a healthy baby sooner or later.

The "I'm cute and tiny but much stronger than I look" nurse brought me sweet iced tea and peach jello (quite good, made from actual pureed peaches), I got dressed, the doctor removed the gauze tampon and examined me and did another ultrasound to confirm my uterus was devoid of its late occupant, the nurse gave me postop instructions, I called mr. a and we went to lunch. I ate over half of what I ordered, which I guess is pretty good for someone who had been entirely unconscious due to drugs only a few hours ago, and we came home.

I think I will spend the rest of the day catching up on Ugly Betty episodes (Season 1 to you folks in the US) that I've recorded but not got around to watching.

Entry for March 30, 2008

"Mousukoshi akarui wadai wo."

(Let's go to a) more upbeat topic.

Last night, I started thinking stuff like "I'm so sorry that I didn't hold you and nurse you like I did your big sister" and cried a bit. Which is normal. Illogical, but normal.

OK, something a bit more uplifting.


The Pumpkin Princess planted the ones in the far corner. OK, so it was more like "the Pumpkin Daddy dug the holes for the tulip bulbs and coaxed the Pumpkin Princess to drop a bulb in each hole and then turned the dropped bulbs right side up and covered them with soil."

There's something like 60 tulips in this bed. A couple sprouted but died before or shortly after blooming...the congenital lethal defect tulips, I guess.

OK, that was depressing again. Bear with me, it's only been a few days. And I haven't even had the D&C yet.

Entry for March 29, 2008

Sorry, no witty phrase today.

The Pumpkin Princess will not be a big sister yet. I've had a miscarriage.

The medical term for my situation is "missed abortion." The embryo's heart has stopped beating, but it hasn't come out on its own. I've been scheduled to have a D&C on Wednesday.

I'm sad, but not insanely so. A part of me wonders if it's a bit cold of me to not be sadder. But I keep thinking, it could be so very, very much worse. For example,

1. If it were later on in the pregnancy. I would have been a little less than 10 weeks today. The embryo is about the size of a bean. I would have to wonder if there weren't things that could have been done to keep the baby alive.

2. Having had to choose to have an abortion. The end of this pregnancy was not a choice I made, but the course of nature. I cannot begin to imagine what a woman would have to go through to make the choice not to carry her child. I don't mean to say that their choice is wrong. Far from it. What I mean is that every such choice is made by extreme circumstances that no sane person would ever actually want to go through.

3. Not having a Pumpkin Princess. She has been a happy, smiling, cheerful, talkative, cuddly Pumpkin Princess. Having a miscarriage is probably harder if you have never given birth to a healthy baby. You probably end up wondering if you ever will, if there is something wrong with you. I had a healthy baby once, I know I can do it again. If I can get pregnant again before my age catches up to me, that is.

The Pumpkin Daddy is taking it a lot harder than I am ("Was it because I wasn't as excited and happy as I was for the Pumpkin Princess?" "Was it because I kept making you upset?" "Should I have helped with the housework more?" Um, no and no for the first two, but who am I to argue if you are intrested in the last part?) I told him that statistically, most miscarriages this early in the pregnancy are because the embryo has a lethal defect of some sort, and he started on about how that wasn't a nice thing to say because the baby had done its best. I guess I am trying to rationalize what happened and make it something less important, and he isn't.

I might feel differently after the surgery. I don't know. Keep in touch?

Entry for March 21, 2008

"Yatta koto aru?"

Have you ever done it?

Deeje says I'm tagged, so here it is. If you haven't done it yet, copy and paste and boldface the ones that apply to you.

