Monday, January 31, 2005
  Geography 101

In my last post I told you that Kimbofo is from Tasmania, when in fact she hails from Victoria! She has traveled to Tasmania though as well as other interesting places and has the pictures to prove it. I recommend you check them out as well as her entertaining posts.

Friday, January 28, 2005
  Dinner Party

Dinner Party

Here is your invitation: The goal of this exercise is to identify nine other bloggers that you would like to meet for dinner/drinks. The only caveat is that these bloggers must be strangers -- you haven't met them before. State the blogger's name, a link to the blog, and why you would like him/her to be in attendance. (meme courtesy of Sarcasmoscorner)

Here is my guest list:

Karla from Confessions of a Grade School Role Model-I so admire anyone who can leave everything familiar and go off in search of adventure. When I read her posts I forget how young she is. I would love to hear more about her time in Japn.

Marvo from Impulsive Buy-He has that Seinfeldesque way of making an everyday thing into a multi-paragraph post. Always with humor. And useful as well.

Kim from She lives in Australia and is from the island of Tasmania. How cool is that!

Brian from Life of Brian- if just to get him out of rainy Southern California for a while. And he likes Monty Python.

Life's Little Observer-from Life's Little Observations-when you read what he has to say you are usually thinking-"oh you are so right!".

John-aka Muzikdude from Muzik's Musings- I have a feeling that his mind is still posting while he is sleeping.

All the Women from Popgadget-at least I assume they are all women. Regine, Camilla, Bri, Heather, Hayun, Morry, Clio, Mia and Sonesha. I just love the cool stuff they find.

Jason from NYC a' Paris-another brave young soul who picked up and moved to another country, trying to make a life while learning the language. Very insightful.

Gidget whatshisname from I would love to know if he speaks as eloquently as he writes. His comments are usually better than my post and I love to have him stop by.And I want to hear more about his Amazing Race audition.

Thursday, January 27, 2005
  English Spoken Here

One thing that surprised me in Japan is the amount of English that you see all around. On street signs and buildings especially. I find this somewhat puzzling because I live in a major metroplolitan area and we don't provide sinage in other languages, even though I imagine there are as many Japanese people doing business in the States as there are Americans here. This English labeling is just as obvious in smaller cities and towns I have been in as well as in Tokyo.
I have discovered that even though English is read here it is not necessarily spoken, which to me makes it even more puzzling. Case in point, yesterday my daughter my grandson and I stopped for lunch at a little restaraunt in Sagami-Ono. The name on the outside was Italian Garden. In English. Only in English. There was no Kanji lettering at all. There was even one of those round signs advertising an American beer on the wall. The restaruant was cute and comfortable. It was dimly lit with candles and there was the requisite Italian songtrack playing, courtesy of the Solid State Stereo against the wall.
Our charming hostess/waitress sat us and then gave us menus written in Japanese. When she realized we were unable to decipher it she explained in the best English she could muster that there was no English menu for lunch, but we could get pizza or pasta. When we picked pizza she bought us a copy of the dinner menu that was printed in both languages and we were able to pick from the pizza selections. Lunch was good and the waitress was as charming and accomodating to us as could be.
I just can't fathom why the name on the restaraunt facade is totally in English, on a side street in a small city in Japan.

