Monday, October 25, 2010

The Karen of my Mom

Sis-in-law O' Mine

If crap you have
She has no time.
For hers, is reserved.

Bed sores and stinks,
and meals and brinks
She, a nurse most times.

And when not caring
she works for Sam's
all good marks she gets

I love this woman
for all she does
and so I take this time

thank you so much
and in return,
I'll see you in 55 days!

Yeah, I am not poet, but I hope you understand the message despite! Muah!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Running Update

Last Monday, I went out during the day after I read this blog. I was not feeling like a runner that day, but she was not feeling particularly human and she did that, so with my fanny pack-a-doo I went out to see what would happen. What happened was I broke into 5.16 km with a 10 minute mile pace. Alrighty then.

Then on Wednesday, again feeling a little less than enthused (rare, as Wednesday I am pretty excited for my end of a long day run), I remembered that blog and shed my lame excuses. With Hiro on his bike I decided to do it again. By decide, I mean, I got to the turn around point and said, "Just run home." I always do that, despite knowing that once home I have to keep going in a loop to make the distance. I just can't promise myself I will do it until I am almost home and feel great for having made it that far and think, "What's a little further?" It's just how it is.

That Wednesday my left foot was really hurting about 3/4 of the way in. It still hurt on Thursday, worse than ever before. Truth is, it often bothers me on Wednesday night runs. I think it is because I run after a very long day of being on my feet. I am not sure how to stop it though as it is the perfect running night for me. I am going to see if it continue and figure out what to do then. But, it didn't hurt on Friday and it was surely fine today...

I went out in the afternoon drizzle and this time, I ran past my turn around to make a loop home. I had ridden my bike to the electronics store earlier and realized that the path I usually run comes out on Shin Jujo where the store is. It is slightly hilly, but not so steep I want to die and I figured it would be a nice challenge. Maybe make up for the copious amounts of bread I ate yesterday and the chocolate the day before (Halloween, drat!)? Maybe I wouldn't feel so bad as slight inclines don't bother me any more?

And so I did and fine it was. I just ran along, thinking about things ranging from, "Man, I must look dazed" to "Don't slip on the wet metal grating". I also often thought, "Don't look at your time." And I didn't until I got to the point where I was getting close enough to start thinking about whether I had to loop at the end or not. And then, my iPhone rang. It was Lili! Yeeeeees! I picked up!

"Hey, I am running! I am almost done. Talk while I finish." Piped in through my ear phones I heard all about her smashingly great kids' Halloween party (at which I didn't help but offered to help with prep yesterday and sent an encouraging message about today. Hear my twinge of guilt? Love you, Li!). Got the DL on the woman who is always such a freaking freak (let's call her Late-ka) and pushed myself in at 37:09 for 5.46 km. Li, you really helped me home, babe! And when this woman did her BQ in Germany, she was doing it for me!

So, that's where I am and I like it. Thank goodness for the blogs above! I find such inspiration and recently, when I see other runners who aren't completely kicking my ass (all men!), I think to myself, "Hey, I think I am becoming a runner." At each run's start I might not think I can go longer, but every 2-3 runs I can. And, just to add, I do it while listening to things like Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon. Oh, to think what I used to do when listening to that!


I had a "computers don't make my life easier" week. "Battery, power adaptor, computer? What was the problem," you ask.

I. don't. know. Or I should say, I. did. not. know. But, let's not get ahead of ourselves.

I assumed it was the computer. I swore that with another power adaptor the same thing happened... no juicy juice. I did the only rational thing for someone in a total panic about not being able to do her work and had no time to go aaaaallllll the way to Shinsaibashi to the Apple Store to have it checked would do. I ordered a new computer. And, yeah, I had wanted a new one. 4 years was a good run, warranty was out, and dayum it had become slow. Boop boopy doo!

Monday to Saturday I just waited, ok, no. I hijacked Hiro's computer. Hiro knew, saying, "Go ahead Jian." If you don't know Jian, he is a bully on the kids' program Doraemon who picks on Nobita and the other kids. One of his famous sayings is "My stuff is my stuff and your stuff is my stuff." And so it is with me. Hiro is my Nobita.

I survived the week with out. And then it came! Like a white knight! I embraced it and gently set it down on our green carpet. Swiss army knife out, opening the flaps of the box, pulling her out! What do you think I did next? Turn it on you say? Absolutely... not. I grab the power adaptor to see if I could juice my old one. Was the 140,000 yen I spent for the computer in vain? Absolutely... kind of.

Green light went on and juiced my old girl got! My new girl? On she was turned and soon I could begin the data transfer. Using airport all my info could flow through space to the new computer set just beside. In 20 hours. Heh heh. By the time I went to bed, I was certain I would wake in the morning with just a few hours left. At 6 a.m., I did and only 3 hours separated me and using my new computer. "That's perfect. I'll sleep another 3 hours," I thought. And then I heard the "buh".