01. Bought everyone in the bar a drink
02. Swam with wild dolphins
03. Climbed a mountain

04. Taken a Ferrari for a test drive
05. Been inside the Great Pyramid
06. Held a tarantula
07. Taken a candlelit bath with someone
08. Said ‘I love you’ and meant it
09. Hugged a tree

10. Bungee jumped.
11. Visited Paris
12. Watched a lightning storm at sea
13. Stayed up all night long and saw the sun rise

14. Seen the Northern Lights
15. Gone to a huge sports game
16. Walked the stairs to the top of the leaning Tower of Pisa (no, but I climbed the Duomo in Firenze, though)
17. Grown and eaten my own vegetables (no, but hopefully this year)
18. Touched an iceberg
19. Slept under the stars
20. Changed a baby’s diaper
(Hello, Pumpkin Princess!)
21. Taken a trip in a hot air balloon
22. Watched a meteor shower
23. Gotten drunk on champagne
24. Given more than I could afford to charity
25. Looked up at the night sky through a telescope
26. Had an uncontrollable giggling fit at the worst possible moment

27. Had a food fight
28. Bet on a winning horse
29. Asked out a stranger
30. Had a snowball fight
31. Screamed as loudly as I possibly could

32. Held a lamb
33. Seen a total eclipse
34. Ridden a roller coaster

35. Hit a home run
36. Danced like a fool and not cared who was looking.
37. Adopted an accent for an entire day
38. Actually felt happy about my life, even for just a moment (You mean there are people who don't?? Really? Even for a moment???
39. Had two hard drives for my computer
40. Visited all 50 states
41. Taken care of someone who was drunk.
42. Had amazing friends

43. Danced with a stranger in a foreign country
44. Watched wild whales
45. Stolen a sign
46. Backpacked in Europe
47. Taken a road-trip.
48. Gone rock climbing.
49. Taken a midnight walk on the beach.
50. Gone sky diving. (While hitched to the instructor. Got airsick something awful.
51. Visited Ireland.
52. Been heartbroken longer then I was actually in love with the person.
53. In a restaurant, sat at a stranger’s table and had a meal with them.
54. Visited Japan. (Um...I don't think I'm visiting, so, no)
55. Milked a cow.
56. Alphabetized my CDs.
57. Pretended to be a superhero. (And this is after I graduated university. Still, I am sure I did pretty well as there was a four year old girl who was looking at me in awe and I asked her if she knew who I was and she shook her head no and continued to look at me in awe.
58. Sung karaoke.
59. Lounged around in bed all day.

60. Posed nude in front of strangers.
61. Gone scuba diving.
62. Kissed in the rain.
63. Played in the mud.
64. Played in the rain.

65. Gone to a drive-in theater.
66. Visited the Great Wall of China.
67. Started a business.
68. Fallen in love with someone and not had my heart broken. (Hey, it's looking good so far, anyway)
69. Toured ancient sites.
70. Taken a martial arts class.
71. Played D&D for more than six hours straight.
72. Gotten married.
73. Been in a movie.
74. Crashed a party.
75. Gotten divorced.
76. Gone without food for 5 days.
77. Made cookies from scratch.
78. Won first prize in a costume contest.
79. Ridden a gondola in Venice.
80. Gotten a tattoo.
81. Rafted the Snake River.
82. Been on a television news program. (I was interviewed, but I don't know if it was actually broadcast, so that doesn't count)
83. Received flowers for no reason.
84. Performed on stage.
85. Been to Las Vegas.
86. Recorded music.
87. Eaten shark.
88. Had a one-night stand.
89. Gone to Thailand.
90. Bought a house.
91. Been in a combat zone.
92. Buried one of my parents.
93. Been on a cruise ship.
94. Spoken more than one language fluently. (English and Japanese only, though)
95. Performed in Rocky Horror Picture Show.
96. Raised children. (Actually, it's still a work in progress)
97. Followed your favorite band/singer on tour.
98. Created and named my own constellation of stars.
99. Taken an exotic bicycle tour in a foreign country.
100. Picked up and moved to another city to just start over.
101. Walked the Golden Gate Bridge.
102. Sang loudly in the car, and didn’t stop when I knew someone was looking.
103. Had plastic surgery.
104. Survived an illness/accident that I shouldn’t have survived.
105. Written articles for a large publication.
106. Lost over 100 pounds.
107. Held someone while they were having a flashback.
108. Piloted an airplane.
109. Petted a stingray.
110. Broken someone’s heart. (Well, I couldn't just string him along when it was over, could I?)
111. Helped an animal give birth. (Does a person count?)
112. Won money on a T.V. game show.
113. Broken a bone.
114. Gone on an African photo safari.
115. Had a body part of mine below the neck pierced.
116. Fired a rifle, shotgun or pistol.
117. Eaten mushrooms that were gathered in the wild.
118. Ridden a horse.
119. Had major surgery.
120. Had a snake as a pet.
121. Hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon.
122. Slept for more than 30 hours over the course of 48 hours.
123. Visited more foreign countries than U.S. states.
124. Visited all 7 continents.
125. Taken a canoe trip that lasted more than 2 days.
126. Eaten kangaroo.
127. Eaten sushi.
128. Had my picture in the newspaper.
129. Changed someone’s mind about something I care deeply about.
130. Gone back to school.
131. Para sailed.
132. Petted a cockroach.
133. Eaten fried green tomatoes.
134. Read The Iliad. It was for school.
135. Selected one “important” author who I missed in school, and read.
136. Killed and prepared an animal for eating.
137. Skipped all my school reunions.
138. Communicated with someone without sharing a common spoken language.
139. Been elected to public office.
140. Written my own computer language.
141. Thought to myself that I’m living my dream.
142. Had to put someone I love into hospice care.
143. Built my own PC from parts.
144. Sold my own artwork to someone who didn’t know me.
145. Had a booth at a street fair.
146: Dyed my hair. (I color it on a regular basis.)
147: Been a DJ.
148: Shaved my head.
149: Caused a car accident.
150: Saved someone’s life. (Not directly, no)

