Thursday, September 29, 2011

I knew it

Every time I return from a trip, an earthquake usually occurs within 24 hours.  It's like the island of Japan is so happy to see me that it jumps for joy upon my arrival.  So, of course, about an hour ago, we had a small earthquake.  Thankfully, I didn't feel a thing!

Or, on the other hand, the island of Japan could be so effing pissed off that I'm back on its land that it gets angry and shakes and rolls as a warning to me.  It's saying hey you, the little midget Mexican momma, I've got my eye on you so don't fuck screw with me.  

The music I play

I'm happiest when I'm sitting at the piano lost in my own music.  

What makes you happy?

A piano and a voice

Per BJ's request, this is the new piano song I'm working on.

Dr. Seuss

Thankful Thursday #8

I'm thankful for all my travels.  

I've been to some amazing places and each one has stuck with me, making me who I am today.  And by traveling here and there, I've really come to appreciate all I have.  I will never take anything for granted.  I know just how lucky I am.  

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Korea bound

I'll be heading to Seoul, South Korea tomorrow, and I'm super exited about it.

I'm going with a couple of my Japanese students/friends.  It's really a girls trip, and we'll be spending most of the time shopping and eating mass quantities of Korean food.  It's a short trip, only about 72 hours but long enough for me.

My plan is to find the largest vat of kimchi and roll around in it.  Yep, that's my plan.

In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month

My favorite Jennifer Lopez performance.  Enjoy!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Thankful Thursday #7: Typhoon Roke was no joke

Typhoon Roke paid us a visit yesterday afternoon, bringing heavy rain and strong winds.  School and work were let out early as a precaution.

As the storm rolled in, the winds howled and roared, causing our large glass patio doors to bow and flex.  There were a few moments where I was sure the glass was going to shatter, but, thankfully, it never did.  As the rain pelted our building, our windows began to leak, but I caught the leaks in time.  We put towels on our windowsills to stop the rain from coming in.

This was the second major typhoon to hit Japan in a month, and the worst one we have experienced here.

We were lucky our building didn't suffer any damage, and our power never went out.  However, there are down trees and lots of debris in the roads.  Other than that, we are fine and today is a beautiful day.

So today I'm thankful Roke came and went without causing us too much trouble.  Being from Texas, I know it could have been much, much worse.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Another Typhoon

We have another typhoon headed our way.  It's expected to be in our neck of the woods on Wednesday (that's Tuesday for y'all in the States).

But don't worry about us!  I'm prepared for all kinds of natural disasters, and I've got my handy-dandy Dora-the-Explorer backpack filled with all kinds of emergency gear.

And since we are so far inland, we don't have to worry about storm surge.  And since we live on the 5th floor, we don't really worry about flooding.  The only thing I am concerned about is flooding in the basement of our building.  I believe all of the buildings mechanical equipment is housed down there.  So if it floods, we could be without power for a while, and that would totally suck donkey balls.

But I'm hoping for the best and praying the storm doesn't directly affect the folks up north, because they are still dealing with the horrible effects of the March 11th earthquake.  They certainly don't need any other natural disaster to deal with.  They've already been through enough!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Monday Mommy Tip #5

Teach your children to do chores!

As a parent, I feel I have the responsibility of creating a successful member of society.  Therefore, it is my job to teach my son how to be responsible and take care of himself.  Chores are a good way to teach responsibility.

The chores my 6 year old must do:
1.  Jude must clean up after himself after he eats.  He must place his dirty dishes in the sink and throw away or recycle any trash items.  
2.  Jude must practice the piano daily.
3.  Every Sunday, Jude must wash and dry his own laundry.

That's right; I have my 6 year old son doing his own laundry!  If my kid can do it, so can yours!

Almost a wardrobe malfunction

This weekend Husband and I attended a ball associated with Husband's work.  I wore a silver, sequin gown that weighed about 5 pound and was as hot as an oven.  Husband looked so incredibly handsome.  I think we should get dressed up more often!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Thankful Thursday #6

Today I'm thankful I was born in America.  For those of you who are American, you don't know how good you've got it until you venture out.  And from my travels, I've realized just how freaking lucky I am to be an American.  I know sometimes I brag about Japan, but no matter what, I'm always proud to be an American.  Always!

So, if you were born in America, you should count your lucky stars!  I know I do.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

On September 11, 2001

On that day, I was in Dallas, Texas, preparing for a trial that was to begin on September 11.

