Sunday, November 30, 2008

Big in Japan

I love this kids and I listen to it often, especially in the car...
we turn it up loud, roll down the windows and sing.

Though the song has nothing to do with weight, every time I hear it, I can't help but think about how I hate to feel "Big in Japan"...

I've never really had a Japanese body type. I'm taller than any of the women on my Japanese side and have always had way more curves. I have gone through periods when I have been thinner and others when I am thicker (like now) but I have never been a stick figure...I have always had thicker legs, a rounder rump and more bosom than my mom and aunt put together. Unfortunately this different body type caused much frustration growing up, because I always thought that something was wrong with me.

It really wasn't until I met my husband that I gained a new appreciation for the fact that my body type will always be different from my Japanese relatives. My husband loves to revel at the fact that I have inherited an "Irish" body type (from the other side of my genetic pool). Lucky for me, he loves curvy... All the things that I always thought were genetic abnormalities are precisely the things that he loves about me.

It feels good to be validated for who I am.

And on that note, I realize that the ideal for me is not to look like my mom or any average Japanese person for that matter. I am perfectly fine with the fact that even at my thinnest weight, I am still considered plus sized in Japan (one year I went to Japan and I was the smallest I had ever been...about a size 6/8 US... and even then, I could not find a pair of jeans that weren't in the "plus size section!!!)

Honestly, I have come to terms with my body...sure, I want to lose some weight (right now I am definitely at the larger end of my size spectrum) but I do not want to feel bad about who I am...

That said...I am going to work on getting myself into shape...the way I see fit. And though I will still be considered "Big in Japan", I won't care because I am happy with me!

Thank you to my dear hubby aka "He who shall not be named".

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Milo's Bitch

Every so often, my parent's decide to go out of town, and they ask us if we will doggy-sit their bichon/poodle mixed dog, Milo. We almost always say yes, becasue we love that little guy (we lovingly call him "the boy").

Anyhow, sometime last year we had Milo for a couple of days and my daughter and I decided to take him for a picnic. We got some food and a blanket to sit on, we also packed some water and a treat for "the boy".

After we set up our little picnic spot we began eating and watching:
watching Milo sniff around the food
watching him drink some of his water
watching him ...pee...ON ME!

"Mom, Lookout"

Yes folks, he lifted his furry little hind leg and pee'd right on my thigh! He marked me! In all of my years, I have never heard of such a thing, let alone been subjected to this type of humiliation...I was maarked by an 10 pound fluffy ball of fur...I was then, now and forever marked as his bitch!

Here's a pic of "Momo" and Milo...both looking shocked about what Milo had just done...

My loving new name for Milo is "R. Kelly"...
Here is an homage from Dave Chappelle (as R Kelly):
(sorry, this is the only version I could find w/ the original audio):

Friday, November 28, 2008

"Whore" Movies

***I wrote this post yesterday afternoon and when I went back to edit it, my Internet was down...needless to say I missed another Nablopomo day...Oh well***

Ever since my daughter could talk, she has had an obsession with things that are scary. She doesn't necessarily like scary things, she is just enthralled by the idea of something being scary.

Her little radar ears tune into the following phrases:

"It's scary"
"I was so scared"
"It's too scary for 'Momo'"
"I don't think 'Momo' should see it"

If she overhears someone saying any of these things, she is all over it. She will begin asking questions, she will want to know every detail of "scariness" and she will ask if she can see it (over, and over, and over again).

The sad part is that she really can't handle anything this, I mean, she is pretty easily affected so we have to be cautious of the kinds of things she sees, hears etc.

Anyhow, part of her obsession for scaring the pants off of herself is that she always wants to rent a scary movie from Blockbuster. Ever since she was a little girl she would run around the store and beg me to rent her some form of inappropriateness":

"Momma, I want a scary one"


"Mommy can I get the scary one"

And I would have to say:

"No 'Momo'. let's get a fun movie..."

Or, if I were trying to be firm...

"No 'Momo', I am not going to rent you a Horror's too scary."

Over the years, she has continued to ask and I have continued to say no and one day while we were in Blockbuster and my adorable girl came up to me and shouted:

"Mom...I want to rent a Whore Movie"

I did a double take, tried not to fall over laughing and said:

"No 'Momo'...I am not going to rent you a Whore (Horror) Movie...I think it will be too scary"

Here she is...the girl who loves "Whore Movies" and her teddy bear "Ron" kickin'it with Beyonce...

