Friday, 28 May 2010

This Week's Ikebana

Am feeling a lot more normal today, the wonders of a good night's sleep and a day of not having to go near the doctor.

So, yesterday was Ikebana day. We did an arrangement using irises and carnations. The vase I used is going to be the one we have to use in our test next month and it just about did my head in. Luckily my teacher had the good idea to introduce it to me in plenty of time to get used to it for the test.

So here is what I did. Sorry for the poor picture quality as managed to forget to take the camera again.

Here is what my classmate did. She was lucky and got to use a "hibiki" vase which has a smaller neck and I think it's easier than my one. But my classmate will be taking a break from Ikebana for a few months as she will be on "maternity leave", so to speak. So unfortunately we won't be able to compare arrangements for a few months or however long it takes before she comes back.

So since it was her last class, my classmate was very thoughtful and gave us these smashing macaroons. 
My initial impulse was to rip open the box and devour the lot....but I did manage to wait till I got home and ate one (the chocolate one) slowly and savoured it. I will be attempting the challenge of only eating one every long do you think that will last. Can I tame the inner macaroon monster, I wonder?...

Also I finally got my certificate to say that I have achieved the 4th grade. It took forever to come so I was surprised when my teacher gave it to me yesterday.

Really, yesterday was a very good day. I also got this lovely little basket in the mail from DH's mother.
She is very talented and so hard working. When not helping DH's father with growing heaps of fruit and vegetables for sale, she cooks up a storm, is an expert caligrapher, goes to Ikebana class, does picture postcard painting and somehow finds time to send me lovely little hand woven baskets! I got lots of comments at Ikebana class on how nice it was and have taken a shine to it as it is very summery.

So now I feel like a bit of a prat. After all the nice things that happened to me yesterday, I could not enjoy a single one of them. Today I am enjoying them. Don't worry, I'm not totally ungrateful!

Thursday, 27 May 2010

Gaijin Housewife has a rant

Today I was going to post about what I "should" post.  Instead please indulge me while a have a little rant.

Today I feel very close to screaming at the top of my lungs for or bursting into tears. Those hormones I was so cheerful about a few days ago - not so great now, me thinks.

Today I spent nearly 10,000 yen at the doctor to have a blood test done that is not covered by insurance to find out if I might be the 1 in 1000 person who has deadly anti-bodies that make it impossible to conceive naturally.
Of course I don't know the results of that yet but what I am annoyed at is, this cycle looks like it will be a big flop despite the hormones my dr gave me to get things to hurry along.
Could be a cyst he says.
Nobody ever use the word cyst lightly around me who has had surgery because of one that was so painful I thought I might die.
So I said to the nurse in a panic that I was worried about the possibility of a cyst and she said to just chill out cause it might go away by itself as they often do - for other people sure.

We still have a slight chance that this month hasn't been a complete waste of time, but if it's not, dr will give me some medication to bring on AF so we can get back to square one quicker and I will have been through another round of hormone induced hell for a big fat nothing.
Am terribly thrilled about all of this.

I know there are so many people out there in TTC land who are in a much worse place than I am, some of them I know personally, but right now, I just feel like wallowing in my own self pity for a bit. DH is steering clear of me, lest he accidentally unleashes the beast that has overtaken his wife's body for the next wee while.

After the doctor I went to Ikebana and had a nice time but there were a few moments when I wanted to chuck all the flowers on the floor and stamp on them out of frustration. Usually when I do Ikebana I get in the zone until I have finished, but today I just wanted it to magically get done for me. Today was not really a great day to be doing difficult arrangements.

Tomorrow I promise a cheerful post about today's Ikebana, some fancy macaroons and a neat basket.

