27 February 2010


 After the week I had, all I wanted was a glass of wine.
Desperate times, call for desperate measures.
After too much effort....
A much NEEDED glass of wine!!

Movie Critic Friday

I had this incredibly cheery post about the balloons and talking dog-collars in the Disney Pixar's Movie 'Up'.

But last night, late last night, I went to the movies. T and I went to see Precious.

I couldn't hold off to talk about this movie.

See it. Go see it.
This  movie shows abuse in a very unfiltered, unaltered, raw way (physical, sexual, and verbal) & parts are disturbing. But, it is more than just abuse, this film shows hatred, blame, envy, illiteracy, AIDS, welfare, and alternative education. You meet the main character, Precious, and her struggle & her deep desire to get out of her situation. There are moments of relief, but a majority of the time, I sat there knowing that there are people in our country that face these situations everyday.

It solidified for me the reason I'm finishing my degree in social working.

There were moments where I would smile at Precious' effort towards making things better. And there were moments when my heart smiled for the women and people that did support her.

On another note: 
This movie has more swearing in it than I've ever heard (Oh.my.goodness.) The string of superlatives that came out of their mouths was an education (for me) in itself.

I think, every woman should see this movie. For many of us, I think, this movie touches on issues that are so far removed from our situation that it could do nothing but change our world view. It exposes issues that remain hidden under fake facades and toughened masks. And it opened my eyes to a different type of suffering, shame.

I really hope that this movie does well in the Academy Awards because the women that played these roles were magnificent. Particularly Monique, who played Precious' mother - the emotion, anger, and abuse she portrayed really guts you.

All in all:
This movie should humble you.

My only criticisms (Caution: A SPOILER!!!!):
-It implied that a small amount of intervention could pull someone out of the hardened shell of a person who suffered abuse starting in infancy (most of the time, this is not the case..).
-That the ending implied that Precious would continue on and accomplish all her dreams, all I could think about was the fact that she has AIDS in 1987 - a time where the life expectancy of these patients was shortened into months or years (not like now where with proper treatment a patient can live decades with the disease). Which made me think about where her 2 children would go (it could be very possible that they be put back into the home where Precious was running from).

Did I think this was an amazing movie? 
It is moving.

This movie is disturbing & difficult to watch. These are opinions that I have. I am not pushing anyone to go see it, I am  stating what I saw as a heartbreaking and unbelievably executed movie. 
You may disagree & if you go to see this, please let me know what you feel about it. 
If you HAVE seen it, I'm very interested in your comments.

24 February 2010


That is how I feel today. 

I'm grateful that Tuesday & Wednesday are over.  
(thank goodness!)

I'm grateful that The Hubby and I have saved money in order to take care of the 
little massive 
surprises of life. 

I'm grateful for people I can vent to about my worst days. 

I'm grateful for the bottle of wine The Hubby picked up after work. 

I'm grateful for being married to a person that can calm me down. 

I'm just grateful. 

23 February 2010

It's Freaking Tuesday.

Today I was on the verge of tears all day.
& I'm going to dive right into this:
Yesterday was my father's birthday.
I've struggled with the grief of losing him and I'm still struggling with continuing on without him. Of course I miss him everyday, but yesterday he would have been 49 years old (and hating that fact!) and I can't help but be a little...off.

I woke up like any other normal day and planned out the several errands I had to go run after work. I had to pay my husband's motorcycle insurance, it's due. I drive over to the tiny little insurance shop - with the even tinier parking lot- and walk in ready to pay. Then they say... Oh by the way, I think your car insurance expired - WHAT? yep.it.did. Oh and by the way, your JCI [a bi-annual inspection, which costs an arm and a leg to get done] was due last week. So, you cannot drive your car, but if you go down to city hall you can pay to get some temporary plates! Yay! And you are going to have to bring your car to the on-base inspection and pay your other arm and leg to have them pre-inspect it before you bring it to us and sell your soul so we can get it inspected, for real. Ugh. Fine. So I leave the office knowing that I'm now armless-legless-and soulless. perfect.

