Tuesday, January 31, 2006

A First Birthday Cake

Today's blessing:
It's my little girls first birthday!!!

The Dinner Feast.

The First Birthday Candle.

The First Bite.

Playing With Her First Cake.

Mushing It All Around.

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Monday, January 30, 2006

Today is my daughter's birthday

My little girl is one.
Today one.
What happened?
Where is my baby?

It really does freak me out a bit. Somehow, by some miracle, Li and I have gotten this little tiny baby to thrive, and grow, and survive to see her first birthday. Somehow we have done this on our own, with almost zero family help, and it shocks me, and amazes me but also makes me so damn proud of us.

When I look back on things, we were blessed with a very easygoing kid who was determined to grow faster than we were capable of reading about. I would research life with a four month old but she was acting like a six month old. So I would research life with a six month old but she would say, yipeeee and start acting like a ten month old. When I look at other ladies and their babies being babies, a part of me is a little jealous. Doesn’t last too long though, because when I look at my baby I am so damn proud.

My school teaching friends stopped calling her a baby when she reached seven months and was running around the table using only one hand for balancing. From that point on she was considered a little girl and Baby Ji decided she didn’t want to be a baby anymore. Her independence streak exploded out of her and for a little while Li and I were a little over whelmed.

We learned how to cope and have basically stopped allowing ourselves to adjust to her ways because once we do she grows to the next level and we have to adjust all over again.

In the past year Ji has learned to ride in a bicycle seat, made a million friends at daycare, has gone camping, ridden on the Shinkansen all the way to Tokyo, been up Tokyo tower, been to the bird park, petted a bird, watched fireworks, dressed in a yukata, been to numerous BBQs, started walking, started running, gone tobogganing, and had her photo taken about a million times.

Her next year is going to be even more adventurous.

In the past year her parents have second guessed themselves an few billion times, spent many sleepless nights worrying about the latest sniffle, witnessed her first independent standing, her first steps, heard her first words, cleaned up blood from her first cut lip, cried more times than can be counted and laughed many many more.

Thinking about the next year is freaking us out.

This last week I have had to let go just that little bit more of my baby and finally decided to allow her to join in her daycare’s lunch program. They provide the lunch and I of course pay for it. It costs a little bit more than if I provide a lunch for her, but it exposes her to a much wider range of foods. I will admit that my lunches for her were a tad boring.
To my surprise it was a huge personal decision for me, it was one more thing that I was relinquishing control of over my little girl and it took me a bloody month to say yes.

A WHOLE MONTH to say YES to lunch.

I had even gone so far as to ask other peoples opinions on the issue; all reminded me that it was really ok, safe, yummy and one less thing for me to worry about.

Only problem is that I did worry about it.

She has done a week of daycare lunches now. The first time she was in shock and had no idea what to do with this odd food, after that she inhaled everything and thinks daycare lunches are pretty cool.

This morning she woke up and toddled into the kitchen to get her morning hug. I gave her a wet cloth bath and changed her into her day clothes. She watched Baby Einstein and clapped along in all the right parts, totally oblivious that today was her birthday. We have had numerous phone calls and emails wishing her a happy birthday, as well as a few presents and lots of love.

Tonight we are going to do a family dinner, I am going to pick up a little cake, light her first candle and take a zillion pictures.
So stay tuned for tons of pics to come.

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Sunday, January 29, 2006

Medium-term memory

I am sitting at work and hacking up a lung.
I really should be at home and doing it but I didn’t want to stay home today.
How is that for totally weird? Hehe lol
Today is a Ji and Daddy day so I don’t really want to intrude. They have such little time together during the week. I am going to cancel my English class tonight. I am pretty sure I wont have any voice left by then either.
That and it is Chinese New Year. Tonight we must feast.
I have to phone Li and remind him of that. Hehe

So the other day my blessing was that my kid hadn’t cracked her noggin open when she fell out of her high chair. She also looked like she had learned her lesson.
Well here is an update on her ability to remember.
  • On Saturday afternoon she fell off.

  • On Saturday evening she sat like a prefect little girl and ate like a princess.

  • On Sunday morning she was pretty good and sat perfect for much longer that she ever did before. She did go into a kneeling position but I was willing to accept that. I am the first to admit that no child can sit still for a long time, but I will get pissy at standing.

  • On Sunday afternoon she was great for most of her eating time and then near the end she sat on the arm of the chair again. I reached over and lifted her leg forcing her to tilt back slightly and she quickly sat down again with this sheepish grin on her face.

  • I had to do the leg lift a few times that night as well. Basically she is sitting very good, definitely much better that before, but as she nears the end of her eating schedule she starts to want to stand. She is usually getting her fruit dessert (she is in love with mandarin oranges at the moment), and she can eat that standing on the floor rather than in the chair. I have to just make a few compromises in her schedule and together we can last with out fighting. I hope.

We will see.
Tomorrow my little girl turns one and I am having a few personal freak-outs and realizations about this.

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Saturday, January 28, 2006

Woof, woof woooooouuf, grr woof bark woof


Welcoming in the year of the dog.

Li was on the phone with family at two this morning. I have to go and recharge the calling card as he has a million more calls to make when he wakes up.

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Winning Numbers for New Years Cards

If you received a New Years Postcard from me dig it out and check the numbers on the bottom right hand corner with these winning numbers. If you have won send the card back to me and we will collect the prize for you. If you have won fourth prize don’t both.


First Prizes
  • Hawaii Tour

  • Domestic Travel

  • Notebook Personal Computer

  • Digital Video Camera and Printer Set

  • DVD Recorder and Home Theater Set
(Choice of one prize from the above)
WINNING NUMBERS: 706592 / 284148

Second Prizes
  • Digital Camera

  • Choice Gift

  • Digital Audio Player

  • Radio Controlled Solar Watch

  • Induction Heating Rice Cooker
( Choice of one prize from the above)
WINNING NUMBERS: Last 5 digits 82201 / Last 5 digits 74490

Third Prizes
  • Specialty Parcel of Region
WINNING NUMBERS: Last 4 digits 6226 / Last 4 digits 5657

Fourth Prizes
  • Lottery stamp sheet(50yen?80yen)
WINNING NUMBERS: Last 2 digits 07 / Last 2 digits 51

Period of exchange: January 16-July 18, 2006The winning quantities are calculated from the numbers of New Year’s Lottery Postcards(4,085million) and Stamps(23.2million) issued.

I have been having a few problems adding my updates lately. My Internet provider totally sucks (Tokai grr) and is constantly freezing during peak evening hours. I don’t want to go through the huge hassles of switching though because it is not for too much longer.