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

DH is in the good books

This morning it was raining, again. DH got on his bike in the rain and rode to work rather than wake me up from my slumber. I didn't realise until I woke up that the weather was so bad and felt guilty  that he had to get wet on his way to work rather than me just taking him to work like I usually do on rainy days. In the end I didn't even go out today so he could have taken the car anyway. Poor DH. Now he is washing the dishes again.
A long long time ago, ok  6 years ago, back when DH and I had just gotten married, DH managed to get himself elected, no actually it was more like he was told he had to do it,  to the Labour committee at his work. This is kind of a big deal as serving your time on that committee is supposed to mark you as someone who is "going places" in their career at the company. But when I say serving your time I mean spending most of your waking hours at the office, weekends and public holidays are also not at all sacred. One of the things that DH was doing on this committee was working to get a better "Work Life Balance" for the other employees whilst simultaneously working his butt off and we would go for days only exchanging greetings and goodbyes.
During this rather trying time DH attended a seminar that was something like, how to survive working on the Labour committee and come out the other end with your marriage intact.
This seminar taught DH about the "Trust Account".
Apparently, all the good things that someone does, builds up an account of trust between a husband and a wife. So if hubby washes the dishes that adds to the trust account. So DH would go around measuring how many percent he had increased his trust account with me every day. I on the other hand deducted trust points for socks left lying around in the living room etc.

Thankfully DH has long forgotten about the trust account and his efforts of late seem to be out of the goodness of his heart....or are they?

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Today I thought I would just

click "New Post" and see what came out onto the page.

Firstly, tonight I am making a taste sensation for dinner: Cold Beef Shabu Shabu with bean sprouts, tomato and onion dressing. Sounds weird right? Tastes great and what's even better, it only costs 20 yen for a bag of moyashi (bean sprouts)。All you have to do is boil the bean sprouts, and the thin slices of beef and then cool it off in some iced water. Then fry your diced onion, when its done throw in a mixture of vinegar, sugar, soy sauce, salt and pepper and leave it. I serve it with the beansprouts on bottom, followed by sliced tomato, then the beef with the onion mix on top with some ponzu sauce. Yum!
I can't take any credit for this recipe, I got it from Yoshikei  (see pg 7)- my food delivery service.

Am currently taking some extra hormones thanks to my doctor. So far, apart from wanting to eat everything in the house, which is not so unusual for me anyway, I have only wanted to scream at my DH once for cutting his finger nails really loudly...which is extremely positive!

DH is building up his housework muscles. He has washed the dishes every night since Saturday, which is a kind of record. When asked what prompted this spurt of helpfulness, he said he didn't want to end up a lonely, because I divorced his sorry ass useless old man....When I say wash the dishes, wash the kitchen is actually a better description because of the water that he gets everywhere. But beggars can't be choosers and I will take a DH who washes the kitchen dishes his way than one that doesn't do it at all. On Sunday I was washing up and thinking, "Gee it would be really nice if 'someone' would get off their butt and come and help me". About 30 seconds later, DH appeared in the kitchen and so I let him take over the washing. "Why did you decide to come and help me?", I asked. "I could feel your beam", he said. "My Beam" is my DH's word for my telepathic ability to tell my husband what I want him to do. Of course, 99% of the time, DH is out of range or on another channel but occasionally he does get the message.

Friday, 21 May 2010

This Week's Ikebana

So back to a usual post today. I promise not to talk about my uterus, tubes, eggs or mucus.

This week we practiced the same style as last week but used different flowers. We seem to have a severe shortage of good quality flowers at the moment so my teacher had to resort to buying us a pot plant each which we cut all the flowers off and now I have a pot plant that might grow some more flowers. I am too scared to put it outside, lest the bugs come and snack on it, which here in the countryside looks like a biblical plague of insects.

Our mission was to create something that you would find in your garden. So I decided to go with country cottage garden (well actually that is just how it turned out).
So Anyway!
Here is what I made.

And Here is what my classmate made

And here is what my teacher made.

And a closeup of my arrangement cause I like it.

Thursday, 20 May 2010

Eggs of a 25 year old!

Today DH gallantly took the day of work to escort me to the women's doctor. This is always slightly traumatic for him because in Japan the women's doctor is largely a perceived no-go zone for men unless the baby is already there and you are there to say thank you to the doctor for catching it when it popped out (That is just an observation from the large amount of time I have spent there over the last year).

