Saturday, December 31, 2005

New Years Day 2006

It is New Years Day Morning 2006, the Year 18 of this Emperor of Japan.
It is Cloudy and overcast, but I am not complaining: it has made it a little warmer.
Li is still in bed recovering from last nights festivities, JiXiang is tearing apart another cupboard, and I am listening to some music and writing this.

Jixiang woke me up just a few minutes after midnight for some milk so I got to see the new year come in.

She then woke me up at 5 this morning complaining that I am an overly worried mom and she was too warm: too many blankets.
Mom called me at six thirty this morning to wish me a Happy New Year and asked me:
-How are you really?

I am fine: completely and totally fine. I am not ok and never will be but ya, I am fine.
I said in my previous post that I was going to take the time last night and write a therapeutic mental healing post: never did. I never felt I actually had to. A few weeks ago I did feel the need to write my heart out but I guess in the last few days I have been writing the post in my head and didn’t need to put the words down. I had a few cries, usually during makeup application time, bloody Murphy and his laws.

I miss my sister, can’t put that in words what have enough meaning. I always will, and this is a day that is the hardest for many people in my family: it is the beginning of the end.
It is a day that will stay in my memory until the day I die.
But I have decided it is not worth living it over again and again every year: Alisha would never allow it and I guess in a way she hasn’t, because she got it through to me that life is more important. Contrary to what many people believe, my sister and I could always communicate very well.

I recently told a fellow blogger that my sister has the same love and theory on world traveling that she has, and that even though she was no longer traveling in the physical sense, you can be damn sure she is out there right now checking out her latest travel ideas. I honestly believe this. I don’t think Alisha has rested a single moment since she died. I think she has been busier and more active and has seen more worlds and lands than she would have ever dreamed of.

So to the Aunt, who pisses me off every year at this time with her traditional email that says:
-I cant believe she is gone.

She ISNT GONE! She is alive and well inside my daughter, in side my heart and in the heart of all who truly loved her. If you really loved Alisha then you would accept this and move on. LIVE!
It is what Alisha is still doing now.

On a completely and totally unrelated note:
Li came home last night complaining about missing me. He is starting to really hate going out in the evenings without me. He doesn’t want to stay home because he gets very bored, but only one of us can go out, the other must stay home with JiXiang. He is starting to get frustrated about that. I was invited out to New Years Dinner with his friends last night, (first time ever, wow) they really wanted JiXiang to come along. But Li told them NO WAY because every one in Japan smokes and there was no way Ji was going into a loud restaurant on New Years that was also smoke filled. What a good daddy.

Here is a walk down memory lane:

New Year 2004
Post Card 2004

New Year 2005
Post Card 2005

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Friday, December 30, 2005


Happy New Year 2006
from the Andrea In Japan Family

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Love ya Kelly Boy

Saying good bye to Kelly.

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New Years Eve 2005

So today is New Years Eve and my little girl is now 11 months and terrorizing our downstairs neighbours as she has been learning how to bounce and has started stomping her feet.
Sorry people.
I should probably give them a New Years gift to say sorry and thanks for not shooting us through their ceiling.

This morning Li had to get his lazy butt out of bed early and make lunch for our friend Kelly. (Forgot to take a picture before we devoured.) Kelly is off to his mother land of New Zealand next week and this was our last bit of time with him. We have known him for 6 years and I really do love that crazy kiwi.
He dazzled me with some horror stories about shipping containers and we talked away for a few hours. JiXiang was a wonderful girl and settled down for her afternoon nap before Kelly arrived so we were able to eat well and had a great conversation before she awoke and took over.

Love you Kelly and I am going to miss you terribly.

Li is now being a couch potato and is literally asleep on the couch.

Last night we ate Canadian crab. It was ok: unfortunately not fresh but Li did a great job with it. He actually took a picture as well. I am trying to get him to make a blog about his cooking: haven’t succeeded yet.

I don’t think we are doing anything together for dinner tonight. Li is abandoning me to play with his friends tonight, so it is just me, JiXiang and the computer. I found some chicken noodle soup at KO Mart the other day so I am going to indulge in that. I also have a very long traditional post that I need to write.
It is the hardest one of the year to write and still part of my mental healing process right now.

But, What must first and foremost be said is:

I am wishing all of my family, friends, and cyber friends out there the best of luck in the upcoming year. Love you all!

(I am having troubles uploading pictures right now, so will add them seperatly I think.)

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Posted by (Top)Andrea::12/30/2005 :: 2 Comments:

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Parental Abductions

This is a very sad article having to do with Child Abductions TO Japan and how Japan has become a safe haven for parents abducting their children.

I never knew.

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Got a pedicure today.
I now have ‘blood blue’ toe nails. Oohhhh sexy.

Told Li I was going to a meeting with a bunch of girls and we were going to sit around and talk. Ohh I sat around all right. Hehe
I got my eyelashes permed!!!!
It came as a special with the pedicure so I thought what the hell right?
I have never had my eyelashes permed before. It is very common here, it makes your eyelashes look longer they say.

First they really do mean PERMED!
I had my eyes covered with special oils and surrounded in tons of special cotton; my lashes were taped up and covered in REAL Perming solution. It smelled just like the stuff used on your hair!! I laid there for 20 minutes, and then my lashes were rinsed and doused in some sort of setting solution that smelled just like the hair stuff.

And wozers Batman but my lashes looked long!!

They curl all the way up to my eyebrows and make my eyes look bigger.

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Posted by (Top)Andrea::12/30/2005 :: 10 Comments:

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Thursday, December 29, 2005

We have blood!!

I have been making a habit of going for a walk with JiXiang every day now.
Yesterday we went for a walk down the road area in front of our place and she had a great time. I realized that if we go out around high noon it is warm enough that she does not need to wear her snow suit, just her warm jacket, so she can walk much easier.

Well today we went out again and she had a staring match with the dog down the road and I showed her how to throw rocks into the water drain thingies. She enjoyed that. Then she met the cats across the road and the grey one let her touch him. It was her first time touching a cat so she was pretty thrilled by it.

-sugoii (Japanese for: great, excellent wonderful, or wow)

She said a few times.
Yes my daughter speaks Japanese but that is another post.

Then she fell.

Actually she did a sort of slow motion face plant and cut her upper lip.

There was blood.

JiXiang’s first drawing of blood.

She screamed very loudly.

I scooped her up and brought inside, opened the door and went:

  • We have blood!

  • (Li came whipping around the corner) What did you do?! What happened! What did your bad mom do to you?!?!

What ever. (Imagine a tongue sticking out and going ‘plfff’.)

I giggled away about the whole thing. Her teeth were fine and it was only a minor upper lip cut. We washed it and JiXiang demanded full pity points from both of us. I gave her a little baby Tylenol to deaden the pain slightly and explained to her how this was sure to be the first blood letting of many incidents to come. Considering that she actually JUMPED off of the damn coffee table into the pillow pile yesterday, ya, I am sure there will be much more blood in the future.

I fed her some milk and she fell asleep. She just woke up and I took a picture of the offensive lip. You can barely tell. She has not made any comments since she awoke.

It is actually much more red than it looks in the picture.

(sure enough!! As I post this she has crawled/fallen in between the crack between the sofa and the stereo while reaching for her toy. Crying only lasts long enough to get sympathy then she is off again.)

