Thursday, October 16, 2014

Cat Thursday (35)

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.





Happy almost Halloween! It doesn't quite feel like Halloween while in Japan but that's OK. I have the Internet and I only burned half of my pumpkin bread in a Japanese mini oven!

OMFH! This is so adorable!

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Cats and Eeyore, two of my faves!

Cat Thursday (34)

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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The phrase cat burglar takes on a whole new meaning....

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Thursday, October 9, 2014

Living and Reading in Japan (3)

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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 2 years (2014-2016).


I spent the last couple of weeks getting over a nasty sinus infection. I spent my days watching "Burn Notice" reruns! Doesn't get better than that...

Books I'm Reading:

  1. Marriage, a History: How Love Conquered Marriage by Stephanie Coontz
  2. Hollow City by Ransom Riggs
  3. The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien
Books Finished:

  1. The Antidote: Happiness For People Who Can't Stand Positive Thinking by Oliver Burkeman
Looking Forward To:

I always look forward to the weekends. It's the only time we have to spend more time together and see Japan. This weekend entails hiking and who knows what else! The Fall colors come a little later here in Hiroshima. The weather is getting cooler but we have yet to see the full color spectrum. Everyone says the last week in October-the first week in November! Can't wait!

Making:

I plan on making pumpkin bread...we'll see how it turns out. And chicken noodle soup. I've been sick on and off since September. Just barely getting over a really crappy chest cold. Now Gabe is sick...sigh. Looking forward to trying some homemade goodness.

Watching:

Started "The Flash." Looks decent. We shall see as time goes on.

Also finished up "Burn Notice." I literally cried after it was done. I was thinking somebody should write the Mike and Fi memoirs. I want to know what they and Sam Axe are up to.

Since I've been sick a lot I've been watching YouTube channels a ton as well. John Oliver's Last Week Tonight is spot on and funny. Also John and Hank Greene's YouTube channels are fun and very informative.

Things I Did This Week in Japan:


Photo Oct 02, 11 28 51 AM.edit
Tofu Cuisine

I haven't felt well pretty much all September and half of October....but I did manage to eat at a traditional tofu place with my tutor Yasuko san. It was so interesting. The food was beautiful and our view was peaceful and calming. There is a large backyard garden with a waterfall. Koi swam peacefully in the pond. Our servers wore traditional kimonos. I had to remove my shoes while entering and put on slippers.

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Yasuko san
Tofu is not my favorite but it was fascinating to see how it can be cooked so differently. My favorite dishes were the almond tofu dessert and the ginger tofu. It was a fascinating experience.

Photo Oct 04, 3 01 07 PM (1).editLast weekend we hit the beach again. I just stayed covered up in a chair while watching the waves roll in and hubby and son build a pit fort in the sand.

Basically, I've left the house this week only to get Gabe to and from the bus stop and to and from swimming.


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He loves swimming!


Grateful For:

Cough drops and cough medicine and wonderful people who cook chicken noodle soup for me early in the morning. You are gratefully appreciated. Thank you!

Cat Thursday (33)

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 ran across this video...even uncat people can be turned ooey gooey over adorable kittens!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Cat Thursday (32)

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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Cat confessions!







I have a few I could write for my kitties! These are hilarious. Happy Cat Thursday, everyone. May all your days be filled with cats!


Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can't Stand Positive Thinking and Other Mini Book Reviews

I've been pretty sporadic on my blogging since I found out and moved to Japan. But now that I'm starting to get a routine and rhythm to my day, I'm able to cut out some time to blog again and get a bit more organized. So here are some books I've managed to read over the last couple of months.

The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can't Stand Positive Thinking by Oliver Burkeman

I loved this book! It's a happiness book for pessimists, like me :) Burkeman takes us on a journey through ancient ideas and philosophies that are more conducive to finding a fulfilling and meaningful life and thus happier life.

