Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Wednesday

Taxes are done and sent off. yay!

So I figured I'd talk about all the ways to help Japan. First is the Red Cross. Easy to donate at itunes. All you have to do is click on the button with the amount you want to donAte. So simple, even I can do it! Oh and I think they have a "Songs for Japan" compilation. Haven't checked it out yet but I will

Second, on a more personal level, a friend makes these marvelous soaps. She is selling a special "Waves of Hope" brand with all proceeds going to Japan. I've got some. Smells wonderful
http://www.etsy.com/listing/70264420/waves-of-hope-handcrafted-soap



Finally, a bunch of YA authors are putting up a bunch of stuff for auction, all proceeds going to Japan again, I think Save The Children. Here is a link to the site
http://write-hope.blogspot.com/
I love Maggie Stievater but I don't have a spare $1000 lying around. some of the other items are pretty affordable by the looks of things.

Oh, and for you LA folk, Orochon Ramen in Little Tokyo is offering a special ramen. If you order it, all proceeds go to Japan as well.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Fair Oaks

They are tearing Fair Oaks. The street was perfectly fine. No potholes, no cracks, nothing. But I guess they got federal stimulus funds or soemthing. And they decided to fix both sides of the syreet simultaneously. Not too smart, if you ask me. Traffic is totally snarled all hours of the day now. I believe the businesses on that street are losing money as I go out of my way to avoid it now. The construction is exoected to last. til August (yeah, I believe that...)

Miscellaneous Monday

1. taxes are done. Well for the most part. The hard part anyways. The part where I frantically search for forms I carefully put aside so I wouldn't lose them. Too bad I forgot where I set them aside. I do this every single year too.

2. book is done. Well for the most part. Two different critique groups. Two totally opposite feedback. What to do? one group says "trim!". The other group says "need more!". Both have valid reasons.

3. got some free coupons for starbucks. This is what happened. I stopped by a local starbucks on the way to work because I was T-ed off that I always have to make the coffee for the office because a) I'm always the first or second one there. b) I'm a girl and none of the men seem to want to know how to make it. c) the other girls conveniently seem to forget to do it.

But I digress. I order my $4.15 grande soy latte and give the cashier $5.00 bill. The cashier takes forever to give me my change. How hard is it to figure out three quarters and a dime? But no, the cashier counts coins over and over. finally ten minutes later, she hands me a fistful of pennies!!!! no way! she could have asked me for 15 cents and given me a dollar back..

Fine. I take the pennies and my latte and go to work. Later because I don't have anything better to do (ha!). I count the pennies. Guess what? Not only did she give me pennies, she shorted me twenty cents. Now I'm really mad, so I fire off a scathing e-mail to starbucks.
And then I go make coffee for the office because everybody else is braindead when it comes to working the fancy coffee-maker.

Two weeks later, guess what? I get an apology from Starbucks and some coupons for free coffee. Too bad I never want to go back to the local one.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Bad Habits Part 2

Speaking of bad habits.  Taxes.  Gotta do the taxes.

I procrastinate taxes by saying I need to update my blog. 

I procrastinate updating the blog by cleaning the house.

I procrastinate cleaning the house by doing the laundry.

I procrastinate doing the laundry...

well, you get the idea...  If you don't see anything new for a while, you'll know I'm trying to get to the above...

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Bad Habits

I have this habit of using the following words a lot, mucho, many times:

nodded: as in he nodded, she nodded, they nodded

gasped: which is basically the reaction almost everybody has to any surprise

smiled: I have a lot of happy characters in my stories.  See, I'm grinning now : )

Microsoft word has a terrific "find" function which I used this weekend because teacher pointed out how many times I used the word "gasp".

Gasp - usage?  32 times in 309 pages.  I cut it down to 9.

Nod - usage?  64 times in same number of pages.  I think I'm down to 12

smiled - usage?  in the 50's.  I changed half to grin, deleted out a ton.  My people aren't so happy any more... : (

Do you know, I didn't even realize I did this? 

Anyway, SC asked where Kamakura was.  It is south of Tokyo.  About an hour away by train.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Kamakura & Guam

My Aunt on my mother's side lives in Kamakura.  Kamakura is known mainly for their Giant Buddha, or Daibutsu.  My Aunt's phone was working because she has one of those old fashioned ones that you actually dial and that does not require electricity.

This is why I am not giving up my landline and have one phone still that does not require electricity. 

Anyway, she has no power and said the earthquake was scary but she is okay.

