Tuesday, July 31, 2007


Last night was my sister-in-law's, Akiko, birthday. We went to a local restaurant that a good friend of ours is the manager. Whenever we go there we usually get REALLY good service since he is usually sitting at the table with us chatting. Well, last night, our friend wasn't there and it was a completely different dining experience...
Now before I get into the service, I feel compelled to let you know I was a waitress for 2 years out of college. I worked as a bartender as well. Before I worked there I never knew you tipped the bartender. I figured I'm walking up to the bar, why should I tip? Also, I waited mostly on card players. Ugh, they are the worst!!! A mug of domestic tap was $1.50 and I would be paid with two one dollar chips. Most players would get annoyed when I would leave the .50 change (you NEVER assume a tip and there were lots of times I never got tipped) The one time I didn't leave the change immediately, the guy chased me down, yelled at me for assuming my tip, told me had intended on tipping me and then handed me a quarter (which I smiled and thanked him for). A lot of the staff I worked with would only wait on the "big tippers". I waited on everyone else. I was also the only non smoker, so I actually worked my entire shift. I was a good waitress. I took the job seriously and did a good job. After all it isn't brain surgery. And because of my years in the trenches, I feel the same way today as I did then: you never assume a tip. Now back to last night...
When we got there it was busy. It was all you can eat fish and chips night, so it was hopping. We got seated quickly but then had to wait forever to place an order. Akiko and I got the dinner special which came with a shrimp cocktail and salad. Joji and Ben got fish and chips and Joji's mom ordered soup and Sammie a grilled cheese.
We ordered at 6:00, had to ask twice for bread and didn't get our entrees until 7:00. I ordered my steak medium rare and it was WAY over cooked. They brought Sammie the wrong thing and they were very slow on busing away the dirty dishes (a pet peeve of mine)
So here comes the bill and it's $140. Now this server, who was not a good server, is going to get a twenty-thirty dollar tip, just because?? Doesn't seem fair. It seems the restaurants should pay decent wage and not expect the customer to make up the difference. Tip actually stands for "to insure promptness". I guess this server missed the memo.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Rescue Me

There are very few shows on tv that I make sure to watch every week. Rescue Me is one of them. If you haven't seen it, the show follows a group of guys from a NY firehouse. And while it is very pretty edgey, the writing is excellent. This is the fourth season and I have to say I was not impressed with how it started. Sure there were some shockers, but it just felt flat. The best part of the show is the chemestry between the guys and last night they seemed to be back in the grove.
Now this show isn't for the faint of heart. They swear, they are crude, they are totally un"PC". It may sound funny, but that is what makes the show so real. When I was growing up, I always seemed to be the lone girl in the groups of guys and got a pretty up close and person view of "guy stuff". This show is full of it and I guess that is why I like it :0)

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Tick Tock

I had a slight panic attack today. I read that Christmas is only exactly 5 months away. When I was little, it seemed like FOREVER between my birthday and Christmas. Now I look at my calendar and it is quickly filling up with "stuff" that makes the weeks seem really short and sure to fly by. School supplies and Halloween decor are invading local shops. Christmas stuff is soon to follow. Yikes!!
Every year is the same. I promise myself that this year will be different. I won't wait until the last minute to get everything done. One year after an exceptionally stressful Christmas, I actually wrote myself a letter with suggestions of how not to repeat the situation. It actually helped.
I want my kids to enjoy the holidays because I think it can be a very exciting time to enjoy one another. I just hate getting swooped up in the Christmas machine. It is all of the contrived gift giving that bugs me. I am anti "stuff for stuff's sake". Don't get me wrong, I love finding that perfect something for someone. It just doesn't always happen in weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas. I have cut my Christmas shopping list way down from what it used to be and really feel sorry for my friends who feel they have to spend money they don't have on folks they don't really care for because "it's Christmas". What a waste.
One of the things I do enjoy about the holiday is our annual Christmas Party. I would much rather spend money on putting out a killer spread and be able to reconnect with friends. I feel like I'm giving my friends the gift of my time and I think that is a precious commodity these days, plus it won't become a storage issue or part of next week's goodwill donation.
I guess the point of my rambling post today is that I miss the days when time seemed to creep along. There doesn't seem to be that anticipation anymore because you blink and there it is. I will do my best to subscribe to the motto: Keep it simple, sweetie. That usually is the best advice.
Now I'm off to clean up my basement and work in the yard. I got a handmade trellis from my good friends Bob and Jessica and I bought the most gorgeous clematis to climb it. Christmas Scmistmas, viva la summer while I still can :0)
I love google image and this little picture just seemed perfect (how cute is the hedgehog??) Anyway, I found it here http://theblackapple.typepad.com/inside_a_black_apple/ and she has Etsy shop in case you feel like taking a look. She has some of the sweetest prints. Some seem a little "Wednesday Addams" but there are still cute.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Twentysomething v. Thirtysomething

