30 December 2010

new year's plans

Plans for New Year's Eve tomorrow night? My best friend Todd is coming over from Maryland after work, and after we pick up Takeshi from work (at like, 2am if he's lucky...), we'll have something to munch on with drinkies most likely. :) It does suck every single year that Takeshi's job does not allow him to EVER have New Year's Eve off, and furthermore, to be able to be out BEFORE midnight of the new year. It happened last year too of course, and the year before, but from what he's been telling me, this time it might be so damned busy at the restaurant that they may get out very very late. Whoopdee doo.

It's supposed to be a little warmer for a change tomorrow, in the 50s I heard on the radio. No dog walking tomorrow, since all the clients are home with their dogs. I still need the car though, since I have an interview in D.C. next week and I need to go print some updated pages of my portfolio. I hope I can get better quality pages than when I went to the Staples down the road. They looked like shit, with visible printer lines running down every image on the page. Hopefully Office Depot can do better.

Parents have up and left again back home, overseas. See you next year mum and dad! Thank goodness for Skype eh? I definitely liked eating out a lot while they were here! I know I have no shame. Usually we don't eat out that much!

I guess this will be the last post I make before the new year is here, so everyone please have a fun and safe new year's! 2011 here we come. Some recent photos to leave you with!

walking towards Ford's Landing Park in Alexandria while at "work"

at the start of the park looking over the water


23 December 2010

coming to a close

It's almost 2011! Wow, that year went fast huh?

Still been visiting with the parents. I'm a little sad to realize that by next week they'll be back on a plane to Armenia. :( They're kind of like Santa, because they come to visit me once a year, right now. Christmas Eve is this Friday, and my parents, Takeshi and I, and my brother are going out to eat dinner that day, and perhaps hang somewhere afterwards. We're having Indian cuisine at an old favorite restaurant of theirs, so it should be good eating. :)

I actually was able to finally see my brother the other day, after not seeing him in person for about 2 years. That was nice. I drove down to the Annapolis area in MD and we had lunch with my parents and then coffee. Still skinny as a rail and smoking, which we all wish he'd stop, but hey whatcha' gonna' do. I hardly see him enough to influence him. Lol.

New York City was fun, except for the part when I LOST my cell phone somewhere. Either in a taxi we had just gotten out of, OR dropped it on the street right looking to hail the taxi. Either way, I wanted to shoot myself since that iPhone had access to all 3 of my email accounts, had contact lists, etc etc. Very bad. I changed almost all of my passwords for my emails, and other sites, deleted some things. I did all I could do at this point. My parents were very nice to me and bought me a new iPhone. I am making it a law unto myself not to put anything on this new iPhone that could get me in hot water IF I ever lose this one too. This whole event almost makes me want to change back to just a regular phone. The only thing you have on there are phone numbers.

Takeshi asked me the other day if I'm thinking of what my New Year's resolution will be. I hadn't thought of it at all. I know he'll definitely make some. Maybe the only 2 major goals I have for the new year is to 1.) Get a full-time job (if not a full-time graphic design job) and 2.) to get a dog.

They're calling for snow this Sunday and Monday! Granted it won't be on Xmas Day but it's still sort-of a white Xmas. :D Haven't had one of those personally, since I was in high school!

10 December 2010

parents, computer, NYC

God who even reads this blog anymore? Lol. Who knows. Sorry for no pretty pictures for people to look at this time...

I've been away for a bit again, because my parents arrived on the 2nd for their visit-the-States trip. I've been speeding around the area with them for the most part, while working on the weekdays as usual. Just before they arrived, I had a mishap with my laptop.

Takeshi ended up spilling (my mug of) chamomile tea over my keyboard....it was placed in a crappy spot for sure. And it was an accident but he didn't ever really say sorry. But I guess I didn't feel hurt cuz' we'd have to spend our money anyway to fix it - and maybe because it wasn't as bad as when he ended spilling hot milk/coffee into the BACK of his laptop.

But it did fuck up my laptop in the end. I tried soaking up the tea as much as I could and wiped it down, but it got into the keyboard of course, and several keys promptly would not work after that. Certain keys that I need to spell out my username and password to even LOG IN to my laptop. Not good.

I just got it back today. Took to a small place 20 mins. away to replace the keyboard and it seems fine for now, but no one can really know exactly how much water damage was done to the inside. Only time will tell - and maybe it'll just crap out and die on me one day in the future. Bleh.

Parents and I are leaving for a small trip to NYC on Monday. Will be staying there until Thursday. Should be fun but I feel guilty and sad that Takeshi can't come with us. He luckily has off for 4-5 days on X-mas week anyway.

19 October 2010

cold toes

So begins the season of me always needing to wear thick socks or slippers around the house! Brr.

Just brewed a pot of some 'wellness' tea of sorts, that we bought in Japan. I forget the name of it...it comes in a white box with black print. Takeshi would know. Hmm. In any case, working outside walking dogs does have its dangers with catching a cold! I feel twinges of ickyness once in a while. Drinking this tea makes me feel better! I hope it actually works though!

We also have started having bath nights on Takeshi's days off. I LOVE taking bath and I miss the deep deep bathtubs in Japan! American tubs pale in comparison. But we still enjoy baths anyway, and we bought bath salts at Mitsuwa last month! Can't let it go to waste. ;) But we've found that the 'hot water' doesn't really get hot enough for baths. Takeshi likes his showers/baths TEN times hotter than what I can stand! So for him, it's probably even more of a disappointment! So what we've started to do is boil a pot of water on the stove and throw it in with the 'hottest' water from the shower. It definitely makes a difference in any case.