Ten years ago I was a trial legal assistant (paralegal) working on an asbestos case that was to go to trial in Dallas.  I had been in Dallas for about 5 days preparing for the trial with my attorneys.  We had been working out of our sister office located in Downtown Dallas.  (I lived in Houston at the time.)

On that horrific morning, I woke up in my very posh hotel room in Downtown Dallas, Texas.  I got dress and put on my finest, black power-suit and black heels.  I tried to look as grown up as a 4 foot 10 inch woman can.  My breakfast was brought up to me by room service, and I ate it quickly, not wanting to be late.  Around 7 AM, I gathered my computer, my blackberry, my to do list and headed out the door to meet my project assistant in the lobby of the hotel.  Since we had flown to Dallas from Houston, we decided to share a rental car to keep costs down for our client.

My assistant and I drove to our sister office located several blocks from our hotel in Downtown Dallas.  As usual, traffic was pretty bad. As we were just about to enter the underground parking garage of the office building, we heard an announcement on the radio that a small plane had just hit a building in New York City.  We didn't think anything of it. We thought maybe a pilot in a small plane simply had an accident.   Once we were underground, the radio stopped.  We arrived at the office and took the elevator up to our "war room" on the 37th floor.  We scurried around, trying to take care of a few last minute items, because our trial was to begin at 9 AM.

While we were discussing our plan of action with our attorneys, we notice several people huddled around a secretaries desk out in the hall way.  Some people were crying and had their hands over their mouths in awe.  We had no idea what was happening.

A few minutes later, my attorney asked me to get some additional supplies for the trial.  As I walked out into the hall, I saw what all the commotion was about.

A secretary had a small TV/radio at her desk.  She was watching live coverage of the World Trade tower on fire, and others had gathered around her desk to watch.  I couldn't believe my eyes.  I got totally distracted by what I saw on that small, black and white screen.  I stood there watching the TV like everyone else, glued to the screen, forgetting everything else. I guess I must have stood there for a long time because one of my attorneys came looking for me and was yelling my name.  When he walked over, he saw the mind numbing scene and stopped dead in his tracks, unable to move.  Then, more people in the office came to see what was going on.  Soon, the entire 37th floor was standing in front of the secretary's desk, watching the miniature TV in astonishment, completely in shock.

Time stood still.  No one cared that there was work to do.  No one cared that business needed to be taken care of.  We just stood there watching the screen--motionless, saddened, and for those in the building.

Suddenly, the news reporters were talking when another plane crashed into the second building.  We all shuddered at what we had just witnessed.  Within minutes, we all knew this was not an accident but something much, much worse--something unfathomable.  America was under attack.

Finally, my attorney grabbed my arm and said we had to go to the courthouse right away.  So, we gathered our boxes of exhibits, our notebooks, our computers, our pleadings and everything else we needed and took them down to our rented SUV.  We headed to the courthouse, listening to the radio as we drove.  I was still in shock of what I had just witnessed on TV.

When we arrived at the courthouse, everything was chaotic.  Security was extremely tight.  As we made our way in, one of my attorneys saw me in the hallway and told me that because of the day's events, our case had been settled and the courthouse was going to be evacuated.  Then, we were ushered out of the courthouse.  A security guard told us a plane had just hit the Pentagon and all government buildings were going to be evacuated along with all high rise buildings in Downtown Dallas.

I didn't know what to do or where to go.  As we exited the parking lot of the Dallas Courthouse, we listened to the radio.  Most of the streets in Downtown Dallas were being closed off and people were being evacuated from high rise buildings.  My assistant and I tried to return to our sister office, but it was being evacuated, as well.  Then, we tried to go back to our hotel, but it was also being evacuated.  We had no place to go.

Since most of the downtown area had been evacuated, we headed out of the center of town, toward the suburbs.  Most businesses were closed. Luckily, we found a Luby's Cafeteria and went in.  The business was open but there were very few customers.  The people that were left were huddled around the TV, watching in horror.

I spent the rest of the day at that Luby's Cafeteria watching TV.  We didn't know what to do or where to go.  Our cell phones didn't work because the networks were overloaded.  My assistant and I just sat and sat.  I was only 23 years old at the time and my assistant was only 22.  We were young, inexperienced and wanted nothing more than to be at home with our families.

After several hours, my cell phone rang.  My attorney told me to get my personal things and go home to Houston to be with my family.  So, my assistant and I drive back to Downtown and were finally let back into our hotel.  Since it was late, we decided to spend the night and return to Houston in the morning.

