Friday, February 27, 2009

Running Peeps

Have you ever wanted to know who I run with? Well, here is the lovely group of people that I get the pleasure of running with every Saturday. They are a fun, energetic, enthusiastic group, especially the ladies! This picture was taken last Saturday before our 12 mile run. It was cold and windy--about 33 degrees with the wind blowing about 25 mph.
This picture was taken with the flash. You can see all of our reflective material glaring accordingly.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Sucked in...

As you know, I love the English language. I love the components (prepositional phrases, verbs, auxiliary verbs, articles, etc...), the tenses (present, past, present perfect, past perfect continuous, etc...), the lovely sound it creates as you change the words to create a fast or slow cadence...I love it all. That's probably why I spent 4 or so years studying it in undergrad and then another 2 years studying it post bac. I love our language and truly appreciate it.

So, recently I heard all the hype about this book series called Twilight. I heard it was Harry Potter for prepubescent girls. So, it peaked my interest. I ordered it and read it. And, oh my, what a story it is! I bought it and read 100 pages the first day. I just couldn't put it down. Needless to say, I finished the book in about 8 days. That's the fastest I've read a book since college. I became consumed with the story--sucked in like it was the last book left on Earth. I immediately became involved with the characters.

The story is simple, yet vivid; I can plainly see the images in my mind as Stephanie Meyer had intended. The story certainly isn't Pulitzer Prize winning, but it's an easy, well articulated book filled with the emotions and realities of a young high school aged girl in love with someone she will never be able to have. The captivating and enchanting detailed descriptions of the characters provided by Meyer keep you wanting more. You desperately want Edward to brush Bella's arm, so you can read how her pulse quickens and her face becomes flushed. You really do want to know what might happen next. You understand how Bella feels differently from the others, and how she is desperate to fit in. You want her to be with Edward. You want her to live, but at the same time you want her to die. You want her to be able to spend all eternity with the love of her life. You want her to become "a cold one." You want it for her. In life and love, only death can truly bring them together. You truly yearn for more...well, I did.

After I finished the book, I immediately started on the second one. In fact, I ordered the 2nd book after I started the first one. Being without these characters was unfathomable. Like a heroin addict, I had to have more. I didn't want to go one day without knowing the rest of the story. So, I'm now on the 2nd book and just read another 100 pages today. I've already ordered the next 2 books and awaiting their arrival. I know I should focus on my own reality, but Bella's is much more amazing and dark.

So, I highly recommend the Twilight books. I haven't seen the movie, but I heard it was crap. So, don't waste your time. Instead, read Meyer's words and create your own movie in your mind. I'm sure you won't be disappointed!

Because I have been spending every free moment reading these books, I have been neglecting my usual blog posts. As you can see, this month has the least amount of entries since I began blogging last May. So, you can blame Stephanie Meyer for my recent blog silence.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The joys of children...

So, last night I was dead asleep dreaming about being back in the states. When all of a sudden, I heard my son's voice at the foot of the bed.

"I'm thirsty, mommy!" he yelled.

My heart nearly jumped out of my chest, because I was startled from my dream. My heart pitter-pattered as I tried to figure out what country I was in. When I realized I was in the comfort of my bedroom in Japan, I realized my kid was still standing there waiting for a response. Because I was silent for too long, he walked over to Husband's side of the bed.

"I'm thirsty, daddy!" he yelled in Husband's face.

"Huh..." Husband responded.

So, Jude came back to my side of the bed and yelled, "I'm still thirsty, mommy!"

I'm sure he wanted to say Look mom, I'm freaking thirsty...get your butt out of bed and get me a freaking glass of water! I could hear the frustration in his voice.

I peeled the covers off of me and stumbled out of bed. I told him to pee and then followed him to the toilet. The kid is 4 years old and has amazing bladder control. However, I don't give him more liquids at night until I know the kid has an empty bladder. So, he pottied and then followed me to his restroom. There I grabbed a disposable paper cup from the dispenser and filled it with water. He drank it and then asked me to sleep with him for a while.

We both piled onto his twin bed and tried to get comfortable. Keep in mind, sleeping with a 4 year old little boy is like sleeping with a wild hog. They toss, turn, wiggle, shimmy, flop, jump, grunt, and make weird gurgling noises. After ten minutes of break dancing in his bed, I yelled, "Stop moving!" Thankfully, he obliged. Then, he started talking to me, asking me weird and obscure questions about the universe. Keep in mind, it was midnight and I was tired. All I wanted to do was return to my dreams. But, the kiddo was wide awake and decided that if he was awake, I should be too! After 10 minutes of talking, I yelled, "No more talking...go to sleep!" He whined and whimpered. Then, he stood up and put his head near my feet. I tried to sleep but he kept kicking me in my groin. He kept wiggling and kicking. I was in a half-awake half-asleep state getting kicked in the knees, upper thigh and groin area. I desperately wanted to kick back in self preservation, but I didn't. I just closed my eyes and endured the torture until I finally fell asleep. A swift kick to the groin woke me up around 2 AM. I got up and moved to my bed. I had a horrible crick in my neck from Jude's miniature pillow. My back hurt, and I was exhausted. When I finally started to dream again, the damn alarm went off. It was 4:20 AM. I had planned on running, but I just couldn't leave the comfort of my bed. I swatted at the alarm like it was a horse fly. Husband heard the commotion and asked if I was running today. I grunted and was back in my dream.

