Thursday, March 31, 2011

Weekend Reading

Confession: I have read Jane Eyre at least 10 times. I own about 5 different editions. This drives my husband bonkers. "It takes up a whole row on the bookshelf!" he argues. Yes, it does. But, each edition has different footnotes, different critical essays, different pencil marks from me from different times in my life. This novel has grown with me over the years. Every time I read it, I uncover more. My heart fills with emotions... anxiety, torment, anticipation, and good old-fashioned romance. If you haven't read it, it is a must. Even for guys! It explores religion, poverty, society, women, the struggles of growing up, etc. The line: "Reader, I married him" makes me grin every time! I know the above image is not a book cover... it is the movie poster for the new film adaptation. It stars Mia Wasikowska, whom I loved in The Kids Are Alright and Alice in Wonderland. I am hoping to see it this weekend as it finally made it to a theater close to my home. I will post a review once I do, but for now, check out the trailer here.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Wordless Wednesday - Two-Eyed Viola

A two-eyed viola, aka Viola ocellata, (having ocelli, or eyes.) Photo taken in my backyard last night around 6:30 pm with a glass of J. Lohr cabernet sauvignon. 2008. A lovely combination though I noticed the camera was a bit unsteady. Wonder what that was!?

"Respecting nature, nurturing balance."

Wordless Wednesday blog hop here.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Monday, March 28, 2011

mellow yellow monday

Mellow Yellow Monday

On Movies - the insanity!

March Madness got Molly at the Bumbles Blog to thinking about madness or rather insanity. Our task this week is to consider films in which insanity is featured. Turns out that once I started thinking about this, I recalled a flood of films. This is a popular theme it seems. With the exception of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, I'm going to focus on films which depict a true story about a woman who is thought to be "abnormal" or even insane at some point in her life -- a painter, a writer, an actress and a survivor of horrific childhood abuse.

First, I have to start with One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest (1975) because I loved both the film and the book.

But now lets turn our attention to some films about women who were considered "abnormal."

Séraphine (2008) I just recently watched this film. It's beautiful to look at and the acting, especially by the actress in the title role is mesmerizing. Here's the trailer:

A familiar (and true) story of an unusually gifted women who is institutionalized for eight years: An Angel at My Table (1990). Fantastic film!

Another film based (loosely, some would argue) on a true story about Frances Farmer, a gifted actress who is also sent to a mental institution where she endures some rather harsh treatments and abuses: Frances (1982).

And lastly, Sybil (1976). This made-for-TV film created increased public awareness of multiple personality disorder similar to what The Karen Carpenter Story did for anorexia.

[Cross-posted at Wild Mountain]

monday, na good to meme....

Yeah....okay....sorry about that.  It's Monday night here and honey, can we talk?
It's been a long one....that goodness there was a grande chai latte and a strawberry cake pop
 in the middle of the madness!!

This whole meme thing is a great way to start my blogging week.
 (thanks Java, who says she's Never Growing Old)  Sure, I don't get the questions until I get home, but....I'm hoping you'll just hang for awhile somewhere else until I get mine going!!
(but, then, you come back!!)
Thanks for that!!

Here we go.....


1. Crunchy or soft tacos?
Oh, how I wish this were an easy one to answer.
oh yeah.
Now, would be good.

2. Do you scrapbook?
Do I scrapbook?
Do I own more scrap booking stuff than any three people actually need?
Why....yes.  Yes, I do.
And we're really not going to talk about it.
3. Do you take any daily medications?
No, I do not.
 (she typed, knocking on wood, which really isn't that easy to do).

4. What is your favorite sound?
I know this might be considered a corny answer of the sounds I love to hear the most is the sound of my boys laughing.
Yesterday and tonight, we watched Despicable Me and we have decided that this is one of THE funniest movies...ever.  I was doing dishes earlier while they watched and the two of them giggling
was so wonderful to hear.
 I don't mind that this looks like one of those movies we will watch again...and again...and again. 
It's a win-win deal in my book. 

5. Where were you born?
Colorado....born and raised.
( the part of the state where it looks as if God just kind of ran out of mountains...but still remembered to make it beautiful.)

So...what about you? 
What are YOUR answers this week?

Have a good one, my lovely Banasas de Sass.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

The View from Here

I enter the forest like into a temple
There is a purple thistle
at the entrance
and the moss on the Alder tree
is so soft.

Spiders made webs
on the path
between Sword Ferns:
connecting and trapping.