Entry for March 20, 2008



The day before yesterday, I took the day off to take the Pumpkin Princess to get her polio vaccination, but she developed a fever at day care so it didn't happen. That night, I called the Pumpkin Granny to tell her what happened and that if she still had that fever the next morning, I would take her there.

Guess who was as cool as a cucumber the next morning? Bonus points if you can guess who got to hang with her friends at the temple that day...

The Pumpkin Princess is a pretty healthy gal. While her classmates are at home with colds at least a couple times a week, this is her first "sick" day since the New Year. And I don't mean Lunar New Year, either. Trouble is, she seems to pick the days to get sick with an uncanny precision. The day the Pumpkin Granny had planned to have lunch with her friends, she gets sick. The day the Pumpkin Mommy simply cannot get away from work because of a Very Important Meeting, she gets sick. The day the Pumpkin Granny wants to go to her "Jazz Dance and Fitness for Seniors" (don't ask) class, she gets sick.

Oh well. Better a healthy Pumpkin Princess than one who gets sick on all the days except the ones when everyone has plans.

Entry for March 18, 2008

"Toranu tanuki no kawazanyou!"

Pondering the cost of the skin of a tanuki not caught!
(A tanuki is a badger-type creature. The phrase means something along the lines of "don't count your chickens before they are hatched")

I had today planned nearly a month in advance. I would take the day off and take the Pumpkin Princess to get her polio vaccination. In the morning, I would do laundry and clean house. After lunch, I would go pick her up at day care and take her to the health center. The vaccination would take about an hour including the 15 minute "watch" period for allergic reactions.

Last Saturday, I got a call from the Toyota dealership. The Pumpkin Prius was due for a periodic safety check and oil change. I made a split-second decision to do it the morning I would have off.

Sunday, I noticed the Pumpkin Princess's eye was a bit puffy. She'd had a sty in her eye a couple months ago, maybe it was a relapse, maybe it was a new lesion. I thought maybe I would take her to the opthamologist after her polio vaccination.

Monday, I called the opthamologist to see about an appointment. I found out they do walk-ins, so I didn't book anything.

Tuesday morning, I took the Pumpkin Princess to day care. I did laundry and went grocery shopping and fooled around on the internet a bit but did not clean house, then took the Pumpkin Prius to the Toyota dealership. I drank orange juice and read a magazine while they did the check and oil change. They also ended up changing the filter on the AC. They were done in about an hour. I got takeout at KFC and brought it home to eat, then headed out to fetch the Pumpkin Princess.