I woke up this morning beat to hell! My knees hurt, my back hurts, my neck hurts, and I'm one tired Mexican! I wish I could start an IV drip of caffeine. I'm going to need it today! Oh...the joys of motherhood!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Move over Lance Armstrong!

So, Jude loves to ride his big boy bike. He still has training wheels, but he rides his bike with such gusto you would never know it. This weekend he rode his bike all the way to the store and back. He went about a mile or so. We were so proud. Here are some pictures of him on his Sponge Bob Square Pants big kiddo bike:

CRASH!! It's a good thing the kid was wearing a helmet!!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Japanese Job Interview...

So, last week I received an e-mail from the Elementary English Education Coordinator at the school district near my apartment. Almost a year ago, I volunteered at an elementary school for one day. I helped to administer the end of the year English conversation exam. Basically, the kids had to tell me their names, favorite colors, favorite sports, favorite foods, etc. It was my job to talk to them and to make sure they understood basic conversational English. A friend of mine worked at the school and needed help, so I volunteered. Well, apparently I did such a good job last year volunteering that the school district now wanted me to become a full time ALT or Alternative Language Teacher. The English Coordinator e-mailed me to ask if I was interested in the position. At first I declined. I don't really want to work anymore because I'm lazy and well...I'm lazy. But, after discussing it with Husband, we decided it would be a good opportunity for me. And, they were willing to work with me in regards to having a small child. She told me in an e-mail that is was okay if I had to take sick days for me or Jude. And, it would be okay if I wanted to take a vacation--usually these things are NOT okay when you're a teacher in a Japanese public school. I was scheduled to have a meeting/interview this morning.

So, this morning I got Jude to the bus stop and returned home to get dressed for my meeting/interview. I was supposed to meet a city council woman, the Education Superintendent, the School District English Education Planner, and the Elementary English Education Planner. I was quite nervous to be meeting with such important people in the local Japanese community. So, I got dressed worried about every little detail of my appearance. I didn't want to look overly stuffy or too laid back. I didn't want to look like a sloppy American. So, I wore a long black pencil skirt just below the knee, a maroon colored sweater, panty hose and old work shoes (black Ann Taylor pumps with a chunky 2 inch heel). It wasn't overly dressy nor too casual. I even picked the lint off my sweater as I rode the elevator down to my car. It's absurd to think I wouldn't be hired due to a piece of lint on my sweater.

So, I drove to the local McDonald's near my apartment. I was supposed to meet someone there and then follow them to the City Hall Building for the meeting/interview. When I arrived, McDonald's was closed. It wouldn't open until 10 AM, and it was 9:30 AM. I waited in my car. I wasn't sure who I was meeting or what the person looked like. I just hoped I would recognize them. Luckily, four minutes later I saw the Elementary English Education Coordinator I met almost a year ago. (I'm so glad a never forget a face!) We chatted and then I followed her in my car to the City Hall.

The City Hall was a large open building filled with quiet Japanese workers working hard. They all looked at me and bowed as I walked down the long corridor to the meeting room. They didn't smile or speak. They just rose from their seats and bowed. I bowed and said "Ohio gozaimasu," which means Good Morning. I was ushered into the meeting room with 2 men in suits and 2 woman. They were all very important, influential community members. Each is considered very powerful. I wasn't sure what to say or how to act. I was obviously picked for this position because they liked the way I interacted with the kids when I volunteered over a year ago. They liked my bubbly, loud, fun persona. But, I wasn't sure how that would be looked upon here in an interview/meeting.

I kept quiet as the older gentlemen in a suit spoke to the others in the room. He only spoke in Japanese. My mind desperately tried to make sense of the words being spoken, but he said words I just didn't understand. After about 10 minutes, he looked at me and apologized for not knowing English. I responded, "Nihongo ga skoshi wakarimasu," which means I understand a little Japanese. He was shocked by my statement and quite pleased that I could speak an entire sentence in Japanese. He smiled and said he was embarrassed because his English was so poor, and my Japanese pronunciation was nearly perfect. I told him I was trying to learn Japanese, but it was very difficult. He seemed happy to hear that an American was trying to learn his language. After that, I could do no wrong. He was excited to have me teaching in his school district and had heard what a wonderful teacher I was a year ago when I volunteered. As the meeting continued, they told me some basic information about the position. I spent most of the hour trying to decipher their Japanese conversations, but had no luck. I felt small and inadequate for not being able to understand. My brain was trying so hard to pick up one word here and there, in hopes of understanding, but I had no luck. I just sat patiently, trying not to look bored or bothered by my inadequacies.

Usually in an interview, I talk and tell people what they want to hear. I tell them that I'm a hard worker, determined to do things to the best of my ability, and all that other crap. But, here I couldn't do that. I couldn't really say anything. It was a weird position to be in. I had to let others talk for me. Apparently, they liked what they heard and asked me to sign a contract to teach for one year. I happily signed on the dotted line.

After another 25 minutes of Japanese discussion, they rose from their seats and bowed. I rose and bowed, too. I wasn't sure why or what else to do. I just stood their smiling like an idiot. When the men walked out, the ladies stayed and chatted with me. They told what was expected of me, the work hours, location of the school, the type of curriculum I was expected to teach, etc. They asked if I had any questions. Then, they walked me to my car.