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Wednesday, December 28, 2005

The world just keeps on spinning

Yesterday was Li’s last day of work, not for the year, but until he is able to find a new one.
He got home early, to my surprise, but I guess the boss sent everyone home early but told them he was padding their hours to give them a full day. Great. That had been sitting around drinking and talking: he came home in a pretty good mood.

He played with JiXiang and all was fine, until the job conversation started and he started getting furiously angry about all the Canadian visa delays.

Good thing I didn’t tell him about the letter that arrived yesterday from the Embassy. Not going to get into it as I will just start ranting non stop. Let’s just say that things are continuing to be completely and totally f***ed beyond words and things are not looking good.
I don’t know why, so don’t ask.

On the other hand I have ended up with a baby who has decided that she would be quite comfortable living on top of the living room table, even if her parents strongly disapprove. In fact she is lying on it right now as I type thinking about taking a morning nap.

She might be a little tired due to being hungry because she has entered that phase of her life where ALLLLLLL food tastes bad and needs to be spit out all over mommy and her clothes. (grrr)
This is unfortunately not one of those phases that pass by in a few weeks, try more along the lines of a few years.
Right now the only food that JiXiang is willing to keep in her mouth long enough to consider swallowing is breast milk, bananas, and peas. If I am lucky I can get half a container of yogurt down her before she starts blowing cherry kisses all over the place.
Last week strawberries were the bestest thing I could offer her, this week forget it. For the last month she LOVED her little bits of pasta. She loved to slurp them up just like a pro. Now I can’t get her to even put a single piece in her mouth.

On a bonus note she has learned the word ‘no’ very well. She understands perfectly when I say it and has learned to shack her head when she does not want anything. It is cute the first few times but down right annoying when she is turning her nose and shacking her head at every and all food.

She and I did go for a long walk yesterday. Ji walked; all by herself I might add, from our place all the way over the train tracks and to the school. It is probably a little over 60meters. I personally think that is pretty damn far for a kid not quite 11 months old. I then put her in her back carrier and we headed over to the park where she successfully turned her pink suit in to a brown one but she had a lot of fun. I went on the slide with her, which made her giggle. I then would put her up about 2 or 3 feet on the slide and let her go down on her own. She taught it was the best and tried to climb up the slide so she could do it again and again. She then attempted to join in with these two boys who were playing catch. She really wanted to take part in their game.
There are some flickr pictures on the side.

Then, going home, we happened upon our nice elderly down the road neighbours. I really like these two, the old lady just adores JiXiang and they say hi and talk to us all the time. They are the only people in our whole neighbourhood who actually talk to us. Everyone else is polite but basically avoids us like the foreign plague or something. It has also been personally very comforting having a friendly face in the neighbourhood for the possible, should they happen, times of crisis. It was nice knowing that there was someone who we would be able to turn to for info. Being foreigners we are often left out of the loop when it comes to most neighbourhood functions.
Well, I was a little depressed to learn that they are moving to a different neighbourhood. They will still be in this town but in a totally different area.

Well, I think it is just about time to get the husband out of bed so that I can have a shower and start my day.

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Tuesday, December 27, 2005

The prettiest baby ever

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Looking for chocolate

Baby Ji checking out the cupboards.

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Sushi loving Santas

A Cool Christmas Card I got from Abby - Santas eating Sushi

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Ji and flowers

Baby Ji looking overly cool with her flowers that she loves to carry everywhere.

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Well I have finally done a MAJOR catchup on my index notes page. I was behind about 3 months, but am now caught up all the way to yesterday.
So here are my Index Notes of Past Posts going back forever and ever.

Todays blogging experience will be me atempting to figure out this pixiar something or other picture thing that blogger has offered. So far it IS NOT WORKING!!!!

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Posted by (Top)Andrea::12/27/2005 :: 1 Comments:

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Myrna finally did it!!!!

My sortof step mom has FINALLY done her memory tag AND put up photos of x-mas.
Ya gotta check out the one half of my family!!!
Blue Mountain Stables

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Posted by (Top)Andrea::12/27/2005 :: 2 Comments:

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Monday, December 26, 2005

Pillow Talk

     G - the girl in this story
     B - the boy in this story
     BG – the little one asleep in her bed area beside G and B

     B and G are lying in bed almost asleep. B suddenly decides he is hungry and needs a snack. He jumps out of bed; leaving G’s back exposed to the cold air, and grabs an orange. He peels the orange in the kitchen and then brings the orange into bed with him.

G: Ugh! Now it is going to stink.

B: What stinks?!

G: The orange.

B: The orange?!

G: I like oranges B, just not in my bed. Now all I can smell is orange.

B: Realllyyyyy…

B eats the orange with one gulp and closes in for a tickle session mixed with orange laced kisses. The giggles muffled as best as possible so as not to awaken BG.

G: Stop, stop stop, I am going to fart.

B whips over to his side of the bed.

G: (pfee) (fart) (pfheeeeeeee)

B: AUGH!!!!

G: Ahhh that smells much better.

And they slept happily the night away.  

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A Christmas Nap

JiXiang having a nap on Christmas Day.
This was the only picture taken on this day because we didnt do anything.

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Posted by (Top)Andrea::12/26/2005 :: 1 Comments:

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Christmas 2005

I had these great big plans for Christmas day:

  • Go to Hamamatsu with Li and Ji and visit Kim.

  • Have dinner with Kim, cooked by Kim.

  • She is a pretty good chef so I was sure it would taste quite good.

  • Head back at a decent time but when in the evening so that the giant Hamamatsu station Christmas/Holiday/Family Tree would be lit and Ji could see it.

On Saturday I did a million and ten things to be ready for Sunday: got my nails fixed, did the banking, mailed the last of my Japanese New Year’s Cards, searching for another lost JiXiang shoe that I STILL can not find (I have no idea where she kicked it off), food shopping at two different places because I had some very specific things on my list (cranberry juice and blueberries which can not be found just anywhere), cleaning cleaning cleaning, and making Li clean his spice cupboards up.
We did it all and with tons of time to spare. I even bought this mind thinking beads and something or other game that Li and I could play. I even beat him. YAAA!!!!

Then things started to go odd.
At 10pm I quite latterly fell asleep for a few minutes with my head on the kitchen table. I had planned on staying up for a bit with Li but it was all I could do to get myself into bed.
I slept like the dead, even JiXiang slept all night and she usually wakes up around one for a quick snack.
She woke up at 6 in the morning and I explained to her how there is one day a year that mommy and daddy are allowed to sleep in. (hahaha)
She relented till about 7:30 when she proceeded to sit on my head with a wet diaper. I decided it was time to get up.
Ji and I went through our usual morning routine, except that I could not get Ji to eat her morning yogurt that she normally demands. Li was still all comatose in bed due to being up till 3am playing his stupid computer game. (ggrrrrrrr)
I even called my mom to say Merry Christmas (she of course was not home, party animal that she is) and then called my granny (who was home, yaaa!)
I felt weird but okish.
By this time Ji had blown out of her diapers once: not normal.
At ten I was yelling for Li to get out of bed and baby watch because I had to do the nasty in the washroom.

