Thursday, March 31, 2011

Spring Break Day Four

This plan/blog system is becoming a very interesting insight into how unpredictable life with kids is! And it was supposed to be all boring, same-same every day. Well, wasn't THAT a big lie - with their constant development and changing needs, the logistics of their care, and just dealing with five personalities in one house, no two days are the same, and you never know what's coming next.

PLAN: initial plan was clean bathroom + fix stuff (Yep, I'm the fixer-upper in my house, K wouldn't know one end of a screwdriver from the other). Check 2 essays for work.

PLAN B: I added in a morning visit to the dermatologist to see about the sore on Lena's nose.

DAY: spent doing laundry and sleeping. I did make it to the docs, to find Lena had tobihi/school sores/impetigo, but she slept in with a light fever so we were late going.

I just went out now and shoved some nails into a dresser drawer just so I could say I FIXED UP SOMETHING today. Bathroom is ready to go, I shall scrub it before I bathe, and do the drawers tomorrow.

WHY?: Amy woke up at 2am and vomited. From the top bunk onto the floor... she managed to hit: her own duvet, Lena's duvet and two of her blankets, my duvet, the ladder, the shelf under the ladder (do you know how annoying it is to clean a ladder, front sides, back sides, side sides and undersides?), about six stuffed toys that were on the shelf, and two more than were in the shelf, the tape deck, and one book - the ONLY rare book I own, that I specially searched the internet to find - Miss Happiness and Miss Flower, about 2 Japanese dolls.

So after a massive clean-up in the middle of the night, I left a pile of vomited-on toys in the bath, a pile of blankets and duvets in the genkan, and me and Amy slept on the sofa in case of a re-hash. Hence the need for a big long nap this afternoon, which wasn't divine, as it was filled (again) with images of destruction and loss. I can't complain, at least I actually DO sleep, unlike around 50 million or so other stressed out and traumatized Japanese.

Here are few random photos from my day:


woops... this the second time THIS WEEK my teapot broke. First time, the spout, second time, the handle. Cue: "I'm a little teapot..." In the background is the dishwasher, also out of order. For the record, the mixer broke this week too.


Amy feeling a bit better after a low day with a sore tummy, staring her party invitations. Lena, with a fever-induced headache, but she was a trooper and tidied up the study for me. Amy did the living room. Erica folded a blanket. Then tipped her Stitch cards all over the floor. sigh.


Clean toys: Tiger from African Safari kindy field trip when Amy was 3 and Lena was 1. Pig from god knows where. Mutley Spot-Rod, a gift from a boyfriend when I was 18! And a snake, a present for Erica's first Christmas from Santa

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Spring Break Day Three

Foiled again.

Plans to clean bedrooms with children, followed by bike-ride (via bakery) to park for play and picnic.

Instead, the doorbell rings at 7:50am. The first time it just floated into a dream. The second time, I firmly decided that there was no way I wanted to talk to ANYONE enough right now to forgo sleep. The third time I had to give in to it, muttering that they had better bloody still be there when I got to the door.

It was the kid from down the road, I thought they had come to play at first, but she said they had school! That's what you get for blithely not reading the school notices and assuming - stupidly - that spring break actually means the kids will have time off school.

Cue rushed breakfast and change of clothes and the kids got to school in time (I sent neighbor kid off to school with the rest of the Walking Bus while we frantically got ready). K called right AFTER all the drama to remind me that the kids have to go to school today. At least I had a chance to find out why - because the teachers don't hear until the END OF MARCH if they are being transferred to another school, so this is their only chance to farewell their students if they have to leave. The kids will be back soon, so I have a chance to do yesterday's Toy Closet job and we should still be able to fit the picnic in!

*********************

Later. Exhausted! But lots of check marks on the list!

I got that closet done! The kids got home, we all got changed and stopped by the bakery on the way to the park. We chose Donguri (Acorn) Park today; it has three small hills and a fort with a slide that leads right into the sandpit. There's a path all around the edges where the kids could practice their bike-riding skills. And it's near Fadie's, so we could pick up dinner (chicken with ume and shiso).

Bedrooms cleaned CHECK mushrooms fried CHECK dinner, laundry... and right now in the middle of some online photo site comparisons, but I'm getting very sleepy!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Spring Break Day Two

Another example of a day that turned out quite different from what I had planned, in a rather lovely way!

