Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Cat Thursday 48

Welcome to the weekly meme that celebrates the wonders and sometime hilarity of cats! Join us by posting a favorite LOL cat pic you may have come across, famous cat art or even share with us pics of your own beloved cat(s). It's all for the love of cats! Enjoy! Hosted by Michelle of The True Book Addict.

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I've just been introduced to Didga, the cat who can skateboard and do all sorts of other fun tricks!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

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Doerr creates a very interesting piece. There are time shifts and two little kids growing up harshly in landslide of war.

Werner lives in Germany and is an orphan along with his sister near a mining town. He loves taking apart radios and transistors and basically learning all he can on his own about science and electronics. He must leave his sister, though, as war breaks out, and he's accepted into the Hitler's Youth program.

Marie-Laure lives in France. We see her go blind at a very young age and how her father creates a miniature town for Marie-Laure. Her world is one she can't see but can feel.

We see their time before the war and when war breaks out and eventually the events that bring these two people together.

I really enjoyed the story from the views of these characters. We see how Werner struggles to keep his humanity and yet how he can be apart of all Germany stood for during the war.

But Doerr threw in a third character...an ancient mysterious jewel and a German geologist going to the ends of the earth to find it. It felt a little hokey to me. I think the story would have been a lot stronger without this little magical and superstitious sidetrack.

I also had a hard time following the way the timelines flowed. We didn't stick with any one character too long and thus I felt it disjointed my reading flow.

It's beautifully written and offers a unique look of World War II through Werner's and Marie-Laure's eyes but it just didn't quite flow together for me. It took me a very long time to read this. It's worth a read, of course, but it wasn't my favorite.

“I have been feeling very clearheaded lately and what I want to write about today is the sea. It contains so many colors. Silver at dawn, green at noon, dark blue in the evening. Sometimes it looks almost red. Or it will turn the color of old coins. Right now the shadows of clouds are dragging across it, and patches of sunlight are touching down everywhere. White strings of gulls drag over it like beads.

It is my favorite thing, I think, that I have ever seen. Sometimes I catch myself staring at it and forget my duties. It seems big enough to contain everything anyone could ever feel.”


Monday, May 4, 2015

Living and Reading in Japan (9)

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This weekly meme has been inspired by Michelle at The True Book Addict and Lisa at Lit and Life--Life: It Goes On...but I wanted to tweak it a bit for myself since I am living in Japan for the next year (2014-2015).

I do these too far and in between. This is my 9th one since being in Japan....Shameful really. I just have a hard time focusing! Ha ha. My life. Hopefully this isn't my last.

Reading:

  1. Inside Out by Maria V. Snyder
  2. Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed
  3. The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King by J.R.R. Tolkien
  4. Space Chronicles by Neil deGrasse Tyson
Finished:
  • All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
  • Even White Trash Zombies Get the Blues by Diana Rowland
Looking Forward To:

School being back in session. I love my dear son but it throws of my daily mojo especially when we're not off adventuring aka hubs off of work and we're vacationing...while he's out of school. We've done a few fun things but it's a whole week and a day...

Making:

I watched Chef with Jon Favreau the other night and it inspired me to make grilled cheese sandwiches with Gabe. Cheese is super duper expensive here in Japan so it was a worthy effort. The cheese was phenomenal. Gabe ate every last crumb and cheese.

I'm also planning on fried rice tonight. Made the perfect white and brown rice combo last night. It's a favorite in our house.

Listening to:

The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss. Quite a journey and I'm really enjoying it. It'll be a long listen, though, at over 27 hours....

Watching:

Nazi Hunters and Death in Paradise. The last episode of Nazi Hunters was on the children of the Aryan breeding program. Thousands of children were kidnapped from surrounding conquered countries like Russia, Ukraine, Poland. Many found out there fathers were high up in the SS and ordered thousands of deaths. It was a powerful and poignant piece.

Things I Did This Week:

Sunset Beach. A beautiful little island a couple hours a way from Hiroshima. We canoed, sunbathed, ate, and enjoyed the ocean.

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The ramen was hot but he loves it!

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Thursday, April 30, 2015

Cat Thursday 47

Welcome to the weekly meme that celebrates the wonders and sometime hilarity of cats! Join us by posting a favorite LOL cat pic you may have come across, famous cat art or even share with us pics of your own beloved cat(s). It's all for the love of cats! Enjoy! Hosted by Michelle of The True Book Addict.

Image Source

My sister took a sweet pic of my Wolfgang. I am sharing that this week. I love my babies and look forward to coming back to them in July!

April 26

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Cat Thursday (46)

Welcome to the weekly meme that celebrates the wonders and sometime hilarity of cats! Join us by posting a favorite LOL cat pic you may have come across, famous cat art or even share with us pics of your own beloved cat(s). It's all for the love of cats! Enjoy! Hosted by Michelle of The True Book Addict.

