29 November 2009

Decorations.

As promised - here are some pics of the decorations I have created and put up around the apartment. Not everything is OVERLY seasonal. I love transitional decorating. And if these decorations can be used for the entire Winter, I feel I get more bang for my $$buck$$.

Everything you see is stuff that I already had!  [Really!]

I just had to buy 2 rolls of blue ribbon & a set of 100 count lights! 
Total: $12
Yes - $12!!!!!!! 
I've been trying to stick with the colors of Red & Light Blue. 

[New Mantra this holiday season: Use what you have.]
All of my little comments (& tid-bits) are below the pictures. 
Enjoy.







  This is pretty simple: 
I had some old pine tree branches (fake) so I hot glued some rose petals, just to fancy them up. And to match my color scheme. You can't tell in this picture, but I used some little adhesive jeweled sickers to add a little shimmer. I love it! 
Adding a bow to ANYTHING makes it a little dressier & christmas-y!

This is my new favorite thing. My Mom sent me a hurricane glass that she didn't want. So I filled it with some pretty ornaments. On either side I have a small star candle holder that I picked up {for free} and in them are star shaped candles that I purchased at Pier One last year (After Holiday Sale) for 20 cents each! Fabulous!  I've got my eye on these sparkle candles at the bx to but on the shelves. But they are a little out of my price range! 
Moving to the kitchen: 

 
In the kitchen, I wanted to add some festive colors!  Keeping with the theme of red & lt. blue, I filled a vase with pine cones (that I pulled off of last years pine branches) and cool-funky plastic balls that I found in Japan. Add a few candles in hot-glued-rose-petal-makeshift candle holder & add some more of those funky plastic ball thingys and I have a modern/traditional custom kitchen decoration. 
More in the kitchen: 
 
This is actually one of those things that goes around the bottom of a candle. But, I liked it as a modern wreath. This was a gift from one of my Japanese family- who is currently living in Atlanta and she has discovered Hobby Lobby! 
 

I think this is one of my favorite creations. I had exactly four of these cute glass votive holders. So I used some scrap-booking stickers to make a simple statement on my stove! Add some tea-light candles and it brings a warm glow! 
Moving On to The Tree:

Our tree is small..I mean it was scoffed at  last year when it made its debut...  But -I'm a bit in love with it, because...it is a hand-me-down from my Mom, it is pre-lit, it only has three pieces, &&& it doesn't overwhelm my apartment. I kept the ornaments simple this year. If I were to put allll of the ornaments I had on this tree, it would make it look smaller than it already is. So I added origami cranes and a few of my favorite glass ornaments. Can you spot the Sumo guy? He is a cutie!

Close Up:

& Underneath - you can find:

Some presents that were wrapped before the X-rated newspaper put a cramp in my style. 
We don't have a tree skirt - so I'm using a table cloth I found last summer for $5! I think it works well here. Maybe its a bit Charlie Brown, but it sticks to the theme and doesn't attract unnecessary attention. 

Next is a work in progress.
The Laterns. 

I'm using laterns that I had in storage. But.. I'm on a search for some red/white/lt blue ones. 
So please be kind: I know this isn't perfect, but it gave me a good idea of what I wanted. 



A few extra projects::
 

 
 
 

Have you started decorating? Do you have things that you can repurpose, reuse, or reinvent? 
I bet you do!! Save a little money. Use what you already have!  
-K


28 November 2009

Evolution.

Of Humans. 
Of our living room!!


The Hubby and I have come a long way from being newly married with absolutely nothing to call our own. 
Well.. that isn't completely true, we did have the bare minimum
Well I'll let the montage of pictures speak for themselves:

Phase #1
[Just moved in & recieved FMO furniture]
We had nothing, seriously - pretty bare. 









Phase #2
[The Hubby was deployed. I had tons of time on my hands]
Oh, and a trip to Ikea!
But still had FMO furniture. 



Phase #3
[The Hubby returns and officially approves our budget for new furniture!]