First of all, yesterday my kids and their two friends came here to play and I took Erica up for a nap. I did NOT nap myself, but did budgets and planning for the break. Erica woke up, the guests went home, Kanji arrived home and we all got dressed and ready to go to Max's birthday party - I will add another post with photos and videos from that, suffice it to say it was fantastic, the most fun I've had at a kid's party for a long time! Of course, it's only foreign parents who have them so that limits the amount I attend! After cooking up a storm at my own parties, it was nice to sit back and not have to do a thing - plus Ana played some very energetic games with the kids, which was really fun to watch! And I suppose sitting at the bar drinking beers and controlling the sound system with my iphone helped.

The plan then, for today, was to take Erica to her 3&1/2 year health check. I dropped Amy and Lena off at the Haradas before I went. I'm a pro at this now, and it went very smoothly. I don't how much of it is that I just know it's going to take a while, or if they have got more efficient at it (they used to be in a different location each time, rotating around community centres, but now they are always in the one public health centre, so perhaps that's enabled them to streamline the system a bit). Also, there tend to be less mums at the 3.5 year check than at the small baby checks. We were finished in 90mins. Height, weight, eyes, ears, teeth okay. The only problem was her not being able to do up buttons, which I thought was not significant. I brought up my worries about her still transposing consonants (try saying that in Japanese!) eg 'kolawa' for 'koala', or 'daibozu' for 'daijobu(ok)' (which is actually quite funny as it sounds like she is saying 'Big Buzzcut') but they didn't seem too worried about that. Only one of them blamed her bilingualism for it, but even then she didn't see it as a problem.

I drove her home on the levee, which she found quite exciting, if a little scary. When we reach the bridges, we come down off the levee and pass under the road, and whenever we did that, she'd sigh with relief and go 'Thank you Mum!'. Then when we came back up again, I'd hear her sharp intake of breath and she'd say 'careful' or 'don't falling' or 'water, water'.

Once home, I got a phone call from illahee, who had cut short her visit to GW due to Ryu being sick. So she decided to pop in and see us on the way home. I then called Amy and Lena to pick them up, the plan being that the H. girls would come too. Amy told me Yuuki was going to come too, and Maki would bring everyone. She came in too, so my quiet afternoon cleaning out the toy closet suddenly became a mini-party with three mums, nine kids and the contents of last night's party's pinata!

I FORGOT to go to work.

Nobody noticed... I guess they are all busy with their relocations this week anyway.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Spring Break Day One

I'm getting back to normal life, and trying not to feel too guilty about having parties and buying presents and enjoying the spring days. In fact I'm starting to feel guilty about NOT feeling guilty every single day, after all one BILLION people are starving every day, 10 million or so are in slavery, 250 thousand died in the Haiti quake... it goes on. We should be having a food and clothing drive every week for these people. So I am getting back to normal life, except for the nuclear thing, which is making me more angry than scared. And confused, and wanting to bury my head in the sand because I am just so powerless to do anything but wait and see.

The alarm clock went off this morning! Which was fine, because I then had the exquisite pleasure of switching it OFF and going back to sleep. Erica woke up, started singing, and I said "shh". The other girls woke up and they all went downstairs, yay! I finally woke up at 9 when Kanji came home and told me the kids were downstairs ("yeah, I know, isn't it great!!" I wanted to say) and that I had to collect the rubbish net. What a great start to spring break! The Rubbish Nazi always brings it back anyway. Before you think K is a meany for telling me to get the net, HE put it out at 7am while I slept, so hugs and kisses to K, who understands my inability to function in the morning.

My plan for today was to do absolutely nothing, maybe read a book. I just want/need a totally obligation-free day without having a bunch of 'next, next, next' things stuck in my head. But then Kanji called, and wanted me to drive over to the next town to deliver a gift to his niece, who just graduated university and was heading to Fukuoka today, so it had to be RIGHT NOW. So, quick cup of tea, all children dressed and hair painstakingly brushed (Erica is developing an aversion to the brush lately) and we rocked up to K's work to collect the money envelope... and he called his sister to find that they are already in Fukuoka. Ooookay... you could have called her first!

Not pissed off at all, I should add. If there's one thing I've learned in family life, with big families on both sides and little people constantly being added to our little house, it's to go with the flow. In some ways I've come to even look forward to strange ways a day turns out so different from what I had envisioned.

