This is from the USS George Washington's homecoming on September 3rd. They were in port for about a month before leaving again; they returned home the week of Thanksgiving.
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
Sunday, November 22, 2009
I believe the submarine in the picture is the USS Connecticut (SSN 22) because of another photo posted here.
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
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Tuesday, November 17, 2009
It opens in the U.S. on Friday the 20th, in Japan on the 28th and comes to the base theater on the 28th too. I'm exhausted and am going to bed but wanted to post a few pictures first...details will come tomorrow. If you want to know more right now you can click here to see Twilight Singapore's site. They have a little blurb about it and I emailed them from my cell phone while we were waiting to get in. It's long passed my bedtime, oyasuminasai!
The girls took pictures of our progress, so I'll include those to help give you a better idea of what I'm talking about.
Soon I will post the instructions for the spaghetti and meatballs costume. Last year I wrote the instructions for Keanna's bucket of popcorn costume and Sydney's movie ticket costume.
It's simple, I promise, just a little time consuming! Gambatte (try your best/good luck) if you make this next year!
Here are the supplies you'll need, and what they cost me.
- clean styrofoam cooler from the fish market- $0
- bag of pillow stuffing (300 grams) - $5
- bag of 200 cotton balls - $2
- shower cap - $1
- back brush (or any accessory for that matter) - $4
- rubber ducks - $0
- rubber ducky sponge - $1
- bath tub letters/numbers for outside of the tub - $0
- slippers, slippahs or flip flops - $0
- hot glue gun with a lot of glue - $3
- white scrap material or a white pillow case - $0
- for a grand total of $16
I took the rest of the pillow case and hot glued it to cover the surface of the cooler. I glued about 1" below the top edge and went all the way around. The batting will rest on this. In retrospect I wish I glued the pillow case around the edges before putting the cotton balls on the straps. It wasn't a big deal, but probably would have been easier. Once the entire surface is covered cut a round hole for Peter to fit through. I made it big enough for her head, then cut slits on the four sides of the circle. I found that the best way to put the costume on is to hold it over her head and put iton like a shirt; it's easier than having her step into it.
I started putting hot glue down on the pillow case and piling the batting on top of it until it covered the whole surface. The batting will come loose, so I put glue in random areas to help keep it together. Let some "over flow" over the side and put hot glue down to keep it in place.
Find some bath toys, rubber ducks, etc. and hot glue them to the top. We have two bigger ones and one tiny one, so I put the smallest one on the cotton balls on the shoulder strap and the two larger ones in the batting. I found a rubber ducky sponge at the ¥100 store (like the dollar store in the U.S.), hot glued his feet and butt and stuck him in the back making it look like he was standing up. We have these animals with letters inside (a giraffe with a "G" inside) so I took the letters and used those and hot glued them to the outside of the tub. If you can't find letters or numbers for the bath, look for magnets, that's what I used when I made Keanna's a few years ago (see last paragraph).
In my opinion the accessories make the whole thing come together, so when I was buying the cotton balls I looked and found the shower cap and back brush. Anything you have will work, but the cost of both was so low that I bought them, and I have a brand new back brush now! My neighbor, Sarah, gave Sydney a small bottle of bubbles to blow, and you can see [in the first picture at the top] that she's holding them but forgot to open them up. Sarah thought having bubbles floating up around her would be cute and it hadn't occurred to me. Thanks Sarah!
For the costume contest at the New Sanno in Tokyo on the 25th Sydney wore a pair of shorts, a bathing suit top and slippers, but on Halloween she wore jeans and a white sweater with sneakers.
I actually made this costume for Keanna in 2006 while we were in Hawaii, so she went out with the bathing suit on and slippahs (Hawaii's way of saying "flip flops"). I did a better job this time around and felt like it came together a lot easier.
Here's Keanna in the costume the first time I attempted it. I didn't do the pillow case lining then, but I got a piece of felt instead and attached it on the left and right sides letting it kind of drape around her. The way I did it with Sydney's was much better and certainly more sturdy, and it was actually easier with the larger cooler too.
Sunday, November 15, 2009
Pass the Chopsticks is getting more visits than ever before! There are 202 subscribers (email, feed fetcher, etc), 127 followers and I have a counter on the right margin and get the numbers emailed to me daily; here's what I got last night.