Today’s blessing:
Little Ji and I have been having a continuous fight for many months now about table manners.
Ji loves to stand in her high chair and I really don’t like it.
The chair does not come with a belt so I devised one that she considers equivalent to hand cuffs and out screams my patience threshold. She has also figured out how to wiggle her ass out of it. She enjoys sitting on the arm of the chair and freaking me out.
I have done the screaming, the pleading, the forcibly sitting her down and lately the quiet patient please.
Nothing is working.
She has even started doing this cocky I am so bloody cool sitting style. I finally came to the conclusion that I can continue all of my antics but in reality the kid needs to scare the shit out of her self.
Well today she did. Once again she sat on the arm (she does it with me right there pulling her arm to bloody sit down, grr) and started her I am so damn cool routine.
She FELL!!
Thankfully I have been waiting for this to happen and I grabbed her foot as she went over. Her head never touched the ground and she dangled for a second. I quickly hugged her then made her walk as I was a tad worried about her leg that I had grabbed. She proceeded to run at me screaming, so the legs and hips are totally fine. She had a pretty good heart attack and spent the next couple of hours curled up on my legs. When she had dinner tonight she did not make any attempts to stand or sit on that arm.
SOOO Today’s blessing is that my kid didn’t crack her bloody noggin open when she fell, and there is a possibility that she learned her lesson. We will find out tomorrow.

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Friday, January 27, 2006

And now back to our regular programing

I got my nails done this morning and Ji had her nap through it: made the process much simpler, and my nails look all snazzy again.

Then Ji and I headed out to the post office and mailed Li’s passport. I had totally forgotten about the EMS service here in Japan. It is very reliable, safe, fast and cheap.
It is also basically the same as a normal courier service. I will admit that I lied a smidge, still a tad afraid, but I added a large amount of insurance so I hope all is ok.

I won’t really rest until we get it back though.

Ji and I have spent the rest of the day puttering around doing mostly nothing. When she crashes tonight I will do a bit more packing. I am trying to do just a little bit of packing every weekend so that it does not overwhelm me and freak me out.

Well this was a boring post.

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Thursday, January 26, 2006

Giving my head a shake

Once again I have more reasons to dislike Harper.
I have started getting the standard emails from family members who don’t believe me, or refuse to read that which is in front of them.

What amazes me more is there are so many out there who actually believe that because I am over here in Japan I am not allowed to speak up about my countries politics: that I am too far away to understand.
Well sorry dudes and dudettes, I read the same papers and if anything it looks like I read much more than you. I researched and I investigated just as much if not more than you. When this election started I had no opinion of Harper or his party. I went with an open mind into it reading and listening to all sides and all voices.
I came out loathing Harper and everything he stands for. He created my feelings for him with every word he said, his hidden agendas, his stance on social issues I consider to be extremely important and his religious right thinking.

I am sure that those who are Harper believers will not read the links that I am providing but I will put them on anyway. Read what others have to say and read the links that are provided in them. They are written in very much the same papers that you swear by but conveniently overlook. Look at both sides of the story: read outside of the box.

This post is not directed at one person but at many far too close to me who have suddenly begun judging me because of my opinion.

Links I dare those who judge me to read:

Harper failed to meet ethics czar on Grewal
The worst PM ever
God Bless Canada
Others thoughts on our soon to be PM
Thoughts right after the election
Here is a forum of thought before the election

And then there are the actual statistics:
Points to ponder for NDP supporters...Number of seats won by Conservatives where the candidate's total number of votes is fewer than the ballots cast for the Liberal and NDP candidates combined:
BC: 6
Alberta: 2
Manitoba/Sask: 7
Ontario: 22
Atlantic Canada: 6
Total: 43

Election results without vote-splitting:
Lib/NDP: 175 (majority)
Conservative: 81
Bloc: 51
Ind: 1

If you still think I need to “give my head a shake” then read some of this provided by CBC: give yourself a little Reality Check.

On a negative note I woke up this morning barely able to speak due to the cold setting in, but I felt quite good.
Today's blessing:
- I had two canceled classes which was wonderful as I can barely talk.
- With the help of the Tokyo Embassy finally contacting me and two wonderful students I think I may have solved my courier problem.
Update on that tomorrow.

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I am sort of awake

An early morning blessing:

Ji actually slept fairly well last night. I wouldn’t say perfect but I am willing to take what I can get right now. lol

Cold has set in but not as bad as it could have been.

Still haven’t found a courier yet so I think we are going to have to go with the lying idea, which is freaking Li out much more than me.

I’ll keep you all posted.

On another note:
Granny is going through a bit of a worry time with her husband in the hospital and they don’t know what the trouble is. They could use all the love and support you can give.

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Life is sucking just a bit right now. I have a whole string of reasons.

  1. Li tried to send his passport by DHL and was a moron and told the guy it was a passport. They refused to send it for us!! Now I am searching for another bloody way and am going a little crazy doing it.

  2. It turns out that courier companies will not ship passport so I am at a total loss. I have contacted tons of companies, all with the same answer, and am now very impatiently awaiting return emails from the Tokyo Embassy as to what the hell to do.

  3. As a last resort I am going to send it by courier but bloody lie. And I hate doing that!!

  4. Ji is still not sleeping in the middle of the night. I have no idea why. She is not waking up crying, which I can actually deal with better. Instead she is waking up as if she has slept the entire night away, totally oblivious to the fact that it is only 2 in the morning!! It has been taking us almost two hours each time to get her back to sleep.

  5. This has been going on for a week now and I am dying.

  6. Last night she woke up at 1 and did not sleep until 5. AUGH!! Both of us were trying and nothing was working.

  7. Reason number four is killing me much faster than slowly. I am so tired and I feel another cold coming on MUCH stronger than the last one. I am sure that there is no turning this one back.

  8. One of the guys in my office came up to me at THREE o’clock and told me that one of my family members had called at ONE o’clock. As to why no one transferred the call to my classroom, I have no idea, AND my bloody cell phone had lost power. I of course had no charger with me AND, because I am an idiot, I have no damn telephone numbers!!!!! Then to top it off the guy who originally took the call is not in the office so I didn’t even know what family member called OR if it was my daughter’s day care!!! I am assuming that if it were the day care they would call back. Grrr.

  9. Turned out to be Li having troubles with the courier we had called, still….

  10. I feel a fever setting in.

  11. I need to fix the telephone problem of number eight when I get home and do a damn mini telephone book. GRRRR….

  12. I am cold! Why oh why is there no central heating!!!!

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Tuesday, January 24, 2006

A stupid moment

I have added a new person to my blog roll.

Dongurigal is a lady I met in this foreign wives forum that I am a part of. She is a Canadian who went with her hubby to Kuwait but is now residing in France. She has only had her blog going for a month now and has done an excellent start.


So I have been trying to write this post for a while but it has taken me a few days to finally get around to it.

  1. Soprano’s hehehe

  2. Work

  3. Totally embarrassed.


On Saturday Li went to work in the afternoon as usual. Everything was normal and blaa. It was a cold day so Ji and I did very little. We played a but and I blog surfed some more, but basically we just stayed inside and tried to stay warm.
We had our bath and went to bed. I went to bed a little earlier than normal as I was mentally quite exhausted with all my brain churning due to the Embassy letter arriving.

Fast forward a few hours….

It is 5:30 AM and the phone rings.
It is mom.
Six years in Japan and she still hasn’t been able to figure out the time difference.

No problems, all is ok. Her room mate is just a little slow and mom got the message that I had called her a day late.

I slid out of bed and basically stumbled to the phone in the living room. Our portable is hooked up in the bedroom but Ji stuck a banana in the charger holder and I have not been able to get it clean enough to charge the phone properly yet.