So we drove to Haradas, as the my two and their two girls had promised each other yesterday to have another play date today. I was going to take them home, but their mother offered to look after all the girls in the morning, feed them, then bring them back after lunch. The plan was to continue playing in the yard, where they have constructed a restaurant out of the junk and rubbish floating around in what passes for a garden out the back of our house. It's now 1pm, and they are not back yet, but I expect them soon, then I can take Erica to bed - she has a mild fever - and possibly sleep myself, I've become quite the napping granny in my old age, I love having a wee lie-down...

Off now to balance the budget, and write a to-do list for the holidays. The basic goal is to go for a bike-ride/picnic every day, as Lena got a bike for her birthday, and K finally got the punctures fixed on our rusty shopping bike, which has a toddler seat, so Erica can ride along too. And also have a set chore to do, like the spare room, or cleaning out the medicine cabinet. Wish me luck!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Lena's Birthday Party


Party guests: Karin, Lena, Erica, Yuki, Maia, Manami, Yui, Amy, Momoka, Mai
Yard play. No party games, the kids were having FAR too much fun making 'restaurants' out of the junk in what passes for a garden chez nous... Takuya being the slide man for the toddlers... girls using the broken swing frame as a monkey bar...

Party food, clockwise from 12 o'clock: mini- hamburgers (condiments to the left in the silver bowl set I hummed and hahhed over in Kamla's Gifts in Hawera then finally bought), potato chips, oreos, butterfly cakes (muffins with the top removed and cut into butterfly wings and stuck back on with cream and a strawberry), fruit kebabs on a pocky stick, mint slice (made-up recipe), shape sandwiches (jam and cheese), french fries, more butterfly cakes, more shape sandwiches (plain jam; and cheese and mayonnaise) and waffles with custard and banana with sprinkles. Cake in the centre!

video
Happy Birthday Lena!

Party: left to right, top to bottom: cake and candles; Lena with her two buddies (other guests were friends of Amy and Erica); blowing out the candles; her parents; the littlest guest, Seina; Maia's Mum, Takuya, Yuki, Mai and Manami; Maia, Lena, Momoka and Yui; later guests Raul, his sons Alex, Joshua, Maguno and Max (and Maia's Mum); earlier, Yui, Mai, Erica, Maia's Mum again!
Presents: Karin, Yui and Mai and Manami, below from Momoka and Maia

Her special request for dinner was to go to Tropicoco (owned by above Raul) so we could do on-stage karaoke.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Lena's Birthday Dinner


Happy Birthday Lena!

Lasagne! Lena's choice for her family birthday dinner. That's coke in the glasses, not red wine.
And ice cream with chocolate sauce for dessert, that's Grandma's chocolate sauce recipe, Chris that HAS to go in the next Greenwood cookbook! So easy and SO delicious! With marbles (smarties/pebbles) and walnuts on top. Erica being Santa.

Lena's 9th Birthday


Nine years old today!


With her favourite present, the Cheshire cat

video

Close second - the new bike. Vid of her 'opening' the 'bike' (a bit of paper with a bike drawn on it! We went out later in the day to the bike shop so she could choose the actual bike herself)

New bike and new pyjamas. And that cat again!

video

Kids' bike race

video

Opening the Cheshire Cat

Presents: From Mum and Dad, the Cheshire cat, pyjamas, bike and nail set. From her sisters, pencils, jewel hair pins and the gold and black earrings. She bought the feather earrings, hairclips and top for herself with her birthday money (actually otoshidama recycyled...)

Laugh!


My Three girls

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Good Day and Bad Day

With the Good and Bad split pretty much nearly down the centre, right after Baachan's fish and veggie dish, no a bit later, after K agreed to take Erica to bed. That all sounds pretty good, right? As was the lovely Graduation Ceremony before that. More about that later.

I was annoyed primarily by my futile attempts to cut through some red tape at the city office. I don't really want to go into detail, but have you ever found, all you foreigners living in Japan, that sometimes staff keep answering the question you DIDN'T ask but won't listen to the one you ARE asking? Or shuffle you into the expected path when all you wanted was to ask a few questions? Or neglect to tell you some very vital piece of information which then has you scrambling to fix? Suffice it to say, all of the above today.

