Wednesday, December 31, 2008

recycled bags...

there are more and more businesses that are offering recycled tote bags as an alternative to plastic or even paper bags.

they seem to be quite popular here in oregon that various stores are creating quite hip looking bags. target has had the recycled bags for some time now. upon coming back to oregon i found that there are many stores that have designed some creative looking recycled bags. i'll have to say that trader joe's has the funkiest looking recycled bags.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

spa day...

we went to the lovely Bonneville Hot Springs today and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. we went to lunch before our full body wrap in a very open dinning area with large glass windows that looked out over patches of snow on the ground. the ride up was very scenic and the gorge was quite impressive! thank you to my mother-in-law for the fun treat!

Monday, December 29, 2008


this is what you'll find in my hand bag if you were to dump out its contents. i think the bigger the hand bag, the more junk that is collected in a hand bag. i'm wondering if that happens to the homes we live in, that as we acquire a bigger house the more junk we collect?! : )

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Whole Foods and yummy 揚げ出し豆腐

this afternoon we went to Whole Foods and i realized i had not been there since i was in college. it originally started in 1980 by two young guys living in dallas and has expanded rapidly through it's immediate success. much of the growth of the company has been accomplished through mergers and acquisitions. so A and i enjoyed sushi made from brown rice along with a nice bowl of agedashi dofu (揚げ出し豆腐) which was so nice and hot. not as crispy as in japan and the tentsuyu broth was a bit off but delicious quite the same!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

RainSource of Newberg & Oregon Rain...

looking at the newspaper this weekend, the five day weather forecast describes various forms of rain that will be falling this week. only in oregon can we describe 'rain' in a variety of ways. showers, sprinkles, light showers, drizzle, rain, rain, and more rain! on another note related to rain, i found an interesting article about a man in newberg oregon who decided he would bottle rain and sell it. he had moved from california to the willamette valley and wanted to make all of the rain in oregon that falls 'a good thing.' it seems as though the rain water tastes quite good and is filtered and treated before bottling. yet it is unusually clean before it is treated so the tests for contaminants don't pick up anything. the company now has contracts with Burgerville, Fred Meyer, and Made in Oregon, who is trying to introduce the product into the Japanese market. and to think that this started here in my home town. i'll have to go out and get a bottle of this special water!

Thursday, December 25, 2008


MERRY CHRISTMAS! we missed you J today as we gathered around the dinner table to celebrate christmas as a family. it just was not the same with you gone. we'll have many more happy holidays and family get-togethers to join in on in the years to come! we miss you!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

the turkey brine...

this is what we're doing to our turkey this christmas. we're doing a turkey brine. i tried using a turkey brine when i cooked a turkey last year and it made the meat very juicy. let's see how it turns out thursday!


* 1 gallon vegetable broth
* 1 cup sea salt
* 1 tablespoon crushed dried rosemary
* 1 tablespoon dried sage
* 1 tablespoon dried thyme
* 1 tablespoon dried savory
* 1 gallon ice water


1. In a large stock pot, combine the vegetable broth, sea salt, rosemary, sage, thyme, and savory. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently to be sure salt is dissolved. Remove from heat, and let cool to room temperature.
2. When the broth mixture is cool, pour it into a clean 5 gallon bucket. Stir in the ice water.
3. Wash and dry your turkey. Make sure you have removed the innards. Place the turkey, breast down, into the brine. Make sure that the cavity gets filled. Place the bucket in the refrigerator overnight.
4. Remove the turkey carefully draining off the excess brine and pat dry. Discard excess brine.
5. Cook the turkey as desired reserving the drippings for gravy. Keep in mind that brined turkeys cook 20 to 30 minutes faster so watch the temperature gauge.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


we made these today and had a great time! it's always fun making things for friends and family during this time of the year. it's still snowy and icy so we'll probably have a white christmas!

