Imortant news first:  Chieko’s mom made it through her surgery yesterday without any major issues.  The doctors found exactly what they were expecting, and took half of her stomach on their way out.  So that’s one hurdle cleared, but the real exhalation will come in a few weeks when the tests come back and, hopefully, show that the cancer hasn’t spread to any other places in her body.  Thanks to everyone who has been keeping her in your thoughts.

We finish up summer classes next week, and we’ll head up to Niigata to see how she’s doing shortly thereafter (with some major house cleaning going down before we leave).

We took the ailing, milk-riddled Mac into the shop yesterday.   They weren’t sure what exactly would need to be done to fix it, but on the low end it could cost a few hundred bucks, and on the high end….I don’t want to think about the high end.  In the mean time I’ve brought my work computer home to do double duty until my real computer is back.

Moving on.

I love this time of year.  The days are still warm enough to bike around in shorts and a t-shirt and get a bit of a sunburn.  Things are still green and bugs are still buzzing around, but there is an air of winding down to everything.  At night it’s cool; the windows are still open but a little heavier blanket is in order.  In the dark, the frogs and insects are singing in a last ditch effort to find a mate, or maybe just to put me to sleep.  The cicadas, whose endless chirping epitomises the heat and humidity of summer, have mercifully ceased to exist.

And then there’s the hustle and bustle out in the rice paddies, which are being harvested nearly full tilt now.  I took a bike ride out there today after work because it was a perfect afternoon, and I actually got home before dark.

The rice in the spring and summer is as green as you can get, but at this time of year it turns golden brown.  The stalks start to keel over under the weight of the rice drooping off the top, and the whole deal gets blown around and tussled in the wind until it resembles a grainy sort of bed head.

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This week has been much easier than last week as far as work goes.  I was a bit stressed out at first getting the hang of summer classes.  The pace of classes is pretty insane (teaching in 2 weeks what we normally teach over 3+ months), and it took a little while to figure out how to manage the logistics of teaching 40 students in each class (normally my classes have 15-20 students).  But we’re cruising along now, so all is well.

Chieko is getting pretty huge, though the baby is not moving enough for her.  She’s worried it’s deaf because it doesn’t respond to her voice, but I’m not sure what she’s expecting it to do.  However, we have been contemplating changing doctors.  The doctor we are going to is significantly more expensive than other doctors, and we can’t quite figure out why.  A lot of people we know have used him and have been very happy, but we’re not feeling it.  He always seems too busy and tired, as though he doesn’t have enough time answer all of our questions.  Last time we were there his cell phone kept ringing and got up and went into the other room to answer it several times.  Our questions and concerns may be routine for him, but it’s our first time having a baby so it’s all new to us.  We went and checked out a different clinic last weekend and the atmosphere was  nice a relaxed and less sterile than our current place, and the nurses were all really smiley and nice.  So, we’ll see.  It’s getting pretty late in the game to be moving around though.

I’ve got a bunch of other boring crap I could ramble on about, but it’s bed time here.  I’ll save it for next time.  Hope all is well where ever you are.


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