Sunday, December 23, 2007

Peanut Cat and Friends

We have only been gone for a couple of days and we have already met five new kitty cats. The one right here looks a lot like Spammy, but sheʻs not. Her name is Peanut, and you can tell sheʻs not Spammy because she has a little white dot on her neck. Peanut belongs to my friend Patti. Sheʻs a friendly little kitty, and she looks real pretty sitting in front of the Christmas tree.

You might think this is a picture of an orange bowling ball and a black and white cat. Turns out that bowling ball has little legs and it can run. The bowling ball has a name, too - Morris. The black and white kitty is named Cindy. Cindy and Morris are living in Mommy and Daddyʻs basement right now. They like to chase strings around when they are not busy eating and sleeping.

The other two kitties we met are named Trouble and P. Or is it Pee? I didnʻt see how it was spelled. :) They live at our friend Chris's house, and we went to visit him on Friday. I forgot to take pictures of them though.

Blue Moon Diner

For lunch today, Kenji and I drove up to Gardner, Massachusetts and had lunch at the Blue Moon Diner. Yeah, they really donʻt have much of a web site. Their food is ok, and their service is friendly. Mostly itʻs just cool to eat in an old-time dining car.

On the back of the Blue Moon Dinerʻs menu they have their version of the 10 Commandments:

Just in case you are having a hard time reading them, here they are in text:

  1. Thou Shall Not Eat At McDonaldʻs
  2. Remember Thy Local Diner and Eat There Often
  3. Thou Shall Not Cover Stainless Steal with Brickface or Wood
  4. Thou Shall Not Covet Drive-through Convenience
  5. Thou Shall Not Worship Golden Arches
  6. Thou Shall Tip Thy Waitress Generously
  7. Thou Shall Sit At The Counter
  8. Thou Shall Speak Loudly When Giving Order
  9. Thou Shall Enjoy The Music
  10. Thou Shall Eat A Hearty Breakfast At Any Hour Of The Day

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Christmas Bandstand

Kenji and I are in Massachusetts visiting Mommy and Daddy for Christmas. This evening we had supper uptown at Picasso. The town common is all decked out in Christmas lights so I thought I'd take a picture of the bandstand, which is across the street from the restaurant.

R2D2 Mailbox

Last night Kenji and were in West Hartford, Connecticut. They have a whole bunch of cows all over the place, and they are decorated real nice like the light bulbs were in West Orange last summer. In fact, this is the second time the cows have come to West Hartford. Anyway, instead of wandering around and taking pictures of all the cows, we decided that we'd just have Kenji pose beside this U.S. Mail box disguised as R2D2. Or is it R2D2 disguised as the U.S. Mail? Hmm....

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Me 'n' Musubi :)

I almost never get to be in the picture since I'm always the one taking them. Kenji had to make a funny sound to get Musubi to open her eyes wide, hehe.

The Blue Vipers of Brooklyn

Last night a guy named Tim hosted a dance at the Elks Club in Summit, New Jersey. He's hosted such dances on several occasions but I don't think they've been well-attended - I had not been to one myself - at least until last night. This time Tim had a hit with a cool band called The Blue Vipers of Brooklyn.

Yep, I took this picture with my phone. It doesn't have a flash on it, and the dance hall was dimly lit. So this is about as good a photo as you're gonna get form me.

Anyway I almost didn't go to this dance, but I'm glad I changed my mind. I quite like the Blue Vipers. Their music is filled with lots of little fun sounds a dancer can play with. And I liked that, with the exception of the bass player, all the band members played relaxed and sitting down. When I was not busy dancing, I really enjoyed watching the percussionist, David Langlois, tickle his washboard, which he tricked out with an assortment of old tin items from the kitchen, with his metal-thimbled fingertips.

While I guess they are a swing band, I don't lump the Blue Vipers into the category of neo-swing bands; I feel like their sound is more authentic. I bought one of their CDs - Forty Days and Forty Nights - though I had to borrow $5 from Gretchen to do so. Apparently they recorded this CD as a result of winning Fox TV's Morning Show with Mike & Juliette Subway Idol contest last summer. Anyway hopefully the Blue Vipers will get more gigs in New Jersey.