Image Source



Yes, a giant wool cat head exists! How cool is that or creepy?! I love it and want one.

Housetu Sato and his students from the Japan School of Wool Art have created the only giant wool cat head in the world.

They took some pretty hilarious photos with it on! I must have!





*All cat head photos were taken from the original Japan School of Wool Art and Boredpanda.com sites.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Reading With Gabe--Little House in the Big Woods

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It's been hard this year getting used to Gabe in full-time school. I'm a stay-at-home parent and I enjoy (most of the time) being home with him. Kindergarten was the time to ease into the whole school schedule with only half days. But here in Japan it's been all day.

I wanted to connect with him more in my own way. So I've been reading various books to him throughout the year. Life gets busy, especially with him in school all day so we don't get through as many books as I'd like but we've managed to read Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder. I loved the books as a kid and I enjoyed the TV series. It's been a great experience sitting down with him at night and reading. Gabe enjoyed Pa's tales and his songs. He even wanted me to sing some of them to him. There was only one I knew the tune to, though.

There are a lot of great children's fiction today but there are also so many that aren't. I've ordered a few chapter books for him from his school and they haven't been great. Just silly and that's OK. But I want him to know what really good literature is as well. And Little House in the Big Woods is that. With our modern conveniences it's so easy to forget that only 100 years ago we didn't have our modern appliances and ease of life. Wilder describes how everything was done and made. How did a family survive? Fascinating. A simple tale about Laura and her family in a year.

I look forward to reading the rest with him and I hope he enjoys it on his own one day.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Living and Reading in Japan (8)

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This weekly meme has been inspired by Michelle at The True Book Addict and Lisa at Lit and Life--Life: It Goes On...but I wanted to tweak it a bit for myself since I am living in Japan for the next year (2014-2015).

We just got back from a trip to Okinawa! A week-long funcation! Okinawa is beautiful. The bluest ocean and the whitest sands...but I haven't been to a lot. We built sand castles, soaked in the sun and the ocean water, and ate some great food. I now have post-vacation blues...

Reading:
  • Persuasion Jane Austen
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  • All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
  • The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person's Guide to Writing in the 21st Century by Steven Pinker
Finished:
  • Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion by Sam Harris (audiobook version)
Looking Forward To:

Golden Week here in Japan. It'll be crazy crowded but Hiroshima has one of the biggest if not the biggest flower festivals in Japan and all within walking distance. Gabe will have the week out of school and we'll be enjoying ourselves with all the sights, sounds, and food!

Making:

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Okinawa loves taco rice dishes. I had two while I was there. So this week I'll be making some of my own. Forget the shell and add the rice!

Listening To:

Common Sense with Dan Carlin. The man has so much insight into what is going on in the world. It's depressing but liberating at the same time.

I also got a membership with Audible. I'm really enjoying digital audio!

Watching:

iZombie. Such an interesting concept of crime and zombies and women power! Love it!
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Grateful For:

Earth and the ocean and how beautiful and healing it is.

Things I Did This Week:

Okinawa! Okinawa is so interesting because the U.S. military has such a strong presence there. There's an American Village area, lots of people speak English, and there are a lot of tattoo parlors, and burger joints. We got our Mexican food fix!

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We went through Airbnb. Such a cool site. You rent out people's homes and apartments for so much less than a hotel. We stayed close to the beach and had comfortable beds and two separate rooms.

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We hit the aquarium and the old Okinawan village, Shujiro Castle that was completely rebuilt after its destruction during WWII, and the rest of the time were all beaches!

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Tokashiki Island is where we went for our last beach day. We took an hour long ferry boat ride over the the island. Crystal blue waters and white coral beaches all day. It was amazing.

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Thursday, April 2, 2015

Cat Thursday (45)

Welcome to the weekly meme that celebrates the wonders and sometime hilarity of cats! Join us by posting a favorite LOL cat pic you may have come across, famous cat art or even share with us pics of your own beloved cat(s). It's all for the love of cats! Enjoy! Hosted by Michelle of The True Book Addict.

Image Source

This week features cats that camouflage! From BoredPanda.com.









Parks and Recreation

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I just finished binge-watching "Parks and Recreation." I started and stopped a few times with the first season but I kept hearing such great things I decided to just pull off the adhesive bandage and get to it! I'm so glad I did.

It's a funny and tender-hearted show about a woman, Leslie, who just loves her job because she gets to help people. She works hard at making government actually work for the people and it's just fun to watch. Her ultra nemesis in all-things government is Ron Swanson--basically a libertarian anarchist is how I'd best describe him; he lives to sabotage government while working for them.

My favorite episodes are the ones that show how awesome people can be. I get the Kleenexes out...

Here's my favorite Leslie Knope clip. She lays out all the fake reasons (she didn't actually shoot Ron but is protecting a friend) she shot Ron. It's fantastic.