Thursday, November 27, 2008

My Luck....

I got stuck with these two...
Happy Thanksgiving! Hope you feel as lucky as I do!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

I have Rants in my Pants

Rant #1: Today is the day before Thanksgiving and the roads have been packed since yesterday afternoon. Since when did people start their Thanksgiving traveling on Tuesday???? It really irks me (is there such a thing as a Thanksgiving scrooge?)

Rant #2: I live in a relatively small beach town and we only have one highway that connects the "town I live in" to the "city I work in"... yesterday, I spent 20 minutes traveling a distance that should really take no more than a minute and a half... I am teaching a class tonight and I am dreading the annoying traffic...Ughhhhh!

Rant #3: I have to teach a class tonight... Why in the world didn't I have the good sense to cancel the class and have an alternate assignment?

Rant #4: I began wrting this post over 4 hours ago.... I wrote rants 1 - 3 earlier this afternoon when I was feeling "ranty". Now I am not feeling "ranty" and don't know what to write...

On that note... Now that I am home and I am sitting on my couch (with a great bowl of split pea soup cooling off in front of me) reflecting on my successful class this evening, I realize that I feel Thankful...

I am Thankful for many things... too many to mention right now (because my pea soup is beckoning me) but I am glad to have this feeling... It reminds me that when I get those pesky "Rants In My Pants" maybe I can step back, take a deep breath and remember that life is only as hard as I let it be!

Happy Thanksgiving Eve!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Audacity of Nope...

My children think that I am completely Out-of-My-Mind.

They cannot believe the nerve I have...the audacity...

-to say "NO"
-to not give in to their every whim
-to put my foot down

In the past few months I have been challenged by these children in EVERY way possible. Not one word I have said, has gone unquestioned. Not one rule have I made, has gone unchallenged. Not one boundary have I set, has not been pushed.

I tell you, in the last few months (since both of my kids have been in Middle School)...I have found myself on the edge of sanity, barely grasping onto the edge of reason.

"Have I gone mad?" -I ask myself

"Am I totally unreasonable?" - I wonder

"Are my kids, right?...Am I wrong about EVERYTHING?" - WTF...could it be?

There have been times that I have wondered how I will make it through this. How I can bear the burden of always being challenged. Believe me, it has been hard and at times unbearable. I have to remind myself (and occasionally they remind me) that they are, in fact, really good kids. Most people who meet them, think they are just divine.

"Your kids are so well behaved" - I'm told

"Your kids are so thoughtful and caring" - I often hear

"Your kids are so patient" - kids? No you must be mistaken...

Don't get me wrong, I love them, I really truly think they are great, but lately at ages 11 and 14 they drive me up the wall! When these two are around me...their loving, pushover, easy to irritate but even easier to charm Mom, they are well---

Stubborn, entitled, whiny, little butts!

I just keep telling myself that at least they know how to behave in public...that at least they have mastered the art of social propriety and should fare well in social lives...that at least they can trust me enough to drive me to the edge of sanity, question everything I say, push every button I have and still know deep down that I will (probably) come out of it still loving them.

I think this is what keeps me going...

Knowing that in the long run, all these trials and tribulations, their search for autonomy and independence, their challenges and questions will make my kids stronger, more capable human beings...

These things are what help me to stand strong, to continue to put my foot down, to maintain my boundaries and to continue to say "no" when I need to ... Oh yes, my friends... the "Audacity of Nope" will continue to reside within me and I won't be afraid to use it!

Just for fun: Here are My two "Jekyll and Hyde's" (circa 2005). Back when they were sweet, cute, chubby faced little cherubs...
I think it is always good to look at baby faced pictures of your kids, it kind of reminds you of the sweetness and how quickly time passes.

The next two pictures capture the essence of my "kiddles" right now...

Here is the "wild-child, rebel without a cause, let me see if I can shock the pants off you, circus freak" (her words, not mine) circa Halloween 2007:

And the "What the hell do I care if you are taking a picture of me mom, I'm too cool to uncover my eyes" devil in a red cape:

All I can say is...I gotta love 'em...

