Sunday, July 09, 2006

Lift off!

It's finally here! I'm leaving Tokyo in a few hours and winging my way to Las Vegas. Saturday was a major countdown at work and everyone was calling me "short-timer." Of course, I added to the drama by ticking off the number of lessons I had left to teach: 11. . .10. . .9. . .8. . .7. . .6. . .5. . .4. . .3. . .2. . .1. . .LIFT OFF!!!

I'll be gone for nearly a month, thanks to the kindness of my boss! Vacation couldn't come at a better time, considering Tokyo is heating up to the hot liquid state. Even early in the morning it feels like someone's wrapped the city in a hot, wet, steaming blanket. Pure misery! This is my third summer in Tokes and I'll never get used to it.

Las Vegas has been hot, too, but at least it's dryer. The day after arriving, we'll throw our stuff in the car and head for some cooler weather in Seattle where we'll visit friends and family for a week and then head back down to Vegas. One of the guys at work asked if I was nuts to be spending 20 hours or so in a plane and airports, only to arrive and hop in the car for a two-day road trip! "Nah," I told him, "just glad to be heading for cooler weather!"

So, yesterday I spent the whole day trying to shove a ton of stuff into two big bags. My tiny room looked like a clothes bomb had gone off but I forgot to take a picture of it. I even had laundry hanging to dry across my entire sliding door because it was too steamy outside to expect it to dry anytime soon. Amazingly, it all dried in time to get packed!

I've been slugging down Airborne cocktails the past couple of days, hoping to stay well. There have been several summer colds making the rounds at work, and I'm just being cautious.

I'll have my laptop with me on the trip, but don't know if I'll be taking it to Seattle or not. Will try to keep blogging whenever I have a chance, and posting those "26 things" pictures!

Monday, July 03, 2006

26 things I want to do on vacation

While a true "26 things" list is supposed to be pictorial, mine is just words. Maybe I'll take pictures of each of these things when I'm on vacation and post them when I return. In the meantime, here's my list:

1. Rest (but only briefly)
2. Give everyone I know and love a big hug
3. Drink Margaritas
4. Eat Mexican food in Las Vegas
5. Eat Pagliacci Pizza in Seattle
6. Go for hikes in the deep green forest
7. Go to movies
8. Visit friends
9. Cook stuff with J&T
10. Get in the spa
11. Watch DVDs with J&T and eat popcorn
12. Go shopping for shoes that fit me
13. Go shopping for clothes that fit me
14. Go shopping for underwear that fits me
15. Buy makeup that's light enough for my fair skin
16. Eat real beer-battered fish and chips
17. Putter in an actual backyard
18. Win a big jackpot in Las Vegas
19. Stay cool sipping ice-cold lemonade
20. Play with cats
21. Sleep as late as I want
22. Stay up as late as I want
23. Browse in bookstores where there are books in English
24. Shop at Trader Joe's and Wild Oats
25. Stock up on stuff to take back to Tokyo
26. Try not to cry too much when I leave

Any other ideas?

Less than a week!

In less than a week, I'll be winging my way to Las Vegas aboard Korean Airlines. I've never flown KAL before, but people say it's a good airline with good service.

Unfortunately, every time I hear "KAL", I think of KAL 007 that was shot down over Sakhalin Island by the Soviets in 1983 when it wandered accidentally into Soviet airspace. All 269 passengers and crew perished. The claim was that they didn't know it was a civilian aircraft and evidence gathered over time showed that they had made no attempt to communicate with the airline. Conspiracy theorists have suggested that the accidental "off course theory" was no accident. "U.S. intelligence has a long history of 'tickling' Soviet radar' by deliberately flying planes into Soviet airspace and then recording the responses."

Well, at any rate, I'm not going to worry myself about such things. That was in 1983 when the Cold War was utmost in the minds of the Reagan administration. Now that the Soviet Union has fallen, we've transferred our paranoia to the terrorists. Doesn't it seem strange that every time we have a Republican administration everybody gets paranoid about something? I've heard that you create what you think. Makes me wonder if we're all thinking a little too much about "evil empires' and the "axis of evil" and creating more and more of it in the world. Maybe we should shift our thinking to better things and find peaceful solutions to the world's problems.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Who comes up with this stuff?

WARNING: Now, before anyone flames me for this post, I want everyone to know that I think it's a good idea to use humor whenever we feel helpless or hopeless. It's a way to heal and move forward with life. I am not dishonoring or disrespecting anyone who serves in the military and I sincerely hope that everyone left serving or working in Iraq or Afghanistan comes home safe and sane.

Having said that, there's a blog I've been reading recently that is so funny I just had to tell you about it. It's called, of all things, Al-Zarqawi's Mom's Blog . Here's an example:

Karim took me out for a make-out. They will make my new hair for the Jon Daily show. Here it is!

It's the most bizarre thing I've ever read, but I started chuckling, and then pretty soon I was bwahahahaha-ing. I mean, even the idea of someone creating such a blog boggles my mind, but whoever it is has managed to imbue a personality into this imaginary person.

But, don't go there unless you're prepared to laugh at the utter absurdity of the blog.