Parents are coming to visit in less than a week from overseas! Pretty jazzed about it. I'll be going to New York City with them for a few days in the middle of December. It should be fun - they've never been and I always love going. The day they arrive is also Takeshi's birthday as well. :) He'll be a ripe 24. Hehe. He is SO hard to shop for (as are all men?) so I am making him a gift, like I have in the past. I'll post a picture of it when I'm done! I wanna keep it a secret since TK's on Blogger too. xD

Both of us have come down with colds of a sort. Mine has been going on steadily for about a month. I have extremely terrible allergies all year round, so I had just chocked it up to the dry air or whatever, walking dogs, etc. But I went into a walk-in clinic today and there's good news at least - I don't have any infections or godawful problems and such. Just allergies. :( Bleh. Doc gave me a prescription for some antibacterial stuff to take for 10 days, just to rule that possibility out. I also bought a "neti pot" yesterday at the store, so I'll be using it frequently to see if anything gets better. Here's a description of a neti pot if you haven't heard of it!

The sensation of using the neti pot, for me, is more than a little uncomfortable, but I'll deal with it!

Thanksgiving for us was quietly spent at home this year. Takeshi cooked. It was very yummy. :) I surprisingly convinced him to watch a Lupin the 3rd movie with me. He's not much of a TV/movie guy at all, so it's always a treat for me when we sit down together to watch a movie!

Random photos from the recent past weeks! Have a good start of the week everyone!

Walking in Old Town with Sydney

Mimsy the poodle

crimson tree in one neighborhood I frequent at work

near the water in north Old Town

can anything else fit?

11 October 2010

jazz before the week begins

I'm beginning to use the 'radio' on my iTunes a lot more these days, mostly for jazz music which is one of my favorite genres. I find my personal collection of songs is somewhat boring right now. Haven't come across anything new lately that I like.

Yesterday was a nice day overall even though we had a little mishap with doing the laundry. This building is so fricking old and I guess that goes for the door to the laundry room downstairs as well. We both go down to the floor below us to do laundry (which is not free, mum yes). We're about to throw in the clothes to the wash, and I decided to go grab something from the apartment really quick before that - and I can't open the door. A little piece of the metal doorframe has wedged itself in between, so that we couldn't open it. And the crappy, cheap door handle looked like it was about to fall off any minute. Had come loose and wasn't secure at all. And that room is hotter and more humid than a Turkish bath. If both of the dryers are running, it's hard to breathe in there after a while! So TK finally got the door open after hitting and tugging the shit out of it. Afterwards, the door itself had kind of bent from the door handle up. Crappy-ass door. We could have been stuck in there and we hadn't brought anything with us. I know what I'll be calling to the office about next...

Finished the laundry and then went to Old Town Alexandria to walk around a bit. Ended up going to a pizza joint down there for a late lunch/early dinner, called 'RedRocks Pizza'. Place was nice in decor and all, and the pizza wasn't so bad. We left and went to the Barnes and Noble Booksellers store in the area. I saw a book I have been wanting to get that's been released but only in hardback! I'd rather wait and spend only about $8 for the paperback instead of paying up $25.95 for the hardback now.

Learned that mum and dad are probably coming to the States in December for a visit, so very excited about that. :) Christ, I see them more and I do my little brother who lives miles away from me! Such is the way of Michael, I suppose.

I hope that kaasan and tousan will come to visit us in the States again sometime soon, but as I hear it, my MIL might come on her own next year. My FIL will probably be caught up with work and all. :/ My SIL at one point expressed an interest in visiting the States again too, but I don't know about that, since she's fairly new to the workforce, right out of college etc. Still would be nice to see her again though.

I love this time of year, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas. Winter is also my favorite season. I just hate the small (gradually growing) tidbits of Christmas being thrown at us ALREADY in October. Ridiculous. As one comic said, "Santa needs to stop poking his ass into other holidays." Right you are sir.

Here are some recent photos from last week along with a video of one of the puppies I walk. :) Ganbatte everyone. Have a good week!

me trying to get Grace to go up for a walk

abandoned parking lot I found while walking a dog in Alexandria the other day

apartment building I go to - where one of the dogs lives

certain things we bought for the apartment recently - rug for the kitchen, outside mat for the balcony, and a light-up pumpkin to be festive for Halloween :)

04 October 2010

blog bump

Ok so I'm mentioning another blogger for anyone's consideration!

My best friend Todd has started a blog of his own, and it's been created to help anyone with any kind of questions concerning the plant world, gardens, soil, landscaping, etc etc. He has just completed a degree in Plant Sciences from the University of Maryland and is very knowledgable.

I have asked a million questions of him in the past, and he's still the first one I go to, when I have a problem or just want to gain some info about the plant world. So if you ever have an inquiry, feel free to drop a question on his blog! ;)


another rainy week?

I hope not, but the forecasts don't look to great. I don't like walking dogs in the rain! Granted it's kind of fun watching THEM have fun getting wet, but in the meantime, Laura is turning into a melting, curly-haired mess. Seriously, I don't know why I do my hair before I leave the house. One drop of moisture on my head, turns it into a poodly-rat's nest.

Had a good Sunday today. Went to Tyson's Corner mall again, milled around, went to the Cheesecake Factory for dinner. :) Very yummy, and also a plus because I have leftover chicken enchiladas for my dinner tomorrow. Always nice to eat something that tastes better than anything I could make!

Tonight we tried doing some highlights with Takeshi's hair. We used the Gatsby hair bleach stuff he bought at Mitsuwa. It went ok...we admitted he would have been better off going to a salon. Definitely. I tried my hardest to brush on the bleach (with my FINGERS in BAGGY frickin' gloves they give you - retarded) on little strips of his hair, but some parts look like, and I'm quoted the hub, "panda spots". Sorry! I tried my best. Lol. But it doesn't look terrible, and we can always try making it better in the future by thinning his hair out, etc.