I grabbed my cell phone off the bedside table and walked to the phone. I think that I thought my cell was ringing. I know that I thought the alarm clock had gone off.

I was still asleep.
I answered the phone with a big fat tongue and slurred speech.

Mom started gushing about how happy she was that things have finally come to a close with the embassy garbage and I suddenly clicked in as to what time it was. I started looking around the living room and noticing that it was very empty.
Where is my husband?
Mom is still talking but I am on the cell phone trying to get a hold of Li.
No answer.
I am now officially worried.

He is usually home around 2:30 and plays on the computer for a while before crawling into bed. His job is a little over an hour away so my brain of course starts churning out all of the worst scenarios that you can imagine.
When it comes to my family and possible accidents, my brain is WAY over active.

I tell mom that I am starting to have heart palpations because my husband is not answering the phone and I hang up on her.
Just then Ji made a small sound in her sleep (she talks in her sleep) so I quickly went in to check on her, but stopped dead when I got to the bedroom door.

There, curled up, sound asleep, in his usual position directly beside mine, was my husband.
I never even noticed.
I am a moron.
It was then and only then, that I suddenly remembered being woken up by Ji at 1 in the morning. She ate but then refused to go to sleep again. She sat there smacking me in the face to keep me awake and babbled non-stop. To my joy she said ‘papa’ twice. I had to really giggle the one time because she clearly said:
-Papa wa?
Her first question and her first article! YA!!
Li got home at 2 in the morning and Ji bounced up to him. He took her and I passed out until the phone rang.

I felt pretty stupid let me tell ya.

Today's blessing:
Well I am still pretty miffed about the election outcome but....

- Dinner was cooking when I came home.
- Li got his special immigration photos done without too much hassel, so the passpot can be sent out tomorrow.

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Monday, January 23, 2006


AUGH!! DAMN !! #$(%#")$'#$)'&#$'&#&$
Bloody HELL!!!

This is NOT the Canada I wish to return to!!!!

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hehehe OOppss!

I totally forgot to update my post last night!
Hehehe I was watching Soprano’s.
So I guess that:

Yesterday’s blessing:
  • I found a new TV show that I am enjoying. It is a great mindless and relaxing way to spend the evening.

Question? Is this show still running?

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Sunday, January 22, 2006

The Soprano's

Thank you to everyone for leaving their comment below about their vacation destinations. If you haven’t left one yet, please do. It has been most interesting reading everyone’s vacation places. As Turtle found out, he really has been somewhere!!
I found it quite fascinating how much we have all traveled.

‘It’s a small world after allll
It’s a small world after allll
It’s a small world after allll
It’s a small small worlddddddd…’

Ok now that everyone is going to kill me for implanting that hugely annoying tune in their heads I am now going to talk about the Soprano’s.

After reading Granny’s ohh soooo true post about how pathetic some of us have become due to our addiction to our computers, (sigh), Li woke up a little earlier on Sunday and took over baby patrol so that I could take a vacation at the local supermarket (stole that from L’s comment below, giggle)

I bought myself a few of those special vacuum-sucking-space-saver bags and did a bit of packing in the afternoon. The only way I was going to even slightly accomplish any packing was by turning on a movie or show that is connected to the computer. I am truly pathetic. (sigh, sigh)

Well our dear friend Kelly had told Li all about the Soprano’s, so Li went and down loaded a few seasons. I have never seen it and as far as I am aware it is not on Japanese TV. It might be now, but I canceled our satellite subscription due to our ridiculous addiction to the damn computer.
It is highly possible that they are on season ten, but I started right from the very beginning - season one.

I got a ton of packing done and was even more amazed with the special vacuum-sucking-space-saver bags than ever before. Ji helped me out a ton. She thinks the vacuum is the coolest thing around. She also helped me take all of the clothes out of their storage boxes (not in any particular order of course) and did some great impersonations of driving a car while sitting in the box. She also did her share of jumping up and down on the bags to get all of the air out and squashing them as much as possible.

I was truly amazed at how much I packed but how little space I used and I also threw away a large bag of cant-remember-when-we-last-wore-it clothing. As well as some old blankets that I still had, for some strange reason.
I am a pack rat. (sigh)

I think I was now onto episode 6 of season one (I only made it to episode 7) when the family is having to deal with the possibility that their son has ADD.

This peaked my interest in the show: I really wanted to know how they handled this.

I have had a bit of experience with other people who have been diagnosed with ADD: some I believe the diagnosis to be true, others I honestly think was just a cope out to not dealing with the real problems at hand.

Recently Blogging Baby dealt with the issue of ADD and Recess time at school: I enjoyed the read and the comments. I also totally agree.

I admit not having first hand experience with ADD, but I know that even though I may be a girl, I was one very active girl as a child. I was having many problems in my first elementary school: fights in the school ground, poor grades, math sucked more that I could possibly emphasis, and not getting along with the teachers.
My parents finally went ape shit and got me transferred to a different school. They later transferred my brother there as well. My sister fortunately never had to deal with them.

This school had a much better sports attitude and seemed to reward active kids more. Lunchtime and recess running laps were rewarded with little stars, and prizes were given to the kids with the most stars. I will admit that I came home with a few running prizes.

Can’t get me to run now unless there is a disaster about to happen. Walking is my preferred speed of choice.

I was a happier kid all around, my grades improved, my self-esteem improved, and I entered Middle school with a considerably better attitude on life.

After watching Soprano’s yesterday I would just like to say that their handling of their kid was, in my opinion, brilliant. I don’t get to say that about many TV shows. Most idealize everything. I think the father had it down perfect:

Fiddling? What constitutes a fiddle!!
Pushing the rules? He is 13!!!
Attention wavers? He is a 13-year-old boy with a hard-on ever 5 minutes!!

Ya, I think that just about summed things right up.

I am not saying that there are not people out there with ADD, because it is an unfortunate truth: I do worry that too many people jump the gun with ADD diagnosis and not work on life style changes first.

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Friday, January 20, 2006

Tagging all my readers!

Today I headed out this morning with my friend Jean and our little ones and attended an Earth Family meeting. We needed to discuss a plan of events for the next few months. We also had a potential new family joining: I hope she decides to join, she seemed really nice.

The weather sucks right now and it is really cold, so Ji and I are not going to do anything eventful in any way today, just try to stay warm.

But in my daily reading of blogs I noticed that I was tagged again by The Babe in Kyushu, but this one I have not done.


1. Four jobs you have had in your life:
Horse-back riding instructor (for many years)
The coat check girl in a nightclub
Hospitality Hostess and programs organizer for all the children at SunnySide Campground
All around everything worker at Techni-Gro Greenhouses

2. Four movies you could watch over and over:
Monsters Inc.
Lady Hawk
Anything Jackie Chang

3. Four places you have lived:
Vernon (Canada)
Langley (Canada)
Chilliwack (Canada)
Fujieda (Japan)

4. Four TV shows you love to watch:
CSI Las Vegas
Murder She Wrote
Ummmm Now in Japan so everything is really old!

5. Four places you've been on vacation:
New York

6. Four websites you visit daily:
NEWS sites, all of them
All of the links on my side bar

7. Four of your favorite foods:
Blueberry jelly
Anything my husband cooks

8. Four places you'd rather be right now:
Under my kotatsu but I can turn it on. I am cold.
Shopping for packing containers, but it is raining.
On a beach in Tahiti, or somewhere warm.
Exploring Rome.