Phase #4
Here is the latest set-up. 
It is always evolving. 
As you can see - There are some Holiday Decorations up!!! 

 
 

Come back tomorrow for some close-ups of the decorations!! 

-K

Deployments, TDYS, and Coming Home.

I've noticed many blogging-friends & real-world friends have had their loved ones come home from deployment recently.
Last year, that was me. The hubby was away for all of our "important" days.
The running list was:
  • His B-day
  • Thanksgiving
  • Our Anniversary
  • Christmas
  • New Years
  • My B-day
Geesh. It was one looooong holiday season last year..
Well I was inspired by Corkyshell & her blog post  -which was so funny and true.
One of the best/hardest part of the Hubby/Wifey coming home is the re-integration of co-living again.
Although, we are so excited for our loved ones to back in the comfort of our homes..
It is equally frustrating that our way-of-life-for-the-past-6-15-months is being disrupted - Yet again.
The dishes that were always clean, are now piled.
Your laudry??? Yeah it doubles!
The bed that you've sprawled out on now has you confined to just your side again.

Well I was introduced to this comic strip [Jenny Spouse.]
She has some funnnnnnnnny stuff! For real.

This one is my favorite:

This is Julie Negron, the author. She is fabulous. I'm by-no-means a veteran spouse - but she is & she has found a creative way to reach all spouses and the unique life we live. Please check her out.
[[That is if you haven't discovered her already...]]

-K

27 November 2009

An Inspired Season.

Ooo My Tummy is full, but by heart is just a little bit fuller.

We had a great Thanksgiving with our Military Family.
It was a great dinner with many side dishes from all over the States.
Which I thought was fantastic! It is always fun when everyone brings their traditions.
We had a few native dishes from Texas, Wisconsin, and New York.

Our friends opened up their home to a lot of Airmen that are temporarily transposed in this foreign country. With a [little wine & lots of beer] we celebrated in true military fashion.

It was a great {kick-off} to the holiday season!
So today..
I'm sharing some inspiration:










What is inspiring you for the holidays??? 


-K

26 November 2009

Giving Thanks!

I've settled down since the fiasco of the newspaper. 
[But I still find myself giggling about it]



Here is a short list of things I'm grateful for. 


I am grateful for the {Time, Energy, & Money} to go to school. 
I'm so grateful for having the Hubby home for the holidays. 
I love him....






















I am appreciative of the ease of communication today. 
[Thank you internet. 
Thank you non-international phone. 
Thank you Facebook. Thank you Skype. 
Thank you Blogger.Thank you e-mail.] 
I'm thankful for being connected
I'm grateful for my family - that goes above and beyond to make me feel supported. 
I am grateful for good health. 
I'm thankful for 60 degree weather on Thanksgiving. 
I'm grateful for the friends I have here and back home. 




[thankful.]
[grateful.]
[appreciative.]
-K

25 November 2009

Oh... Yikes!!!

I've been cracking up about this all night
So, of course - I want share this story with you. 


This year for the holidays I am decking the halls with lanterns and paper cranes
Christmas in Japan is going to be more Japanese-y... 


I got inspired, from Martha, to wrap all the gifts in Japanese newspaper tied up with Japanese washi paper for ribbon. Super Cute! But... I ran out of newspaper.... 


So before I went to teach last night I stopped by a convenient store.
There was a newspaper rack right near the door - Perrrfect! 
I picked up a few different ones - walked up there. 
Got a look from the guys, because [of course I don't read Japanese]. 
In & Out. Got to my class on time. Impressed with myself. 
[I'm thinking....I'm so on top of things this season.


Orrrrrrr so I thought... 


Tonight as I'm getting some presents out to wrap.. I open up the newspaper. 
xxx[HOLY--X--RATED!!!!!]xxx 
yeah... I remember that funny look I got at the register...
I'm thinking...
it wasn't because I couldn't read Japanese. 


I was laughing so hard @ how [DUMB] I must have looked! 
Goodness...
This American girl walks up to buy some porn..
!!! Which in my defense was disguised as a newspaper!!! 
Ahhhahahah!  


