Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Spring cleaning. Plenty of good eat pics. Branden’s JHS observation day. Noah’s elementary school observation day. And the passing of Prince...

Remember how somewhere... 2 posts down, I said on a Saturday (was this 2 Saturdays ago?) Noah and I finished up his deep cleaning... Spring clean up of his room. Anyway this pic is from then. His closet is super duper clean (I know I already said that 2 posts below). His entire room is so clean like seriously wowsa type clean. Smaller clothes have been given away. His old homework and art that he wanted to save and I wanted to save... we kept in his keep sake box and the stuff he didn't want we tossed. We did a major Spring clean in his room and it's nice to get one room scratched off the list. : )  Hard work should be highlighted, so that's why I am most definitely mentioning it. : )

One random dinner. American style fried pork chops, these are nice and thick, but not too thick. With some noodles on the side about to happen when I snapped this pic.

Fettuccini noodles are a total favorite around here. : )

We had this with a salad and garlic breadsticks on the side. 

Monday, and the boys took leftovers for their packed school lunch that day. Three American fried pork chops sliced for easy eating and Bran took 2 of those, since he's bigger/older. Garlic breadsticks. Yum. What I do is, I buy Japanese hot dog buns and pull apart and spread down some Lawry's garlic butter spread and it's super easy and so good and the buns are so soft so they're perfect! : ) A perfect short cut if you live in Japan. : ) Little Halos. Some broccoli. 

Just a simple but very filling packed lunch the boys took to school. 

I baked some peanut butter cookies from scratch. I only baked half of them and froze the rest of the dough for later in the week. I baked the rest the day the guy came down to dismantle our playground. I gave him some cookies and a drink while he and Noboru were both outside. Of course Noboru had some too. But I baked the other half that day specifically, so Noah could take a fresh cookie in his packed lunch on Saturday (the observation day) Noah needed a packed lunch that day.

Another pic of a random dinner night. Baked ravioli and a fresh sliced and buttered baguette from the bakery. We had some yummy salad on the side too.
Last Monday, exactly 1 week ago from yesterday, I decided to spend 2 hours in my living room. Cleaning. Organizing. Dusting.Vacuuming. In winter, we have the central heating on 24/7. In summer we have the central air conditioning on 24/7. However in Spring and Fall, I really love to keep the windows open and feel like fresh country air blowing in and out of our home. So, I like to clean the windowsills. And that area near the screen. I don't like dirt and debris from there blowing into my house and it seems to collect there once a month. So, in Spring and Fall, with having the windows open, I am like a windowsill nazi. I wipe mine down... once a week. Honestly sometimes twice a week in Spring and Fall. 

Dusting everything wood with Pledge. And Windex-ing everything else like windows or TV screen, computer screen. Dusting the ceiling fans. Dusted books. Last Monday was totally living room day at our house. : )

Latest Fanta flavor. Italian Lime!


We really like this! It's not too overly sweet. Great flavor.  

BrannyB's Crocs came in the mail. Thanks Crocs.jp. 

In the retro style. 


This poster hangs outside Branden's 9th grade classroom, because his grade will be going on a 3 day trip to Kyoto soon-ish. Can't say when... but the kids are so excited! : )

Pic of Ru outside Bran's classroom. Noboru and I went to Bran's observation day, last Wednesday, April 20th, 2016. 

