Saturday, October 31, 2009

Back on track

I just took at glance at this useless blog and thought, holy crap, I only wrote 12 blog entries this month. What the freak?! As you know, I'm not a quiet person. In fact, if there's someone making too much noise, laughing way too loud, or annoying the crap out of you, it's probably me! So, I was in utter shock when I discovered that I've only posted 12 times this month.

My silence is partly a result of my in-laws! So you can blame them. Since they slept in the computer room for the past two weeks, it was often difficult to use the computer. I would try to check e-mail as often as possible, but between my father-in-law's gas and snoring, it was damn near impossible to stay on the computer for more than 10 minutes at a time. Reflecting back, maybe I should have worn a gas mask and ear plugs!

But, since they are gone now, I can begin, again, to rant and rave about this and that.

So, thanks for your patience and understanding!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

On having gimp lungs

As mentioned before, I have asthma. Not the kind of asthma where you're like, yeah, the doctor told me I had asthma as a kid, but I grew out of it. Nope, not that kind of asthma. I have the type of asthma that sends me to the emergency room about once a year, gasping for breath, with blue lips and closer to death than I would like to believe. The kind of asthma that sometimes makes breathing a difficult chore I have to fight through, sometimes begging for air and wanting to give up. I have that kind of asthma. The kind that requires multiple medications daily just to live a somewhat normal existence. Yes, that kind of asthma.

Most people don't understand those of us who deal with a chronic illness. Our lives are much different than yours. There's always a little voice in my head that's like, jeez, I hope that cigarette smoke doesn't kill me today, or, jeez, I hope the preservatives in the food I'm eating doesn't cause an asthma attack and kill me. I'm always on alert. Always having to think about it, even if I don't want to.

There's always a little part of me that's jealous of you healthy people who don't have to suffer like I do just to breathe.

I used to think I was cursed or defective. Now, I just deal with it as best I can.

But some days, it reminds me that I'm not in control, that I'm not the one running this show. No! It rears its ugly head and says, "Hey, don't forget about me...or I'll take your breath away and make your life a living hell." And, today is one of those days.

Last night we slept with the window open. BIG MISTAKE! I woke up to the sound of my bunk ass bronchial tubes squealing, whistling, and wheezing. I could hear the phlegm in my lungs gurgling with each breath. I tried to ignore it, until it could no longer be ignored. I took my meds and felt relief. But the relief was short lived!

Since today is Thursday (a running day), I got dressed and attempted to run my usual 4 miles. As I ran the first 100 yards, I was hacking and gagging, trying to cough up the phlegm stuck in my lungs, trying to breathe through swollen bronchial tubes. I was breathless, tired, and beaten. So, I walked a few miles, instead. I was reminded of my illness--reminded that I am only a soul in a broken, diseased, ridden body that refuses to work properly...all because I slept with the fucking window open.

So, take a deep breath. Enjoy the air flowing effortlessly through your clear, open lungs. Enjoy the smoothness with which it flows. Don't take that feeling for granted! I would give you everything I have and more to know that feeling!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Greatness explained

***Sorry for the recent silence. My in-laws are sleeping in the computer room, so I have limited access to the computer...

Okay, I've never done anything GREAT. I mean, I've never done anything that would be considered GREAT with a capital G-R-E-A-T. I'm cool with that. I'm an overly opinionated, decent human being, who does nice things only for the people I like. If I don't like you, then screw you!

But, if you think you are great and have achieved GREATNESS with a capital G-R-E-A-T-N-E-S-S, then you shouldn't have to tell me about it. I would know about your greatness, because you would just be so freaking great! Right?! Right! But if you have to sit around and tell me how awesome you are, then, in my book, you aren't awesome at all! And, if you have to toot your own horn, not only are you not GREAT with a capital G, but you are somewhat pathetic. I mean, if you have to build yourself up to others by telling them just how awesome and wonderful you are, then you are no where near great. No! Instead, you are just pathetic!