Anyway, we got our test results for the HSG which were: normal.
Well that was good, I suppose.
 Then we got my blood test results:
"Congrautlations! You have the eggs of a 25 year old!", says my doctor.

I was so happy, I nearly cried! Finally some super good news about my body! It appears that my eggs are 5 years behind my real age. What a revelation! Growing up I was constantly told that I looked and acted much older than I was (good for getting into bars when not 20 etc!) but now that I am 30 it's nice to be a bit younger in one small nether region.

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

My HSG experience (Hysterosalpingogram)

If you don't know what an HSG is, then you should probably stop reading as this is a post that will mostly interest people who want to read about other people and their battles to have children.

An HSG, for those who are still reading and don't know, is a test to see if there are any blockages in one's fallopian tubes that may be contributing to infertility. Some people are more at risk to having blockages especially if you have had pelvic area surgeries that may have left scar tissue. Having had my appendix removed and been operated on for an ovarian cyst, I thought I should have had this test done ages ago. Yesterday I found out why the doctor wasn't so keen to do it unless it was really necessary, which now apparently it is.
The procedure involves getting some kind of dye past the cervix so it goes into the fallopian tubes that can then be x-rayed to see if there are any blockages. Sounds simple enough but it is uncomfortable and even very painful at the worst of times. Afterwards some people can get terrible cramps, feel sick and even vomit. I guess I was lucky and the pain during the procedure was over fairly quickly. Afterwards my cramps, which were less than I usually have when AF comes to visit, disappeard after about half and hour and were pretty much gone after that apart from the odd twinge.

My experience here in Japan seemed slightly different to what I have read about on Dr Google about people being able to watch the dye flow through the tubes during the procedure on some kind of screen. I just got a couple of x-rays at various times and still have one to go tomorrow before I get any results. Also I wasn't allowed to eat or drink for 5 hours before hand and then I had to wait until I got home (via Moss burger) before I was allowed to eat or more importantly drink anything.
After the procedure, I was given a nice comfy hospital bed to lie down in for half and hour and after about 20 minutes I was terribly drowzy and went off to sleep. The nurse came back after half an hour and I was allowed to go home although I would have quite happily stayed there for a bit longer, I felt mostly fine, a little dazed perhaps, which is to be expected when you have had someone rattling around in your uterus but I was able to drive myself home safely. Now I think if this had not been the 100th time I have had a doctor fiddling around up there, it might have been a lot more emotional/stressful for me. However it is almost a weekly occurrence so I guess I am kind of blaze about the whole thing.

Last night I gave my husband a graphic blow by blow description of what happened and he was writhing on the couch clutching his stomach in horror. I think he needs to get a little more desensitised as it is only going to get worse from here on in.

Friday, 14 May 2010

This week's Ikebana

It was a nice day on Ikebana day so I headed out to the big park in town that is near my teacher's house. It takes about 40 minutes to walk right round it and there is a lot of ups and downs and nice wide footpath. A great place for taking your daily constitutional.
So here are some photos that I took as I was having such a nice time and felt incredibly lucky to be able to enjoy it.
After my walk I got changed and freshened up, ate some lunch at then headed off to my lesson.
It's been a while since my last Ikebana post. This time we practiced a "In line" style for our monthly test at the end of the month.

This is probably one of my favourite styles.

So here is what I did:

Here is what my classmate did:

And here is what we had for afternoon tea. A kind of custard filled thick pikelet with collagen vitamin c drink I think.

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Boy, Poi E and a sore tummy: A Post for Kiwis

So some New Zealanders in Japan may be unaware of the new hit movie in NZ called Boy. I had the pleasure of watching it on the way back to Japan on the plane recently. At the end of the movie they did a dance to the Patea Maori Club's song Poi E, mixing Michael Jackson Thriller moves in with traditional Maori style dance.
I have always loved this song and can remember when it first came out and I was 5 years old or so.
So here is the original, I loved watching the hair dos, the guy who does the flash dancing and the little boy who is getting down.

