22 March 2013

a cold start to spring

It's been such a damned cold start to spring so far! Yikes. Hopefully we'll get some milder days again soon here. I've officially started up my "container garden" again! Bought a few seeds that will be firsts for me this year, things I haven't tried to grow yet; sugar snap peas, lavender, strawberries, marjoram, & spearmint.

Hub and I (last year I think?) went to this "pick-your-own" farm in the area, and I really loved picking peas from this huge field. So I though this year, why not try to grow some myself? The same thought for strawberries. I think it'll be fun to grow strawberries at home. :) I've had mint before (apple mint that's dead now...T__T), but never have tried to grow it from seed. Same as lavender. I have chive seeds also - they'll be sown sometime in the beginning of April. Which is not too far away actually...wow time flies.

I have tons of lettuce seeds still, but I'm hesitant to use one of the shallow, long plastic containers for that again. Lettuce was difficult to grow for me, last year. They just never flourished as much as I wanted them too. What I may do this time around is just plant one seed in it's own individual small pot or container - see how it goes.

Some woolly lavender I bought transplanted into a slightly bigger pot - so fuzzy!

My two strawberry starts - trying different containers for each one

Marjoram seeds sprouting

TEENY spearmint sprout emerging

A tough life...

27 February 2013

work & nihongo

It’s gotten to that usual point every year, where I am done with winter and want spring to get now! It’s probably been brought on by these recent random days of milder temperatures. Mother nature is a big tease, I swear.

Things have been going fine, and much as they can be I suppose. We’ve all just been working our tails off, day in and day out. Design job keeps me busy everyday, and recently they’ve just finished doing some renovations around the HQ office. Our HQ is pretty basic – consists of a small square office space downstairs, the same thing upstairs, and then a larger warehouse space in back (where they pack tea, do orders, etc.) through a door. The only downside to all of these new changes lately is that they’ve re-organized peoples’ desks. They essentially moved everyone’s desk upstairs, except moi. Some people had already been up there to begin with, so they really only moved one person up there, who used to be with me down here. But now I’m by myself, and I do miss having company. I have to walk upstairs to talk to people face-to-face. I am a person who relishes their alone time, but this is a little too lonely for me! I know they didn’t do this for any mean reason, but I can’t help but feel “left-out” some days, because they’re all up there talking to each other and stuff. I feel like I’m in grade school again, where I was the weird kid who no one picked for their kickball team, and sat alone at lunch. Bleh. It’s crappy how those experiences stay with you long-term.

Biggest news is that the in-laws are coming to visit! They’ll be visiting the States from the end of April to the beginning of May, so not too, too long. The last time we all saw in each in person was when we left Japan to moved back to the States again, in 2008! Wow. Long time. This is obviously greats news because Takeshi gets to see his parents again. It’s making me somewhat nervous because uh – oh shit I haven’t used/studied Japanese that much at all since we’ve been back. Which I hate because I genuinely like learning Japanese, I love the language – and yet I can tell how this visit’s going to go already. It’ll be like it always was in Japan – me sitting there, not knowing enough nihongo to actually carry on a true conversation with anyone, and Takeshi having to act as translator 24/7. Me sitting there while they all talk to each other, wishing like hell I could follow along and contribute. It’s the one thing that’s made it so awkward between me and them – the thing that prevents me from totally feeling like a part of their family.

And if I voice these thoughts, TK would turn to me with annoyance and say, “Well, why don’t you just study the language?? Just do it, and stop complaining.” Which is fine to do when I have oodles of time, blah blah. Which he’d roll his eyes at. There’s not even a SLIGHT opportunity in the U.S. to use Japanese (never mind any other foreign language) for an average working person, and the one source of knowledge (a.k.a. hub) is busy with a 80+ hour work week. I don’t like to study on my own all the time, and I can’t practice conversation by myself, now can I?

The most I can do at this point is hunker down and brush up on as much as I can before the end of April!