I wait for my senses
to get adjusted to a different world:
light is diffused,
in moisture, sounds,
mushrooms, soil.

This is the song of a Banana Slug:

To pause,
to dream,
to wait for a vision;
this is the dance
of a Banana Slug.

by Hirsh Diamant

Friday, March 25, 2011

Weekend Reading

For this weekend reading, I decided to recommend something that I myself haven't read! I was completely inspired last weekend when a very dear friend of mine brilliantly acted in an adaptation of this play. This play was written by Eve Ensler and was originally performed as a solo act by Ensler herself. Since then, it has exploded into an international production. Now, there is a worldwide movement called V-Day, which raises money for women's anti-violence groups through productions of the play. (The rendition I saw donated 100% of the profits for V-Day). The play is made up of various stories by women of all races and ages. It is clever, witty, sad, honest, and eye-opening. It deals with rape, sex, love, menstruation, childbirth, terminology, etc. Being a mom myself, I teared up during the childbirth monologue. They also managed to have the whole audience chanting the dreaded C-word. (Something I don't think I have ever uttered out loud!) So get out there and either read this book or attend a local production and raise money and awareness to protect women all over the world!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Buddha Banana says

“Ten thousand flowers in spring

the moon in autumn,

a cool breeze in summer,

snow in winter.

If your mind isn’t clouded by unnecessary things,

this is the best season of your life.”
~ Wu-men

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Monday, March 21, 2011

meet me on deb

good morning, my friends.  happy monday.  actually it is monday evening as i type this.  today was a holiday here...shunbun no celebrate the spring equinox.  on this day, we go to our family graves or places where our relatives' bones are kept (in our case, a temple and yes, i did say bones) and we pray. 
here at the banana de sass, i will be doing the meet me on monday meme that is posted by java over at Never Going to Grow Old we go for this week:

1. What jewelry do you wear 24/7?
     i do tend to wear a lot of jewelry....necklaces, bracelets, earrings, but...there are two pieces i wear 24/7 (or pretty gosh darn close to that) wedding band and toe rings.  these are only taken off if, when we go, the sulphur is too strong in the hot springs....other than that. they are on.

2. Do you twirl your spaghetti or cut it?
   i twirl it, baby.....with a big spoon.

3. How many siblings do you have?
   technically....i'm an only child.  my parents divorced soon after i was born, but....both remarried and siblings were born. brothers were blessed with me as a big sister born....

and then my dad remarried and i finally got the little sisters i wanted so badly...

funny.....even though they are, i've never referred to them as my half-brothers or half-sisters....they are my brothers and sisters....'nuf said.

4. Were you named after anyone?
  i always wanted to have been named after someone famous....but....i don't think i was.  my dad's middle name is lee....mine is leigh, so i guess i was named after him.  and no....leigh does not rhyme with sleigh.

5. Coke or Pepsi?
  unless i had too much beer or wine the night before or i'm about to have a migraine, PEPSI is my drink of choice.  actually...i'm quite slightly addicted to the zero calorie diet drink that Pepsi has here....

do you have this particular drink where YOU are?  i'm not a big fan of diet drinks, but this one? oh yeah. gooood stuff!

have a great week everyone!!!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

banana slug couch

Now that we've been living in this virtual space for a little while, seems time to add some furniture. Think I've found the perfect couch.

Chester, the banana slug couch.
Read the touching story of this amazing couch at Orange Juice Etc.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Saturday Snapshot: Slug

A slow moving Banana slug on a moss-covered wall made of railroad ties.

Note: Saturday Snapshots is hosted by Alyce.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Friday Fill-Ins

1. I love to go to Costco because that's where I'm sure to find a giant container of organic blueberries.

2. It's not the quantity of blog followers that matters - it’s the quality!

3. The last thing I had to eat was cold scrambled eggs seasoned with Herbes de Provence.

4. _____ is no longer essential.

5. Please take a moment to recall random acts of knidness.

6. Your looks, smarts and sassitude have brought you this far.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to watching movies, tomorrow my plans include lazing about and Sunday, I want to drink hot beverages!

[Hosted by Janet]

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Buddha Banana says

“Your mind will answer most questions if you learn to relax and wait for the answer.”
~William S. Burroughs

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Did you know...

Bananas were introduced to the United States at the 1876 Philadelphia Centennial Celebration, where they were sold wrapped in foil for 10 cents each.