I caught what appeared to be a bit of a stomach flu. Ji had a little bit of it as well. Li was totally fine.

I was determined that this was not going to destroy my Christmas: I wasn’t puking so things could be controlled. (ya right)
I had a shower, started to feel worse, changed into my dress slakes and pink sweater, did my hair and my makeup.
By the time this was done I decided I had better phone Kim and find out how much she had cooked, my stomach had turned into doubling over cramps.
We put her cooking on hold to let me eat something and see what happened.
By 12 we had canceled totally with Kim, I curled up on the bed in jogging pants and Ji blew out of another diaper.

I spent Christmas 2005 curled up with stomach cramps.
JiXiang seemed to be handling things totally fine, although she was not eating properly, neither was I.

JiXiang and I had a bath around 7 and Li took her after she was finished. I added a LOT more hot water and had a ten minute snooze in the tub that felt wonderful.

Ji and I both went to bed at 8 and slept the entire night!!!

I had to go to work today and had a ton of things to do: no teaching though, just lots of prep and office work.
I got about 90% done.

I am now on holidays for the next two weeks!!!!

Make sure all emails are to my hotmail, as I have no access o my work address at home. I have idea what we are going to do during my holiday, but I am sure we will think of something.

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Friday, December 23, 2005

My Family Tree

There are people out there who wish to destroy the wonder and joy of the Christmas tree.
Now there are those that are trying to be politically correct and call it a Holiday tree.
I have recently been getting a few emails stating that the Christmas tree is not a Holiday tree but a CHRISTmas tree.

Well, it is not a Holiday tree
And it is not a CHRISTmas tree.

It is an evergreen tree and a symbol of rebirth and life.

The whole concept of a tree being decorated, originally in fruits, at this time of year was not started by the Christians, but by the pagans. The Catholic Church adopted the winter pagan tree tradition (along with many other pagan traditions) in order to smooth over the transition of Christian conversion. They then, many people claim (but I am no authority on this), moved the date of Jesus’ birthday to the now known Christmas time to coincide with the rebirth theory. Many people claim he was actually born in March (but I have no real truth to that). (Even Santa is a pagan tradition that has continued to this day.)

The tree is Evergreen, symbolizing continued life in the darkness of winter and was put up AFTER the Winter Solstice (on the 22 in Japan this year), the longest night of the year. Supposedly the new year has really begun starting then because the days are getting longer. Personally, also colder but the scientists are positive there is more light.

I don’t attend church at Christmas (last time I did I burnt my hair, but that is another post), and I don’t celebrate Jesus’ birth; I celebrate family, love, life, holidays, eat toooooo much and even though it can be stressful, I love every minute of it.

We decorate an evergreen tree every year and call it our Christmas tree, but really it is our family tree; as a family we decorate it and all of its ornaments have been made or collected by my family.
There is nothing better than curling up on the sofa and reading a book using the twinkling lights of my family tree.

It doesn’t matter where you are from or what your religion, the Christmas tree means the same; rebirth of a new year, family, friends, fun, a bit of mystery, and holiday joys.

So to all my family, all my friends and to all the cyber people I have met and loved,


Enjoy your holiday sitting around your Christmas/Holiday/Family Tree, rip the wrapping paper with glee and don’t forget to blog all about it so that I can read and be a little jealous.
Here in Japan Christmas time is a lovers dating time, but the children still believe in the mystery of the family tree and put their cookies out for Santa.

How about a walk down memory lane?

Here is my post for Christmas 2003

Here is my post for Christmas 2004

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Posted by (Top)Andrea::12/23/2005 :: 11 Comments:

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Thursday, December 22, 2005

Weird Habits

The only movie critic that I trust, CaliGirl, tagged me to do another MeMe

Here are the rules: The first player of this game starts with the topic five weird habits. People who get tagged need to write an entry about their five weird habits as well as state this rule clearly. In the end, you need to choose the next five people to be tagged and link to their web journals.

My 5 Weird Habits !
  1. I LOVE tomatoes. I eat them like most people eat apples, but I hate Ketchup and despise tomato juice.

  2. I have a very specific schedule that I have created in the morning for Ji and myself in order to get us to work and daycare on time. It involves a very specific routine for the shower, baby wash, clothes changing, putting on the makeup order, eating etcetra. I have left teeny tiny gaps for Ji delays. If this schedule is screwed up in any way my day is a shambles.

  3. I prefer eatting Spaghetti and salads with chopsticks.

  4. The dust on the door ledges bothers me more than a dirty table.

  5. I talk to animals exactly like I am talking to you and I swear they understand me better. I even say please and thankyou to them. I always had the most polite dogs.

This is all I can think of considering that I am a tad odd to begin with. Hehe.
I am not going to tag anyone though as there are about three other tags going around cyber space right now: a remember tag, a strange kids tag and I saw this other one that involved a check list.
BUT you can consider yourself taged when you read this.
It is only 5 things so leave your 5 bits of weirdness in the comments section so we can all see. Remember family people without blogs, I am now accepting anonomyous comments. (hint)

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Posted by (Top)Andrea::12/22/2005 :: 9 Comments:

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Wednesday, December 21, 2005

ICE in my town - A recipe for disaster

It snowed. (written with as little enthusiasm as I could muster.)

Not the type of snow that we in Canada would consider classifiable as snow. It was more like a fine granial powder that created a blanket of white.

Underneath this lovely looking blanket was a deadly sheet of ice.
But I will return to the ice later.

I had this feeling it was going to snow when I stuck my head outside last night to throw a diaper into the diaper bin; a raindrop hit my nose.
-It is raining. It will snow.

Li thought I was off my rocker but when he stepped outside this morning to head to work he came flying back inside to tell me that it had snowed.
I bounced out of bed and took some flickr pictures.

Snow is not such an amazing thing generally, but here in my little area of Shizuoka it is a HUGE shock to the system. I have been here for almost 6 years now and can count on one hand the number of times I have witnessed snow on the ground;
  1. The first winter I was here the ground was sprinkled with a frost like snow that was melted before I finished my walk to work in the morning.

  2. Two years ago we had this freaky blizzard that came from out of nowhere on a perfectly clear blue day. It caused a major whiteout for exactly 2 hours. And then it was gone, like it had never happened. There was not a trace to be found on the ground by the end of the day.

  3. This morning.

I took my flickr pictures listening to the kids walking to school this morning. There were THOUSANDS of kids on the road. It was almost like every child in the town insisted on walking today so that they could get the full effect of the snow. Snow was being thrown (as best as powder stuff can be thrown) and kids were skating all over the place. The air was full of squeals and laughter.
It was heaven.

When JiXiang woke up I held her up to the window so she could see the white blanket and she ‘oohed’ and ‘awwed’ while tapping the window.
When we went outside to head to daycare I held up some snow for her to see closely and she eyed it with interested suspicion.

This is where the nice blog stops and the ranting starts.
Remember the sheet of ice UNDER the snow that I mentioned at the beginning of this post?

Well there was definitely ice around my neighbourhood, tons and tons of freaky slippery black ice.
I thought it was just near me but I was wrong. It extended throughout my entire town and all of the bloody idiots came out to drive.
The smart people took the train, which was much more crowded than usual. The smart people took the bus, which had a very long line this morning. The smart people took a taxi, which was almost non-existant due to so many people taking them.

