Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Alicia and Mash in NYC!

Today I got to play with Alicia, who is back on the east coast visiting her family for the holidays. She's in Manattan because her sister lives there, so today I took the train in and we had a nice brunch together at Norma's. Here we are in front of the guy holding up the world by Rockerfeller Center:

After brunch, we wandered back to the train station, and along the way we happened upon someplace special for our friend, Ricksta:

Bunny ears by Alicia. =)

Sunday, December 25, 2005


Spam and Musubi got a present for Christmas this morning. They are fish filled with catnip! Spammy went crazy over them, and did his best to open the package himself. Then he just went nuts with them for the rest of the morning. :) Spammy and Musubi say thanks for all the fish!

Waiting Up for Santa

It's the wee hours of Christmas morning, and I am waiting up to see Santa drop by.

Ok, the real story is that Russ has to work an overnight shift from midnight till 8:00 a.m., and I'm trying to stay awake for as much of that shift as I can, so that the two of us can have the same amount of sleepiness later on today.

Because Russ has to work this crazy shift, and I have to work at Crate & Barrel tomrorow, we are unable to make it up to Massachusetts to spend Christmas with my folks. So that's kind of a bummer.

Anyway, the agenda for these wee hours has included doing some laundry (already on the second of three loads), and giving Spammy a bath. We just finished the bath I gave him (this is part of his ringworm treatment), and now he's sitting beside me on the couch, taking his own post-bath bath. He's actually sitting in the crumpled up towel I used to help dry him off, which is on top of Musubi, who I think is letting him sit on top of her for moral support. It's cute how she always looks after him, even though he always tries to beat her up when they play.

In a few minutes, I'm going to go to the car and get out the last of the gifts I picked up for Russ today - I've been hiding it in the trunk. This afternoon, I stopped by Crate & Barrel and dropped off a bunch of cookies and scones for the folks that had to work today. While I was at the mall, I also went to the Walking Company and picked up a pair of nice warm slippers for Russ - one of the things he specifically mentioned that he wanted for Christmas. They are real slippers - not Hawaii-kine slippahs that mainlanders call flip-flops. The other day I also picked up a tool chest for Russ's power tools, since I stole the big bucket he was using to store them because we needed it to hold our empty containers for recycling. And the last thing I got him was a gift certificate for a one-hour massage. I'd better hold off on publishing this post till after Russ comes home, just in case he's bored at work, and decides to read my blog, which I kind of doubt he'll do, but better to be safe, heh.

I also have a movie to watch - Man on the Train. It has subtitles, so I have to pay attention if I want to know what's going on!

But for now, some pictures of our first Christmas living in New Jersey:

This evening... well I guess it was last evening already... we drove into NYC just to visit the big Christmas tree in Rockerfeller Center. Russ played toursit snapping pictures out the window of the car while I drove. :)

Along our way wading through the crowd to get to Rockerfeller Center, we saw a giant snowstorm, with giant snowflakes! :D

As you can see, we accomplished our goal. :) Here's the big tree.

And here are the skaters!

Russ watching the big TV outside the window at the NBC store.

And we passed Radio City Music Hall along our way back to the car.

We tried to take a picture of ourselves with Radio City Music Hall in the background, but I guess that didn't work out very well.

Ok, I'm finally finishing up this post at 3:45 a.m. I'm getting pretty tired, but I'm still going to try to watch the movie I rented. I want to try to make it till at least 6:00 a.m. before I go to sleep. We'll see!

Sunday, December 18, 2005


Russ took this picture just a few minutes ago. You can't even tell that Spammy's butt's been shaved. =)

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Too Busy!

How did it get to be December 17th already? I dunno - just not enough hours in the day.

This past week, my brother mostly moved his things into our house. We have a bunch of his stuff in the cellar, and then a bunch more of his stuff in the attic, where he will be staying. In addition to his stuff, we also have his 15-year old cat, Sweetie. I'm afraid Sweetie isn't as sweet as Spammy and Musubi. He plays games like the cat we had when I was growing up. Beege would act all happy, purring, rubing against you - then she'd flop over on the floor, and roll on her back, making like she wants you to pet her tummy. But really that was just an invitation for her to saw your arm off with her claws and teeth. At least Sweetie doesn't have any front claws, so I still have my arm.

We also have my brother's mattress in the downstairs, standing on its end, halfway in the front hall and the other half in the living room. Spammy and Musubi LOVE it. They think it's their indoor tree, racing right up to the top of it every chance they get. Unless I'm not around, Spammy prefers to get off from the top by having me stand right next to the mattress so he can step onto my head and shoulder before jumping off onto the couch.

So anyway, between my brother moving in on Tuesday and me baking a million billion evil goodness cookies to send to my Hawaii friends, I didn't manage to get anything else done that day. We've also been busy wrapping and sending gifts, and I designed and assembled Christmas cards, and both Russ and I wrote messages in them and sent. And business at Crate & Barrel of course is picking up to a nice frenzied pace.

