Friday, July 31, 2009

look at me now...

So maybe I'm going a little 'blog crazy' but today I did something I just couldn't resist blogging about...

I made chicken noodle soup all by myself for the first time... and it's just the way I like it- lots of chicken and noodles, and a few carrots!

I love learning new things, especially when you have something to be proud of in the end! I think I'm getting better at this business of cooking! :) Thanks Mom for teaching me how to make chicken noodle soup!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

red bean popsicles...

I seem to be on a role with blogging these days... today my theme is popsicles!

I love popsicles! I thought I loved any and every kind of popsicle, but apparently I was wrong about that...

Today I came to the conclusion that there are some popsicles that I just can't love! On Thursday mornings, I "teach" a very casual English class in a nearby city and after class we eat lunch together. Today after lunch, we ate popsicles! But... much to my disappointment, they were red bean/orange/pineapple popsicles! Let's just say that no matter how much I love popsicles, I will never love these ones! The pineapples and oranges were really chunky but tolerable. The beans however.... well, they just don't belong in a popsicle in my opinion!! These red beans are apparently classified as 'sweet' here, but I just don't like beans... and I certainly don't like them in my popsicles!

Oh well... now I know to stay away from them! I am glad that someone else had bought them and it wasn't something I had spent money on only to find I didn't like them at all!

Here's a picture of one that was kind of like the one I ate... What do you think?

Yesterday I went to the store to go umbrella shopping and I found an umbrella that I really liked! But... it was on display up high, opened and hanging on a hook. No matter how far I stretched, I just couldn't manage to get it off the hook... and there was no one around to ask for help! (Not that I'd be able to clearly ask for help even if there was someone to ask!) All the other ones just weren't good enough for me after comparing them to the perfect pink and polka dotted one on display above them! Sigh... I guess I'll just have to wait on that one. Maybe it was God's way of reminding me I don't really need to spend money on an umbrella since rainy season is pretty much over!

Last night turned out to be a beautiful evening! I actually made time to go watch the sunset and boy am I glad I did! It was gorgeous! Here's some of the pictures I took...

The first one was with normal settings and the second one was with the 'sunset' setting on my camera. I can't decide which one I like better!

I love sunsets... what a beautiful and perfect gift from God :) Isn't our God amazing?!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

An Ode to Umbrellas...

So here's my dilemma...

My umbrella is broken. I need to go to the store to buy an umbrella. But, it's raining! How do I get to the store with no umbrella when it's raining?!

Oh well, I guess I will just have to wait until it lets up and I'll go later... Anything I need at the store today is not life or death so I could probably even wait till another day! Rainy season is almost over... is it worth is to buy a new umbrella?! I've been wanting to buy a 'fun' umbrella for a while now, but for some reason I've waited until the end of rainy season to do it! Silly Hillary!

Sigh... what a dilemma! :P

*I just googled 'umbrella' because I wanted a picture to add to this blog and now I'm wondering where I can find one of these...

I'm sure I would be the talk of the town! Seriously, would kids really want to wear this?!

I also found this one... pretty genius idea I think! (In case you can't tell, it's 2 umbrellas joined as one!) I guess it would be a lot safer for people walking side by side... no fear of eye poking!

I'm actually finding quite a few neat umbrella inventions like a self standing umbrella! (it stays upside down by itself when you set it down) And of course there are some 'are you serious?' umbrellas like a 'doggie umbrella.' You should google it... it'll probably make you laugh!

Check out the Youtube video at the end of this post...

I'm sold! I love the opening demonstration before and after each 'destruction method'!

Seriously, if it wasn't $180, I'd buy it! Although I'm sure I'll probably end up spending that much on replacing broken umbrellas since I seem to have such bad luck with them!

Well, I guess I need to move on to something a little more productive than searching for pictures of cool umbrellas! (but hey, the heading of this blog does warn that these are my random thoughts!) I think I this post falls under the category of 'too much time on her hands'! this was supposed to be a short post about my rainy day dilemma and look where it got me! :P

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Christmas in July?!

Today I got showered in gifts from my students for no particular reason... it felt like Christmas! I got a magnet, candies, a melon, roses, a hand made bag, and even some chicken! I have to say that I am quite spoiled!
I can't quite capture it well enough, but I LOVE the bag! I might have to use my imagination to figure out what I want to use it for, but I really like it! How thoughtful :)

Today is my last official day of teaching the church classes until September since we take the 5th week off. I'm quite looking forward to having the day off tomorrow (and Thursday evening!) Although I do have my share of 'things to do', I am really excited about not having to set an alarm tomorrow! What a treat!

Anyway, I should get going... I'm determined to make a healthy dinner tonight so I better get started on that before I have to go and teach again! I wonder what tonight's students will bring for me?! :P (just kidding!)

Sunday, July 26, 2009

time for some changes...

I have come to the conclusion that I need to check myself into "Facebook Rehab". As funny as that sounds, I've recently come to the conclusion... (although I've known it for a long time but kept myself in denial) that I've actually become addicted to Facebook! I've wasted way too many hours on it and it needs to come to an end. I've tried to put restrictions on myself at various points in the last few years, recently limiting myself to 30 minutes/day, but that only lasted about a week or so...maybe a little more.

My point is, as much as I love Facebook and keeping in touch with so many people all over the world, I've allowed it to take over me! I guess I must have an addictive personality, or really lack discipline, but in spite of my efforts, I can't seem to 'enjoy Facebook to a minimum'.