Makes me wanna do something with my hair, but I don't know what I'd want to do. And I sure as hell wouldn't trust myself to do it at home. Salons all the way, for me!

02 October 2010

a different outlet

So I finally decided to make an account on WordPress as well. I may in the future move my blogging entirely to WordPress instead of Blogger, but for now this second blog accomplishes something Blogger cannot. Password protected posts. Sometimes I need and want to write about more personal things/issues that I don’t want the whole internet community being able to see.

For now, I guess is that I can post the URL link to a protected post on Blogger – those whom I’ve given the password to will be able to then see it. Or, if you can choose the option to follow both of the blogs.

If you want to ask me if you could have the password to the posts, email me at bigteamug@gmail.com.

Here's the link:


28 September 2010

NYC Trip and Dog Walking

Ok so I didn't find the time/energy to this post on Saturday! But I'm doing it today. :)

So, we originally went to New York city because 1.) TK had off on Saturday (unheard of!) and 2.) We had a bunch of places in the NYC area that we had been wanting to visit, and 3.) NYC's just a cool place to go to!

We woke up at 4am and left at 5am. That was not fun. The sun hadn't come up yet of course. But it was neat to see the changing off the light when it did come up slowly, as we traveled along. I did managed to snap one or two photos of the sunrise while we were crossing the Delaware Memorial Bridge. Takeshi was snoozing beside me at this point.

We arrived in New York City a little earlier than we thought we'd get there, at around close to 10am. So we had a little time to mull around before getting to our first appointment by 11am.

We planned to definitely go to the 'Hairmate' salon (which has many Japanese hairdressers) in downtown to get our haircuts. Takeshi rarely trusts any other places in the states - he says they would understand the kind of look he'd want more than any American salons (probably). We planned to visit the Mitsuwa grocery store in New Jersey as well.

So since we were going to go to Mitsuwa last, we figured we'd get a hotel in Hoboken somewhere, and ride the subway into NYC etc. Well we ended up getting a hotel in NYC after all, but it was a really cool, small place called the Gem Hotel (http://www.thegemhotel.com/chelsea/index.iml) in Chelsea. It was on a whim, after calling place after place while we were busy seeing things that day (not the best way to get a hotel in NYC, I know). But we finally settled for them because everywhere else was $200 and up a night. F*ck that! Ick.

The TINIEST bed we've slept in since our bed in Leopalace in Suzuka. It was small lengthwise and widthwise. But it wasn't too bad, and it was very comfy. But we were so tired by the end of the day, I could have slept on the floor and been ok! And the hotel was fairly new, and that's always nice to have in a hotel.

So we made it to the haircut appointments. I chatted a little in Japanese with the girl I had, named Kozue. Mind you it was fairly basic stuff. Lol. While Takeshi was getting his hair cut the girl he had had recommended another ramen shop in town besides Ippudo, which had been my idea since grooogrux recommended it to me. She said this other place was better than Ippudo, so I figured that if I was going to take advice from someone about Japanese ramen, it's gonna be a native, right? So off we went for lunch! And it was GOOOD. For the first time since living in Suzuka, I was the only non-Asian person sitting in that restaurant! That's always a good sign for a foreign cuisine restaurant, and you see a lot of natives eating there! That means it must be good. ;) The place was called Terakawa Ramen.

After that we bopped around town some more, just taking in the sights and sounds. We ended up on Times Square at around 9:30pm and found a BBQ joint right off of Times Square for dinner, called Virgil's Real BBQ. It was good stuff and we only got appetizers! They were frickin' huge! We shared some buffalo wings and BBQ nachos. YUMMY. After that we were trying to find something to do and had an idea. The last time we came to NYC we ended coming across a themed-bar/restaurant in NYC called the Jekyll and Hyde Club (). We didn't plan on it, but we had a good time. So we thought, hey let's find another themed-bar to go to since it's late enough at night for a drink. We began searching forever on our iPhones for a club that wasn't MILES away by Subway (since we'd have to ride it BACK to the hotel afterwards too). We picked one, some kind of crime-themed bar. We set off and rode the subway and then walked a million blocks to where it said the address was. WELL, there was a bar there, but it didn't look like a themed-bar. It actually looked like a regular, shifty, dirty bar with fucked-up lookin' bouncers outside. So we said nevermind.... So long story short, after that we spent what seemed like an hour walking around looking for a place to drink - and at THAT point we didn't even need somewhere themed. We were dead tired and wanted a quieter place at this point. So we finally settled for this little bistro place and shared some white wine, and some mussels. At like, midnight. It didn't help that the place had low lighting for effect, and was playing jazz music. I could have slept in the chair I was sitting in.

So we shuffled our tired legs back to the hotel after a return subway trip, and pretty much leapt into bed as soon as we got in the door. So ended our time in NYC.

The next day we were going to be heading home, but not before stopping by Mitsuwa on the way to buy some much wanted Japanese groceries! It was awesome. I wish we had a Mitsuwa near us! Also, beside the grocery store there was a Sanseido book store, and a store with Japanese ceramics/dish-ware in it. At Sanseido I bought 3 manga for studying purposes. I thought it might be fun to practice Japanese by reading some manga, since I haven't bought any manga/graphic novels since high school! And back then they were in English too. I bought the first manga of "ドラえもん" and the first two manga of some manga called "ルレグゥ” (I think I got that right - the title font on the cover is a little wacky and hard to figure out!). The thing I wanted the most was to have furigana in the manga, because I am no kanji expert!

