Saturday, August 30, 2008

the return of the fist pump

So I'm bustling around getting ready for a BBQ in my almost functioning apartment when I hear the husband let out a scream of pure joy in the other room. I come running out to see what is so dang exciting as I'm pretty sure Jess just sneezed golden coins given the fist pump that he's got going.

"Hon! Louie Sakoda just scored a 53 yard field goal!" followed by more vigorous fist pumping.

A what? Louie who?

Go Utes.

Bye bye grades.

Friday, August 29, 2008

not bugged

So I'm sitting on the floor of our "old" apartment as our furniture has been moved to the "new" apartment. And although we've taken several loads of stuff over to the new apartment, we still have the never ending odds and ends that I'm pretty sure will take a good decade to get moved over.

But the kitchen is pretty much alive and well at the old apartment. So before we take one last load over to the new world, I made us some homemade pizza. And we're sitting here on the floor (like I said) eating our delicious pizza (seriously - next time I'm around, have me make it - it's better than any pizza you've ever ordered) and I'm like, "Sick. This carpet is disgusting. Oh, sick. There's a dead shiny beetle right in front of me. Disgusting."

I then grabbed an old receipt that had been cohabitating with the other morsels of junk in the carpet...and covered up the bug. And continued eating.

Totally normal.

Totally tired.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

i confess...

...I'm somewhat obsessed with cutting my bangs. My bangs grow much faster than the rest of my hair, and this new 'do requires serious maintenance. But it's like I can't stop. Obviously, I missed my calling as a champion bang cutter. (Hey, if badminton is an Olympic sport, surely there's room for bang cutting.)

...Even though the rain in NC makes the air more muggy than usual, there's something about the smell of wet trees and soil that makes my heart smile. To me it's such a fresh, clean smell, which is rather counter intuitive as soil is generally made of dirt, the stuff that not-clean is generally made of.

...I hate leftovers. Unless those leftovers happen to be panang curry from Asia Cafe. And then I love leftovers.

Monday, August 25, 2008

life is like

Is it normal that my birthday was yesterday and my box of chocolates looks like this?

Jess found a box of entirely milk chocolate. It's like every single one was made to be eaten, unlike other boxes with the token dark chocolate pieces that exist basically to make your box look full. And so, despite the fact that my head is draining from every available orifice, I still somehow mustered up the ability to eat almost my entire box of birthday chocolates.

At this time, I would like to take the opportunity to blame this on my parents, whose sweet tooth genes were passed on to each of their daughters. I know, you're probably wondering why we we aren't all obese. And honestly, so are we.

Friday, August 22, 2008

the road most traveled

So I'm convinced that when I take cold medicine, it slides through my mouth, past the tonsils that once were, down my esophagus, at which point it hits a fork in the road. One sign reads, "The Road to Wellness," the other, "The Road to Nowhere." The medicine then takes the road most traveled, to nowhere, and begins dispersing itself amongst my fingernails and other body parts and functions that could care less about clear nasal passages.

I try to pretend that when I look in the mirror my eyeball doesn't slide down to my lips, but let's be honest - Picasso face is back. And it has successfully captured my REM cycles not to mention the smudgy parts of my face.


the cobwebs of our minds

So when we got home to our apartment that had been deserted for three months, we found everything basically intact. A few dust bunnies had shifted, but no big deal.

But the best part are the spider webs we keep coming across. Now we're weird. We don't generally kill spiders (and when I say "we" I mean "Jess"). So in one of our bathrooms, there's this web with TWO spiders chilling on it. And instead of killing them, we've pretty much adopted them as our pets. It's totally normal. I think it's about time to move them outside as there ain't much sustenance in the leafy branches of our bathroom.

We're normal. Don't worry about it.

(And lest you're stressed - this bathroom is basically unused. I assure you that I could not shower with Charlotte and her boyf sitting curbside.)