1. Don't try too hard to be happy.

2. Practice the stoic art of imagining worse-case scenarios.

If they do happen you'll find they're never as awful as you imagined.

3. The Buddhist philosophy of non-attachment.

Whether good or bad just let it be, in the moment.

4. Don't get too goal-crazy. You can become consumed with goals.

5. Get rid of our sense of self, our ego. Focusing on others as well as meditation and learn how to watch our thoughts and let them float by.

6. Let go of certainty. Be happy in insecurity.

"Above all, living in a situation of such inherent insecurity, while very far from preferable, was clarifying. Nobody would envy it. But living with fewer illusions meant facing reality head on." Realize change is constant and to embrace it.

7. Failure is always an option.

8. Death

"...imagine you are eighty years old...and then complete the sentences 'I wish I'd spent more time one...' and 'I wish I'd spent less time on...'This turns out to be a surprisingly effective way to achieve mortality awareness in short order."

Siege and Storm, Ruin and Rising (2 & 3 Grisha Trilogy) by Leigh Bardugo

I read the first one last Fall and read the last two in a matter of a week. Fantastic young adult fantasy series. Layers, characters and world, have them in abundance. Strong female protagonist and actual love triangles with meat to them. She had me rooting for all the guys. I was kind of hoping she'd have her way with them all! Ha! Highly recommended :)

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

I read this one back junior high. I thought it was time for a re-read with the movies almost all out. It was great to come back to it. I had forgotten what a strong character Bilbo truly is. He really takes charge in the end with the dwarves. It's still one of the best fantasy series ever.

Magic Under Glass by Jaclyn Dolamore

It's a cute and fun juvenile fantasy series. A bit simplistic but still a solid series. I will read the next one.

Moonwalking With Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything by Joshua Foer

He's a great writer. He takes us on his journey studying up and training for the memory competition. He tells us what he's learned about memory and how we can improve to. Memory palaces are real. But it takes time and effort to creat them. Not for me. But good to know. Fascinating read.

The Paper Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg

Fascinating fantasy series! The art of paper folding turned into magic. I loved the idea. It was a fast read. It was fun. Strong female character. The details were a but under-developed but overall a great start to a series.

Pines by Blake Crouch

This was one of the best thrillers I've read since "Gone Girl" by Gillian Flynn. What the hell is going on? I was anxious and curious and disturbed and on the edge of my seat the whole book. I neglected my son....child? What child? Fascinating mystery-thriller.

*All images were taken from Goodreads.com

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Living and Reading in Japan! (2)

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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 2 years (2014-2016).


I spent the last couple of weeks getting over a nasty sinus infection. I spent my days watching "Burn Notice" reruns! Doesn't get better than that...

Books I'm Reading:

  1. Marriage, a History: How Love Conquered Marriage by Stephanie Coontz
  2. Hollow City by Ransom Riggs
  3. The Antidote: Happiness For People Who Can't Stand Positive Thinking by Oliver Burkeman
Books Finished:

  1. Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo.
  2. Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo.
Looking Forward To:

We're heading to the transportation museum tomorrow! It should be fun. Gabe gets a break soon so we can do some fun stuff. And Halloween is around the corner :)

Making:

I have made snickerdoodles. It was tough. I'm still trying to figure out how to use the oven part of the microwave oven. The thing preheats and then halfway through baking my cookies it turns off. I had to keep resetting it and hope the cookies didn't get too burned or too doughy. They turned out OK but it was a lot more difficult than I was expecting. So I'll be doing more experimenting and hopefully I can make pumpkin bread soon. I was sent cans of pumpkin and found an international store that sold me the spices I needed. So here's hoping!

Watching:

Lots of new shows this Fall. I watched "How to Get Away With Murder" with Viola Davis. It's got promise but still unsure. Ms. Davis is excellent as always. I'll be interested in seeing if the characters get a bit more layered. Never judge a show by its pilot!

Things I Did This Week in Japan:

We visited the mall last weekend to get Gabe some new Fall and Winter clothes. We didn't bring any with us and it's starting to get cooler here.