When I got to the day care, she had one of those cooling sheets stuck on her forehead. The teacher said that she had quite a fever, which meant no vaccination.

I did take her to the opthamologist. We got to see an older female opthamologist with only a short wait (couldn't have been longer than 20 minutes or so) who kept bad mouthing the pediatrician she'd seen for her first sty for the antibiotic eye drops he had perscribed ("those are the big guns, we don't use them on stys, I keep saying that's not the only medicine there is") which was understandable but still pretty amusing to hear. We got some different, milder eye drops and were told to use them for a week and come back if it got worse and let it be for a while if it shrunk or stayed the same. When I was getting the eye drops, I panicked because I remembered there was only about 5000 yen in my wallet ($50 at the new funky exchange rate we have been having for the past couple of days), and that most smaller clinics won't take credit cards. Then I remembered that it's Pumpkin Princess medical care and that it was free (medical care for children under age 6 is free in Pumpkin City). In another country, I would never be able to walk in to see an opthamologist, I would need a referral from the pediatrician and an appointment. It would cost me much more than I had in my wallet for the exam alone, and the medication would have to be paid for as well. There are aspects of Japanese medical care that definitely need checking, but It does have its good points.

So...I didn't get done what I'd originally taken the day off to get done (get the last of the Pumpkin Princess's vaccinations out of the way, at least until she is five years old), but I did get the car checked out and the grocery shopping done and got the Pumpkin Princess to the opthamologist. All in all, not a bad day.

Tomorrow's a different story. If she still has a fever, she won't be able to go to day care, and she will have to go to the Pumpkin Granny's. Granny wanted to go to shakyo at the temple run by one of her friends. Shakyo is writing Buddhist chants in brush and ink to imitate the original scriptures, it's supposed to be spiritual and relaxing and all that good stuff but everyone knows she just uses it as a reason to hang with her friends and blow off steam about her family, which is absolutely fine, and I really hate to take that away from her. But we're short staffed tomorrow as it is, so if it comes to that, it will come to that and the Pumpkin Daddy and I will have to find a way to make it up to her somehow.

Entry for March 15, 2008


Too late!

Two weeks ago, I bought some flat leaf parsely, cilantro, spearmint, and thyme plants. I had planned on planting them last week, but we got rather busy and didn't get around to it so they stayed on a sunny part of my kitchen counter. One of the cilantro plants withered completely, and the other looks kind of limp as well. I finally got around to planting them in a large container today. We'll see how they do. The parsely, mint and thyme look OK.

I've also ordered jalapeno and zuccini (pizza chilies and courgettes to my Brit friends) seeds online.

Since I've got cedar pollen allergies and it's high season for cedar pollen, I wear a hat and a surgical mask when I'm gardening. I look like someone who knows she is doing something she is not supposed to.

Entry for March 09, 2008

"Yaritai koto ga ippai!"

(There are) so many things I want to do!

I'd like to have a garden this year. There's a bit of space in my yard that has no lawn. The landscaping guy said that he didn't want to plant lawn there because it was too shady (from the house nextdoor and our house), so we left it bare. We plan on building a shed for the lawn chairs and gardening tools eventually, but there's still space left over, so I was thinking of planting something.

I'd like to have

jalapeno (don't know how to make the squiggle over the n)
zuccinni (courgettes to my British friends)
Roma tomatos

Most of these things are only occasionally found in supermarkets, so they will be nice to have around, and except for the jalapeno and tomatos, seem to be pretty easy to grow...provided you have enough sunlight. That's the catch. I'm growing things in an area that a gardening professional decided against planting lawn. Maybe I'll pretend I'm an apartment dweller again and plant everything in flowerpots...

In other news, the Pumpkin Palace now boasts an electric trash composter. You put in food scraps and it dries and processes them into compost. We just turned it on last night and put in some coffee grounds and vegetable scraps this morning. You're supposed to put in only a little bit at first, and eventually you can put in up to 1 kilo (or 2 pounds for my American friends) of food scraps a day. In a month or so, we should have our own organic fertilizer to mix in our flowerpots or garden. The noise level is pretty low, and the odor is rather like opening a new bag of compost you bought at a gardening store, you notice it but it's not that big a deal. We'll see how it does.