The stupid people drove.

As I mentioned, we never get snow, because of this no one knows how to drive in it, and no one has any clue how to handle ice. (I am from Vancouver area; we don’t get much snow but we get one hell of a lot of ice.) Also, due to the no snow, everyone has ‘normal tires’ on their car. In my area this mean ‘summer tires’.
Yes people!
Summer tires on ice!!!
A recipe for disaster.
Ji and I biked to daycare as slowly as we could and got there safely. All the while I was cursing the morons who were driving too fast, accelerating out of an icy corner and driving in general.
I actually snarled (in English) at this moronic shopkeeper who was actually HOSING DOWN the walk in front of his shop. The temperature is still at freezing and the idiot has just created an ice rink. MORON!
Across from JiXiang’s daycare there is a gas station and the attendant was standing on the sidewalk watching all the cars drive too quickly by. Whenever the light turned red he would hop onto the road and SLIDE across it. The idiots standing at the red light didn’t seem to pay attention and they all fished tailed their way past him when the light went green.
On the news this afternoon it showed a video clip of my town and the city officials running around the intersections throwing salt everywhere in an attempt to limit the number of crashes.

It will be a worse affair tonight, as the black ice will turn totally invisible in the dark.

I am going home early.

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Tuesday, December 20, 2005

I remember

I remember jumping out of the giant walnut tree into our huge red hammock.

I remember curling up between my horse Copper’s legs when he was taking a nap and having a nap with him.

I remember my mom giving our pony Candy an enema and cod liver oil because we fed her pancakes and made her dangerously constipated.

I remember building tunnels in the snowdrifts behind Number 2 chicken barn.

I remember making snowflake designs using candle wax dripping onto cold water.

I remember the sweet smell of fresh shavings that would waft into our bedroom when the barns had been cleaned out.

I remember holding an armful of little baby chicks and thinking they were the softest things I had ever touched.

I remember breaking the necks of the crippled chickens and not crying about it.

I remember feeding our ducks and the wild ones joining in the feast.

I remember that the neighbour’s dog killed my two pet bantee chickens and being really angry about it.

I remember thinking how cool it was to gut a chicken on killing day.

I remember when my brother and I found my dad’s Marvel Comic collection and thinking we had won the lottery.

I remember when my brother, sister and I had to crawl under the house to move our dog’s 14 puppies that she had just given birth to.

I remember that one of the puppies turned out to be the strangest stupidest dog ever imaginable.

I remember having a fight with my dad because I thought I was old enough to help with the 2am chicken catching.

I remember running away from home but only making it as far as the roof of barn number two.

I remember hearing my father calling for me after I had run away and shimmying around the roof so that he could not find me.

I remember helping birth lambs in the back barn.

I remember when our dog Toby brought a scared dog home. I walked into the house and thought I had seen a wolf so ran out of the house screaming ‘wolf’ at the top of my lungs. It freaked me out so much I locked myself in side the truck until dad checked it out.

I remember Toby apologizing for scaring me for days after.

I remember waking up from a deep sleep and my father was standing there with Craig Hill who was waiting for me to go play something or other. I remember diving under my pillow and not playing with Craig for days after.

I remember Craig crying on the school bus on our last day of elementary school life.

I remember clear as a bell the first time I said ‘shit’ in front of my father.

I remember sneaking lipstick onto the school bus and putting it on then, because my mom wouldn’t let me wear it.

I remember swimming in the river with my horse Copper by holding onto his tail and him pulling me along.

I remember turning my expensive leather saddle to a giant ball of green mold because of swimming in the river with Copper.

I remember my parents finally killing the mold by pouring an entire bottle of baby oil over that saddle. (Still have this saddle.)

I remember when the power failed on Christmas Day and we returned home to 18thousand chickens that had suffocated to death due to the fans having stopped.

I remember holding my sisters hand.

I remember the beehive my mom had in the field.

I remember the day a parachuter landed on our lawn and my sister and I just stood there staring at him like he was an alien that had just landed on earth.

I remember playing pac-man at our neighbours place.

I remember running at breakneck speed from my grandfather’s crazy bull cow.

I remember my grandmother giving me a birthday present and saying ‘now open your colouring book, dear’.

I remember watching my first three-day event on cross-country day and being hooked for life.

I remember going camping with my grandparents in their motor home.

I remember us using the floor rug to slide down my grandparent’s living room steps.

I remember cutting my ankle open on a bike spoke but I don’t remember where. (Turned out to be in Florida.)

I remember holding my grandfather’s hand while he was having a stroke and feeling more useless than I have ever felt.

I remember a star shaped paperweight crashing down off of my aunt’s windowsill and hitting me smack on the noggin when we had gathered at her house after bringing my grandfather to the hospital because of the stroke. I remember that it drew blood but I never told anyone.

I remember riding Candy down the road with my mother walking beside.

I remember every day of the five years of separation and divorce hell that we went through.

I remember that my sister always smelled good, even when she smelled bad.

I remember being blamed for breaking some girls ginger bread house in grade 2 or 3 and to this day I SWEAR I NEVER TOUCHED IT!!

I remember my mom dressing me up as a feminist for Halloween.

I remember having horse poop throwing fights with my brother when we were mad at each other.

I remember seeing my husband for the first time.

I remember seeing my daughter for the first time.

Ok I think that is TONS.
This memory lane was a tag from Jonathan.
Now it is my turn to tag some people.
I tag Granny because she has some amazing stories to tell.
I tag Myrna because she needs to UPDATE HER BLOG!
I tag ipod because I am curious.

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Posted by (Top)Andrea::12/20/2005 :: 9 Comments:

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Monday, December 19, 2005

Canadian Election - who to vote for?

Having a few headaches trying to decide on who to vote for in the upcoming Canadian election?

Try this web site to sort out the gobblygook.

Vote By Issues - from CBC

I found its result very interesting. I was not surprised with the total score, though. I sort of knew already that he was my vote of choice, but it was interesting seeing what it was I agreed and did not agree with.

Two guys actually tied for first place in my issues, so now I need to choose based on personalities and trust crap.
I actually am not allowed to vote in this election; I have been out of the country for too long.
Doesnt mean I am not interested thought.

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Posted by (Top)Andrea::12/19/2005 :: 8 Comments:

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Let it snow

Granny found this and posted it on her site but I thought I would share.
It is so much fun.

Remember doing that as a kid. Well this has no mess. BUT even better; you can design first and then create the real think on real paper. Toooo cool!
MOM ya gotta check it out.

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Sunday, December 18, 2005

metal rant

The temperature dropped yesterday and there were ice patches on the road coming to work this morning.
This winter is supposed to be the coldest it has been in years. I shudder when I think of my heating bill.
We have been doing good controlling our power by counting (literally) what we have turned on. I have become a rabid witch when it comes to leaving a door open and follow Li around turning off lights. Heat has a priority over light these days. Even JiXiang is being forced to play in her tatami room with the light coming from the living room. She has not been complaining.

I have also started closing the window shutters.
I HATE closing the shutters.
First you have to open the windows in order to close them, so my precious heat escapes.
Then, they are not built on any roller system, so it is grinding metal against metal. My ears are hurting typing this.
It is the sound that flips me out more than anything.

