Lots of Clean Laundry and a Nice Surprise…

A strange combination… yes… but a happy one!

Since I was helping my friends with their move, everything at my own house (laundry, cleaning, washing dishes, etc.) got put on hold!  Well, the cleaning part was done prior since I knew my friends were going to stay at my place!  🙂  (I’m not known for being the neatest person in the world and my friends knew this.  So it was kind of funny when the wife walked into the house and exclaimed, “Whose house is this?!”)  😉

Since they left on Tuesday, I’ve been trying to catch up.  Today, the last load of laundry was washed and hung up on the line!  YAY!!!  It is a very nice feeling!

Then I got an email from someone who went to the same school as me.  He’s a VERY talented guitarist who’s touring with a famous musician in Japan right now, working as the music director and lead guitarist for the concert tour.  And I’m going to get to see him tomorrow!  (The “nice surprise” part of the title… 🙂 )

Was hoping to go with a friend who also loves music, but there’s been no response from him… probably extra busy with work.  Therefore, the 6-hour drive will be done alone, but I’ll have lots of music to listen to and will get to see dear friends whom I haven’t seen in too long.

Am looking forward to having a love, laughter and music-filled weekend!!  🙂  Hope everyone has a great one, too!!

P.S.  Not sure if I’ll be able to write anything while I’m gone, but I’ll definitely post something when I get back home.  🙂

Did Anyone Miss Me? =)

Well, I’m back after… more than 10 days, I think.  (Whew!)  Honestly, I have missed writing posts on here SO MUCH, but because of helping some friends with packing for their move to another island in Japan, exhaustion and sleepiness won the battle every time!

So, anyone who has read about the “zoo” that I was keeping here at the house, here is an update:  these friends who have moved were the owners of the three cats and six birds (nine, originally) and they ALL left on a big white airplane on Tuesday morning.

Needless to say, after taking care of the “zoo” for almost four months, it’s almost too quiet in the house.  And I must say… I really do miss them!  My youngest cat, Chako, seems to be ecstatic that things are somewhat back to normal.  She has “her” room back and this morning she wandered in, stretched out on the floor, and began to purr loudly.  (Can you say “spoiled”?!)  🙂

So, anyway… yes, I am still alive, if anyone was wondering.  Thank you to those who have sent me emails and messages on Facebook, asking if I’m okay.  Hopefully soon, life will calm down and I’ll be able to get into the routine of writing every day/night again.

Being away for this long has been tough, especially since there has been so much I’ve wanted to write about!  But for tonight, I bid you all adieu and will eagerly await the Sandman’s arrival… it’s been another tiring day.  🙂

As we say in Japan, oyasuminasai!  (In other words, “good night”!)  🙂

A Very Small Room, Headphones and a Microphone…

A perfect combination, in my opinion!  🙂

I was blessed enough to have three vocal jobs this week… two singing and one narrating.  Words cannot express the joy I feel when standing in front of that mike, receiving directions from talented sound engineers/directors!

Sure, you can turn on the TV and find quite a few shows full of those who long for that spotlight to be on them and stand on that stage, belting their hearts out.  And that’s perfectly fine… more power to them!!  But I’ve learned that even if one’s joy is singing, the spotlight and stage isn’t for everyone.

I just LOVE singing… plain and simple!!

It’s okay if it’s back-up vocals on someone’s CD or singing children’s songs for music to be used at an English language school.  It’s perfectly fine if it’s narrating announcements for a local department store or singing “la-la-la” on a TV commercial for toothpaste.

It’s singing… something I’ve longed to do since as far back as I can remember!!

Don’t get me wrong.  English-teaching is also a job I love to do.  Seeing the progress students make, young and old, can be amazing!  The smile on the face of a child after hearing the words of praise… it’s priceless!

But music… oh, music!  And singing!  Being in that small space, headphones on, speaking into the microphone… adding an “ooh” or an “aah” and harmonizing and having effects put on the vocals, then hearing the finished product… it is better than a bowl of freshly-popped popcorn!  (And if you know me, you KNOW how much I love popcorn!!)  🙂

If I’m lucky enough to keep getting chances like these, I will be a very happy person!  🙂

What Scares You?

What were you afraid of when you were little?  Are you still afraid of that thing/those things now?

Fear is a strange thing.  It has changed quite a bit as I’ve gotten older.

When I was little…

I used to think there were monsters under my bed, but because I was so hot-natured, I’d end up sticking one foot out of the covers during the night, only to wake up, realize that and quickly cover my foot up.  😛

Being in a dark room wasn’t too scary, but shadows were.  Sometimes they looked like scary beings or frightening faces.  (Not always great to have an active imagination…)

Falling was always the biggest one.  I think it comes from falling out of a second-story window when I was 2 or 3 years old.  No broken bones or bruises… just a mom who screamed so loudly, my dad heard her from a half-mile away!  🙂

Now that I’m older…

The loss of loved ones.  People being in your life one moment and then gone in the next.  Yes, I know it’s all a part of living, but it’s a fear all the same.