Monday, December 22, 2008

israel & jordan

hmmm...these places are looking real appealing as a place to visit. we'll see what develops!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

the storm...

yes, this is really unusual for this part of oregon, here in the willamette valley! this was taken early this afternoon. when the 'beast' goes outside to do his business he can now walk across the snow as it has become a frozen hard surface, perfect for a 10 pound dog to walk on!

j. votruba...

with all this snow we've been having and the very cold temperatures, it has reminded me of my trips to the czech republic. the four times i went were in the winter months, thus very cold weather and snow. during my time there i discovered the popular artist of j. votruba. anyone who has ever been to prague is familiar with his work. he's an architect by training yet his love lies as a painter and illustrator. he's also a celebrated graphic designer by providence. he can create these humorous depictions of life in prague as well as the inclusion of the fictional writer frank kafka in his work. he has made it in japan as well as he worked on an animated projection for a festival in Japan in 2005, celebrating the 250th anniversary of Mozart's birth. i thoroughly enjoy the depiction of tokyo and the 'salary man' as seen above!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

snow and more snow!

need i say more? we're in for a cold one. we got A from the airport at noon and headed home to about 6 inches of snow. it is deeper now as i type. the snow is getting up to pabu's shoulders even.

Friday, December 19, 2008

metabo kenshin

in America, where the average male waist size is 39, the idea of some national enforcement campaign against obesity seems hilarious coming from japan. in japan, they are enforcing a rigorous 33.5 inch maximum on male waist size. companies and municipal governments will face financial penalties if their employees or citizens don't comply. they've made up a friendly term, "metabo" to denote metabolic syndrome, a collection of factors that heighten the risk of developing vascular disease and diabetes. those include abdominal obesity, high blood pressure and high levels of blood glucose and cholesterol. they even have a song:

“goodbye, metabolic. let’s get our checkups together. go! go! go!

goodbye, metabolic. don’t wait till you get sick. no! no! no!”

i wonder how one would be able to cheat on a test like this. fast? suck in your stomach? i'm also wondering how the words 'fat' and 'japanese' are associated...

Thursday, December 18, 2008

森本正治 - Morimoto Masaharu

i've been reading The New Art of Japanese Cooking by Morimoto which has been quite an experience. it is really interesting to see how he has used distinctively japanese dishes and has infused them with multicultural influences. he believes most of his customers would not relate to traditional japanese rules of presentation and garnish so he prefers to draw on more suitable points of reference for his visual puns. the presentation of his food though still reveals the simplistic nature of japanese cuisine at its core. a little interesting fact in his work are the deer horn handles of the knives he uses retail for between $4,000 to $5,000! the pictures in the book are very visually appealing as well.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


i think someone around here is looking just a little too comfortable!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


happy birthday to my mother-in-law nancy! hope today was a special day for you!

Monday, December 15, 2008

winter songs...

i do enjoy the traditional christmas songs but after having gone to two major christmas musical productions, i am ready for a change. this is sounding really good now as a nice alternative. check it out as you sip something hot like apple cider.

Sunday, December 14, 2008


the big news in the willamette valley is it snowed today! the 'beast' was a bit reluctant to go outside but had a great time once he was outside. i'm also including a picture of our church as it looked quite lovely with a dusting of snow. there is a lot more snow on the ground this evening. we had a relaxing afternoon after church reading and for pabu, taking a nap.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

p.f. changs...

i'll have to say i have found a restaurant that i really quite enjoy. we went to p.f. changs for lunch and the food was again, wonderful! the first time i went was in dallas and it was described by someone as being chinese food but better. whatever that was supposed to mean, as it seems as though the flavors are from all over asia! the singapore street noodles are my favorite. they have large murals on the wall that depict life in 12th century china as well as a mixture of wood, slate and metal as seen in the decor. i also saw cast iron teapots, looking quite like the tetsubin teapots of japan. now why didn't i get one of those when i was in japan?!

Friday, December 12, 2008

green tea, salmon, and yoga...

i'm trying to change my dietary intake a bit for overall better health. i've been reading quite a bit about the work of Dr. Perricone. i've increased my intake of fish, green tea and bright colored vegetables while reducing my sugar and salt intake. i really do not like cooked fish unless it is dried bonito flakes from japan or raw fish, so eating cooked fish has been a challenge! the lower salt intake has also been a challenge as i love salty foods! i'm feeling good though and faithfully sipping my green tea; which by the way i love. i'm getting back to doing yoga more faithfully after the craziness of november, which has been good too.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

fast roping...

J is supposed to be doing this today. looks like a lot of fun and wish i could do that!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

whidbey island marathon...

