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.