I get into my illegal car, drive to the Japanese city hall and drive down into the tiniest underground parking lot I've ever seen. You HAVE to back in, because you might never get out again. So I do a 3 point turn.  4 point turn. 5 point turn. 6 point turn. 7 point turn to get into the darn spot. Three cars were waiting and I was getting the death stare from the Japanese man who just about t-boned me. I parked WAY too close to the darn wall and banged my head against the freaking car door. perfect. I'm juggling my paper work, my wallet, my car keys, and my parking lot ticket. All so I can buy these freaking temporary plates, so I can drive my freaking car, so I can sell my arms and legs (and soul!), so we can drive [legally].

Then, since I'm bringing the car in to get it pre-inspected, I realize that the state of my car is less-than-stellar. So- I pull into the shopette and vacuum out our car. Only to stand back up and feel a pain in my back like I've never felt before.
My poor (poor, poor) students tonight.. I am in rare form and I'm not sure if I will be able to pull off a sunny disposition. Hmmph!

Side Note:
While I was at the shopette, I picked up a bottle of wine.
I'm going to need it.

Happy Tuesday-ing!

22 February 2010


First things first: 
I would like to say WELCOME to some new followers!! I promise to visit your blogs when I have a spare moment!!!

St. Patty Decorations. 

[Kiss Me I'm NOT Irish at.all
[in the matted frame: "Find A Penny Pick It Up, All Day Have Good Luck"]

[15 minute banner]
[Got Paper? Got String? Got Letters?]

Total Cost?? 
$1.50 Green Scrapbook Paper. 
Twine-String [left over from Christmas]
$5.00 Clover Dining Mat [bought 2 years ago]
Everything else has been repurposed. 


Happy Decorating! 

21 February 2010

A Sunday Afternoon

I spent my afternoon with her....
 [It was her b-day yesterday!!!]

& her...
 [ Michiko - or - Nihongo Mama]

  This Mama brought us here:
to eat this: 
 [Among many other delicious foods]

Then we went to see this: 

And saw the cutest-violin-boy ever!
[Told You So!]

But really we went to see her:
  [Masako-san. She looked fabulous and played beautifully (the violin, like the cute little boy)]
I even met her mother-in-law (who had the most beautiful white hair I've ever seen) and introduced myself as Masako's English teacher - in Japanese! 
woo! hoo!

Good Friends.
Good Food.
Good Music. 
Good Sunday.

Blogger Award

In my best Elvis Voice: 
Thank You, Thank You Very Much...

Katie @ The Adventures of Katie and Josh passed along this award! 
 It was very sweet!
I love her iPhone Photo Friday posts. 
They are REALLY funny. 

There weren't any rules with this one. 
SO - I'm making my own (just because!)

1. Thank the person that awarded it to you. 

2. List 5 things that make you happy. 

3. Pass it along to 5 blogs that bring sunshine to your day! 

Things the make me happy: 
-Cute ballet flats! 
-Miranda Lambert!
-Yummy Strawberry Crepes!
-Finding a New Hobby : Crocheting!

To be honest, many MANY blogs make me smile, but here are a few: 
Carrie @ [carrotspeak.] 
CorkyShell @ Behind every great love is a great story...

20 February 2010

A Military Wife

Lots of moving...
Moving far from home...
Moving two cars, three kids and one dog...all riding with HER of course.
Moving sofas to basements because they won't go in THIS house;
Moving curtains that won't fit;
Moving jobs and certifications and professional development hours.
Moving away from friends;
Moving toward new friends;
Moving her most important luggage: her trunk full of memories. 
Often waiting...
Waiting for housing.
Waiting for orders.
Waiting for deployments.
Waiting for phone calls.
Waiting for reunions.
Waiting for the new curtains to arrive.
Waiting for him to come home,
For dinner...AGAIN!
They call her 'Military Dependent', but she knows better:
She is fiercely In-Dependent;
She can balance a check book;
Handle the yard work;
Fix a noisy toilet;
Bury the family pet...
She is intimately familiar with drywall anchors and toggle bolts.
She can file the taxes;
Sell a house;
Buy a car;
Or set up a move...
.....all with ONE Power of Attorney.
She welcomes neighbors that don't welcome her.
She reinvents her career with every PCS;
Locates a house in the desert, The Arctic, Or the deep south.
And learns to call them all 'home'.
She MAKES them all home.

