Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Loser parent


I realize I'm probably not going to win any parenting awards, but I like to think of myself as an o.k. parent. My kids wear clean (if not new or fashionable) clothes to school, carrying most of the necessary books and supplies most of the time. They eat home cooked dinners 95% of the time. They have extracurriculars and help with schoolwork. We head out to most of their school and extracurricular events.

But sometimes, I am reminded of my failures.

(Not For the Squeamish Alert!)

Like this morning, when the Pumpkin Daddy and I realized neither of us had clipped the Pumpkin Prince's toenails in, like, forever.

And yet, he hadn't chipped his toenails or torn his socks in, like, forever.

"What do you do, bite them?" the Pumpkin Daddy joked.


"Wait, is that what you do? Bite them?"

A pregnant pause, followed by a nod.

He bites his toenails. During bath time (at least he is biting clean toenails). He can bring his toes to his mouth, like a baby (he's ten). He demonstrated (the bringing his toes to his mouth, not the biting).

When the shock wore off, we asked him to please not do it anymore.

We are considering taking him out of tennis lessons to enroll him in gymnastics classes (kidding but only partly).

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Mental health

Seishin eisei (or, alternatively, just mentaru herusu)

Since I've completely fallen off the running bandwagon, and it's too cold to get back on (I can hear my Midwestern friends laughing at me from across the pond), but I had to do something, I did the Beginner 28 Day Workout Calendar on Blogilates and it was...about a million times better than doing nothing. My back doesn't hurt anymore. I'm stress eating, but all my clothes still fit.

So, since I finished the Beginner Calendar, I tried the February 2nd workout on the February workout calendar and...didn't die. The workouts on the monthly calendars are almost an hour long if you do the whole thing (the beginner workouts were more like half an hour long), which is all right on weekends, but not so much on weekdays. Still, something is always better than nothing. Some days, I do 2 or 3 videos (out of 4 or 5). In the interest of full disclosure, there are days when I don't do anything. The days I did do something, it made me feel really accomplished (like the way I did when I went running on an early workday morning).

Also...kinda sorta still meditating. Doing Simple Habit and some You Tube guided meditations. I like The Honest Guys, but only the short ones (10 minutes or thereabouts).

Taking my medication. For the first time in my life, I'm constantly on medication. I'm on an antiarrhythmia drug. It's the mildest one. I'm also on meds for my pollen allergies. I keep forgetting to take them. Fortunately, this will never prove lethal.

And...still kinda sorta bullet journaling. I don't do the cute doodles (because I can't do cute doodles, because I don't have that kind of talent) but I did toss in a little bit of calligraphy using 100 yen shop (Daiso) calligraphy pens and masking tape. Just a monthly calendar and the daily logs, with a touch of calligraphy, highlighters, and Post-it Notes. Nothing Instagram worthy, but I think it helps keep me from forgetting things...

So, I'm doing yoga and meditating and medicating and journaling. I'm like an employee in a Silicon Valley startup the company is trying to squeeze out every bit of performance from.

(Except Pilates isn't yoga, and PopPilates isn't really Pilates. And meditation on a 5 minute app is probably limited in its power. And the medication is for allergies...)

Currently loving this sheet mask. A part of me thinks that all I'm getting is a heavy dose of hyaluronic acid, but it leaves my skin feeling...springy? And the sensation stays even after I've washed my face the next morning.

Really getting slammed at work. So maybe the (not) Silicon Valley Startup Interventions are helping me stay sane improve performance? We shall see.

Thursday, January 3, 2019

I can't believe it


Happy New Year! And, long time no see.

(Apparently, this phrase has racist origins.. It mocks the way Chinese people trying to learn English speak. But I'm just going to leave this here because it will fade from use if it is meant to with or without my help, like "uppity" and "gypped.")

I'm getting slammed at work. I think my current work environment is where I can do most good in this world, so I'm staying for the time being, but if I leave, it is because the universe and the powers that be could not appreciate and respect the good I was doing for the world and not because I didn't want to do my part to help the world. (And how much does that sound like "I didn't mean to be racist?")

I've stopped running. I'm starting to have problems with my back again (I used to, but I didn't when I ran semi-regularly) so I need to do something. Running is probably the best combination of core and cardio, but it isn't compatible with my current work schedule.

For Christmas, we had a KFC roast chicken and a cake from a local bakery (yes, with strawberries), got some additional stuff from Costco, and I made a mushroom dressing (it's dressing if it's a side and stuffing if it's actually inside the bird, right?) and the Pumpkin Granny brought some fresh vegetables with dip and sautéed vegetables, and we were good to go. For New Year's, I wasn't in the mood to cook anything. The Pumpkin Daddy's friend brought us homemade mochi and we had that in the ozoni, and the Pumpkin Daddy ordered a three-tiered osechi box from 7-eleven.

The New Year Holiday has come and gone. My Holiday Resolutions were cleaning the kitchen fan and counters, decluttering the bathroom cabinets and a drawer or two of my clothes, and a couple sessions of exercise. Keeping it realistic and low key and all that. I cleaned the kitchen fan like I do every New Year Holiday. This year (last year?) I used hot water and washing soda. Doing my part to save the environment, I guess. It worked just as well as any cleaner I've ever used, and it was a little cheaper. And I chucked some old lotions and other items from the bathroom. And I did three Blogilates videos. Didn't get around to the clothes culling, but that's one I can do any day of the year.