I survived the meeting/interview. They liked me enough to hire me. I was nervous and felt stupid the entire time. But, now it's over and I'm hired. Now I'm a REAL teacher....being paid to corrupt the youth of Japan! I couldn't be happier!
*****The original post has some errors. I have corrected them, and now I feel like a real dumb @ss. Thanks Big D for making me feel even more inadequate than before!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

It's 5:15 AM and I'm getting ready to run...

****This post was originally started on Saturday morning, but I didn't have time to post it. So, here it is...

I had my alarm set for 5:30 AM, but my guts had other plans! Yes, my bowels woke me up again! What the freak! I also had an incredibly wacko dream. I dreamt that a gay friend of mine asked me to have his child. He wanted me to get prego with his baby, and then let him raise the baby as his own with his partner. I know, it was weird. So, now I'm awake thinking about what I need to do in preparation for my 12 mile run this morning. Since Tokyo Marathon is just a month away, we are starting to taper our running schedule. We have one more 20 mile run next Saturday, and then just a few shorter runs until the race.

I'm really starting to look forward to race day. I'm anticipating it like it's graduation day. It's amazing to see how my running has changed over the last 6 months or so. I recall mentioning to you last May that I had lost my running Mojo. Obviously, I found it. I'm so thankful for that. When I'm running, everything comes into place. My world feels complete and meaningful. I feel truly alive and invigorated every time I challenge myself to a run 14 miles or longer. I love to set a goal each weekend and then achieve it. It makes me feel amazing. I guess, I'm somewhat addicted to the runners high, but mostly I'm addicted to each small accomplishment. Running and training for a marathon is amazing on so many levels. I highly recommend it, if you are up to the personal and physical challenge. I guarantee your life will never be the same again.

So, now here I am. I should be getting to run, but instead I'm telling you that I should be getting to run. I should get off my butt and log off, but I'm just not ready to begin to the process this morning. So, have you ever wanted to know what I do to prepare for a long run? Well, if not, I'm going to tell you anyways. After all, this is my blog and I can write about whatever I want! So, here goes:

The alarm goes off. I turn it off. I roll out of bed, stumble and drag my feet to the couch where I collapse until my eyes can focus. I have to drag my feet for fear I might step on one of Jude's plastic dinosaurs with spikes, or I might step on a small, plastic Killer Whale--those are the worst to step on. The dorsal fin is hard and sharp, causing excruciating foot pain if stepped on. So, I perch on the couch until my eyes can focus. I turn on the TV and watch useless Japanese television shows until I am awake enough to go into the kitchen and get a large glass of water. I get my water and return to the couch, searching for something worth watching. I drink my water, becoming more awake and aware of the world around me. I sit and drink until the glass is empty. Then, my bowels usually begin to process the water and I have to go. I go. I return to the couch.

If I don't go, I can't run. I cannot run with heavy, full bowels. I just can't do it. I MUST be empty before I run. My bowels usually work like clock work, but sometimes they got off, causing me internal distress and making running impossible. This morning my bowels were emptied first, then I sat on the couch. I know you don't want to know about my bathroom habits, but for a runner, your bowels can become your worst enemy.

So, I sit on the couch allowing my senses to return after a nights sleep. I don't have restful sleep, because I always dream. And, I always remember my dreams. I dream almost every night, and I'm tired almost every morning. I hate it, but I don't want to take anything for fear of becoming addicted. I come from a long line of great alcoholics. I know I have the ability to become one myself or to become something worse. So, I try not to take anything I don't absolutely need. Remember, I'm already medicated!

So, when I'm finally able to focus and think, it's time to get dressed. I usually put on my contacts first. Seeing is important. (And, yes, I wear contacts. I have worn glasses/contacts since the 6th grade!) After I put on my contacts, I brush my teeth and wash my face. Then, I go to the computer to check the weather and temperature. I dress accordingly. I wears tights if it's 45 degrees or cooler. I wear shorts if it's 45 or warmer. My clothes are usually picked out the night before and lying on the edge of the couch waiting to be worn. But, I like to check the weather multiple times just to make sure I know the conditions I'll be running in. There's nothing worse than to be out on a 15 mile run ill prepared for the weather conditions. The weather can break you, if you let it.

So, I get dressed and drink another glass of water. I also eat a breakfast bar. If I run 18 miles or longer, I eat 2 breakfast bars. I load up my fuel belt with fluids, cell phone, keys, Yen (money), Sport Beans, tissues, asthma inhaler, and breakfast bar. I know, I'm a freaking pack mule when I run. But, knowing that I have each of these items gives me comfort when I'm out running for 3 hours or so. I need the water to drink, the beans and bar to eat, the phone just in case I get hit by a car or another run gets injured, I need tissue in case I have to pee behind a tree...I need everything I carry. I must have them or I can't run.

I put on my shoes, hop in the car to meet my running buds, and off we go.