And now, the most important news of all. We have told my parents but not the in-laws, so please don't say anything to them before they hear from us ;)

The Pumpkin Princess will be a big sister sometime in late October or early November. It's a bit early to be telling people, but I usually end up telling people early because of the nature of my work, and it seems strange for the people at work to know but not my friends and family, so I just go ahead and tell everyone. Right now, I only get queasy when my stomach gets empty. I nibble on stuff when that happens, so I'm starting to gain weight when most moms lose their appetite and either lose weight or stay the same. I'm using up my weight gain quota too early...

Entry for March 01, 2008

"Kyou ha tanoshii Hinamatsuri!"

Today's the fun Doll's Festival!

Actually, it isn't, but since March 3rd is a Monday and I always end up working late Mondays, and we're planning on putting these dolls
The real thing
away tomorrow, we went ahead and did a quasi-celebration today.

The purpose of the holiday is to ask the powers that be for the girl(s) in the family to grow up healthy and beautiful and marry good men. The dolls symbolize the Emperor
and the Empress
but they also symbolize the girl and her future husband, and how much better than the Emperor can you get?

(Don't answer that. Especially if you are Princess Masako. And isn't it amusing how none of her health problems are discussed in this Wikipedia article?)

Those dolls used to be mine. We're supposed to buy a new set for the Pumpkin Princess, but the Pumpkin Mommy and Daddy are lazy people so we just dusted off the Pumpkin Mommy's old dolls. These dolls have been places. Nearly three decades ago, they went to my elementary school for a "Japan Day" presentation by my mom, along with three dozen kappa-maki (cucumber sushi) for the 1st graders to sample. "Japan Day" was a bit of a hit, and other teachers in other schools wanted my mom to do her gig at their school too (and bring her kappa-maki). I got to get off of school and tag along to be her translator. It made me feel very clever and important.

Anyway. Since we decided to do Hinamatsuri, I cooked a special dinner.

I used a "chirashizushi mix" that had seasoning and pre-cooked vegetables vacuum packed and mixed it in the freshly cooked rice. I also mixed in some grilled salmon. Then I garnished it with scrambled egg sliced into thin threads, cucumber, mitsuba and ikura (salmon roe).

Clam soup
clam soup
Clam soup is a Hinamatsuri staple. I made broth from konbu and katsuobushi (dried fish flakes). After letting the broth cool a bit, I tossed in the clams, brought the whole thing to a rolling boil, and salted to taste. The two shells of a clam will match each other but no other, and this symbolizes the relationship the girl and her future husband are hoped to have.

So why am I so intent on putting the dolls away tomorrow? Why can't I wait until next weekend? Well, if superstition is to be believed, leaving the dolls out longer than necessary will lead to marriage at a later age, or worse (gasp!) eternal spinsterhood. That would be tragic.

I'm being sarcastic, of course. Still, we might be having the Pumpkin Daddy's friends over next Saturday morning, and they might believe in the old superstitions and bring it up and cause me to burst into my uber-feminist speech about how marriage is not the final goal for a woman, the final goal for a woman, or a person, should be how much they can accomplish for others and be happy while doing it, not to be a slave to be taken for granted by her husband,

(and this is where, to non-feminists, I start to sound like feminism feminism feminism feminism I am bitter because I am plain feminism feminism feminism I am bitter because the guy I crushed on in university wouldn't give me the time of day feminism feminism feminism. So I'll stop now. Happy Hinamatsuri.)

Entry for February 29, 2008

"Minna bara bara!"

(We're) all breaking apart!

I know Kim has lamented about this problem too, and I am sure others have this issue going on as well. My net friends are all over the place. I used to belong to a handful of online communities, which worked off of mailing lists and online bulletin boards. Then some of my net friends started blogging. Reasons for blogging vary with the blogger, but I think that for some of my friends it was because it didn't seem right to "hog" bandwidth with personal issues. This is a courteous and sensitive manner of thinking. However, this blogging trend has cut down web traffic on the "main" online community.