Observing the English class. Branden's teacher holding up the cards. Branden's teacher is such an excellent teacher! I know I always say this, but it's true she was our same teacher last year too. I can totally understand why all the kids love being in her class! She's smart, she's has a lot to teach. But she's so funny. She's so down to earth, that no wonder the kids love her so much! The other 9th grade teacher? Meh! Honestly though. He's mean. He screams. The kids are absolutely terrified of him. I'm sure he's a nice guy. But geeze, the kids just can't thrive in an environment like that. Poor kids in the other class. : ( So glad Branden has the teacher he has! She's truly a fantastic teacher! We love her! She's just the best! : )  The gossip, I hear is.... that the "good kids"  you know...the kids who want to learn... were chosen to be with the awesome lady teacher. Bran's teacher. And the kids who are more rowdy or wild... were chosen to go in the mean guys class. For the discipline. @_@ Is this true? I don't know, all I know is what I heard from some mom's. It sort of makes me think that's true though. There are no rowdy kids in Bran's class. And we all know Bran's not rowdy at all. He gets fantastic grades and loves school and loves learning. Every report card he has ever received has said...how respectful Branden is and how polite he is. Noah's the same way.  Anyway the class we got to watch was really fun. 
Thursday, a day after Bran's observation day, we took Bran to get some new glasses. Bran has been telling me since the end of January, he wants new glasses. He says now days everyone one is wearing black plastic frames. Blah blah blah yada yada yada. Oh and he has been telling me, non shiny ones. Flat colored frames. For me, I need a visual. I hadn't seen them. And January was super busy with us trying to prepare for Noboru leaving to Atlanta. And then Feb and March Noboru was totally gone in the US.  But, yes I did make a mental note of it...Bran wants new glasses. Check and check. But again, I had no idea what style...I just need the visual However when I went to his observation day. I saw two 9th grade boys with what he was talking about. His girlfriend also has a pair too. Okay...seeing them. I totally know exactly what he's talking about now. So, now that I saw for myself. I knew exactly what he meant. Now I could get the ball rolling. So, while he was at school Thursday I cruised myself to 3 different eye glass shops in Narita since our town obviously has no eye glass shops hahaha. : ) Seeing them with my own eyes. I saw 2 of the eyeglass shops didn't really have tons and tons of the new style of frames but maybe more for older folks. But, one eyeglass shop in particular... I saw had all sorts of new fashionable glasses and tons of cool new style frames. So, I asked the staff some questions. They said they can be made that same day in about 30 minutes if they have the frame in stock. Super cool, I said and I told them after my sons both come home, we'd be back. Because they were to be for my older son. Awesome staff. She said okay. And sure enough as soon as the boys got home, right to the eyeglass shop we went. Branden tried on about 7 pairs...I insist on that...because you need to be sure... but he found the perfect pair for him. What he wanted. Flat black frames. They tested his eyes. They checked to see if they had his frame, which yes they did. And they said come back in 30 minutes. Amazing and truly best staff ever, or maybe I just get along with people super well..I am not sure which one it is, lol. I know I mentioned it many times but seriously.... they were so nice to us. So we left, we went to eat some ramen for dinner. We rarely eat out...I just prefer cooking at home (cheaper and healthier) so it was a nice treat. Afterwards we swung back and picked up Bran's glasses. They fit and molded the ear piece with that hot machine that bends the glasses arm, quite a bit to make sure Bran's glasses were super perfect. They cared so much. They almost...over cared! Hahaha. : ) This is a chain eye glass shop and we will most definitely come back. 

They gave Bran this cute little bag to hold his eye glass case. Noboru actually suggested we go to Costco to get Bran's glasses. But, I said, Costco I am sure has okay glasses. Name brand and stuff. Same type of glasses you'd see at Lens Crafters type glasses. And they're nice and all. But honestly...one thing that Japan does best? Japan has the hippest most on trend..... coolest newest styles of frames. if you're into fashion frames at all. Japan is the place to go for glasses. With so many people in Japan wearing glasses, nobody can compare to the styles Japanese eye glass shops have. And the prices are fair too. Bran's glasses were just 7,000 yen. And with a 500 yen off coupon they were only 6500 yen about $65 US. Super fair. And hey, if in a year he wants another newer fashionable trendy pair,....with that price no problem! And they are quality glasses, not flimsy at all... super high quality. Japan just does glasses so right!


T.G.C. Tokyo Glass Company.

A nice simple case but loved that the zipper pull says T.G.C.


Bran loves these. I personally prefer dark brown frames on Brannny McB. But you know what...if it's the new style now in Japan for JHS aged kids. And if he likes it. Go for it. : ) I remember how it felt to be a teenager. So, I understand. And hey...if you want flat black frames kiddo, more power to you! : ) 
Saturday, April 23rd was Noah's observation day. Since the lunch ladies had the day off, everyone needed to bring a packed lunch to school Saturday. Also the kids at elementary school would have the day off school this Monday/yesterday since they went to school Saturday. First thing the day before is... I bought some sliced bakery bread for Noah's sandwich. Noah took a Hillshire Farm thin sliced honey ham sandwich, with sliced cheddar cheese and lettuce, some Miracle Whip. That sandwich was amazeballs. And that bread truly dazzles...seriously it does... this bakery makes the best sliced sandwich bread. Noah also took a small handful of french fries (potatoes wedges) yep chips aren't allowed, but fries are? Both potatoes and yep both fried in oil? Don't ask me. : ) I'm just the rule follower... not the rule maker. : ) And 1 Little Halo and one from scratch peanut butter cookie. Noah also took a thermos filled with ice and tea without sugar. I let Noah know in advance...that Bran and I would be there before it started. He let me know in advance we'd be watching gym class. They'd be jumping over the hurdles. : ) And he knew daddy couldn't be there, but he wanted to be. However he knew daddy (Noboru) would be there in time for his class meeting. Not the 3 super overly long...total waste of time meetings before that. School wide meeting. Area you live meeting. @_@ Etc etc. Yes first observation day of the school year is meetings galore. However the last/final meeting of the day...the specific class meeting, Noboru would be there. I meanwhile would be at home with both kids and I would be getting dinner ready so that as soon as Noboru walked through the door after the meeting, we could eat dinner immediately.

