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My grandmother recently passed away after a long, long life.

As an adult, I wasn't close to her, but as a child, I suspect I may have been her closest grandchild. It was only fitting that we would lose contact as I god older, as the path I chose was to avoid much of my paternal family and continue with my education. As I grew older, too, I chose to reject that side of the family due to revelations about my grandfather that had already wreaked enough havoc on the family in the 1980s.

Without revealing what my grandfather did, the decision my grandmother made to stay with her husband was something that I couldn't understand when I was 20. As I near 30, in spite of the fact that I am no longer with anyone, I begin to have perspective: she had a family with him; she'd been with him for decades; she probably didn't know how to exist without him. It's not forgiveness for my grandfather, but it's an understanding for someone who loved somebody, in spite of his flaws.

My uncle officiated. He mentioned how Grandma was kind to everyone and believed you got out of life what you put into it. I just believe that my grandmother was a very straightforward, and honestly, quite tough lady. Everyone was talking about her jam- how she gave it away as a gift, how much she made every year. I remember helping her, but not very well, since I was 10.

I just thank my grandma because she was unlike other grandmothers who had their children in the 50s. She knew her shit. She knew how to make jam without the pectin, she knew how to crochet, she knew what to do with food. She also kept a gigantic bottle of bourbon under her sink and drank it with coke and smoked cigarettes. And she lived. A long time.

水中; 水沢;岩手

I emailed Yukiko, the head English teacher at Mizuwa Junior High. I've heard from a variety of other people who are safe, and Mizusawa is far inland, so I am certain that there is little damage there, but still, I want to be sure. The school is about 50 years old, built fairly soon after WWII, so the halls are not heated, which sucks fiercely as it's in northern Japan.

There seems to be a flood of western refugees from various prefectures coming in from Japan. I may or may not have a friend flying in from the Fukushima area tomorrow sleeping on the floor. I kind of hope he does so that we can drink too much beer together.

Iwate 岩手

The last days have been an emotional limbo of worry. The gigantic earthquake Japan suffered is horrible- but it was also too close to home because it hit Tohoku the worst, and Tohoku was home for a while. The coasts of Miyagi, Iwate and Aomori are in shambles- the seawall in Kamaishi didn't work; Ofunato and Rikuzentakata have been destroyed. These are real places to me- places I have been, and places with astonishing beauty. Friends were missing- everyone, luckily, is now accounted for, but this disaster has made me remember how a single place can get under your skin and never leave.


So one of the things on my list of 101 things to do is to NOT DRINK for a month. Which I honestly think is difficult because I really like to drink, and over the years, I've begun to use it as a social crutch, but I've been coming to the conclusion recently that as a social crutch, boozing doesn't much work.

I started my on-the-wagon month a few days ago and I do feel like my mind is clearer and I sleep a lot better. I also think much more clearly and I'm thinking about things like my relationships with people more logically.

It helps that I haven't seen Casey in a month and a half, I think, but logically I'm beginning to see why I shouldn't be with him or see him- or for that matter, probably not anyone for a bit. After I get out of my breakup haze, I do really well when I'm by myself and single and I feel like a strong and capable person, and I become healthier physically as well. Until I can maintain that stance while in a relationship, I don't know that it's healthy for me to be in one because the best way to describe myself in a relationship is in a slightly depressed slump after the initial joy of meeting someone wonderful wears off. I don't know, really, how to be myself when in a relationship.

I need to fix that, because I don't really want to be a single lady all my life even though I'm sure I could work with it- but I do want a family and a husband at some point, so I think I just have some growing I need to get through.

Thanks for reading, if anyone did!

Stuff, Life, Whatnot

I'm guilty of writing far too infrequently on the old LiveJournal, but I have to admit that for format, it really beats Facebook if you want to write something long and verbose, and the forum is a little easier than Blogger or Wordpress. Apologies!

I've been sick the last two days- I left work after only two hours yesterday, and didn't go in today, but luckily the sore throat that had me down has disappeared- it was pretty bad, too. I could see that my tonsils were gigantically inflamed. And I think my left eardrum burst or something, but I don't feel too worried about it because right now it's not hurting, and the reason people go to the doctor for that is to be sure they haven't lost hearing. Lucky for me, I'm already completely deaf in that ear.

I've been making a list of 100 things I'd like to do in 1001 days. I know this is a really old project that a zillion people have done, but I think it will motivate me to do some things I sometimes put off. Some of these things are little, like embroidering something, and some are big, like visiting Reykjavik or getting married and having babies. Clearly, I have little control over whether those two things happen, but I would still like to put it on my list.

There is a lot to think about for my list!


You know what? I love Casey and I don't want to be broken up. I want us to figure out where we went wrong and fix it.

If that doesn't happen, I'll also survive. But a girl can dream.

Breaking Up

Several years ago, when Travis and I broke up, I used this as my (rather public) forum for venting and once I started getting over it, I didn't use this as often and instead wrote about travels or silly things.