Also, Jess flossed his teeth and dropped the used floss in the garbage in our bedroom. WHICH NEVER HIT THE GARBAGE. Here it is miraculously floating.

We haven't spotted this spider, but we think its web is pretty sweet. Especially because 24 hours later, THE SPIDER HAD REMOVED THE FLOSS FROM HIS WEB and dumped it in the garbage.

So there are spiders that write words in their webs, and then there are spiders that put trash into the proper receptacles. We prefer the environmentally aware spiders ourselves.

And in case you think we really love the crawling things, I ask you to please recall (by clicking those blue words) that Jess is sometimes known as the terminator. When the roaches are out, things change. I think when they're so small, tiny, and helpless, he can't help but give them a second chance. And I actually have to love him for it.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

conjunction functions

So I've been thinking. And I'm wondering if some of you are questioning my use of conjunctions, as I noticed my frantic use of them in the below post. (Conjunctions: and, but, or, nor, for, so, yet.) And while some of you probably cringe every time I use one of these at the beginning of the sentence (as I've done just for you in the last two sentences), I just wanted to let you know that I am - in fact - aware of my usage.

Some of you know that I love anything that has anything to do with words. I took my English major a step further and minored in Editing, a rare little gem for the resume. I study words, gobble them up, criticize when they're improperly used. And I also know how to misuse them on purpose. I've long believed that once you've mastered an English "rule," be it one of grammar, usage, or punctuation, you then have permission to do with it as you please. Because if you're aware of its function (or non-function) within a sentence, chances are, you will use it (mostly) intelligently. Often, I like to think that my use of conjunctions actually aids in the whole of what I'm writing. But always, I know that I'm doing it.

Another example: some schools of usage tell you that you should never use the "serial comma," that is, the final comma found in a series, as in:

I ate cookies, cake, and brownies.

That comma before the "and" is often nixed. However, other schools use it. I happen to know which guides use it, and depending on what I'm editing, I delete or add as appropriate. And you'll probably notice that I use it when it's my own writing. I just think it makes things cleaner.

So my point: I apologize if my use of "and" or "but" at the first of sentences makes you squint your eyes and try not to look. But be assured that I know I'm doing it.

Also, now would be a good time to let you know that many usage guides have relinquished the honored spot of a conjunction as merely a connector within a sentence. It is actually championed as a sentence beginner these days. As the New Fowler's Modern English Usage Guide states: "There is a persistent belief that it is improper to begin a sentence with And, but this prohibition has been cheerfully ignored by standard authors from Anglo-Saxon times onwards. An initial And is a useful aid to writers as the narrative continues."

Yes, it is now time to go back to first grade and tell your teacher, "I told you so." And start using those conjunctions freely my friend.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

pilsbury dough shauntel

So I have a problem. It's called Pilsbury cookie dough.

My life is a life of cravings. I move from chocolate bar to cookie in quite rapid succession. And once I get a food obsession in my head, I cannot get it out until I consume it. Take the sugar cookie. Weeks and weeks of dancing sugar cookies in my head while I was in Asia. I seriously thought I might die somewhere between Japan and Hong Kong because although Japan produces some of the world's best pastries, these pastries DO NOT include sugar cookies. Ever! They don't exist in Japan. And so I wasted away day after day, seriously longing for a sugar cookie. Until my angelic mother showed up in Hong Kong with a BOX OF SUGAR COOKIES WITH THICK FROSTING stowed away in her carry on.

And that's when I knew I really was her favorite.

So anyhow. For weeks, I'd been dreaming about chocolate chip Pilsbury cookie dough. Why? I don't know. But I became obsessed. Then I went home to St. George and realized that now I could finally feed the craving and quell the stomach cramps caused by lack of cookie dough. And I could do this because I was surrounded by the sugar teeth who raised me and whom I grew up with. I wouldn't be alone in my inhalation of COOKIE DOUGH NOT COOKED. In fact, I would be championed.