Nope. can't wrap gifts with that!!! 


What did I learn?
From now on I will be scoping out the entire paper before purchasing. 


I'm still surprised at my ability to embarrass myself. 
Needless to say: [[wrapping is put.on.hold.]] 


-Have a Happy Thanksgiving!-


-K

22 November 2009

A little Beyonce...

never hurt anyone.  


I'm more than a little bit in love with this song: 


Sweet Dreams







"My guilty pleasure I ain't goin no where
Baby long as you're here
I'll be floating on air cause you're my
You can be a sweet dream or a beautiful nightmare
Either way I, don't wanna wake up from you"




Um- I was seriously swinging my hips and bobbin' my head to this one in Forever21 in Harajuku. No.Joke. 
T - was a witness. 
Embarassing? NO WAY! 
Good song? YES WAY!
Oh and then I danced to this while I was doing chores yesterday. Love.it.so.much.


 "Somebody pinch me, your love's too good to be true" 


[Dear Beyonce, Thank you for this song. I love it. I dance to it. Sometimes I think you are reading my mind. I know that is slightly creepy. Hope you don't mind. Nothing but love - Kate.]


[[Oh & Beyonce... BTW: I'm also in love with Halo, Diva, Smash in to Me, and anything you did in Destiny's  Child. Again, nothing.but.love.-Kate]]


-K


Cat Nap.

Today I'm bringing up this beautiful-little-thing called a nap
I am a nap person. Some people are not. 
But, it is undeniably one of the best things in my life. (seriously.)

They allow me to relax. They give me a chance to shut out the rest of the world (atleast for a few minutes). 
Let's face it: Life is unpredictable. It is stressful. It is frustrating. 
It.Is.Messy. 

Naps can save you from ripping your hair out.  
(It has saved me a few times)

They can give you a few minutes of "me" time.
(MUCH needed "me" time)

It can take you away from some stress. 
(Please take me away!)

They are awesome for recovering from a hang-over. a long night out. 
(I won't even disclose how many times I have done this). 
It can be a great way to take a break from life.
(I mean c'mon, we are saving the world daily - we deserve a break!)


This is my perfection: 
 
Some people ask me how I can waste my time with a nap. 
Some ask how I fit a nap into my schedule. 

First: I don't look at naps as a waste of time. They keep me balanced. They keep me fresh
Who wants to have a crabby apple at dinner? [No-one.]

My way to overcome the bitch in me is to calm it with a nap. 

Second: I made it a priority. If I am having an extremely frustrating day, I pencil in a 30 minute nap. Some people use Yoga to relax. Some people meditate. Some people go for a walk. Me? I take a nap


I'm not advocating that everyone take an hour everyday to get some heavenly down time.
I am, however, advocating for you to take some time to wind-down
[chillax.]

The Hubby? He uses his guitar. After work, he will sit and play some tunes for a while.
My friend? She goes for a walk everday. 30-40 minutes of just good ole' increased circulation for a clearer mind. 
Another Friend? She will lie down and listen to relaxing music. 


All I'm sayin' is that I know some Mothers, some military spouses, some military members, some family members, and some friends that could just really afford to take a little break.



"Set aside half an hour everyday to do all your worrying, then take a nap during this time."
-Anonymous. 
-K


21 November 2009

Keep commin' back

...for more. 
At this very moment, I should be finishing up my school work..
 -reading - writing- analyzing- 
instead: 
I'm reading all your fabulous blogs. 
I'm writing this post. 
&
I'm analyzing the randomness that has become.my.life. 


I've discovered what, I believe, is one of the worst feelings I could have. Having a piece of hair stuck on your shirt while it tickles the back of your arm. Its times like this that I wish: 
A. That I could bend my body in ways so I could pinpoint the exact location of this annoying strand of hair. 
and
B. That my wild, unruly hair would remain fixed to my noggin. 





I recently remembered that I used to believe that devastating things would actually happen if I did not forward that e-mail to [20 people in the next 20 minutes.] And, I would actually be disappointed when someone didn't reveal that they loved me at 11:11 as promised by the said e-mail. 


