Friday, July 1, 2011

Weekend Reading

I am in the middle of a few books, as well as reading the Sookie Stackhouse series (the books the show "True Blood" is based on--and may I say that the show is actually better than the books, which is a surprise.) So, I don't have a particular book to review or recommend at the moment, but my son does!

My son is an avid reader. He is a year and a half. Crazy, right? For a toddler full of energy, the only time I can get him to sit still is with a stack of books. Before I had kids, I never knew what to buy other kids, especially ones under 2. So my solution to anyone ever wondering what to buy young toddlers is BOOKS. They last forever. They can be used over and over again. They (hardly ever) break. Oh, and the best part? They don't need batteries! What a relief!

My son's personal preference is any book about colors. The book above is just a collection of pictures categorized by color. He LOVES to point out each thing that I say: Can you point to the orange pumpkin? His face lights up every time he gets one right. So I thought I would just share a tip for anyone wondering what to buy nieces, nephews, etc. this summer. Happy reading!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Hey! It' Monday! Meet me....and the others who hang here....

I don't know about you but, I'm going to just ignore the fact that I completely spaced out doing this post last Monday.  Oh, I apologize for the spacing know how things LIFE gets sometimes and things just go by the wayside.
But, I'm back....still a little spacey but, that's pretty much normal anymore.

With that, let's get to it, shall we?
This is Miss Java's (over at NeverGrowingOld) 50th Meet Me on Monday meme....she's on vacation right now, but if you want to get to know some others doing this, go on over and click away.
And as always....what are YOUR answers to the questions?
This is the fun part about memes...finding out about each other.

1. What is your favorite food?
There are many foods I love...but if I had to pick just one, it would have to be...

Pizza....proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.
2. What color scheme is your bedroom?
The whole idea of "color scheme" doesn't really work with a traditional Japanese room...unless your color scheme is brown (tatami floor), white (paper doors) and green (walls).  We don't even have futon covers as, in the traditional way, futons are put away every morning most mornings.
*and no....this is not my room...mine is much messier!! sorry.
3. Do you carry a donor card?
When I lived in the States, I always carried one.  Here in Japan, the whole idea of donating organs is not one that is easily is only in the last couple of years that it has happened...and very rarely, at that.
So, my answer is no.  I do not carry a donor card...but, I wish I could.
4. In your opinion, is the glass half empty or half full?
It all depends on what is in the glass....and how late in the day/evening it is when you ask.
5. Vanilla or Chocolate?
Oh, please.....

'Nuf said.

Ya'll have a good week. 

Friday, June 24, 2011

weekend reads

The joy of reading outside.
Summer has officially begun and with it, summer reading can begin in earnest. Do you read different types of books when the days are longer and warmer? I think I read more fiction during the summer.

I'm currently trying to finish a big ol' book I have little interest in: The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest. It's the last (thank goodness) in the Larrson trilogy. Reading it for book club although that book club meeting has come and gone. I just feel obligated to finish.

What I have coming up to read that I'm jazzed about are these books:

  • Half Broke Horses by Jeannette Walls (author of The Glass Castle)
  • Started Early, Took My Dog by Kate Atkinson
  • State of Wonder by Ann Patchett
What are you reading this weekend? Will you be reading outside?

Friday, June 17, 2011

Weekend Review

I love the X-Men movies. I thought it was because I am madly in love with Patrick Stewart. But after watching the new "X-Men: First Class" movie, I think it is just that I am in love with the character of Charles Xavier. (I am now seriously considering naming my son Charles Xavier!)

Even if you haven't watched the other X-Men movies or know anything about the comics, I still recommend this film. It is a prequel and while it's helpful to know the ultimate destiny of some of the main characters, it certainly isn't required. This movie has an amazing cast, including the lovely January Jones. At first I was shocked to see Kevin Bacon cast as the villian, but he actually did a great job. This film was directed by Matthew Vaughn (director of "Kick-Ass") and I think it was actually better than the previous X-Men films. I read a few reviews where people didn't believe the friendship chemistry between Charles and Erik (later known as Professor X and Magneto) but I thought it was believable and well acted.