And so while I was there, two nights in a row, we went to Harmon's and bought the family size chocolate chip Pilsbury cookie dough. And we always cooked a handful just to make the dough feel good about its existence. But for the most part, we stood around eating cookie dough. And then waited for the cookies to pop out of the oven (pretty much warm cookie dough) and consumed a few of those.

And so the longing continues. Yesterday, I visited all the grocery stores (plus the Asian Market) in Durham looking for hayashi rice mix. While I was sadly unsuccessful in that hunt (help!), I did however manage to wander back to cookie dough heaven. And somehow I found a tube of dough sitting in my cart.

And just now, I found myself standing in the kitchen, mindlessly eating cookie dough, placing a token bunch of dough globs on the pan to cook. And sadly, the husband thinks it disgusting to eat cookie dough (I know, some of you do too, but then I know that some of you totally understand), so this is really a solo event here in Durham. But to make things even and to at least create the possibility that I wouldn't eat the entire pan of cookies alone, I overcooked the cookies a tad so that they actually came out of the oven the consistency of a cookie instead of dough.

That is, after I pulled the pan out and snagged two doughy cookies for myself. ;)

Friday, August 15, 2008

back to life, back to reality

So somehow, our summer of adventure has pretty much come to an end (we touch down in NC tomorrow). Our belongings have multiplied and replenished, and I'm pretty sure we won't be able to stuff our fans, chopsticks, and wooden dolls into the original luggage that accompanied us here.

In a way, I'm totally sad. But in another world, I'm feeling the puzzle pieces of the organized life I once knew coming back together. I thrive in an orderly and extremely structured environment. And when I boarded the first flight that began this summer, I threw organization to the wind and embraced the unpredictable life that I knew awaited me. It was totally worth it - this summer has been incredible. It has changed me, changed us. And I still crave Tokyo air.

But it will be nice to have my bed back, to reclaim my body (this extra Asian weight is really not funny - but then I remember the delicious Japanese pastries and breads that contributed to this "food baby" and I really can't complain). It will be nice to get back into the regular ebb and flow that was my life. In some ways, we both miss the unknown of every day that we awakened to every morning all summer. But I think in other ways, we're both looking forward to a little bit of normal.

So here's to our Asian Summer Adventure. And to life, both in this country and the other (Japan, the only other country). :)

PHOTO: Your favorite Asian tourists in Nikko, Japan.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

when in rome...

So as it turns out, I miss Tokyo so much, I'm now trying to imitate my old friends' dos. :)

Actually, I really wanted to do this before I left, but I had an inkling that it might get hot and sweaty in Asia (the inkling turned out to be a minor fraction of the reality I experienced). And bangs dripping down my face were the last thing I wanted. Good call on my part, let's be honest. Because now I can protect my Japanese hair by darting into an air conditioned house or vehicle with equally cool air blasting on my face.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

taking to the sea

"Some years ago - never mind how long precisely - having little or no money in my purse, and nothing particular to interest me on shore, I thought I would sail about a little and see the watery part of the world. It is a way I have of driving off the spleen, and regulating the circulation. Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth; whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul; whenever I find myself involuntarily pausing before coffin warehouses, and bringing up the rear of every funeral I meet; and especially whenever my hypos get such an upper hand of me, that it requires a strong moral principle to prevent me from deliberately stepping into the street, and methodically knocking people's hats off - then, I account it high time to get to sea as soon as I can."

So this summer, I tried to read Moby Dick. And although my trio of attempts came up severely short as I accepted any bad airplane movie as an excuse to stop reading, I did read the first page over and over. And I couldn't help but appreciate Mr. Melville's extremely apt description of the water that I love so much. It wasn't a few times that I had to employ a "strong moral principle" to keep myself from deliberately stepping into Hong Kong's streets and methodically knocking people in the head. Just because. But thankfully, I had Lake Powell coming - I was able to take to the sea and calm my frazzled nerves.