Sunday, January 23, 2005
  Accentuate the Positive

Christian conservative groups have issued a warning to parents about a video aimed at their children. According to the "We Are Family" foundation who made the video, featuring popular cartoon characters Barney, Spongebob Squarepants, and others,it is about tolerance and diversity. The Christian groups claim it is a thinly veiled promotion for the acceptance of homosexuality. This accusation is based not on the content of the video, but on a "tolerance pledge" found on the Foundation's website. The pledge calls for" The respect of people whose abilities, beliefs, culture, race, sexual identity or other characteristics are different from my own." It does not ask you to support a cause, condone a liifestyle, or even invite a gay person over for dinner. It just calls for respect of other human beings. You can see the problems these Christians might have with that!
In fairness I would like to point out that the conservative groups making the assertion have no issue with the cartoon characters per se. They see them as "innocent" and "exploited" You almost have to laugh. Except that it's really not funny. If we let them win this one then they will be targeting another one of those differences they find offensive. Maybe abilities, or race.
Negative activism is such a waste of energy.
Every Saturday morning a group of anti-abortion protestors station themselves at a busy intersection I pass through on the way to work. They don't impede traffic or make any noise. They stand on corners with a Dunkin Donuts coffee in one hand and the other hand supports a placard with a picture of an aborted fetus or a slogan like "Abortion Kills Children" I have passed them every Sat. for years. They have yet to sway my opinion. I just see them a a giant waste of organizational talents, time and passion. There are ten of them and if they are out there for 2 hours that's 20 hours a week of inactive activism. I would think that that same 20 hours spent educating people on birth control, or abstinence or whatever they espouse would produce more results for them.
If you are going to go to all of the trouble to get my attention, then at least have something positive to tell me about your cause. Don't waste my time telling me what's wrong with everyone else's.

Monday, January 17, 2005
  Fear of Flying

I mentioned this briefly in the previous post. When the conversation turns to my impending solo travel to Japan, someone will invariably say "aren't you scared?". At first I just replied "Scared ? No , Of course not". But the other day after the umpteenth inquiry I started asking "Scared of what?" Here are some of the answers.

Scared of flying alone:-Yep, just me a couple pilots, some navigators, a few cabin stewards and couple of hundred people headed in the same direction I am. Veritable isolation. Okay, I know what they mean. Yes., I will miss my husband being by my side. I will however enjoy 14 hours of time to read,do my New York Times Crossword, watch a movie or take a nap, without thinking that there are a million other things I should be doing. I am quite happy with my own company. I sincerely hope that the persons next to me are not 'chatty" people. Even better, maybe hey won't speak english.

Scared of getting lost:- Okay. I have to give you this one IF you know me well. I have been known to get lost. But I always find my way back. (I'm here aren't I?). I'm getting a ride to the airport and will go directly from the car into the building. Once inside I expect to be herded along with the other cattle into lines and through security checkpoints. From there it 'is a series of large corridors that are lettered. A to E ,I think. And in the corridors there are gates, All numbered, sequentially. So far so good. And if past experience means anything I already know that my plane will be at the gate farthest from the entrance. Once I get on the plane it's all good. I'll just pin my boarding pass to my shirt in case I take a wrong turn on the way to the restroom.

Scared of losing your luggage:- Ha! Been there .Done that.

Scared of terrorists; plane crashes;little green men out on the wing;-Well, not until you mentioned it. Thanks.

  Out of Touch

rhys week 3
Originally uploaded by foster photos.
We have a photo frame that displays a slideshow of our grandson Rhys, who is just one month old. He is 6,700 miles away and the pictures are a constant reminder that he is growing and changing everyday. The pictures themselves are beautiful, because they are taken mostly, by his mother, who knows him so well, and, who has a degree in Imaging Arts from RIT. They give you the impression that you could almost touch him. Almost.
Next Monday I am traveling to Japan so I can do just that. I want to hug and kiss him, and feel the weight of him in my arms. I am hoping he will grab my finger in his tiny hands, the way babies do and that I can coax some smiles from him. I'll have nine days to be a "hands on " grandmom.
Unfortunately, Grandpop can't make the trip with me. For some reason this seems to alarm a lot of people. I have lost count of how many times I have been asked if I am scared to go alone. Of course not. I'm not scared of the "going" but I am a little apprehensive about the "missing". It would only take one hand to count the times over the last 32 years that we have gone 24 hours without seeing each other. Of course will have emails and phone calls and even a video call if we want. But no hand to hold or a shoulder to put my head on. That's gonna be tough.
I have a friend from work who recently retired. She told me how she left Ireland at 18 in hope of a better future. She got on a boat and waved goodbye to her family. There was no email. Her parents didn't even have a phone in their home at the time. If you got a couple of letters a year you were lucky. Her parents didn't get to hug her children until the oldest was 10. Thank goodness for technology.
So I may be out of touch for a bit. Not that I can't blog from Japan. And I may. But maybe not. I'll be busy being in and out of touch.