I write my notes in colored pens. Pretty colored pens with argyle designs on them. One day I had a particularly large amount of school work - and I asked the Hubby to go to the store and buy me some new writing utensils. I never imagined that he would have made my day by bringing me pink, green, purple, and orange inked pens. Love.him.
(Oh & yea.. I know how dorky it is that I actually changed the words to their respective colors)


I only eat the Chex cereal out of ChexMix. I believe that they hold all the goodness, therefore, I don't eat the pretzels or the mini bread sticks. 







I love effortless style. The other day I wore one of the Hubby's white [[undershirts]] with a waist cinching belt and layered metal necklace under a black blazer. It took me all of about 15 minutes to get ready - including hair and makeup. It doesn't happen often, but every once in a while it does. It is fabulous. 


I laugh at my own jokes. I laugh at my own corny-nonsensical jokes. 
& I.love.it.



So - I wish I had some better content for everyone. I wish I had some funny story that I could write off the top of my head.
Ever since I started school, my brain does-not-work-like-that. 
All I'm left with 

All I have left to share 
are these random bits 

pieces of my life.  








The hope is... that sometime soon - I'll have something for you


Until then - try to enjoy these little random-arbitrary quirks. 
Yes - I use pictures to keep you interested! enjoy.


"So much of life, it seems to me, is determined by pure randomness."
-Sidney Poitier 




p.s. My house smells like waffles right now. 
p.p.s. Waffles are one of my favorite breakfast items. 
p.p.p.s. They are not included in the diet I'm on right now. (damn). 


-K

20 November 2009

Facelift.

As you can (very obviously) see - I have a new look.

I love Cherry Blossoms & thought it is only appropriate to have them in my blog.

I got my facelift from Lena Toews - You can custom order them, or you can use a freebie!
Check her out!!!

Have a wonderful Friday!

-K

19 November 2009

Family.

[familjen. kazoku. familia. rodzina. famille. pamilya.]

Every so often a {wave} of homesickness comes over me.
Who could blame me? 10,000 miles away from family...
In addition: this is my first holiday season away from my family. And although I'm very excited to spend it with the Hubby - I can't help to feel a little sad that I'll be missing the festivities back in NY.
[[Winter isn't my favorite season, but NY during the holidays just makes sense to me.]]
(Yes, I tolerate the snow for about two weeks- after New Years I go back to my snow-loathing self)



Anyway: I thought I would take this opportunity to introduce my family.

Meet Mom:
She can be found here and here.
I call her just about everyday (thank you USAF for that!).
Two words sum her up: Unconditional Love (she oozes it, yes oozes-it!)


Meet Bryan:
The most motivated person I know.
Driven & Determined.
((Oh Oh - He is wicked funny too!))

Meet Michael:
The baby of the family.
Has a huge, HUGE heart & kind soul.
He has a contagious smile. He rarely shows it, but when he does it warms your heart.


My family, like many, have been through some tough times and just plain discouraging things. 
But - the love my parents gave us as children is the glue that holds us all together.
We use humor - which we can find in [ANYTHING].
((You get the three of us together and we will be laughing about something))

We give support - which is endless.
&
We just love each other.
There is no conditions about our flaws, mistakes, or screw-ups.
We just talk. laugh. and love.
It really is that simple isn't it? 

 

Now - Now - I may be misleading you a little bit, because there have been times when the advice I give my brothers is received by nothing more than... click.
BUT: grudges don't last long because our bond as siblings is stronger.
Also - to my Mother's annoyance, we have a special communication between the three of us.

 
Recently - we have a new focus:
To be relentlessly protective of our Mother. Not because she is fragile, but because she is all ours.
 
But whether we are joking around - yelling over the phone - wrestling each other to the floor - punching someone in the arm - or giving a much needed hug..
the important thing is:
[there is always the underlying factor of, love.]


-My brothers are going to think this post is a bit ridiculous-
-maybe a little too mushy-
Miss you two.
Love you Mom.