It really set me off for the day, I must have a lot of underlying stress. I was so annoyed I gave up on the idea of finding out where our local drop-off point for donated blankets, etc. was, and decided I would just give money to the Red Cross! Since then I found an address for another place that will take my paltry box of items, I'll send it there instead and stay the hell away from City Office until I absolutely MUST go. Kanji has promised to help me next time, he could see how upset I was (and felt a bit guilty that he contributed to it by marching a still-not-asleep Erica down to me when I arrived home, so I could get her down. Grrr.)

BUT the morning was great! It was the first O.I.T. graduation I have been to, despite teaching there for at least part of the year for 12 years. The other years were on behalf of another company, who, if they ever got an invitation, never passed it on the teachers. So it was a new thing for me. I've been to graduations before, but never one where I was a teacher - it was so nice have a connection to each and every student!

I teach a one-year course straddling the second half of the First Year and the first half of the Second Year, so I hadn't seen this group since last October. Many of them looked surprised, and pleased to see me there, and a whole bunch of them called out to me when they were lined up for the photo, which all felt very nice!

It was astonishingly formal, with lots of bowing and standing up and sitting down, but it was run very, very tightly and finished exactly on time. We had a one-minute silence for the tsunami. The speeches were nice and short. There was the requisite amount of red- and white-beribboned officials and special guests. I arrived at the same time as the Prefectural Governor. I realized as soon as I saw the very shiny car drive right up to the door. I was on the steps. I first tried to hurry to get in first, but they were fast and caught me up at the door, where I then tried to step back, but they noticed me trying to step back and the minions motioned me to go in, and I think I was supposed to say no, no, no and step back again, but I ended up going in at the same time. Oops.

Well here are a few photos - the ceremony, with one of my favorite students giving the return speech. The whole class, and me and my girls. SO few girls at this technical college, where they learn things like systems engineering. Only 4 in this year, and all in the architectural course.





Some links to Share

Radiation levels in various prefectures:
http://eq.sakura.ne.jp/110315fukushima_2030rev2_en.pdf

How far you are from Fukushima nuclear power stations:
http://machi.userlocal.jp/kyori/

Where to send supplies, if you are IN JAPAN
http://2hj.org/index.php/news/send_us_food_and_supplies

US Atomic Agency:
http://www.iaea.org/newscenter/news/tsunamiupdate01.html

Earthquake updates in multiple languages:
http://eqinfojp.net/?category_name=english

Japanese earthquake terms:
http://www.japannewbie.com/2011/03/13/japanese-news-earthquake-vocabulary/

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Facebook vs TV

Facebook won today. I actually spent the day editing the AFWJ Journal. By all accounts the foreign news was full of sensational coverage of the nuclear power station, reporting explosions and evacuations, and listing all the side-effects of radiation. I haven't watched TV at all, except for Anderson Cooper, who I like. He's the only one who tries to do overviews, or get to the bottom of things, rather than just chase after the latest 'breaking news'.

TV media is dominated by this race to be the first to get the latest 'breaking news', it's nauseating, you can sense them almost WANTING Japan to be laid waste by an enormous nuclear explosion, just so they can say they reported it first. With Japan stubbornly refusing to be wiped off the map today, they had to settle for reporting on the mass exodus, which, despite my worried post yesterday, isn't happening. MOST of us are staying!

One thing that bothers me about this 'waiting for doom' and exaggeration is that it diminishes both the disaster that preceded it, and the importance of the event that HAS happened at the nuclear power station - that it failed in an earthquake and hurt staff and people living near-by. This is bad - this shouldn't be, isn't supposed to be, happening. Surely reporting on this event that DID happen is more important than endless speculation about what COULD?

But more important to me is how the people in the tsunami-affected areas are coping. The kids asked me last night, "Where are they going to go? They can't live in community centres forever." Where WILL they go? I don't know, but to me, this is the most pressing issue. You will find a lot more about this issue and the ongoing rescue/recovery at Japan's national TV Channel's English site.

On facebook people were sharing numerous fund-raising, donation and support initiatives. I get almost instant reports of after-shocks from people right there, then I can check the stats myself on the JMA site. People have been passing around websites all day. This article makes the point that by concentrating so much on the nukes, the real need - those half million homeless people in the snow - are being dangerously overlooked.

This is a great explanation of how a nuclear power station works:

And this one is a hilarious example of how much they are getting wrong out there: apparently there is a nuclear power station in a nightclub in Roppongi! Thanks Katy for that one, my best laugh of the day!



Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Sinking Ship...

A certain saying keeps coming to mind today as one friend after another makes the decision to leave. I don't want to call my dear friends rats as I respect and totally understand their reasons for leaving. Soft, fluffy, clean, white pet ones?

The first, who lived just outside of the exclusion zone around the reactor in Fukushima, had decided as early as Sunday to get out with her son, and she's on a plane to Canada as I write this. She was planning a move there anyway, this just hastened her plans by a few weeks. Then a friend in Tokyo was encouraged by her family and friends in Germany to get out with her two sons. She is due to move to Bangkok in two weeks, so I suppose that made her decision easier too.

Then today I heard from two more Tokyo friends who live near the sea, and have decided to flee, utterly frazzled by the constant aftershocks and tsunami warnings. I am presuming they will both be back, as both have very established lives here.

Another facebook contact declared she'd had enough, and was leaving - only to have her plane bookings fall through. AFWJ's Tohoku Rep decided to get out today too, and then I heard one more facebook friend and fellow Japan blogger had made the heartbreaking decision to take her daughter to her parents, but come back by herself to Japan. Finally today AFWJ's website coordinator is at this moment researching ways to get out - it's not easy for these people, with trains and buses out of action. The friend I mentioned first took a taxi to the next town.

I wish them all the best of luck getting out, and hope they either come back soon, or find new lives.

Even Kanji mentioned leaving today, the possibility of moving to NZ. First he said, 'But what work could I do?' and we couldn't come up with much apart from opening a service station or working in a sushi restaurant! Then he said 'What about you, you wouldn't be able to find a job'. I said 'Mmm', but then managed to think of about half a dozen things in the next five minutes!

I always thought the decision to leave would be easy, that everyone would be going, that it would be like those images from the last days of the fall of Saigon with women passing children up begging the soliders to take them in the final helicopters. That you'd just KNOW and just GO, but reading these friends' announcements, it's clear that it really is a decision, that they are weighing up their options, and that staying is a valid option.

But no, we are not planning to leave just yet, even though Kanji's exact words were 'Japan's gone to hell'. And that was BEFORE I told him the volcano erupted today...

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Deadly Beauty

It was a gorgeous spring day today!

I drove to pick up Amy and Lena from Maia's house, a road that takes me across reclaimed farmland by the ocean. It was actually my first time out of the house since the disaster. I cringed as I crossed the first estuary bridge, only peeping at the boats in the river mouth. But Erica as usual called out to me to 'look look!' at all the wonderful things she could see.

I looked again, and ocean was truly beautiful, sparkling in the late afternoon spring sunshine. Beautiful and deadly.

As I drove past, I could see the sea wall, inadequately high for a 10m tsunami, and a sliver of blue beyond. I looked all around me at the old wooden houses, the trees, the concrete block walls, the gardens, gravestones, shops, roads signs and all the things that would be swept up with the mighty waves and brought inland to crush and pulverize and slam into more houses and buildings and cars and people.

This tragedy is so real to us here because we can SEE it happening all around us. Mum called me today and said much the same thing, she can see it too, she remember the types of houses, the neighborhood, stores, shrines and temples, everything that would be gone.

It's not that I care more about Japanese lives than Haitians or Pakistanis, it's that I can PICTURE it so much more vividly, it really brings it home to me.

I checked my evacuation bag today, what a joke. Six plastic raincoats (not illogical, our most common risk is typhoons, and the flooding that follows them), 3 packets of brown sugar blocks (unrefined blocks of natural sugar), two boxes of candles, but no matches or lighter, earphones and batteries, but no transistor radio. No torch, rope, or first aid kit. And one sparkly crunchy space blanket from space world. I guess I need to re-think the evac bag...

Numb

I felt numb yesterday after hours of staring at images that are so unbelievable that it's difficult to process them, to accept the reality of them. I was only just beginning to comprehend the scale of what happened in Christchurch, then this comes along and utterly dwarfs it. This is not on only an unimaginable scale, encompassing several towns and cities, but it's ongoing, as the earthquakes are followed by tsunamis (we are all still on alert) and fires, and now the terrifying nuclear meltdown.

