Monthly Archives: April 2008

Word of the Day:召 我が ショートパンツ

We are having a great time with the visiting Japanese students. They are seeing lots of historical sites around Boston, trying new video games foods and killing us at ping pong. In the process, we are all discovering a little about each other’s culture. Additionally, they are learning some new English vocabulary and we are learning a little Japanese. Very little.

So far Lewis has learned to say “You are drunk,(yo tey ma)” “penis (inkei)” and “I have diarrhea (Geri wo siteimasu).” Yesterday was Yuki’s birthday. I made a Boston cream pie (the official dessert of Massachusetts) and frosted it with chocolate icing. Lewis put the frosting on his finger and pretended to pull it out of his butt. Very attractive. Yuki was fooled – for only a second – then hilarity ensued.

Good times in America!

Just in time for Mother’s Day…. my book!



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Word of the Day:Ill

For the past two days, I have been really sick. Chills, fever, sore throat…the whole bit. Now it is morphing into a hacking cough and runny nose. Just in time!

The Japanese students arrive tomorrow (see previous post) and I feel ill-prepared. I did set up a cot in Nathan’s room — the very same cot that collapsed on last year’s visiting Japanese student. I am hoping that the bottle caps that I wedged into the frame will keep it standing for the ten days that they will be here. Yuki and Dai are 13 and 14 years old. This is their big adventure and they are having it at our house.

I need to set up the badminton set as per an earlier request from Dai: “I want to play badminton with host family.” I know from past years’ experience that the students who come and stay with us don’t just want to play badminton or ping pong or clarinet with host family. They want to cream, dominate and whip host family’s butt. And they do. Lewis has a term for it…”ill” As in: “I am ill at badminton.” Because I expect Dai to be exceptionally ill at badminton, I have reminded Lewis to be a good sport.

The Japanese are also very big on gifts. The students usually arrive with gifts for everyone in the family: sake sets, chopsticks, candies…all kinds of cool stuff. Everything is artfully wrapped in wonderful paper. Aesthetically, the Japanese have it way over us.

I do have Red Sox caps for our guests, but I will not wrap them. I might fill them up with indigenous candies – like Necco wafers and Boston Baked Beans, which taste terrible, but at least are made here in Boston.

Marshmallow Fluff is also made here and it tastes good, but it would be messy business inside a baseball cap.

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Word of the Day:Green

Today is Earth Day and I am celebrating by driving walking to the grocery store to buy salad greens for dinner. While I walk, I will feel a tiny bit smug because I will carry my groceries home in a reusable, eco-friendly, tote bag. The supermarket sells these bags for 99 cents.

To encourage people to use the bags, the cashier is supposed to take 5 cents off your grocery bill for every plastic bag you don’t use. That means that if I fill my eco-friendly bag twenty times, it will have paid for itself. If I use it 1,000,000 times I can buy myself a Land Rover.

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Word of the Day: Mail

It rained a few days ago and the skylight in my upstairs hallway leaked water down three flights of stairs.

My husband, who is only marginally handy, taped up some plastic sheeting that directs the water into a bucket – that’s fine as an emergency measure, but it’s a strictly temporary solution. Although I have to admit, it gives the house a kind of Goth ambience.

What we need is a guy with a big ladder and a willingness to climb it. Lewis volunteered immediately. He said that it’s easy to get onto the roof from his bedroom window. He does it all the time.


Usually, it’s my mailman, Bob, I turn to for recommendations regarding this kind of thing.

First of all, he’s a guy. Secondly, he knows everything that’s going on in the neighborhood and who’s leaking what and where. So, today when he delivered the bills mail, he was happy to point out that roofers were climbing all over a house just one block away. “Have them fix your skylight,” he said.

Bob, my actual mailman

I went over, yelled up to the guys on my neighbor’s roof and in an hour, a burly guy with a big, long ladder came to my house, climbed up, slapped some silicon caulking into the cracks of the skylight and for $50, the problem was solved. Thanks, Bob!

Special Delivery: Just now, the UPS man threw a package through the front door and almost wiped out the dog. My book! It’s the first author copy of my book!

My fantasy mailman

Bob, my actual mailman


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Word of the Day:Dough

It was a weekend of wonderful food. I am fortunate to live in a town that has zillions of places to eat and to have friends and neighbors who are fabulous cooks. Here’s what was on the menu:

Friday Night: Take out Pad Thai and Yellow curry chicken.

Saturday Morning: Pancakes with Lewis

Saturday at M&K’s House: Cippino with clams, King crab and shrimp, great bread, terrific salad. wine…rhubard crisp…more wine…

Sunday at Neighbor’s House: Braised pork chops with apples and bacon, swiss chard, roasted brussel sprouts and fingerling potatoes. Fresh mangoes and ginger ice cream for dessert. And it was a school night!

Now, not only do I owe people reciprocal dinners (and that’s a lot of culinary pressure), but a winter of eating well has me wishing that there was more than a month before the warm weather comes and I am forced me to expose my doughy thighs to the world.

So I’m taking action. in pursuit of thin thighs, I walked to my accountant’s office this morning. Tomorrow is tax day and we owe dough.

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Word of the Day:Juggle

I just got back from the Erma Bombeck Writer’s Workshop in Dayton, Ohio. I was hoping to get ideas about ways to make this blog a better place. And I did. I also met a bunch of writers, would-be-writers, comics, a former border guard and a breast juggler…as well as Garrison Keillor and Mike Peters, the cartoonist who pens “Mother Goose and Grimm.” In the process, I shamelessly flogged my soon-to-be published book by handing out postcards that look like this:

Book Cover Image

Thanks to Bruce Colthart, who knew how to take my vague concept and turn it into something that looks terrific. Send your comments to him at

But, I know you want to get back to the breast juggler. During the first moments of the conference, while I was waiting to register and pick up my nametag, I struck up a conversation with a nice, matronly-looking woman. She told me that she had just come from a festival where she was a breast juggler. Not wanting to appear naive or stupid, I simply collected my nametag and found other people to sit with at the luncheon. I figured I could Google it later.

And I did. But, in all of the internet, I couldn’t find a reference to Breast Juggling. I found entertainers who juggle silicon breast implants, juggling balls that look like breasts and juggling festivals that benefit breast cancer research – but no one who actually juggles their breasts. Mind you, she had an ample, matronly build, so I figured it was possible.

And I like to think that it’s true.

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