I was barely twentysomething when thirtysomething was on the air. I LOVED this show. I totally wanted to be Hope Steadman. A stay at home mom with great hair and an amazing house. Every Tuesday, I was glued to my tv. In college we had to watch in on a 12" black and white that didn't get the best picture, but we didn't care. I found this world fascinating. I figured in just a few short years this would be me and it was very exciting.
One of the things that I remember vividly is that I didn't get the Elliot and Nancy thing. I was irritated when episodes would focus on them. They seemed so messed up and it was draining to watch them. Fast forward 10 years...
As many TS fans know, finding this show on TV is nearly impossible. Every now and then it will have a brief run on a network and just as you get re-hooked, they yank it off the air. When Sammie was born we were trying to survive without cable. Unfortunately, one can only watch so many infomercials for Girls Gone Wild: Barely Legal during those 2am feedings. Joji being the peach that he is, somehow, someway, scored me most of the thirtysomething episodes on VHS. I was THRILLED!!!!
So now here I am, actually a thritysomething stay at home mom (trying to have good hair and still dreaming of the house with the big porch) watching my favorite show, but with a totally new set of eyes.
This time around I totally get Nancy and Elliot. They are the "real" ones. Their journey is the one that is real and honest. I LOVE Elliot. Hope and Michael now seems so hollow as people and really irritating (okay, Michael was always whinny and irritating, but he seemed even worse this time around).
For years there has been speculation as to when this show will come to DVD. Hopefully soon. I'm not a big "must own it on DVD" kind of gal, but you can bet I will be making room in the bookshelf for this.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