I made coffee from my friend's special blend she made just for me!

We visited the Hiroshima City Park last weekend with the PTA. We had so much fun. It's a beautiful park. So much to do: hiking, large playgrounds for the kids, trees, a bug observatory, a train and beautiful views. We'll be going back to fit it all in.

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Shaun the Sheep!
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My friend back home roasts her own coffee beans and made this blend up special for me! Loved it!

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Actual bridge. Very Scary...
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Traveling up the mountain on a train!

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Hot food vending machines!


Grateful For:

Family and friends who keep me sane and send me packages :)




Monday, September 8, 2014

Living and Reading in Japan (1)

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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 2 years (2014-2016).


I'm rebooting....I haven't done my own meme for awhile. I thought it would be nice to spice it up and mix it in while living in Japan. Gabe is now in all-day Kindergarten at an International School. I now have more time to myself and I'm enjoying the freedom, though I do miss him during the day. I'm taking a couple of online classes. I have virtual and real stacks of books to read. I have a whole city to explore, a new language to study, and lots of blogging to do! I try to keep myself busy :)

Books I'm Reading:

  1. Marriage, a History: How Love Conquered Marriage by Stephanie Coontz
  2. Hollow City by Ransom Riggs
  3. Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Books Finished:

  1. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien.
  2. Magic Under Glass by Jaclyn Dolamore.
  3. Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything by Joshua Foer.
Looking Forward To:

Cooler weather. Hiroshima is a very hot and humid city during the summer. Though, according to the locals, this has been a very cool summer here! Yikes! We seem to pick the hottest days to go out and see the sights, I guess....I hear autumn is so beautiful here. They have trees and trees and more trees. I cannot wait to see the fall colors surround me.

I always make pumpkin bread, chilis and soups, and mulled ciders and wines during the fall but this year will be a bit tougher. Japan does not carry all the items I'm used to. But I am going to find a way ;)

Watching:

I find ways to get my shows out here that I need...

I've been going through quite the culture shock so I reserve nights for my me time on watching whatever I want. I just finished Haven, An Idiot Abroad, and have a few episodes of Eureka left. I'm also halfway through the new season of Orange is the New Black.

American/English movies come out a lot later in Japan than the rest of the world. And the prices here are very expensive more than double what I'm used to in Utah. So needlesstosay, we do not make it out very often to the movies. But we did make it last week and we saw Malificent. Gabe was too scared so Archie took him out while I finished it. It was a lot better than I was expecting. I thought it was a great twist to the Disney version. I liked a lot better! We've been rewatching a lot of our own movies. Archie and I sit down to a movie at least two or three times a week together. We just finished the Harry Potter series and are now working on the Lord of the Rings trilogy!

Things I Did This Week in Japan:

I'd like to list off some of the amazing things I've seen or that we've done as a family here in Japan.


    Photo Sep 06, 4 43 03 PM
  • Visited bunny island! They have a whole island dedicated to bunnies. They hop around and you can buy feed and veggies from the store before you get on the ferry. Gabe loved it!Photo Sep 06, 4 21 31 PM
  • Went to my first meeting for the Hiroshima International Women's Club. It's a club for women from all over the world who live in and around Hiroshima. Everything is done in English. It was so great to meet a lot of different women and connect. I haven't been able to get out much during the summer with Gabe not being in school. So this was nice.
    Photo Sep 08, 11 52 46 AM
    Ikebana arrangement!
  • At the meeting we learned about the traditional art of flower arranging in Japan called ikebana. Beautiful and fun.
  • I also had the opportunity to help clean up the mud from the landslides that happened here in Hiroshima a few weeks ago. The devastation is terrible and it is nice to give back and do what I can.


Grateful For:

The Japanese people. Everyone here is so nice. They try to make it as easy as possible on foreigners.

I'm also grateful for their easy public transportation. I don't think I'll drive much in Japan since it's just too scary. But I can get around really well on foot, bike, and public transportation.