And I still have some Christmas shopping to do - haven't gotten anything for Russ yet! But since I just got home from work, time for sleep.


Friday, December 09, 2005

Made it to the Vet After All...

This morning while Russ and I shovelled the driveway and sidewalk, the sun began to come out. So I kept my appointment for Spammy to visit the vet. Good thing too, because it turns out that in addition to runny eyes an nose, the little guy has ringworm! Ewww! As part of his treatment today, Spammy had the pleasure of being traumatized by an anti-fungal bath and blow-dry. When the vet's assistant brought him out to the waiting room afterwards, Spammy's feelings were very conflicted - he couldn't decide whether he wanted to shake from being scared by the bath, or purr because I was holding him again. So when he looked at me, he purred. When he looked away from me, he stopped purring and shook.

So now Spammy is on three different medications, and I have to bring Musubi in next week to get her checked out for ringworm, too. She's not showing any symptoms of anything though, so hopefully she's ok...

And Let It Snow Some More...

See today I think it snowed because I scheduled an appointment for Spammy to visit the vet. His eyes are runny and he's sneezy. But perhaps we will reschedule since it's snowing pretty hard and no signs of stopping anytime soon...

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Weird Random Song Lyric

If diseases go together like a road with bumps
Then I got the measles and you got the mumps

I heard this on XM Radio's 50's channel last week while I was driving in the car. Was part of some love song. I have no idea who it's by, but I thought it was so hilarious I had to write it down before I forgot it.

And I did forget it. And I forgot that I wrote it down - at least until just now when I came across that piece of paper.

Ok, I just looked up those lyrics - they are from Jackie Wilson's To Be Loved. According to several web sites, it seems I heard it wrong:

If they says it goes together like a road with bumps
Then I got the measles and you got the mumps

Bah, it was more funny the way I heard it. Still, including diseases in a love song kind of tickles me. :P

Sunday, December 04, 2005

First Snow

This was the view we woke up to this morning at 7:30 a.m. Well... actually it's the view from our bedroom window at about 1:00 p.m. - so some of the snow we first saw had already melted before I took the photo.

Figures the day it decides to finally snow here is the same morning that I wanted to get up early and go get some holiday shopping done. The reason I wanted to go on this day in particular is because I've taken a seasonal job with Crate & Barrel, and this morning they opened up the store early for employees only, so we could do some holiday shopping while the store was not busy with real shoppers.

But we didn't let the snow daunt us - we got up, shovelled the snow off our driveway and sidewalk, brushed off the car and went. I've made many trips between Hartford and central Massachusetts in much worse weather than this - I figured we could manage the five or so miles from home to the Short Hills Mall.

So that was our excitement for the day. My first drive on snowy, slick roads in almost six years. We're not dead or injured, the car doesn't have any additional scratches on it, and the all-season tires maybe actually are all-season, not just all-Hawaii-season tires. ;)

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Charlie Brown Tree Part II

Now that our tiny little tree is decorated, I thought I'd share a photo of it. Maybe it should be called the Hunchback of Notre Dame tree instead. We pretty much made all of the ornaments on it ourselves. One of my favorites is the happy little plate of spaghetti Russ made a couple of years ago. :)

Anyway, we had to move the little stockings to an out-of-reach-from-the-kitties place... earlier today they almost destroyed one of them. Oi!

Sleepin' Kitties

Because I had a request for more kitty photos. I took this yesterday:


Sometimes it's a wonder I get anything done, at least when it comes to housework. For example, I just finished eating lunch, so the very next thing I did was wash dishes. Midway through my task, I washed the pot that I usually boil water in for making iced tea. Remembering that I wanted to make some more, I stopped what I was doing, filled the pot with water, put it on the stove and put some tea in it.

That's not too bad - only one interruption, after which I finished washing the dishes and putting them away.

After finishing with the dishes, I noticed that crumbs and drips needed to be wiped off the countertops. So I grabbed a paper towel and was about to get the 409 out when I noticed that the random plumbing and electrician parts that have been sitting on the counter for weeks were still there. Since they apparently weren't going to find a place to belong on their own, I took them downstairs to the cellar.

Once in the cellar, the washing machine finished it's cycle, so I moved the wet clothes to the dryer, and started another batch of dirty clothes in the washer.

That done, I went back upstairs. On the other counter I saw the plastic bag that I had taken from the floor of our bedroom earlier in the mornign and placed on the counter so that later I would remember to clean out the cats' litter box. Well, I guess this was as good a time as any, since the bag would have to go somewhere else before I could clean that countertop anyway.

I finished cleaning the catbox, and looking down at the floor, I noticed that the kitties had managed to track quite a bit of cat litter on it, even though I had just swept yesterday. So I got out the dust pan and brush and cleaned up the floor surrounding the litter box.

Heading back into the kitchen to clean those counters, I noticed that the tea was boiling and ready to be poured over ice. So I got out the pitcher, filled it with ice, poured the tea, cleaned the pot and lid, sliced and squeezed a lemon into the ice tea, and put it away.