The concept of forever/infinity.  Not sure why this is so scary to me, but when I think about it, my stomach seems to twist and turn in strange ways.

I’m still frightened of falling.  I will stand on a chair or a step-ladder when I absolutely have to, but it is NOT something which brings a smile to my face!

So, what scares you?  What kind of fears do you have?

(Oh, haunted houses at amusement parks aren’t thrilling places for me, either… especially Japanese ones because most of them are a walk-through type of thing!)

Cherry Blossoms and Back Pains…

One wouldn’t think that those two things have anything to do with one another, but both have been a part of my everyday as of late.

The trees are in full bloom now and I see them while driving around town and walking with the dog around the neighborhood.  Because the temps this spring have been SO crazy, we’re enjoying the blossoms now instead of late March.

And the back pains… I don’t know what I did, whether it was a pulled muscle during a walk with the dog or as a result of doing some spring cleaning around the house (yes, my mother would be shocked!! LOL).  Anyway, my lower back (right side) has been aching something terrible, to the point that it was hard to get to sleep the other night.  (Perhaps another shocker for my mom because I can fall asleep by the time you count to three!)  🙂

Sitting in the computer chair was the worst for a while, so I’ve been away from blogging.  Did try using the laptop in bed to write a post, but the pain didn’t ease up that way either.

Funny thing is during my bout with pain, I thought how wonderful it would be to think out my thoughts and to have them automatically typed out in a post.  Yep, there’s probably an app out there somewhere which does exactly that, right?  🙂

So, does anyone out there have any advice on how to make the pain go away?

One More Hour Until 42…

Okay, by the time I finish writing out this post, there won’t even be an hour left until my birthday!  🙂

The past couple of days have been different compared to those in other years (just prior to the b-day).  There have been cards in the mailbox (even one from one of my brothers!!), gifts in the mail and had a phone call yesterday from a friend, calling from the Crocs shop in town to ask what color I like.  (Guess I’ll be getting a pair of shoes from him!)  Even had a “sort-of” b-day present from WordPress… had a notice that I’ve received my 50th “like”!  Yay!!  🙂

So, what is it about age that some people have a problem with?  One female acquaintance smiled at me today and said, “You’ll be turning 20 tomorrow, right?”  I smiled right back and replied proudly, “No, I’ll be 42.”

You could not PAY me to go back to being 20 or any part of my 20’s.  I lived it and survived it… thought that turning 20 would make me an adult and that I would know all the secrets of life.  (Was also eager to be getting married at 21.)  But my 20’s taught me that I was FAR from being grown-up and by 30, I realized I knew very little about myself much less all the secrets of life.

My 30’s included a divorce and a newly single life (for a while), blind dates, a relationship with a guy which probably lasted longer than it should have, and lots of time for self-discovery.  Year by year, life became better.  Things became clearer.

And my 40’s?  So far, they have been wonderful!!  Growing older is awesome, you know?  Sure, I still have LOTS of questions about life and death and relationships and love… but I’m not desperate to find the answers any more.  If an answer is found, that’s great.  If it continues to elude me, it’s not the end of the world.  🙂

Guess there’s only been one downfall to getting older and that’s losing those I hold dear to my heart.  It’s part of living though, isn’t it?  And even if it’s heartbreaking, I feel grateful for living and having the opportunity to meet and know and love the special people in my life.

Well, 20 minutes and counting… am looking forward to what year #42 has in store for me!  🙂

Where Does The Time Go?

And why does this thing called “life” keep getting in the way of my post-writing time?!!

My schedule was supposed to be easy and relaxed and free after all the graduations and such… ha ha ha ha ha ha!!!!  Guess not!!

It has been a constant stream of things to do… from early morning to LATE at night.  There were a couple of nights while I was driving home from classes when I thought, “Okay, I’m going to get home, walk the dog and WRITE!!”  Reality:  Got home, walked the dog, glanced at my desk-top on my way to the bedroom and fell in the bed!  (Oh, well…)

This whole blogging thing has truly become a big part of my life!  Maybe I’ve said this before, but when I don’t have the time to write a post, it’s as if a piece of my “daily puzzle” is missing.  (Not like I’ve been doing this for a long time… maybe that’s why I’m rather surprised.)