Military Wives are somewhat hasty...
They leap into:
Career alternatives,
And friendships.

They don't have 15 years to get to know people.
Their roots are short but flexible.
They plant annuals for themselves and perennials for those who come after them.

Military Wives quickly learn to value each other:
They connect over coffee,
Rely on the spouse network,
Accept offers of friendship and favors.
Record addresses in pencil...

Military Wives have a common bond:
The Military Wife has a husband unlike other husbands; his commitment is unique.
He doesn't have a 'JOB'
He has a 'MISSION' that he can't just decide to quit...
He's on-call for his country 24/7.
But for her, he's the most unreliable guy in town!

His language is foreign

And so, a Military Wife is a translator for her family and his.
She is the long- distance link to keep them informed;
the glue that holds them together.

A Military Wife has her moments:
She wants to wring his neck;
Dye his uniform pink;
Refuse to move to Siberia;
But she pulls herself together.
Give her a few days,
A travel brochure,
A long hot bath,
A pledge to the flag,
A wedding picture,
And she goes.

She packs.
She moves.
She follows.

What for?
How come?

You may think it is because she has lost her mind.
But actually it is because she has lost her heart.
It was stolen from her by a man,
Who puts duty first,
Who longs to deploy,
Who salutes the flag,

And whose boots in the doorway remind her that as long as he is her Military Husband,
She will remain his military wife.
And would have it no other way.

Simply Love Swap

I participated in my first swap with Katie @ Loves of Life
Thanks for organizing and coordinating that for us! 
It was so fun shopping for my swap mate:

Being in Japan means that the mail is a little slower than usual 
the weather over in the States has been less-than-stellar
BUT: I got my gift yesterday (!!!) 
I'm so excited to share all of the great things Hayley picked out for me! 





Have any of you felt like there are parts of you that are total opposites? 

Like when I'm:
-  I am riding a train through Tokyo (The biggest city in the world) while listening to country music.

- Crocheting a scarf while watching MTV or listening to some hip-hop.

- Adding a bow-adorned-headband to an outfit with zippers and leopard print shoes.

- Eating fruit as a snack while drinking down my latest weakness, RootBeer!

- Noticing that academic books take up as much space as my fashion magazines do.

- Loving my crazy wild-hair as much as I love how sleek it can be.

- Swearing while I'm listening to Mozart.

There are components of who I am that are so vastly different.
But I seem to make it work. Atleast I think I do...

I can't be the only one. I know I can't.

19 February 2010

Movie Critic Friday

* First Installment of Movie Critic Friday 
Today's Review: Julie & Julia  
[aka: Julia & Julia, The Julia Childs Movie, 
That Movie with Meryl Streep & Amy Adams]

I'm pretty proud of myself that I actually know the actors, without searching on Google! (And who couldn't, I love these two!).
I give this movie 4/5 Le Creuset French Ovens!

Long Story Short:
I enjoyed this movie (in the comfort of my own home & in the comfort of my sweats!) because of its cuteness. Amy Adam's character is in a slump - at work, at home - I mean she moved into an apartment above a pizza shop in Queens! She loves to cook & by the way her Hubby hooves the food during the movie - she is darn good at it. It is her escape to something she has control over. So she starts up a blog (probably how many of us got started!) and she decides to tackle Julia Child's french cookbook in year. The movie flips back and forth between Julie (in Queens) and Julia (the Cook!). I thought the weaving of the two true stories made for such an interesting movie. But even more fascinating was Julia Child's journey into cooking and the long road to being published. It's heart warming & funny.

What I didn't like:
The length. There were parts that were a bit.. yawn.yawn.
Julie doesn't get to meet Julia (I was totally expecting it!)! (I KNOW it's a true story and based on REAL things: but it would have been a happy ending- I'm a sucker for those!).
I'm not a bigger fan of french food after this. Especially after a boned duck!?