So, is it time to wipe down the counters yet? Nope, not quite. Next I noticed the accumulating pile of recyclable containers gathering next to the dish rack. So I gathered those all together and put them out on the back entryway, with the help of little Spammy of course, who took it upon himself to chase a fly he found out there.

Ok, so I finally got around to wiping the counters down. And guess what? Now it's time to flip the laundry again! :P

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Hike in South Mountain Reservation

On Sunday, Russ and I went on a little hike with a couple of people from the group I've been hiking with lately, Tereasa and Karen. The place we chose to hike in is very nearby. I'm told South Mountain Reservation has miles of trails, but the four of us decided we only wanted to do a short hike, maybe three or four miles. So we chose the orange trail - a short loop.

Either the beginning of the trail (well, where we started anyway) was not marked very well, or none of use paid much attention to where we were going, because it wasn't long before we found ourselves completely off the trail! We were on a trail, just not the orange trail. Then we realized we were right next to the Girl Scout camp, so it was easy to meet up with the trail again later on. Anyway we weren't worried because no matter which way we went, we were bound to hit a road or someone's back yard or something.

We also found these fun little houses someone made of sticks. Tereasa was the only one goofy enough to pose for a picture inside one of them with me. :)

After we finished hiking, we all went and had food at a nearby diner. Now we just have to teach Jason to build that into his hiking plans next time he organizes one. :)

Friday, November 25, 2005

Charlie Brown Tree

We're back in Jersey now, and after being gone for two consecutive nights, our kitties are happy to see us. They did a pretty good job of making a mess, putting their food all over the kitchen floor, and tracking their cat litter around the house. To prevent Spam from dehydrating the both of them (remember he likes to kick all the water out of the water bowl), we had to leave the bathroom sink filled with water. Needless to say the water was pretty icky by the time we got home, because guess who loves to stand in the water while he drinks...

This evening Russ and I began our Christmas decorating by digging out our vast collection of polymer clays and making one ornament each. A few years ago we made a whole bunch of ornaments out of Sculpey and Crayola Model Magic. Now we just make one or two more ornaments each year to add to our tree.

This year, Russ made a happy little spam musubi with tamago. The rice, whites and blues of the eyes and mouth are all made of glow-in-the-dark Sculpey (ooooooooo!), and the nori is cute because it looks like camouflage.

I experimented with making a 3-D version of a Mochichick Mochi Kid. It's not the easiest thing in the world to make the tiny body. The body and the hair had to be baked first, and then inserted into the head, and then the whole thing baked together. I think I will also try to make a Forky Mochi Kid this year too, so they can hang out together on the tree.

Speaking of the tree, it is the same sorry little fake tree we bought at Craft Supply of Honolulu five years ago. It normally stands about three feet tall (if that), but last year we began mounting it on a stool which adds almost another foot to its height. We call it a Charlie Brown tree because it looks so sorry. And because it is such a small tree, we are running out of branches to hang all of our ornaments on. I suppose we could get a bigger tree, but we decided that can wait for next year. Especially since we have kittens... we'll be lucky if any of our ornaments survive this year! As you can see, little Spammy was my very eager "helper" in getting the tree set up. And something tells me he's going to keep doing his part to set up the tree, every day all the way until we take it down after New Years!

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Let it snow let it snow let it snow...

Yesterday Russ and I drove the 200+ miles from New Jersey to my folks' house in Massachusetts to spend Thanksgiving with them. This is the first holiday I've spent with my family in over five years. We were fortunate to have good weather for the entire drive, especially since the weather forecasters kept threatening us with snow for both Wednesday and Thursday.

So this is also the first snowfall I've seen in over five years. Nothing too dramatic, no 5-foot snowdrifts or anything like that. When we woke up this morning, it looked like "frosted mini-wheat" snow - snow that covers the ground, but you can still see the tips of the grass poking through. Later on it snowed some more, I guess just to make the drive over to visit my friend Patti a little more interesting.

So it's nice to see my folks, and although there are only the four of us, there is still plenty of food. I've especially missed my mommy's apple pie, which I think I will have for my supper. :)

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Curiosity Singed the Eyebrow

Since I've had some requests for more kitty pictures, here they are:

Little Spammy isn't as little as he used to be. But as you can see, he likes to come visit me while I'm using the computer. He's much better about hanging out during computer-time than Musubi. He'll walk around and rub his face on my nose and then curl up and snuggle against my forearm, but won't get too much in the way of my typing. He's also good about not stepping on the keyboard too much.

Musubi also likes to visit during computer-time:

If she looks a little surprised in this picture, it's because she was busy taking a bath and I had to make kissy noises to get her to look at me for the photo. If you look carefully (click on the picture for an enlargement), you might notice that the whiskers above one of her eyes are shorter than the others. We think this is because she was being naughty a few days ago, and hopped up on the dining room table while we weren't looking. She was probably sniffing the candle we had lit, burning of the top of her eyebrow in the process. Silly kitty. That experience apparently hasn't got her to stop hopping up on the table either. Tsk-tsk-tsk.

