Tuesday, November 20, 2012


I expect there shall be an abundance of living and blogging in the near future.  After moping around for most of this year, we are buying a house next week.  The closing date is a moving target because of the holidays, but we will be closing before the 30th.

I will have an abundance of tasks.  A duplex (yes, duplex!) to renovate, two moves to plan, and many, many tasks to complete before we call it home.

Am I slightly worried that the "busy-ness" of my new tasks will throw me off track?  Yes.  I have been overwhelmed by trying to find my passion, but having a house means that I will no longer expend hours on house searches.  I will no longer screech at my kids to not jump because they will disturb the downstairs neighbor.  I'm sure I will screech about other things, but no one will live below us.  Yea!

I've started another blog about the duplex, but I have yet to add any content.  I'm waiting until the official close.  Yippee!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Mid-life spiral

Both my boys are now in elementary school.  I'm halfway through the month of October and I'm flailing.  I had these great expectations that I would get my life and home in order.  Here's what I've accomplished:

  • Reorganized my kitchen
  • Took part in a research study at the UW and earned $75
  • Volunteered at the "balloon drop" and "move-a-thon" events at my boys' school
  • Continued to update the school's web calendar as part of the web team
  • Went one time to Louisa's to try and write with the writer's group I used to write with
And yet, strangely, I am not happy.  I desperately want someone to tell me what to do with my life.  Do I go back to school and get a teaching certificate, since I really enjoy teaching?  Do I try and take up with my writing again?  Do I follow my strange addiction to reading arts and crafts and interior design books?

And let's not even start on the self-help books.  I have OD'ed on them.  I have tried to do the quizzes and yet I can't get past the "what did your 10 year-old self enjoy" part.  My ten year-old self was as fragmented as my 40-something self is.  Let's see, she liked roller skating, being the fire-starter at camp-outs, watching the Muppets, reading, writing bad poetry and imagining herself as a teacher of the blind.  (I read the book Follow My Leader by James Garfield and wanted to raise guide dog puppies.)  I still would like to raise a guide dog puppy.

I also don't want to work full-time.  While I don't enjoy being the whip-cracker for homework and Japanese workbooks, I realize that I'm the only one who will do it.  This means I need to be home at 4:00 p.m. so I can do the snack, homework, reading, feeding, bedtime routine.    I am also the homekeeper.  I do the laundry, the doctor's and orthodontist visits, the grocery shopping, the toilet cleaning, the cooking and the bill paying.  In short, I have become my mother.  She also had a college degree which she did not use in a professional setting.  Instead, she was an Army officer's wife and kept our lives together through the chaos of constant moves.  I admire her sacrifice, but I want to leave more of a mark on the world than that.   Talk about cognitive dissonance, I want my kids' to have that same stability, but I don't want to be a stay-at-home mom. 

Friday, July 6, 2012

Back in Japan (for the moment)

The whole family arrived in Japan last week after a trip involving a Metro bus, light rail, an aging 767 with no in-seat entertainment, three express trains and a local train.  It is still the rainy season here.  Think Seattle, but in the high 70s and lots of humidity.  The shoes in Grandma's entrance hall are starting to mildew. 

Both of my kids are enrolled in school.  One in third grade at his old elementary.  The other in the Fives class at his old daycare.  I have more free time than I know what to do with.  I should be writing.  Instead, I am eating manju and meeting old friends for lunch.  I will guest teach next week at the daycare, but other than that I have no real responsibilities.  Grandma cooks and cleans.  I eat and nag the kids to pick up the legos.  Husband is working remotely for half of the time.  He mostly eats and works.

Are you sensing a pattern?

I need to start taking long walks on the beach to figure out what my life will be like in September.  The rain has meant that I have read 3 books on my Kindle.  I love the Seattle Public Library and e-book loans. 

My oldest child arrived home from school about 45 minutes ago.  He knows that if he is up here in the condo, I will make him do workbooks.  He evaded me for 20 minutes before I tracked him down at a friend's.  He is outside playing soccer and being a boy.  This is what I missed about Japan.  In Seattle, there is no way I would let him outside to play without adult supervision.  He is much happier being a free-range kid. 

I need to go pick up the little one from daycare in another 20 minutes or so.  He has forgotten how to speak Japanese, so every day is a challenge for him.  He seems to be doing okay though.  The amusing thing is that when I pick him up from daycare, it's like the English language button gets pushed.  He starts talking ten miles a minute and telling me who all the bad kids are in his daycare.  (If you want to know, it's mostly Kazuki-kun, the same boy who used to be a trouble-maker a year and a half ago.) 

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Random thoughts on Seattle drivers

I saw a woman driving her car today with not one, but two, poodles in her lap. Okay, maybe they were some other fluffy white dog, but still, she was driving while distracted. At least she wasn't on the highway.

I was behind a man in a Buick on the highway yesterday. I assumed he was a grandpa driver who was looking through the steering wheel to drive since his head was barely visible from behind. He was going slowly for the interstate. I passed him and realized that he was someone chilling to the rap music with his seat all the way back and extremely reclined. And yes, I could hear the music as I passed.