I'm like a super superstitious Major League baseball player. I must have everything just perfect or my mind will wonder about it while running. And, if my mind is on something else, chances are I will not have a good run. I must know that I'm prepared for hunger, thirst, emergencies, the toilet...I'm prepared to be self sufficient for the next 20 miles or so. And, I usually am. Occasionally, I drink all 24 ounces on my belt and must stop at a vending machine to purchase more water. But, I'm happy to be ready for anything on the run. Two weekends ago, I even carried a rain poncho for fear of rain on a 20 mile run.

S0, that's my process. It's long, detailed, obsessive and compulsive. Everything must be just right. I must have a certain type of food, Sport Beans, and tissue. If anything is off, I'm off. And, that's just not acceptable in my book. I prepare and prepare again. I'm neurotic, but here my neurotic behavior comes in handy.

Happy running!

Friday, February 20, 2009

My silly son!

The other night, after Jude's bath, he was acting sillier than normal. I decided to take pictures. This was the result:
Cute kid, huh?!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Crazy Chimp!

(Picture courtesy of AP.)

Here's a picture of the crazy ass chimp named Travis who ripped off a woman's face and hands. Okay, what person in their right mind decides to keep a chimp in their house in Connecticut and raise it as a child? Who gives a wild animal wine every night before bed and Xanax? What lunatic would do this? Well, her name is Sandra Herold. I'm sure you've hear about this story on the news. It's a ridiculous story that should have never happened! This woman should have never kept this wild animal in her house. He's huge, powerful and WILD! What the freak?? This woman is obviously not the sharpest tool in the shed! She should be held accountable for owning a wild animal; therefore, allowing it to maul her friend. I know she didn't encourage the animal to harm anyone, but by keeping a wild animal in her house, she should have expected the inevitable! What a moron! I hope she has to pay her friend's medical bills! And, I pray her friend survives the attack, so she can sue the pants off of Ms. Herold.

What the hell?! Look, if you think owning a wild animal is a good idea, then you're as stupid as you look! Ms. Herold deserves to be slapped and then put in jail for being negligent! What a dumb ass!

Welcome Aboard!

Hello to all my new readers. Welcome to Weenie's World!
This blog was created for my peeps back in Texas. I wanted my family and friends back home to keep up with us here in Japan. I use this blog as a way to keep all of you in my to speak. However, often times I simply ramble on and on about useless things that float into my mind. For that, I'm sorry. But, you are in my world when you click onto this page. You have entered my mind...sorda. For that, I'm sorry, too! I'm incredibly foul mouthed, opinionated, bitchy, and have been known to be slightly evil. I won't pretend to be someone else or to be politically correct. If you desire that, please find another blog. But, if you are open to what I have to say and curious about the world I live in, then keep reading and checking out this blog.
I do have a few rules for entering Weenie's World. If you know me personally, please do not mention who my husband works for or where he works. For security purposes, I wish to keep that information private. I also wish to keep every one's identity private. There are crazies out there, so please use an alias when you post a comment. And, if you want me to write about a particular topic, please feel free to e-mail me or leave your idea in a comment. I'm open to topic suggestions. I usually write about topics suggested to me if I find them interesting to me and to my readers. If you ask me to write about the recent dog park that opened up in your neighborhood, chances are I won't. I don't find that topic relevant or interesting and neither will my readers. So, please suggest interesting topics I can relate to.
So, this blog started as a means to communicate with my peeps back home, but it has often turned into my soap box. I love to tell other people how to live, because I'm perfect of course...hee-hee! Okay, I'm not perfect in all aspects of my life, but I try pretty damn hard to be a good wife, mother and friend to a few selected groups of people. And, well...the rest of you get an overly opinionated, midget, Mexican momma with a bad attitude that sometimes has poor editing skills.
So, being in Japan makes my world different than most. I'm grateful for that. I love being able to experience such a grand, diverse, and honorable country. My eyes have been opened by this. And, now I look at the world much differently than I did before. My life will be forever changed by this experience.
So, welcome to Weenie's World...I hope you have a great stay!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Reason #8 for running and training for marathons...

Holy guacamole! So, today I went to pick up Jude from the bus stop as I do everyday around 3:30. As I was driving to the bus stop, I saw a young American looking boy about 2-3 years old standing on the street all alone. I slowed my car to see where his adult might be, but the street was empty. Immediately, I wanted to stop, but there were several cars behind me and no safe place for me to park. So, I drove on to the next block and parked my car. By the grace of God, there were 5 police officers standing at the corner about to give tickets to people who had illegally parked. I yelled at them that there was a small child alone near the street and took off running like a bat out of hell. Unfortunately, I was ill prepared for the 300 yard sprint to the child. I was wearing Crocks, without socks, a sweater, slacks and a wool coat. But somehow, I was still able to run slightly faster than the police officers. My adrenaline was pumping as the anger inside of me started to build. Who would let their precious baby out in the street unaccompanied I thought to myself as I ran as fast as I could in my Crocks. I was hoping the irresponsible parent would be there when I reached the child, so I could yell at them publicly, and I would have the police officers there to control the situation just in case I went ninja on them. I was worried the 31 years of pent up hostility would come flying out of me and onto the unlucky, irresponsible care givers. Luckily, by the time I reached the child, another passerby had stopped traffic and was holding the young boy. The police officers thanked me for letting them know about the situation, and then I ran to the bus stop to get my own son. I was fearful that my son would now be unattended at the bus stop. Thankfully, the bus attendant kept Jude on the bus until I arrived sweaty and thankful to see his glittering, brown eyes, and light brown hair.