Sunday, January 16, 2005
  What color is you wristband?

Today being Sunday, morning television is replete with news based talk shows. Today's hot topic was the Presidents plan to privatize Social Security. There were people for it, and people against it. It appears that they all can predict the future but their crystal balls, or whatever they are channeling are not all on the same frequency. The word "crisis" got used a lot. We will either have one if we do nothing, or possibly if we do.
Not that I think that anyone on Capitol Hill cares, but I vote we leave it alone for now. Listen, if I could invest my money and feel secure in my future then I would already be doing it. Whatever happened to that old adage about not investing money you can't afford to lose? THe President wants to take my money and divert it to Wall Street investment firms. And this is for who's benefit?
If Social Security is short a few bucks, maybe we need a good old fashioned fund raiser. A bake sale? A lottery?How about those plastic wrist bands that are all the rage now? We could sell them in red and blue.

Thursday, January 13, 2005
  In Defense of a Prince

Okay, so Prince Harry didn't show the finer side of his royal up-bringing, when he chose a to dress as a Nazi to attend a costume party.He's a 20 year old male. This should be the worst thing he ever does in his lifetime. When you look at the rest of the family you have to agree that the chances of his making a bigger faux pas one day are pretty good. What astounds me is how this one action seems to negate all the good things the press has been reporting about him recently. His visits to Africa and his assistance in the tsunami relief effort. Really, you Brits need to get over it. After all, there is real news in the world. Didn't you hear? Brad and Jen broke up!.

  Virtual Showers

I am not in the habit of doing reviews. I leave that to Marvo at at The Impulsive Buy. But I have had such a positive experience with a site called and I wanted to tell you about it. Way back in April when Sarcasis announced she was pregnant, her sisters and I put our heads together to come up with a way to throw a baby shower 6,ooo away.. We turned to the internet and found 2 sites that offered online virtual showers. They were very similar but we chose because of it was easy to use and had a friendly atmosphere. At the time it was a free service as well, although I believe there is now a nominal fee.
Mommyparty put up a shower site for us. Invitations were sent via email and people signed in whenever they wanted. The shower lasted for 8 months. "Guests" were able to play games, leave messages for the new parents, view the gift registries, see photos of the new parents and in December, the new baby! We are in the US, Sarcasis is in Japan, and we had people dropping in from Italy and Afghanistan as well. When Sarcassis's friends in Japan threw her an actual physical baby shower (which Sarcasdad and I were delighted to attend) we were able to use the site to tie guests on both sides of the Pacific Ocean in on a project to decorate onsies for the newborn.
I think it worked out even better than I had hoped. The site serves a very specific need but should you be in the market, I highly recommend it.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005
  Compliments of Kevin Spacey and Royal Carribean

There is always music playing at work, piped into the store via Muzak. Sometimes I hear it and sometimes I block it out, depending on how focused I am on what I am doing. The music is quite repetitive. So it's not too surprising that every once in a while, a particular song gets"stuck" in your head. A couple of years back the Bobby Darin song "Beyond the Sea" got more than stuck. I think it was "imbedded" in my brain. I would sing it absentmindedly until I realized I was repeating it over and over. (And I only know the words to the first verse). It was in my head almost constantly and it was annoying. When I started waking up in the middle of the night with the song going round and round I started to wonder if there was professional help for this. It took a concerted effort, but eventually I got past it and have avoided listening to it since. Not a difficult task, because although I like Bobby Darin nothing in my Cd collection predates the Beatles.
So you can imagine my chagrin when the Kevin Spacey film about Bobby Darin, titled" Beyond the Sea" was released. I would have been fine if he had chosen to call it "Mack the Knife" but I guess it wouldn't sell a movie. I was determined not to see the movie and to avoid as much of the advertising as possible. That was going fine, until yesterday, when I was blindsided by a Royal Carribean commercial, featuring the song! Guess what was in my head in the middle of the night last night.
I'm hoping a little "blog therapy" will dislodge it. SO here goes" My name is Sarcasmom and I am addicted to a Bobby Darin song".
If this doesn't work, maybe I should learn the next verse.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005
  Tsunami Relief Ringtones