So, we ended up buying a LOT of groceries to last us a while, including Japanese mayo (not Kewpie but pretty damned close), okonomiyaki-ko, pickled ginger, daikon radish, etc etc etc!

Now onto the dog-walking. A summary anyway. Yup I've been at for about 2 weeks now. Overall it's fun, being outside with my furry buddies, even though I will experience the occasional dog ripping up things in the owner's house when I arrive, and a dog running OUT THE DOOR as I try to leave, and so on. I walk all kinds of dogs and I've put together a mix-match of them below. :)

23 September 2010

gettin' to it

Sorry for not posting for a bit here. I am going post about our NYC trip and to bring people up to speed with the dog-walking job (I started doing that last Monday). I've just been having a lack of motivation to do it, and especially since I've got lots of photos I'd possibly want to post along with, so I've been sorting through them. Maybe I'll be up to it this Saturday!

11 September 2010

no human contact

Sometimes I really do hate being alone at home during the day, right now. Somedays I'm fine with it and I find things to keep myself busy. But sometimes I really crave human contact, just speaking with another person. From the time Takeshi leaves in the morning until he gets back at midnight, I don't speak, of course. What am I gonna do, talk to myself?

I'm not that crazy yet...


I think he's been looking online for another job possibly, with better hours than he has now. Which would be so nice for both of us. But mostly for him. He works at least 14 hours a day right now.

Sometimes I wish that he had a job in another field, so that he could have more of a 9 to 5 schedule. Like a job that Sarah's, or GW's hub has. But then, Takeshi would be a different person, and maybe not be the guy I fell in love with. Cooking/the culinary field is in his blood and defines him as much as design/art/creativity defines me. So it's kind of a catch 22.

We're going to New York NEXT weekend. I asked him cuz I forgot. God Laura, you're losing your memory. Anyway, yay next weekend.

I was thinking today that when we go, I'd like to visit the UNIQLO store. I love that store and I miss it! So many cute clothes in there. And who knows - Takeshi, even in his EXTREMELY DEFINED TASTE in clothes - may, MAY actually find something he likes. Perhaps even *gasp* a new pair of shoes. He needs a new pair desperately.

NYC also has a Yoshinoya. We went there once, before we moved to Suzuka, and of course they were everywhere, then. Lol.

Yumm...love their beef bowls. Very tempting, also, to go there.

Gah the sun is setting. It's 6:01pm. The ending of another boring day of waiting for the "gears of my life" to start turning. That interview in D.C. cannot come soon enough. But a part of me is really scared though, and almost hate going to interviews. Because so far, I've been let down do much by possible job positions that went nowhere, after waiting and hanging on for weeks at a time. All I can do, is do my best each time I get an opportunity, so hopefully, that time, it'll work out in my favor.

10 September 2010

crisp touch of fall

Fall is coming, fall is coming! No more humidity! That's what I like. :) It's gradually getting cooler and cooler. Today it's currently 73°F (22-ish°C), with a bit of a breeze. My toes are pretty chilly since I'm sitting right next to the open window. And I hear the ice-cream truck tune playing outside. When is that guy gonna' stop coming around? Jeez. October??

Anywho, things are a bit busier now as it turns out, these days. Ummm....jeez where did I leave off with all this job bullsh*t? Hard to keep track sometimes. The interview with Panera Bread was a no-go. Went in and ended being 10 minutes LATE because of traffic (yeah yeah the usual excuse), because a local firehouse had taken up a huge chunk of the main street to try to collect donations from cars. But my lateness went unnoticed anyway because when I arrived it was about 2pm, and the place was slammed with the lunch-rush. I ended waiting about 12 minutes for the manager to come out to speak to me. The usual questions were asked, yadda yadda and only $8 an hour for cashiering? Ehhhh..... And you'd like it if I could come in really early to work, at about 5am?..........wow. That's frickin' early.

I left after that and since then haven't received a call back. Whatever.

So it turns out that I'm going to do the dog-walking part-time job. The dog-lady (her name is Ellen but I call her that so Takeshi knows who I'm talking about lol) left me an email saying that I can probably start this next Monday. She said she'd be calling me today, but I have no idea when since she is evidently returning from vacation somewhere. This is a good thing.

But on top of that going through, I got an email earlier this week from a design agency in D.C. which I had sent my resume to, to set up a phone interview with me. The president of the agency ended being the one to call me yesterday (which is different), and we chatted for about 15 minutes about what I expected of a position, salary etc. So now I'm scheduled to go in for an in-person interview this next Thursday at 4:30pm.

I knew that once I got the dog-walking job, I wasn't going to STOP looking for a design job. No way. I just hoped that I wouldn't get into this very kind of situation, where I've committed to one person, but am having the opportunity to get a better job almost right away after starting the first job. Ellen is a very very nice lady, but I will drop this job, if I'm offered the graphic design job. I can only hope that it will be as non-uncomfortable as possible. Lol.

So mum and dad, people who are interested - we shall see won't we? I'll keep you posted.

In other (sudden) exciting news, we're probably going to NYC next weekend! Yaaayy. We'll probably leave AT THE CRACK OF DAWN tomorrow (Sat.) drive up to perhaps New Jersey, check in sometime, and then ride the subway into New York. The big motivator for going is that there are not really any hair salons that Takeshi fully trusts to do his hair the way he wants it. I guess this means giving him a haircut that guys like getting back home in Japan. There is a hair salon in NYC that he knows will do it right, and he's about due for a haircut. And also, I'll probably get a haircut myself. My old haircut has grown out, and it would be nice to get a new haircut for the interview as well!