[Source: Health Diaries]

Monday, March 14, 2011

Meet Me On deb.

Good morning, everyone....and actually, as it is almost 1:00 in the morning here, that "good morning" works for me, too...except it's Tuesday!!
 I'm going to jump on the meme for today that's over at Never Growing Old


1. Do you have a fireplace in your home?
   No, I do not.  I wish I did but....fireplaces are not things you find very often here in Japan.  Houses that built in a "western" style might have them, but....I seriously doubt they are actually ever used. 

2. Can you drive a stick shift?

Oh yeah!!  After hours and hours of baby sitting and cleaning offices when I was 16 years old, I bought my first car....a 1968 VW Beetle.  Though I had been driving for a couple of years (hello? country girl, who?), I was usually with my Mom and she had an automatic.  My very best of friends (who was 2 years older) also had a VW and she basically taught me how to drive a stick shift.
Even today, I'd much rather have a stick shift...there's just something about the power you get when you shift gears...and, to be honest....I'd love to have a VW again. Really. I would.

3. How many computers are in your home?
We have hub and I both have computers in our rooms/offices...and I have this little notebook that I bought the last time I was "home"'s great because I'm able to be in the same room with the boys here at the kitchen table...them, doing homework and me, blogging/hanging on FB doing MY homework.

4. Are your taxes done yet? Do you do them yourself?
Oh them turned in last week.  In Japan, our tax deadline is actually, today...March 14.  My husband does them because I'm not sure that there is an EZ form can't read Japanese well enough to even begin to attempt to do something as detailed as taxes....fill out a credit card application? Sure.  Information at a doctor's office? No problem.  Taxes?  No thank you!

5. What is your favorite meal of the day?
I was actually going to say any meal that I don't personally have to cook, but I'm pretty sure that's not the kind of answer that works in memes such as this.  So, I guess I'll say breakfast is my favorite meal.  It's not so much what I have to eat, it's the fact that it is the the quiet of the house after everyone has gone about their day...usually with my (and I'm not making this up) peanut butter and banana toast and coffee!!! (^-^)/*  I like that little bit of peaceful before I have to get out there and seize my own day.
*since it's not morning, i had to borrow this picture from GoogleImages*

Have a good week everyone. 

spring break officially begins, when?

Balcony view of the Gulf of Mexico?

A walk on the beach?

Kids playing in the sand?

Ice chest packed?

Yeahhh. Now we're talkin' spring break.

And no tar balls. Even after the BP Gulf disaster. Remember the estimated millions of gallons? Where did it all go? It's amazing. I thought our coast would be ruined but Texas saw little to no oil. We even enjoyed a shrimp boil last night.

How about it, readers? What signals spring break for you?

Sunday, March 13, 2011

On Movies - bookish

This week's theme at The Bumbles Blog is right up our alley...we're talking about films that feature books -- not films based on books, however. Woo-wee, some of my favorites! Here are my top three in chronological order.

  1. Misery (1990) Starring James Cann and Kathy Bates. Working while on deadline is often a form of torture for authors, add an obsessed fan and it's taken to a new level.
  2. Stranger Than Fiction (2006) Starring Will Farrell and Emma Thompson. Farrell's character finds his life has become the plot of a novel whose author is struggling with writer's block and pressure from her publisher.
  3. The Jane Austen Book Club (2007) The members of a book club dedicated to Jane Austen novels find their lives following some of the same themes found in the books they discuss. 
Be sure to check out what the rest of the gang comes up with at the Bumbles.

musical interlude

Sing Me to Sleep
Fran Healy with Neko Case

Banana Man

I was just perusing the Internet for banana material earlier tonight (don't want to do dishes, who?)
and my youngest son, who was sitting at the table with me at the time, mentioned Banana Man.
I had forgotten about Banana Man.
Shingo Katori (Banana Man) is a member of one of Japan's biggest and most popular 'boy bands' and
Dole has invested big money in their new banana campaign using him.

Banana Man. 
I think I like him.
Have a good sunday everyone!!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Saturday Snapshot: Georgio!

Georgio doing what cats do best. [Riomaggiore, Italy]

Saturday Snapshots is hosted each week by Alyce @ At Home With Books.

a word of two of thanks and then hopefully a smile...