Total ............................ 31,110
Average per Day .............. 169
Average Visit Length .......... 2:17
This Week ...................... 1,181
Total ............................ 51,259
Average per Day ............... 268
Average per Visit .............. 1.6
This Week ...................... 1,873
Sitemeter.com explains the difference between a page visit and page view.
When you are browsing a site, every time you follow a link to a new web page, it is treated as a single page view. Site Meter defines a visit as a series of page views by one person with no more than 30 minutes in between page views. If you click on a link to another site, and then come back to your site within 30 minutes, you are still on the same visit and Site Meter won't increment the counter. But Site Meter will increment the number of page views recorded for your current visit.
Friday, November 13, 2009
I emailed my friend Mayumi and asked her about it and here's what she had to say:
Those letters are Hiragana. 『ぶ』 ( Bu ) and 『う』 ( U ). 『ぶう』 is the "sound" we would say
if we wanted to put a word explaining about pigs. Your other three toes have a pig on each, so, I guess they put the word.
I bought these toe socks in the Shibuya Ward of Tokyo and they've become a big hit with the girls. Every time I wear them they don't stop with the "This Little Piggy" nursery rhyme.
This little piggy went to the market,
This little piggy stayed home.
This little piggy had roast beef, This little piggy had none.
And this little piggy cried "Wee! Wee! Wee!" all the way home.
My friend Laurel teaches English to Japanese kids at a school nearby. She said they play this out once a week and the kids get excited yelling "Buta!" Buta is the Japanese word for pig, and that's how they ask her to do it. Instead of a piggy buying roast beef, in her version it buys pizza. At the end she'll chase them around during the "Wee! Wee! Wee!" part and they climb under the tables trying to hide from her!
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
who has given us freedom of the press.
It is the soldier, not the poet,
who has given us freedom of speech.
It is the soldier, not the campus organizer, who has given us the freedom to demonstrate.
It is the soldier, not the lawyer,
who has given us the right to a fair trial.
It is the soldier, who salutes the flag,
who serves under the flag, and whose coffin is draped by the flag,
who allows the protester to burn the flag.
- Father Dennis Edward O'Brien, USMC
Armistice Day Becomes Veterans Day
World War I officially ended on June 28, 1919, with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles. The actual fighting between the Allies and Germany, however, had ended seven months earlier with the armistice, which went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month in 1918. Armistice Day, as November 11 became known, officially became a holiday in the United States in 1926, and a national holiday 12 years later. On June 1, 1954, the name was changed to Veterans Day to honor all U.S. veterans.
In 1968, new legislation changed the national commemoration of Veterans Day to the fourth Monday in October. It soon became apparent, however, that November 11 was a date of historic significance to many Americans. Therefore, in 1978 Congress returned the observance to its traditional date.
Saturday, November 7, 2009
Microsoft celebrated the release of Windows 7 here in
Measuring 5.1" (13 cm) in diameter, the Amerikanbanzu ("American sized buns" in English) Windows 7 Whopper has seven ¼ lb (113 grams) beef patties totaling 1 ¾ pounds.
Bob and I talked about it and I told him I wanted to at least get a picture of it, so after we got it [to go] Keanna wanted to send him a picture. I took a picture of her holding it with my cell phone and emailed it to him with the subject "Hungry?" He wrote back immediately (this surface ship thing is still amazing to me, if he were on a submarine I'd hear back from him in a month or two, and I wouldn't have been able to send him a picture in the first place) with the response, “Have friends to help eat it?”
We headed back to
Thursday, November 5, 2009
They had a translator for Rob and Chris and the audience too. I would say, from what I saw, at least 95% of the 550-600 member audience was Japanese. Understandably so, don’t get me wrong, but I was surprised there weren’t that many foreigners there. Like I said in my last post, we tried to get tickets when they first went on sale, so when they became available again I don’t think the word got out.
Chris introduced himself and said hi and promised to keep it short. Rob asked, “Genki?” and that means “How are you?” A lot of girls in the audience responded with “Genki desu,” which means “I’m good.”
