Tuesday, January 24, 2006


That's all I can say! LOL!!

The lottery is over (for now)! Taka picked #10 and Hiro picked #27 which means that it's less likely that I will be class mom in Hiro's class BUT with Taka, there is a "slight" chance I will be. The kids' moms that picked from 1 - 10 are in the "danger" zone due to families moving to Japan or other locations from the Chicagoland area, expectant mothers, serving as class mom in the last two years (they get an exemption for "serving") or dropping Japanese school all together.

Now my next challenge is the bus monitor lottery! OY!!!!!!!!!! As bus monitor, you are the liaison between the riders' families, school bus company and school. This time, it will be the parents that draw the number. I make DH do so that I don't hear about it later :0) That won't happen until the end of the school year (mid-March). There is too much stress attending this school - LOL!!

OK, enough of this stuff and on to my favorite subject - scrapbooking!!!

CKU-A Chicago is around the corner and I'm in TONS of swap (what was I thinking?!) - LOL!! Wanted to show off my first circle journal and I even decorated the cover...hope it stays on till the end & beyond! The theme is SIMPLE JOYs and it is whatever the author wants it to be....a cup of coffee, music, family & friends.... So what do you think?

Now I've got to finish a recipe swap that needs to be mailed out tomorrow...Irish Soda Bread! LOL...I have green blood in my veins (shhh! Nobody knows!)!!!! Have to pop over to Archivers and get some St. Patty's PP.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Disappointed but...

hey, gave it my best shot! I'm so happy for the new ScrapWorks DT members...there were some awesome submissions! I esp. liked the mobile piece - VERY cool! So now on to more submissions...be it magazine calls, idea book calls or more DT calls - wish me luck!

Well, today is a special day for a young man I know! Heehee! It's my youngest son's 9th birthday and is very proud of himself for reaching this goal! Here's a LOVELY picture of him with his Tiramisu (sp?) birthday cake that his daddy went to two bakeries to find.

Happy birthday, "little" Hiro!

Well, it is snowing tonight and we're supposed to get between 2" to 8"....boy, that's a wide range so your guess is as good as mine! We'll see by 5:30am when I wake up to make the boys' breakfast and box lunches for their Saturday Japanese school. Tomorrow the kids will draw numbers to see whose mother will be the class mother for next year and they call it "volunteering"?! - more like forced volunteer! They have 800+ total student body and they can't find anyone to volunteer as class mom?! Each class has about 25 to 30 students. The school has grade levels from kindergarten to high school. If they do that with the American local school district, can you imagine what kind of rutkus (sp?) that would cause?! LOL! Sooooo I am NOT looking forward to this so call lottery...the higher the number, the better! Keeping my fingers crossed all day tomorrow!

OK...gotta go to bed!

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

The woes of design team submission...

you run out of steam! LOL!! I dragged my feet long enough that I ended up sending my ScrapWorks submission via express mail ($14.00+!!)...I must be crazy! Although I have no confidence, at least I won't regret not submitting, right? Here's some of my submission (there were 4 projects to send/2pg LO, 1pg LO, paper craft project & card)...

This past weekend was DH's college (Kwansei Gakuin Univ.) new year's party in Hoffman Estates (Hilldale CC) and his band was the main event...what pressure! To top it off, they had to do KARAOKE...how many songs did they need to know?! YIKES! Well, I thought they did well and sounded very good! I TRIED to take pictures but they kept moving! UGH! So I'm only posting a couple of pictures from the party.

Kids are back in school after Martin Luther King holiday on Monday and teachers in school day on Tuesday...it will be a short week but they have already finished their Japanese homework - PHEW! One BIG headache out of the way - LOL!!

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Weekend Happenings...

So I said I was looking for ScrapWorks papers & stuff...well, I was able to take a little road trip with my GF, Fiona, to Arlington Hts. (near the Japanese school). There's a fun LSS (local scrapbook store) called Lil Scrapper and it's next to Trader Joe's...another reason to be wandering around there! Let say that I had the BEST time chatting with the owner (Hi, Trudy!) and her staff...to a point where Fiona had to physically drag me out of the store! LOL!! Oh! This is what I purchased (but Fiona paid as a Christmas gift - thanks, Fi!!!) from that fun store!