This is an official de-lurkering tag.
I have decided that everyone is tagged. Hehe

Especially the many people who read this but never leave comments.
It is time to share people.

BUT I would only like you to answer one tag question in the comment box below:

Four places you have been on vacation?

Related posts:

Tagged By L /
My Past / Seven Things / I Remember / Weird Habits

Sorry this is late but my Internet provider sucks and kept freezing last night.

Today’s blessings:
-Ji as realized that when I hold her, I am more willing to hold her even longer if she actually grips with her legs and holds with arms. My back considers this a big blessing: she is getting very heavy.

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Posted by (Top)Andrea::1/20/2006 :: 35 Comments:

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UPDATE: Today's Blessing!!!!!!!


Oh my god people!!!
The letter came! THE LETTER!!!

The official request for Li’s passport came!

It is over, really truly over. We are finished!

We are heading back to CANADA!!!!

I have so much to do, I am so freaking out, I am so happy this is done,

I think I just floated off of my seat.

((( Imagine the biggest grin possible )))

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Thursday, January 19, 2006

AnpaMan syrup

The last week Ji has been almost evil with her sleeping routine. She has been demanding that she be brought to bed around eight thirty-ish and passes out. Then she goes and wakes up at 2am wanting some milk and then proceeds to be the happiest most active ANNOYING child until 4 in the morning. AUGH! Then I have to wake up at six thirty-ish to get ready for work. I then need to practically drag Ji out of bed an hour later to get her ready for daycare.

She actually wonders why she is tired and bitches to me on the sofa while I am getting her clothes on.

I am blaming it on a mix of molar teething, a slight cold and a growth spurt.

I am desperately searching for excuses so that I don’t wring my kid’s neck at three in the morning when I don’t think I can take it any longer.

Yesterday I decided that the sniffles had a lot to do with it because of the major hanamizu stuffed in her nose. (I love that word, hanamizu. It means ‘nose water’ and is a much nicer sounding word than, ‘snot’.) I bombarded my child-raising friends at work asking for an over the counter cough medicine. There was no reason to take my kid to the doctors and load her up on major antibiotics when all she had was a stuffed nose.

I was a little surprised at how many of my friends couldn’t help me because they took their kids to the doctor every time there was a slight cough. I cannot imagine ever doing this: besides the extreme waste of time, it is also expensive for me and the medical system.
Thankfully Mr. K came to my rescue and told me about a syrup that he used on his kids and was safe for 0 – 3 years old. He wrote it out on a piece of paper for me and after work I headed to the nearest drug store.

The nearest drug store is HAC Drugs and is sort-of-kind-of on my way home. A friend of a friend whom I am very friendly with works there. (That was a confusing sentence) She also speaks English very well. I was not expecting her to be there as she too has a kid that she has to get home too.
To my joy she was.
She helped me pick out syrup for Ji. Not the same one as Mr. K wrote for me but a very similar one with an AnpaMan picture on it and she said the strawberry flavour was a little better: her kid liked it better. I went for the flavour favourite.

Well it seems to be working a bit, and the best part is it made her sleep: sort of.

Ji loved the taste and got some as soon as we walked in the door last night. I gave her some more before going to bed. She slept until 2, ate and fell asleep while eating. Wohoo! She then slept straight until 5 this morning when she woke up full of energy ready to attack the day.
Li got her to sleep around seven when I went to have my shower and I once again had to drag her ass out of bed.
She did sleep better though and had almost no cough this morning.

All of this is not too eventful and in reality with this schedule I should have had a better sleep and should not be complaining.

The key words here are ‘should have’.

I am VERY tired today because Li got home at two-thirty in the morning and deliberately woke me up so that he could model his new down jacket that he had bought.


Only problem is that it was one hell of a nice jacket and I made myself get out of bed and check it out. I put it on and decided that he had to find me one too.
35 BUCK!!!
That is how much it cost! WAHOO!!!
I love New Years sales.

Li is going to check out the store before he heads to work this afternoon to see if there are any left.
I hope so: it is a really nice jacket.

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Posted by (Top)Andrea::1/19/2006 :: 8 Comments:

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Wednesday, January 18, 2006

My Kitchen

I have been surfing around the blogesphere the last little bit (canceled class).
I have been trying to decide what to do with my blog when I return to Canada: new country, new home, new life, new stories,

New blog?

I don’t want to loose this one though.
I would like to keep it all in tack. I am not sure how to do that. Have to do some more searching. I could also just keep things as is and continue the life of this one.

Then deeizak went and got her own domain name AND THAT IS SOOO COOL! Only problem is that I am totally template inept, yes granny I really am. I need the template already in place before I start to do things. I cannot even imagine creating one from zero.
There are other Blogging engines out there but I don’t like the idea of paying. Maybe I will just stay with blogger.
Just thinking.
Don’t need to do anything about it right now.
Any way, in my surfing travels I noticed a few amusing posts about ones kitchen and fridge.

Ahh kitchens.

I love to design dream houses on scrap paper: I should consider taking some remodeling and interior design courses. Every time I draw the kitchen in this dream house it is HUGE, usually bigger than the living room, with a giant table, an island with bar stool chairs for the counter. Everything is laid out in a wonderful circle and all made of honey oak.

In Japan my kitchen is smaller than my father upstairs bathroom and lacking in any type of counter space anywhere.

Li and I have been able to develop a system that has worked but it is impossible and borderline dangerous to have more than one person in there at the same time.
More excuses for me to not help when Li is cooking dinner. ;-)

In Canada I became accustomed to rented apartments ALWAYS containing certain key things in the kitchen: a fridge, a sink, a stove, basic cupboards, and a little bit of counter space.

In Japan, when you rent an apartment, you get: a sink, one maybe two cupboards, and basically no counter space.
No fridge.
No stove.

This shocked me when I first came.
I took over my first apartment from the previous teacher, Heather, and she left me with a single burner gas range and a half sized apartment fridge about 3 feet high. It took me a bit to get used to it. Needless to say I shopped little and often and did very simple cooking.

I decided I couldn’t handle the burner any more and Kelly Boy helped me get one of the common double burner ones with the tiny weenie grill pan in the middle.

Then about a year before we moved into our larger apartment we bought a second hand fridge off of another teacher who was leaving. It is not huge but compared to the old one it is enormous! It is still shorter than me but at least I can fit the drinks in there and only have to go food shopping twice a week instead of six. It also is perfect height to hold our microwave, which didn’t fit anywhere else. We also had to buy a cabinet to hold all our plates and cups.

The cupboards provided in the apartment are only good for the garbage can and the pots and pans. The cupboard above the sink holds all of our really nice dinner-wear and I cannot reach it without standing on a chair. Totally useless. All of the towel holders and what not were also bought by us.

I bought myself a table on rollers that could act as a counter top but also hold things. This has now become the only counter space we have for cooking. Ji has also become very good at removing the water and tea when we have the bottles piled on it. The kid is getting very strong.