And the other thing. There are so many blog sites out there! I have friends who blog on xanga, blogspot, multiply, livejournal, and diaryland. Some of them have a "friends only lock" function on their blogs (and those are usually the most interesting to read as they are peppered with specific daily episodes and lovely pictures of their family and friends) which means that I have to sign in with my xanga/ blogspot/ multiply/ livejournal/ diaryland ID to see what they have to say.

And, of course, there is me here on Yahoo 360 of all places in the world.

If only you guys weren't so interesting, I wouldn't end up spending so much time on the computer! ;)

Entry for February 24, 2008


I did it!

The Pumpkin Princess finally used the potty at home. She's been using the potty at day care for a couple weeks now, along with the potty at the Pumpkin Granny's, but not the one in the Pumpkin Palace. The success rate is far below 100% and she won't be doing big girl pants for a while yet, but diaper consumption is down about 50%, which is always a good thing.

I made pizza yesterday. I rolled my own crust using the kneading blade on my food processer. It was so much better than the delivery pizza the Pumpkin Daddy is fond of, not the least because the oven is 10 steps from the table, as opposed to 15 minutes from the pizza kitchen.

As for the food mile issue, anything that involves flour is going to be high food mile because only about 10% of the flour used in Japan is produced in Japan, and the rest comes mostly from the US and Canada. I have heard local flour is to be found in some farmers' markets, so I should look into that (again, I am not anti-Chinese or anti-American, just anti-anti-whaling. I am just trying to see how much I can support local agriculture). The yeast was made in France (!), the bottled pizza sauce had no country of origin so I am assuming it was made in Japan using imported ingredients. Half the cheese was from Hokkaido (northernmost island in Japan) and the rest I am not sure about (I ran out halfway and opened a new package that did not clarify country of origin), but again, Japanese livestock is mostly fed American feed. The salami did not clarify a country of origin.

Entry for February 24, 2008


I don't need it!

I went to the local supermarket today, and they were promoting whale meat. "Safe whale meat obtained through research whaling!" the 30something man in a yellow happi coat with a whale logo said into his microphone. They were offering tasting samples to whoever would show interest.

I'm not anti-whaling. I think in the US and UK, this puts me in the same class as child molesters. However, I think whaling, at least for Japan, is a waste of time and resources. For one, it tastes all right, but not t die for. I've had whale meat. It tastes somewhere between tuna, chicken, and beef. If there were a shortage of food (which was indeed the case once upon a time in Japan), then I would eat it, but for now, I prefer tuna, chicken or beef (though I understand tuna fishing is heavily restricted these days, so my toro cravings will soon need checking). Like I saw in the supermarket today, the whale meat from Japanese research whaling is sold. I didn't see very many people buying it today. It looked a bit red and runny, probably because the meat had been frozen (how else can you get it home from Antarctica still fit to eat?).

Which brings me to the next issue. When you chase down a whale and harpoon it and winch it up and carry it home, it involves a lot of diesel fuel. And, currently, tax dollars, as research whaling is funded by the Japanese government. That money would probably be better spent hiring more and better elementary school teachers and hospital nurses. Go use our carbon dioxide emission quota on something like electricity for a nursing home.

I understand that there are poor countries that look to whaling as a source of protein. I understand that there are traditional Inuit communities for whom whaling is a way of life and a source of cultural identity. However, Japan is no longer protein depleted. Japan's national identity can be seen in aspects other than whaling. I don't need it.

But if you tell me I can't have it because it is WRONG, I shall be quite annoyed. If you write me telling me that whales are endangered and whales are beautiful and whales are intelligent and whaling is barbaric, you will sound to me like you are saying abortion is murder and murder is wrong, and make my eyes cross and mind go blank.

Entry for February 16, 2008

"Shoku no anzen."

Food safety.