Leslie was a great advocate for good government and feminism. I just can't get enough of this show and am so grateful it was created and I got to watch it. It's one I'll be watching again and am so sad there will not be any other episodes.

You are gone but not forgotten! Please and thank you :)

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

April Fool's Day

Kick me hard. Appril Fool
No one knows for sure the origins of April Fool's Day, but it may coincide with the coming of spring and its light-heartedness as we come out of a long and dreary winter. The Hindus have their Holi Festival. Ancient Romans had Hilaria that celebrated the resurrection of Attis.

Before the Gregorian calendar was adopted in the 1500s, the new year was celebrated around April 1st. Even in Japan, the new fiscal year and school year begins the first of April. So some say that jokes were played on those who would not or didn't know about celebrating the new year on January 1st. Some say Chaucer wrote down March 32 or April 1 for the day.

As a kid I loved April Fool's Day. It was a chance for payback on my siblings. Being the youngest, I usually got the tail end of most of the harassment. My all-time favorite was Saran wrap on the toilet...

To me it's another reminder of glorious spring and seeing all the flowers and trees blossom is truly incredible.

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Sakura season in Japan!


May your day be filled with lightness of heart and loudest of laughter while enjoying the warm spring air!

*My information comes from Wikipedia on April Fool's day and Infoplease.com

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Cat Thursday (44)

Welcome to the weekly meme that celebrates the wonders and sometime hilarity of cats! Join us by posting a favorite LOL cat pic you may have come across, famous cat art or even share with us pics of your own beloved cat(s). It's all for the love of cats! Enjoy! Hosted by Michelle of The True Book Addict.

Image Source

Cats and their adorable offspring! These are really cute. All pics are from the site iizcat.com










Sunday, March 22, 2015

Living and Reading in Japan (7)

living_reading_japan.collage


This weekly meme has been inspired by Michelle at The True Book Addict and Lisa at Lit and Life--Life: It Goes On...but I wanted to tweak it a bit for myself since I am living in Japan for the next year (2014-2015).

We've been a lot healthier with the warmer weather! Spring is here. I haven't needed a jacket for two days now...

Reading:
  • The History of Hell by Alice K. Turner
  • All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
  • The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen
Finished:
  • I Must Say: My Life As a Humble Comedy Genius by Martin Short (audiobook version)
Looking Forward To:

Okinawa in 3 weeks! We are heading south for a week and I'm looking forward to a warm beach and relaxing!

Making:

I've been trying to hone in my creative side recently and I've decided to do some art journaling. Sometimes I'm very consistent, other times not so much. But it's been fun exploring. I haven't done this since I was a kid.

Listening To:

Serial. I'm way behind since this ended last December but I finally caught up and was floored.

Watching:

Parks and Recreation and Unbreakable Kimmy. So funny.

Grateful For:

My legs. So silly but they've gotten me far here in Japan. As the weather has been warming up, I've been trying to get out and walk around the city. Everything is so close. It's been an adventure!

Things I Did This Week:

We went to a fun-themed restaurant called the Bandit or Sanzoko in Japanese. Foreigners like to call it the "chicken shack." They are famous for their chicken on a stick or yakitori. It's pretty darn good. Then we headed over to Kimawa Mu Valley that has an underground mystery treasure adventure. They put in statues and clues that remind me of Indian Jones. It's really fun. Gabe had a blast.

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Their rice balls are amazing! Salmon, seaweed, and a sweet plum inside and wrapped in more seaweed! Yum.

We only have 3 more months in Japan so we're trying to take it all in ;) We thought this was going to be 2 years but it got cut short so back home in July.

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Friday, March 6, 2015

Mini Book Reviews--Stiff, The Great Agnostic, The Goddess Chronicle, The Pale Blue Dot

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Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach

This book was disgusting but in the most fascinating way. It made me look death right in the face. A book everyone should read.



The Great Agnostic: Robert Ingersoll and American Freethought by Susan Jacoby
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It was a great introduction to a fascinating man and how he brought secularism and freethought to the masses.






The Goddess Chronicle by Natsuo Kirino

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Disturbing yet gorgeously written story on the mythical gods of Japan that gave birth to their islands. It's also an insightful treatise on what women have faced and continue to face in a patriarchal world.






The Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space by Carl Sagan

Carl Sagan masterfully contemplates the future of us in space. He lays out where
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we've been and where he hopes we can go. The first chapters and last chapters are must-reads. He is greatly missed.


Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Cat Thursday (43)

Welcome to the weekly meme that celebrates the wonders and sometime hilarity of cats! Join us by posting a favorite LOL cat pic you may have come across, famous cat art or even share with us pics of your own beloved cat(s). It's all for the love of cats! Enjoy! Hosted by Michelle of The True Book Addict.

Image Source

The best cat videos are over a century old!

A new exhibition is coming to New York. They put together the stills to make some small cat "videos." Super cute.



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