Then there is the new music video done the by director of the movie Boy which is fun and shows some scenes from the movie as well as the final act where they do their Michael Jackson/Poi E dance.

Finally, if you still aren't sick of it. Then this is from Cambell Live, and you get to see the original Patea Maori Club perform, you can check out the little skinny boy is now a big strapping lad!

I have a terrible tummy ache tonight but watching these clips made me feel a lot better for a while anyway!

Sunday, 9 May 2010

Auckland and back to Japan

Our last day in New Zealand was spent exploring Auckland. We woke to a kind of overcast day and I suggested we take our as yet, unused umbrellas with us just in case. We set off on the hotel's shuttle to the airport to catch the express bus into the centre of Auckland. Auckland is a huge city with about more than 25% of the whole population of NZ living there. I think that's kind of crazy, but oh well.
When we got on the bus it was hosing down and DH was all disappointed that the day was going to be ruined by the rain. But in Auckland, it doesn't rain for long, just many times in one day and 20 minutes later it was sunny again.
We headed got off the bus in the city centre and headed to the Viaduct to see some boats and nice restaurants.
It was a bit early for lunch so we jumped on "The Link Bus" which is a bus that does a loop round various parts of the inner city  and you pay $1.70 per passenger regardless of how far you go. We got to New Market and got off in search of somewhere to have lunch. DH was hanging out for some Italian Food, so we made a bee-line for "Archie's Pizza Place . We were a bit early and therefore the first customers for lunch which suited us fine but we were a bit nervous that we might have chosen a dive. It turned out we had made an excellent choice as the food was great and the restaurant was really filling up as we left.
 (Sorry this picture doesn't seem to want to upload the right way round)
Back on the Link Bus to finish the circuit, and DH with his full tummy was snoring his head off in 5 minutes and missed the scenery he was supposed to be looking at. Then we got on another bus and headed out to a friends house for the rest of the day and had a wonderful dinner with lots of good wine!

So all in all we had a great day in Auckland, though it did feel like we spent a lot of time sitting on buses! We got to see lots of different areas and now DH has a good idea about each of the major cities in NZ.

The next day we flew back to Japan and that was when the only blip on our trip happened and our plane was a whole hour late leaving Auckland, because of some technical problem at the airport. I got to watch the new New Zealand movie "Boy" on the plane but it was kind of hard not to laugh too loud.

So all in all a great trip! Can't wait to go back again...maybe next year.

Westport to Wellington

After two days in Westport, DH and I headed off to Wellington for the day. This involves a 40 minute flight in a kind of small plane from the very small airport at Westport, pictured below.

The flight was surprisingly smooth except for the last 5 minutes or so coming into Wellington. Wellington is often called Windy Wellington and it was particularly windy that day and we got a ride like people pay a lot of money for at Disneyland. But the pilot landed us safely and then it was off into Wellington to do some sight seeing. Wellington is where I went to university so I was able to show DH some of my old haunts. It was nice to be back there again and meet up with old friends. A big HI! and thanks to D and esp L for looking after us.
We went to the beehive, which is an office building for the government.
Then we took the cable car up the hill where you can get a good view of the city centre.
Later on in the evening L took us up Mount Vic and we got a fabulous 360 degree view of Wellington all lit up.
We made it back to the airport in time for the last flight to Auckland. Who should be sitting next to us but one of the passengers that was on our flight from Westport that morning. We recognised each other and I started talking to him. It turned out that he was doing a contract down at the coal mine near Westport and was on his way home to the Phillipines for a couple of weeks to see his family. He was perplexed as to why he had been booked on the last flight to Auckland as he had spent the whole day hanging around Wellington Airport waiting for that flight when there is a flight every hour between the two cities. The only answer I could come up with was that the coal mine was trying to save money by booking him on the cheapest flights it could get.