I live on the second floor of our building; I insisted this because I like to leave the windows open all the time. In the summer the windows are never closed, as I prefer fresh breezes over the aircon. In the spring and fall the windows are open during the day but closed in the evening. In the winter they are never open.

Our neighbours, no scratch that, our entire neighborhood likes to close their shutters ----all ---- year----round.
This means grinding metal sounds all ---- year----- round: as early as five thirty in the morning and as late as eleven thirty at night.

One of the things I love about living in Japan has been chopsticks.
Yes chopsticks.
I hate, despise, go totally livid crazy, at the sound of forks and knives clashing against ceramic; I spine shiver, like nails on a chalkboard, when I think of a fork scraping on teeth.
I am developing a headache just writing about it.
I hate the metal shutters.
Only problem is that they do offer a teeny tiny bit of protection from the cold wind that comes whipping through our single pane windows.

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Posted by (Top)Andrea::12/18/2005 :: 7 Comments:

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The pipes are calling!

Happy Birthday
Danny Boy!!!
Love you tons.
Wish we still lived as neighbour cause I miss you so.
Have a Happy Birthday and we will get together this holiday to celebrate in style.
Hugs from all three of us.

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Friday, December 16, 2005

Year End Bonenkai Party

Last night I went to my year end Bonenkai.
It was the only work party I have been to all year and I really enjoyed it. Li took over baby care for the evening and it seemed to go ok. I did get home to a kid that was still awake (but I was not surprised) and a bath/shower room that looked like a bomb had exploded. Not sure what games those two were playing. Li will never admit that he had fun because he does not want to take over that daily job.

The party was at a VERY POSH restaurant that was decorated in a beautiful old style. It was probably very expensive but I wouldn’t know; the company always pays for the year end dinner. They also paid for all of our taxi rides to and from the restaurant.
This was a syhabushyabu restaurant, and I didn’t actually click in that I had never had it before until they started cooking.
I am used to nabe, where we cook meat and vegetables in boiling water (love it) but this is different, using more sauce, rather than water, and this GIANT hunk of fat, which kind of grossed me out.
You cook the meat and veggies and then dip it in a raw egg. YES raw. I am still alive and never got sick. They LOVE (sorry turtle guy- really like) raw egg in Japan.

We ate till we were going to explode and for the first time ever asked the waitress for takeout. Usually we are still hungry, this time we could barely fit through the doors. Hehe

We did have our fair share of fun and games.
There was this crazy wig being passed around and I of course put it on.

We had a lovely evening of bingo and laughing. I won the fourth prize in bingo and got this GIANT bottle of sake that I was told was a VERY expensive bottle. It is called Hyogetsu. Can’t tell you any more about it. I think this bottle should be kept for a later date of celebration, so it is going into the closet.

Here is a group shot that we got the waitress to take.
Here are some more pictures of craziness.

I love these guys. (Yes turtle: love)
I will miss them.

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Posted by (Top)Andrea::12/16/2005 :: 8 Comments:

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Getting into the Christmas Spirit

I have some great friends who send me the best email sometimes.
Thought I would share.

Here is a little music to liven up your living room.

Here is a little penguin batting practice to pass the time as you wait for people to update their blogs. hehe
Click the bear to get him into swing position and then click again to make him swing. I got 271.3 feet!!!!

I am uploading bonenkai pictures now, so stay tuned for crazy work stuff.

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Thursday, December 15, 2005

All I want for Christmas

Have I ever mentioned that I LOVE Snoopy! hehehe

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Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Ramblings about basically EVERYTHING

I don’t really have anything in the way of news or exciting to say.

JiXiang now has 8 and a half teeth. Tooth number 9 is coming in on the top. She is actually being a pretty good girl about it, minus the constant hand and leg biting: my hands and my legs.
She has added a whole new meaning to the term ‘ankle biter’.

On Tuesday JiXiang graduated to the next step up toothbrush.
Before her toothbrush was step one in this pack of brushes I found. Two was basically a soft chew stick with some small spikies on it. She loved it and would chew on it every night while in the bathtub. With the emergence of tooth 9 she stepped up to level two.
This brush resembles a normal brush except that instead of bristles it has very soft rubber spicks. I have been showing her how to use it by demonstrating with my toothbrush. She is getting better.
She tries to brush my teeth all the time with it as well. She thinks that it is tons of fun. I have been obliging in hopes that she continues to think brushing her teeth is fun.

JiXiang’s walking ability is almost freaky now.
She can walk ALL over the house with no trouble. She usually takes one or two toys with her as she toddles around. She is also starting to pick up speed and can toddle pretty damn fast now. At daycare she has been learning tag type games and chases her friends all over. Her and her daddy play similar games at home and she scream/squeals when they play.
I am thinking she will be running just before she turns one.

Work has been crazy busy the past few days. I have students flying all over the world who need their reports and presentations checked. I cringe when I think of the idiots who did NOT have me check.
(sigh) (sigh)

Li is starting to get really worried about job hunting. He cannot really look for a job until this one is finished, as he cannot make himself available for interviews until then. We have been talking about daycare and trying to cut down JiXiang’s daycare hours. She loves her daycare and it has done her wonders in terms of development, but it does cost us 600bucks a month. Any restaurant job Li is able to find will not let him pull in much more than a thousand. Totally sucks. If we are able to cut her hours in half, along with the price, we will be on solid, safe ground. Cannot make any moves until he finds a job though.

I am actually in a fairly content and blaa mood; not sad, not angry, not really anything right now. Just here and living.
Little tired maybe. I think this weekend Li and I are going to have to take turns sleeping in. Didn’t do that last weekend and I REALLY need a few extra shuteye minutes to reenergize.

The fastest way to piss me off right now is to not hang the towel straight after having a shower, so when I reach for it after my shower it is COLD AND WET!
Did I mention there was no central heating?

Due to no central heating, stepping out of the shower is the most painful thing I do every day. I have a heater in that area, which raises the temperature a tad, but as soon as I leave the shower room area, ICICLES!!!

Because of no central heating, breast pumping at work has become very difficult. There is no heat source of any type in our washrooms and even taking a pee is almost painful. Pumping is almost impossible. I have to undo my shirt and raise my sweater to get at my tits in order to pump, BUT because it is sooooo damn cold my tits have caved in upon themselves and are hiding in the deep recesses of my fat in order to stay warm. I am actually having troubles finding them.
The dripping milk actually feels cold before it hits the bottom of the bottle.

I slept in for five minutes this morning and had to eat my breakfast at work. For some reason I feel heavier, not lighter.
A diet would never work for me. Not that I have any plans to go on one.
Love to eat far tooooo much.

I did my Christmas photo postcards last weekend and mailed them on Monday. Those of you who are getting one should be seeing them in your mailbox this weekend sometime. Don’t forget that the numbers on the bottom back corners are actually lottery numbers and those numbers will be drawn mid January. I will post the winning numbers then and we will see if any of you have won anything.
I won a stamp last year.