Adventure Dance

Last night, instead of going to the dance we normally would have gone to because it is nearby, Russ and I took a drive down to Princeton, about 50 miles away, to check out the Jersey Jumpers monthly swing dance at the Unitarian Universalist Church.

I'm really glad we went, even though it took four or five times as long to get to it than the other dance. The dance hall is huge, and the floor recently resurfaced. There was a really nice mix of age groups, and everyone I met was very friendly. It's been a long time since I've been asked to dance so many times - usually I find I have to do the asking, so that was an added bonus. Plus more people at this dance know how to Lindy, and the music selection has a lot more early jazz and a lot less jump blues.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Have a Seat!

It's been nearly three months since we move into our home. During that whole time our living room furniture consisted of a couple of fold-up camping chairs, which we bought on our closing day, and a couple of sling-back chairs that arrived later along with the rest of our goods from Hawaii. Ohyeah, and then about a month ago, my folks brought down from Massachusetts the Boston rocker that belonged to my grandpa.

Today that's all changed. After two and a half months of waiting, combined with less than stellar customer service from Macy's Route 22 Furniture Gallery, our sofa, loveseat and recliner finally arrived! How nice it is to have something comfortable to flop down on and have a nap when you get home from a long day. Plus guests have someplace comfortable to sit. Yippee!

Now we just need to fill up that space in the middle with a coffee table. And an area rug would be good, too.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Evil Goodness

My friend, Rebecca, loves to cook with her crockpot. She'll cook anything in it, including cakes, which come out quite yummy and moist. She also cooks other kinds of desserts that she likes to call "Wholesome Goodness" because, well, they started off as brownies, but they were just too healthy to be called brownies. She puts all kinds of things in them like bran, fruits, yogurt, and, well, you get the idea. I think of them as poseur brownies.

Anyway, I was just baking a bunch of cookies, and was thinking about Rebecca because her birthday is coming up soon, so she will be the recipient of some of this batch. Unlike Rebecca, I don't make poseur dessert items. In fact I go out of my way to make them even worse (and hopefully yummier) for you than recipes call for (hence the name "Evil Goodness"). The following recipe is adapted from the "Vanishing Oatmeal Cookies" recipe found on the back of the Quaker Oats box. No offense to the raisin industry, but raisins have no buisness being in cookies. Or any other kind of fruit.

Evil Goodness

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
cocoa powder (I dunno how much, enough so the batter looks dark and yummy!)
1/2 tsp salt
3 cups oats
a whole bunch of chocolate chips

  • Heat oven to 350 degrees.
  • In a large bowl, beat together butter and sugars until creamy.
  • Add eggs and vanilla; beat well.
  • Add combined flour, baking soda, cocoa, salt; mix well.
  • Taste batter to make sure you put enough cocoa in! (Ok, fine, if you are worried about salmonella poisoning, don't taste the batter.)
  • Stir in oats.
  • Stir in chocolate chips. Once you think you have enough chocolate chips in the batter, add some more.
  • Put blobs of batter on a cookie sheet. Make the blobs as big as you want. I like to make little blobs, because then that means more cookies, but you might like bigger blobs.
  • Bake for 8 to 10 minutes; remove from oven and cool cookies on a wire cooling rack.
Never mind what the nutritional information is for these cookies. If you're that worried about it, don't make them!

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Allamuchy State Park (Hike #2)

Today I met up with many of the same folks as last week for another hike - this one through Allamuchy State Park. We had another great day, although this time it was a bit cooler (didn't actually break a sweat this time around). We hiked a little more than half of what we did last week, just under seven miles according to our fearless leader's GPS. Oh, and the Dave-count this week was only four.

It's been fun to hang out with new people, though I think I need to teach them a few things - like go out for burgers after the hike is over! Also, our fearless leader is planning a pau hana for the hiking folks a couple of Tuesdays from now... except he doesn't know to call it "pau hana" instead of happy hour. ;)

Sunday, November 06, 2005

1st New Jersey Hike

Yesterday I met up with a whole bunch of people I don't know for my very first hike in New Jersey. We went to a place called Ringwood State Park, which is somewhere along the NJ/NY border, maybe about 40-45 minutes drive from our house. The weather was beautiful, very much on the warm side for this time of year, but considerably cooler than what I've hiked in for the last several years. We were expecting to hike about eight miles. However, the end of the hike, our fearless leader, Jason, said it was probably more like ten or eleven.

(And in case Daniel reads this, the "Dave-count" was probably about six.)

So to say the least, it was a good workout. Just enough uphill to make me work up a pretty good sweat. Soon after starting out, it was apparent to me how out of shape I am, as I found it very difficult to keep pace and hold a conversation at the same time.

