What Blog?

I remember a few weeks ago, before the month even started, I just wanted to get September over with.  It was a month full of action, and I tend to avoid action unless it’s of my own making.  I hate feeling like I want time to go by faster.  It goes by too fast and I often lament that fact, but sometimes I just need to crank shit out and get it done with.  September was a lot like that.

But the last 1o days have been a busy in an enjoyable sense.  My mom and her friend Laurie came into town last Friday, and we spent the time between then and now seeing the sites around Kanazawa and fawning over Ray.  It was too short a trip, both in terms of me being able to hang out with my mom, and her being able to wig out over Ray.

On Thursday we took the train down to Kyoto, and then to Nara.  Kyoto is about 2 hours away from Kanazawa, and I have been there once before.  Nara is a little further, and I had never been there.  I was curious to check out Nara because it has tons of ‘sacred’ deer running around the place.  While the idea of deer wandering around town was somewhat appealing to me in the abstract, having spent a few hours with them I doubt I could live in Nara very long.  The place itself is very nice, but the deer are a pain in the ass.  Completely predictably, by virtue of the fact that there are stands selling deer biscuits on every corner, and retarded, potato chip/cookie/otherwise non-deer food wielding tourists all over the place, the deer are zombie-like, food-seeking bastards.  They come up and basically bite you until something comes off, be it a piece of your tourist map, a shred of clothing, or your child’s pinky finger.  Not to mention, there is deer shit everywhere.  You can’t avoid stepping on it, and the air has a bit of stink to it.

Despite all the deer-related drawbacks, I want to get back to Nara at some point.  There is a lot to see there, and even though it’s a huge tourist spot, most of the people are preoccupied with the deer so you can get around quite easily.

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We spent the next day in Kyoto.  At the last minute we decided taking a tour was good idea.  We only had a day, and I don’t know anything about Kyoto, so maximizing time was the goal.  The bus tour was filled up, so we opted for a walking tour conducted by an old guy who would take us off the beaten track to see the ‘real’ Kyoto.  He was good, but 2.5 hours into the 5 hour tour we accidentally had to get lost and hail a taxi to take us somewhere a bit more interesting.

I got back to Kanazawa last night at a reasonable hour, but went to bed far too late.  Slept in good and long this morning, then got up and watched the end of the Red Sox game.  Ray took a long nap this afternoon, during which I did some work in the garden, which has been completely neglected for the past month.  It’s cooling off rapidly, but the eggplant and green/red/yellow pepper plants are still producing.  I ripped out all the tomatoes to make some room for some fall veggies which I may or may not plant.  The tomatoes had stopped producing, and I need to prep the soil if I’m going to put anything else in their place.

It was a perfect day.  Is there anywhere in the world where the weather is like this all year round?  Warm during the day, chilly at night.  I took Ray for a bike ride in the afternoon.  He was really excited when we started moving, screeching and moving around.  He looks around a lot while we are riding, but seems to get a little bored after awhile.  The sun might have been a bit bright, too.

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He looks so old in this picture.  Crazy.  I walked into the living room today and was surprised at how big he was.  He’s in a stage now where he’s growing really fast, both physically and mentally.  Where’d the little baby go?

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So there’s the last 10 days in a nutshell.  Start classes again on Wednesday, but will head back to work on Monday to get  things organized.  I’ll have a lot on my plate, but after summer classes it seems much less daunting.  The pace of work seems to be much more manageable, knock on wood.

And now, a pillow calls my name.  Good night.

Exhale

Well, that was about the most horrible two-week stretch that I’ve lived through in recent memory. The important thing is that, aside from administering a few tests tomorrow, it is over and done with. I’m left, apart from being completely exhausted, with the sense that something will come from the past two weeks. Specifically, I have at the very least proven something to myself, but I think it goes beyond that somehow. I am starting to think about how I can apply the ability to be this productive to other areas of my life. I’m all wound up and it feels like it will take a conscious effort to slow myself down over the next few days. I’m generally a very relaxed, low-stress person, so this is unfamiliar territory for me. If my life were like this on a constant basis, I would have to find something else to do. But in small, infrequent doses, being busy as all F is good. But I’m done thinking for the next week at least. Beer please.

My mom is on Japanese soil, and will be here tomorrow evening after romping around Tokyo for the day. We have a 2 hour window of work to somehow turn the post-apocalyptic state of our house into something sanitary and presentable. It will be a challenge.

Here are a few pictures of Ray. He hasn’t changed much since the last time I posted pictures of him, at least as far as I can tell. He still has the same number of teeth, is about the same size, but doesn’t fall down as much. He’ll probably be walking before too long. He will be 10 months tomorrow.

I’m fading fast. Good night!