Hi beautiful rural/countryside newly-ish built elementary school. This is such a great elementary school.

The kids are lucky to have such nice school grounds to play on! With no big bustling city surrounding our school... with smog and skyscrapers around. We luckily have none of that. Just a nice big country school with nice fresh clean air.

Going down the hill from the school entrance. Though we always walk up the back entrance. 

The school is slightly elevated. And in such a great spot. There are a few houses down the hill scattered. But none that can view the school...since the school is higher up on a hill from the handful of houses. I should totally show you my town one day. You would flip when you see how truly teeny tiny it is. It's so cute! : ) 

It never rained this day but the clouds were low and heavy. The weather was warm but windy. You wouldn't need a winter coat or a sweatshirt, but maybe a thin long sleeve top and a pair of pants. So warm yes... but not hot.  

Ru and the other father's club dad's painted these tires years ago. : ) 

Such an amazing small town to live.

Yes, finally the observation day was underway! The one and only 5th grade class went outside. Hi kids! : ) Seriously though...look at all those trees....all that nature! Lucky kids!

Hello you.... happy peppy awesome country kids!

Noah running nearest my camera. He had just completed a hurdle. And seriously though...Noah's legs are so ghostly white...they're almost greenish. Like a pasty white with a green undertone to them! Awww! And yes he does go to Hawaii every summer and wave pools here in Japan...so the kid does get sun. But....pale is his fate. And you know what... that's okay! We love you for being you Noah...just as we love your brother... for being who he is! : )  We sure do love you kiddo! : )

Okay right here their sensei/teacher was talking about the importance of formation. I was listening. And then at other times... I wasn't listening because Branden was taking videos and talking to me too. Plus some mom's came later and I greeted them and they me. So, was trying my best to listen to the formation peptalk.... but did miss some of the chatter. But the kids heard it and that was the most important.

Yes that is Noah jumping! Wow, amazing! Look at the height of his jump! I am so glad while I took pics, Bran took video! Noah's such a jock! Definitely naturally sporty. : )

Noah watching his bestie complete his jumps! Yay go Noah's bestie! We became his cheering section too! : )

Now it was about to be over. Kids were to listen and get the final talk from the teacher! Hi gorgeous, I see you! Love you my little Noah Noah! : )

And the kids put everything away. And then the teacher had all the kids stand in a line and bow to us parents (and 1 Branden/brother) and thank us for showing up and being there! I thought that was so nice that the teacher did that! : ) Then the 3 of us went home. I had skillet fried some lean beef and then boiled it until we left to the school, then turned it off (the beef was boiling from 8am to 12:30pm, so it boiled forever before we left). But by then, the meat was fall apart tender. We had beef stew that night. It was just simplest for that night (considering we were at observation that day...didn't want to come home and make an elaborate meal, so stew was nice plus it's hearty). When we got home, I turned the big pan back on and sliced up an onion and diced some potatoes and added mushrooms and the rice had beeped which I set that morning. And I dissolved the roux and then turned the stove off. As soon as Noboru got home, I turned the pan back on and we ate within 5 minutes...didn't take much to reheat the pan. We all ate. Talked about observation day, told Noboru what he missed and some stories from the gym class we watched earlier. He told me anything I might need to know from the meeting. And that was Saturday April 23rd. : ) 
By now, I am sure every single one of you knows that Prince has died. He died Minnsesota time Thursday morning. But for me at my house, since I go to bed by 10:30pm during the week since I have kids and need to wake up early in the weekday. I didn't find out until Friday morning, around 5:30am Japan time. I was absolutely stunned that he died! This completely and utterly took me by surprise. My first reaction was total and utter shock. I went and told Noboru who was dead asleep upstairs. And when  I woke the boys for school, I told them too. I made lunch and sent them to school. But I think I still felt disbelief. For those of you in Denver, my family, my friends. My dad in Guam. Everyone knows how much I loved Prince! The first time I ever saw Purple Rain, I was hooked! I love that the movie was semi-autobiographical. I loved that he was a real character. Flawed. Imperfect. Dealing with problems at home. His abusive father towards his mother. Granted, I didn't grow up in a house of abusive parents like that, But, I felt he was just really relatable. His music was my jam! He was just everything! He was a fantastic song writer. He wrote about the world as he saw it. He cared so deeply about issues dear to his heart. He was a strict vegan and animal rights activist, even wrote a song about how he feels on the issue. And PETA loved that song so much he gave that song to them. He was a trail blazer. He was such a sincere person. He also had such sexual charisma. At the same time he was such a humble person. He most totally loved his hometown. He was born and raised in Minneapolis Minnesota and I saw on an interview with Oprah last night...Oprah asked...why Minnesota? He said, I will *always* live here. She said...Why? He said..because it's so cold it keeps the bad people out!" Hahaha. I love that he had such love from where he came from. I loved seeing pictures of his home and music studio Paisley Park. And people said he was often seen riding his bike. Last week people saw him at Walgreens. He was just a down to earth type of person. An approachable person.  : )  This world today....is so less magical without Prince in it. I was happy to hear that there is a music vault with so many unreleased Prince songs in there. I do hope they release some. And I am happy we all are left with the songs he already released.  
Since his death so many new stories have come out. Just proving even how cooler, kinder and sweeter he was then... we originally thought! His manager here said how when rap first came out. He wondered if he should learn how to rap. And he told him, you really don't need to learn that. : ) He also said Prince had a basketball court inside Paisely Park and that Prince loved basketball and was actually an excellent player despite his height. He always made the baskets! How he would often have these impromptu concerts at his home. And his manager explained a bit more in detail about when Prince wrote slave on his face. And how he went to court. He said, what was so wrong was, you know all the songs in Purple Rain. Even though Prince wrote them. He didn't own them! He now owns them...or owned them. But that's what the fight was about. The record label did. So even if he wanted to play his own song which he wrote. He back then... had to pay the record label! Prince knew that was wrong. And so he went to court and got into this huge fight over it. And Prince was of course 100% right. He should be able to own the songs he wrote! The manager went further...he said...Beyonce...owns the right to her songs...owns her rights to her image thanks to Prince.  He added...Jay-Z owns his rights to his songs and his image...thanks to Prince. He added all the musicians who have creative control over their images and ownership of their songs owe it entirely to what Prince did. Hearing his manager say it that way...it sort of makes everyone take pause and think...OMG...he's exactly right! Wow...Prince was amazing.  