As someone who usually has one or the other child in my microvan, I am paranoid about folks who take driving so casually. I don't want you to be texting, talking, grooming or bonding with your pet when you are driving near me.

Having said that, I have built in Bluetooth and it has gotten a work-out in the last few months. I have had multiple phone conversations with our real estate agent whilst driving my children to various activities. I know research shows that hands-free does not equal distraction-free. The ironic thing is that I often make my kids observe radio silence while I am trying to park or navigate some weird lane confluence that the Seattle DOT has come up with. Hypocritical much?

And completely unrelated to all this: it was a beautiful winter day in Seattle today.

Friday, March 2, 2012

I don't even want to write...

I keep thinking that if I write, I will make progress on something. I need a victory in my life. I need something to pull me out of the slump I am in.

I had a birthday earlier this week. It was a non-event. Really. The 8 year-old gave me an eraser. My sister took me out to lunch the next day. I scheduled a raincheck lunch with a friend.

Our house purchase was supposed to close the day after. It was an event that did not occur.

I am supposed to be organized for a move that should happen any day. I am not.

Our interest rate lock for our mortgage expires on Monday. We will owe more money after we close. I am numb to this, but the spouse is angry.

I am reading too many parenting books again. I have more on reserve at the library. My husband who does not read parenting books undoes all the parenting I do with his lack of patience.

The five year old still needs to be evaluated for speech therapy. I finally got a call about it. I have yet to receive the paperwork to fill out before he can be evaluated.

I am still behind in my duties as the treasurer for our co-op preschool. We are in the black, so I am not putting the school at risk.

My husband got a bonus and a "good job" gift certificate from work this week. He offered the gift certificate to me. It is not the same. I want someone to appreciate me. Screw enlightenment, I don't want inner peace and fulfillment, I want a Target gift card for doing all the mundane tasks that no one ever thanks me for.

I make coffee every morning. I pour myself and DH a cup every morning. Today, DH poured his own cup knowing it was the first cup of the carafe and didn't even bother to think I might want one too. Really? He had the grace to apologize when I asked him if he needed another cup of coffee as I poured my first. I think this incident just served to underline the fact that no one in my family notices me or my needs.

I don't even know what my needs are anymore. I've gotten really good at suppressing them. I think I will now drown my petty problems in chocolate.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

One year later...

It's been a year. A year since I've had a paying job. A year since I got off a plane in rainy Seattle with two tired boys in tow. A year since I walked into Trader Joe's behind our rental condo and was shocked at how tall and white everyone was.

And a year later, I miss not working. I volunteer at the YMCA. I work my parent hours for my 5 year old's co-op preschool. But I don't get paid. I hate not being paid. Money gave me validation that "thank-you" and "see you next week" do not.

And a year later, my boys are bigger, but are not any less challenging. The 5 year old needs to be evaluated for speech therapy. I just thought he couldn't enunciate clearly because he didn't speak English until last year. But after his pediatrician and his preschool teacher both thought he needed help, I have started making phone calls. In the meantime, he solves his communication problems with his fists and by willful disobedience. I spend my evenings reading more parenting texts.

And a year later, we are still in the condo, but hoping to close on a house on 2/28. The builder wants to push the date out, but doing so may cost us not only money, but a chance to get DS2 into the same elementary school as his brother. So we are keeping the pressure on to make that date.

And a year later, I still get hormonal and weepy. I hate being a woman if it means my hormones turn me into a sobbing mess. Yesterday was the worst, and yet, I couldn't tell you why it was any different from other days. DS2 and I had been in a pissing match in the morning, which isn't unusual. I dropped him off at preschool, for my 2.5 hours of free time. And I promptly fell apart. I tried chocolate. I tried a nap. I tried music. But all I did was weep and berate myself for my inability to get anything done. It was not a good day, but like a toddler after a temper tantrum, I fell asleep really fast last night.

I have more I need to write, but I will save it for a different post.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Word of the Year

I'm looking back at 2011 and I realized that I never posted my 2011 word of the year. It was Big. Yup, pretty uninspired, but at the time I was looking at big changes in my life. I was living with my MIL, giving up my jobs and life in Japan and starting again in Seattle. I thought Big would do it for me. I have not really heeded my word this year. I have lived small. And not in a good way.

So, 2012 awaits and I'm already thinking about this year's word. Right now it is a toss-up between make-up and re-make. Make-up was the strong leader until about an hour ago when I started washing rice and drinking mimosas. Re-make seemed better when served with orange juice.

Here's the logic. With make-up, I was thinking "make-up stories, make-up for lost time, make-up with folks I might be not exactly estranged from, but needing to touch base with." We are moving into a new home in two months and make-up seems we should be "Making things move up." Especially since we can move out of the rental condo and make our new house our home.

So why did re-make sneak in there? There is this part of me that doesn't like the fact that make up can also be cosmetics. Let's face it, I'm a minimal or none cosmetic kind of gal. Make up annoys me.

So, for that very reason, MAKE-UP is my word of the year. It embodies all the ideas I want to embrace and it also hones in on one of my vulnerabilities, my insecurities about my appearance. If something bugs me that much, I probably need to take a look at it.