OK..so that was last Friday that I went on that road trip. That evening was packed full of paper correcting for Japanese school homework which started its first day on Saturday....YIKES, try to correct over 50 pages in a night (well, it doesn't help if mom doesn't know how to read correctly too!). BUT got it done, got the rice cooker timed (for 6am), got the backpacks ready and got the boys' clothes laid out for tomorrow! Well, things went well with the exception of studying for the morning quizzes...hope the scores are passable! UGH!

So Saturday, the boys are at school, mom shopped for food (crockpot lasagna for the boys & Katie, their sitter), and dad's band came over for practice. The kids picked up from school bus stop at 3:30pm. By 4:30pm, the band members left, the sitter arrived and mom is in a bath robe with wet hair!!!! 5:00pm arrived and we were off to downtown Chicago to a dinner at mk restaurant, an off-beat place on Franklin & Chestnut.

My husband and I attended a private dinner to welcome Kiyoshi & Helen Nishikawa, hosted by a JCCC's (Japan Chamber of Commerce & Industry in Chicago) committee of upper-level management of Japanese companies. Kiyoshi Nishikawa is one part of a famous MANZI duo (Japanese standup comedy) - managed by the famous Yoshimoto Kogyo (YK).

Some background info:
YK was started in Osaka in 1912 as a YOSE, a theater that hosts the traditional storytelling known as RAKUGO. This form of comedy has since largely dropped out of the mainstream and can be seen mainly on NHK public television or in "shitamachi" areas such as Tokyo's Asakusa. In its place, the comic style known as MANZAI has become the standard in Japanese entertainment. Consisting of two performers, a straight man and a funny man, it is much closer to the western idea of a comedy duo. Just as the US had Abbott & Costello and the UK had Morecombe & Wise, Japan had Yasu-Kiyo. Yokoyama Yasushi and Nishikawa Kiyoshi were the biggest comedy stars of their day (the 1970s and 80s) and one of Yoshimoto's most successful acts. Yokoyama had that rare comic genius that is so often tinged with a self-destructive streak. His impeccable comic timing and stage presence were mixed with unpredictable off-stage behaviour and excessive drinking that led to his death in 1996 at the age of 51.
(Information taken from Japan-zone.com)

His wife, Helen, born to a Kyoto mother and an American father (who lives in NY; they are seperated) was also an entertainer at YK. She was making more money than her future husband! LOL!! That's how they met and have been together 40 years...they are such a nice couple! Here's a picture of Helen and I...we both look so tired and it was the end of the dinner when this was taken.

Now comes Sunday and at 10am, we're headed out to the New Year's Party and the 40th anniversary of the JCCC at the Rosemont Convention Center. There's at least 800 attendees (10 people per table and there were about 80+ tables) and apparently there a party of 60 people arrived...don't know the story if it was a mis-count or they just showed up! But that set the whole event back about 30 minutes. The boys are in the kids' zone and that alone used up a few of the smaller ballrooms in the convention center. They had pinball machines, videos, games of all sorts and lunch, of course. The Nishikawas performed but we thought they were funnier at the private dinner. We did not win any of the grand prize...just a box of golf balls! Better practice, my dear husband! LOL!! It was a tiring day...we got home close to 5pm! UGH...dinner time! So tired but managed to deep fry a dozen chicken tenders, miso soup, rice and some salad.

And that was our weekend happenings....same kind of nutty schedule for the next weekend as well! But Sunday will be a non-eventful day...we hope!

Thursday, January 05, 2006

First layout of the year...

...which I scraplifted from the fabulous Miss Ali Edwards! She made the same kind of mosaic of holiday cards from friends and family soooooo I decided "hey! why not?" I happily punched away with my CM 1.5" square punch (one of my fav tools) and came up with this layout. The beautiful ornament piece is from my wonderful friend & sorority sister, Beth, who is also a member of the Spellbinders Wizard design team (Yeah, Beth!!). I took this piece from the holiday card I got from her and her handsome boys are included at the bottom right corner! I am really pleased how this layout so thank you, Miss Ali!!!

OK, I am going to CKU-A so that means I will not spend any money on scrapbooking supplies unless it's absolutely neccessary....um, I went to More Than Memories LSS (Schaumburg, IL/ www.morethanmemoriesonline.com )! I had to get the KODOMO NO KAO products! Been trying to find its papers and stamps....well, I found them there! UGH! It could be worse....I only spent $28. They had some great stuff so if you're in the neighborhood go visit them! Oh, here's what I purchased...