Oh here's a nice podcast from WNYC talking with the Blue Vipers.

Spammy sticks his head in a glass

This morning I was drinking some orange juice - the first time we've had some in a month or two. Spammy was so happy to lick my empty OJ glass. He shoved his whole head in the glass, and almost couldn't get it out!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Merry Christmas from our elfin' selfs!

Spammy says "Merry Elfin' Christmas!!!"

See our elfin' selfs here.

Dunno how long that link will work so you better look at it now.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Green Tea

We just had some green tea. The green tea showed up in the mail the other week ago, along with the cute little blue cast iron teapot. The tea cups showed up in the mail today. I heard that tea cups would have accompanied the tea and tea pot, but those tea cups were made in China, and they might have had lead in them. So those tea cups went back to the store and they were replaced by these tea cups, which were made in Japan. Thanks Mom and Dad. :)

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Cafe Serene

The other week ago we got one of those envelopes full of coupons for local businesses. Usually we don't ever use any of them, and sometimes I just put the unopened envelope in the recycle bin. I'm glad I didn't this time because otherwise we would have missed the buy one dinner get one free coupon for a little place called Cafe Serene in Livingston. Kenji and I went there on Friday night.

Although we've driven by it many times, we never noticed it before. I guess they are kind of new, at least in this location, as evidenced by their not very permanent looking sign. Unfortunately I didn't think to take pictures of our food, which was pretty - so I guess we're stuck with this crappy picture instead.

I had the Tuna Tataki, which was several slices of seared tuna on cucumbers and a small pile of pasta. It was really yummy, and I appreciated that they didn't ask me how I'd like my seared tuna cooked.

Kenji had the Tilapia Fish 'n' Chips, which came with delicious honey jalapeno mayonnaise instead of tartar sauce, and really yummy thin sliced sweet potato fries.

We still have a coupon for a buy one lunch get one free; Kenji is taking the day off tomorrow, and so is Tiffknee, so we three will go have lunch there. We'll probably even go back there another day when we don't have a coupon. :)

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Toy Rescue!

Today I was working from home, using our dining room table as my desk. Spammy always hangs around me wherever I go in the house, and today was no different. Near where I was sitting is the radiator, and the kitties' scratching post. I guess Spammy was bored because out of the blue he decided to stand on top of the scratching post.

Spammy used to hop up on his scratching post all the time when he was a little tiny kitty. He hasn't done that for almost two years now, so I was surprised when he did it today.

Of course I took the opportunity to make up a new game for him. It's called Rescue the Toys from the Radiator!

I put all of Spammy's favorite toys on top of the radiator (don't worry, the radiator was not on!). Starting at from the top of the picture below, there was Cowie, Mousie, Carrot, Peary and Moley. Spammy rescued his toys at least four or five times before he got bored again. Sometimes in between rescues, he climbed up on top of the scratching post just in case there were more toys up there. Cute!

Corn Maze (Reprise)

Tiffknee, Kenji and I went corn mazing last weekend. Much to our dismay, the corn maze we did last year was already closed for the season. But only a couple miles away from the one we did last year is another one at Alstede Farms. Last year's corn maze was much better than this one. For one, Alstede Farms is only open during the daytime. Secondly, you don't get to collect crayon rubbings. Oh well, we had fun anyway. We already set a date for going to the cool corn maze again next year.

One thing that's good about Alstede Farms is that they sell good relish there. The End. :)

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Japanese Cultural Center?

Oh, oops, I mean Jewish Community Center!

Kenji and I joined the gym at the JCC in West Orange tonight. Weeeeeird. Well for me it's weird to join a gym. When we lived in Hawaii, I joined the Curves that was next door to work because my Hawaii Mommy (Gail) said she only would join if I did. But Curves doesn't count as a real gym because there's no treadmills or elliptical machines or pools or racket ball courts or locker rooms or any kind of stuff like that.