It did however make me want to be a better cook & better blogger.  
And throw some cute dinner parties! 

In my quest to deepen my understanding of movies here are some tidbits I learned... The director is Nora Ephron - who is best known for When Harry Met Sally and Sleepless in Seattle (who knew? Not me!). Meryl Streep has won 13 awards for best actress in this movie so far (with 2 more still pending!) Apparently, Julie Powell (The REAL Julie) thought that the film didn't emphasize the relationship with her cat well enough - and that the cat "actor" was not accurate (random, I know!).  

I would say:
Rent It
Buy It
Definitely worth the $5!
One word to sum up this movie: Delightful.
***What did you all think? 
Was anyone else inspired to tackle a project in a year like that?  
I know I was!


You all had some good nicknames!!! 

(Did you miss the post?? Check it out here. Add Yours!)

Thanks for indulging me! 

Here are some of the best: 
Gordo, Meeranda Jeany BoBo, Bossy Pants, Peter Pantless, Easy Bake. 
Too Funny!!

On a side note: The Hubby felt left out of the nickname post 
(insert the saddest face you've ever seen)
So here are his: 
Name: Justin Andrew
Nicknames: Love, Jay, Jay-Andy, Tooter (He is the Tooter to my Tootie!), Stinky


Finessa @ Road To Bliss has described her nicknames for her son. I decided to ask you where your nicknames are from! Here are mine: 
I respond by a whole host of cute, little pet names that the Hubby and my family have come up with for me.

Full Name:
Katherine Marie
(Used in formal occasions and if I did something I was not supposed to.)
[Fun Fact: The Hubby introduces me as "my wife, Katherine."]

Basic (Standard) Nicknames:
Kate, Katie.

Childhood Nicknames:
Monkey, Kater-Pa-Tater, Katers. Katie-Girl
[Fun Fact: I still have a monkey stuffed animal that I was given when I was born.]

The Hubby-Created Nicknames:
Katie-Pie, Tootie, Maria

[Maria is funny because it isn't my name. It isn't even my middle name! It throws people off when they hear it, which makes it really funny, because I actually RESPOND!]

Simply Kate.

               Now, tell me what your funniest/cutest nickname is. 
Is it from childhood? Since marriage?? 
The most creative nickname gets a gold star!!!

18 February 2010

Movies Movies Movies

I'm not a movie-buff. I can't recite lines from the best films & I can't remember actor's names. I don't know the best directors & I'm unsure of what qualifies a movie as THE picture of the year. I'm confused about the process of screen writing & I don't understand the inner workings of character development.


I've decided to take on the Academy Award Nominations - to see if I understand WHY they were chosen...

It's sad but I haven't seen most of the movies on the list...

-The Blind Side
-District 9
-An Education
-The Hurt Locker
-Inglorious Bastards
-A Serious Man
-Julie & Julia
-Up In The Air
-Crazy Heart
-The Lovely Bones

I'm going to be putting up a list on the blog - to keep track of the movies as I watch them. I'm sure many of you have seen them (because you don't live under a rock- like I do..), but I think it will be fun to write my own personal review for ya'll.

It's going to be Movie Critic Fridays  - My NEW weekly post. So, make sure you come back to leave some good comments about whether you saw the movie, loved it (or hated it), or want to see it. So if you are like me and are not big on these movies - No worries, take this journey with me (I would love some company!).  Tomorrow we are starting with (drum-roll please......) Julie & Julia.

16 February 2010

Surprises & Love Story.

I still get giddy like a child when I peek into the mailbox and voilà, you've-got-mail! 

Last week, my class and I got a big surprise in the mail from the previous teacher (Thank you if you are reading!). She always sends little goodies - so I shouldn't have been so surprised by this, but I was. She sent us a box filled with goodies to share for Valentine's Day. There were socks, candy (lots and lots of candy) and valentine for everyone. 

AND there were these fun pouches that you punched (really hard) and a valentine would appear. It was so darn cute! Though, the whole process was a little underwhelming, considering that only one did what it was supposed to. But that ONE little pouch gave us a lot of excitement. You shake up the pouch and mix up the chemicals (?) and punch it with your fist. It immediately inflates and then POP! out comes your special valentine balloon! 