We got to our hotel late that night but was very pleasantly surprised with how nice it was. Go the Ventura Inn and Suites at Auckland Airport. We had a room with 2 queen size beds which meant I could finally have a decent nights sleep without being woken by DH running the 100 metres at the Olympics in his dreams.

Friday, 7 May 2010

From Christchurch to Westport

After our few days in Christchurch acclimatising to New Zealand - we got in the car and drove the 4 hours to Westport on the West coast of the South Island.

大きな地図で見るThe drive there is very beautiful. First there are rugged barren looking hills, after you go over the Lewis pass the scenery turns to lush green rain forest- it was then I felt like I had truly arrived home, having almost always lived somewhere that was hemmed in by mountains and trees. The weather was spectacular and I felt like Dad had made a special effort to get a beautiful sunny day for our trip, especially since it had poured with rain for a week before that. We also saw lots of beautiful autumn colours.

When we finally got to my sister's house, it was off to do sightseeing, this included a trip to Carter's Beach, with our dog Sam.
 Here you can see him euthanising another poor stick. His favourite pass time is to bash them to pieces. Also notice what a nice day it is and that there no-one else on the beach!
The next day involved a trip to Tauranga Bay, to see the sea colony
and almost as important, to have brunch at The Bay House Cafe. It has great views out to the sea and nice food too.

DH had fish and chips which were really nice.
We also saw some Weka- one of New Zealand's flightless birds. They are quite inquisitive.
Then it was off to see the Denniston Incline. A steep and windy road takes you to the top of a mountain where there used to be a coal mine.
The only way up in the early days was by using the coal carts that were raised and lowered by using a cable car system. It was so terrifying that a lot of people just stayed up on the mountain which was fine really as there was a town up there that now almost no longer exists.
We saw the old carts and the rails they used to send the coal carts down the cliff. Then we came back down the hill and went to my Great Grandfather's pub: The Pines and had a beer and a game of pool. That was kind of fun, since I have never been there when I was old enough to enjoy it.
I really enjoyed our time in Westport and it was nice to be somewhere where I have a lot of family connections even though I have never lived there myself.

Thursday, 6 May 2010

I'm back!

Some people might be wondering what happened to me since I have been offline for the more than a week.
Well my trip to NZ happened, and I just got back last night. I kind of don't really want to readjust to reality and so will avoid it by blogging about my nice trip.

This was my first trip back home in four years and my first trip home to NZ which was totally a holiday going round different places, seeing people and generally having a good time. DH also came with me, which was nice, too.

Some highlights for me apart from seeing my family and friends which is obviously the most important, were:
- Having brunch at a cafe, and a nice coffee whenever I wanted that wasn't from starbucks (didn't go there even once).
- Eating Vogels toast with butter and vegemite
- Eating RJs raspberry licorice and licorice allsorts!!!
- Drinking lots of good wine
- being asked if I had a pen when I needed to sign my name to pay for McDonalds with my credit card
- Commiserating with a shop assistant about her and her flatmate's conflicting schedules, whilst paying for my purchases, hearing other shop assistants' loud discussions about their weekend's antics. This used to annoy me as unprofessional after Japanese service, but now I just laugh at how ridiculous it sounds.
- Getting to see the new NZ movie "Boy" on the plane on the way home. Good times.
- Teaching DH how to say how you like your tea and coffee at people's houses in NZ: "White with one" etc.

First stop on our itinerary was Christchurch.
We spent 3 days there catching up with relatives and friends, going shopping and getting used to NZ time again. I was a bit disappointed with the centre of Christchurch as I have fond memories of going shopping there when I was a kid. Now you have to go out to one of the big malls for that.
DH went for a ride on the tram which takes you round the best parts of the central city.
He also played a game of golf at Hagley Park which was scary for him as lots of people are walking around the park and cars going past nearby. He was worried he might hit someone.
He also enjoyed looking at the Paradise Ducks as he had never seen them before.

We also ate Souvlaki and went to the "trotts" at Addington - DH's first trip to the racing ever.
We lost about $20 all up. But it was still fun.