The next day's drive was somber.  Traffic was light.  The skies were clear and blue.

My mind was racing with thoughts:  How could this happen?  Who would do this?  Why?  

I lived in a simple world that was turned upside down on that day.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Open House

Jude had open house at his school last night.  His teacher created a scavenger hunt for the parents.  We had to locate Jude's seat in the classroom, figure out which drawing on the bulletin board was his, and figure out which writing assignment was also his.  It was really easy to locate all of the items, especially his writing assignment.  His read:

"I live with my mom and my dad and my ant is Jooich.  I like to woch tv.  Who am I?"  

(Since he's only in the first grade, his teacher allows phonetic spelling.  Jooich = Jewish.)

He is too funny!  

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Thankful Thursday #5

Today I'm thankful for medications.  If asthma medications hadn't been created, I wouldn't be sitting here right now.  I'm sure I would have died long ago!

And since I'm suffering from a really, really horrible cold, I'm especially thankful for all the medications keeping my asthma under control.

So, today I'm thankful for the hard working scientists and those who were willing to participate in drug trials that have allowed my medications to come into existence.  I will be forever grateful to them.

What are you thankful for?

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Monday Mommy Tip #4 (on Tuesday)

Sorry my Monday Mommy Tip is a day late, but yesterday we spent the entire day at an onsen--more on that later.

So, if you have kids, you know how hard it is to get them up and dressed.  Some kids are natural fashion-istas, while others could care less about what they wear.  My kid is somewhere in between.  Some days he can be dressed in seconds, while other days he has to pull out every item from his dresser and analyze it before he decides whether or not it's exactly what he wants to wear.

I got tired of being late because Jude couldn't find the right Star Wars t-shirt or his favorite shark t-shirt, so I bought a closet organizer--like this one.

Jude washes his own laundry now, usually on Sundays--more on that later.  After he washes his laundry, I help him fold it, and then we put together outfits for the following week.  This takes about 15 minutes, but it is so worth it.  Then, on Monday morning, all he has to do is grab the clothes in Monday's slot and get dressed.  There's no searching, no fussing, and no mess making.  

Also, since Jude has to wear certain clothing on certain days, this organizer has been really helpful for us.  (He has to wear his spirit shirt to school on Fridays, and his soccer uniform for games on Saturdays.)  We put the appropriate outfit in the correct day the clothing has to be worn.  Then, we don't have to go searching for something at the last minute.

This handy-dandy closet organizer is great buy!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

What I felt on 3/11/11

People always ask me what the earthquake felt like on that dreadful day back in March.  The experience is really hard to explain, but I think this guy captures it well.  In fact, I think I even used all the same curse words as this guy, minus all the Dudes and Whoas.  

Another one

This morning, as I was waking up, my apartment building jolted because of a small earthquake.  It wasn't anything major, and it was really short.  My building only shook a couple of times, but it was enough to get my heart racing and for me to think Holy Shit, I hope this isn't a big one.  By the time I finished my thought, thankfully, it was over.

Most of the earthquakes we have are up North, but this one was relatively close, just one prefecture over.  So that has me a bit concerned.   

I told you it was expensive here

There's no doubt I live in the most expensive city in the world.  And the picture above proves my point: four mangoes for 9,300 Yen.  With the current Yen rate, that's about $121.  That's right!  Each mango is about 30 bucks!

And for a Texan like me, that's just absurd!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Cub Scouts

Not only is my kid in the first grade, but he's also a Tiger Cub in the Cub Scouts.

Damn, where did the time go?  I remember the day I brought him home from the hospital after I had just pooped him out.  I remember how he cried and cried and cried some more, with more crying and more crying on top of that.  And those sleepless nights.  Oh, those sleepless nights!  All those days when I didn't know what was up or down.  Exhausted beyond belief, barely functioning in zombie mode.  All those times I was tied down with him on my boob.

Well, all that was totally worth it.  In fact, I'd do it all over again for him if I had to, because all of that gave way to the MOST awesome-est kid on the planet.  And do you know what?   I'm the luckiest mom in the world!

So. Incredibly.  Lucky!

(If you know him, you know just how awesome he is!)

First Grader

Did I mention I have a first grader?  Holy shit!  I have a first grader!  This is my first grader on his first day of first grade.

HOLY SHIT!  He's in first grade!

Thankful Thursday #4 (on Friday)


Today I'm thankful Typhoon Talas isn't going to hit us directly.  We are only going to get rain and wind, but nothing major.