Tuesday, December 25, 2007

carol's christmas curse continues

As you saw a couple of posts ago, I wasn't too thrilled with my cruddy luck of late. Most of you may know that I'm not religious nor "stupidstitious", as I like to call it. However, I have come to accept my cursed 40th Christmas and am trying to laugh about it.

Even this morning, while I was down on my hands and knees at 6 a.m. cleaning up the bodily emanations of the Gingerbread Monster, I had to smile to myself at the fact that the gooey brown puddles actually smelled nice!

I won't go into detail about all the mundane tiny things that have gone wrong this holiday season (like the flat tire I got on my bicycle yesterday as I rushed out to get some stocking stuffers for Aran, or the turkey that cooked 2 hours faster than Aran had calculated) but to explain about the ginger squirts, I will start with our weekend houseguests.

A friend of a friend's daughter's friend—whom we have become friends with since earlier this year when she moved to a small town a couple of hours from Tokyo and has visited us a few times—was coming to Tokyo this weekend to pick up a friend of hers at the airport. She asked if they could stay with us Friday and Saturday nights, which was fine, since Aran's cousin from Spain was only due to arrive on Sunday morning.

Well, didn't they go out partying on Saturday night (they're in their 20s, after all) and she got pretty sick (beer, wine, redbull & vodka, say no more). In the cab on the way back to our house at 3:30 a.m., they realize they've lost my key and so they ring the doorbell. The sick one is in and out of the bathroom from then on, which is right next to our bedroom and me a light sleeper, so end of sleep for me.

But then my Sunday morning wasn't supposed to be too taxing: walk the dog while Aran takes the 1.5 hr train ride to Narita to pick up his cousin. I even hoped to squeeze in the prepping/baking of my gingerbread and perhaps other xmas cookies. No such luck, of course.

Due to weather problems, missed connections, yadda-yadda, cousin's arriving Monday morning instead. So we decide to go out and do some groceries, taking the friend of the sick friend along since we feel sorry for her. Of course, being generous and polite, we end up taking a very scenic route, stopping for lunch, etc.

By the time we get back in the late p.m., I can only just start prepping my dough before it's time for us to go do some last minute stocking-stuffer shopping and we again take the friend along (the sick one is pretty sick, plus since the cousin isn't coming, we've offered them to stay overnight again) and of course our little expedition takes a bit longer than planned and having dinner here afterwards (sick one is up and ready to eat by the time we bring back food) means I finish making my gingerbread at midnight and have to work Monday at 9:00. Incidentally, I found nothing for Aran in the packed store we went to so I left empty-handed, hence yesterday's bike trip.

The next morning the girls call me at my office at 11 to say they're leaving, so I pop home (embassy is 3 min. away) to say goodbye but mostly to do the dog-proofing of the house, i.e., closing shoe closets and securing both kitchen doors. One of said doors is a pocket/sliding door which G-dog figured out how to open so we now have to block it from the inside and exit through the other. The other is a regular door but the catch is a bit stiff so you really have to pull it good to make sure it clicks.

A click which, when I got home from work at 1 p.m. I discovered to my great, great, great (40 minutes of bawling) consternation, I must had neglegted to listen for when I was saying goodbye to the houseguests.

"It" as I called it for the rest of the day, had pulled 3 of the 4 tins of gingerbread off the counter, their lids popping off when they hit the floor, allowing It to eat approximately 2 dozen gingerbread (and some bread It found on the table).

Anyway, I have since forgiven her, since her stomach was so swollen you couldn't help but feel sorry for the normally boney thing. And then of course she starting burping and drinking bowl after bowl of water. Until, yes, it started to come out from both ends, whole raisins recognizable in the sugary, fragrant mess.

But enough gorey details! She's sleeping soundly and Aran and his cousin have gone off sight-seeing so I'm going to take the opportunity to make some sugar cookies and decorate the remaining gingerbread men which I've reserved as precious gifts for the friends who've invited us for a tourtière feast ce soir.

Again, Merry Christmas. Just watch out for the Gingerbread Monster.

Friday, December 21, 2007

coveting this kadomatsu

I'm at work so I really shouldn't be blogging, but I came across the photo of this kadomatsu, a typical Japanese New Year's decoration, while doing some legitimate work-related research (drafting the invite to our staff bonnenkai/New Year's party) and I just adore it! We don't have an xmas tree so why not a kadomatsu? However, apparently one this size would cost at least a few hundred bucks, but I can dream, can't I?

And yes, as it seems, I am finally getting a bit more in the holiday spirit now that Christmas is only a few days away. I took our little turkey out of the freezer last night (we'll be eating him on the 24th, à la espagnol/Québécois with only Alain's cousin who arrives Sunday from Spain as a guest, in contrast to la foule we had last year) and I even plan on baking some gingerbread this weekend.

I will also take this opp to wish you, my tomodachis, a very Merii Kurisumasu and all the best in the Year of the Rat.

(Eeeee, I just got a message that they're selling eggnog in the staff lounge. I guess my stomach bug isn't entirely gone, just the thought... ugghh).

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

the grinch that censored Christmas

Things haven't being going super-well lately. One crappy thing after another seems to be happening.

Today I found out that Aran's Christmas presents that I ordered from Amazon Canada, that were supposed to arrive last Thursday, are stuck at customs because apparently one set of DVDs by an internationally acclaimed filmmaker has been identified as prohibited or obscene. This by a country where sex manga is read openly on the metro by an astoundingly high number of people and a top genre of film is very gory violent horror.

Originally we were told it was due to a book, only one of which was part of the order and I had ordered it for myself just because I saw it there on sale when I was shopping for A.

We of course were horrified to think that a novel while yes, on a "political" topic, would be banned. But I thought maybe it was just the good ole anti-terrorism frenzy rearing its paranoid head. (The book in question is called The Attack, about Palestinian-Israeli conflict, by the same author of The Swallows of Kabul, an excellent novel.)

I was anxious for them to just shred the damn book, or send it to my sister back home, and release the rest of the gift so that Christmas isn't totally postponed for my honey.

But then, a few calls later and it turns out to be Viva Pedro, a set of Almodovar classics, that they're nixing. They want to destroy it. $113 shredded and Ho Ho Ho, the whole mess that ensued also involved A seeing the whole Amazon bill so he knows about the other DVD set I ordered for him too, though at least he didn't recognize one last small item.

But of course they can't just do this right away (they've already been holding the pkg for 10 days) and send the rest asap. No, no, they first must send us a letter informing us about it, which we must sign and send back.

To top this day off, I also got some sort of stomach bug and barfed. Yes, I'm whining, but on day like today (in a week like this one), I feel I have the right. Or at least I don't give a crap if I don't.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

map of our corner

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Can't get the damn thing centred where I want it to be! Go right to get to our house (look for 4 markers grouped together). You're in Harajuku now. Maybe Harajuku is the centre of the universe, as Gwen Stefani would have us believe!

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