I've let my quiet times with God take second place, I end up scrambling around in the morning to get ready on time because time seems to slip away quicker than I expect when I decide to spend 'just a few minutes' on Facebook instead of eating breakfast, and who knows how many hours of sleep I've missed out on because I just 'had to' check my Facebook.

It's stupid really... as I sit here and think about what I do on Facebook, it's ridiculous that I let myself try to find more things to do to keep me on Facebook even when I've caught up with everyone's status updates AND pictures AND notes AND whatever else can be checked... even looking at someone else's pictures...of people I don't even know! Some nights, when I can barely hold my eyes open because I'm so tired, what am I doing instead of going to bed? Wasting time on Facebook. How silly is that? It makes me sick to think about all the hours I have wasted, and all of the things I could have been doing in that time.

I've known that I need to 'quit Facebook' for a LONG time, but I just haven't had the guts to do what it takes to get rid of it. This Friday I started reading a book I borrowed from my teammate called "Intimacy with the Almighty" by Charles Swindoll and something caught my attention in the introduction. "...inner satisfaction is neither complicated nor mystical, but it does call for some radical changes. Difficult changes. Unpopular changes. Lifestyle changes...." Immediately when I read that, I just knew God was speaking to me about finally getting rid of Facebook once and for all.

I'll be the first to admit, this won't be easy, but I know it will end up being one of the best decisions I've ever made! What's the worst that could happen? I'll miss out on seeing pictures from someone's new pet or summer vacation? I will admit that yes, I will miss being 'caught up' with so many people though. My Mom always says I know more about what's going on in Canada than she does... and I live in Japan!

I know this will be a HARD habit to overcome and it won't come naturally so I need your help...

Here's the scoop... I don't want to completely delete my account because this is my only connection to a lot of people... and I want to leave an explanation as to why I'm not as 'active' anymore. I'm going to log in again once in a month just in case anything important comes up, but please send me an e-mail to my hotmail account if you want to make sure we stay in touch! After the one month check, I'll delete it for good.

I hope I'm not coming across as judgmental or 'holier than thou' because that's not what I'm going for. This is a personal decision and I know that Facebook can be used in moderation, but I seem to have some moderation issues!!

Please pray for me as I make this big change. One of the biggest areas of my life that has suffered because of my addiction to Facebook has been my relationship with God and I'm not proud of that at all. I know that it's been a weakness that Satan has totally made the most of and it needs to go! My heart's desire is that this will be a permanent change and not my typical 'start with good intentions but keep falling in the same place over and over' phases. I am really looking forward to the growth that this decision will bring and I know I won't regret doing this!

so... Farewell Facebook. Hello new lifestyle...

Thursday, July 23, 2009

The big switch...

Today I decided it was time to make the switch from xanga to blogspot! I'm tired of the inappropriate advertisements with yucky half dressed girls... certainly not anything I want connected to my blog! The only way to get rid of them is to pay for xanga premium so I finally decided that it was time to switch! I hate learning curves and I'm not so sure if I will like blogspot, but almost all of my friends have it so I thought it would be the best choice.

Anyway, I just thought it was about time for a blog, even though as usual there's other things I should be doing...

I realized today that I have been able to experience a whole lot of 'firsts' here in Japan, and a lot of them happen to be natural phenomenon!

I got to experience my first earthquake a few weeks ago! I can't remember if I blogged about it, but it was a 2. something! Barely noticeable, but I still felt it!

On Tuesday we had one of the biggest storms I've ever been in! It rained so hard and for a really long time! There was also huge thunder and lightening to go with it and it was pretty crazy! The thunder was so loud and apparently the amount of lightening we got was really rare! Along with all the rain came floods which was kind of scary! Hirao wasn't hit too hard, but the river was really full and also the parking lot of one of our main grocery stores got flooded! It looked like a lake! I went on a bike ride after the rain stopped and took some pictures... take a look here!

As if that wasn't exciting enough, yesterday we got to see a solar eclipse! I don't know all of the details and statistics, but apparently it was a rare experience and Asia was one of the best places to be to see it! I heard that there were some people who planned a trip to Japan years ago just because they wanted the best view of this eclipse!
It was pretty amazing, and I'm glad I got to see it. Here's a picture that I stole from my teammate Bobby...

It's hard to believe that July is already coming to an end! I have to admit that I'm really looking forward to August! (Except for the weather!) Almost all of my classes are on hold for August and I can't say I'm too disappointed about that. Yes, I'll miss my students, but I will have plenty to keep me busy! We've got Friendship English Camp (FEC) coming up in the first week of August... right around the corner! Then I will be staying with a Japanese family for a one week homestay! The next week I'll have free... gee, what am I going to do with a whole week with no plans?! :) It's going to be so nice to do some major catch up during August! The last week of August I'll have another homestay and then it'll be back to "normal" life again!

I'm really looking forward to my homestays, even though I am a little bit nervous about being so far 'out of my element'. I'm looking forward to learning a lot more about Japanese culture and cooking and of course the extra language study! I'm sure it will be a good two weeks, and I'm also sure August is going to fly by just like July did!

I should probably get going and get back to work on my plans for FEC... thanks for taking the time to read my random thoughts!

Does anyone know of a good website to get creative templates??

Oh, and let me know if I don't have your blog on my list on the side!