We're also thinking of trying to get to Mitsuwa, a huge Asian/mainly Japanese grocery store/super store? in New Jersey. So that should be cool too. We'll drive back on Sunday at some point and be back in time for me to do the dog-walking the next day, on Monday. Should be a BITCH to wake up so early tomorrow though. Takeshi mentioned a time, something like 5am? Shit. I am not a morning person and he knows it. Lol. But I can suck it up when I need to.

I love New York City because it's so amazing of course, and also it holds many memories for us, since it's the place Takeshi took me to before we left to go live in Japan. It's the last place I saw before I left the U.S. (and at the time, didn't think I was going to be back for a while)

So to end, here are some photos again. The first few are some "home decor" things we bought at Ikea this past weekend of the apartment. And after are some photos from this past weekend also, when we went to an event in my home-state, the Maryland Renaissance Festival. Have a good weekend everyone.

Decorative "tree/bush" in pot

Wine rack! We need to buy some screws so that the thing doesn't brake off the wall from the weight of wine bottles lol, before we put the bottles on it

A mirror! The first mirror we've ever had, aside from the bathroom mirror - what are we vampires? And we need.....screws! to put it up finally

Oil painting still in the works since last. year.

Me in the center with my two friends who are working at the festival this year! They work there as original historical figures, wearing the traditional clothing of the time

03 September 2010

Untitled Work

Here is the finished work that I have been working on, on-and-off for almost a month. I'm pretty pleased with how it came out. My personal artwork began to change ever since I was living in Japan, and most of my art now stems from the memories of living there. Sometimes I'l use stock images from online, but I try to use the photos I took there. I can incorporate colors, images, buildings, people, culture, and textures into these works. I'm trying to pinpoint my own style, and for whatever reason, being in Japan (or maybe just being in another country for the first time) helped me to begin that process. I miss Japan, and a part of me will always be very sad that I am not living there anymore. I don't know when we'll get to go back, but I hope it's soon! Please click for a bigger size.

01 September 2010

sh*tty wednesday

I haven't posted anything for a bit, since there wasn't anything new or interesting going on, most importantly with job news. I've been so nervous, anxious, and frustrated with finally getting any kind of income that I have a hard time focusing on things. I can't do something for very long, besides searching for jobs online. I bounce off the walls.

Yesterday I actually went for a casual interview for a dog-walking job. The lady is very nice and is actually a fellow (retired?) graphic designer who owns the small company. They walk dogs in several areas in the immediate area. After hearing the details, the pay doesn't seem bad at all, especially for only about 3-4 hours of work a day. And it's not boring cashiering or retail work. Just before I went to meet with her, I checked my email and lo and behold there is a response email from a small graphic design studio that I sent my resume to. I was so jazzed of course, and wanted to call this other lady right away to talk about it, but I had to wait till after the dog-walker interview. So later, I call and I talk to this owner of the small design studio briefly about the nature of the position. She had to leave for a meeting so she told me to call her today at around the same time.

At this point my goal is to never get too engaged and hopeful about a possible employment - but could you blame me? First Graphic Design job possibility and the lady said she "likes my work." I've never heard that yet from anyone (or get an email back at all). So I was daydreaming about the future for sure.

I wake up today SO damn nervous that I don't eat breakfast right away. As soon as it's about time, I give her office a ring. No answer. So I tried her cell phone number (which she gives in the office's voicemail message). Nothing. So panicky-me I call her office once more and her cell once more in a span of about 15 minutes, before I leave a voicemail on her cell phone. And then a little bit later I call her office again. And she picks up.

And she "admires my level of enthusiasm" but OBVIOUSLY, being the panicky idiot that I am right now, I bombarded her with calls. She was not pleased of course, but assured me at the end that she will call me back. Which right now, I am half-believing. I was kicking myself mentally the whole time she was talking to me, and I would have burst into tears and groveled over the phone for being such a f*cking annoyance to a busy BUSY business owner - but at the end I said "I apologize." And we hung up.

I feel like shit right now. Recently, I took on the mindset that I as a person who is competing against who KNOWS how many applicants for a single job, needs to be the squeaky wheel so they don't forget about me. But this time, it ended up smacking me in the face. I risked annoying her so that she considers going with someone else. Great going Laura. REALLY GREAT. The first chance you get to have a design job, and you might have fuckin' blown it. She said she'd call me back after she gets stuff laid out and figured out - but a big part of me doubts it. I feel like I blew it at this point...

So I had a bit of cry, ran to the bed, covered up and slept for a couple hours. Wanted to be unconscious for a bit, so I wouldn't have to worry about anything. That's usually how I personally deal with stress - I sleep. I actually had some weird dreams too. Can't really remember them though.

I actually have another interview (got called today) on Friday for a cashiering job, but I hope to get that call before then. But actually, unless that job can pay good enough - the dog-walking job by my calculation would pay me the most right now as a part-time job. And it seems more fun, and I'd be moving my butt around and not sitting on it, or standing in place for hours. So, between those two I'm hoping I can take that dog-walking job in the end, if I don't hear from the studio.

People have been giving me advice about job hunting, and I appreciate it. It's mostly the same set of tips, and I've done most if not all of them by now. Thanks to everyone who has left me a kind word or words of encouragement. It's not easy these days and I am lonely. But it's nice to get messages from people.

It also pisses me off when people I know or who have talked to, who already have jobs but don't know when to INSERT foot in MOUTH when talking to me about it. One of my old high school friends was chatting with me the other day on Facebook. She's in school right now to become a lawyer. LONG story on that, which I have a lot of opinions about but that's another post.

Anyway, we were talking about maybe hanging out sometime soon, and she asks me what my "schedule" is like right now. Psh. My schedule? I don't have one. :/ But I say I'm "available most Saturdays right now blah blah". And she shoots back and says, "I'm free some Mondays, but otherwise only on weekends. :( working full-time sucks." Oh it does, does it?......Poor you. I know what sucks more though - not being able to pay all of your bills every month.