As I walked to my car, a police officer stopped me and asked me for my personal information in case they needed me for an investigation. I gave him the information he needed and asked a few questions about the situation. It turns out that the young boy had walked several blocks to the main street. His mother was in the restroom and his older siblings were supposed to be watching him. I told the police officer that I hoped the parents get in trouble for their irresponsible behavior. Then, I drove off thankful for the sweet, humorous, little boy sitting in my back seat. I was so happy to have MY son in MY car under MY protection. I was so happy to see him and have him that I took him to the store to buy a new toy.

I kept hugging him and thanking God that I'm HIS parent. I'm thankful that he's under my obsessive, over protective, hovering care. I'm glad he's mine, and I'm responsible for him.

So, even though I ran 8 miles this morning with my running buds, I was still able to keep up with the first responders. It felt wonderful to know that my running was called upon to help someone in need. I don't know what would have happened if I wasn't able to get the police officers quickly to the wondering child. I'm just glad that God called upon me to use my acquired skill...running!

Just another day in Weenie's World!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

An earthquake woke me up...

So, this morning I was sound asleep having a bizarre-o dream about being in high school again when all of a sudden, I heard things shaking. The mirror on my dresser started to rattle, and the necklaces I have hanging on the wall started to swing back and forth making a clanging noise. I sat up in bed confused. Then, I heard the closet doors squeaking. My brain immediately recognized the strange noises were the result of an earthquake. My heart was racing and I thought is this the big one? Then, the noises stopped. I looked to my side to see if Husband had heard it or if he was even awake. To my surprise, I saw Jude sleeping soundly next to me. I had forgotten that Husband had gone for an early morning run and that Jude had come to the bed earlier in the morning. Just as I was trying to escape from the heavy comforter, Jude rolled over and looked at me.

"I think we just had an earthquake," I told him quietly.

"Don't worry, Mommy, it's just the plates moving around under the will be okay," he said in a drowsy, hoarse voice as he rolled over and went back to sleep.

After the conversation, I got up and checked the computer to see how big the earthquake actually was. It turned out to be a very small 4 point something earthquake-- a very mild one. However, the epicenter was in Chiba--one prefecture over. I was relieved to see it was nothing major.

Just another day in Weenie's World!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Ome Marathon/10K Race

Today was Ome Marathon and 10K race. We went with our local running club to the event. There were 5,000 participants in the 10K race and 8,000 participants in the 30K race. I ran the 10K with my friend. It was her very first race. Since she had never entered a 10K race before, I ran beside her the entire time for support and to help her stay motivated. (By the way, I ran 19 miles the day before. My legs were tired, so I didn't actually race the event. Instead, I ran with my friend to help her achieve her goal of finishing her first 10K race.) (Side note: 10K is equal to 6.2 miles.) Here are some pictures from the day.

The guys waiting for the train to Ome.
Me and my Japanese friend. She was kind enough to write my name in Katakana so people could cheer me on. It was awesome to hear Japanese strangers calling my name. I'll wear it again at Tokyo Marathon.

Here are my running buddy gal pals. Oh, wait...there's a Japanese man in there too! Oops!
Look at all the runners for the 10K race! Crazy!
My friend and I getting ready to run. Don't you just love the pink sun glasses!!
Here is the crowd cheering for us. They thought it was hilarious that I was taking pictures of them...usually it's the other way around.
Here I am running and taking pictures. One of my student took this picture of me.
Here I am still running and taking pictures. I had a blast taking pictures along the 6.2 mile course. I will do the same at Tokyo Marathon.
Overall, this was a great run! I didn't run my guts out. Instead, I ran a nice, comfortable pace next to my friend. I made sure she achieved her goal today...finishing a 10K. And, that made it a GREAT race!
Just another day in Weenie's World!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Home Haircut...

Last weekend, we gave Jude a haircut. Here are some pictures from the event.
Before the you can see, he wasn't every excited about getting a haircut...
During the haircut...
Cleaning up after the haircut...yes, Husband used the vacuum cleaner...
The finished product...
A better picture of the finished product....

Haircuts in Japan are very expensive! And, well...I'm a cheap bastard. So, since I cut Husband's hair now, I thought I would try Jude's. Turns out I'm actually pretty good...considering I have no cosmetology experience what so ever!
Praise God for little boys!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

"You are a real..."