Looks like I’ll actually have some free time tomorrow (miracles do happen!), so I shall write a longer post then… good night to those who are getting ready to sleep and good day to those who are starting their Thursday!  May it be a wonderful night/day for everyone!  🙂

It’s A Small World (A VERY Small World…)

Haven’t been at home much today.  I went with a good friend to a big pottery/porcelain festival downtown… one which is held every year for a period of five days.

It was nice to see many familiar faces, shop owners that we’ve bought dishes from.  (A couple of my friends and I are trying to start up a side business, so we go to these festivals on a regular basis.)  The whole group of us wasn’t together today because of conflicting schedules and the vendors we know all seemed to ask about it.

There are times when I wish that I was Japanese… a thought which has passed through my mind my whole life!  But there have been advantages and positives to looking like I do and being a “gaijin” or a foreigner.  And when you’re meeting important people whom you want to make an impression on, it’s not a bad thing to be a gaijin!  🙂

Anyway, getting to the point of today’s title…

My friend and I visited every vendor today and I think there were about 250 vendors from all over the country.  (Most were from Fukuoka Prefecture and other parts of Kyushu.)  As we were getting to the last ones, we stopped in front of one place, admiring the pottery which was quite appealing to the eye, yet very simple.  The seller was from Kumamoto Prefecture, which is about a 2-hour drive south of here (Fukuoka).  He began to explain the area where he lives and that the poster of the pre-fab wall was a picture of his living room… it showed a wood-burning stove and comfortable looking furniture.

I got excited and told him the same exact stove was in the house where I grew up.  He asked where I grew up.

“I actually grew up in Kanagawa Prefecture.”

“Really?  I used to live there, too.  In Yamato City.”

“Which part of Yamato City?!”  (I was really excited at this point.)

“In an area called Minami Rinkan.”

“THAT’S WHERE I GREW UP!!”

You see, that’s like running into someone who grew up and lived not only in Seattle, but in the same apartment complex on the north side of UW near the local Safeway and Ivar’s!!

He and I knew the same stores and restaurants.  He explained where he lived (rented one of the houses usually rented out to military families) and I knew exactly where it was.  It was completely wild!!

The world is a small place!  It truly is!  Yes, all these social networks and the Internet have brought everyone even closer together, but even without these things, we find ourselves in various places and different situations, meeting people in airports, standing in line at the post office, walking from ride to ride at the amusement parks… and when we strike up a conversation with others, one might be very surprised.  It’s not impossible to run into someone who has a very close connection to our own pasts.

Isn’t that cool?  🙂

Here’s to all those who grew up in Minami Rinkan… may we all run into one another one of these days!  🙂

Oh, WP, how I’ve missed you…

Life, classes and other daily responsibilities have kept me away from blogging from the past two days.  Just two days, but it feels like I’ve been away for a lifetime!

Anyone who has known me since childhood knows that I’m kind of bad at continuing things.  Whether it was keeping a diary, exercising, keeping a budget, or having a set schedule of doing housework, it didn’t last for more than a couple of months.  And the person who was most judgmental and disappointed in me was… me.

I’ve heard that it’s tough for people to change and, after living for almost 42 years, I believe that to be true… but not impossible to do.  I have hope, mainly because I’ve proven to myself that it IS possible, even though there may be times when I slip a little.

As far as exercise, I’ve been trying my best to stick to it, walk the dog every day and have lost almost 84 pounds from my peak weight in my late 20’s.  (Half of that was lost in the past four years… not bad, right?)

In regards to writing a diary, blogging has sort of replaced that… and I’ve been writing a post ALMOST every day since the 31st of January of this year.  Now when I don’t have the time to write a post, it feels like something from the day is missing.  (Like skipping breakfast or not brushing your teeth before going to bed.)  Writing here has become such a part of the daily routine and I’m so thankful to those who have commented and “liked” and are “following”.

Here’s hoping I’ll continue to find interesting things to talk about and share with everyone.

Sending love and smiles from southern Japan!  🙂

Happy Spring! (^^)/

Well, as written yesterday, I actually had a FULL day off today!  Didn’t sit on the couch all day and watch TV though.  Instead, I did stuff around the house.

Washed some clothes…

Washed some dishes…

Washed all the litter boxes for the cats…

Cleaned all the bird cages (all five of them)…

Took six bags of garbage to the local trash place…

Went to the store to buy cat food…

Organized last month’s receipts…

And, believe it or not, I didn’t turn on the computer or the TV until after noon!!

(This is practically unheard of for me!)

Even though it was a day off, I don’t feel very rested… maybe I should have just sat on the couch and relaxed after all!!  🙂

Anyway… Happy Equinox Day to everyone!  May spring of 2012 bring warmer days, brighter moments and beautiful flowers to everyone!  🙂

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