Hi, everyone.
Let me make a quick introduction....I'm Debbie Kuroiwa (kuroiwa = blackrock) and I live on the island of Kyushu in the southern part of Japan.  I have received so many concerned messages about my and my family's safety since the earthquake and horrific tsunami on Friday afternoon....I can honestly say that I have never felt so loved in such a long time.
We are safe.
We are far enough away that most people here didn't even know about the quake until they got home after work.  All of us here have been watching reports on TV and it's just so devastating.
We are saying prayers for those in the hardest hit areas and also counting our blessings that we are in a safe place.
Please send your good thoughts and prayers to those who need them....the recovery is going to be a long process, but, the Japanese are a strong people....recovery will happen.
I'm in need of something light this evening and I thought that, even though this has absolutely nada to do with bananas....I'm hoping it will make you smile (I know it does me, every time I think about it).
It's a blogpost from last week, but personally, I think it's a good one.
Plus, with all the images of Japan that you are seeing everytime you turn on the tv, this might help
refresh your senses a bit.
For me, it's been an escape, of sorts.

Japan is an amazing country and wonderful place to visit.
Her culture is so interesting, but sometimes, the best stuff is what you might not actually see when you come for a short visit.

This is where I come in.
I'm considering myself an
 "instructor in all things WTH"
 here in this land I call "home".

Ohhhhhhh Japan.....
If someone were to say "Japan" to you right now (like I just did),
what images would come to you?

Mt. Fuji?
Perhaps Mt. Fuji in the spring and and some sakura (cherry blossoms)?


How about station officials smooshing people into the trains of Tokyo?

Maybe you are more sports minded and Sumo came to mind.
*This is one of my all-time favorite pictures of the great Konnishiki.

Or maybe, your mind went another direction *thank you, Hollywood* and you had this lovely image...

Or....hey...did you imagine this?

Bet you didn't see that one coming, did you?
Which seems to make the Japanese kancho even funnier to those doing it....
the surprise attack.
The kancho.
According to the good people over at :
(yes, strangely enough, there IS a website!!)
Kancho is the ancient art of clasping your hands together and poking someone... in the rear. Kancho is not meant to be vulgar or mean, in fact it is rarely used in an antagonistic way, like a nipple twister, or a head noogie, but rather as a kind of affection, similar to athletes patting each other's butts. Foreign teachers in Japan are often the target of Kancho. This is partly due to their celebrity status in schools, as many kids want to be the one who Kanchoed the English teacher.

(Go ahead, when you're done here, click on the link
and learn more about this than what you will probably ever need .)

By the way, the boys told me that you really need to say "Kancho!!" in a loud voice when you are doing it to make it, I guess, the perfect kancho.

I guess, if you think about it, boys and men in the western world are forever punching each other, wrestling around, giving snuggies/wedgies to each other, or goosing someone...come to think of it, one of my brothers has a habit of pulling me in for a hug and then sticking my nose in his armpit.
Kancho fits right in.
Now...just to make this word just a liiiiiiiittle bit funnier....
the word kancho, in the dictionary has a few meanings:

1: (giving an) enema;
2: (Slang) prank where the anal region of another person is poked with index fingers
3: government office; authorities ; superintendent priest; chief abbot; superintendent; director;
curator; chief librarian

Seriously....can you think of any English word that is funnier than this???

At the community centers, when a class starts for the first time, the head of the
community center (the kancho) usually comes into the class to welcome the students and give information to them about the center.
I remember as if it were yesterday the first time this happened....first day of class, new students, the center officials came into the room and the kancho was introduced.
"Eh?  What the hell??"
I'm a pretty smart cookie so, it didn't take long to put 2 and 2 together to figure out that the kancho I knew, was not the same kind of kancho giving a speech to all my students.

That was almost 7 years ago, but even today, when I hear this word?
Oh, yeah....the 10-year-old boy in my psyche
has a very hard time keeping a straight face.

One more thing....for Issei's birthday, he got a t-shirt from some
good friends of ours that used to live here.

On the front was this:
Lock and load, baby.  We're ready.
In case you are wondering....
yes....we all want one of these t-shirts and will probably order them soon.

*Thanks GoogleImages for all the pictures, except that last one.

God bless you go, right now...and hug someone.
It's good for the soul.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Weekend Reading

My latest adventure is reading a book called "Ecology of a Cracker Childhood." I once recall kissing a carnie so you know trash is in my blood. And now I can actually read about my peeps in a book. I'm not from the south or Georgia. I don't have a junkyard on my property - though one person's junkyard is another person's treasure trove. Or so I've been told.