-Kate



18 November 2009

Real Love.

Yesterday: Sarcastic & Cynical 
Today: Lovey-Dovey. 



I love my students. I can have a busy/crazy day and they make it all better. 
& I don't think I will ever find the right words to express that to them. 
[In Japanese or English]

I love that I have a stateside number, that way I can call my people (yes - I have people!!) whenever I want. 

I love that I don't have to pay for college this year. Now- next year might be a different story - but lets just bathe in the present awesomeness of now

I love that the Hubby with.out.fail. will kiss me goodbye - even before PT when he will be back to shower in about 30 minutes. Love you.


I love when my Mom just knows when something is off - just by the tone of my voice. Even across 10,000 miles her intuition is [spot.on.]



I love that I have a flexible job as a sub so when I need to get school work done I know I can make time to do it. 

And last: I love that I am absolutely in the spirit of Christmas this year. Not the stressful shopping for everyone. Not the giving - giving - giving part. Not the list making- the crazy baking- the envelope licking- the bow tying. 
It is the {love} & [togetherness] this year.
  Last year the Hubby was deployed over the holidays.    
Year one: He was in Japan waiting for me. 
Year two: He was enjoying Christmas in the desert. 

(this is last years lonely Christmas picture I sent to the Hubby)
(( and yes.. I had to use a self timer - pah-thetic))
This year: We will be enjoying Christmas with our military family. And we will be celebrating our first official christmas together. 

-K

17 November 2009

Sarcastic Love.

First (& foremost): 
I just-freaking love that President Obama has been chastised in the media for his very formal and totally acceptable (!!) bow to the Emperor and Empress of Japan. I took a poll with  my students tonight and they all thought it was very respectful. It is not a sign of insubordination, it is a sign of cultural knowledge and personal choice. Protocol!? Goodness people (cough, cough-Fox News) - the man is considerate. 
[Plain & Simple.] 



I love that I can feel so accomplished during the day and get SO much done, but still (and probably always will) have more things to do. 


I love that my crappy lovely classmates neglect their school work until the very last seconds of the week. Thanks a bunch


I love that 4 people on my floor are moving and that the smell of cleaning supplies, paint, and new carpet is leaking into my apartment. 
Headaches: 3 Kate: 0 


I love that my Hubby got the new Call of Duty video game in the mail today. My living room is a war zone. I have a bit of shell shock. 


I love that I started a new diet (changing my eating habits) and I've never felt more starved. Oh and I love that because I'm on a diet - I'm craving sweets more-than-ever. 


I love how I live ((seriously)) a 5-minute-walk-away from the gym and I still don't get off my butt. That has-to-change


I love how there will always be people that rain on your parade


I love when I am ignored and avoided. 


Okay - Just had to get those little things out. 
I've ranted. I'm done. 
I promise I'll have happy-Kate back for ya' tomorrow!


-K

16 November 2009

Learning Japanese.

Some Facts:
I have lived in this foreign country for 1 year &  10 months, but only actively trying to communicate in Japanese for the past few months.
I have expanded my vocabulary - ten.fold. ((yeeahh!)), but I resort to jap-glish (mixed sentences of Japanese & English) almost everyday.
I have shamefully walked away from people that didn't understand my Japanese, then thought about what they told their families about me.
I have been so totally embarrassed shy of my new vocabulary that I don't use it.
I have had a few successful conversations and they make me feel accomplished.
I have bought many products where the salesman did not speak English and had to figure out how to use the product on my own (because I didn't understand the directions).
I have a notebook strictly dedicated to the phrases I use the most:
Making Reservations, Buying Clothes, Asking for the Check.
I have cried in a taxi when I couldn't tell the driver where to take me, and through my tears I asked to go back to Yokota Air Base (almost traumatized me from leaving the confines of this base again, ever).

As long as the conversation stays on a few limited topics..
I can communicate. 
As long as the Japanese can understand broken sentences..
I can communicate.
As long as the the other person speaks to me like I'm 5..