So, yesterday in class, I handed out some gifts to my students that YaYa had sent in the mail. When my parents (YaYa and PoPo) were here during Christmas, my Ome class took them out to eat at a traditional Japanese restaurant. To repay their kindness, YaYa sent some Rockport, Texas, postcards, coozies, and magnets for the class to enjoy.
After I passed out the gifts, one on my gentlemen students screams out in Engrish, "You are a real eetch!"
"What? Nani," I asked in my half ass Japanglish.
"You are a real eetch!" he repeated louder.
"Gomenasai!" I said, confused (that means excuse me in Japanese). "What did you say?" I asked again.
"YOU ARE A REAL EETCH...DO YOU UNDERSTAND??!!" he yelled in English with a very thick Japanese accent.
"NO, I don't understand...I'm a real WHAT?!" I yelled back.
At this point, the entire class was laughing hysterically, and so was I. I was holding back tears of laughter. In the back of my mind, I was trying desperately to figure out what the hell he was calling me. I kept trying to think of words that sounded like eetch. My mind was searching desperately for the word. Of course, the only word that came to mind was bitch.
"YOU ARE A REAL EETCH...EETCH....EETCH...DO YOU UNDERSTAND?!" he yelled at the top of his lungs again. The class was beside themselves.
I turned to the student closest to me and asked her, "What is he saying?"
Her response was, "I don't know...I don't understand him!"
In my mind I thought, how in the world am I supposed to understand him when his own classmates have no freaking clue what he's saying.
"I don't understand, please speak slowly," I told him.
He responded by speaking even louder than before, but very, very slowly..."YOOOOUUU......ARRRRRRRE.....AAAAA...REEEEEEAAAAALLLL.... EEEEEEETTTCCCHH!"
I still had no clue what the hell he was calling me. Finally, I yelled out, "I'm a real BITCH?!"
"No!" he yelled back. "You are a EETCH!"
In my frustration, I finally asked, "Could you please spell the damn word?"
Keep in mind, the class is now laughing even louder. The conversation was hilarious, and they could not control themselves. I, too, was laughing, but still very confused at what the man was trying to say.
So, he began by spelling P-E-A-C-H. In my mind, I was relieved.
"Oh, you are calling me a real peach for giving you I understand!" I said loudly over the roar of the class.
Now I understood. My mind was at ease. I was no longer searching my internal lexicon for a word that sounded like eetch. The mystery had been solved!
Last week in class we discussed several idioms. You are a real peach was one of them. He was trying to practice what he had learned last week. I felt bad for laughing at him, but he seemed to enjoy the attention and laughter he had caused. I had never heard my older Japanese students laugh so hard. It was good to see them literally falling out of their seats in laughter. It was just too damn funny!
Just another day in Weenie's World!
***Engrish is when my students try to speak English using Japanese pronunciations.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Science Experiment

(This is the volcanic eruption we were going to make...courtesy of the Internet.)

With the recent volcanic eruption some 80 miles away, Jude and I have been spending lots of time talking about volcanoes. For a 4 year old, the concept is some what understandable but consists of some arbitrary concepts I'm not sure the kiddo understands. For example, molten lava, plate tectonics, pyroclastic blast, etc...these are all very complicated words and ideas for a little guy. So, last weekend at breakfast T mentioned that her nephew had recently created an erupting volcano with some household items. That conversation got me thinking. (For the record, anytime I'm better watch out! No good can come from it!) I began to think that for my son to actually understand a real volcanic eruption, I should create one and let him watch in awe. So, that's exactly what we did yesterday, twice.

So, I went on the Internet and found the easiest volcanic eruption recipe I could find: Diet Coke and Mentos candies. We went to the store and bought the ingredients. The ingredients were actually quite difficult to find here in Japan. I couldn't find a 2 liter Diet Coke because they don't have them in Japan, so we used a liter and a half. Mentos were a wee bit difficult to find as well, but I wasn't willing to quit at my task. I was determined to create the matter what. So, here is the result:

The Diet Coke shot into the air 5 feet. The eruption lasted about 3 seconds. It was quick but awesome! So, we did it twice. Each time I giggled with glee.

Here I am getting ready to put the Mentos into the bottle of Diet Coke. Once the Mentos were in, I had to run to escape the cascading Diet Coke. My sleeves got a little wet, but it was well worth it.
Here is Jude smiling his goofy 4 year old smile, waiting with anticipation for the volcanic eruption.

This experiment was easy and exciting, especially for little, little kids. It was really messy so we did it at the park near our apartment. The materials were relatively cheap, and I intend to repeat the volcanic eruption again sometime soon.
After this experiment, I think my calling was to be a science teacher and not an English teacher!

Just another day in Weenie's World!

Monday, February 9, 2009

"When I was in high school..."

Often times people tell me I used to run when I was in high school. Okay, so you ran some 15 years ago...that doesn't mean you run now. In fact, that doesn't mean that you're fit NOW! So, for all you Al Bundys out there, quit reliving your physically fit past and create a new healthy future.

It totally irks me to hear those words over and over every time I mention that I run. Well, when I was in high school, I used to run track..I hear it all the freaking time. I usually just roll my eyes and then ask, "Do you run now?" The response is usually "Well, no but I ran in high school!" Okay, what relevance does that have now in the year 2009??!! Your physical fitness does not carry through years of inactivity. If you ran in high school, then good for you! I'm happy that you were a fit 16 year old. But what does that have to do with the here and now?!! Seriously, people!!! I never did anything physical in high school. Mainly because of my asthma, but mainly because I was a band nerd...and a damn good one at that. But, now I'm a fit 30 something and hope to remain fit for the rest of my life.

So, if one more person tries to impress me with the infamous words...I ran track in high school...I'm going to roll my eyes as the words are spoken, and then scream at the top of my lungs afterwards. Then, I will smack them across the face, as a way to bring them back to reality, and then I will run like hell. Chances are they won't be able to catch me considering the last time they did any running or physical activity was some 15 years ago...back in high school!