I've been reading more of these nature-y books about land, pine cones, sky, forest duff, ecology - maybe nature, part memoir, mostly someone paying much closer attention to their surroundings. I live in a remote forested area and try to pay attention though I've yet to find enough taking place to write about. Perhaps a banana slug book is in order. I never knew these books existed for pleasure reading. Always assumed a book about the forest would be for(est) a class or an expedition. I'm finding these books compelling to read. Then I find my recommendations on Amazon in the area of spiritual direction. From crackers to spirituality. Who'd a thunk it!?

My interest in this kind of writing started with books by the author Kathleen Dean Moore, a philosophy professor who lives and works in Oregon. I was not too keen on philosophy either though I understood it and always did well in class. I started reading a book she wrote called "Wild Comfort." I own most of her books now and not a one of them mention the word crackers.

With the word cracker in the title, I somehow knew the book would be a winner, not because crackers are food but because I hail from a long line of po-white trash aka crackers. I've read up to about chapter 7. There's not too much to report except the book reads like a memoir that took place in a junkyard with chapters thrown in about the  and their demise. I can hardly wait to get to the cracker part.

The Politician

When the lurid news came out about John Edwards and his infidelity while campaigning to be elected president, I was disappointed. I had actually raised money for his campaign believing him to be someone who would take into account the needs of average working Americans. As details of his personal scandal were revealed, it wasn't long before someone emerged who claimed to have the best juicy details, including a sex tape. This person had also figured out that he should quickly write a book to maximize his ability to cash in on all the public interest. After seeing Andrew Young on various shows trying to justify his behavior in the scandal as well as hocking his 'tell all' book, I was disgusted by him. The last thing that seemed fair, was to have this opportunist make a dime off this embarrassing escapade in American politics.

Although I did recently read Young's book against my earlier thoughts, I'm glad to say at least I didn't buy a copy of it. The copy I read was from the library. Not a dime from me!

Political waters are teeming with sharks with sociopathic tendencies. This book tells the story of the damage that can ensue when forces bring together three such bad bananas: John Edwards, Andrew Young and Rielle Hunter.

You may want to read this book if you've ever worked on a political campaign. You're sure to recognize the archetypal  roles and personalities depicted. Otherwise, it might be wise to steer clear of The Politician just like you'd instinctively avoid any other manipulative and opportunistic bad banana in your life.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

musical interlude

Buddha Banana says

“Zen is not a philosophy, it is poetry. It does not propose, it simply persuades. It does not argue, it simply sings its own song." ~ Osho

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Monday, March 7, 2011

On Movies - a weighty subject

This week's theme at The Bumbles blog is the role weight plays in film. So, we're thinking about those films with characters who are struggling with their weight, whether it's trying to lose pounds or gain them. This is a challenging theme, especially for major films as this seems to be a minor theme reserved for supporting cast members, i.e. the over-weight side kick, male or female. Television shows/movies approach weight issues in leading characters much more forthrightly. Here are some examples from film, cable TV and TV:

An obvious choice - Bridget Jones's Diary!

Big girl panties.

Bridget: Resolution #1: Uggg - will obviously lose 20 lbs. #2: Always put last night's panties in the laundry basket. Equally important: will find nice sensible boyfriend and stop forming romantic attachments to any of the following: alcoholics, workaholics, sexaholics, commitment-phobics, peeping toms, megalomaniacs, emotional f*ckwits, or perverts. Will especially stop fantasizing about a particular person who embodies all these things.
Black Swan - As an ambitious ballerina, Portman's character is never seen eating real food. Once she is named to the big role, her mother buys a huge cake to celebrate but Portman only allows herself to take a tiny swipe of the icing. The implied eating disorder featuring extreme deprivation is only explicit in this scene and is just one aspect of the main character's disturbed psychological functioning.

The Karen Carpenter Story (1989) - a made for TV movie that brought anorexia and bulimia into the public's consciousness.

Speaking of over-weight side kicks, the Rhoda TV show was a spin off of one such character from the Mary Tyler Moore Show. Rhoda was Mary's "weight-conscious" friend.

Kirstie Alley's TV series Fat Actress was made for cable TV's Showtime. Her weight is the main character in this show.

Can you think of any movies, TV movies or TV shows that have portrayed a male character's struggle with his weight?

Sunday, March 6, 2011

fashionista banana

Andy Warhol's iconic banana inspired these shoes by Royal Elastics.