I think the reason I love the X-Men movies is because they are action packed (which my husband likes) but the plot lines are intriguing and captivating and the dialogue isn't cheesy (which I like.) So even if you choose to stay away from the typical comic book flick, you might actually enjoy this one.

beautiful banana baby bean

One of my previous students from the high school (now married and living in the States) sent this to me of her newborn son.
"Sure, I look like a banana.....who cares? 
It's comfy and I sleep like a baby."

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Sunday, June 12, 2011

it's monday me

I hope this finds you all doing well. The Meet Me On Monday meme that is sponsored by Java is up and since I'm home for a little bit this morning, I'll get it done and posted and not have to worry about rushing through it tonight!'s fun to do the meme, but, it's even more fun when you tell us your gives us a chance to get to know each other.

Here are the questions for this week:
1. What is your favorite yogurt flavor?

Very berry, baby...the more berries, the better.

2. Ankle or knee socks? and on the same theme, white socks or coloured??
Actually......I am neither.
I am more of a slouch socks kind of girl.
White, please.
and no, sadly, those are not my legs.

3. How is the weather right now?
After almost 4 straight days of heavy, torrential rain, we have cool, slightly humid cloudy skies.
We are in the 'rainy season' here in Nagasaki (which will last until the first of July, or so) so this..along with the heavy rains, will be the standard for a couple more weeks.

4. Are you a fast typer?
I didn't really know anymore, so....I took a test.
72 words

5. Red or White Wine?
I have had some bad experiences with red so I prefer a white.
And if I could, I would drink this white wine every chance I get.
The Cocetti family are close personal friends of mine in Denver, Colorado.  Their daughter is my 'soul sistah' and I have drank many a bottle glass at their house.
If you go to their site, tell them Debbie sent you. (^-^)
I can pretty much guarantee that all their wines are wonderful....even the reds.
Have a great week. 
I hope where you are the skies are sunny and the breezes are cool.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Weekend Review

I bet you're thinking, "Really? She's gonna recommend this?!" I know, I am surprised as well. I usually stick with 19th century romances, light-hearted comedies, dramas, and the occasional sci-fi. "Game of Thrones" is bloody, disturbing, overly sexual (like all the HBO shows!), slow paced at times, and gory. But it's GOOD. And addictive. There are ten episodes to Season 1, with the finale airing in a week. That gives you all one week to catch up on the first nine episodes!

Quick plot overview: This series is based on a series of fantasy novels written by George R. R. Martin. I am tempted to read these books now. There are three main storylines that are slowly merging together and I am excited to see if the finale unites them even more. The main story is of Lord Stark, the Hand of the King, and his family and their strained relationship with the King and his family, the Lannisters. You will come to despise the Lannisters with the exception of Tyrion, the dwarf or imp as they call him, who is clever and witty and one of the best characters and actors on the show. The second storyline is at "the Wall", which is literally a huge wall that serves as a border and is guarded 24 hours a day to protect it from "creatures" that I can only assume to be some sort of zombies. The last storyline is the one I am fascinated with and that is the tribe of Dothraki warriors, led by Drogo and his new young wife Daenerys. I can't give away much about her except that her storyline involves dragons and she is simply awesome.

Okay, so I just went back and read this and I am not sure anyone will buy into this show as it does sound totally strange, but hang in there for at least a few episodes and I am sure you will be hooked. However, beware that it is pretty graphic at times and on more than one occasion I have had to cover my eyes or hide in my husband's shoulder! Happy watching!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Wordless Wednesday - Good Eggs

I took the photos early this morning while on a walk. Time was about 7:30am.

I think they are egg casings. They aren't banana slug eggs. I understand their eggs are clear.

If you have tons of extra time, visit wordless Wednesday.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Have you ever had one of those days when it doesn't matter how hard you try or how much you want it,
you just can't get caught up??
Yesterday was one of those days for me.
So...I missed the weekly meme over at Java's
(you can go and check out other answers, you know, if you want).
It was about midnight:45  last night  (after sewing on snaps for my oldest son's uniform name tag on both his summer shirts) when I realized I hadn't done it and I chose to just turn off the computer and go to bed.
So, today...I will give  you a video that the boys and I think is just too funny and silly almost for words.
Dole Banana has made some of the weirdest funniest commercials....not sure why, but there has been a huge push here to buy...bUY...BUY BANANAS!!!
The boys found this one that had been subtitled.
Banana Man.....
see if you can watch this without smiling.