I could only sleep by reading until my eyelids fell, and even then I was unable to banish the images of water - the first night, big waves on a beach that was somehow indoors and we were watching from a balcony... last night swimming laps in a pool that was too short and full of things. During a brief waking period in the night the realization that it had happened came back to me and I managed to push it away long enough to get back to sleep again, thinking 'NO don't take me there yet!'. But there was nothing to stop it flooding back in the morning.

Punctuating the sanity-saving numbness, my eyes prick with tears as unbidden thoughts float to the top my consciousness before I can banish them - mothers racing to schools or kindys, but not getting there in time... People on the missing trains, feeling the quake, seeing the ocean alongside retreat... people at home, trying to call the person they trust for advice, and that moment of hesitation costing them... and always, always the children. As a mother and a teacher, it's almost too much for me to bear, seeing in my mind's eye my students' faces when I hear reports of kids trapped in school buildings, or that half of a town's population has disappeared.

It's hard to watch, but the need to know is too strong. Two people have commented on facebook about not watching, one suggested going out into the spring sunshine, one said that the news was too sensationalist. But this event needs no sensationalizing, and how can you enjoy the sun when people are still trapped, when the disaster is still unfolding? It seems perverse. At the same time you can't just stare at the TV all day. The kids help by wanting to listen to music, and watch cartoons. Kids - sometimes their blithe indifference to suffering and utter self-centredness is such a blessing! Life goes on!

But for me, finding something appropriate to was tricky. I continued to work on the Journal, as Tammy texted to say she was coming still (she didn't come in the end as our train lines are down too). It was a heartening choice, as the section I was working on yesterday was the convention section, telling members about all the events and fun planned for the weekend (it's at the end of May, so presumably won't be cancelled, transport should be fixed by then). I spent a lot of the day searching for photos and clipart of people enjoying themselves.

In between I obsessively checked facebook, which has been an absolute lifeline! I first heard about the quake from a friend in Tokyo who emailed to an email group I am on, and I quickly checked facebook and turned on the TV for tsunami warnings (earthquake info and tsunami warnings are posted on a ticker on every channel within minutes of the event). The posts flew in, and I commented or checked them to keep updated. I spent pretty much the next two hours between the TV and facebook, sharing info and in some cases telling people there what had happened to them as they didn't have TV, power, or phones but could reach the internet through their phones. If that doesn't convince everyone out there to get a smart phone, I don't know what will!

And so life does go on here without disruption, apart from the train lines stopping, as I think they started running again in the afternoon. Amy and Lena went to stay the night with a friend (they live on the upper floor of a brand new hospital, so I actually worried LESS with them gone, because after seeing buildings like it still standing after the earthquake and tsunami of that size, I figure they are safer there than in our rickety old house trapped by the ocean on one side and rivers on three others...), Kanji went to work, Erica insists all day long on watching Doraemon and Kamen Riders, and I will work on my Journal, and hopefully see some friends for dinner tonight... and talk about the earthquake all over again...

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Yappa Bi-ji-!

I've sent the children off to bed, including my eldest, otherwise known as my husband.

Blog post end.

Yup, that's as much as I got written last night before I gave up and went to bed. I was staying up to bake muffins for my final kindy class today, and thought I would blog, but nope, my tired head wasn't having it.

The title means as expected, busy! Because Tuesday always seems to end up that way. Probably because I work at 5pm, which means the whole day free which means I do stuff, then go to work, then arrive home at 6pm all flustered and in a rush and work-energized, and have to cook dinner and get things organized in time for the piano lesson, which didn't happen last night.

So it seems like a long day. Yesterday was no exception. Erica was off kindy, she had a fever, so that cut what I could do, but I had the Journal to do, and some kitchen spring cleaning to finish that I started on SATURDAY and didn't get done because a million things came up... then sankanbi (school lesson observation) at 2 and a hospital visit at 3 and then work at 5. Phew.

Nothing much done today! I'm just too tired from two sleepless nights to concentrate. I'm going to go eat my dinner (yay for Kanji cooking the rice and doing the dishes, then all I had to do was chop a cucumber for the kids to snack on while doing their homework, then boil up a head of broccoli, and then I made a sausage/onion/piman/green bean stir fry.

After that, I'm eating chocolate dammit. I need it. I have lost my diary, the contract for my new job and 2 income certificates. If anyone out there is psychic, PLEASE put your thinking caps on and find my stuff before I tear my house apart.