38 things about Me

Since today is my 38th birthday (yikes) I thought I would share 38 fun facts about myself.
38 things about me
1. When my mom was in labor with me, my dad left the hospital to watch the moon landing. I was born the next day.
2. I was named after Dr. Laura Horton on Days of Our Lives
3. I have 2 “little” brothers who are taller than me
4. My dad can’t figure out why I’m freakishly tall (5’9.5”) and my brothers are only kinda tall (6’ & 6’2”)
5. I traveled from Kentucky to Washington State in a box on the back seat.
6. I met my best friend in Kindergarten and still call her Jenny P.
7. My favorite memory of elementary schools was the Friday sing alongs. I recently ran into the teacher who lead them and thanked her.
8. My Jr. High math teacher, Mr. Jensen, inspired me to be a math teacher (despite a 19% in his class), but when I realized I would have to major in math I knew it was not meant to be. I still run into Mr. Jensen and we laugh about this.
9. I held a record at my Jr. High that lasted 20 years and was finally retired when they switched to a middle school.
10. I managed and kept score for my Jr., Sr., and college wrestling teams. I love wrestling.
11. I spent my summers working as a lifeguard/ professional tanner and swim instructor.
12. I chose swimming over volleyball (even though I loved volleyball) because I thought I had a better chance to letter. I missed lettering by 2 points.
13. The summer before our Sr. year, Jenny P. and I went to southern California and 2nd degree sunburns did not keep us from hitting the beach.
14. I was a Sr. class officer so that I could choose the date of Prom so it would not conflict with the state meet.
15. Joji took me to Prom.
16. I couldn’t go to the community college I wanted to because they didn’t have a woman’s track team. I was made an honorary member of the Highline Men’s Track team.
17. I lived in the “Castle” when I attended Central Washington.
18. My friends and I survived on Pizza Hut salads and Supermother hamburgers from “the Tav”
19. I double majored in Elementary Ed and Special Ed.
20. I student taught at my old Jr. High and could not call my old teachers by their first names.
21. Before my first real interview, the woman I would be working with said, “we are going to have so much fun working together”. I got the job
22. I have taught Basic Skills (Title 1/LAP), ½ multi-age, second grade and Kindergarten . I have also been a librarian and teacher trainer. I like Kindergarten the best.
23. In 1995, Joji looked me up in the phonebook and called to wish me a happy birthday. We have been together ever since
24. Joji proposed to me at school and some students thought he was Governor Gary Lock.
25. I picked our wedding date based on getting an extended spring break from school.
26. We honeymooned in Spain (just like Elliot and Nancy Weston)
27. I quit working when Ben was 2 and began my adventures in “stay at home” land
28. I miss teaching and still buy things for my future classrooms although I don’t see going back until Sammie is much older (15 or so)
29. Being the control freak that I am, I’m on a million committees at Ben’s school and the president of Sammie’s preschool. Joji can’t understand why I left a paying school job for non paying school jobs.
30. I really enjoy the Seattle Mariners and one of my most treasured items is a note from retired M’s catcher Dan Wilson. My new crush is Richie “The Big Sexy” Sexson.
31. I love to cook and bake. However the day to day stuff is really boring and can be a challenge. I just can’t cook something if it doesn’t sound good.
32. I enjoy the “idea” of gardening, but I am finding auto sprinklers are a MUST especially with a western exposure.
33. I have embraced technology, but miss the “more hands on” ways of doing things.
34. The other day Sammie told me to “hit pause” while I was talking so she could ask me a question.
35. I love the fact that Ben still wants me to tuck him in at night and I know that will be ending soon as he becomes a “tween”.
36. I tend to live in C.H.A.O.S, but I am working on it. This is the summer of decluttering and organization.
37. Sometimes I forget what I was talking about mid sentence, but I never forget a face and my mind is a steel trap for any useless trivia I can find.
38. It has NEVER rained on my birthday. Today will be the test since we have had a week of straight rain, but I woke up to sun breaks so I'm optimistic.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Inspriration Friday: Porch Envy

I have porch envy. More specifically, porch swing envy.
Ever since I was a little girl, I have wanted a porch. Most of the houses around here have decks and patios off the back of the house. It just isn't the same.
My grandparents house has a huge porch with a couple of swings. There is no better place than on that porch, swinging and listening to the rain. When we visit it seems like all we do is swing on the porch and watch the cars go by.
I'm trying to convince my husband that we should cover our patio out back. If we did this, I would at least have a place to hang a swing.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Wanted: Den Leader

This may sound like a "grumpy old man", but I feel bad for the youth today. Ben is a cub scout. This will be his third year. He really likes it and I think it is important for him to learn this kind of stuff. I was in Campfire (Wo-He-Lo) and also enjoyed it. I think kids need to go through the process of learning something that is turning into lost knowledge. I know that everyone may not be a fan of the boy scouts (I don't agree with everything either), but our pack is full of really nice families and kids. Although it may all come to an end.
The folks who have been leading our den for the last 2 years are done. Can't blame them, our den is huge and it is a lot of work. So now the search is on for a new den leader. Joji has NO interest in doing it. He came to the US in third grade and they don't have a Japanese scouting program so he just doesn't get it. Sadly, there really isn't anyone in the den stepping up. I would do it, but I can't. My other commitments are too big this year(co-op preschool board president and exec. PTA board member). I would hate to see an activity that does not focus on any electric boxes (wii, xbox, gameboy, etc....)be lost because nobody is willing to do it.
Boy scouts, to me, seem like what all good little American boys do. It is very "apple pie". I love how they look in their little uniforms and idea of service. Be Prepared and Leave No Trace are good things for kids to learn.
Oh well, maybe we can adopt a co-operative approach and have everyone share the load. I could do that so maybe others would be willing as well.