Listening to what his first wife had to say. Mayte Garcia.  He wrote "The Most Beautiful Girl in the World" for her by the way.  I watched her on the TV show Hollywood Exes, I have mentioned that before on here. 

Prince and Mayte. What a hot looking couple!

Of course they talked about all his past lady loves. Like Carmen Electra (pictured) Kim Basinger,Susanna Hoffs (from the Bangles) Sherilyn Fenn (unbelievably gorgeous in her younger days btw, haven't seen her lately so am not sure what she looks like now) Sheena Easton, Sheila E. Apollonia Kotero, Vanity, Manuela Testolini. And there's loads more. He also wrote tons of songs you probably already know....how about.... Nothing Compares to You (Sinead O'Connor) He wrote Manic Monday (The Bangles) He cowrote Jungle Love (The Time) under the pseudonym Jamie Starr. He wrote I Feel for You (Chaka Khan) He also wrote The Glamorous Life (Sheila E.) He also wrote The Bird (The Time) and so many others. He was such a talented song writer.

Prince and Apollonia in Purple Rain.

His hairdresser spoke (pictured). She said, when I first met him, I didn't realize he was a vegan. She brought in some Wendy's. Maybe she wanted to share and bring some lunch to him. But apparently he politely told her..."I don't eat anything with eyes or that has parents." Hahaha, isn't that so funny how he worded that for her? : )   She also talked about them having a no jeans policy. She said, I was the hair dresser to Prince, so I understood, I should dress classy. Again...wow I never knew that before. 

This was LIVE, it was at the place in Minnesota where they played music at, in the movie Purple Rain. Cities all over the United States have been paying tributes to Prince. The loss of him was major! It crushed so many people. He was so well loved! So beloved. Please enjoy the pics, I have gathered below to share with you all, who might have missed these! Loving tributes for Prince. 
Denver, Colorado USA. Where I am from....they lit up their Union Station in purple to pay respects to Prince! Right on Denver!
I got these pics from CNN. I was so proud to see this picture in the Prince tribute pics. Delta flight from Los Angeles to Minneapolis Minnesota... huge respect for Prince and his hometown... this flight was on it's way to Minneapolis. They switched their usual blue lights to purple. Right on Delta!
The Mercedes Benz Superdome in New Orleans! Gorgeous!

San Francisco's City Hall.

Los Angles City Hall in memory of Prince.

The Apollo Theater. 

The Lowry Avenue Bridge in actual Minnesota lit up for Prince. Again all of these pics except the Denver one came via CNN. Under the "world remembers Prince" So, I do not own these pics, I am only showing how deeply loved Prince was. Everyone is mourning the loss. 
Outside Paisley Park, Prince's compound. So many left flowers and messages. And look a rainbow appeared. Anyway, he has since been cremated. But, I will wait along with everyone for the autopsy results and drug testing they did after he died. Such a loss of such a great great man!