Tag Archives: Love

Applebee’s

dinner2-blog

M and I were brave this evening and decided to take wee V out for dinner with us. We didn’t want to hit up anything fancy so we ended up at Applebee’s across the street. For my lovely Canadians, Applebee’s is like going to Earl’s. But with Rock n’ Roll paraphernalia instead of parrots.

It’s cheap. Crowded. Full of families.

In short, the perfect place to practise on. After we’ve master this place, we can move on to fancier places… Like, um, Chili’s…

So this was this evenings conversation…

“What would you like this evening?”

“I’ll have the Shrimp Fiesta sala–nanananananananana….Vincent. Nananana. No. Salad, please… And a glass of wine.”

“I’ll have the Roasted Red Pepper Chicken Penn-nanananananana. Vincent. Nananana. Put that down. Penne pasta. And a Caesar salad on the side. And some french fries. And a beer.”

“I’ll be right back with your drinks”

*please hurry*

5 minutes of thumping, clapping and hitting ourselves on the head commenced (V’s new favorite motion of choice).

Drinks arrived. It was 2 for 1 night (and apparently is every night of the week. I slurped back a glass of wine. M slurped back a beer) Clapping resumed.

Food arrived…(in between the clapping and food, there was little to no conversation). Conversation started but was cut short like this: ‘How was your da-dadadadadada day? Wheres Dada?! There he is!!! Yayayayayayayay!!!” *clap clap clap* etc

French fries arrived on a plate that was delivered directly to V. How thoughtful of the young waitress to deliver a plate of piping hot fries fresh out of the oil to a 1 year old. Thank you. Lets now listen to him scream while I remove them from his reach and cool them down. M, please distract him with a rattly Zebra or something….

Fries cooled down, eating began. And M and I ate quickly.

V ate so many french fries that I thought I would seriously regret this meal tomorrow. I still do. I am so going to rock-paper-scissors M tomorrow morning for the diaper change *Junken!!*

The rest of the meal consisted of clapping. Cheering. Hitting ourselves on our heads. Saying “What’s that?!” a million times. Really it sounds like ‘Izzat!” but that is what it means. Picking up toys. Picking up more toys. Apologizing to that couple that got a toy thrown at them (sort of). More hitting. Some random Pterodactyl noises (think  loud shrieks). French fries gently sprinkled on the floor like someone planting grass…. etc etc.

And then we went home. It was 7:30. V went right to bed. All of that restaurant excitement clearly tired him out…. he went right to sleep.

I love my child. Sometimes I really love it when he sleeps. Tonight is one of those nights…

xoxo a.m.

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Glorious

The crazy Summer of 2002 and its Brazilian beach parties gradually ushered in one heck of a cold fall. Hamamatsu gets pretty windy.

Housing insulation…well…lets just say that it is not a priority. Thin walls, lack of central heat equals a very cold apartment.

With the cold fall, M’s Dad arrived and his visit was a highly anticipated one, both by M and by the school that we worked for. There were no end of eager students practically lining up to entertain him when he arrived. B, on the other hand, had his own ideas about what he would be doing… One day, I believe M woke up to find a note informing him that he (Dad) was heading to the train station (possibly on foot) to take the train up to Tokyo. And that he would call him later…

I peppered M with questions “Where’s he going? What’s he doing?” etc etc…. M replied “…not sure…” and that was the end of that conversation. A few days later he was back, it was the weekend and we all took a drive to see Momiji (or Japanese Maple trees in their gorgeous autumn splendor).

In case you haven’t ever witnessed their absolute glory, here is a picture from that afternoon hike that illustrates it…

Momiji 2002

Momiji 2002

It was pretty amazing. Can you see me on the side there? So we hiked all around this little mountain, up spider infested slopes and down them… under those fiery leaves and through their lightly less colourful brethren that were scattered on the ground…. We wound around and around the mini-mountainside until we came to the most interesting of bridges. Some type of suspension bridge, one of those that sways when you walk on them. I think they are awesome. M….. not so much. And B well, not at all. In fact he posed all cool and debonair and firmly on the ground, while I confidently strode out there and M followed behind… just slightly less excited than I was…

Jaime on the bridge, 2002

Jaime on the bridge, 2002

M on the bridge 2002... slightly less excited...