Monday, November 24, 2008

I Heart Japanese Food!

Oh boy...I just googled some Japanese/English translations and came across one that cracks me up:

Watashi no hobākurafuto wa unagi de ippai desu!!

It is total nonsense...10 points (of who knows what) to whoever can figure out what it means!

Anyhow, I was looking through some more of my picture files and I found pictures from Japan that got my stomach growling (and my heart-aching to be back in Japan).

One year, while visiting my grandma, I began documenting various Japanese foods items. I would walk around grocery stores and markets taking pictures of the produce, meats, prepacked meals. It wasn't until I returned to the States (and went grocery shopping at my local Vons) that I realized how weird this might have looked to the average Japanese person. Imagine someone walking through your supermarket with a camera in hand, happily snapping photos of the broccoli, packaged pasta and ground beef...definitely weird!

Anyhow, there was hardly a food item, meal, restaurant or snack shop that I didn't take a photo of. What can I say, I am a glutton for good food! Haha...

Ok, back to the photos... Here is a picture of some fantastically packaged sushi items from a grocery store in the Shibuya Area. Let me be the first to say that this grocery store sushi is better than most sushi you will ever eat in the United States.Can anyone say "oishi" !!!!

This photo was taken in a Japanese bakery. Honestly, there is nothing like a Japanese bakery! The European style breads infused with Japanese tastes are TO DIE FOR (and yes, I was shouting just now). The photo you see below is of a couple dozen very lovely Japanese "hotdogs-on-a-stick"!

The quality of this next photo isn't very good, but that is probably because I was in too much of a hurry to eat this particular dish than to sit around and fuss with trying to get a good picture. The name of this is Ten-Zaru Soba or Tempura w/ Cold Soba noodles. This is by far one of my favorite Japanese dishes...Yum!!!!

Here's another one...she is the apple of my eye...and those Japanese apples, could they be any prettier? Notice how the green apples above are in little green sleeves and the red apples are in little pink cute and they taste even better than they look!

Here's that darned kid again..."Momo" made her way into another shot of my food...Or maybe I was taking a photo of her and she happened to be eating??? Who knows, anyhow, here she is eating some "shaved ice" in an alley in Harajuku (yeah, the same one Gwen Stefani always sings about).

Are you bored yet? I hope not, because I have tons more food photos to share. I will spare you though, and only subject you to a few more (for now)...

This photo isn't food, but it is a really cool restaurant near my Grandma's house. When you walk in they give you a card that you take to various food stations where you order your food. There is (among many other things) a noodle station, an Italian station, a Chinese station & a drink station. When you order, they give you a beeper so you can go find a seat in one of these really cool booths When you are done eating you take your card to the cashier at the exit of the restaurant and pay for your meal. The food is amazing, as is the atmosphere! Here's a pizza from the Italian station... the picture really doesn't do it justice, it's divine.

Ok...the last two photos, I promise.

This is a delicious dinner that my mom and grandma made one evening when we decided to eat at home. This is a common dinner for us when staying in and consists of cooking on a hot-plate (teppan) that you put in the center of the dinner table. All of the raw items (i.e. beef, mushrooms, sprouts, onions etc) are put out on the table and each person can cook whatever they like. It is really fun and interactive and when you add all the side dishes (rice, miso soup, Japanese pickles, salads, etc) this is a killer meal.

Last but not least...In Japan, a chocolate ice cream bar tastes way better when you are standing ridiculously close to a rack of squid that is drying in the hot, hot sun...

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Summer , Summer, Summer time....

Yesterday my daughter was playing singstar (a playstation karaoke game) with her friend. I am always amused when "Momo" pulls out the singstar game because I truly cannot get enough of hearing her belting out Sweet Home Alabama.

While playing "Momo" decided to sing one of the only "rap" songs on the game, Summer Time by Will Smith
Needless to say, "rapping" is not something that everyone can do...and the only part "Momo" really got was the "Summa, summa, summa time...time to sit back and unwind" chorus... It wasn't very good though.

Anyhow, just a little while ago, I was searching through my annoyingly crowded picture files and I stumbled across a couple of folders titled "Summer 2005" & "Summer 2006". So, with Will Smith doing his thing in my mind, I opened the files and came across some cute old pics.