Sunday, February 8, 2009


I understand that most people don't run. In fact, most Americans don't even exercise. Whatever! If you want to sit on your couch, eat crap, get fat and lazy, that's your business. But, I live in a different world than you do. I live in a running world. You might think I'm nuts or insane for doing what I do. But, you are entitled to your opinion. At least I'm a healthy nut.
We believe (Husband and I) that humans are made to run. God intended for us to hunt for our food and work our bodies to keep them healthy. So, we do just that...the running part...not the hunting for our food part. We, as human beings, need to move our bodies. And, as a mother, it's my job to show my son that exercise is important and necessary for healthy living.
With all that said, I ran 13 miles yesterday with a cold. I was reluctant to run considering I was hocking up giant loogies and had snot running down the back of my throat. I contemplated skipping my long run, but my running buddies wouldn't let me. They insisted that I run. Of course, I gave in. I ended up running well. In fact, I ran a 2 hour 18 minute half marathon yesterday with a cold. Again, I'm beginning to wonder what I'm truly capable of. I seem to be stronger than ever and have more endurance than I ever thought possible. Each run is my new best run. I love that feeling. It's addictive.
So, a few weekends ago- during a 17 mile run- Running Babe asked me, "Why do you's to stay thin, right?" I thought about the question for a moment and then responded by saying this (since it was a long conversation covering several miles, I'll give you the Reader's Digest Version of what I said)...I began running to lose some weight...I was fluffy after having Jude...but now running has become something more to's become a way of life...and running another marathon isn't about losing weight's about feeling the accomplishment of running 26.2's about crossing that finish line knowing I did my best and trained to the best of my's about feeling's about setting a goal and then working my ass off to achieve's about spending countless hours with my friends chatting about this and's a stress's a good feeling...that's why I run.
So, yes...I'm a lunatic that spends hours running every week. But, I never do it alone. I run with my friends and talk about everything imaginable. I don't consider it work or even exercise anymore. Now it's more like having lunch with friends or meeting the girls to hang out. Evey now and then I push last week's 20 miler that kicked my ass, but mostly it's just a morning spent with good friends followed by a huge breakfast. It's normal. It's what I do.
So, get off your couch and join me in the quest for good health, the sense of accomplishment, and good conversation with new friends. Who knows, maybe you'll be bitten by the running bug as well!
Happy running!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Potty Talk!

(The "mother board" on a Japanese toilet.)
(A typical Japanese the mall.)

(A Japanese squatty potty.)

So, as you know, I live in Japan. I have embraced all of Japan's differences with open arms. I'm happy and excited to live in this historical, humbling nation filled with honorable people.

However, there are a few things about Japan and Japanese people that I just don't get. For example, Japanese people are quite innovative in regards to electronics, but, yet, some still crap in a hole? What up wit dat? And, they are incredibly environmentally conscious. They recycle everything because they lack the natural resources we have in the states. Most people don't even have clothes driers because they cost too much to use. Electricity in Japan is very, very expensive. However, every time you walk into a restroom at the local mall, the toilet has more buttons on it than this freaking computer. And, the toilets "mother board" is plugged into the wall ready and waiting for your command. Some toilets even play the sound of running water as you approach it, in hopes of encouraging you to go. Some play the sound of running water at the touch of a button. That way you can cover up the sound of your tinkling noise or the sound of your giant fart. You can even rinse yourself with at the touch of a button.

But, I just don't get it. If electricity is so expensive, why create millions of toilets that require electricity?? And, do you really need to cover up the sound of your urine flowing into the toilet?? Or, do you really need to cover up the sound of your fart?? Isn't that the reason why you went to the restroom in the first place?? I just don't get it!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

To my sweet Jude,

You are now 51 months old. As I watch you grow, I'm amazed at everything that has been accomplished in the last 51 months. You are the most interesting person I know and will probably ever know. Your actions and words captivate me. Your spirit is grand. You are more than I could have ever wanted in a child. But most of all, I see you becoming a wonderful man.

From your first words to your first steps to your first sentence beginning with a prepositional phrase, I have watched in amazement. It's hard for me to understand that the little bean inside of me 60 months ago has become an intelligent, considerate, spirited little boy. You have consumed me with feelings of love, warmth and gratitude.

In your short existence, you have taught me more than anyone. You have taught me to be more compassionate to others. Because of you, I now know that I am stronger than I ever thought possible. You have taught me that a person really can survive on 2 hours of sleep for a month. You have shown me the power of words and language. You have taught me to think deeper and more often. You have taught me to be more open minded and to welcome change with open arms. You have taught me the names of almost every dinosaur to ever walk the Earth. You have taught me to be a better person and wife to your father. You have taught me to be patient and understanding. You have taught me so many things. For that, I'm forever grateful to you.

You are my beautiful boy. You are my world. Every day I thank the Lord for my most precious

Monday, February 2, 2009

I survived a volcanic eruption!