Oh yeah, and everyone thought I was weird because I brought spam musubi to eat (no, not the cats!) for lunch. And it was hard to get anyone to make shaka signs for photos. Silly east coast people. ;)

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

East Meets West Again

Today, for lunch, I decided to put furikake on my Annie's Shells and Cheese. It was yummy! :)

Monday, October 31, 2005

Happy Halloween!

Tonight I dressed up as a purple ogre wizard-guy and answered the door for trick or treaters. It's the kind of costme where there is a huge face on the body of the costume, and you cover your head with a wizard hat that you can see through. The reaction from the kids was really cute - they wanted to know where my face or eyes were, so I pointed to my body and said, "Right here! Can't you see??!" And it was extra cute, the few of them who said, "Really?"

I'm not sure how many kids came to our door, but we ran out of candy. When that happened, I went around the house and gathered up a bunch of the little toys that used to be in my office in Hawaii, and started giving them out instead.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

How do you just live?

From a movie I saw on public TV last night... The Misfits, with Clark Gable and Marylin Monroe:

" start by goin’ to sleep. You get up when you feel like it. You scratch yourself. You fry yourself some eggs. You see what kind of day it is. You throw stones at a can. You whistle."

Kinda reminds me of one of my favorite people. ;)

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Broken door semi-fixed

My friend Dave K will be happy to hear this. :)

A couple of weeks before moving away from Hawaii, the driver's side rear door of my Honda Civic decided it didn't want to open from the outside anymore, regardless of whether or not it was locked. A lot of times I would give my friends rides to our many different adventures around the island, and so this was a small source of frustration since no one could enter through that door, and everyone would forget.

So one day, not putting much thought into it, Dave tried changing the setting of the child safety lock on that door (you could still open it from the inside), to see if it would help. But as soon as he shut the door he realized his mistake - now the door wouldn't open at all! But who cares, it didn't stop us from having fun adventures. :)

That was almost three months ago. After moving, it took a month and a half before we even saw the car again. Then it took another month for me to get all the paperwork straightened out so that I could drive the car legally in New Jersey. Now that I can use it again, it seemed like the right time to reinstall my roof rack, which I had removed in July for shipping along with all of our household items.

Problem. How was I going to install the rear bar of the roof rack if I couldn't open the door??

All I can say is, it's a good thing we have a George Foreman Grill. They come with these nice, flexible, thin, plastic scrapers for removing grilled-on gunk.

Turns out those George Foreman Grill scrapers are also good for slipping in between the shut door of a car and the door's frame, and sliding up to disengage child safety locks!

So now my car has a roof rack again, and therefore is easy to spot in crowded parking lots!

I still can't open the door from the outside. But that'll be a different project for a different day. Or maybe a different year. Or better yet, a different owner. ;)

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Plumbing, pumpkins, frogs and an ancient sewing machine

Last weekend was both productive and fun. Home improvements continued, as Russ installed a garbage disposal and fixed the leaky bathtub. Both activities seemed to go fairly smoothly, without much swearing and only one trip to the hardware store. :)

Because Russ needed a new pair of khakis hemmed, I broke out my grandma's sewing machine and brought it back to life. Well, most of the way back to life... we can't figure out why it won't sew in reverse. Actually, we're unable to change the stitch length at all. Fortunately, the machine was stuck on a stitch length that was good for the type of material, so I didn't let the fact that it wouldn't sew in reverse stop me from using it to hem the trousers. Not that I know much about sewing, but I do know that you want to back-stitch a little bit both when you start and end a seam - in lieu of tying a knot.

Funny, I know I was in posession of this machine for at least a year or two before I moved to Hawaii, and before taking it out the other night, I could have sworn I'd used it before. Then when I was trying to figure out how to set it up and encountered the problem with the stitch length setting, I realized I must not have used it - it was all foreign to me. I'm too used to using my mom's old Singer (which isn't as old as this one - a Kenmore). And I do have to say they don't make things they way they used to. I'm surprised the machine is broken, old as it is - it is very solid, and everything on it is made of metal. I didn't see a single cheap plastic part. And, according to the manual, it was tested extensively at the Sears Home Economist Laboratory, hehe. :)

So anyway, chores day was Saturday. On Sunday, we got up bright and early at 10 o'clock and, seeing the sun was out again, decided to go for a nice Sunday drive down to the little town of Lambertville, New Jersey. Lambertville's claim to fame is that it boasts good many antique shops. We're kinda-sorta looking around for a floorlamp and a coffee table, to go with our living room furniture if it ever shows up. I wish I had brought my camera with me, because Lambertville is a cute little town, just across the Delaware River from Hope, Pennsylvania. In addition to antique shops, there are a whole bunch of other interesting shops to poke around in, restaurants, and a nice view of the river.

On the way home, we stopped at a roadside stand and bought these two pumpkins for the cats to play with. Ok, the cats don't really like to play with the pumpkins. The only way I could get them to pose with the pumpkins was to entice them with little plastic flowers. Anyway, we'll carve them (the pumpkins, not the cats!) on Saturday, just in time for Halloween.