And now I can tell Herman that at least I tried. Maybe he and I could sit down together someday and he could just give me the Cliff's Notes version of the plot. And then we could talk about taking to the sea. Because, after all, we have at least that in common.

"Take almost any path you please, and ten to one it carries you down in a dale, and leaves you there by a pool in the stream. There is magic in it. Let the most absent-minded of men be plunged in his deepest reveries - stand that man on his legs, set his feet a-going, and he will infallibly lead you to water...Why is almost every robust healthy boy with a robust healthy soul in him, at some time or other crazy to go to sea? Why upon your first voyage as a passenger, did you yourself feel such a mystical vibration, when first told that you and your ship were now out of sight of land? Surely all this is not without meaning...We ourselves see in all rivers and oceans...the image of the ungraspable phantom of life; and this is the key to it all."

Saturday, August 2, 2008

p.s. by the way

It's good to be home. :)

a few things

1. So I can't watch the news or read CNN too often because in some strange way, it gets way too personal. It's like I project whatever is happening on the news into my life or somehow feel the sadness I would feel if it were happening to me. And if I hear that a book is super sad or depressing, I simply won't read it because I'll do the same thing - I'll make it personal. No matter how much my sisters-in-law beg me to read "My Sister's Keeper," it's not going to happen. Watching them collapse in a heap of ridiculous sobs as they finished is reason enough to know that I can skip it. Why would I voluntarily sign up to feel so dejected?

And when I saw the previews for Dark Knight, I thought to myself, "Hmmmm....that looks extraordinarily dark, won't be seeing that." However, I ended up seeing it. And I wasn't dreading it too much as I'm pretty easy to please when it comes to movies and everyone I know, plus their best friend's cousin, has been gushing about how amazing it is. Problem is, it was dark, disturbing, and depressing.

To me. I realize that some of you love it. But beyond the hype of Heath Ledger's amazing portrayal of the Joker (by the way, for those of you who don't religiously read when you're stuck in Asia, Heath Ledger passed away recently), the movie was the kind that I prefer to avoid. In fact, I end up feeling all sorts of hurt for a man who has been so messed up that he has turned into someone like the Joker. Instead of hating him or enjoying his performance, I tear up as I think about how much he must be hurting.

So I've learned something - always go with your gut. I thought the movie would push all the wrong buttons, including those that make me hurt, but I saw it anyhow. And I know that I will probably go down as one of two people who didn't enjoy the movie (Jess being the other one), but my point is - go with your gut.

2. Also, for those of you who are in the vampire club, you're probably getting to this post three days after I post it as your nose has been lodged between the pages of the Twilight saga's final installment. (Finally, right?) I've finished the first portion of it. And I hate to say it, but I totally called it. So now I'm fine just chilling until I'm at Lake Powell with nothing to do but wait and see how Stephenie Meyer can possibly twist this story into more of a disaster and thereby prolong the agony a little longer. I still have a bone to pick with her about the fact that it has even stretched to four books. Book three was an ideal time to create a fairy tale ending in my opinion.

3. Tomorrow marks the day that I've been waiting for for quite some time. As I sat in Hong Kong wondering if I could possibly make it one more day, all I had to do was imagine Lake Powell, and somehow I could find the strength to push forward. We'll be there for a glorious week. I'm looking forward to basking and frying the acne that formed en route from Hong Kong to San Franciso. I could seriously feel the grease forming on my forehead while I wasted away in my cramped coach seat. Also, I'm rather excited to find myself on a waverunner again. My wild child is relatively repressed until my fingers wrap themselves around the handles of my most favorite mode of water recreation in the world. You won't find me on skis, waverunners, tubes, anything that is towed.

But if I go missing, don't worry - I'm just headed into the sunset on a waverunner, hair whipping behind me. I'm pretty sure that I consider myself the modern day Pocahontas, waverunner instead of canoe, flip flops instead of bare feet, fuel instead of paddles. But my hair whipping behind me just the same.

And I'll probably be singing too. ;)


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