The JCC seems pretty nice. Most of the equipment have TVs built in so you don't have to get totally bored while you are walking, running and climbing in place. And now we can just go and take different kinds of classes like spinning, Tai Chi or whatevers. Anyway now we just gotta make sure we actually use our membership. :)

Monday, November 19, 2007

Snow fall before leaf fall...

So anyway I had some time this morning to take pictures while driving on my way into work. There must have been some kind of accident in Mendham because traffic was rerouted through town, and that meant sitting still for some time. It's not very often you get to see snow on trees that also still have their leaves. The fall colors showed up late this year, and apparently the leaves will hand on as long as they can!

Whiskey Cafe

Tonight (well I guess yesterday night now) Tiffknee and I went to Lyndhurst or Rutherford or wherever it is to dance at the Whiskey Cafe. Every month Jim Dean and his band play swing music and there is a buffet, all for the same price as we normally pay to get into one of the DJ'ed dances around here. If you look really hard, you can see Tiff dancing with a guy named Kenny - she's in the t-shirt. Kenny is a great dancer but somehow this is only the first time I've ever met him. Apparently he stopped going out to other swing dance venues in Jersey because there weren't enough decent follows to dance with.

Anyway it was a fun time. I should go to this venue more often. Our friend Mickey is going to DJ during the band breaks for this dance next month so maybe we'll make it out for that one too.

El Bandito!

Friday night Kenji and I went to a place nearby us called El Bandito. It's a colorful Mexican restaurant. It's down the street from another Mexican restaurant that is not colorful. We ate at the not-colorful Mexican restaurant about a year ago. It must not have been anything special since we haven't gone back to it.

Once of the things that makes El Bandito special is it is very colorful, on the outside as well as the inside. I like all the murals painted on the walls. The food was decent too. What we really liked was that they give you little complimentary quesadillas along with the chips and salsa to start you off. And then after you think you can't eat any more and you told the guy to pack up your leftovers to take home, they bring you free dessert - a little ice cream with a deep fried banana. Yummy. Oh and they have a little mariachi band walking around entertaining folks.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Better Music Video :)

Today the Gas House Gorillas sent a message to their mailing list, of which I am a subscriber. In the message, they had a link to a video that was recorded of them playing Run Run Rudolph at Stanhope House last December. If you look reeeeealllly hard, you can see Kenji and me dancing in the crowd between the Gorillas and the camera (though you can't really see us till like 20 seconds into the video). :)

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Music Video!

This week at work we are having our semi-annual "summit", which means that all the folks who work outside the main office come to town for meetings and junk like that. It also means doing fun stuff together, and this time it was bowling.

One of my favorite out-of-town work buddies is Lynn. We like to drink girly martinis (like chocolate or fruity-kine mmm yummy!), and he has an infectious laugh. :) He also says funny things like "intermship" and "upsad" and I can't remember any of the others right now, but we have a whole list of them.

Anyway at bowling Lynn and I starred in our very own little music video. Well you can't hear the music we were grooving to, and it's not much of a video.

Here are some other pictures from our bowling expeditions:

This one is from Tuesday night - we went to Dover Lanes, which is in Dover (I know, surprising....).

And tonight bowling was at a tiny little bowling alley in Mendham called Pastime Bowling Lanes. They only have four lanes, and even get to keep score with a pencil. :)

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Conveyor Belt Sushi

On our way home from Connecticut we were both getting sleepy from driving so we decided to stop at the Palisades Center Mall in Nyack, New York to find someplace to eat. It turns out there's a conveyor belt sushi place there. I can't remember the name of it... Eastern Japanese Restaurant or something like that... somehow that restaurant doesn't seem to be listed on the mall's web site though.

It was really good - I think better than any other conveyor belt sushi place I've been to anyway. The fish was really fresh and they had a pretty good selection, except the little spam musubis were missing. :)

Letterboxing Bust!

This morning Kenji and I took a road trip up to visit my friend Chris (a.k.a. Topher) who lives in Middletown, Connecticut. After having a nice lunch, we drove down to Haddam in search of some letterboxes that are hidden along some hiking trails (I don't know what park they are part of as we did not use a main entrance).