I will TRY to behave myself...well, after I get some Scrap Works papers and then I'll behave :0P

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Back To Normal (?)

Well, we made it back to school today and in the nick of time! I love my boys but two weeks of break.....well, I need it to be OVER! LOL!

Starting today, no more PlayStation2, GameBoyAdvance or PSP (I think that's correct), no sleeping in and no fighting (all right, less fighting!)....PHEW! BUT there was one exception...DH! He has off until tomorrow but I had plans!

I met with one of Japanese SB friends whom I met through a mutual internet friend from Japan. Both ladies are also attending CKU-A in Oakbrook at the end of March. I think she needed a break too! Aurora schools has a different winter break than we do....a week late start so she brought all three of her beautiful kids with her to Archivers - Naperville this morning....they are under the age of 6! We managed to visit for an hour and half before the kids got tired of Blues Clues and Care Bears. It was fun meeting her. Hope to get together on a weekend day so that she can scrap in peace - LOL!

CKU-A Chicago is a weekend of intense scrapbooking...each CKU (Creating Keepsakes University - CK magazine is one of the major SB mags around) has a "theme" (regular CKU, CKU-Masters, CKU-Teachers and now CKU-Albums). I have been waiting and saving since the program started. All I wanted to do was attend one but it had to be close to home. CKU announced that they were going to CT but looking at the date, I knew I couldn't make it. I was moving from NJ to IL - UGH! Once I heard rumors that one will be in Chicago sometime in 2006, I search for some clue to WHERE...found through the CKU message board it was Oakbrook Hills. I called right away! That was back in August of 2005! I am so excited to go! Unfortunately, it will be during the boys' spring break but we were not planning a trip so I was lucky!

I was reading through the CKU-A Chicago message boards and I see the flow of swap postings....AH! which one should I choose?! I'm really leaning towards a few: circle journal (never did one), state goodie bag ($25 worth of stuff that represents your state), CKU album (make 10 6x6 identical LOs) and one from my album track/class (6x6 LO). YIKES! that is in addition to my "homework" for my track which is btw, Junkitz's Element of Style (3 designer teachers & 3 distinct styles) - how KEWL is that?!

Not only was it time to go back to our daily routine, it was also the end of new years holiday as we know in the Japanese sense. We finally finished our traditional Japanese New Year's dishes which is called OSECHI-RYORI (it's a variation of dishes that are eaten during the new year's holiday - till Jan. 3 typically). Long ago, people finished cooking these dishes by new year's eve with the purpose of consuming them for several days without the need to cook. Most of these dishes are packed in stacks of beautiful lacquer boxes (usually 3 boxes high) called JUBAKO. Each dish/type of food has a meaning such as good health, fertility, good harvest, happiness and long life. But now, many purchase these dishes at stores instead of cooking them at home...there are so many dishes to make and many households have two incomes so time is important :0) Me? Well, my DH makes some of the dishes (maybe 3 or 4) and the rest, we buy at MITSUWA store in Arlington Hts. (for those who are not familiar, it is a HUGE Japanese super market with a bakery, food court, bookstore, travel agent, realtor, liquor store and video rental place). I posted a picture of the OSECHI-RYORI.

Monday, January 02, 2006

My first post!

Hi! I decided to blog too! Now I can't claim "senior moment" when someone asks me what I did or when I did what I did....heehee!

Well, my new year's resolution was to get my blog going on the first....I already broke it! UGH! It is now around 1:50am (CST) but hey, better late than never!

This new years was very nice. We spend our time with the congregation members of our church...Japanese new years ceremony and had some yummy lunch. It was also one of our long standing member (Midori-san)'s DH 39th memorial service so we had some more folks attend...it was nice to have a wide age range of people together.

So I decide to make this blog about my scrapbooking "addiction," my Japanese heritage (well, at least what I know about things) and about our religion (Nichiren Shu Buddhism...NOTE: not to be confused with Nichiren Sho Shu or Soka Gakkai...although we all chant NAMU MYO HO REN GE KYO, doesn't mean they're all the same).

So, that's my story and I'm sticking to it! LOL! Thanks for reading!