Here's one from 2005 at the beach a couple of blocks from our house

And another one:

Here the little buggers are eating lunch (maybe dinner) after our day at the beach (ca.2005). Note the funny face on "Momo" and the ever present "pasta marinara"...when speaking of our picky eater, my hubby often says "just pour some marinara sauce on it and she'll eat it":

Now here's one from 2006. We were at the zoo and if you know "Mango", you should be keeled over laughing due to the prophetic nature of his shirt... for those who don't know, "Mango" has an ongoing issue with, shall I say, "bending the truth":

Ok...just one more. Here is one of the kids at the aquarium in 2006...they (and their hair) grew so much in one year!!
I have come across so many photos in files that I totally forgot's fun looking back. I can't wait to see what else I will find.

World Domination

My kids just overheard me talking about blogs with a friend of mine.

My daughter,"Momo", (the perpetual clown) was totally cool with the idea that she might be the subject of some of my blogging (though she will soon learn she does not have creative control). Here's what she said:

Me: I might blog about you a little, but not all the time.

"Momo": Mom just make sure that you write about how I like to do George Bush and Elvis Presley impersonations.

Me: Ok.

"Momo": Mom....

Me: Yeah "Momo", I will but not right now, I'm writing about something else.

"Momo": Yeah, but Mom, are you going to write about how I like to do George Bush and Elvis Presley impersonations?

Me: Yeah. Ok...not right now...Geeez!

"Momo": Mom, just don't forget to write about how I like to do George Bush and Elvis Presley impersonations.

Me: OK...I'm doing it!!!! (and in my head): Persistence is a virtue...Persistence is a good characteristic in adulthood...Persistence will help her to be successful in the through the nose, out through the mouth...

Anyhow... my daughter likes to do George Bush and Elvis Presley impersonations. There, I said it. (Happy "momo"?)

Luckily I found a funny supporting picture for this post.
Here is "Momo" at a wax museum. She & her side kick "Ron" (the teddy bear) kicked ole' Georgie to the curb...
My daughter is totally destined for world domination

Woe Is Me...

I failed...

I was so into this Nablopomo thing and I totally forgot to blog yesterday. I thought about it in the afternoon and told myself I would do it in the evening, but we didn't get home last night until after 9:30 and I was honestly wiped out from hanging out with a hyper, swooning, screaming group of 11 - 14 year olds (at the Twilight movie).

We had a great time at the movie, but I really don't recommend it for anyone over the age of 17 (unless you have read the books). I got totally into it (pretending to be one of the crowd) and my 14 year old son was mortified when I joined in the hooting an hollering whenever the heartthrobs (Jacob and Edward) entered a scene.

Anyhow, I just realized that I forgot to blog and I'm really mad at myself...Oh well maybe I will write two today to make up for it1

Thursday, November 20, 2008


In Japan, you can rent a pet. heard right, you can rent a pet.

There are various ways that the rent-a-pet program works.

We (i.e. my daughter) have become an active participants in the "hourly" rent-a-pet program at a pet store near my grandmothers house, in the outskirts of Tokyo. At the pet store we generally go to, you can rent dogs for an hour at a time. Very young puppies stay indoors and you take them into a "healing room" where you play with them, cuddle, and sometime watch them sleep OR you can rent a slightly older dog and take it for a walk.

Here is one of the cuties we fell in love with a couple of years ago.He was a super active little guy and had the most adorable ears!

We also rented this guy...He was super cute and also quite playful.

In case you are wondering, these dogs are for sale, the "rental" program is designed to provide them with more walks, socialization etc. It's actually pretty cool.

The last time I was in Japan, I watched a TV program that showed another "rent-a pet" program in which people could rent animals for a more extended time and on a regular basis i.e. every other weekend. This was designed for people who wanted a pet but could not have one full time.

Funny enough, pets are totally anthropomorphized in Japan and in addition to renting a them, you can take it shopping, try on clothing in a pet dressing room, you can buy them a treadmill, a stroller, even a jean skirt, tank top and sunglasses... The pet store we go to is in a shopping center that is known for being pet friendly. You can see animal in various states of dress and once, my mom saw someone walking a hamster...on a leash...

Honestly, only in Japan...