Not having power is something I know very well.  When I lived on Guam, the power company was run by the government and it used to go out every few weeks.  Guam is swelteringly humid so we needed power mainly to run the AC all day everyday.  You fill your gas tanks before if you can because the pumps are electric. You eat all the frozen items asap as they go bad.  I remember getting sick off of mocha ice cream one time and to this day, I can't stand coffee flavored ice cream.  Then you huddle together in the dark because the flashlights and candles make the oppressive heat unbearable.  You try not to think of the things creeping and crawling around in the dark, probably right next to you. 

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Stories from Japan 2

The gentleman on the right is my Uncle Hachiro.  He is the youngest of my Dad's 7 brother's and 2 sisters.  He lives in Chiba, near the Narita Airport.  We were worried about him because he hadn't been in touch with any of the other brothers. 

Turns out his power and water were out but he is okay.  Part of his roof fell in or something.  My sister is having a heck of a time trying to translate his e-mail on google translator.  But they have no water as of yesterday.

Dad was the second oldest in the family Uncle Hachiro told us a story of how when they were kids Dad got stuck baby-sitting Uncle.  Dad used to strap Uncle on his back then go out and play baseball or something.  Uncle Hachiro would sometimes pee on my Dad! ha ha.  Funny!  Nowdays he is a retired High school biology teacher and his son is also a teacher.

Another WWII story - Grandfather was a farmer so during the war, his kids were the only ones at school to have white rice and fruits in their lunch boxes.  His farm was right in the middle of Saitama.  Years later, that land became very valuable.  I think there is a bridge, an apartment complex, and some other things named after the family these days...

Stories from Japan

This is my father's much younger brother, Uncle Hiroshi.  This photo was taken a few years ago when he came to visit in LA.
He is in his 70's.

Anyway, when the earthquake hit, he was in Shibuya, which is like the major shopping area of Tokyo.  He had some of his paintings being exhibited in a gallery there. 

Since the trains were stopped, he had no way to get home.  I've taken the train from Tokyo to his home in Saitiama.  It takes a hour by train.

He decided he had no choice but to walk home.  It is twenty miles.  I don't know how much of it is uphill. 

It took him ten hours.  He did not get home until the next morning. 

But what stamina!  What willpower it must have taken to keep walking.  And did I mention he's in his 70's?

I am so impressed.  He is okay and his house and the other Uncles and Aunt's houses in Saitama seem to be okay.

This reminds me of a story that my mother told us that I may/may not be remembering 100% correctly. 
During WWII, my mother was just a little girl.  There was a bombing and the power went out and just like Uncle Hiroshi she was stuck somewhere and had no choice but to walk home from Tokyo to Itabashi (about half the distance to Saitama about 10 miles away)


Anyway, she walked along the railroad route since that is the only way she knew to get home.
And the soldiers at the time, were using the railroad stations as the place where dead bodies were collected.  So she walked from station to station, each one with rows and rows of dead bodies. 

She also told me the story of how during the war, they were very low on supplies.  Half of the schoolday she would be sent to work in a factory to make shoes (out of PAPER!).  Yeah, bet those were sturdy.   She remembers they had very little food, but one day a package arrived from her pen pal from the "Inaka" the countryside.  She tore it open to find the penpal had sent her canned tangerines! Such a delicacy.  Probably worth their weight in gold at the time.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Prom Dresses

So Mels goes to the Senior Prom twice.  Today I was trying to figure out what to put her in.  This is what I came up with.

This is her first prom dress.  Maybe a different color but this is the style I envision:

Black is probably not Mel's color.  Especially for Prom.  It has to be tight.  Form fitting. 

















And here is her second Prom dress.  The one Mrs. Hewitt picks out for her.  More of a princess ball gown, that is for sure.


Probably not these colors, though.  This is fun.  Tomorrow I'll do the boys' cars...

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Electricity

I didn't realize how much I depend on the good ole electricity until tonight. 




















I was down to a 15% charge so I had to plug it in.   But no problem, I wanted to finish that novel I was reading on my Kindle.  I dug it out.  Oh oh,






Only a few drops left on the battery indicator.
Had to plug this bad boy in too.










Fine, I needed to call sister anyway. 








,

No freaking way.  Cell phone is beyond dead.  I now have three devices charging at this point.
What the hell, I need to take some photos of the cats. They have just had their 11th birthday.  What is that in cat years?  Like 75 or something?  They're old.

But lo, and behold, camera battery is dead too?  


Oy, am I sitting near some kind of Magneto that drains power from other electrical devices?   I have no choice.  I go old school.  I open my non-electric, printed-on-paper hardback book!