So I send back the message "Well at least you have a job."

She hasn't gotten back to me yet. Maybe she JUST then realized how fucking rude that was to say, or maybe she's just busy busy busy busy.

Anywho....what else to talk about that's not depressing....

I've been on Photoshop in my spare time recently, when I need to take a break from searching for job every day. I'll post the art here when I'm done, and probably on Facebook too. :)

Have a good rest of the week everyone. Send me some sunshine. <3

24 August 2010

a nice tuesday

We had a nice Tuesday today. Takeshi's day off. We went down to Tyson's Corner mall, which is the largest (ritziest) mall in the area. I always like going there and walking around because somehow it makes me feel like I can actually afford that lifestyle. Lol. Bloomingdale's, Coach, and a dozens of other stores which will max out anyone's credit card in a damned hurry. We decided to take a trip to one of the mall's eyeglass stores which also has a small eye-doctor attached. Both of us were in need of a vision test - last one I had was about 3-4 years ago!

Cost us more than I thought though, at a total of $140 for the both of us. We don't have any health insurance right now, so we pay the total amount....cry. :( I found out my eyes are pretty much the same as they were, and I probably don't need a prescription change, which is good. On the bad side, I took the test where they puff air in your eyes (everyone hates that test!) - and I was told that the fluid pressure in my eyes are on the high side. They are still in the "average" level on the scale of things, but on the higher side of average. I was told that this puts me at risk for possibly getting glaucoma later on in life. Now, they told me at the age of 23, I'm not going to get it any time soon, but I was told to definitely keep up on the annual checkups. Kind of a bummer, huh?

Anywho, we bought some tea leaves at Teavana, one of my favorite stores. We bought 2 flavors of tea leaves, with the stores tea tins which I had saved at home. That way you can just pay for the (rather expensive) tea leaves and not have to crap out another $10-15 for a tin to put them in. The girl who served us was pretty chatty and bubbly in the beginning, but I have never seen someone change moods so fricking quickly! It was hilarious! She quickly learned that I was not made out of money and that I wasn't going to fill up BOTH tins all the way to the brim, which would have cost me about $42 a tin = about $85 total. Fuck. That.

Christ lady, I'm not rich. I LOVE tea, but...jeez. And she got so sad. Psh! She could have made it a little less obvious at least.

Me: (looking at the price of tea leaves as she weighs the tin) "Could you take it down a little? To about $20?"

Her: (about to shovel in ANOTHER scoop of tea) "....Oh....down?"

Me: "Yeah, less."

Her: (glumly and quietly pours some out)

Here are some recent photos! Have a good week everyone.

tea that TK picked - Earl Grey White

my tea choice - Youth Berry

yummy cheeses we bought that other day :)

Multiple "wash clothes"(?) over time from MIL. I want to use them - but how?? Any of the ladies back in Japan - what do you use them for? Any ideas?

the key lime pie I made! No longer around, though ;)

CD Depot, in College Park - sold some of our DVDs there on Sunday - got $32!

And now some photos of my handsome hubby (cause I'm shameless) from when we lived in Japan. Found these the other days while rummaging through my external hard-drive!

16 August 2010

key lime pie

I'm attempting to make it from scratch for the first time! I'm waiting for the pie crust to bake a little in the oven right now. I hope it comes out ok! I've only been able to make it because yesterday we took another trip to the GrandMart (international) grocery store. They ended up having a CRAZY good price for limes! 8 limes for one dollar. I love limes, so darn right I'm gonna get all 8! :)

And even after needing 4 limes for the recipe, I still got 4 left for anything else. Water with lime is always tasty. We also bought some more shiso (white) miso paste, ebi furikake, and I snatched another pack of natto. Takeshi bought another head of nappa cabbage, and made a whole big new batch of homemade kimchi. The man loves his kimchi! I also had to find use for some leftover buttermilk we had, and it was close to going bad (if not a little already...) so I made a big batch of waffle batter. Yaay. Waffle mix and key lime pie. Nothing but good, healthy food here. ;)

Totally switching it up - bought some liquid roach bait and a huge-ass fly swatter. Sigh. Little buggers are back again, but I doubt they ever really "left". Roaches can live through a nuclear holocaust. Argh. Here we could be spending money on new clothes or shoes or something, and we're buying shit that kills bugs. Blah.

11 August 2010

humid night

Just an update on recent goings-on. It's late, about 2:16am. Takeshi went to sleep already at about 1:30. He felt sleepy all of a sudden, even though we slept in until about 11am today. I guess I'm more used to staying up, so I wasn't feeling as tired. I was hoping we'd have some *cuddle-time* but, not gonna' happen. Such a bummer. A big bummer. I've been deprived of *cuddle-time* for a while now. I don't mean to sound rude or raunchy but I wish the hub would have the same overabundance of "enthusiasm" that GW's hub does.

It's another set back with the fuckin' hours he works, that's all. He's usually too tired to give a crap at night when he gets home, and the only time when I might see an opportunity is on Saturday night, and he's had some wine or something. Is it a bad thing that most of the time, we end up having *cuddle-time* after we've had a glass of wine already? Psh.

Sorry if this is too much info. Sometimes I feel like I'm stalking the man once he gets home, but then it usually ends up being the usual love-pinches and squeezes but nothing beyond that. Makes me feel bad sometimes...