It was such a good night teaching. What's funny is that I can moan about going out in the cold, I can hate the drive, and I can be napping on the couch right up until the 5 minutes before I'm late - but as soon as I'm surrounded by these wonderful people all of that melts away. I'm just full of smiles, laughter, and most of all love. 

I teared up as I was trying to tell them about a love story between one American girl and these wonderfully-welcoming-loving-kind-beautiful-nurturing-supportive Japanese citizens that have become a part of her family & heart. I got misty when I was describing how much this family meant to her and how grateful and blessed she was to have them a part of her life. It is truly magical when love transcends distance, culture, language, and age. It.is.truly.magical.

 [This is a picture from my Birthday -  but it has everyone in ONE picture.]
From Left to Right: 
Koutaro, Shinsuke, Mitsu, Masako, Michiko, Me (Kate), Kazuko, Manami, Kazue, Shiho, & Little Kazuko.

Give In

Sometimes when you fight against something for so long, you eventually just give in to it.
That's what happened this weekend. I.gave.in.

We bought our second major purchase as a married couple.
It comes in the form of 52 inches. Liquid Crystal Display. High Definition. Flat Screen.
It practically takes up a whole wall.
[& my eyes have yet to adjust to it massive-ness.]

It's really unnecessary. & The Hubby is in love with it.
It's TV-Movie-Gaming at it's best. I truly DO feel like I'm at the theater -(if I could only remember the steps it takes to change into cinema viewing.). And I hope my neighbor doesn't mind if the Hubby can experience actually BEING in a war (it sounds like we are ACTUALLY there now.).

If it was up to me, I would stick with our half ton, opposite of high definition, plain-jane, TV box. (Which we purchased for $30 - 2 years ago.)
I put up a good fight. I really did. For a long time. But, as the Hubby's TV fund grew and grew, I knew that if I didn't give in now, we would be buying even bigger! So I gave in on Valentine's day. As I passed the jewelry counter and coffee maker I've been fawning over - we made our way back to the Man's domain, Electronics. Here, I sat a stared at TV's and compared the viewing quality of at least 5 screens (that didn't look all that different to my inexperienced-HD-eyes). Finally, we had made a decision. I gulped down my shock at what we were paying. I stood by and watched some hard-earned money easily slip out of his hands & I reminded myself that he owes me big.time. He owes me chick-flicks on this TV.{since we will no longer be splurging on movie tickets.} He owes me design shows.{so that I can drool over the projects I won't be getting to for a while.} And he owes me life-time movies on a lazy Sunday. {just because.}

Did I lose a battle? Yea - I did. But:, the way I see it, he didn't need my permission. And I KNOW he has sucked up some trips to the mall. & He has gulped down some shock at receipts from crafting stores and clothing stores. So, I've decided to make the most of this purchase. I helped him switch TV's. I did my part moving our half-ton dinosaur & when I looked at his face, I couldn't help but love to see his eyes light up as he told me about our future movie nights. 

What did I get out of this? Well, the Hubby decided to move his gaming into the spare bedroom, now known as The Man's Room. Where he can retreat to - hide out, drink a beer, wind down, watch a game, play a game - w/e men do in The Man's room will.be.done.

What I took away from this is: It's OK to give in, once in a while (wink, wink).

15 February 2010

Valentine For You!

I've fallen in love many times...always with you.


I've gone and done it again. I've skipped a day of blogging that turned into too long (I know ya'll have been there)! Yikes!
I've been a bad blogger and a bad blogging friend.... 
There hasn't been a spare moment to log on a read all of your blogs - let alone type up some posts!!!
(but here I am again...)

So here is some randomness to fill you in:

First - let me just say, I wish you all had the ability to smell my apartment right now. I just made a fabulous potato soup (with corn, beans, grean beans, and cheese) which is curing my case of the blues - due to the fantastic gloomy-sleet-snowy weather we have going on Japan today.

  • Not all mozzarella cheese is good for pizza. Some will turn it into a hot-soggy-mess.