Here's a unique way to contribute to the victims of the recent tragedy.

via: popgadget

Sunday, January 02, 2005
  Clean Sweep

I am in one of those cleaning -out-the-closet type of moods. I was looking for something one day before the holidays, and as I was going through drawers of stuff I was wondering why I even had half of it. Then of course with the holidays, you get more stuff and you need to make room. It's not that I am a pack-rat. If I keep something beyond it's usefulness it probably has some sentimental value. ANd I am very sentimental.
The office where I work, they are some serious pack-rats. But I'm working on them. And making headway. The conversations used to go like this.

"co-worker : "Boss"(they call me boss, affectionately) "What should I do with this?"
Me:" What is it?
CO:"i don't know. I just found it"
Me::"Do you ever use it?"
Me::"Did you know you had it?"
Me:"Throw it out"
Co:"Throw it out?"
Me: Yes throw it out"
CO"Okay, you're the boss, Boss"

This has mercifully been shortened to "Boss, should I just throw this out?" It is getting better.
But back to my closets.I cleaned out a cabinet in the kitchen. I found 2 bowls I forgot I owned (trashed them) and a Salad Spinner I am not sure I knew I even owned. The Salad Spinner I offered up to the Sarcaskids.One Mom's trash and all that.
I have plans. Big organizational plans. Visions of boxes, all neatly labeled with the label maker I got for Xmas. Getting the 9,000 pieces of memorabilia, per child into one box each. That's gonna take some tough love. Not as tough as that guy on Clean Sweep". Did you ever see that show? .He has people crying and begging as he is tossing their prized chatchkeys onto the sell pile. I won't be that tough on Me.

  It's About Time

This morning I woke up as I usually do, with a mental list of everything I think I am going to get done that day. The list is usually slightly ambitious on days like today when I am home alone. Needless to say it doesn't all get done. I am easily sidetracked. This reality doesn't stop from from freaking out ever so slightly when I try to mentally allot the hours in the day to the tasks at hand.
In the interest of time I usually eat in front of the computer when I am alone, so I can catch up with my blogs and emails. So I throw the three ingredients necessary for Oatmeal in a bowl and put it in the mic. Then I stood and drummed my fingers in exasperation as I watched those interminable 2 minutes count down .Well, at least I didn't have to cook it on the stove, from scratch like we did in the days of yore. The coffee Sarcasdad had brewed earlier was just tepid, having sat in the pot beyond the capabilities of the stay warm feature. So, thirty seconds for that, which I didn't even have to think about because my new mic is so smart it tells me! Breakfast in less than 3 minute. All-right! What a time saver.
I have some other time saving devices as well. Consider the clothes dryer. When I was a wee one my mother had a WRINGER washer. Yes she did. I wasn't allowed to touch it because someone she knew got their arm caught in it or something. Thankfully, before I was old enough to do the laundry she had invested in a automatic washer. But not a dryer. We hung the clothes outside. Everyone did. I seriously cannot remember when the last time was I saw a clothesline in my neighborhood.But we all had them back then and after the clothes were dry you had to iron them, and the sheets, and if you were my mother, the underwear.I have an iron. Someplace. New fabrics got from the dryer to the hanger.
I take my car to get "Jiffy-Lubed", I print my own photos at home, shop online, pay bills online. I mist my shower daily so I don't have to scrub as often, and I use email to avoid hold times on the phone, and I use my cell phone to make calls when I am waiting in line someplace.
What baffles me is that with all of these advantages, why don't I have more free time?

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