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Mama was a Punk Rocker

I think I was about 6 or 7 years old the first time I saw a punk rock/new wave girl. I was in some sort of grocery store or drug store and I thought she was just the coolest person ever. I distinctly remember her pitch black, asymmetrical bob and wild makeup. Shortly after seeing her, I got my hair bobbed (though not nearly as cool as hers).

A couple of years later, my uncle took me shopping on Melrose (in Hollywood) and I encountered a whole slew of exciting people...the guy with a bright purple mohawk, the death rock girls in all black, and some posh new wave characters. These experiences were the seedlings for my teenage infatuation with wild hair, great music, and exploratory fashion...

Here is a picture of me (I'm on the right) and my friend Becky (in the Prairie Dress). The creepy guy in the left was someone we met that day.

I guess it is only natural that my daughter would want to dye her hair, knowing that mine has been every color of the rainbow... The nice thing about it is that for a 6th grader, she has got some pretty killer taste in music...

Monday, November 17, 2008

A Birthday and 4 Things

Today was my son's 14th birthday. We went out to dinner with my parents and had a nice time. I'll have to write about it more when I have some time and energy...

Anyhow, I'm not super motivated to blog today and luckily I had this "4 Things" email that was passed around a while back that I though would work nicely as a blog post... Sorry for cheating!

Four Jobs I’ve Had:

1. Psychotherapist
2. College Instructor
3. Non-Profit Program director
4. Sales Clerk at the Gap!

Four Movies I Can Watch Many Times:

1. Jaws
2. Arranged
3. Bananas
4. The Party

Four Places I’ve Lived: (All in California)
1. Sierra Madre
2. Tujunga
3. Santa Barbara
4. San Dimas

Four TV Shows I Love(d):

1. The X-Files
2. The Sopranos
3. Sex and the City
4. True Blood

Four Places I’ve Vacationed:

1. Tokyo
2. Prague
3. Paris
4. Maui

Four Novels (or Series) I’ve Enjoyed Re-Reading:
** I read more nonfiction than fiction, but here are a few faves across genres

1. Operating Instruction's- by Ann Lamott
2. Joy Luck Club - by Amy Tan
3. Johnny Got His Gun- by Dalton Trumbo
4. Always Running- by Luis Rodriguez

Four Websites I Visit Often:

1. Yahoo
2. WebCT which houses the online class I am teaching
3. Gmail
4. blogger

Four Places I Would Rather Be Right Now:

1. In Prague visiting my brother
2. In Tokyo with my grandma
3. In Maui on the beach
4. In Sacramento winning the super-duper-mega Lotto

Watch Yer Step...

Here is a picture of me and the kids taken about a year and a half ago in Calico. We were on our way back from Vegas and decided to stop by the ghost town for some sight seeing.

This was honestly the best part of our trip. We hated Vegas, but the Calico vibe was cool. I love the Wild West and I'm a glutton for dressing up in period costumes (and tourist trap photo stations). Anyhow, we couldn't convince my hubby to partake in the photo, but you can see that me and the kids...

We don't F**K around!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Did Mesopotamia Stink?

So, my daughter's teacher assigned this project in which each student has to make a "Mesopotamian Brick". The kids were given a sheet of paper detailing the different types of materials they could and couldn't use (plaster and clay were no-no's while dirt, cereal, straw etc. were ok).

It took us about a week or two to figure out what we wanted to make the brick out of, and we finally settled on digging up some dirt in my parents back yard and mixing it with Cocoa Krispies, dried weeds and very soft Japanese rice. Mind you, there was no real method to our madness other than the fact that we wanted to find a way to make the dirt sticky and slightly damp so it would form a brick.

After mixing all the items together we packed it tightly into a shoebox and left it in the windowsill in my mother's kitchen.

This was about a week ago.

Yesterday, my mom called me and said that she and my dad thought they had a dead rodent in their kitchen. I guess on Thursday evening they started to smell something a little funny and by Friday they thought that maybe the kitchen sink was clogged, so they poured a bunch of Drano down the drain and tried to flush out the stinky blockage. When the stench didn't dissipate by the next morning they began tearing apart the kitchen trying to find the source of the terrible smell.