I have my year end Bonenkai Work party tomorrow night. The company is paying for my taxi ride because I cannot take the bus there: have to pick up JiXiang from daycare first.
I hope it is fun. I hope there is actually enough food this year.
There tends to be more alcohol than food, but I am a breastfeeding momma and need to EAT!
Mt. U is taking a picture of this GIANT bubble that occurred on a customer’s circuit board. I am assuming that the problem is production line and not properties. He agrees with me but still has to go thought the two weeks of testing to prove it.
I had a class with two new guys this morning and blew them away because I tend to know more about their products than they do and actually corrected them when they were comparing products for an adjective class.
I love freaking them out like that.

We just bought another company in Europe. It is really very cool. I am not allowed to tell you about it but it is pretty damn interesting.

One of my students is having a meeting with a Canadian company in Shanghai as I write this. They are talking about the possibility of doing a joint venture project. Sounds cool. I told Li about this and was all:
-Do you realize that this Canadian company totally needs someone like you. They are sitting in Shanghai, talking to a company from Japan but they are based in Canada. HELLO you speak all of those languages!!
Li just looked at me and went:
-I would love to get a job where I was transferred to China or another country and using my languages. If I was working for a foreigner company but living in China we could make really good money.

It was then that I realized that even though I want to move back to Canada (I want JiXiang to have family and I would love to start riding again) I would willingly move to another country with Li if he were transferred there with a great job. It was actually quite shocking when I realized this.
MIND YOU, I would only do it if he had that damn Canadian visa in place and we could move back at any time with no damn hassles. Actually it would be even better if Li had a Canadian citizenship (he would only do it if he could do Duel-Citizenship with China). A Canadian passport would make our traveling life much better.
I mentioned it to Li and he went on a rampage about HIS government and how they have not yet allowed duel citizenship. He went into this whole business and money ranting thing for about an hour, until I told him to shut up because he was repeating himself and ‘Prison Break’ was about to start.

Yes we download ‘Prison Break’ off of the Internet as it comes out each week. We have actually canceled our Satellite subscription because neither of us can remember the last time we actually watched TV. We watch computer TV instead.

This is getting ridiculously long and I am going to stop rambling now.

This post has taken me two days to write.

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Posted by (Top)Andrea::12/14/2005 :: 5 Comments:

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Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Postpartum Euphoria

Just found this on Blogging Baby and thought you all might be interested.

You can download an ENTIRE book for free here!!

It has been made available by the author herself. She wants to know exactly what you think BEFORE she actually publishes it.

She also has a whole web site of links and other essays at Bethany Hiitola.

Postpartum Euphoria begins in what appears to be a stressful morning for Leslie Croft in corporate America. After sipping her morning brew, she does what almost any corporate employee dreams about--climbs on top her desk and shouts obscenities at the surrounding offices and teammates. What sets her off? Find out in this gritty and humorous tale of one woman's steps towards happiness.

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Posted by (Top)Andrea::12/13/2005 :: 1 Comments:

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Horoscope Future

Li has decided that based on that stupid horoscope book I bought him; he is going to pass his Japanese language test.

There are three reasons why he has decided to believe that this will happen:

Reason One:
The book said: The month of December will be a bad month for work.

This is very true. This is Li’s last month of work with no prospects as of yet for January. Plus there are many days of holiday this month so his check will be fairly small.

Reason Two:
The book said: Woman will swoon at your feet.

Well I think my husband is a pretty damn good-looking guy. He also has woman constantly eyeing him when he goes out to bars. AND at the test on Sunday there was a Chinese girl from Taiwan who was quite literally following him around. She noticed him just after he signed in and attached herself to him immediately. Considering the state of anxiety he was in over the test I am surprised he was as polite to her as he was. His words, ‘She was really annoying and a little freaky.’ She was doing the same level as him and talking to him non-stop. She made sure she was sitting next to him in the classroom and got as close as she could during the lunch break. Then she crowded next to him on the bus. It was on the bus that I destroyed her little fantasy. Yes me. (grin) I phoned Li to find out where to meet him and he answered his phone in English. She was all wide eyed and asked him why he had been speaking English.
‘I am meeting my wife at the station.’
Li said her mouth dropped and then turned into a pout. Sorry girly, he is taken.

Reason Three:

The above two reasons being fairly true he is hoping that the book telling him:

Your tests will be successful,

will come true.

He hopes.

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Posted by (Top)Andrea::12/13/2005 :: 3 Comments:

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Monday, December 12, 2005

Medal of Bravery

I am proud to say that this is one of our long time family friends, and my dad was bursting with pride when he told me about this. Because of Dennis our other long time friend is still alive today.
Dennis Louis Parker, M.B.,
Chilliwack, British Columbia
Medal of Bravery

On July 27, 2001, parole officer Dennis Parker saved his colleague from further injury at the hands of a man armed with a metal baseball bat, in Chilliwack, British Columbia. Mr. Parker was sitting in his office when he heard the woman scream and, through a window, witnessed her trying to run away from her armed assailant in a nearby parking lot. Without hesitation, Mr. Parker ran out of the building and raced to the woman's rescue. He confronted the violent aggressor who turned on him, taking two-handed swings at him with the bat, striking him twice full force before taking off. Mr. Parker sustained a broken wrist and injuries to his forearms in his efforts to protect his colleague.

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Posted by (Top)Andrea::12/12/2005 :: 2 Comments:

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Hello Pussy

Here are my pictures for my night out listening to Hello Pussy.
Please ignore my grand but feable attempts at artistic impression. I was playing with the light thingy in the photo changing thingy (how is that for technical terms) and was having fun.
Any way, enjoy the craziness called Japan.

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Saturday, December 10, 2005

Christmas Party 2005

Last night we had our Earth Family Christmas Party.
I though long and hard and it has been YEARS since I have had a Christmas. In the 2001 year I was in Canada for Christmas due to Japanese Immigration visa delays. (yes visas are my main headache in life.) I was not the happiest person around, I had left my fiancée back in Japan and all of my worldly belonging were in what I had suddenly realized I was now calling home, and I just wanted to go home.
All my Christmases after that have been pretty quiet. We had Christmas dinner at Jeans one year, and Li and I held a Chinese food style Christmas dinner for our friends for two years. Last year we did nothing at all.
But this year we actually went to a Christmas party.

It was over at Chocolate makes it better that I realized, I am sooooo excited about Christmas this year. We don’t have a tree, but that is ok, we only have us, but that is better, Li and I don’t even do Christmas presents for each other, which is actually very nice, but what we do have is:
JiXiang’s first Christmas!!!
And there will always only be one first Christmas.
I was so happy when I found out that Earth Family did a Christmas party. They had a Santa and decorations, carols and tons of food. It was almost perfect.

I made a giant pot of beef stew to take and Li made a mix platter of Chinese cold finger foods. Kim was going with Jean and Foo was coming with us. We had lots of friends and lots of food. We got all dressed up, even JiXiang, but the pigtails lasted all of maybe one minute.

We got there a little early to help decorate a bit and to let JiXiang settle in before everyone arrived.

Ji was a wonderful girl who, after settling in, walked and talked to everyone. She danced and sang and ate well. (no flu bug signs anywhere.)
Then Santa came and she didn’t cry, yaaaa!!!!
She got her present from Santa and she thought that was pretty cool.

She thought the present was even cooler.

It turned into a lovely evening only cooled off by the freezing walk home from the station to our place.

We had an early Merry Christmas.