Anyway, on top of the facts that trails are not very well marked and the clues not very clear, there was a nice layer of leaves freshly fallen off the trees which made it difficult to identify which way the poorly marked trail went. Oh and because it's almost wintertime, we didn't have a whole lot of daylight to play with anyway, so we thought perhaps it would be better to try this lot of boxes (there should have been six altogether) in some other season.

But while the letterboxing was a bust, the hike itself was not. Along the trail was this cool abandoned stone house. We went inside and explored. There wasn't much there, and we had to be careful walking around inside as the floorboards were all rotting away. Anyway it was fun.

Moksha and Mithaas

Last night shoe changer Gretchen called us up asking if we were interested in going out for Ethiopian or Indian food. We chose Indian. Gretchen happens to dine quite regularly at a place in what is essentially the Little India section of Edison, New Jersey called Moksha. I let Gretchen and Kenji make all the selections since I trusted everything would be good, and it was. I especially liked the chicken appetizer we had, but of course I can't tell you which one it was because I wasn't paying a whole lot of attention to what was being ordered. Kenji's favorite was the Nellore Chapala Koora, which was a spicy fish curry (that one was easier to find on the menu hehe). We also got another chicken and lamb dish, and yummy drinks, and well, we ate way too much. :)

After dinner, Gretchen took us to a nearby Indian sweets shop called Mithaas. It happened that this week was also Diwali, so Mithaas was all very colorfully decorated as you can see in the photo above. We bought some sweets to eat, but not last night because we were too full already.


Last night I wen to the twice monthly dance in Whippany. See that's me in the red shirt... that's right, I'm all the way to the left there. :)

Oh wait, there I am where you can actually see me. Hehe.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Burger Night Letterbox

Here's a stamp I carved for a letterbox that I planted a couple weeks ago. It's planted behind the bar at Joe's Place in Union, where on many Mondays Shoe Changer Joe and friends meet for burgers and just to hang out. Every now and then Kenji and I join them.

This image is from the piece of paper I used to design the stamp. On a letterboxing venture with Shoe Changer Joe, we stopped for a late lunch at the Tropicana Diner in Elizabeth. They had a pretty good picture of a burger on their menu, so I took a picture of it. Later on I printed the burger picture, darkened certain parts of it using a pencil, and then transfered the image onto an eraser which I then carved.

Anyway the piece of paper has been lying around the house adding to coffee table clutter, and it's time to get rid of it. So that's why I took a picture and posted it here. The End. :)

Monday, November 05, 2007

Peddler's Village

Yesterday we had some real nice autumn weather so Kenji and I drove out to Pennsylvania to visit Peddler's Village, just across the Delaware from NJ on Route 202. It was a very busy day to go because they were having an apple festival. In addition to all the shops, they had a whole bunch of tents set up with vendors selling their wares, as well as about a bazillion people. I really wanted to get some apple dumplings but the line for that was astonishingly long.

We spent a few hours there, did some Christmas shopping, and enjoyed some homemade veggie soup. We also saw a tall guy walking around on stilts and got to watch a blacksmith pounding out decorative iron stars on an anvil. But we forgot to take pictures of those. D'oh! But we did get a photo of this big pot of apple goo cooking over a wood fire.

On our way home, somewhere around Bridgewater, we spotted a hot air balloon coming down from the day's activities.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween!

Yep, we ran out of candy again. This time we must have had like 150 kids come to the door... at least that's about how many pieces of candy we thought we had.

This year we had big purple wizard guy answering the door. Most of the kids thought he was funny, but some thought he was scary. A Grim Reaper chick also answered the door, but she was too scary so we didn't let her open the door too often.

After running out of candy, big purple wizard guy was spotted playing karaoke!

We also found a little Musubi kitty hanging out with a green glowy pumpkin. :)

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Um, and I just thought these were silly Crate & Barrel decorations...

So what the heck are these green things? We found them on the ground next to the trailhead located at the Iron Hill Museum in Delaware. We were out hunting a letterbox of course.

Anyway, I've seen the artificial likeness of these strange fruits... we sold them at Crate & Barrel as decorative things to put inside a centerpiece bowl. I always thought they were tremendously ugly. I also always thought they were made-up fruits. But I guess they are real. Either that or the folks at the Iron Hill Museum in Delaware like to shop at Crate & Barrel.