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So cute! He's such a ham in pictures!
Gabe started all-day kindergarten last week! Sad and great and happy and scared and sad, but mostly happy that he's enjoying it so far!

Japanese Word of the Week:

Ikasu いかす. I learned this in regards to ikebana, but can be used for all things we wish to see like this. It is "bringing out the full potential of the object whether it is material or human." I think it is a beautiful and profound word.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Cat Thursday (31)

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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Lauren Bacall died this week. She was a great actress, you know, one of the old Hollywood greats. So I dug this up, Bacall with two cats. It's adorable.

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The rest of these are just funny cat pics I found this week!

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Friday, August 1, 2014

More Mini Book Reviews

It's been a pretty crazy few months with moving to Japan and all. While I have read a few books along the way, I haven't really had time to get my reviews up. So I'll do a quick review of them instead and will just have to call that good :)

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1. A Geek in Japan: Discovering the Land of Manga, Anime, Zen, and the Tea Ceremony by Hector Garcia.

This was recommended by my culture class teacher. She said it would help to give me a little bit of insight into the country I was going to be occupying for two years.

Garcia had a fun and informal tone. He provided some interesting history and cultural tidbits. It helped to open my eyes to the beauty and diversity of Japan.



2. The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman.
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I read this for my book club back in the States. They even FaceTimed me in for some of it, though it was hard to hear everyone or pipe in with anything I wanted to say but it was fun nonetheless.

Gaiman has a way of writing about the sad. The story was a fable of what is, how are lives so often go. The title character (he never receives a name) meets three powerful women who live down the lane from him. One seems a little older than him and yet she seems like a full-grown adult. He can't make sense of the daughter, mother, and granddaughter. One day he is thrown into their world of magic. And it changes his life forever.

Beautifully written, difficult to fully grasp, though, for me and just left me with a sad feeling. Not my favorite but still a worthwhile read.

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3. Secrets and Wives: The Hidden World of Mormon Polygamy by Sanjiv Bhattacharya.

I normally don't read books about polygamy. It hits to close to home as a former Mormon and usually any tales to read are filled with abuse and brainwashing. So  I was pleasantly surprised to read this one. He takes the stance of one finding out why polygamists practice. Are there groups that are open and tolerant of the outside world? He found both and some in between. It opened a whole new world of polygamy for me, good and bad. He's a fantastic writer and I enjoyed going on the journey with him.



4. Horrorstor: A Novel by Grady Hendrix.
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What do you get when you combine a knock-off store of Ikea with an old creepy penitentiary full of creepy prisoners and a warden? You get a horror store! This was really creepy. I read it over three nights and got scared a couple of times. The pacing was a bit weird at times and the characters were a little 2-dimensional but I overlook that due to its awesome story and scariness! I'm looking forward to the sequel!

*Received an e-book from the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.



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5. Killing Ruby Rose by Jessie Humphries.

An ass-kicking teenage girl who solves crimes! I had to read it! It was good overall but it had some really slow parts at the beginning. This is Humphries first book and she's also an attorney for her day job. I'm wondering if the kinks will get worked out as she becomes more experienced. And I wondered if she should have toned it down a bit to be a more believable young adult book or if she should have amped it up for a more worthwhile adult crime series....I have hopes Humphries will come through in her second book. Interesting characters and an interesting mystery made it a worthwhile book.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Cat Thursday (30)

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 saw this posted on someone else's blog last week! Pretty hilarious cuz it's so true :)


Thursday, July 24, 2014

Cat Thursday (29)

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 thought I'd add a few of my cats to Cat Thursday. My friend Stacie and my family send me a few pictures from time to time of my kitties. I thought they would be nice to share this time around!

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Shadow is mine and Sugar is her new buddy ;)


Well, I can't find the photos for my other two cats so I'll just leave it with Shadow and find Wolfy and Frodo's for next week :)

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