Went to Georgetown today, for a sudden interview for Takeshi at the Blue Duck Tavern. He'll probably go do a day's work there in the near future to truly see if he likes the environment and such. Essentially he found out that he'd be able to work there from roughly 3pm to 11:30pm (8 hours), 5 days a week, for $15/hour. Instead of the place he works now, in which he works roughly from 10am to midnight (13-14 hours), for $8/hour. In doing the math, he figures that if he decides to take this new job, he'd have to probably work another part-time job in the morning before the job at the Tavern (doing prep work at another restaurant, working at a cafe, etc.) to be able to make more savings per month. Right now, with his hours there's no way he's able, time-wise and energy-wise, to have another job.

It sucks that I'm not able to contribute more to the savings per month right now, with not having an official graphic design job somewhere. I'm waiting to hear back from Petsmart (after the drug test I took on Monday for it), on if I passed the test (no reason why I shouldn't!) and when we can finish this shit so I can have a job there hopefully. But even that won't even pay me as much as if I had a full-time job. And benefits would be nice too!

I'm happy I found a place that has a good possibility of hiring me finally, so that I can make money, but I feel like I'm still letting Takeshi down since it's not my "graphic-design job". The "job that will fix everything" sort of speak. It almost makes my possible part-time job feel like it doesn't matter. :(

That's also not to say that I'll stop looking for a full-time job! I search everyday still.

The way we figure - the only way to be able to move out of this low-income apartment building, and afford more than this, is for me to get that graphic design job somewhere. Ugh. It never ends! Always some kind of shit-situation to crawl ourselves out of. Lol. Slowly. :/

04 August 2010

up and down

It's been a little while since I posted. I've wanted to, but my mind is in all directions these days. Somedays I'm bouncing off the walls and can't concentrate on much, waiting and searching for a job.

Recently I've had 2 separate job opportunities arise (one part-time job, one graphic design *paid* internship), that I was pretty hopeful about, and then they just went to the shithouse. I guess I shouldn't hope TOO much with these things. Just setting myself for disappointment, and there's never a guarantee that it'll come through for me! I've tried to stay detached from this stuff now, and just keep searching.

Today was fairly nice though. I finally set up an interview at the local Petsmart store, for Friday. I'd like to get a part-time job there (I applied for a cashier job (blah), and then as a pet-bather at the groomer's section), but again, I don't want to get my hopes up. I went for an interview at the other place, and they still didn't take me in the end.

Went to the gym today and ran on the treadmill like a sweaty-hamster, and felt very good about myself. Got back, took a shower. Came home and had an orange as a snack (a lot better than recent snacking habits...)

Right now it's 10:10pm. A little while ago I made a cocoa mochi cake - just waiting for it to firm in the fridge and then I'm trying some. :)

Takeshi's been talking to his mum back home a bit. They correspond a lot through email these days, since video-chatting with is weirder for them all, I think. But Takeshi does use international calling cards instead. Seems the economy back home in Japan isn't too much greater than the economy in the States. SIL is still living with the PILs, broke up with her long-time boyfriend Jumpei. :( Sad to hear, since I met him a bunch of times and they seemed like a cute couple. Also, since Jumpei is part of a family which is really good, old friends of Takeshi's family. And they live in the same neighborhood! SIL works in Nagoya as an English teacher's assistant? I believe, and it's a bitch to commute from Suzuka to Nagoya every day. She's bummed because she can't afford to move out of PILs house right now at all on her salary. Hope things get better for her soon!

Recent photos:

Old Town Alexandria - Torpedo Factory. Old factory turned into artist gallery spaces. Lots of unique art to wander around and look at

Old spice and tea store in Old Town. Every space in that store was filled to the brim with stuff

Outside view of the back of the Torpedo Factory, along the dockside

We bought a waffle-maker! :) Takeshi's been itching to get one for a while. Lol.

Mmmmm waffles are good :)

26 July 2010

white wine

Sitting in the couch enjoying a glass. :) Hub is next to me on the floor, ironing out one of his chef's jackets for work.

Went to an interview today actually, for a part-time job. It's in Old Town Alexandria, so I'd probably have to take the bus, but it pays $12 an hour which is way more than I thought I'd get right now! So I hope I get it!!! They said they're hiring 2 people, so my chances are a LITTLE better. It depends on how many people actually interviewed that day with them. Hopefully not like, 20!

Send me good vibes please! ;)

Good news as well on the bug-fighting front. Apartment apparently is having a routine pest-control visit this Tuesday to treat the whole building. Thank YOU! Saves me money, from buying all kind of traps, poisons whatever. So looking forward to Tuesday. And nice to know for the future, that the apartment does in fact cover pest-control visits, and that I can call to schedule an appointment at the office if I find more buggies around. Hopefully not!

22 July 2010

f*cking ROACHES

We have them. I'm pissed.

We are clean people. Judging by what I've seen so far from the rest of our neighbors in this apartment building, I HIGHLY DOUBT they give two shits about cleanliness. Which means the bugs were brought on by them, not us. And besides, we just moved here recently. We'd have to be total pigs to attract roaches THAT fast.

Any tips? I've only seen little ones so far, and even though I REALLY don't want to see a huge honking roach crawling around - it usually means that there are more somewhere else.

I've seen the majority of them in the kitchen so far, but I have seen one or two in the bathroom?? And when I see them, I kill them but I know it's probably just the TIP of the iceberg. We did buy Raid roach spray the other day, but I usually can't run and get the can every time I see one, or it would be gone by the time I'd turn back around. I usually get 'em with a tissue. And wash my hands afterwards. :(

This Sunday I'm thinking of getting some roach traps, or even better - the poison stuff that the roaches can eat, and bring back the nest where it slowly kills the nest off (hope to god). I've read tips about prevention, and I'll be even MORE of a clean-freak after today, but I hope I can actually make a difference.

I doubt very much that the apartment would cover an extermination person to come out and treat the building. Definitely would come out of OUR pockets.