For those of you who do not keep up with what's on the Japanese news these days (this probably includes everyone reading this but Tia-san), about 10 people ate tainted frozen dumplings in December and January, and one 5 year old girl is still hospitalized from the effects. The dumplings all came from the same frozen food factory in mainland China. While there is no telling where in production or transport the toxin made its way into the dumplings, the most severe cases of poisoning involved the insecticide methamidophos. Methamidophos is in fairly common use in mainland China but is found only in research facilities in Japan, so the Japanese media have come to the unconfirmed but understandable conclusion that the tampering happened somewhere outside Japan.

Now, I'm not about to stop buying things made in China (I don't think I could even if I tried), but it has given me reason to check what I'm eating, and more importantly, feeding the Pumpkin Princess. Plus, I would like to support local industry. So, I tried to see how domestic and local I could get with a meal I would serve to company (in this case, the in-laws).

Salmon marinade
Salmon in an onion dressing. The salmon was farmed Chilean salmon, which is an environmental nightmare, but I found a pack of the stuff that's left after the filets are cut, so that's slightly better. I think. The onions were harvested in town. The olive oil was from Italy, the wine vinegar from Yamanashi (same big Japanese island the Pumpkin Palace is located), mitsuba harvested in town.

Broccoli in anchovy sauce
Inspired by my net friend Amy, I lightly boiled some broccoli (from a local producer), then stir-fried it in Italian olive oil and locally grown garlic. I added anchovy pase (made in Italy), pine nuts (grown in China) and crushed red pepper (made in China). Big hit with the in-laws and the Pumpkin Princess (she got a version without the pine nuts and red pepper). I would have loved to add Feta cheese, but it would have cranked up the food miles. Not to mention the local supermarket doesn't carry it.

Chicken Salad
Local lettuce, hothouse tomatos from a different island in Japan, local chicken (but probably fed American corn or other grain. Most Japanese livestock are given American feed).

Boiled potatos. Locally grown.

Yamaimo sauteed in butter.
Yamaimo harvested within the city limits. Butter made in Hokkaido (different island in Japan), but milk probably (OK, almost certainly) comes from cows on American feed.

(OK, did you check out that Wiki entry on yamaimo? I did not know about its use for anything other than food. I do know that when I peel or grate yamaimo, it makes my hands itch if I don't wash them immediately, so I'm wondering...)

Entry for February 15, 2008


I remember now!

When I moved into the town I lived in before Pumpkin City, when I was starting 2nd grade, there was a family that lived in the house behind us that consisted of a mother and father, two boys and two girls. The two boys were also in 2nd grade. They looked and acted nothing alike. I was in the same class as one of the boys whom I shall call Mort. Mort taunded me for being short, for being Asian, for doing well in school, for wearing jeans with butterflies on the back hip pocket, for walking, for breathing. He was obnoxious. His brother Bart was somewhat quiet and generally nice.

As the school year progressed, I found that the brothers had different birthdays, and also different last names. Mort alone had one last name, and his sisters and brothers shared another. I knew this, but my friend Carrie, who was in Bart's class, did not. She said Mort's last name was the same as Bart's. On the way home from school, Carrie and I argued loudly, shouting Mort and Bart's last name many, many times.

The next day, I was approached by Mort's sister Liz, who was a year ahead of me and Carrie in school.

"Why were you and Carrie shouting yesterday?"

"Carrie said that you and Mort had the same last name, so I told her she was wrong but she wouldn't believe me."

"Oh," Liz grimaced. "Could you please not shout our names anymore?"

"But who was right?" I asked, wondering what the fuss was about, but willing to do something a friend asked, but still wanting to be right. I haven't changed much since 2nd grade, I guess.

"You were."

Several months later, Mort's mother, sisters, and brother left the house behind ours, leaving Mort and his dad and their dog, an obnoxious Doberman that barked when we ventured too near his kennel. Mort continued to taunt me regularly.

A couple years after Liz and Bart's family had left Mort's house, my friends and I spotted an unfamiliar woman in the Doberman's kennel. She was probably in her early 20s. When she was done cleaning the kennel, she went into Mort's house through the back door. We saw her often the next year or so. Then we stopped seeing her. Mort taunted me some more.