Have a great week, everyone!!!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Saturday Snapshot - Good Egg

Found this partial bird egg on the ground, walked the egg over to the convertible top of my VW and snapped this photo.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Weekend Reading

I used to be a teacher, worked with kids for years, and was an editor for an educational publishing company, so "young adult" fiction appeals to me somewhat. I like to read what is the hottest topic amongst the teens. I wasn't obsessed with Twilight or Harry Potter, but I do think those authors did a great job with uncovering a niche that kids are fascinated with. So when I heard about the Hunger Games, I was intrigued because many schools are promoting these books because they contain elements of history, politics, and social issues (not romance, sorcery, and vampires!) I read all three in a week--they are super fast reads and actually pretty addicting. I thought the first book "Hunger Games" was fabulous and was disappointed by the other two. That said, I recommend this series to anyone, especially if you have teenage kids. It might be fun to have a book club with your kids and discuss how they feel about the issues in these books and what freedom means to them.

Quick plot summary: The main character is 16-year-old Katniss Everdeen (love the name!) who lives in the country of Panem, which once was North America. We don't learn much about what happened to the world in which we live in today, except that it was completely destroyed and the remaining country of Panem is divided into Districts that are ruled by the Capitol, which is run as a dictatorship, where the people have no freedom at all. Every year the Capitol hosts the Hunger Games, where children's names are drawn from a lottery and they compete to the death in an arena. It serves as a reminder to the Districts that the Capitol is in complete control. Katniss's father is dead, leaving her to take care of her mother and younger sister by hunting in the forbidden woods and trying to trade enough to keep her family fed. When her little sister's name gets drawn for the Hunger Games, she immediately takes her place instead. She is paired with Peeta, a boy from her District and off they go to prepare for the games. The rest of the series is Katniss and Peeta's struggle to stay alive and eventually to overthrow the Capitol. This book reads very much like a "1984" book for young adults.

My personal take on it: I don't think Suzanne Collins should win any awards for being a great author as the writing is subpar and at times frustratingly bare. However, she is obviously a masterful storyteller and extremely clever to create this believable science fiction world. Give it a chance, at least by reading the first book, to see what you think.

Monday, May 30, 2011

meet me NEXT monday...for the meme....

Due to the Memorial Day holiday, Java, the hostess of the regular MeetMeOnMonday meme, is spending the day with her family and there is no meme for us to do today.
I was going to try and find something else but, I have to admit that I'm tired and I hope to get to bed before midnight tonight. 
 Yeah, I know...good luck, right? (^-^)

I hope that you all
(especially those of you celebrating the Memorial Day weekend)
are having a good one. 
I hope that you are with your family and friends and celebrating what is
Please be safe.
And please....don't forget to give thanks
to those who gave the utmost of sacrifice
so we could have the freedom to live our lives the way we want.

*all images borrowed from GoogleImages....

Monday, May 23, 2011

Meet Me on Monday.....with Debbie

It's that day of the week, my friends....Java, over at NeverGrowingOld, has posted her
questions for the weekly meme she sponsors. 

1. What is your favorite bagel flavor?

OOh....I do love me a good bagel, but a cinnamon-raisin one is probably my 'bagel of choice'.
And....if you throw on some peanut butter and maybe a little honey?
Oh yeah. That'll do just fine.

2. If you had an extra $100 right now, what would you spend it on?
As the incredibly wet and grossly humid 'rainy season' is soon upon us,
I'm in dire need of a new
i would take that $100 and treat myself to
a cut...maybe a perm....possibly a whole new style.
3. What is the last thing that you felt guilt about doing?
There were three very small cookies left over from the ones I had made the other night for 
youngest son's undokai (sports day/ field day) yesterday. 
They were peanut butter-chocolate chip cookie bars.
They kicked some major cookie butt.
when i came home....
it was was raining...I dropped my bag outside in the water...
and I realized that most of the mini-tomatoes i had bought were well on their way to going bad and really did what any deserving mom would do...
I ate the cookies.
Before dinner.
Without anyone else noticing.
I just realized that I don't feel guilty at all about this.
Next question!! 