M on the bridge 2002... slightly less excited...

B not on the bridge and pretty happy about that....

B not on the bridge and pretty happy about that....

It was a pretty full afternoon. Momiji. Glorious. Spider infested temple. Not so much. But that was evened out by amazing bridge experience (for me anyways).

That evening M joined me in my apartment (next to his) for an epic evening of boot-leg Simpsons episodes. We stayed up far too late. There might have been longing glances cast (in a behind the back sort of way…..we weren’t dating yet).

Glorious.

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Bonding

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I washed my hands at this temple…..

I think it was in Kakegawa (correct me if I am wrong, please…it was 7 years ago)

I took this trip in January of 2002. M and I had known each other…. perhaps about 3 days? In the 8 weeks that I had taught at Alpha Language School, I bonded with one particular class. They turned into my parents…. and I think of them so fondly even now.

They invited me (us) on a bus trip to a castle and a temple. Since I had done nothing in Japan at that point (except drink), this was pretty exciting. We were picked up at about 7 am. Shoved into a teeny car. Driven to some random parking lot, we exited and then lined up for a bus. And met the rest of the class who were coming with us.

It was a pretty luxurious bus. And to my surprise, all of the old ladies on it (pretty much it was M and 50 older women) simutaneously cracked open a beer. I kid you not. We were then offered one…. too early for us both.

So while the bus drank its face off, M and I giggled away and cemented our friendship in the ridiculousness of this journey. The only other man on the bus adventure cast glances back at him longingly… he was trapped in beer and morning pastry hell. Poor guy…

The day was spent on and off that bus.

Interlude: The most ridiculously gourmet meal I had ever had in my life (at that point) as just a random lunch time thing for the whole bus. On a private golf course that was used primarily by sumo wrestlers for a vacation hot spot or something like that. It was fancy. Maybe it was soccer pros that vacationed there…. regardless, it was fancy, delicious and well, super fancy. Oh, and awkward. Really really awkward.

Please, try to imagine 2 fluent english speakers plus 7 non-english speakers. PLUS alcohol. Plus overwhelming Japanese culture. Plus hand gestures.

I was 25. M was 26. They were the same age as our parents. And had been drinking. Awkward!

Regardless of the whole awkwardness thing, it still was the most amazing thing I had ever done.  We were all so unsure of each other it made it ok. I remember walking onto the grounds of the temple and just being astounded. I literally didn’t know how to react to what I was seeing. It was the complete opposite of the Canadian West Coast. Or of any coast at all.

It was the best weekend of my early twenties….

IMG_0229

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Change(ing)

koala-blog

I did not look like this (and neither did V) as we wrestled..... tres misleading...

Oh tonight you are in for a treat! It’s a double feature!

Part one to commence momentarily and part two to follow later…

The scene opens at Barnes and Noble with wee V scooting all over the children’s book section like some kind of speed racer and M and I frantically trying to keep him from destroying the room like he does his bedroom. One corner of the section had a raised platform, which I am assuming is for story time. V found it incredibly amusing to climb up the steps and then climb down them face-first.

In the middle of all of this action, there was a pause for some serious grunting. You know what that entails…. and if M and I had any doubts, those were quickly chased away on his next lap passed us.

Foul ball in play!

I grabbed the diaper bag and Little Man and headed off to the washroom, hoping that they had a baby changing station.

And oh thank god they did. One of those Koala ones which, I think, are considered the norm in terms of changing stations. What followed was not. Or not at least any norm that I have encountered. Which might mean that it has now become the norm. Which scared me. And still does.

That strap that you tie your child down with was broken. And I say ‘tie down’ as that is what I wished I could do.

Or maybe super glue him to the table. My changing pad and the changing table combined together created the slipperiest surface man has ever known. It was like I had oiled the whole thing (and him) down. I couldn’t keep him on his back. Or in one fixed place. He moved, the pad moved with him and he almost slid off the table about a dozen times and almost landed in the garbage can a few times too.

I. Could. Not. Keep. Him. Still.

And then he started screaming. It was one of those long tiled bathrooms, changing table at the end in the handicapped stall. It echoed.

M swore he didn’t hear a thing outside, but I caught a few looks on my way out. I saw you looking at me. Go ahead! You try it! See if you do a better job than I did!!