I also bought another table thing that has a power bar in it so works great for the rice cooker and the toaster oven when we need it. I used to have all of my spices on the second shelf but when Ji became mobile that started to not work very well. They have been moved.
(By the way, the painting is something I did when I was about 14.)

Basically all of our stuff in jam-packed together in a mish mash of non-matching furniture bought as cheap as possible.
The huge problem here is that I have to get rid of all of it when we move.

So that is a Japanese apartment kitchen. Well actually it is our Japanese kitchen.
The sad thing is that a house kitchen in Japan is not too much bigger. I have no idea how people cook for a family larger than ours.

Today’s blessings:
- My Wednesday night lady canceled again. I like her, I really do, but with Li working nights now it is a little stressful trying to get everything done before she arrives for class. I never complain when she cancels.
- Li is working an earlier shift tonight and should be home at a slightly more respectable time.

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Tuesday, January 17, 2006

In case you were wondering

If you ever wondered what your Nintendo or Game Boy was doing when you were not at home Peter has the answer.

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Monday, January 16, 2006

Sugoi! Milk Tummys

Li’s mom always phones and asks if Ji is talking yet; Li always says no.

- STOP SAYING THAT! She does talk! Your mom keeps thinking she is slow when you say that because you spoke early.
- No she doesn’t, and no Ji doesn’t.
- Yes she does, she talks all the time.
- Well I don’t understand and it is not very clear.

Well I think it is totally clear and can hear it no problem. My theory is that Li is just not trying to listen, therefore he cant. That and as far as he is concerned she cannot speak until she can say ‘papa’.
Either that or I am going totally crazy and hearing things.

Well last night I had my Monday night ladies and due to holidays we haven’t seen each other for about three weeks, which means they haven’t seen Ji for three weeks. To theirs, and my delight, Ji recognized them immediately and did not show any shyness,
AND they confirmed that she CAN speak. They are all elementary school teachers and they think she speaks her few words very clearly.
Humpf! to Li.

What does she say?

  1. Mamumamu, for mom. This makes me very happy.

  2. daijyoubu , Japanese for ‘all is ok’

  3. sugoi and sugei, Japanese for ‘great’ or ‘wonderful’

  4. so, basically Japanese for ‘yes’

  5. koko, done with pointing meaning ‘this’. She doesn’t do this very often.

  6. hontou, meaning ‘reeaallyy?’ She doesn’t do this one very often though.

  7. dada, but Li really wants papa.

She also says the sounds, but not the words for
It is really funny.

Last night during class Ji was showing off all of her little antics to the ladies who love her to bits.
At one point Ji stood up and started rubbing her stomach. She would do these weird arms up and down actions that sort of resembled a little old man rubbing his beer belly. She would rub her milk belly, occasionally her chest and touch her ears every once and a while. She has done this many times before and it is REALLY funny to watch.
All of a sudden Keiko goes.


We were a little confused.
Keiko is pretty sure that what Ji is doing is exercising.
I think she might be right.
At day care they have one giant room to play in, but they go to the park on nice days. On rainy or cold days they are confined inside, so to prevent the kids from turning into sloths, I am pretty sure they do the typical customary school and company exercise programs/dancing thing.

We think Ji is copying.

Knowing that this is probably what she is doing makes watching her rub her tummy that much more hilarious.

I have got to try to get it on video.

Today’s blessings:
- I had left just enough money in the bills bank account to cover the ridiculously HUGE power bill that we got do to the total lack of insulation and the stupid single pane windows.

- I think Ji finally sucked open the painful plugged milk duct in my right tit that has been bothering me for two days now. (This has been a reoccurring problem. Grr)

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Sunday, January 15, 2006

Anyone have any cures for the sniffles?

Ji has the sniffles.

The result is that I feel a cold coming on.


I have a headache and scratchy eyes.
This evil thing is desperately trying to sneak in and take control of my little white blood soldiers and I am determined to FIGHT!!!!

Anyone have any great remedies or cures?

Please remember that I am still breastfeeding so major amounts of medication are not allowed. This really sucks.

(I am adding colours in a hope to brighten my day.)

Today’s Blessing:
- I haven’t gotten fully sick with the cold yet. Seem to have kept it at bay up to now. Must get a good sleep tonight.

Update 2:
This is my 900th post!!! OMG!

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Saturday, January 14, 2006

Happy Koshogatsu

I have a diary schedule book that tells me the days for different holidays around the world, but because it is from Japan each month has a slight blurb about something special in Japan.
This month is:

January 15, 2006.
Lunar New
Year, called ‘Koshogatsu’, is on January 15. Festivals to pray for a bountiful
harvest and banish bad spirits are held, along with fire festivals, and in some
places people put up rice cakes flowers.

Not enough info for me so research was requited. This is what I have found:

In A.D. 604, the lunar calendar used in China was adopted for
use by the Japanese government. This calendar had both a lunar component which
regulated civic events and a solar component which was used for agricultural

The new moon marked the beginning of
the official months but date discrepancies existed between official celebrations
and folk celebrations. Using the lunar calendar the New Year was to begin at the
second new moon after the winter solstice. This was the "Great New Year" or
shogatsu. At the full moon two weeks later, there was another celebration called
"Little New Year" or koshogatsu. Traditionally, these dates would occur sometime
from the end of January to the middle of February. However, when the government
adopted the Gregorian calendar, shogatsu became associated with the first day of
January and koshogatsu fell on the 15th of January.

I searched but I couldn’t find any reference to festivals or actual bonfires being held.
From what I can tell from my students:
Most Japanese people go to the shrines to pray for the New Year during the first few days of Shogatsu. At this time they bring back last years good luck charms and buy new charms. These charms are for family health, safe driving, and general safety. The returned charms are collected by the priests and fro what I can tell, are all burned in a giant fire on Koshogatsu. This link has some pictures explaining this a little better.
Tondo Matsuri

So Happy Koshogatsu Everyone!!

Illahee just left this link in the comments section and it is great!
I never even thought of checking flickr, duh!

Update 2:
Today’s Blessings:
- Li worked last night and today as well but he woke up an hour early so that I could go food shopping with out Ji. (No car and it is raining) Made the rest of the day hassle free.
- Li and I were able to trim Ji’s nails with out a single scream. Actually this is a bloody miracle as nail trimming usually results in a total melt down by Ji.

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Posted by (Top)Andrea::1/14/2006 :: 10 Comments:

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Butter or Margarine?

Deeizak just FREAKED ME OUT with her post about the differences between Butter and Margarine.

Did you know that Margarine was designed to FATTEN TURKEYS?

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watering mouth

Has anyone actually checked out the two food links I have on the side?

Dessert comes first is pure pornographic dessert evil. ummmummmummmm My mouth is watering soooo much right now from reading her latest discription.
Sex is never required if you can eat lunch with this lady every day.

She also had a recipe section for those with kitchen abilities.

I need to go and take a cold shower now.

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Friday, January 13, 2006

Some Blog updates

Ji wouldn’t sleep last night (wide awake from 1am to 4am!!!) , so I did a lot of blog updates.