It was afternoon on Saturday when I spoke to her, and by that point they had moved the fridge, cleaned out under the sink and who knows what else they tore apart. My mom said she was so frustrated because the smell was getting worse and they could not figure out where it was coming from. She was convinced that it had to be some dead rotting animal somewhere, so she looked outside and passed by the kitchen window. The stink was awful and at the same moment, it dawned on her and my dad that maybe, just maybe...

It was the BRICK!

That lovely brick that my daughter so painstakingly made, smells like a foul pile of shit, vomit and quite possibly rotting flesh. I just got my first whiff of it about an hour ago and it was FOUL! My husband and I were cracking up at the thought that this putrid thing was inside my parents house for over a week... We had a hard time getting it from our front porch to our patio without simultaneously vomiting and fainting. I kid you not, it was one of the worst things I have ever smelled.

Can you imagine...there are 30 kids in my daughter's class and they are all bringing their stinking, "pile of shit", bricks to school on Thursday...

I think I am going to find a sub to take over my usual Friday "parent volunteer" spot. Yee-haw!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

[wo]Man's Search for Border's

I just came home from Border's.

I took my kids, and one of their friends, to a Twilight Movie pre-release "party". Much to our dismay, it really wasn't much of a party...
It was more like 20 random people sitting around watching "behind the scenes" movie clips on a 20" TV, right smack in the middle of the store; then answering trivia questions.

Neither of my kids (nor the friend) have read Twilight yet, but they are excited about the movie release so we thought we would check out the "party". It's true that Twilight is a "young-adult" novel, but I have always had a vampire fetish and wanted to see what all the fuss was about so in August I picked up book one (Twilight) and was instantly hooked. I read all 4 books (nearly 2300 pages) in under a week. I was on a roll in August...just before Twilight, I read the Harry Potter series in about a week and a half, maybe two.

I have a lot of thoughts about the Twilight series and some of the themes, characters etc. but I don't feel like going into that right now...maybe later...In the meantime, I am really looking forward to the Twilight movie (we bought the Soundtrack tonight and it was really good). Next week is my son's 14th b-day and we are going take several friends to see it.

ANYWAYS...I am also really happy because when I was at Borders tonight, I bought a book that I have been wanting for some time now.

Viktor Frankl's, Man's Search For Meaning

I have really been wanting to read this one and in the past month or so, I have had at least 4 or 5 different people (co-workers, students and clients) recommend it to me. I'm glad I picked it up...If I can pry myself away from the computer, I'll try to start reading it tonight.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Faux Surfer

Here is a pic of my son, "Mango", taken several years ago at our local beach.

Never mind that the surfboard is sitting directly on the sand...
It looks like he is surfing, and he was proud.

Pride is in the belly of the beholder.

Cry, Cry Baby

This picture was taken 2 summers ago while on a train in Japan.

My daughter, was showing her great grandma how she could make herself cry at will. She was so good at producing the tears and the emotion (in literally seconds) that great-grandma cried and said (in total "Japan-glish")

"Yada 'Momo', it's so sorry" - translation- "Don't do that 'Momo', it's so sad"

A Peach By Any Other Name...

Momo is the Japanese word for "Peach".

Japan has the most majestic peaches you will ever experience. They are enormous, white, juicy globes of happiness.

These little suckers can be as much as $4.00 - $5.00 a piece (sometimes more) But that is besides the point.

And, there is a point...
I promise.

Anyways, almost every summer my family and I travel to Japan to visit our extended family and friends. As soon as we arrive my daughter begins fiending for momo.

I'm really not exaggerating the intensity with which my daughter loves these Japanese peaches. When we are in Japan, she talks about them daily, eats them as often as possible (sometimes a couple an hour) and searches for them in every grocery store.

Due to her momo obsession, my daughter acquired the nickname Momo-chan or Momoko (which is, in fact, a legitimate Japanese name) and translates to something like "Peach Girl". This name is just so fitting of her, not just because of her love for momo, but also because of her personality, looks etc... I can't really explain what I mean, I guess it kind of gets "lost in translation".

The point: My daughter is the momo and I am the mama, hence Momo-Mama...

BTW, Momoko is is only one of the nicknames that mydaughter has (and it is not the most commonly used). She also goes by Momo, The Bug and more recently Sakura-chan.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

My Dichotomy

I don't want to think about putting words together YET I am compelled to blog at this very moment. What to do???