They immediately moved into the question & answer period but only had time for two questions. A little disappointing, but this was scheduled for an hour. The first question was about their favorite thing to film in “New Moon.” Rob’s answer was “Anything with the Volvo in it,” and Chris’ answer was “Anything with Rob in it.” –See video #2-
The second question, asked in English (very impressive!) was “Would you lie to protect someone you love?” Rob said he would and compared it to his character. He put more thought into this answer so that was refreshing. After that they said they ran out of time for questions and immediately moved on to the drawing for the
Rob and Chris each selected three tickets which were seat numbers. -See video #3-
Rob and Chris were directed to the balcony portion of the stage…if you want to call it that, where each girl had 15 seconds to plead their case of why they deserved the trip. I took a lot of snapshots at this point and didn't get it on video. A few of them cried, a few laughed, and with all the emotions from the finalists the audience got just as emotional. The translator for the audience explained each girl’s answer and then Rob and Chris were told to choose the winner based on their reasons.
Chris said it isn’t fair and he couldn’t decide, so they pulled out “The Red String Machine.” This was totally planned as you’ll see in the video. The six girls had one end and Rob and Chris had one. They all had to pull to see who was holding their string. The one with Rob won the trip to
The other four girls didn't walk away empty handed. They each got a hug from Rob and Chris and one of the red robes that were worn in
They showed us three clips from the movie, but all were ones I had seen online before. Staff walked around making sure no one was recording anything. As soon as the clips started the room got quiet and we could hear everything. I remember watching something on TV where they showed a clip and the audience just kept screaming. Everyone sat in their seats too and didn't stand. We were asked to do that in the beginning, but I wasn't sure if everyone would actually follow the directions.
Rob and Chris said goodbye and thank you and Chris asked that we go see the film so he could get another job. That got a laugh from the crowd and after the translation and applause and waving they left the stage. -See video #5-
About a minute later they popped out of a balcony on the left side of the room, but I was sitting too close to it and couldn’t see them.
On our way out we were given a gift bag with four 5"x7” promotional pictures (nothing that hasn’t already been online or in magazines) and a “The Twilight Saga: New Moon” poster; we joked that it’s our swag. We went out into the lobby and chatted for a few minutes, took some pictures and I was pinching myself making sure I still wasn't dreaming. One of the girls that won a robe was letting people try it on, so I asked her, “Daijoubu desu ka?” “Is it okay?” She didn’t mind one bit, so I put it on and Mel snapped a picture. This was the neatest thing as far as I was concerned, and I emailed the picture to my husband, Bob, who asked if I dressed up as Little Red Riding Hood for Halloween. He knew darn well I didn't, don't worry.
We had a great time, met two women from
To see all 71 pictures I took click here. You do not have to log in or create one, just hit "View Album" under the picture.
On November 17th at 7 pm (that’s Nov 17 at 5 am EST) I’ll be in the Shinjuku Piccadilly Theater in
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
For Christmas last year my friend, Shari in
By this time “Twilight” was out all over the
So Shari, thank you for sucking me in. I wouldn’t be writing this if it wasn’t for you!
After seeing the movie I got caught up in the madness. I wouldn’t say it was obsessive, but I’d look at fan sites every couple of days. One of my favorites was Twilight Singapore, and we got in touch with each other after I had found a “Twilight” magazine. I scanned the pages and emailed them to
Skip ahead to mid October and I find out from Twilighter’s Square that “The Twilight Saga: New Moon” press tour was coming to
Sunday morning came around, I hired a babysitter and my friend, Laurel, and I headed back up to
I posted on TS that I had a failed attempt at a ticket and was so disappointed! But last Friday Maria from TS emailed me saying they got a lead that more tickets were available. I checked out the website, called Mel and Laurel (
Everything worked out and we left our house at 9 am yesterday. We arrived at Shinagawa station at 9:50 and figured out where we had to go…
At 1 pm exactly we were called to the table to get our pass and seating assignment. The seats for foreigners had already been set aside, so we weren’t sure where they were going to be. We could see a map with sections A, B & C and 10 rows making up each section. So B9, my row, was the 19th row. None of the good seats were in our batch of passes and understandably so, the PIA tickets were purchased first and they had the right to the better seats. I was happy just to be there, believe me! None of us would be there if it weren’t for Twilight Singapore and for that we were, and still are very appreciative!!!
After we got our passes we wanted to grab a bite to eat. There’s an Outback Steakhouse right across from where we were, but FYI they’re not open for lunch. We ended up cutting through Shinagawa station and walking up a hill to another one…on the way we went by a TGI Fridays. We drank, ate, laughed, drank some more and talked for nearly three hours…we had plenty of time because the doors didn’t open until 6 pm. From there we walked back the way we came and stopped for coffee at a Starbucks inside Shinagawa Station.