The first time I saw the buggers was down in the laundry room, which happens to be the room directly below our apartment. And that's even GROSSER idea, of having roaches crawling all over your laundry, if you leave it out in big, huge, damp piles. Which is EXACTLY what SOMEONE in this building has repeatedly done. It's disgusting. And I have to move the shit over, so I can actually work the fucking washer and dryer, too. The last time I went down there to do laundry, I took a bunch from the pile and threw it on the floor. I don't give a damn, let 'em get dirty. Who just leaves their damp laundry there for hours??

Also - it's a very small room - and the dryers there run SO HOT. Above normal, really. So it stays very warm and humid down there. Just the right kind of place to raise a roach family.

Anyway, there's a good chance the bugs are originating from there, but what do they eat - detergent?

I've killed numerous types of bugs already in this place. Roaches, flies, nats (one is still evading me), millepedes (pukes), small spiders, and one measly cricket.

I am the bug-warrior-woman. Hear me roar.

My hubby on the other hand, is very afraid of getting near any kind of creepy-crawler.

Aren't I supposed to be the one on top of a chair screaming?

I'm about ready to buy a whole bunch of bug bombs or whatever, and blow this whole apartment building into oblivion.

So yah, any tips would be appreciated, if anyone has had to deal with roaches before!

20 July 2010

kabocha and 100 posts

Happy 100 posts to me. :) Wow that's a lot of hunting-and-pecking the keyboard!

Down the main road aways' we have found an international grocery store called "GrandMart". This is our new favorite place to go and find unique and hard-to-find items, such as foods from Japan and such. This grocery store combines so many different countries together in one place - I've never seen it before. From what we have been able to identify, the store sells a large amount of Korean and Latino foods, then followed by items from Japan, Pakistan, Afghanistan, much from South America, India, and some from Africa.

They have so many things there, and we've been pleasantly surprised a few times already, finding out what they have that we like. I was able to try my first lychee fruit - the actual fruit itself, not anything "flavored" and not in a can. I definitely would always pick, eating the actual fruit hands-down! We buy our rice there from now on, since we found a Japanese brand of rice being sold there. They have all types and cuts of meat, from the usual to the less-mainstream cuts including, all kinds of critter feet (duck, chicken, pig), WHOLE cow tongues, tubs of cow and pig blood, big flaps of pig skin by itself, duck, rabbit, goat, frogs legs, and last but not least WHOLE pig heads. They run about $15 a piec--a head...

Takeshi was thinking of getting one the other day, but he thinks that $15 is still a little much for a pig head, since he says it's mostly bone and skin. I just don't want to have that thing staring at me in my freezer all the time! And Takeshi mentioned that, "It would probably take forever to defrost". .....Eww..... Defrosting pigs head. Anyone hungry?

I did buy a kabocha (Japanese squash) the other day from there! I was so happy to find them. I loved eating kabocha at the inlaws house. So today I made some kabocha amani (=sweet simmered kabocha). Ran out of soy sauce though, but still had enough for the recipe, which is basically simmering the squash in water, suger, and soy sauce. I'm happy to find that they sell multiple grocery items from Japan including, Golden Curry, Kewpie Mayo (expensive, damnit!), and (angels sings) furikake!! (=condiment for sprinkling onto rice)

I. Love. Furikake. I have missed that stuff so much!

All of this food kind of helps to bring me closer to Japan again, even if it is only in my head! But it brings back so many memories for me, because food for me, is probably one of the strongest 'switches' that can do that. And of course I do lovelovelove my Japanese food. ;)

15 July 2010

melon juice and study books

Melon juice. We have a lot of it now, actually. This past Wednesday Takeshi had off so we decided to go check out one of the farmer's markets from a list he'd gotten from work. Seems that Restuarant Eve supports and/or buys from many of the nearby markets in the area, and I was hoping we'd be able to find one again. I didn't know if we'd be able to find a farmer's market within a convenient distance from where we live. So we got there and it was significantly smaller than the one we'd favor up in Lancaster, but it had good sells there. Mostly fruits and veggies, with one stand selling homemade icecream (I was very tempted...), and a couple more selling poultry and dairy, flowers and such.

We bought some carrots, plums, cherry tomatoes, and I picked a yellow melon. Which they said was "seedless" - but it wasn't. Psh. I was hoping, having it being seedless and all, that we could just slice it up and all - but in the end decided to make juice out of it. Oh boy did I get a lot of juice. Almost 64 ounces of it. I hope I don't get too sick of drinking it, since I have to use all of it up now! And the stuff is pretty well sweet on it's own, so no sugar is needed.

After watching GaijinWife's vid of Shou and Marina's metcha-cute, chu-fest, I want to really begin to seriously study Japanese again. Even though I wish I could pay for classes somewhere for this instead, a fire has been lit in my belly sort-of-speak, so maybe I can talk to my MIL on the phone next time we ring them! Sometime, maybe I could talk to Takeshi about doing some speak-only-in-Japanese days. It's true what GaijinWife also said in a reply on her blog, that one needs to live in Japan for a bit to be able to work on becoming fluent (or at least better at conversational Japanese!). Time to open up my many many Japanese-study books. :) I find that most of the time I'm better at writing sentences and such in Japanese, but that won't do me any good with actually talking to people. Lol.

Random photos:

really cool spice and tea shop in Old Town Alexandria

Whole Foods Market in town. It's so nice to have one of these nearby again!

Old Town Alexandria views. Only about 12 minutes from us.

Unique, quirky coffeehouse called "Misha's" in Old Town. Their coffee is SO fresh. Very different taste than any coffee I've ever had. I couldn't help but think of Khea and Missha when I saw this place!