Of course, now that we have cats, I have to be like my friend Rebecca and talk about them all the time. Ok, hopefully I'm not as bad as she is. I thought I'd share this action shot of Musubi playing with her favorite new toy, the little green froggy my Hawaii mommy, Gail, gave me when I left. Actually, she put the frog on my desk a year or two ago, and she just told me to take it with me.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Reconnecting with old friends

The internet is cool.

Today seemed to be the day of hearing from people I haven't heard from in a while. Most were friends I haven't emailed with in a few weeks or months. But the biggest surprise was getting a message from my friend Greg. Greg is one of the people I met in Connecticut about seven years ago when I first started swing dancing. He's a really awesome dancer, and turns out he's also a pretty talented web designer - which as far as I can recall, started out as a result of swing dancing. ;) I beleive one of the first web sites he developed was a Connecticut swing dance web site, that eventually turned into

Ohyah, so anyway, the reason Greg decided to email totally out of the blue today was because he was listening to Ryan Ozawa's The Transmission, a podcast about the television show, Lost. Now wasn't I just talking about Ryan's podcast a few posts ago?? I guess the HawaiiUp podcast reminded Greg of me since the last he knew I was still living in Hawaii.

Home Improvement

Last week we had our first guests over - Russ's mom and dad flew in from Seattle on Thursday night and stayed with us for a week. And then my folks drove down from Massachusetts yesterday and stayed till this morning.

We are very grateful to our moms and dads because they helped us out a whole bunch. Now we have the proper wiring to install a garbage disposal in the kitchen, and an exhaust fan in the bathroom. Thanks to Russ's folks, now we can also see our back yard and entryway at night. My folks loaded up their pickup truck and brought down all kinds of things I haven't used in five years - turtlenecks, my bicycle, sewing machine and materials. They also brought a nice Boston rocker that was my grandfather's - our first proper piece of living room furniture - and a drafting table that was my Uncle Walter's.

Oh, and the best thing was all the great cooking by Russ's mom. :) Even the roast she said was no good was really good (we finished the leftovers tonight).

Macy's was supposed to help us get some more real living room furniture in our house earlier this week, too, but they messed up and somehow misplaced the furniture order I made a month and a half ago.

The kitties also visited the vet on Tuesday - they both got a clean bill of health. Musubi is still showing Spam who's boss. Spam has taken to pretending that I'm a tree, and he climbs up my leg and the back of my shirt to sit on my shoulder. I'm putting a stop to that though; otherwise his little nails are going to poke all kinds of holes in my jeans and shirts.

Sunday, October 16, 2005


Meet Spam, our latest addition to the family. :) He's a very feisty little boy. In fact, he's trying to type his own blog entry right now, but the spell-checker doesn't seem to like his spelling. So I told him to get his own Blogger account. ;)

Although this entry will pretty much be all about Spam, I thought I might take a moment to mention that the color of the sun is yellow! Yes, after nine consecutive days of grey, glum dreary overcast rainy days, Mr. Sun finally decided to make an appearance - a day earlier than expected too. :)

Getting back to Spam, we brought him home on Wednesday night, so this is his fifth night here with us. As expected, Musubi wasn't exactly thrilled to have this new little brat hanging around, stealing her toys, stealing attention from her humans, stealing her scratching post, and stealing her food. As you can see, Spam has no compunction about pushing Musubi's head right out of the food bowl, though she is more than twice his size.

So Musubi hasn't been quite as sweet as she used to be before Spam came along, although she is beginning to come around. The first couple of days she sulked and slept most of the time. When she wasn't sleeping, she was running away from little Spam when he chased after her. I have to give her credit though for not being a truly territorial cat, since she never hissed or growled at him or tried to hurt him. On the first full day that Spam was here, she even consented to let him cuddle up next to her while I was working, which is when I snapped this little picture of them snuggled together on the chair in front of the window.

Like I said though, Musubi has begun to come around. On the fourth day of Spam, she finally decided to purr again. She also stopped letting Spam chase her all the time, and instead chases him, occasionally pinning him to the floor to show him who's boss. She also doesn't mind sharing her food bowl with him, and will push his head out of the way when she feels like it.

I think Spam's biggest quirk is that, for some unknown reason, he likes to stick his paws in the water dish and sweep water out onto the floor. We can always tell when he's been to get a drink - both paws are soaking wet, and there are little kitty footprints everywhere. Musubi's biggest quirk is also water-related, though not as strange. She just prefers to drink from the tub faucet.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

What color is the sun?

Is it purple? Maybe it's green.

I don't know. I haven't seen it in so long - since last Thursday, or so I think. Yikes, and according to, we still won't see it through the weekend. It's times like this that I really miss Hawaii!