Finally 5 pm came around and we headed back to
As we walked through the doors we were handed a balloon, and straight ahead was the Volvo, the XC60. It wasn’t the same one from the movie because if you notice the steering wheel is on the right. We made our way into the hall, found our seats and waited about 20 minutes until Rob and Chris came out. Here's a video I took of their entrance.
I will post the second half tomorrow along with about 65 more pictures and four more videos!
*Update: part two can be seen here.
*I was just informed that RobsessedPattinson has my five videos posted from YouTube here.*
Monday, October 26, 2009
Anyway, getting back to it, I made their costumes again this year; Keanna's wearing a spaghetti and meatballs costume and Sydney's costume is a bubble bath. People asked me where I got the idea for Keanna's costume. It came from the Food Network television show, "Ace of Cakes," but it's known at our house as "The Cake Makin' Show." It airs on AFN (Armed Forces Network) and in one episode they made a cake for a family like likes to travel. I don't remember the exact details since it was from a while ago, but they made a cake of spaghetti & meatballs and placed it on top of the northern hemisphere of the globe. At that moment it clicked and ideas started popping into my head. Big time thanks to Charm City Cakes in Baltimore for the inspiration!
We enjoyed the Sunday brunch and kept our fingers crossed when it came time for the costume contest. When we were getting our ticket and walking in two of the women, at the exact same time said, "It's the popcorn girl!" Keanna proudly said, "I was popcorn last year, this year I'm spaghetti and meatballs with bread and cheese." It was flattering!
Last year they had about 55-60 kids compete and this year over 95 were dressed up! Keanna & Sydney's numbers were 48 and 49, right smack in the middle, so I had a couple of minutes to get them dressed and ready before being called.
Each of the four judge chose two winners. The prizes included a children's digital camera, two tickets to Disneyland Tokyo, an iPod Shuffle and a Nintendo Wii. They didn't have first, second and third place winners, they just announced the judge, where he/she was from, and what prize they were giving for their choice. When the judge from FOX TV Japan was announced she said her prize was a Nintendo Wii. Keanna immediately perked and when she heard her name she jumped with excitement, headed to the stage and collected her prize. To FOX TV, on behalf of Keanna and myself, domo arigato gozaimasu for your generosity.
After the contest ended they had trick-or-treating in some areas of the hotel. We walked around the lobby and to the shops, salon and pool on the second floor. The girls were constantly stopped asking for pictures and they didn't think anything of it! Some people even asked me to take pictures of them with the girls using their cameras. A Japanese woman who's English was nearly perfect asked if she could take pictures of Sydney's costume. She took at least 10 pictures from all sides and angles and asked if I minded her attempting it next year.
Sydney didn't win, and that's okay. On the drive up there we talked about how it wasn't important...which it isn't. Don't get me wrong, I'm competitive and was hopeful, but my parents raised me to believe that it doesn't matter whether you win or lose, it's how you play the game...right Dad?! Keanna, Sydney and I all worked together to make their costumes. They did everything but use the glue gun, and it was a huge help to me. We had fun, talked and sang while we worked on the floor in the living room for the four or five days it took.
Hope you have a Spooktacular Halloween and leave a comment sharing what you, your children or loved one is dressing up as this year!
Saturday, October 24, 2009
I got a bottle at 7-11 down the street from our house for ¥125 (about $1.40 with the exchange rate) but didn't try it until Wednesday morning. I liked it a lot and Sydney did too, so once Keanna was off to school she and I headed out into town to buy some more. I wanted to get a couple of bottles for Bob too, since it won't be available by the time he comes home. It's actually written in Kanji that it's limited edition.
It's sweet and yummy and I have another bottle chilling in the fridge right now. The after taste was mostly like regular Pepsi, but there was still a little sweetness to it. Azuki is a red bean, and I've always seen it in a paste form inside breads. But I've seen it in one other form, Kit Kats! Almost a year ago there was a Kit Kat flavor that involved azuki beans; click here to see my post about it. According to Wikipedia, In East Asian cuisine the azuki bean is commonly eaten sweetened. In particular, it is often boiled with sugar, resulting in red bean paste (an), a very common ingredient in all of these cuisines; it is also common to add flavoring to the bean paste, such as chestnut.