  • Pants that have a tag that warns against "bleeding" will turn your skin blue.

  • Apparently, "fancy clothes" is a dead giveaway for a New Yorker. If only this 8 year old could see my hometown. [Not.so.fancy.]

  • Even when you think you are on top of everything, there will always be something else do to.

  • BSB (Backstreet Boys) are still hot and currently touring in Japan.

  • Functioning on limited zzz's makes my fuse much (MUCH) shorter! [Watch Out!]

Now for some Awards!!

Heather @ Riding the Roller Coaster passed along these awards. It was WAY sweet - Thank you!!!
I'm going to pass them along to some blogs that I've recently started following:
1. Karie @ Wife of a Wounded Marine
2. Expat Girl @The Sand is Different Here
3. Kate @ The Adventrues of Katie and Josh
4. Jordan @ This Is My Now
5. Jessie @ What You Wish For

The next award is:

First of all:
Heather @ Riding the Roller Coaster gave it to me, so Thank you!!!!

Here are the 7 not-so interesting things about me:
1. I never ever buy clothes full price!
2. I like to experiment in the kitchen.  
(1/2 the stuff I make is not from a recipe..) 
((1/2 of that stuff actually tastes good...))
3. My favorite color is light blue. 
4. I love fashion. 
5. I ride my bike to work a.lot.
6. I have crazy-wild-lion-mane-quality hair that I tame every day.
7. I am married to my best friend. (he is the only person that knows everything about me and doesn't run the other way).

Promise to be a better blogger.

Also: a HUGE welcome a few new followers!

07 February 2010

Cupcakes & Sugar Cookies.

There are some things in life that are just too good.
And among those things are cupcakes & sugar cookies.

I'm not a baker (at all) but when 2 little girls look up at me and want to make them. I melt into a puddle & they get whatever they want (it helps that I can sugar them up and send them home!)

Thursday night I spent my night with these chickies: 
Doing this: 
And this:
And this:
To make these: 
And these:
And this:

 These sweet-cupcake-cookie-making days are good to have.
I keep these days accessible - for times when I don't think life will be good again. Or times when I'm so overwhelmed I don't want to get out of bed. Or when I'm so confused about things I don't know what's right from left (Wanna know a secret? I really don't know my right from left). 
These are memories keep me grounded. They humble me & help me understand that happiness is found in the simplest of moments. 

06 February 2010

Avoiding Farewells.

I'm a professional avoider. I've mastered this & I can detach myself from many emotional things in my life.
I've been able to hold everything in so far... but last night there was definite emotional spew-age (?) over something I've been able to avoid up to this point.
Being part of the military are you constantly saying good-bye to people (and the up-side? You get to say hello to some fab new people!). This is just a fact you live with. You meet some awesome people and before you know it (because time flies..) either you or your friends are packing out and moving on.

I've been hinting at the fact that we have a couple friends moving.
And I've been nonchalant about it, because I'm supposed to be used to it right?!

We have been blessed to have these people a part of our life & I know they always will be a part of it. There was a turning point when they became more than just friends, they are family. We spend holidays & countless weekends together. We've gotten drunk to celebrate and we've gotten drunk to commiserate.

These fant-abulous people are leaving Japan in a few days & I'm so sad it brings tears to my eyes to think of it. Even if you say hello and goodbye countless times as a military family - it doesn't make it any easier.
& last night we spent her last Friday out as a girls night. It was hard to ignore the looming departure date & we cried.

What I realize now, that I didn't know ever before - is there are some bonds that are made that are just unbreakable. There are some people in our lives that love you for who you are - the good, the bad, and the ugly. There are some people that can spit their gum in your hand & its okay. There are some that will help clean up the mess after you spill your guts (literally and figuratively). So - as the days before they leave come closer, there will be more tears. But - it's not a bad thing, it is a testament to the love that we have in this friendship. It is showcasing that despite thousands of miles and the time that will go by before we hang out again - we will be able to pick up right where we left off. And that, for me, is amazing.

 "Friend: one who knows all about you and 
loves you just the same."
-Elbert Hubbard