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Peace and Quiet

The old people who inhabit the garden behind our house are always burning something in the garden, usually branches, weeds, and other garden detritus.  The way they burn here amounts to a pile of smoldering plant matter, so the flames are minimal, but the smoke is often thick.  As I was unwinding yesterday afternoon with a beer and a guitar, the neighborhood gradually fill with smoke from a particularly pungent fire.  Closed the windows and waited for the air to clear.

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So another six-day work week in the books, thankfully the last of the summer session.  Five more days.  I have no aversion to working hard, and I like being this productive.  But I’ve been thinking the last week or so that if I’m going to work this much and this hard, I should do it for myself.  The cliché in Japan is to start and English school, and the idea is sort of appealing to me.  It would be nice to be in total control of what I teach and who I teach it to.  The largest market for students in Japan is kids though, and I’m not wild about going back to doing that.  We’ll see where things stand at the end of our current contract.

It’s a wonderfully quiet Sunday here, and while I have some things that need doing I lack any desire to do them.  Chieko and Ray are going to a friend’s house this afternoon, and I might take a ride to the beach before heading to the gym.  I have contracted a cold of sorts that has left me with virtually no voice, but otherwise feeling well.  Ray is the obvious culprit, but there are a lot of sniffly students in my classes so it may well have been one of them.

Kanazawa is flirting with fall, though it’s A/C weather today.  The farmers have already harvested a bunch of rice, and what remains is slumped over and waiting.

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Perhaps another post coming this evening if I get to the beach and take any worthy pictures.  I have had zero time to take pictures the last two weeks, which is OK since I was lacking in inspiration recently.  Ray has gone down for a nap, which looks very appealing.  Until next time…

Holding On For Dear Life

I couldn’t have been more spot on with the title to my last post.  We’re experiencing the balancing act of parenthood full on the last few days, and are somehow managing so far, knock on wood.

It all began on Saturday.  Chieko and I are both teaching the summer session and classes are held on Saturday, which means Ray goes to daycare.  He had been refusing food and beverage for the most part, so Chieko was running over during her lunch break and breast-feeding him each day.

The good news is that Ray finally decided to dig in on Saturday.  The bad news is that the Saturday menu includes Udon (buckwheat noodles).  The worse news is that Ray is allergic to wheat.  When he had his allergy tests around six months, the doctor encouraged us to try giving him a little bit of wheat because the allergy didn’t seem that strong.  We had given him a few weeks ago to no real ill effect, so figured he was OK for whatever they served at daycare.  Apparently we didn’t experiment thoroughly enough, as Chieko arrived at the daycare to a nearly unrecognizable baby, swollen and red but otherwise genki.  The staff had not called her because he had just eaten and they knew she was coming shortly.

After a flurry of phone calls in the twenty minutes before her afternoon class was to start, I managed to pawn her students off on several other teachers, including myself, and we survived while she took Ray to the doctor.  He got some medicine and eventually the swelling went down.

Here is when we got home, a few hours after eating the Udon and then taking the medicine.  I think everyone’s on the same page now about Ray and his wheat allergy.

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Yesterday we woke up, lounged around the house for a few hours, then noticed that Ray was burning up, 102 degrees.  Off to the hospital we go, since all the normal doctors are closed on Sunday.  Again, Ray is his normal, happy-go-lucky self aside from being hot to the touch.  More medicine, and off to ponder what we were going to do about daycare, where he surely wouldn’t be allowed with a temperature.

We called the sick baby daycare at 7:30 this morning, fingers crossed that they had an opening (they can only accommodate six sick babies).  They did, and we were saved for at least one day.  It made me really wish we had some family nearby that Ray could stay with during times like these.

Ray’s still got a bit of fever, and we’ve got a reservation again tomorrow at the sick baby daycare.  Regardless of Ray’s temperature in the morning, I think we might send him there anyway because we can’t really afford to get a call from the normal daycare in the middle of the day telling us to come get Ray because he has a fever.  I’m a lot less stressed tonight knowing that we have our bases covered for tomorrow.

But speaking of stress, jesus my life is insane right now.  Work is absolutely handing me my ass on a daily basis, and generally well into the night as well.  Coupled with all the Ray drama, I am less at ease than I’ve been in a long while.  But Chieko and I are figuring out how to make this work, very much on the go but it is getting easier, and I’m finding ways to not view the next few months as so daunting.  I’ve had a pretty easy go of it work-wise the last few semesters, so it is good to be on my toes again.  But damn, I need to come up for air once in a while.  And I’m on the wagon during the week to boot, so I can’t even cut loose with a glass of wine or three at the end of the day.  We’ll see how long that lasts.

Can’t promise much action around here in the immediate future, for the above-mentioned reasons.  My mom is coming in a week and a half — more stress!!!  I’ll be back when sanity prevails.  Good night.