Speaking of Hawaii, last night I listened to a couple of HawaiiUp shows by poscaster Ryan Ozawa. I think it's really cute that as a part of his show, he incorporates TV/movie reviews with his wife. In one of the shows, they discuss her top five all time favorite movies - it reminded me of when I was in elementary school, how every week my brother used to make his own "Hot 100" list of pop songs after checking out Billboard Magazine's weekly music charts.

I guess I never cared enough about music to make that long of a list of favorite songs. And nowadays, I hardly even remember most movies I see. Good thing I have a blog now, otherwise I might have already forgotten that we saw Skeleton Key a few days ago. ;)

Monday, October 10, 2005

Fishing buddies

Still kind of rainy and overcast today here on the east coast. Though I'm not complaining, because at least we didn't experience any flooding and destruction, like folks who live in Keene, NH, or near Ramapo River. I'm not sure where Ramapo River is, just that it's somewhere in New Jersey.

Due to the inclement weather, we are spending a lot of time indoors. I've been working on my next silly Mochikids (TM) painting. It's called Fishing Buddies. So far, I'm not sure if I like it as much as the first one I made. But I'll reserve judgement until I put some color on it. It's a work in process.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

In search of a particular NJ swing dance link

At the dance on Friday, someone mentioned a particular web site that has lots of information about swing dances happening in northern New Jersey. I can't remember the URL, but it's something simple so I'm sure I'll figure it out eventually. So far though, I've found out through Google that is up for sale for a mere $700. Also, did you know that Square Dancing is the official American Folk Dance of the State of New Jersey? I certainly didn't.

Rainy Weekend

Finally, New Jersey has gotten some much-needed rain. Too bad it seems to be pretty much all at once! According to my mom, who is in Massachusetts, there were cars in Newark up to their hoods in water. At least that's what she told me she saw on the TV. We don't have a TV, so we didn' t see any of that. But it did rain pretty hard here - water pooled up a bit in the back yard, and a little bit seeped into the basement. Hopefully that won't become a big problem for us the future.

On Friday, we went to our second dance up in Montclair. It was fun and this time we met more people. The nice thing about the people we met this time is that they seemed more willing to talk about things other than dancing, which I always find refreshing at a dance. :) We also spent some time at a nearby mall on Saturday. The Short Hills Mall reminds me of Honolulu's Ala Moana Shopping Center, since it has all the same upscale stores like Tiffany, Needless Markup, etc. And today we found the $2 movie theater. I'm still not really sure exactly where it is... maybe Secaucus or maybe Hoboken, or maybe even some other town over there by the Meadowlands. We saw Skeleton Key, which I liked because I like movies that feature big scary old houses.

Tonight is like a weekend night too, because tomorrow is Columbus Day (or Discoverers' Day if you are in Hawaii), and this is the first time Russ has had this particular holiday off in years. When I lived in Connecticut, I spent every Columbus Day hiking up to the top of Talcott Mountain (more like a bump since the peak is only about 900 feet above sea level), just to get some apple cider and donuts, and see the view from the top of the Heublein Tower. I didn't miss doing that so much when I was living in Hawaii, but now that I'm back on the east coast, I think it will feel like a little something's missing.

But no big deal, because now we have a cute kitty cat to play with! Musubi is such a sweet kitty. :) We took her back to the animal shelter on Thursday so we all could visit with her soon-to-be adopted little brother, Spam (he doesn't know his name is Spam yet... he still thinks his name is Eenie). Spam liked visiting with Musubi. Musubi was so busy checking out the whole place that she kind of didn't notice Spam. Even though she is still a kitten, Musubi is twice the size of little Spam. While she didn't show much interest in him, at least Musubi didn't hiss or growl at him. They sniffed each other a little bit, and then she went on her way to go check out the other cats and stuff around the shelter. I wonder how she's going to like sharing her new house with a little brother.

Speaking of sharing houses with brothers... my big brother may be coming to live with us for a month or two! Eek, I don't know how I feel about that! Usually I can only handle visiting with him for a few days if we are staying in the same place... a little longer is ok if we are staying in our own places. He's just so big-brotherish, and likes to have things the way he likes them. He also likes to think that the way he likes things is inherently better than the way I (or our parents, or whomever) like things (unless I/we like it the same way he does), and therefore he usually tries to impose his ways upon me... which kinda gets my goat. For example, he will insist on having cable TV while he is here, which I guess is fine if he pays for it. I just don't want it to become a permanent fixture here, and I don't want it in the living room!

Thursday, October 06, 2005

New addition to the family

Last Thursday we went to the animal shelter and got ourselves a kitty. :)

Well, we actually sort of got ourselves two kitties, but one of them was still too young for us to take home yet. He still needs to get some tests done to make sure he's not diseased, and also has some shots to get.

But the little girl kitty we brought home is named Musubi. If and when we bring her brother home, his name will be Spam. People from Hawaii will get it, but maybe not other people. If you don't know what Spam musubi is, then google it. :)

Musubi is a very sweet little kitten. She was born in April, so she's about 5 months old. She loves to cuddle, and always makes sure to snuggle up between Russ and me when we go to sleep. I don't know too many cats that sleep through the whole night - usually they wake up at 3am and start running around acting crazy. So we lucked out - at least so far- since Musubi saves her crazy cat energy for the daytime.