"Buh" is never a good sound, is it?! It means a window has popped up to alert you to something. This window was telling me that my computer was no longer on the network. I will take this opportunity to NOT recommend eo Hikari Fiber as an internet provider. For a variety of reasons, none of which I will enumerate at this time (other than the fact that sometimes it just cuts off), we are switching as soon as we can! And with that, my 12 hours of data transfer was cancelled. I was, as you might guess, none too pleased.

Cancel button hit, pillow over head, I still slept until 9. Then I rolled over and called Apple. No English help today, well, fuck it, I haven't lived in this country for 11 years to not be able to get a handle on this in Japanese and so I hit 4 then 2 and was connected to my helpful technical support person. I would say introduced to, as all phone calls to service centers start with self introductions, but we had no time for that as I had to first apologize for my shitty Japanese and ask for his patience as I "ganbaru" and do my best. Half way though he admitted he really thought I was going to be shitty but you know, I am not, and he was well relieved and happy to say how crap his English is. I reassured him that if it were the U.S. I could understand his disappointment, but um, we live in Japan, Buddy. It's perfectly fine that you can't help me in my L1. Next step, "you need to buy a LAN cable." No, a firewire cable.

Hopped on my bike, wait no, nothing is ever smooth. Climbed back up to get the bicycle pump, pumped it up and then I hopped on. I got all the green lights (Yes!), found my helpful store rep and asked for a firewire cable. "A what? Do you mean LAN cable?" I had no idea, I just knew I was told to get a firewire 400 6 pin 800 9 pin cable. Puzzling. "Let me call Apple," I said. Lo and behold a mistake was made and all I needed was a LAN cable. Yatta! 390 yen later I was back on my bike and home in 10 minutes.

Up, up, in. Sit, call, connect, start the process. No. Stop. Hang up. Update. Make rice. Call back. Try again. No. LAN won't work. WTF!? Who did I wrong recently? Why did they choose now to play their voodoo? I am pretty sure I let the old lady have my seat on the train this week and I didn't punch any children. Oh, I know what I did. I was late and left colleagues waiting. Damn you karma! Shaking my fist, I listened as the 4th or was it 5th technical support person tell me I was out of "easy" options. Easy my big ole white arse!

Out came the EX HD and we began to manually transfer things. Hung up while it got transferred, called back when it was time to put it all on the new computer and voila, 6th or 8th person could finally wrap up my service number. Customer 1816757696 (yes, I memorized it, that's how many times I repeated it with each call back) was DONE!

What next? Skype! That would be easy. Just download and be done. But, why would it be easy? No, Skype wanted to be an ass hat, too. So for a while it was. Until it wasn't. And I was more than ready to take whatever voodoo might have been left on the road and sublimate my pent up ugly into a run. And so I did.

So computer issues, you've been served. I know you will make me think you make my life easier for a while. And you do. But weeks like this, you really don't and like with anything, I am willing to accept that you have to take the good with the bad and in the end, as long as the good (in this case easy) makes me a winner most of the time, I will go forth and still proclaim that I love MacBooks, Apple support, and myself for not exploding on anyone and doing all of this in Japanese. That's right bitches, I got a new computer and even more confidence in myself as a grown-up who can handle a situation maturely and in another language. Me: 1, All the other stuff: 0

Friday, October 15, 2010

Proud Hiro Keep on Rollin'

My cold is gone and really I have my husband to thank. He insisted I go to the Dr. immediately, instead of waiting it out and spiraling into a snotty, black hole with no voice. By Monday I felt normal-ish and went about my shopping, cleaning and cooking routine. Tuesday I worked out after work and that was that as far as any health concerns went.

Wednesday I had one of my best runs, only to be topped tonight. I am still running just 4.87 km at a 10 minute mile pace, but I expect I can get up to 5 km soon. I certainly am a day/night runner, not a morning runner. Mornings I am mentally on the ball, but physically not so much. And again, I must thank my hubby for riding along with me, warming dinner while I am stretching and showering and then doing the dishes. Overall, he is really a helpful man!

I think I am lucky in that our division of labor is pretty even when balanced out with our work schedules. He does the stuff I hate: dishes, bathrooms and showers and I do the stuff I like: cooking, vacuuming (I love that the most because a clean floor is like a clean soul, IMHO) and laundry. Ok, I hate laundry, but I like it more than smelling like sh*t, so I can deal. Plus I absolutely hate how Hiro hangs up wet clothing. There, I said it.

Anywho, I feel grateful for Hiro. He often says he is proud of himself for marrying me. Funny way to put it, but I get it. I married someone nicer than I am, so I guess I can feel proud I spotted that in him and knew not to let him go. No one is perfect and I'll take him being nice over, I dunno', someone with clothes hanging skills.