(There are tons of pictures that I took but because most of them involve other families I am not going to post a link to them and they will be pass word protected on my picture site. Sorry.)

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Posted by (Top)Andrea::12/10/2005 :: 8 Comments:

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Friday, December 09, 2005

Ji and Daddy

originally uploaded by Andrea In Japan.
This pic is in my flickr file but I really love it so I thought I would add it here. I am making it the front page on my cell phone. hehe

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Thursday, December 08, 2005

home today

JiXiang is home sick from daycare today. She is the most active sick kid I have ever seen though.
Minus the constant puking.
It started yesterday afternoon and continued all evening. She could not keep anything down but yet seemed so happy with life. Kids are odd.
I was prepared to bring her to daycare this morning with a very soft food and liquid lunch, that was until she puked all over me and the bed at 6 this morning.
Ya I am awake now.
She is off to a doctors appointment in a few minutes, and I have decided to use this day to get ready for the Christmas Party we are going to tomorrow. Tons of pictures later I can assure you.
I am also catching up on my photos and getting my Christmas cards from the printers after Ji's doctor visit. I will get to work on those addresses as well.

So I will leave you with a few pictures from the over loaded digital file:

Here we have Ji bundled up to go on the bike to head off to school. She is wearing the adorable snowsuit that her grandma Li gave her.

And these pictures are Li's idea of a simple Thursday night dinner just the two of us.

I am not allowed to even make salad for us anymore. He says I dont do it right. According to his this is almost right, done by him of course.

Tasted damn good though.

(Update: Ji has the stomach flu and had to get an IV. DAMN but that was a huge mental stress for me. There are flickr pictures on the side. She is feeling much better but is on a liquid diet. I think she will be ok to say hello to Santa tomorrow.)

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Posted by (Top)Andrea::12/08/2005 :: 7 Comments:

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Tuesday, December 06, 2005

My husband is Chinese

I have noticed that my husband has changed a lot in terms of his views on China.

Now, a lot of people out there have a lot of bad things to say about China: its government and its people, but most of these people have never actually been to China and some of the others have an agenda.
But then some of the stories that you hear are true.

I have always tried to not enter into that political negative talk with Li in terms of China. I get very annoyed when other people attack Li and always come to his defense. I have done a lot of reading since I met him and checked out some history and research. I have also been to Shanghai and I LOVED IT!

I have always believed that you should be proud of where you come from and of who you are; Proud of your family, and proud of your heritage. If you are not proud of at least one of those than you are not proud of who you are as a person. This, to me, means disaster for you mentally. I have no right to tell my husband that his country’s government sucks. He loves his family and his country. He loves that he is Chinese and has every right to do so.

It is amazes me when we meet someone in the bar they automatically blame Li for all the supposed things that China has done. He reminds these people of what their western countries have done, but they always believe they are right because they are a democracy. This always pisses me off so much.

If there is one thing that I have learned from living in another country, it is tolerance, and a difference in cultural understanding. What we consider right in our western world is considered wrong here (e.g. the stupid NHK). I can consider it stupid and rant away about it but here it is still considered wrong. The same goes for our wrong and their right. There is the huge difference in manner tolerances that drive me batty, and basic perspectives on living arrangements. Sometimes I go on a rage (thank god for my blog) and I feel better after but it does not change our cultural differences.

Most, not all, Asian countries believe in collective thinking and working together in a whole beehive kind of way. This is one of the reasons why Japan was as successful as it was in WWII and also why they came back so strong after loosing that war. It is also why communism as been as strong as it is in China but collapsed in Russia. Our western culture is an ‘every man for themselves’ type of thinking.

When I went to China for my honeymoon that thinking drove me batty and I had a bit of a breakdown half way through the trip. The family stepped back and remembered that I was a foreigner and things went quite well after that.

When Li and I first got together he would speak very strongly in defense of his country and I loved him for it. These days Li has been listening more to other people’s opinions. The other day he stated:
-So many of my friends here in Japan who only hang with Chinese people, and my family and friends back home, have no understanding of the world around them and how other people think. They don’t understand their own country and they don’t understand Japan. I talk to people from all over the world because of being with you and I now understand my country so much better than before.

When we got the Internet in our house Li only read the Chinese news; now he reads Chinese news written in other countries.
Four years ago when I did my Japanese language test there were these people handing out Chinese newspapers so I grabbed one for Li. He threw it in the garbage all angry at it because the entire paper was news saying how evil and bad China was. Last weekend these same newspaper people were there and he took a paper. He has not thrown it away, but has been reading it in silence from cover to cover.

He still loves his country and loves being Chinese. He loves his history and wants his daughter to love it too, but nowadays he reads what others say about it and does more research on things. He has not formed an opinion and has not said the government is good or bad, but I have noticed him shaking his head more often and getting a little pissed off more often when reading the news.

He is not going to turn into some activist to over throw the government, but understanding is the first step to change.

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Posted by (Top)Andrea::12/06/2005 :: 9 Comments:

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Hot Carpets

Jonathan had a question.
What is a hot carpet?
First: no, you do not need a license for one. Damn but that made me giggle.

A hot carpet is a rug that actually plugs into the wall. It is basically exactly the same as those electric blankets that you buy except in rug form.
Here is a picture.

You place this on your floor and then put another thin carpet over top for protection and beauty. These top covers come in tons of different colours and designs.

Here is one that is designed to look like your wood floor and is not a carpet type.

The carpets I showed you above reach a temperature of 35 to 45 degrees C. They have a 520/260W power thingy on them. They are VERY comfy but can be very expensive. They range in price from 70bucks for a small size set to a few hundred dollars for a large size set.

We have a fairly large one that covers most of our tatami room floor. It was a little expensive but it is very cozy. We turn it on when JiXiang is playing in there. If I am teaching an English class I turn it on and close the doors to the room. The carpet actually heats up that small room, as there is no other heating device in there.

We also put a smaller one on our bed.
We sleep on about 5 futons piled on the floor (hate sleeping on the floor) and then put this other hot carpet over top of the futons. We have it so it covers the bottom two thirds of the bed; our head area is left free. The top carpet that we bought is this wonderful soft fuzzy felt stuff. We put a sheet over top of this for a little more of a barrier but we turn it on to low in this cold season and it is sooooooo cooosssyyyy when you crawl into bed. JiXiang has a small hot blanket that acts in the same way. We don’t cover her with it; it is only for warming the bottom of her bed.
We are all cozy warm at night.

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Posted by (Top)Andrea::12/06/2005 :: 2 Comments:

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Monday, December 05, 2005

Blackouts and NHK bitchiness

I am in a bit of a bitchy mood right now.

That is the rent on my apartment, and yet I can not turn on the aircon(or any other heating device), the hot carpet, and the computer at the same time and then have a desire to listen to some music.


It happened TWICE last night. Once when I turned on the stereo and again when I turned on the blow dryer. I actually have to choose between heat and turning on the fan to cook dinner. AUGH!!!
Stupid Japanese houses.

The NHK guy came to the door asking for money. I had just had a screaming fit about the shitty electrical source in our apartment; I was not about to deal with this guy in any civil way.
Li tried.
NHK is the Japanese equivalent of CBC or BBC. Sort of.
It is a TV station that sends out a signal that anyone can get anywhere in Japan. They try (note the word try. Not) to be neutral (haha) so do not have commercials. Instead they advertise their own shows. These shows tend to be a large variety of ‘variety shows’ and talk shows. Some people like them; I personally don’t.
They got caught in quite a scandal a few years ago and made a lot of people very angry.