I think people who do nice things for others without bragging are GREAT! I think people who adopt children are GREAT! I think people who give blood are GREAT! I think people who educate the youth of America are GREAT! Husband's who respect their wives and care for their children are GREAT! Husbands who bust their ass to support their families, so their wives can stay at home and raise their babies are GREAT! That is GREATNESS in my book!

So, if you want to toot your own horn and tell me how fucking GREAT you are, don't waste your time! I've got better things to do than to listen to you!

***By the way, this post is not aimed at YOU, my readers! This YOU is someone that doesn't read the blog.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Welcome to the world Aloysius Constantine

The New Yorkers had their first child, Aloysius Constantine, on Tuesday. He was a whopping 10 pounds, 11 ounces, and almost 2 weeks late!

The birth of their first child will forever change their lives.

I remember how I felt when Jude was born. I had so many expectations of how things were going to be. Then, I realized I was no longer in control. For about 4 months after Jude's birth, our lives were chaotic, sleepless, drowsy, and very nervous.

You wait 9 months to meet your precious, little burrito, and you have images of a perfect, happy baby with snuggles and hearts and teddy bears and soft towels, and then reality sets in, and you realize that that image was a commercial for Snuggle fabric softener. Instead, your reality is filled with sore, gigantic boobs that leak all over your enormous belly, and nights where you only get 2 hours of sleep, and a baby that shoots out dookie like a fire hose, and dirty laundry covered in poop and breast milk, and crying, and hormones, and a husband that seems completely useless and totally unaware of what is going on.

You get overwhelmed with the realization that you, and only YOU, are solely responsible for this new, little human being. You freak out and think of all the millions of ways you can possibly and totally fuck up your kid's life. You think of all the stupid shit your parents did to you and swear not to do the same to your kid.

Then, one day you wake up, after 4 hours of sleep, and the world is absolutely perfect. Your new little burrito smiles at you and giggles. Your baby's smile brings joy to you like a bottle of Strawberry Hill once did. Your baby's giggles are the most wonderful and precious sound you have ever heard. When your baby sleeps, you awe at his beauty and wonder why YOU are the lucky one who gets the best, sweetest, and most perfect child on earth. You lay in bed at night and think of everything wonderful your new baby has achieved in only four, short months on the planet. You are amazed. You are in love.

And this love is like no other love. This love is so deep it's beyond measure. It's a love that surpasses your love for your husband or partner. It's a love that gets deeper and deeper as each day passes. It's a love that's totally unexplainable, except to say it's a parent's love.

And as the days turn to months and later to years, you realize all the amazing moments that have occurred all because this little burrito popped out of your vagina some 5 years ago. You realize how you were incomplete and didn't even know it until you held your little burrito for the first time. You realize that the beginning months were very difficult and trying, but totally worth it.

Everything becomes worth it when you see your five year old, little boy riding his bike without training wheels.

So, congratulations to the New Yorkers! Your world will never, ever be the same!

Monday, October 19, 2009

So far so good

Well, the in-laws arrived Saturday night. So far there has been no yelling, crying, or exorcisms performed on me. However, there was a rosary performed (at church). Therefore, I think things are going fantastic.

Luckily, Husband's mustache has brought us together. Oh, did I mention that Husband is/was growing a mustache, and he looked like a half-ass Mexican pedophile? Did I mention that I refused to kiss him, because it looked like his nose hair had taken over his upper lip? Did I mention that he accidentally touched my shoulder with it, and I thought I was being attacked by Brown Recluse spiders?

Well, this month the guys at his work decided to grow mustaches. They were calling it "Stache-toberfest." I'm not sure why they decided to do it, but they all ended up looking like Magnum P.I, 1970s porn stars, or pedophiles. When Lola (Husband's mother) saw Husband for the first time in 6 months, she jumped back and was repulsed by the giant, black caterpillar sitting on Husband's upper lip. Like me, she thought the mustache was gross. So, we've been ganging up on Husband, making fun of his mustache together, as a family should. After much harassment, Husband finally shaved this morning. Praise Jesus and all his Glory!