4. Soft serve ice cream or hand dipped?

Hand dipped.
Hands down.
5. Are you allergic to anything?
I've never had any kind of allergy testing done....and
other than the usual pollen sniffles and sneezes I get on occasion....
I can honestly say that
there is only one true thing I do believe I'm allergic to....

What about you?
Have a great week everyone.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

I'm A Gettin

A banana with Jesus on it in honor of May 21st rapture.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Weekend Reading

I am ashamed to admit that I just read this novel. Yes, I am like a year behind the times. I know all the craze surrounding this book has already died off, but they are releasing a movie of it this summer, so I thought hey, might as well offer up a review for anyone who didn't read this book last year! For those of you who don't know, there was a lot of controversy surrounding this book... it ranged from praise (it is a New York Times bestseller) to hatred (some people feel it is racist.) I thought I'd offer up my honest opinion in case anyone in the Sassy Banana world wants to know! So here goes:

Yes, this novel has faults. The biggest one being that the black maids speak in a very heavy dialect. Personally, I think this was written well and feel that author Kathryn Stockett allowed us to "hear" their voices. Some people feel it is too cliche and contrived. However, the white women in this book speak perfect grammatically correct English with not so much as a hint of Southern slang. I felt this at times to be a bit distracting and a bit unbelievable. That being said, the plot and characters and emotion behind this novel far outweigh any of the negatives.

This book takes place during the Civil Rights movement in Jackson, Mississippi. The story is told through the eyes of two African American maids--Aibileen and Minny, as well as the white "heroine" of the story--Miss Skeeter, a young college grad who is grasping to find her place in the world. Through the eyes of these three women, you are witness to the daily lives of Southern maids and their dealings with their white women employers. Skeeter bravely decides to write a book written as a series of narrative accounts of black maids and what it is like for them to work for these white women. The story progresses as Skeeter begins to build relationships with Aibileen and Minny as they tell her their stories, and as she simultaneously loses the friendships with the white women that were once her best friends.

There are brilliant moments of truth throughout this novel--my favorite scenes involve Celia, a young married woman desperate to fit in with the high society clique but simply cannot shake her poverty roots. Another moment that really made me think is when Skeeter tells her fiancee about the book she is writing. His response is: "I don't understand why you would do this. Why do you even... care about this, Skeeter?" That line really put the whole novel into perspective for me. It wasn't that the majority of the white characters were racist (although some definitely were), it was simply that they didn't care to change anything. The apathy of them all is what was the most disgusting.

Guess I have said enough. This book is a very quick read (I finished in one weekend) and whether you agree or disagree with the author's authority and knowledge to write such a book, I promise that it is a guaranteed page turner. Check out more about the upcoming film here.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Wordless Wednesday - Curiosity

My dog looking out of the car window. Photo taken May 17 on my way to work.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Fair Trade

Go Bananas for Fair Trade
When it comes to protecting the environment, there's a reason why fair trade bananas are the best with @benandjerrys

[Photo source: here]

Meet Debbie (and others!) on Monday...

It's Monday evening here...the house is quiet and I think that Dr. House is about to start so I'll get this week's meme from Java over at Never Growing Old up and on its way.
If you want to answer the questions, please do.
Getting to know each other is what makes this whole blogging thing just a
little bit better.

Here we go:

1. Crunchy or smooth peanut butter?

*and really....we have this tub, right now, in our's the one we jokingly refer to as
"the jar as big as Koji's head"  jar of peanut doesn't come
any smaller at CostCo.*

2. What is your favorite color Rose?
Though roses of yellow or pink will make me happy,
sterling ones? Yeah. they make me swoon.

3. Do you remove your shoes when you walk into your home?
Do not take this sarcastic, but...hello?
I live in Japan.
In the 20 years I've lived here, I can honestly tell you that maybe...maybe ...I've left my shoes on less than 10 times. I was probably wearing lace-up shoes and I had left my coffee or cell phone on the table, I always said an apology to whatever Gods were standing over me.  But, as I'm pretty sure they understood how I feel about my coffee and cell phone, I've been let off the hook.
The entrance way in our house....

