Saturday, October 27, 2007

gettin' some galoshes

I cannot believe how much it's rained today. After soaking two pairs of running shoes and two pairs of jeans, I went out in flip flops the last time I had to walk poochie.

And though G and I agreed it would be brief, and while in fact it was very warm out today (over 20C), flipflops are not very practical footwear for city dog walking. And so I'm caving in and will purchase rubber rain boots. They're quite en vogue here actually so I'll look for some funky ones, of course. These ain't your toddler's galoshes, folks!

This topic is obviously unrelated to the picture I'm posting here, which is of me in my smudged disguise after last night's Halloween bash. I worked my furry tail off, aided by a small team of other volunteers as we prepped, served and restocked finger food to keep 250 people munching happily for four hours.

Today I'm exhausted and have vowed to never again volunteer for such physical labour. But boy, we did a damn good job!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

making busy

Aran's absence is going to take some adjusting to since we haven't been apart in a long while. I'm hoping that I can sleep tonight (unlike last), what with walking poochie on all shifts for a total of 2.5 hrs a day, and the shopping, cleaning, studying, photographing and cooking I busied myself with since his departure early yesterday morning.

But this week I won't have to make busy because I actually will be insanely so. I somehow got myself in charge of food for the embassy's Halloween party; not the kids' one I did last year but the adult one, which could see up to 200 people. Needless to say, I'm a little stressed about it.

If anyone has any great ideas for cheap and (very) easy finger food, please let me know. I just found a great one online tonight: mini skewered antipasto (tortellinis, olives, cherry tomatoes). What goes good with cocktail weenies? I don't like 'em so I've never noticed how to serve 'em!

Monday, October 15, 2007

the fruits, nuts and flowers of fall

It never fails to amaze me how surrounded by nature we are in this huge urban jungle. Our ku (ward), for example, is home to 175,467 and has a population density of 8627 per sq. km and yet I have a terrible time these days preventing the pup from over-ingesting all the tiny (size of your baby fingernail) acorn-like nuts that are falling in the parks and parking lots surrounding our apartment. Crunch-crunch-crunch, she loves those things, shells and all!

And then yesterday, walking into our nearby favourite park, I passed by yet another huge tree that was covered in the tiny orange "candy flowers", as I call them, that make October smell so sweet and delicious (and that I keep forgetting to ask someone what they are), and there was a kaki (persimon) tree loaded with ripening fruit and beside it, a mikan tree covered in green tangerines.

I know this is probably hard to believe, so perhaps tomorrow at lunch I can take a quick walk to snap a shot in daylight.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

not a deficit disorder but close

I came to the computer desk simply to get a highlighter to take back to the kitchen table where I was studying as I finished my morning coffee. (I'm still trying to master katakana, the character set/syllabary used to write foreign words like su-i-i-to ko-o-n or sweetcorn. It's one of the hardest parts of Japanese for me. I think I should be able to recognize the word and then it sounds different and I just can't figure it out).

Anyway, while I was here at the desk, didn't I say, "Oh, I'm just going to log on and check my UNU mail because B never answered my e-mail yesterday." And while I was doing that, I remembered that I never downloaded an interesting article I've been meaning to read that is part of the course material of the two classes the UNU media studio (where I'm volunteering) is running right now.

And then in downloading the article, I thought, man my work at UNU is so interesting and yet I haven't blogged about it. I really should blog more (though I think I lost a large part of my readers due to my steadily declining inspiration +lack of time to blog).

And voilĂ , in the space of an hour, my hyperactivity took me from studying to e-mailing to downloading to blogging, plus a phone call and one doorbell ring answered, some dishes done, bedroom tidied and a little dog-playing thrown in too. Why can I never seem to sit still until late in the evening (after work, walking dog, making dinner) when I run out of steam?

So yes, I'm really enjoying the media studio. Environmental topics have long interested me so it's nice to be back in that milieu. But the advanced e-learning and the whole wiki & open course ware stuff was new to me and it's exciting.

I only wish everyone, myself included, had more time to pursue self-study of all the fascinating topics that are increasingly available (for free!) online. Or perhaps I just need more focus? I should ask my new Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioner to prescribe me some herbs for that too.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

chill seeking behaviour

I've developed a strange new habit. I've always tried to mix up the routes of my after work dog walking duty (A has the morning shift) but frankly it gets quite dull. One quickly runs out of new one-hour trajets.

Aoyama Cemetery has been one of my favourites because it's big, quiet and nice and green for G and her tootsies to enjoy (plus lots of cats live there). But the sun's begun setting quite early so I'd been avoiding it except on weekends or rare shift-switch days (A hates making breakfast). I mean Tokyo is so safe and I never fear any type of crime, but something just instinctively kept me out of a dark cemetery.

But the other day, for some reason I ventured in. Maybe inu looked longingly down one of the paths as we passed by on the street, or maybe I was a bit early and thought it was still light enough.

But once we were down the path and I looked around in the gloom, surrounded as far as the eye could see by monuments and with no human soul in sight, I realized how isolated and creepy it was; the sky glowing yellow from the light pollution and the many old trees morphed into twisted black silhouettes.

And I liked the chill that ran down my spine. I've been going back every evening. I even went back tonight after having read this morning that they found a skull in a plastic bag there a few weeks ago.

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