I got an email the other day reminding me of the whidbey island marathon on the 29th of march. i wish i knew if i would be here or not, because i would love to run this again. this has got to be the best scenery for a road race as we made our way around whidbey island and along the water.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

december in the south...

it's supposed to snow this weekend! yay! also, a year ago today J and i went canoeing in the Okefenokee and pabu was enjoying the sun along with his 'winter coat.' in fact, it was warm enough that J was wearing shorts when we went canoeing. can you believe that? and here i am in oregon, bundled up as i type this!

Monday, December 8, 2008

shiba inu puppy cam

a california couple has set up a site that has become a global internet craze. their hook? puppies.
the shiba inu puppies are off to their new homes within the week, so check out their puppy cam fast! i believe there are only two puppies left. this reminds me of when we saw pabu for the first time. he and his little brothers played hard for 5 minutes and then they all slept. lots of energy and lots of sleeping on top of, around and underneath each other. heard it on NPR!

Broadcasting Live with Ustream.TV

Sunday, December 7, 2008

slumdog millionaire

we cancelled our netflix account when we moved so no more foreign/independent films until we move to norfolk. in the mean time i need to take advantage of living close to a big city to view movies such as slumdog millionaire. the basic synopsis is of a young man who is in love who goes on india's version of 'who wants to be a millionaire' in order to find a girl he loves. naturally, there is more depth to this movie than just this as it contains various elements which may create deep emotional responses in the viewer. another must-see!

Saturday, December 6, 2008


there are so many books i would like to read but there just isn't enough time to read everything. on top of my reading for my classes i am reading two other books. the first is The Boy Who Was Raised as a Dog: And Other Stories from a Child Psychiatrist's Notebook. my sis A gave me this book to read as it deals with trauma and how it affects the brain, specifically with children. a really good read! i'm also reading Animals in Translation: Using the Mysteries of Autism to Decode Animal Behavior which reveals how people with autism can think the way animals do and examines how humans and animals use their emotions to think, to decide, and even to predict the future. another great read! i'm tempted to head to portland to Powell's Books to get some more books on my list of books-to-read! what are you reading??

Friday, December 5, 2008

bento box...

i can't remember when i found these lunch boxes on the internet but it reminded me of the bento boxes in japan that everyone ate out of. they were so cute and tiny with a little bit of everything in them. a great way to be sensitive to the environment and not use so many plastic bags. i think J would find these boxes to be way to small for the lunch i pack for him. now i need to find where they sell these on the internet! it looks as though someone has written a book with recipes for these cute bento boxes. the things you find on the internet...

Thursday, December 4, 2008

singapore marathon 08'

my sis A is running the singapore half marathon tonight our time on the west coast, or in asia, at 6:30 in the morning. when she has run other races in asia she has learned that they start quite early and before it gets even light out because of the sun, heat and humidity. not conditions i would like to run it! have a great race A! one hour to countdown!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008


the before and after product of pabu's great grooming! we used damien from the The Ultimate Dog and he did a phenomenal job! he really took his time and was very patient with the beast. we can now see pabu's eyes!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

soon-to-be groomed!

i finally found a mobile dog groomer that i am hoping will work for pabu. in fact, they are going to come out to newberg tomorrow although i believe he is from the beaverton area. we have not had much success in finding a good groomer for pabu until several months before leaving GA, which was a mobile dog groomer. i have even thought of just learning how to groom pabu since we will be moving around so much and each time we move we'll have to find a good groomer, which is very hard to come by. i'll post pictures tomorrow to show the end results of our presently very shaggy 'beast!'and yes, i do dress my dog up in clothes despite the fact that they are totally unnecessary! here he is in his new winter pajamas.

Monday, December 1, 2008

kate spade...

i will have to say that i have never been one to plop any amount of money down for a handbag, especially since i rarely use them. i like to think i use satchels and not a 'purse' as for some reason i don't like that word! so while J and i were in orlando this fall we stopped by the Kate Spade store and i found the bag i have always wanted! thankfully i have a husband who always encourages me to spend money freely as i can be quite conservative sometimes. i absolutely love the bag and it is simple yet classy. another brand which came out with some great designs about a year ago was the Tokidoki LeSportSac. i got a little make-up bag that fits right into my satchel and has a great funky design. unfortunately i think they are quite hard to come by now.