Sunday, October 21, 2007


This was breakfast this morning. It's a large quarter slice of a huge baked apple pancake. Yum!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

China Shipping Line

After wandering around the shops in Chesapeake City, and watching the little fire department parade, Kenji and I went letterboxing. I mentioned before that there are six bridges that cross the Delaware & Chesapeake Canal. Well, there are also six letterboxes planted alongside the canal, each carved in the image of one of the bridges. Two are hidden on the north side of the canal, and four on the south.

We took this picture of the China Shipping Line ship from the north side of the canal. We also saw several other large cargo ships pass by today. We found all six bridge boxes, as well as another box hidden at Lum's Pond, which is also on the north side of the canal.

Volunteer Fire Department Parade

So our stay in Chesapeake City happened to coincide with the little volunteer fire department parade they were having for the area towns. Here are some of the vehicles that were in the parade.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Chesapeake City, Take II

Kenji's been away for several weeks at a training in Virginia. He's been driving home every weekend, except for this one. Instead, I made arrangements for us to stay in Chesapeake City again, about the halfway point between his training and home in NJ. This is our second time staying in Chesapeake City. We did try to stay someplace different, maybe in Fredericksburg or Alexandria, but all the places I called were already booked. So we stayed in the same B&B as the last time, even the same room. :)

It's Friday, and I arrived in Chesapeake City several hours before Kenji, so I took a nice walk. That's the Chesapeake City Bridge, one of six that crosses the Delaware & Chesapeake Canal.

Thursday, October 18, 2007


This is where our new offices are. The building looks much prettier than it used when we first began considering the place.

Monday, October 08, 2007


Shoechanger Joe is going on vacation for a couple weeks - to France and Scotland!

Now that I've gotten him into Letterboxing, I've made my first "hitchhiker" letterbox. Joe will plant it alongside a regular letterbox that he will find in either France or Scotland. Then the next person to find the letterbox that my hitchhiker is hidden with, that person will take my box and re-hide it alongside the next letterbox he or she finds. Once my letterbox's logbook is all filled up with stamp impressions, I will make arrangements to have it sent back to me.

At least that's the plan. Of course it could always get lost somewhere along the way. That's why I thought I should take a picture of it now. I got the pink button on top from my grandma's button collection. The kitty cat bead is something I bought a few years ago when I was making little containers out of beads. I became bored with making those containers before
I ever got around to using the kitty cat bead.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

An Irish Blessing

After finishing the hike with Jason and his friends, I drove a little further into town to find a place to eat. My plan was to go find the letterbox hidden at Ringwood Manor, and I thought perhaps I should grab a bite to eat before hand. So first I went to the little New York town of Tuxedo, where I ate at a busy diner where they had good French toast. Looking out the window of the diner, I learned that gasoline in New York is at least $0.50 more than it is in New Jersey.

Anyway, after lunch I found my way to Ringwood Manor, which is just a few miles back over the border on the Jersey side. I should have read the clues for An Irish Blessing more carefully before I got started. For some reason I was under the impression that this would be a quick find. I didn't even change back into my hiking boots, which would have been nice since was tromping around in the woods wearing my sandals.

The hike was really nice though. The manor grounds are pretty with interesting things to look at, like a reflecting pool and sculptures of creepy looking beasty chicks.

There's a little lake, next to which is a graveyard I guess for the people who used to live in the manor way back in way-back times. For some reason I like graveyards, especially when you can see water from them.

Since it's been so warm so far this fall, there has been very little change in leaf color. So here's one of the few examples of fall foliage I found - the picture doesn't convey the color as well as it looked in person, and I can't quite get it right in Photoshop, but it's pretty close. Oh well.

So the hike and the hunt ended up taking about an hour and a half altogether. I could have done it more quickly but I was having fun poking around the graveyard, and then when I was just about ready to find the letterbox, I had to sit real quiet for several minutes while waiting for other hikers to pass by. Sera and Doobie carved a real pretty stamp, so yeah, other people should go find it. :)