Thanks, Hiro!

PS- While I cooked all of this, Hiro put it together so nicely! Miso soup with loads o' stuff (cabbage, sticky potatoes, mushrooms, carrots, daikon, tofu, fried tofu, and a little pork), calcium-in-your-face hijiki (sea vegetable) with little fish, carrot and shirataki and finally, the terribly out of place but oh so delicious Mediterranean Chicken Apricot Burgers (again) on baby leaf.

Saturday, October 9, 2010


Alas! Alack! I. am. sick.

Yes. A cold I have.
Annoying, inconvenient
and yet,
a chance to sleep.

Without further adieu,
I bid you all goodnight
at 9:51 a.m.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Yes. I Am Serious!

So tonight, I got home from my longest day of the week and decided I would feel better if I went for a run. However, with the rapist on the loose in our area and the recent, random stabbing death of a young man in Osaka, I don't feel so keen to run at night. As luck would have it, Hiro was home before me. So, he strapped on his head lamp, hopped on his bike, and rode with me all 4.88 km.

I ran the same route as I did on Monday and while the distance is the longest I have run (possibly ever), they have been some of the easiest. I was trying to think about why and I remember distinctly on Monday putting my iPhone/pod/timer in my f*ckin'-sexy-pink fanny pack and saying who cares about your time, just run.

That day, I went a little further and when I got to the point to turn around I felt I could keep going. I decided to go back and then run past home if I was still up for it. I know that if I go too far away I feel panicky, thinking I will never make it back. I kept focus on my breathing and thought (for the first time!), "Wow, I just have to run back." It was wonderful.

What felt equally great was that there was a slightly cool rain falling, which kept me chilled out. I didn't get too hot despite it being the middle of the day. I was relived I went then, as it got sunnier on the way back and continued to get warmer as the day progressed.

Anyway, I just stayed calm, in control of my breathing, and when I got home I decided I could go a bit further. So I kept trotting for a little and ended up with 4.88 km at 35 minutes! Very satisfying indeed. But, could I actually repeat that performance 2 days later, at night, before dinner, after a long day? Apparently, I can.

As we set out, I reminded myself of what worked so well on Monday: don't think of my time and just run along. I felt totally at ease with my capable hubby and just in case I had my weapon (or as everyone but my hubby calls it, a stun gun). I thanked Hiro once along the way and he said, "You are really serious." For a moment I thought of him imagining me stopping and starting, perhaps picking flowers along the way. "Yes, I am serious," I said. He thought I had a good pace and I felt proud of myself.

My ending time was again 35 minutes and while physically I am getting stronger (those little inclines don't even phase me anymore), I think mentally it is such a hard game, but I am finding ways to win. Added to my breathing, I have to remember not to think about my time and to go at unstressful hours or with people who keep me at ease. Not always possible, but perhaps my ideal.

On a comedic note, I just want to clarify that while my running pants are getting looser, my sports bra is not. Such a relief that would be for one of my 3rd grade boys who said in class today that if we were boxing, my breasts would be perfect to practice rapid punches on. (After he said it the class went silent and he turned so red. He knew immediately he was WRONG in so many ways for having said that thought out loud!) And while we are on the subject, I can audibly hear a few of my 6th grade boys breathing a sigh of relief. Yesterday, I caught two of them looking straight at 'em when one turned to the other and said "bigger". Hey, at least I know all the comparatives work we've been doing in class isn't getting past them! Yes. I am serious!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Tis the season... be busy, falalalalalala lalalalala.

Yes, November is fast approaching which means not only is the JALT National Conference on the horizon, but the ETJ Teaching EXPO as well. That means I will be pulling out my presenter hat, followed by my volunteer gloves. It is a super stimulating time of year. Networking with lots of colleagues, socializing with people I don't see but once or maybe twice a year, it just all creates this buzz of professional love and the ideas just come overflowing.

So, between now and then it is time to see friends I haven't seen since before summer and won't until before next summer. Mix that with children's Halloween festivities and let's just call Fall the prelude to feet-never-hit-the-ground-Spring. And...

I decided to add to my Fall basket a Quantitative Method's Course (aka Stats) that will run from October to December. Crazy? Of course! Totally awesome? Oh, hell yeah! Super excited, but super nervous. I can barely balance fractions, so to say this is terrifying would be true. But life is short, so I'll make the best of a scary situation and hopefully come out of it with a keen eye like a proper research cutie pie.

And on the running front... Friday's morning run was a damned shame. Tummy was weird, stressed about time as I had to be back by a certain time and it was a hottish morning. Grr. Hoped to make today better but the rain came, so I just did some yoga and pilates. Fingers crossed for tomorrow!