Approximately 15 minutes later I emerged sweating like a mother (oh, how this expression makes sense), with angelic-like V in my arms, poop-free and content now that he wasn’t on that awful table. I needed a shower. And a drink. It was 11 am.

Koala changing tables, I curse thee!! Please provide multiple straps so all of us mothers with our practical changing pads that your surface repels can strap our children down so they don’t end up in the garbage can with the dirty diapers (holy run-on sentence).

How I long for the practicality of the Vancouver Airport marble slab changing counter outside of customs, with that deep indentation, your child ain’t going anywhere……

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Japan

DH000025

I had the oddest dream last night.

I dreamt M and I were back in Japan, teaching at the new NEW school our boss had opened up…. and let me explain why this was strange…

When I moved to Japan in 2001, the school that I taught at for 2 months was the smallest building you have ever seen. Approximately 2 one-car garages stacked on top of each other, with an exterior stair-case to reach the second level. The walls of the building were so thin they bent when you pressed them. It might have been a temporary structure, I can’t remember all of the details…

The new structure was about 100 feet away, a gorgeous 2 story building that was officially to open in January of 2002. Think 2 2-car garages stacked upon each other. With running water, flush toilets and proper airconditoning. So what was weird about my dream was that the new NEW school was 3 stories high, huge and was well, a school. And not a garage.

When I came back from winter holiday in Canada, entering that new building was structural bliss from my teaching point of view. Especially compared to what I had experienced the 2 months before. That same day, I met my future husband.

The morning after I flew back in from Christmas holiday in Canada, I banged on my only neighbour’s (on the 2nd floor… the 2nd floor of our apartment that was basically 2 2-car garages stacked on top… wonder where they got the inspiration for the school!) door… M answered looking rather disheveled…. Untucked plaid shirt (that he might still have somewhere), wife-beater, glasses….I invited him out for coffee. I like to be friendly and am hard pressed to take no for an answer. Unless it’s my answer, then I say it all the time.

Anyways, the door was slammed in my face.

And there might have been some mumbling. ‘Wait…’ might have been one of the words I could have made out. I waited. The door opened again, M looked less-disheveled and off we went. We rode our awesome bicycles with baskets to the only Starbucks in town. We met up with some other Gaijins, drank some coffee, smoked our faces off and then rode our awesome bikes back to teach some English.

Who would know that approximately 6 months later we would be attached at the hip….but not ‘dating’. Just ‘good friends’. ‘Good friends’ whose other good friends wondered what on earth was going on between us. Nothing was. Nothing at all.

Not until M’s Dad visited, and that visit seemed to cement things. I was the only person that he introduced him to. And invited to join the 2 of them. And once his Dad headed back to the USA (plus one steamy night on that awful twin-bed…. steamy in an innocent way. Really!) that was it.

So sometimes when I think about the path my life has taken, wonder if I have made the best decisions, did I take the best direction I could have… I look at what I have right now:

Gorgeous son.

Handsome and utterly adoring husband that worships me.

Lovely new home we are about to move into.

Comfortable and happy life full of love, laughter, laughter and the best of memories that we have made together.

So even though I sometimes wish I had chosen a different direction education-wise, I am so glad that I went in the direction that I did. Everything I have done in my past…. especially including the unpleasant things, has led to where I am now.

Thank you fate. And destiny.

Thank you both.

xoxo a.m.

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Filed under amazing!, destiny, discovery, family, fancy, fate, gaijin, Holy Grail, holy mother, Love, M, neighbours, Nihon

Not Poop

baby1-blog

I am really going to make an effort to not talk about poop as often as I see seem to find myself doing it lately. There is at least one more story that I could add to the growing list of bowel-movement related posts. Since that was my topic of choice last night, I thought I would spare you the details and focus on something else…

V learned something new this evening! Well, it was the first time I have seen it, so it’s new to me. M will probably say that he’s been doing it for years (slight exaggeration)… but it was the first time I have actively seen him do it.

He has mastered the art of taking things out of other things and off of things as well. As in, out of the toy box and onto the floor. And out of the wagon and onto the floor. Oh, and off of the book shelf and onto the floor. Oh, I almost forgot, AND off of his highchair tray and onto the floor.