Who knew a mustache could bring us together?!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

No more training wheels

This weekend Jude decided he wanted to take off his training wheels and go for it, and that's exactly what he did. He tried and tried again until he got it. With limited frustration and after a few nasty falls, the kid did it. Now, he's one step closer to being a big kid! I documented the learning process for your viewing pleasure!
Jude preparing to ride his bike for the first time without training wheels.
Husband letting go for the first time. I was scared shitless, by the way.
Jude riding down the hill all by himself. Success!
Success, again!
Move over Lance Armstrong, Jude's got new wheels!

For those of you without children, this may seem like no big deal, but to my kid this was the best day of his life. Now he can go running with me, we can ride bikes to the store, and we can ride bikes to the park. Basically, we can go anywhere. The possibilities are endless!

Way to go, Jude!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

This could only happen in Japan

Today I taught my adult English conversation class in Ome.

When I walked into class, I noticed one of my favorite students (we'll call him Number 1) was wearing new shoes. Actually, the shoes weren't new, but they were new shoes for him. He typically doesn't wear Adidas tennis shoes (pictured above). No! Instead, he usually wears some type of orthopedic, old man, walking shoe. You know, the kind every 72 year old grandpa wears. So, I was intrigued when I saw him in his new, very trendy tennis shoes.

I was like, hey, I like your shoes. He was like, oh thanks, but these aren't my shoes. He went on to tell me that he accidentally took/stole the shoes when he went to the onsen. (An onsen in a public Japanese bath.)

Apparently, he took his shoes off before entering the onsen building and carefully placed them in the shoe rack provided, which is typical in Japan (you have to take your freaking shoes off every damn place you go, but I'm not annoyed with it; not one damn bit), and when he returned, after his bath, he put the shoes on, walked out, drove home, and didn't realize he was wearing the wrong shoes until he took them off when he got to his house. By then, he had traveled over 50 km and wasn't about to go back to return the shoes to their rightful owner. So, he's been walking around in someone else's size 10 Adidas ever since.

After he told me this, the whole class was in hysterics. How could he put on someone else's shoes and not notice? I asked him this, and he was like, they were comfortable and black, and I thought they were mine. I was all, you didn't notice they weren't the same brand you typically wear? And he was all, I didn't notice because they felt like my shoes.

All I could do was laugh.

So, somewhere out there, someone is pissed off at Number 1 for stealing their cool, size 10, black Adidas.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Light Speed

Jude will be 5 years old on the 21st, and I can't believe it. The last 5 years have flown by.

There have been so many wonderful memories created over the past 5 years. I can remember the day Jude popped out of my kooter and peed on me when I held him in my arms for the first time. I can remember the day he took his first steps at BJ's house, chasing after her crazy cat Tiger. I can remember his first boat ride on PoPo's boat in Rockport, Texas. I remember the day we packed up our house to move to Japan and how Jude couldn't talk for almost 3 days, because he was so upset his world had been turned upside down. I can remember it all like it was yesterday.

I can remember all the sleepless nights where I prayed and pleaded with God to let Jude sleep for more than 2 hours at a time. I remember all the sweet snuggles and animal noises he used to make. I remember how he used to mispronounce words and make them his own. I remember how he looked at the world with fascination in his eyes.

So much has been accomplished in the last 5 years. I can't wait to see what the next five years brings.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

The typhoon that never was

Jude running at the park.
Look at the clear blue sky! I took this picture on the way to the Ramen shop.
Jude riding his bike at the park.
This is Typhoon Melor.
Jude rolling down the hill like a rollie pollie.

Well, we survived typhoon Melor. Actually, it was a non-event, as you can tell from the photos. It rained in the morning but stopped by 8:30 AM. Then, the wind blew for about 2 hours, and that was all she wrote. The rest of the day was gorgeous, clear, and crisp. So, we went to the park, rolled down the hill, rode bikes, and went to eat Ramen.

Typhoon days kick ass!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Typhoon Melor

So, this is what Super Typhoon Melor looks like right now. Thankfully, it seems to be falling apart. But regardless, schools are closed tomorrow, and Husband doesn't have to work. So, we will be sitting inside our apartment looking at each other until the storm passes. It should make for an interesting day!

I'll keep you posted on any further developments.