The day we got her, we made a stop at Petco on the way home to pick up some cat essentials like food, litter, and a litter box. We also bought some toys for her. I'm glad we only bought one or two toys, because it turns out that she prefers to play with our toys more. Here she is with her little fan club.

She likes to pick these guys up and toss them around all over the place. But she's pretty gentle wiht them - she doesn't use her claws too much on them, and she doesn't try to rip their heads or limbs off with her teeth. If we still had squirrels in our basement, she probably woudn't be too helpful in getting rid of them - probably would just pick them up and play with them. ;)

That's the other thing that makes her a really sweet cat - when she plays with us, she doesn't use her claws, so usually no one gets hurt. Once in a while she'll bite, but even then she doesn't bite too hard. Well, except for that time she tried to eat my toes for breakfast...

Her other favorite thing to do is drink water from the bathtub. She likes it when we turn on a very small stream of water from the faucet. She'll climb right into the tub, and sit there drinking from the water as it falls and splashes on her head.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005


Last Monday I went to a job fair that was in our town. There weren't any jobs there that I was particularly interested in or qualified for, but nevertheless, the event resulted in me scheduling two interviews. Because I want to start my own business, I'd prefer to get a part time job if any, and both of these were for full time positions. The first one I ended up canceling. I nearly did the same with the second because I nearly forgot about it until it was too late. ;) I remembered about it at 9:30am, thinking it was to be at 10:00am - turns out it was really scheduled for 11:30am, so I still had plenty of time to get ready.

Funny though that I nearly forgot about the interview - because it turned out they forgot about me! When I got there, the president of the company apologized for neglecting to tell me that they'd already hired someone for the position last week!! Well - they seem a little disorganized, so I suppose I wouldn't want to work for them anyway. Not to mention that even if they offered me the position, it's likely I would have declined.

But the trip out to Florham Park wasn't all for naught. It gave me a chance to explore someplace new, and in doing so, I found two nice grocery stores (the Shop Rite we normally go to kind of sucks) - King's, and right next to it, a Trader Joe's. Yay!

Now getting to the title of this post - King's is the first place here where I've found nori! It was darn expensive though, at $5.29 per package! I don't remember how much nori cost in Hawaii, but I'm quite sure it wasn't that much. On my way home, I also checked the little healthy food store that is nearby our house. They had nori this time, but it was even more expensive than King's - $7.92!!! But at least the lady at that store said she'll order some more reasonably priced nori for me, and call to let me know when it comes in. Then I'll have all the parts I need for making spam musubi. =)

FYI - I think it's cute that Blogger's spell check wants to replace "musubi" with "massif".

Friday, September 23, 2005

Everyone's your friend... in New York City...

...and evrerything is beautiful, when your young and pretty... the streets are paved with diamonds and there's just so much to see... but the best thing about New York City is... you and meeeeeee... (ala They Might Be Giants)

(Um, it's actually the 27th, but I made most of this post on the 23rd... just Blogger and my Mac and uploading pictures was not behaving... so how here I am finishing up on my PC...)

Yesterday afternoon Russ dropped me off at Newark Penn Station and I caught the train to New York Penn Station and met up with my good friend, Viv. She and I both used to be swing dancers in the Connecticut scene, just not at the same time. We met when she came to study for a semester at the University of Hawaii. Now she lives in Hawaii, and I live just a short train ride away from her parents. :) BTW - that picture was taken from the top of their building, looking down on the avenue below.

We managed to pack a lot into my less-than-24-hour getaway: had a wonderful home-cooked Chinese meal, which, might I say, included the best salmon ever; went swing dancing for several hours and met lots of new people, not to mention at least two people I already was acquainted with who used to live in Hawaii; checked out the Museum of Modern Art; ate delicious food of Afghanistan at a little place on St. Mark's Way, and topped it off with wonderful Italian cheesecake from Veniero's Pasticceria & Cafe at 342 East 111th Street ( Like the salmon the night before (well, it didn't taste like salmon), the cheesecake was the best ever!

Sorry I didn't take a picture of either the salmon or the cheesecake. But I did take a picture of a NYC bus. While we were walking to catch the subway to the dance, we spotted this bus:

You might be wondering who Rency is, and why the bus is asking people to call him (or her). Actually, I was being a silly tourist-type, trying to take a picture of a bus that had a sign alternating between "Emergency" and "Call Police". I don't think I could have timed it any better than I did - midway between the two!

And while I'm at it, a couple more random photos from my 24hrs in NYC...

Viv and me and some pointy skyscraper from the top of her parent's building.

These girls watched over us from across the street while we lunched at the Afghan restaurant. Did I mention the food there was really delicious? Shame on my for not taking pictures of that, either...