Friday, July 13, 2007


This is how I feel today. Despite my decluttering efforts (6 more bags have left the house in the last 24 hours and there are 2 more for tomorrow) I can't see any difference. Well that is not true, there definately areas of "ahhhhhhhh", but they are surrounded by "ughhhhhh". I'm trying all my "flylady" tricks (work for 15 minutes, work clockwise...) but it still seems like I'm bailing water with a teaspoon. I think the heat isn't helping, it is in the 80-90's. Before you groan, just know that is REALLY hot for Western Washington and our AC is on the fritz. Oh well, enough porcrastinating. I guess I will try and fill a few more bags. I know it feels good when the stuff is gone (a decluttered house always feels cooler) it is just peeling your melting self off the couch to do get going.
This just in... my mother and sister in law are on their way over to visit. Here is my little motivation to get going. They are even bringing dinner :0)
PS Brownie points for anyone who can name who is in the drawing :0)

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Boys and Manners

Every month, Joji has the boys over. I take my wifely duties very seriously and I really take a lot of pride in putting out a big spread. Typical menus include 2 rounds of appetizers (pre dinner and midnight) some type of manly meat dish with a couple of sides and dessert. I really enjoy doing it, however, it does take a little planning and prep. Whenever I am planning a more fancy-ish meal (this week were going to have Bloody Mary London Broil)I like to get a headcount. I HATE running out of food so I like to be prepared. I usually send out an email and ask the guys to let me know who is coming. This time around the wives had been invited as well, which could potentially add 5 more folks for dinner (not a big deal, all were welcome, I just want to have enough food) So today is Thursday and only half of the folks responded. Joji got a response from one of the guys who said that so and so never responds, but you know they are most likely to come. Joji responded (and I quote)"I would expect a reply one way or the other when a specific request is made for head count. So, I'm cancelling for this session." Wow, I can't believe he said that. Of course, I was thinking that, but I was very proud of him and it made me feel like he really appreciates what I do for him and his friends.
Thanks for sticking up for me :0)

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Karma v. Craigslist

Well, another week has slipped away and I'm glad to say it was a very productive one. Joji had Wednesday-Sunday off and we spent it cleaning out the garage. I had no idea what we were getting into.
We have a two car garage that only holds one car. When I was trying to be a good girlfriend I bought Joji a table saw (what was I thinking?) It seemed like a good idea at the time, I figured I would have my own personal Norm Abrams. Well, I'm still waiting for him to show up, but the table saw now has a permanent home on "my side" of the garage. Now in order to maximize the opportunity of woodworking greatness, we had to tackle the garage and make it a space that was actually conducive to creativity and project completion. At first Joji was not really into spending the weekend shuffling boxes, but eventually saw the light. I think we touched every item in that garage and we purged and purged some more. I also channelled my inner Kindergarten teacher and organized everything into "zones". After three 8 hour days, a trip to the dump and a couple of trips to Goodwill, we have achieve garage Nirvana. This of course has inspired a similar purge of the rest of the house. Now here is where I always get stuck: What do I do with my "good stuff"??
I have many closets full of nice bedding, dishes, cookware and other "house" things. I feel like I should put stuff on Craigslist. We find stuff on there all the time. Just last night I found a solid, heavy wood captain's bed for Ben for $40. (You couldn't even buy the wood to make it for that) I love craigslist and always have great luck finding stuff. Which makes me think I should list my stuff on craigslist. However, I really just want to donate it and be done. I find really good stuff when I go thrifting so my rationale is that I would be passing along some good karma for future trips :0)
So I guess I will bite the bullet and load up the van. The only problem now is where to donate? It creeps me out to see my stuff on the shelves, so I have to donate to an out of the way place. Of course, I will have to do a little pre-donation shopping :0)

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

** Happy 4th of July **

What do you get when Laura Ingalls meets Samantha Stevens???
A bicentennial witch, of course (my poor mom)
We are off to our good friends' house for a good old fashioned BBQ. Bob and Jessica have been perfecting the grilled treats all year and I can't wait to dig in.
Hope you all have a very happy and relaxing 4th :0)

Monday, July 2, 2007

Can you keep a secret??

Every Sunday morning while Joji is in charge of the kids, one of my guilty pleasures is Post Secret. It is a public art project that has people from all over the world sending in their secrets anonymously. Each week there are new secrets posted. Some are sad and disturbing others are very funny, either way I must admit it is addictive. So yesterday I was all ready for my weekly dose of new secrets and I was very bummed to see that the site had not been updated. Now millions of folks wait for 12:01 am Sunday morning because that is when the new secrets post. It is already Monday morning and no new secrets, ugghhh.
Anyway, if you haven't checked out the Post Secret project you really should :0)