You see the pattern? The floor is heavily featured.

Tonight I watched him as he methodically put things into things. He has a little basketball-like net in his bath-tub and I watched him as he carefully filled it up with items. Then removed them and threw them on the floor (I mean tub). And then picked them up and put them in again. This went on and on for ages.

It was the most interesting thing to watch. And I really could just watch him play forever. It is captivating. He kept trying to stack round objects on top of each other and then would grunt with frustration when they fell off. Finally he caught on and stacked some flat things in there first, piled round things into the flat things and then topped them off with some more round things. Genius!!!!!

And then he pulled them all out and threw them into the tub.

And then repeated the whole process over again.

I actually could see him learning, it really was amazing. He problem-solved. Unbelievable. He repeated himself over and over (just like his Mama….I knew there was a little bit of me in there somewhere!)

Genius!

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Dinner

dinner-blog

As requested, this post is about M.

As in, “Honey, what should I write about??”

“I think you should write about how awesome your husband is.”

OK. I certainly will try.

He is pretty awesome.

He has made me dinner every night that he has been home during his summer holiday (he is a middle school teacher). And, it is always beautifully plated. And he always presents it to me from such a great height. So I have to wait until it is lowered to my eye-level to see what it is. Did I also mention that he never tells me what he is cooking?

I also am never allowed into the kitchen. Ever. While he is cooking. All cooking (by him) that goes on in our house is a surprise. And it really is! I tend to cook the same way. It’s a whole 2 veg 1 protein type of meal with me. I make home-cooking. Shepherds pie, mashed potatoes, steamed veg, casserole…. things of that nature. It is all I can cook.

I cannot do reductions.

I sometimes burn steaks just right.

I can make magical Vincent-meals.

I make a wicked Seafood salad (that doe not include mayo). Oh, and can I ever bake….

I can’t, however, make Quinoa, risotto, a proper blackened steak of any kind. Or spell that word right. Ever. I never know what wine goes with what.

I just drink red. I figure its got to fit in there somehow….

The ceremony that goes one with M’s meals is something to be seen, heard, tasted and enjoyed.

Tonight it was Pepper Pork Tenderloin, on a bed of greens with fresh peaches with a home-made Italian reduction drizzled…everywhere…

So here’s to M’s delicious cooking, my complete spoiledness, V’s future spoiledness (once we have properly developed his taste-buds, that is), our new house and future appliances that M will cook delicious things on.

Handsome husband, oh how I adore thee…. especially…well… all the time. Can’t lie there. You are pretty awesome. And put up with my OCD cleaning. And my OCD list-writing. Oh, and my OCD cleaning.

love you. xo

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I am an Astronaut

I am an astronaut

I am an astronaut

My Mum send me a few things in the mail the other day. Boxes filled with wonderful things, old records, boxes from high school, old school photos (awful, and they will never be seen by the public. Ever.) and lots of stories….

I loved to write when I was a child. I really really loved it. I also loved going to the library. I was a book addict. And also a nerd. AND I loved my Mum. Double nerd.

I love my Mum for saving all of these wonderful things that I wrote when I was little, and I love that she sent them to me.

And so, with my most darling mother in mind, here is the first story that I wrote…

A Visit to Mars!

Feb 29 1983 Jaime

I’m and astronaut and so is my sister and my Mom, we are going to Mars.

In the rocket there is lots of buttons to push. My Mom pushed a button that said up to Mars. My sister saw one that said away to Pluto! My Mom said that they would go there after.

When we got to Mars we saw a strange sight the Mars men were eating Mars bars and dancing to Mars music!! They asked us if we wanted to join them. We said sure and we did!

The next morning we met their pets. They had the most funniest pets we had seen but we didn’t laugh.

Some has long ears.

Some had long noses.

Some had eyes on springs!

The next day my Mom said that we would be going Pluto!

My sister was happy. As  soon as we got in the rocket with are seatbelts on, my sister pushed her thum on away to Pluto and away they went!

Pluto has people who live in tree houses. They are very very nice.

They do the same thing as Mars does! But the only thing  that is difrient from Mars is that they eat Pluto bars!!


Thank you Mum for saving such a wonderful story. Love you.

For NASA click here

All about Astronauts, click here

How to become one, click here

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