(Some weather agencies say we only have a 20% chance of rain in the morning, and then it will clear up nicely in the afternoon, after the storm blows through. Other weather agencies say we could get up to 8 inches of rain and have winds as strong as 75 MPH. I guess no one really knows what to expect!)

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Rain, rain, go away, come again some other day

So, last week it rained almost everyday. And this week, it's supposed to rain everyday. In fact, typhoon 0918 (Melor) may be coming to visit us sometime on Wednesday or Thursday. Happy, happy, joy, joy (this is a sarcastic comment, by the way)!

Don't get me wrong, I love the rain and all, but it's driving me bonkers! Jude has cabin fever, and so do I. Actually, Jude has a cold, and I've got some sort of crud that I'm going to assume is related to the rain. (I know colds and viruses don't come from the rain, but it sure as hell feels like it sometimes).

Because of the potential typhoon, we've been instructed to remove or secure our patio furniture, and to get emergency supplies like flashlights, bottled water, weather radios, and non-perishable food items. It's a good thing I've got my handy-dandy Dora the Explorer backpack packed and ready to go!

See, I've got a plan!

Sunday, October 4, 2009


This week, while surfing the web, I stumbled across a video of a young, black teen being beaten to death. There were about 50 people standing, watching, and participating in the beating, but no one called the police. Unfortunately, the teen died later as a result of the brutal beating.

So I ask, what the fuck is wrong with these people? And, by "these" people I'm referring to the young, inner-city, African Americans in Chicago that were there to witness the brutal murder. When did it become okay to kill a fellow "brotha"? When did it become okay to stand around and watch as a "brotha" is kicked, punched, and beaten to death with a 2 by 4? When did it become okay to NOT help a "brotha" out? When did it become okay to sit back and watch as a helpless child is beaten to death in broad daylight in the streets of America? When did this happen?

I'm disturbed by this: disturbed that mothers are raising their children to be hateful killers, disturbed that no one called the police to help the teen, disturbed that over 20 children have been murdered in Chicago since September, and disturbed that this is happening in America.

I don't know how to remedy the situation. I don't know what it's like to be an inner city teen dealing with violence. I have no idea what that's like. I'm thankful for that. But as a parent, I find it despicable that parents have raised these children to look the other way when violence occurs. I know that "snitches" sometimes find themselves in trouble with the trouble makers, but isn't some one's life worth that much?

When did young, African American teens become disposable? Isn't every life worth living and fighting for? I'm sure if this were a young WHITE teen, the freaking cavalry would come out and clean up the streets. I bet heads would roll, the police would be on every corner, and the freaking National Guard would be called out to make the streets safer.

But, instead, we just shake our heads in disbelief as another young, black teen is senselessly beaten to death in broad daylight as 50 young people stand and watch.

I hope Mr. Obama is aware of the state of his beloved Chicago. I hope he's man enough to do something about it. I dare him to send his children to an inner city school! I dare him! Maybe then things would change!

Friday, October 2, 2009

The Ring of Fire

I live in Japan. Duh! Japan is part of the Ring of Fire. And, well, in the last 48 hours there have been 2 serious earthquakes along this area. And, this morning I saw that California experienced a 5.1 earthquake.

I am beginning to wonder if these earthquakes are related. So, I did a little research and stumbled upon a pretty good article on BBC. You can check it out here.

So, what the freak?! Is Japan next?! I sure as hell hope not! But I must say, I'm walking on eggshells. I'm a little worried that the ground I walk on will start to shake, shimmy, and totally fuck up my world! Granted, I'm prepared as I can get. We've got emergency gear packed and ready to go in my Dora the Explorer purple backpack. I've got water, food, and first aid supplies ready to go at a moments notice. And I'm pretty effing sure I can get out of my building in about 30 seconds, even though I live on the 5th floor. (I am a marathon runner, after all!).

But still, I'm a little worried Tokyo will be next.

But if the shit does hit the fan, we've got a plan. And having a plan is the first step to survival. I just hope the rest of the people in this city are as ready and prepared as I am!

I just hope and pray I never have to use my emergency supplies!