First I added a picture up top. Thank you Christina for that.

Christina is one of the new additions on my blog roll, which I totall revamped as well. I separated the countries a bit more and found a few more great expat blogs.

Although on my screen my blog roll has disapeared to the very bottom for what ever annoying reason. I hope it is at the top on yours.

I hope it returns to the top on mine very soon. (grinding teeth)


Today’s Blessings:
-I got my nails done and Ji was a fabulous little girl at the nail shop.
(A negative is that it is almost 9 at night and she is still WIDE awake. sigh)

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Thursday, January 12, 2006

Silence is golden. NOT!

Silence is golden.

At least that is what every parent, grandparent, daycare provider or babysitter will tell you. They will give you long lists of toys to avoid so that your sanity is kept in tack: personally stay away from those stupid squeaky shoes. Blogging Baby did two months worth of lists in the run up to Christmas warning all parents to STAY AWAY FROM THESE TOYS! Parents check toys before putting in the batteries or secretly break their children’s favourite noisemaker.

Well they are all lying.

Silence is NOT golden.

The truth is that when you are a parent silence makes you suddenly pause and your heart start to race. You brain begins to churn out a million different scenarios:

Did she get the dangerous liquids door open?
Did she fall?
Is she suffocating herself somehow and cant scream?
Is she eating something that she knows she is not allowed to?
Did she lock herself into a closet?
Is she dead?

Parents will sprint across the living room floor and peer their heads around the corner. We are trying to be silent just in case our fears are unfounded and they are actually sitting there quietly playing away. Sometimes parents yell out hoping for an answer. This works if your children can talk, but if you have an 11-month old well

Silence = Pain

Yes, PAIN!

These days I am living the life of a single mom: dad works nights and we almost never see each other. Arriving home from work usually means an explosion of craziness and running around in an attempt to get the kid fed, bath drawn, kid bathed, put in bed, and possibly get some food into my own stomach. Throw a bit of laundry in there once and a while.

Well last night I was attempting to do all of the above. Ji had eaten and the bath water had been turned on. I have learned that if I close the kitchen door I cannot hear the bath running: this results in disaster, so the door must stay open. Problem is that Ji can get the shower door open: she has been able to do this now for months.

Now basically this is not a problem. In the past she would toddle up to the shower door and open it, then close it, then open it, then close it, well you get the picture. Recently her furniture climbing skills have gotten very good and she has been able to heave herself up the giant step into the shower area.

Now in Japan the shower and bath is one contained unit. This is a beautiful thing if you like baths: you can fill the water up to the very very very top and if the water spills over it doesn’t matter because it is falling into the shower area. No wet floors to mop up. The baths are also much shorter than typical American baths, about half the length, and the sides are double in height. My father LOVED it when he can and soaked away one night.

Well Ji can get into the shower area now, which means she is probably getting wet from leftover water on the floor. She is also tearing apart the shampoo shelve and throwing around her bath toys. I am not worried about her falling into the bathtub, YET. It is possible but she is not that capable, ....yet.

So last night the water is being drawn in the bath, Ji has toddled into the shower and is checking out my toothbrush, I am attempting to clean up after the usual food fight dinner that Ji left behind. I am also having panic attacks every time I hear silence and am sprinting at top speed between the kitchen and the shower. All the while I am chanting in my head:

At no time should you leave your baby unattended. At no time should you leave your baby unattended.

(I chant this in my brain over and over again when I have turned my back on Ji.)

Last night Ji had me in sprint mode about 4 or 5 times due to silent pauses in the babbling and banging sounds that were coming from my shower area. But as we can see from this picture the kid is perfectly fine. Her ass got a bit wet but she was totally content with life.

But in one of those last sprint the situation went something like this:

JiJi what are you doing? (sprint mode starts) Have you found something bad you silly girl? (have cleared the living room and am now in the kitchen area) what are yooouuuu doooiii AUGHhhhhh ouch ouch ouch ouch, JiJi are you ouch ok ouch ouch crap pain JiJi you silly girl (now hobbling into the shower area) ouch did you find ouch mommy’s floss picks? Ouch oh my god this bloody hurts (now hobbling into the adjoining bedroom area to inspect my bloody knee!!!) OUCH!!!!

I bit it people: skidded across my kitchen floor (all of about 4 feet in length) and left a damn skid mark of the floor. I swear it is my skin that wore through the sweat pants I was wearing.
Crap but it stings.

Today’s blessing is a lovely wonderful co-worker/friend, Fumiko.
- She was bored and did ALL of my photocopying, sorting and stapling. She offered! I HATE photocopying.
- She was given a box of 20 Flavour Jelly Beans and didn’t like them: she gave them to me!!!!

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Oh my!! Andrea just posted a recipe & she doesn't cook!!!

I just typed this out for CaliGirl, so I thought I would include it here. I dont generally cook but I was tagged as part of a recipe exchange so I thought what the heck, eh?

Korean Style Rice Porridge (Kankokufu zosui)

Makes 4-6 servings
600g/1 2/3 lb cooked rice
150g/5 oz thinly sliced beef
50g/1 2/3 oz carrot
40 g/1 2/3 oz carrot
40g/1 1/3 oz boiled bamboo shoots
4 fresh shiitake mushrooms
10cm/4 inch piece thick green onion
30g/1 oz Chinese scallions (nira)
1 tablespoon sesame oil
5 cups chicken stock
1.5 teaspoons salt
Dash of pepper
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon kochujang, Korean soybean paste
1 teaspoon powdered hot chilli pepper
1 teaspoon grated garlic

1. Cut the beef into 2 cm/ ¾ inch-wide pieces
2. Cut the carrot into 3cm/1 ¼ inch-long strips. Cut the bamboo into similar size strips. Remove and discard the stems of the shiitake mushrooms and then cut them into 1 cm/ ½ inch wide slices.
3. Thinly slice the piece of thick green onion at a diagonal. Cut the Chinese scallions into 4 cm/1 ½ inch long pieces.
4. Heat the sesame oil in a pot and sauté the beef. When the outside of the meat has cooked, add the carrot, bamboo shoots, shiitake mushrooms (in that order) and continue to sauté for a short time longer. Add the chicken stock.
5. When the mixture reaches a boil, season with the salt, pepper, soy sauce, kochujang, powdered hot chilli pepper, and grated garlic. Continue to cook for 3-4 minutes over low heat.
6. Mix in the rice. After the mixture has returned to a boil, continue to cook for 1-2 minutes longer. Then sprinkle the chopped green onions and Chinese scallions over the rice mixture.

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Wednesday, January 11, 2006

The Cute, Crazy & Wonderful Things Ji Does

  • She says “ub” not “up” when she wants to be picked up.

  • She stops moving and grinds her teeth when stinky things are happening in her diaper.

  • Just before having a bath she waits until the diaper is off and then pees all over the math mat watching as it runs down her legs. Then she smiles.

  • When I have taken (or am trying to take) something from her and she is trying to pull it back, her eyes open wide, her nostrils flare and blow, and she does an open lip teeth grit all the while going ‘ssssssssss’.

  • She slurps her pasta like a Japanese pro.

  • After she has done a loud fart we turn to her and go “Ugh! I heard that.” And she smiles.