When I started junior high, I spotted a familiar face in the hallway. "Hi! Do you remember me?" I said to Liz.

"Yes," she said.

Liz avoided me the rest of the school year.

Mort still taunted me, but he seemed less of a threat. I made lots of geeky friends who thought algebra was a recreational activity. Mort's plain looks, poor school work, and lackluster athletic abilities, not to mention his obnoxiousness, dictated he would never be one of the cool kids. I can't remember a time when I saw him hanging with his friends. I can't remember who his friends were. I can't remember if he had friends.

I moved to Japan. No more Mort.

In retrospect, I should have pitied Mort. Mort lost his birth mother at an early age. His father's second wife and his stepbrother and stepsisters left him when he was eight. His father's young live-in companion left him when he was eleven. He did poorly in school and had trouble making friends, and I am sure there are pediatric psychologists who will enthusiasticly discuss the relationship between his failure to build relationships and his father's failure to bring stability into their home. Whatever the case may be, I no longer hold a grudge against Mort. I wonder what kind of person he has become. Maybe he works for NASA.

OK, probably not.

(Names have been changed to protect privacy, except for Ayako and Carrie, because lack of tact in a seven year-old is hardly a crime, is it?)

Entry for February 12, 2008

Doko itteta no?"

Where were you?

During the past 3 day weekend, the Pumpkin Princess announced time after time "we're going to the Pumpkin Granny's!" to which I would reply, "no, we're not." When the Pumpkin Granny went to pick up the Pumpkin Princess at the Pumpkin Daycare, the Pumpkin Princess said to her, "where were you?" I would have taken her if I didn't dread peeling the Pumpkin Princess off the Pumpkin Granny and strapping a struggling 2 year-old into the car seat and hearing her scream while trying to drive...

Speaking of screaming...

The Pumpkin Princess sleeps in a crib in the master bedroom, next to the double bed where the Pumpkin Daddy and I sleep. Standard Pumpkin Princess sleeping protocol calls for the Pumpkin Princess being tucked into her crib with her stuffed Curious George, pink teddy bear, koala bear, and flannel sheep, wearing her Micky Mouse print big girl (i.e. cloth) panties OVER her pajamas or play clothes trousers, and the Pumpkin Mommy "sleeping" in the bed next to her (but not the Pumpkin Daddy). Monday, the Pumpkin Princess refused to nap. She would fidget, sit up, and even start singing. I admit it, I lost my temper. "If you're not going to sleep, I'm not going to sleep here. You can sleep by yourself," I said, and I left the room, leaving a Pumpkin Princess screaming in protest. I let her scream for three minutes, went back in the room, and said stuff to her along the lines of you're a big girl now, you can sleep by yourself, you don't need me in the room. Then I walked out of the room with her still screaming at the top of her lungs. Repeat after five minutes, then seven minutes.

I think she must have screamed for a total of half an hour before she fell asleep exhausted.

When she woke up, again, crying, I showered her with hugs and kisses and praised her for having gone to sleep by herself, and asked her "since you went to sleep all by yourself, would you like to go out for ice cream?" She immediately stopped crying and said yes. So we went to the mall and shared a large scoop of Caramel Ribbon ice cream at Baskin Robbins.

At night, I told her she could try sleeping by herself again. She cried and cried, but once in bed she cried for about a minute before going to sleep. This morning, again, I gave her lots of hugs and kisses (but no ice cream, because what self respecting Pumpkin Mommy would feed her Pumpkin Princess ice cream for breakfast on a weekday?)

So tonight (Tuesday night), I asked her if she would try sleeping by herself again, and she quietly said "yes." I took her and Curious George and the pink teddy bear and the koala and the sheep upstairs, helped her pull on the Micky Mouse print big girl pants, tucked her and her stuffed friends into bed, kissed her good night, turned out the light, left the room, and closed the door.

Silence. No protesting, no crying, nothing.

I didn't cry yesterday when she screamed, but I almost got teary tonight when she went to sleep quietly.