At 3F, the store Sydney and I went to on Wednesday, I asked the clerk (and in Japanese, go me!) if she liked it. She answered (in Japanese and I understood!) that she likes it better in bread and that it was so-so in the Pepsi. After we walked out and tried it we walked back in and Sydney said, "Oishii desu," (it's delicious) and I told her (in Japanese) that I preferred it in the Pepsi over the bread. She chuckled, commended Sydney on her Japanese and even clapped, I bought a couple more bottles, the three of us bowed and we were on our way.
Have I mentioned how much I love living in this country?!
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Each year, starting in late September, the "koyo front" slowly moves southwards from the northern island of Hokkaido until it reaches the lower elevations of central and southern Japan towards the end of November.
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
My Ombudsman sent an email out a little while ago, and I'll copy and paste some of the highlights below. Hopefully it sounds worse than it is. I think my mind would be more at ease if Bob were here, but I'm not the only one without a husband home to help, so at least I'm not alone! The ships are out there trying to avoid the storm and getting banged up against the pier. I've done what I can in preparation, so now we'll sit back and watch/listen for updates. This website, if you're interested, explains the different TCCOR conditions. Right now (7:15 pm Wednesday) we're at TCCOR 2.
- The largest amounts of rain should occur between 1000 and 1400 Thursday. Overall, rainfall is expected to be between 2-4 inches.
I'll see you online after the storm!
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
We're in Tropical Cyclone Condition of Readiness (TCCOR) III right now. I'm sure you're wondering what that means: Winds of 50 knots or greater are anticipated within 24 hours. Secure outside items, secure windows and alert your commands’ essential personnel. All hands should identify loose gear that could become missile hazards and make preparations for stowing and securing them. All hands should also ensure they have a three day supply of food and water on hand. Residents are advised to fill vehicles and grill gas tanks. Ensure emergency kits are ready. Move equipment away from windows and ensure sufficient money and important documents are easily accessible.
It's been raining since yesterday afternoon and there's no sign of it stopping any time soon. I put the girls' bikes in the little built attached to our front lanai and covered the water table and took the toys from the water table and threw them in the shed. It's raining now and will be for the rest of the week, so we'll just relax and try to stay dry...aside from
Saturday, August 29, 2009
I went out with some friends a couple of weeks ago and this sign was posted beside a vending machine. It was funny to me at the time, so funny that I had one of them take my picture with it. Now that I look at it it's not nearly as entertaining as it was that night...after a few tanqueray and tonics!
Saturday, July 25, 2009
Well, the sun did go away for a little bit on Wednesday, July 22nd, but we couldn't see it because it was cloudy and completely overcast here in Zushi. We live in Kanagawa Prefecture, about an hour south of Tokyo by train. We don't live far south enough to see the total eclipse, and since watching from the front yard was pointless, I tuned in to some of our local Japanese television stations.
At the maximum spot the totality of the eclipse lasted 6 minutes and 39 seconds. The only area of Japan to see the total eclipse was the small islands between Kyushu and Okinawa. We lost 60% of the sunlight, and it did get noticeably darker outside, but it could have easily been mistaken for storm clouds rolling in.
Since we've known about the eclipse for a while I decided to show the girls pictures and try to explain what was going to happen. The night before we looked at pictures and diagrams, and even brought out the flashlight to make shadows with our hands. I realize Keanna's 5 and Sydney's 3 and didn't expect much from our conversation and shadow hand puppets. As we were looking at pictures of the umbra, penumbra and corona, I began having flashbacks from Mrs. Spiegel's earth science class from my freshman year of high school.
Anyway, getting back to watching it on t.v. I was scanning through the channels and figured we'd get local coverage along with live satellite feeds from the southern islands. The girls had an idea of what was going to happen, they knew the moon was going to come in front of the sun, and I wanted them to be able to see it. I always keep my little camera on hand to record video, and thankfully I turned to a certain station at the right time. Scanning through I saw this (see the video below), two men dressed up, one as the sun, the other as the moon. When we saw this it was a perfect way to show the girls what was happening...I laughed so hard I nearly snorted. We can't understand a word of it, so maybe that makes it funnier, maybe it doesn't, but take a couple of minutes to watch if you want a laugh. If you're an email subscriber you'll need to click here to watch the video.
Monday, July 13, 2009
Jenni's: Kit Kats are yummy/Feels so good in my tummy/I'm eating some now
Mandy's: strange kit kats my fave!/their odd flavors I do crave!/make a ketchup flavor!Jenni and Mandy, please complete the "Contact Katie" form with your mailing address. That'll come directly into my email and is only viewable by me.