As if earthquakes, tsunamis and typhoons weren't bad enough, now I have erupting volcanoes to deal with. What the freak??
So, this morning I woke up, looked out the window and noticed the air looked cloudy. I just figured it was fog or Tokyo pollution. I walked down to my car to take Jude to school and saw everything covered with a light gray mist. I thought it was frost or a light snow. When I approached my car, it was covered in a white/gray powder. Again, I thought it was ice. I got out my handy-dandy ice scraper and started to scrape away the supposed ice. As I was scraping, I realized it wasn't ice. Again, I thought it was little snow flurries that had found their home on my car during the night. I drove to the bus stop and saw a cloud of dust as each car passed me. Again, I thought nothing of it. When we got to the bus stop, all the moms were talking about a volcanic eruption. At first I thought they were talking about the volcano in Alaska. It's eruption is imminent. I listened to the conversations intensely and discovered that a nearby volcano had erupted in the night spewing ash 1 mile into the air. The mysterious gray stuff covering my car was ash from the volcano.
I came home, turned on the computer and read this:
Holy crap! Now I have freaking volcanoes to deal with. What the hell??? I never even thought about having to dodge a pyroclastic flow until now. And I never thought I would have to deal with choking volcanic ash in the air. Since I have asthma, I have been told to stay indoors and not to do any physical activity outside for a week. The ash might aggravate my asthma causing me to suffer from an asthma attack. What the hell??!! This is just my luck! I move to a country that shakes under my feet, and now I can't run outside for a whole week because of the damn volcanic ash! What the hell!! I'm a Texan! I can't handle all this geological uncertainty crap! I don't need another natural disaster to worry about! And, how the hell do you plan for a volcanic eruption anyways?? I guess if a volcano erupts I'll just bend over and kiss my ass good bye! What the freak!
If you live in Texas, bend over and the kiss the ground you walk on. It will never shake, rattle, roll or spit molten lava or ash at you! Praise the Lord for that! Right now I'm hating all you lucky bastards that live in Texas!


Yesterday I completed my longest training run thus far...20 miles. The run was originally scheduled for Saturday, but the bad weather kept me indoors-- it was about 42 degrees, pouring rain with a 20 mph wind. So, I waited and ran yesterday. A fellow running buddy and triathlete, JD, ran with me the entire way. I usually don't run with him because he's much faster than me, but he offered his services (running with me, that is), and I took him up on the offer.

The weather conditions weren't perfect, but we fought through. During the run, it was about 44 degrees with wind gusts up to 30 mph. Luckily, there was no rain-- just a really strong wind that nearly knocked me off my feet several times. Like all my other runs, I chatted and put one foot in front of the other. I didn't feel great, though, unlike last week's 17 mile run. Yesterday I felt tired and my stomach was uneasy. At first, I just wanted to complete 18 miles, because I was feeling tired. But JD convinced me to push through and cover the 20 miles I had mentioned earlier that I wanted to run. Since JD had a Garmin (running GPS), he decided to keep track of the distance, pace and time.

Around mile 10, we picked up a new runner named Ash. He has only been running for about a month, but he's in great physical shape. Yesterday was the longest run of his life. We chatted and ran like any other long run. But at mile 16, I started to feel nauseated and my right leg was talking to me. But, JD and Nash kept pushing me and encouraging me to be strong. At one point, the wind was so strong it moved me mid-stride. So, JD and Ash got in front of me to create a protective wind barrier for me. It helped with the wind, but made me realize just how wonderful running buddies can be.

So, we ran and ran. At one point I realized I was running faster than normal. I could tell that my breathing was slightly more labored than usual. But, I just ignored it. I thought I was just feeling more tired than normal and that was causing my breathing to be slightly off. At mile 18, I desperately wanted to stop. I was tired, my leg hurt, my stomach was uneasy, and I just wanted to quit, but JD and Ash wouldn't let me. JD would hold his behind him and motion for me to hurry up. It was like he as saying Come on you can do it without saying a word. His hand gesture was pulling me the way. It was louring me to the finish line. But by mile 19, my breathe became loud and heavy. I wanted to stop and walk, but my new running buddies just wouldn't let me. Ash would scream out at the top of his lungs, "You can do it Little Momma!" I'm sure he woke up several sleeping Japanese people along the route. When we had to stop at a train crossing, Ash said these word, "Don't let me beat you, Little Momma...don't let me beat you!" And, that's all I needed to hear. Those words gave me the power and strength to finish strong. At that moment, I decided to suck it up and run it in. I refused to give in the tiredness, the pain, the soreness, and the fatigue. My mind began to take over my body. I took control and turned off the pain. I told myself I was a marathoner and to not give in to the pain. I said about 4 "Our Father's" and about 15 "Hail Mary's" and that's all I needed. I ran it in all the way to the finish. I felt tired but relieved to be done.

When we finished, JD said, "See...we ran 20 miles in 3 hours and 25 minutes...good job!" I realized I had just ran the fastest 20 mile run in my life, and I felt like crap. Then the possibilities starting shooting through my head. What if my leg didn't hurt...what if my stomach wasn't upset...what if I wasn't tired?? Could I have ran 20 miles even quicker?? Come to find out, Ash and JD were lying to me about our pace during the second half of the run. They had me running about 9:45 miles. That's much faster than I normally run. I usually run about 10:15-10:30 miles. I thought we were pushing the pace during the second half, but I was relying on them to tell me the truth, and they didn't. Sometimes the best running buddies are those that lie. They lie to you when you need it. They lie to you to push you beyond what you think you are capable of. They lie to you so you can achieve goals you never thought were possible. For that, I'm grateful.

So, now I sit here at the computer tired and sore. But most of all, I'm grateful for great running buddies that encourage, push and lead the way.

Thanks so much JD and Ash! You guys rock!