I can communicate.

Here is what it must sound like during a conversation with me:
[ I. shrimp. no. eat. today. I'm sorry. (sad face). no. no. shrimp-no-eat. hate. no. eat. thank. you. (bow slightly) ] [This. (point to shirt on mannequin). where?. I. Like. I. Buy. Please. This. (point again) I. Buy. Where?.][Check. Seperate. Two. (count to self, outloud). -one-two-. People. No. (point to kid). ((repeat)) No. (point to kid). Two. People. Yes. Thank. You.][Reservation. Please. Two. People. Six. Today. Six. Tonight. ?? Kate. Number? Hold On. English. Ok?. Good]


I also apologize after every conversation. Which (now that I think about it) might seem weird to them. But, for me.. I'm apologizing for A.) screwing up their language B.) possibly wasting their time &  C.) most likely making a fool out of myself.
Sometimes, I imagine them [[giggling]] to themselves later about me or telling their families how they encountered a crazy American trying to talk to everyone in Japanese.




Oh. Well. I keep pushing on.
Here is what I can do:
I can have a conversation about family.
Now (!!) I can make a complete reservation, properly.
I can ask where things are in the super market.
I can ask for a correct size.
I can ask for the price of something. 
I can have a conversation about studying.
I can follow a basic conversation about colors, weather, cost, likes/dislikes, and jobs.
I can introduce myself and people I'm with.

This might seem rheudamentary -BUT- it has taken a lot of practice to get to this point.
& Considering we live on an American base - I never (ever, ever!!) have to use my Japanese.

I'm incredibly thankful for my Japanese teacher - who also happens to be a good friend (and a previous student). Who is patient with my limited brain activity and space.




"A different language is a different vision of life."
-Federico Fellini  
-K  


13 November 2009

Where are my keys???

Let me rant about this little issue I have called...
[Absent-minded-ness.]





True Story time:


I spent all day [I mean 7-whole-freakin'-hours] trying to find my keys. I searched to the point of tears. I finally fell onto the Hubby's arms in frustration. What were his comforting words? "This hasn't happened to you in a while... at least a few days right?!" ugh.


True Story.


Before work I made tea. Put it in my to-go mug. Drove to work. On the way there, I could not, for-the-life-of-me, remember if I turned the stove off. I didn't trust myself, so I drove back home and was 5 minutes late. [I did turn it off] ugh.


True Story.


Instead of finding my cellphone in my purse, I found my T.V. remote.


True Story.


When putting away groceries I put my shampoo in the fridge, right next to my italian dressing [a whole week before I found that one].


True Story.


Made a list of things to do. Made a post-it to remind me to look at the list of things to-do. I lost the post-it, therefore I did not look at the list of things to do, therefore I did not take care of the oh-so-important-thing-called-a-bill. great.


True Story.


Went to the store, with my grocery list. Still forgot 1/4 of the things that were ON MY LIST 
[IN FRONT OF MY  E-Y-E-S!!!].


True Story.


I forget phone numbers.
I forget names. 
I forget birthdays.
I forget appointments.
I forget..
a lot of things...



So now, I've come to learn to work around this quirk. 
- I always leave myself 15 extra minutes after I leave the grocery store to run back to get the items I forgot. - 
- I give myself 1 hour to look for something before I totally freak out. - 
- I have notebooks for everything. Notebooks tend to be easier to find (unless I wrote it one of the small ones...I still don't know why I even buy them) - 
- I have beyond-a-healthy amount of post its. Its a sickness. really.  
- I basically put out a disclaimer for people I meet. That way they know ahead of time what they are getting themselves in to. I'm really doing you a favor. trust me. - 


All I have to say is I'm So-so-so grateful for the friends I have for putting up with this crap. And goodness my poor husband - who despite wanting to rip his hair out - he doesn't. He is the real saviour in all of this, because without him I just might actually lose my mind. 



[[BTW: I did eventually find my keys!! It was just before we started pricing out what a new ignition would cost us! Thank Goodness!]]
-K