09 February 2013

catching up

Jeez, where did I leave off? The last time you heard from me, we were up in Frederick, MD (a.k.a. Nothing-to-do-up-here-ville). Hub was working at a restaurant in town which he had grown very tired of (to put it lightly). I had a part-time retail job in town (was also growing tired of, but what retail job doesn't do that to me?), and a contractor-ish design job with a place in Annapolis, MD. In September we adopted Percy our toy parti poodle (a.k.a. Perce, Perce-Perce, bubba, bubby, etc.)

So, fast-forward to end of October/beginning of November. TK gets an out-of-the-blue message from a lady who co-owns a restaurant in D.C. with her ex-husband. Hub had (before we ended up moving to Frederick for his job) interned for a day at this restaurant for the chance to work there. He had ended up not taking it (thus, the job in Frederick instead), because he wasn't "feeling it" at the time. Just not the right time/place whatever you wanna say. They had been very interested in him though, and had seen his food blog. So now, the head-honcho chef there was leaving to start his own venture, and they were looking to fill the position. They had kept him in mind, no doubt.

It was a pretty short "interview" process over a couple of weeks, where he's go down to D.C., do some dishes for them, talk about ideas for staff, food vendors, and so on. We kept it a secret from both of our jobs for all of November, just because it too early to start announcing to them, "hey, we're leavin'!"

As for my job - I was SO happy to leave that part-time job. I don't know if it was just that store, but - us employees never got breaks. As in, never. As in, working 7 hours straight on the floor. Now - it wasn't the hardest job to have by all means. But having to stash away and choke down junk food/water bottle at my register before the next customer walks up, wasn't very uplifting. There was never any way to bring real food with you on the floor, like an apple. And no-one (including me) never said anything about it. I think it just boiled down to everyone having the attitude of, "well it sucks, but I need the money, so I'm just going to deal with it, and find a way out a.s.a.p." Which was true for me as well, since I did have the other design job.

So we stayed at our jobs until the last part of December. What made the whole moving process weirder was that mum and dad had come to stay with us again, per their annual vacation-time period. I had already started to pack up things by myself while they were here, since hub was swamped at work with the Christmas crowds the whole month.

After we left our apartment in Frederick, we ended up staying for a month at this lady's house in D.C. who is a friend of hub's new boss. That's a whole other post though!

So now, we live in an apartment in D.C. and are finally getting settled, everything out of boxes finally. My design job hired me full-time, which I am SO thrilled about. I design for a business that interests me, I work with a small group of great people, and I get AN HOUR for lunch. Yay :) I'm the only graphic designer there, so I am pretty much "the face" of all of the advertising, packaging, in the respect that I design/create all of it. I'm always working with the CEO to create tons of new projects. It's pretty cool to walk into one of their stores, or go onto their website and see my "work". They're planning to expand this year - right now they have 5-6 stores. Pre-tty cool stuff.

Hub is busy as the Executive Chef of the restaurant, and working on writing his own menu. This place he's at (I heard from him) is known as a "springboard" restaurant for young/new talented chefs. It's a place where it's his food on the menu, not someone else's. It's pretty awesome. :) People are sitting at tables, eating TK's food! I definitely see it as a door to something more in the future, whatever he wants to do.

 So we're just busy busy. OH! My 26th birthday was this past Wednesday (6th). It was pretty quiet, since I have to go to bed earlier these days, and hub gets back at around the same times. So it was just me and the pooch. But at work during the day, the crew threw me a little surprise "party". I was called upstairs to the CEO's office for a "marketing meeting" and instead was greeted with everyone singing Happy Birthday, a card, a small creme brulee, and tea sampler set gift! It made my day. :)

So, so far so good. Hub said that tomorrow (Sunday - his usual day off now) we should go somewhere for my belated birthday. I have places in mind, but I know how these things usually go - we sleep in, because he never get enough sleep. And then our time to do stuff is cut short, and then even shorter now because things close earlier on Sundays. So, we'll see!

07 February 2013

i've been busy

I'm alive, really! I've been through a whirlwind of changes, so I apologize to anyone who may still have been reading this blog. I'm not sure how many, hehe. I plan to write a "catch-up" post this weekend when I will have time. じゃね!