  • When you pick her up she kicks her feet in the air and looks like she is running on the wind.

  • Her main words of choice are ‘sugoi’ and ‘sugei’. Both are Japanese for great or wonderful. According to her EVERYTHING is great or wonderful: including putting her fingers up mommy’s nose.

  • She likes to crawl under the living room table, lie on her back, and then lift it using her legs. Basically she is leg pressing. What she really likes is the banging sound. I am sure my neighbours don’t.

  • She loves to crawl onto the living room table and drop things off of it so that she can practice hanging over the edge and try to pick what she has thrown over back up. Mommy doesn’t like this.

  • She loves to stand and then bend over so that her ass is in the air, then babbles away to you upside down.

  • She loves to take the floor mop and clean the floor. Mommy likes this.

  • She prefers mommy’s toothbrush to her own, so we got her her own big girls toothbrush. She even tries to brush with it and not chew on it.

  • She loves to go up to the big mirror and kiss herself.

  • She loves to put her feet inside of daddy’s house slippers and try to walk.

  • She loves to stomp on the floor with her feet, especially when there is music playing. She also loves to shake her head in a head banger type way.

  • She goes “Aiyai” when she is saying ‘byebye’ while waving.

  • She loves to walk as fast as she can (not quite running yet) and scream at the same time.

  • She loves to sit inside of cardboard boxes and play inside them. She also likes to sit inside of the laundry basket and the canned goods basket (that is inside the cupboard that she first pulls out and then empties so she can sit in it.)

  • She looks like she is chewing on her tongue when she is concentrating really hard on doing something.

  • She likes to slap your hand away from her if you are helping too much or she does not want your attention.

  • When you put on her shoes she immediately walks to the front door and starts to slap it while waiting for you.

  • She shows all her front teeth when she smiles.

And the best thing my daughter does:

  • When she laughs she throws her head back and does a huge open mouth laugh for the world to hear.

(This is a hard one today.)
Today’s Blessings:
- Ji got the Baby Einstein Bed Time Lullaby’s CD I ordered, and I don’t know about her but I am really enjoying it. It is very peaceful and I have it set to continuous repeat right now.

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Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Mr. W is back?????

I walked into the office building, put on my indoor slippers (yes we have to wear slippers in our office), looked up, and just about fell over from shock!

*HI!!!!! (way over exaggerated voice)
Slight pause
When did you get back? (I wanted to say ‘How are you?’)
*Excellent! (a little too loudly)

And I walked up the stairs with my mind filled with a million questions.

Mr. W was back.

I wrote the linking post to Mr. W in September, but he started his stress leave around April (I think, there abouts). Today is the first I have seen him since September, and then it was only for two days.
He is back.
I hope he is back for a while, it would mean that he feels better. Honestly, I don’t think so. The guy is maybe 27, very good looking and he used to be so perky and bouncy and funny.
He looks old. And I don’t mean 27 year olds looking like they are 35, I mean he is 27 looking like he is bloody 40. And not a healthy 40.He is gaunt looking, his eyes are dead black; the sparkle is gone, and he no longer has a spring in his step.
I have this great urge to hug him, but as this is Japan he would probably keel over with a heart attack before the hug was finished.

I do hope he is ok.      

Today’s blessings:
  • Ji had a great day at daycare. I was a bit worried that she would act up because of being on a long holiday.

  • Ji found the KitKat I had stashed in the snack cupboard and had totally forgotten about.

  • Li phoned: he got another raise.

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Ramblings at work

Lady at work asked me:
- You had a long holiday. Did it go slowly?
I looked at her and went, ‘No, fast.’

I used some of my paid holidays to extend my winter vacation and I used the entire time to play with my daughter, and blog (of course). I enjoyed every minute of it.

Ji and I have not had that real time together since the first month she was born. I started working when she was only 6 weeks old, so have had little time to be a house mommy. I loved it. I actually almost cried when I left for work in the morning.

Yesterday Li had a holiday and had Ji all day, I hope he used his time with her wisely and did not play too much of his stupid video game. He says they played a lot.

Ji is changing so fast now that even in the two weeks that I had her all to myself I noticed soooo many developmental changes in her. Everything from her walking ability getting better and stronger, to her babbling sounding like real sentences. She even pauses and looks to you for replies.
She started bringing me a book every day and asking me to read it to her. She would stand beside my knee and help me turn the pages; she would use my finger to point at things and look to me. It constantly amazes me how intelligent she is, although I have nothing to compare it too so am only guessing that she is a genius.
Mind you, every parent out there believes that his or her child is the next Einstein.
I will admit that I am one of them.
When I brought her to day care this morning the lady couldn’t stop saying how big and heavy she had become in such a short time. The kid is sprouting. You can almost see her growing.

Li grew up with a dad that sat on the sidelines and never had any siblings. He has many cousins but I don’t think he really understands how fast Ji is changing. He frustrates me to no end at times when I think he is not spending enough time with her, but he thinks he is doing just fine. I get very impatient with him at times when he complains that he wants to spend time with his friends instead of playing that day with Ji. I know cultural differences have a lot to do with it; basic upbringing has even more of an effect. I loose it sometimes and then regret it later because Li and I start fighting.

I know he enjoys Ji and loves being with her; I just wish he could see how fast she is changing and want to be more a part of it.
Usually if I bring it up he interprets it more as me being bitchy so blocks me out quite well.

I am not saying he doesn’t put in an effort, because he does.
He has offered to give up his sleep after doing an all night at the new restaurant to look after her two days a week. It is saving us 200$ a month as well. He does play with her a lot, and if I compare him to dads in my neighbourhood he is an amazing father. Thing is I dint compare him to them, I compare him to my family and upbringing and I want more.
I need to relax about it, I know. Li has learned a lot and is already ten times a better father than his own dad was to him (a very hands off man).

When I got home last night Ji was standing beside her daddy watching a funny movie in Chinese. She didn’t even notice I was home right away. (sniff) When I called her name she came over and gave me a big hug. She was fine, slept well and ate well all day so I should stop worrying about it.

I think Li will begin to realize more and change that much more after we move when he sees the huge difference in the way fathers are expected and DO act in Canada.

I will be patient, I will not bitch, I will wait.

In the mean time I am following up on a million different tips and ideas for shipping stuff back home. I have a HUGE resource of amazing woman now (thank you Medea) and they have given me so much in regards to shipping. I have been sending out so many emails and requests. I should have things figured out soon, I hope.

I have decided that after I start to figure this all out I am going to add a section to my links list of ‘Andrea’s Living in Japan Tips and Useful Information.’ Gotta help out my fellow expats.

Related info:
Cultural Notes ,
Japan Rants and Info

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Monday, January 09, 2006

Back to the ol' grind

Back to work.
Same o same o, blaaaaa

I miss my daughter.

Today’s Blessings:
- Ji was still alive when I got home. Today was a day with daddy day.
- Three of my English classes canceled today. A really big blessing on the first day back to work after a long holiday.

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A Chocolatly sweet tag

I am feeling very freaky popular!!
I just got tagged by Chocolate Makes it Better! I am all giddy. hehehe (I love this guy by the way people. )

Only problem is that L at Home sick beat ya to it, sorry.
But it was only a few days ago so here is the whole dealeo,

The Five things Tag.