Now unlike CBC and BBC, we have to pay for this TV station. Thing is, I never watch it.
Our apartment has a special little cable plug that you attach your TV to. Ours is not attached. We have satellite. Our satellite gives us English and Chinese; NHK nada.

NHK offers about 3 or 4 English evening movies a week. They can be heard in English if your TV or VCR has a language changing thingy on it. These movies are usually fairly old. They also offer the News translated to English (the changy thingy again) but the translations SUCK and they only offer it for 30 minutes and the last I heard the English news was from 5:30 to 6:00. HELLO!! Who is home at that time? Not me. I am only just struggling with the door key and a kid in the same hand just before 6.

The money amount for this is somewhere around 50 odd bucks for three months. (I don’t know exactly). Not a huge amount but I am not paying for something I don’t use.

When the NHK guy came around last year I told him, in very bad Japanese, we have satellite in English and Chinese, we never watch NHK so I am not paying. He accepted my answer. I think he was more terrified of me. Who cares; it worked.

I remember Janet telling the guy a few years ago, that she would only pay for 10% of the fee because only 10% on the channel was in English (news, movie and the odd English learning). The guy left with no money.

Well Li talked to the guy, with me wrapping my head around the corner every once and a while yelling out:
I am NOT paying!!

Li explained to him that we don’t watch NHK and if they want to check our TV he can see that it is not even hooked up. The guy actually told him:
-It is now Japanese law: If you have a TV you must pay for NHK.

Li just did the hooded eyes look at him:
-We don’t watch NHK, my wife does not understand Japanese, and if the government wants us to pay for it they can take the money out of our taxes.

The guy didn’t quite know how to answer that and told Li that someone else was going to come by to talk to us.

Li’s theory is:
NHK is an equivalent of the mafia; they provide a service whether you ask for it or not, and then make you pay for it.

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Posted by (Top)Andrea::12/05/2005 :: 19 Comments:

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For Aunty Z


JiXiang cannot wait to meet her Aunty Z.
All the best to you.
Hugs from the three of us.

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Posted by (Top)Andrea::12/05/2005 :: 2 Comments:

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Sunday, December 04, 2005

Now let me tell you about Sunday

(My Saturday is posted below.)

This Sunday was a very busy but great day.

(I just sprinted to the tea machine and encountered six people laughing and giggling away while constantly bending down and looking at this seemingly blaa piece of copper foil sheet. They kept laughing and going ‘I don’t know why’. I am feeling lost as I totally do not understand what they are laughing at. I might be able to answer this later. Hmm - Chemical engineer humour I am suspecting.)

The day started very early with Li getting up to go to his Japanese test.
I am only mildly touching his true feelings when I say:
He was F***ing nervous!
He really wanted to pass this test but this test was HARD. Medea did level one yesterday, I hope she survived.

I woke up at the same time to quickly take advantage of him being in the house so that I could take a shower with out Ji banging on the shower door (literally).

Then he was off, beautifully dressed, an orange in his stomach, the worst sort of butterflies ticking his throat and a cold to top it all off.

I went on a whirlwind cleaning spree and the house was almost (not quite) shinning after. Ji has become fascinated with the vacuum cleaner. She likes to hold it and push it. She also likes to climb on top of it. I think she might be ready for one of those little tiny tractor things soon what she has to push with her feet. She has to master her walking a bit better first (which is getting VERY good).

Li phoned at 10:30ish very happy. His first part of the test was not anywhere near as hard as he expected and he felt really good about it. He thinks he did really well on that section except for the last question where he filled in the wrong box.

I then strapped Ji into her back carrier thingy and jumped on my bike to go food shopping. I was really hoping that she would fall asleep in the carrier while shopping but no, wide eyes and giggly the whole time.

We had lunch and then Ji and I bundled up again and headed to Shizuoka. I had to buy a book for an English class and then I was going to meet up with Li.
I got my book and then met Li at the station. He decided that he did not want to go shopping; he really just wanted to go home.

There were foreigners EVERYWHERE. According to Li there were tons of people at the test and in the morning the station was so full of foreigners the Japanese population actually appeared to be the minority. Must have really confused a few folks. Hehe

Between riding the train, eating a simple dinner at a restaurant, buying eggs at the supermarket (I forgot to before) and getting home I lost count of how many times Li complained about how hard the test was, how he is praying that he passed, and how tired his brain felt. If he wasn’t complaining to me he was complaining to Ji.

I guess the first section that felt simple was just a teaser and the rest of the test was freaky hard. He did feel some gratification in the fact that he did finish all the parts in the short time allowed. He could clearly see others quickly filling in the answer sheets with no regard to the questions near the end.
He must have said a million times:
-I really do not ever want to do that test again. I really, really hope I passed.

I let him complain and kept my mouth shut.
I was taking off for a party and leaving him at home so decided to allow him to complain all he wanted.


Last night was officially my second night out with out JiXiang.
(I actually felt a little guilty.)
My friend Jean and I left the daddies with the babies and we headed out to Shizuoka to watch our friends’ band play.
We had a great time.
We arrived just as the first song was starting and I quickly grabbed my video camera and put it into action. I got all of the first set and about half of the second set on tape. I have a gazillion pictures to put on my pictures site but right now I can only give you the few flickr pictures I took.

Trust me the rest of the pics will be posted, as many people want to see them. The video will then be forwarded to Abby who wants to put it onto DVD.

The bands name is Hello Pussy.
Read all you want into the name, it is all correct. It is actually based off of the animation character, Hello Kitty, which Kelly hates and loves to deface.
The members are:
Abby – my bud from Eastern Canada who plays organ, banjo and bass AND she sings. She also writes music and makes me laugh. She is leaving this country in a few weeks and moving to New Zealand with………

Kelly – my truly great Kiwi friend whom I love to bits. He is the main bass player and can scream a couple of crazy songs that I honestly don’t know. He is leaving for his motherland in January and I am sniffing as I write. (sigh)

Dan – the truly great English/Irish man, and the best bud around. Since he moved farther up the cost I haven’t been able to see him much and miss him terribly. We are going to try to get together this Christmas holidays. He is the guitar player and rocks with the best. He used to bring his guitar to his little kids English classes and the children loved him.

Will – I met him through the above three. He is the drummer and a great guy. Unfortunately he does not live very close either but I enjoy him to bits whenever I am around him. I need to make a bit more contact with him so I do not loose touch with him. He is a fellow Canadian and a great guy to know. He is also sticking around for a little while longer and I am running low of friends. (sigh)

Other than the band I knew about 4 other people in the audience but I still had a wonderful time.
Jean went crazy dancing and Janet, you would have pissed yourself laughing to watch her. It was like some explosion went off and Jean became a member of the Foot Loose cast. Jean I love you and have some incriminating evidence to show you later. Hahaha.

We stayed out a little later than we had planned but enjoyed ourselves immensely.
I will post pictures in a day or two as proof of the great time that we had.

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Posted by (Top)Andrea::12/04/2005 :: 6 Comments:

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