4. What is your favorite season?

5. Approximately how many hours a day do you spend blogging?
The answer to this question varies.
My family will say "too many"....and sometimes, I think, "not enough".
Actually....these days, I've become a bit of a slacker, so it's probably closer
to an hour or so a day.

Have a great Monday....and may it be a sign for what the week will bring.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Saturday Snapshot - Beach Town Drama

I love taking Bella to the dog beach. We have a great time. This weekend the weather is supposed to rain. Darn it. This photo was taken just last Saturday.

Today (if you are reading on Saturday, May 14th) is a big homecoming for a local American Idol hero, James Durbin. So sad he got the boot off the show - shocking (at least to me, and no reason to watch the show any further - patooey!)

Don't you think that one guy remaining looks like Howdy Doody and GWB mixed?

photo courtesy topidolblog

Speaking of AmHairIcan...
My niece is opening up a hair salon. We've been trying to come up with catchy names. I think the name Am-HAIR-I-can I Doll is catchy though really, really dumb.

If you have any suggestions for hair salon names, post in the comments. I hope I get more comments on the salon name than I got on my Wordless Wednesday post concerning dog slobber. *snort*

Friday, May 13, 2011

Weekend Reading

So... I was a bit hesitant to suggest this as weekend reading because I am still not quite sure how I feel about this novel. My husband no longer wants me purchasing books as we have nowhere to put them and I haven't made the switch to a Nook or Kindle because the thought of them still breaks my heart. I was left with one option--the local library. I really wanted to read Jennifer Egan's A Visit from the Goon Squad, but alas they did not have it in stock. So I settled for Look at Me.

The concept behind this novel is really intriguing. Charlotte, a 30-something fashion model living in New York, has a horrific car accident and her face is reconstructed. She is nearly unrecognizable to even her closest friends, which is obviously upsetting to someone whose face made her famous. The second major plot line is that of a teenage Charlotte, the daughter of the model's former best friend, and her relationships with her crazed uncle obsessed with the Industrial Revolution, and a mysterious older man that she ends up in a relationship with. There is a detective/mystery feel to the story as the two Charlotte's lives start to intertwine. All of that makes for a fascinating read... however... I am still not sold. There are a lot of extra characters in the novel that just kind of seem to be there. They get a lot of time/words/action in the story but I feel like there is no depth to any of them. After hemming and hawing as to whether to blog about this novel, I decided I would, in hopes that someone else has read this and can offer up their opinion as well.

As a side note: I just started reading The Help by Kathryn Stockett and it is amazing! I will be sure to offer up a review next week!

For Your Weekend Breakfast

Banana Sour Cream Muffins with Pecans

photo and recipe courtesy of Lemon Drop.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Banana Cream Tiramisu

Image courtesy of Heather's Dish

An afternoon (here in California) pick-me-up.

Tiramisu with bananas or Banana Cream Tiramisu.

A Monday meme on Tuesday because Blogger and Debbie's computer were conspiring against her all day Monday

Since the hostess of our usual meme was taking a very well deserved break on Mother's Day, we were left to our own devises on what to do.
I hadn't done a photo meme in such a long time and found one that I tweeked a bit liked and figured it would be good to do. 
If you do this on your own blog, please  link it in your comment so we can go and see what you did.
That's the fun part of memes....finding out about your "friends".

1. Type your answer to each of the questions below
into Google Image Search (my photo place of choice) or some type of search engine for pictures
2. Using only the first page of results pick one image that best fits your answer. You cannot search forever for a certain image....pick one from what they have on that first page.

1. What is your first name?
2. What is your favorite food?
3. What high school did you go to?
**funny enough...this really IS my high school!!!
4. What is your favorite color?
5. Who is your celebrity crush?
6. What is your favorite drink?
if i'm drinking one with alcohol, then.....
but, non-alcohol type drink would be this....

hot or cold....i do both, but....and here is where i'm a bit of a 'green tea snob'---
no sugar. no citrus. no additives of any kind.
and please...if you use a tea bag, it's one you have put in the loose green tea yourself.
7. What is your dream vacation?
8. What is your favorite dessert?

9. What do you want to be when you grow up?
**that's 'comfortably rich', by the way!!
10. What is one word that describes you?
Have a great week, everyone!!