It is amazing how this tag has gone full circle around the ENTIRE globe a few times now.
It really is a small world.

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Sunday, January 08, 2006

Introducing My Fellow Bloggers

I have been trying to figure out what makes a blog good, popular, and worth reading.
There are sooooo many blogs out there now but, in my opinion, most of them are total crap, although I am sure there are some out there that put my own blog in that category.
Obviously there are many topics of interest out there, and a million categories: I have yet to figure out just where my blog belongs. I usually group it in the ‘Personal Blogs’ section, that is what it is really.

Blogger always has this list of blogs of note on their home page. I have checked a few out. Some I have found are good but I think most are crap. It confuses me. I must have a very different opinion from the Blogger company people as to what blogs are worth reading.

Granny always introduces the new people that she adds to her blog roll: I like this but have never done it myself. Therefore, I have decided to explain the blogs on my blog roll and give a brief explanation as to what I like about them.

First what I like to find when I read a blog is:
- I really want a blog that loads quickly. If it takes forever to load I just skip to the next blog. I have no patience.
- I like to smile and like a blog that makes me do that, but a blog that makes me raise my eyebrows in wonder, or that makes me cry, or laugh out loud is also great.
- I have also noticed that I kind of like simple layouts and not one that requires all the clicking to get in or has tooooo many graphics that are far more interesting than the actual reading part.
- A real person being a real person.

So the people on my blog role are: (Listed as they appear on the side)

Around the world

jerusalem wanderings - a wonderful woman (Israel)

And she is a wonderful woman. She is struggling to raise three kids and a husband in the land called Israel. She is also trying to change her new home doing one good deed at a time. Her list of friends is amazing; she moves easily between religious groups and is always entertaining to read.

Emily - Travel Itch (everywhere, mostly East Asia)
Travel Itch is an amazing writer, an amazing photographer and an amazing person. I found her through the ‘blogs of note’ section that blogger does. I have stayed with her travels ever since and amazing travels they are. It has been a privilege to watch this young lady grow into an amazing woman, conquer so many of her fear, and grasp love fully.

CaliGirl and her hubby (PEI, Canada)
CaliGirl found me and I am so glad she did. She has been doing an excellent job raising her daughter and loving her new husband. She also has the most trusted video ratings around. If you want to know about a new video check her side links as she rates every single one that she watches.

Stuff in General (Edmonton, Alberta)
Crazy Stone is a good guy: I just wish he would believe me when I tell him that. He also likes to throw REALLY BIG things, like telephone poles. He has some great snippets of wisdom and I have really enjoyed him.

Suburban Bliss (Michigan, USA)
This site is HUGELY popular. Her site meter lists millions, and for good reason. She has been a mother on an amazing journey the last few years having to sort out a lot of personal problems and struggling to be a good mother and wife. She can make me laugh and cry.

Connaissances (Paris, France)
This is a great guy who found me a while back. He is a British geologist living in France. He loves poetry and writes his own as well as translates many French poets. He also writes some amazing essays on how he joins his two passions (poetry and geology) together. They always amaze me.

The Humanity Critic - This guy makes me laugh!
One reason – This guy makes me laugh!! If you can handle his occasional colourful language you will love him. He is a bit crazy but at least he admits it.
He has also taught me a lot about hip-hop, a music style I have never really had much liking for.

Life isn't fair - Ontario, Canada: another giggler!
Yes another guy that makes me laugh but in a different way. He is a starving writer who has an amusing take on things. His Wall-Mart post was brilliant, and his smoking post just about made me pee. This is the very first post I read of him and I was hooked.

Roc Rebel Granny - a granny with a lot to say
Well what is there to say about Granny: She Rocks!! She is also a wonderful mother, an even more wonderful grandma and a great cyber friend. She tells you a little bit about everything, and though crazy and busy, her life seems so well balanced. She is a great person to get to know.

The Home Sick Home - USA to Japan to USA
Ahh the nice L. {{giggles.}} She doesn’t think she is nice: I think she is cool. She doesn’t think she is hip but one thing is for sure; L is a great writer, an excellent mom and the most patient wife around.

We move to Canada - USA to Canada
This L is also a writer at heart. She and her husband recently moved to Canada from New York and their blog has become HUGELY popular with the political crowd. This blog and all of it comments have kept me better informed on the goings on of Canadian politics and world politics than any of the newspapers I have read.

ipodmomma - USA to the UK
Ipod is a great lady all around. I have been in touch with her through Granny. Ipod loves to cook and share recipes but she loves her family more. She gives a great look inside a British home.

Building the Bigger Family (Canada)
Ahh Gawdessness has an avocado slicer that I ohh so want. She is also stuck in the head banger game of trying to adopt from within Canada. Her blog is a look inside the mind and home of a normal loving family.

Expat Traveler - Switzerland to Canada
Expat found me through ‘We move to Canada’. She is a recent arrival to Vancouver and has just stepped into the bottomless pit called Canadian Immigration. We are rooting for each other.

In Japan


Medea found me through both of our loves of Harry Potter. She lives in Japan and is happily married to a funny Japanese guy who is also pretty good looking. She has also introduced me to a whole world of Foreign Wives in multicultural marriages. For this I say “Thank You Medea.”

Wide Island
This guy is a great writer and funny to boot. He is married to a great Japanese woman and has the cutest little girl. He has some amazing stories to tell and some great views on this crazy country that we live in.

My Little Pleasure
Mina is a Japanese house wife/English translator. She is writing her blog in English which is just a wonderful feat. She is raising three great boys in Tokyo and sounds like a great mom. She is the reason I want a telescope.

Illahee's Blog
I met Illahee through Medea. We were both having troubles getting our little ones to sleep properly so were swapping notes. She is another foreign wife here in Japan with a lovely little boy.

International Marriage?!? What the heck is that???
Another foreign wife in Japan and a Japanese/English translator. She and her hubby are a funny couple that are definitely made for each other.

Japan Window

This is the last one I am going to tell you about. Andy is an AMAZING photographer. He lives in Tokyo and features a new photo every day. His photos are beautiful. He includes pictures of his gorgeous girls, various people, and Tokyo life, oh and ducks. (hehe) I highly recommend him.

There are a few more blogs linked on my side but these are my main, almost daily reads.
Stop by: I think you will enjoy them as well.

There are others I have been reading but have not figured where to group them on my blog role quite yet.
Turtle Guy ,
Grumppopotamus ,
Metro Dad ,
Chocolate Makes it Better ,
Gather Your Ideas ,
Petite anglaise ,
Waiter Rant ,
The Joy of Irrelevance ,
I was asked .

Negative note
: I have to return to work tomorrow. (sigh, sigh, sigh)

and never buy the apple chu-hi drink that says "calorie' on it: tastes terrible!

Today’s blessings:
- My daughter made me laugh about a hundred times today.
- I found very nice pink shoes to go with my pink suit. They are a slightly darker pink but quite nice and girly looking. hehehehe

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Posted by (Top)Andrea::1/08/2006 :: 10 Comments:

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