When I was 22, I felt like everything I wrote had some deep meaning and that magically, he would read it and things would get better and we'd work through our shit and grow up and get married and have babies and actually clean our house.

I was super excited to fall in love again with Casey because until then, I had myself convinced that I would never really fall in love again, but I did, and for that reason, I'm glad that we were together- it made me realize that I can always fall in love again.

Maybe you figured this out, but we broke up. I think up until the end, I thought we would work out our problems, but I think we're really different. Even though we got along a lot better than Travis and I did, Casey and I were hugely different and totally incompatible in a house, partly because we wanted such different things. I want to do things like get married and have babies and it sounds like maybe he wants to wait a long time.

This is OK. I will need to keep looking for the right one. And that's fine.

Writer's Block: It was a very good year

Which year would you consider the best of your life so far?

I don't know that I've ever done one of these "Writer's Block" questions before, but I'll attempt.  I think this is a good question because I'm having a hard time making up my mind.

I think the year that I moved to Japan was the best year of my life.  2008.  It was great because I had just gotten my cochlear implant, and I was beginning to hear again, and I was brushing off the cobwebs of depression that went along with losing my hearing and not knowing what the hell was wrong or what I could do about it.

I decided early on in the year to visit my brother, Greg, who had been living in Ibaraki (a prefecture to the north of Tokyo) for about three years, and so I booked tickets.  In the end of March, I went to visit him, and it was the first time I'd been out of the country in a meaningful way since high school.  I say that because Canada's close proximity to Seattle and similar culture to the U.S. doesn't really make it a big cultural jump.  So, I flew by myself in an airplane to Narita and Greg met me right out side of immigration.  We rode the train to his apartment, and then he took me straight to the nearest kaiten sushi, where plates of goofy looking nigiri floated past.  There was corn sushi, there was tuna salad sushi, there was bacon sushi, there was fish egg sushi, there was nearly anything you could dream up.  It was all there.

We bopped around Tokyo and went to Asakusa, where I got the only good fortune I've ever gotten in my life (It was like number one best fortune, or something), and Greg got a mediocre one, and then we walked in circles to find Kappabashi, "Kitchenware Town" which was just an incredibly long street of all kinds of cooking utensils both for personal and restaurant use for as far as the eye could see.  It was wonderful.  I bought a knife.  My boyfriend uses it to poke things and I think its tip is chipped.  Not so good!

We had beer and sake the whole time, and we went to karaoke and other fun things.  I developed a crush on Yorki, (AKA James York, nerdy Englishman Extraordinaire).  I bought all sorts of fancy knick-knacks and shiny short shorts that have been popular with Japanese ladies for some time, but I am still not comfortable wearing them because I have fat on my thighs in spite of being tiny (go figure).

It was scary, fun, and wonderfulCollapse )

School and life and adorable nieces

I started my first class for grad school, and I am going to finish it up tomorrow and Friday, since next week is when I'll be starting all three of my other fall courses. So far, I've been learning about various methods of online communication and tools that I may have to use. I played Second Life for about a day last week to finish an assignment and it was crap! Sheer crap. I hate Second Life! My brother-in-law who started a code-writing company hates it immensely as well, so I know that the hating on Second Life happens in the realm of nerds as well.

I haven't been working that much this month, because my boss hired new employees and started a build-out on a new store, meaning, well... she's in over her head. But that next month I'll have a lot more opportunities to work, I guess.

I babysit my niece a few times a week and she's getting too big! She's three and a half months and I am starting to be able to see what she's going to look like as a toddler. It's too fast! She's growing up way too quickly! And she's not even mine, she's my niece, so I can't imagine what I'll feel like when I get around to having my own children. She's got red hair and lovely big blue eyes- I think they'll stay blue, even though I hear that you don't know what the color will be till several months down the road.

My sis and I did a baby fashion snow, and she's such a little doll. She's a ham, too- she was staring at the camera, because she knew it was all about HER. In the same vein, she didn't take kindly to me doing homework while babysitting her yesterday.


I start grad school next month for Library Science! I am excited and nervous. The whole thing is online, partly because someone from a university in New York told me she thought it was actually a better idea to do it online. So, I'm doing it.

I am not working as much as I'd like, so I've been talking to a man who works in the Hearing, Speech and Deafness Center in Bellingham about how my deafness may actually be an enhancement in the workplace, and more than anything it's just that he's really upbeat and makes it seem OK that my hearing is so horrendous, because I will make up for it in other ways, by clarifying the exact parameters of a project, for instance.

Casey's birthday is Thursday, and I've gotten tickets for a concert tomorrow, and I'm going to make him homemade vanilla ice cream! And then, on Thursday, I'm not sure what we'll do, but maybe he will get off early, and we can go somewhere fun like the beach.

I'll be babysitting Elizabeth tomorrow, and I'm excited because I haven't babysat for her in a few weeks! She'll have grown, of course. YAY!