Speaking of decluttering, I am in disbelief that Konmari has her own Netflix show. Wasn't Hoarders enough incentive for people to part with things they didn't need?

Monday, July 16, 2018

Long time, no see


I have clearly not accomplished all my Golden Week goals, especially not the one about exercise, and (less importantly--or would that be more?) the one about Tiny Vader.

Life is all right. The Pumpkin Princess is having fun in JHS which is unexpected and really nice (I hated that JHS). She is in the percussion section in band and loves it. Midterms and finals have come and gone. Results were very, very slightly above average, which, if continued, aren't going to leave her as many career choices as she wants (Actually, her current career of choice is Disneyland Cast Member, which would sustain the standard of living she wants if our family home were within commuting distance of the place. Which it isn't.). The Pumpkin Prince is...a boy. He breaks things. He forgets things. He's all right with it. He's all right with himself. 

Bullet journaling continues, and is helpful, when I journal. When I'm really, really busy, I don't even have time to check/ update it, which means it doesn't get the chance to be helpful. Which means I need to do it more religiously, I guess? I've been doing it on a notebook I got at the 100 yen store, but after four months of it, I decided to get a bigger (A5) notebook with a nice cover. We'll see how I do with the bigger notebook.

I am still bulk cooking over the weekend for weekday breakfasts and lunches. I haven't bought an unplanned work lunch in over four months. I think that's pretty amazing. One unexpected problem is that I keep forgetting how much cash I (don't) have in my wallet. Thank goodness for free ATM fees at 7Eleven for people who get paycheck deposits at my bank...

Meditation...I don't know. I keep falling asleep. I never had trouble sleeping to begin with. I don't know if it makes me more productive or forgiving or whatever.

Exercise. See above. Totally slacking off. Lost, and gained back weight (my body's usual response of losing muscle, then gaining fat). I'm currently the weight I was right after the New Year Holidays. Which isn't terrible, by any means, but not as healthy as I could be.

I dumped my hairdresser (my hair salon, actually. My hairdresser left me a few years ago and I just kept going to the same salon out of habit). My new one gave me a straightening treatment, which I love, and bangs, which I am not sure about. At first, I liked them. Then I started feeling like they made me look like a 38 year-old (I say 39 because people say I look slightly younger than my age) trying to look like a 23 year-old. Then they grew (duh) and I am starting to remember why I ditched bangs circa 1998 in the first place. I'm trying to decide if I want to attempt a self-trim or if I will grow them out until my next salon visit (which will probably happen in 11 months).

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Have lofty goals

Mokuhyou ha takaku

Feeling better, even though I've totally slacked off on the exercise. Meditation is...on and off. I keep falling asleep before the YouTube video ends, which I've decided is perfectly acceptable. Journaling is going well. I started mid-March and I'm on page 42. I think I'm having slightly fewer "OMG TOTALLY FORGOT" moments, but I'm also having longer periods of "OMG I HAVE TO DO XYZ AND I TOTALLY DON'T WANT TO BUT I HAVE TO AND I REALLY REALLY DON'T WANT TO BECAUSE IT'S HARD AND I DON'T WANT TO CALL THAT PERSON AND GET THAT THING THAT I NEED TO DO XYZ AND OMG I HAVE TO DO XYZ" so I'm not sure if I'm actually any more efficient.

Here is this year's overly ambitious to-do list, to be accomplished sometime between April 28th and May 6th (but I am working and the kids have school on May 1st and 2nd).

1. Wash cashmere knits: From November to February (and sometimes March) I live in Uniqlo cashmere over Heat Tech thermals (with or without a button up shirt or blouse layered between the two). I have four long sleeved pullovers, a short sleeved turtleneck, and a sweater set. I'll hand wash them with detergent for delicates. (There's just something not quite right about dry cleaning something that cost less than $100.) The laundry net will let me only dry two at a time, so I'll have to do two a day.

2. Gardening: We had landscaping done and so I don't have nearly as much space to make overly ambitious plans only to let the yard fall to a weed jungle garden. Still, I want to have nice flower pots in front of the front entrance and maybe the new shed. So, I need to:

Empty old soil from flower pots, sieve, place in black trash bags
Get new potting soil and cute plants
plant flower pots with fresh plants to last for a couple of months

3. Run at least three times: I've totally lapsed in the exercise department. Shock therapy might be necessary.

4. Color hair and pedicure: I've already bought the box hair color. Haven't decided if I'll paint my toenails my usual navy blue, or something more understated.

5. Get a repair estimate on my work bag: I bought the thing about eight years ago. It now has small rips and the edges are badly worn. I did some googling, and the company does repairs for a price, so I want to take pictures and drop them a line and see if repairs would be worth the time and money. I think the cutoff would be half of what I paid for the bag in the first place.

6. Tiny Vader photoshoot: because I want to tell the story of what became of the rose/ silky red boxers.

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?