What I Did on My Summer Vacation


As a kid, everyone had to write this theme when they returned to  school. I no longer attend school but it seemed worthy enough to share my summer activities here.

  • Took glassblowing classes
  • Trained my cat to jump through hoops
  • Writing a book on weddings
  • Made 2 hats: one pillbox and one Carmen Miranda fruit hat
  • Teaching myself shorthand
  • Getting good at putting a diaper on my elderly cat
  • Cataloging a tediously large collection of books I’ve been dragging around forever so I can sell them.

glass blowing class

glass blowing class

Pan Am Pill Box Hat

Pan Am Pill Box Hat

My cat, Rabies on his learning course

My cat, Rabies on his learning course

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My Kickstarter Project


Ok so I recently went to the world’s first crowdsourcing festival and have been thinking about some little fun project I could be a part of. The festival was called OneSpark and I was sorely tempted to sponsor this project below.

OneSpark Crowdsourcing - Afro

“I am a human male who is attempting the world record for the largest afro. Apparently this costs money, so I’m looking to raise some!”

Read About His and Other OneSpark Projects Here.

I wasn’t quite convinced though so later that night I wondered where I might go to see other projects. Natch, it made sense to head over to Kickstarter and see what they had “kicking” around. There was sooooo much….lots of great lofty do-good things. Ultimately though it came down to cats…..especially cats in hats. I was the first backer for this highly humanitarian project below which I am proud to say hit the goal.

Funny Cat in Hat

Hats for Cats Kickstarter Campaign

 

Trap-A-Cat for Sale


Not to be out done by chicken sweaters, check out this highly effective solution for cat trapping you can also find on Etsy. Pics and text here plus link to listing here.

Trap-A-Cat Trap-A-Cat 2

Chicken Sweaters


Oh yeah…..this is an actual product for sale on Etsy. I don’t know how long it will be up so there is the pic and the link to the actual listing.  At only $14.99 it seems like a deal to me!

Chickens molting? Backs getting bare? A hand-crocheted chicken sweater will keep your chickens warm during cold, windy or snowy days. Machine wash and dry. 100% acrylic yarn. Do not iron.

For the best individualized fit, please measure the chicken’s neck , the length from just above the wings to where the tail feathers begin, and around your chicken’s tummy and back where the sweater should end in the front. (Standard sizes are listed below, but measurements are very helpful. Approximate sizes (without your chicken’s measurements) are:

My model, Mack, is not included…he is now a permanent resident in our home….ready to model at any time!

Sweater for your Chicken

chicken sweater chicken sweater 2

Subway Scenes from Tokyo, Japan


Some of my best moments were spent in subways in Japan. I found it the singular most fascinating place to people watch and come to understand the idiosyncrasies that typify the Japanese. There are so many rules both spoken and others that were merely social norms, it was inevitable I broke them. And believe me, I probably broke all of them. Some of them are: do not talk on the train, do not put makeup on, do not eat, do not drink, and especially, never, ever make eye contact with anyone else. They hate that!

However, as a foreigner living there I was something of a curiosity to them and they really wanted to stare. Staring is considered sooooo rude in their culture though. One of my favorite games was watching them watching me trying not to get caught at it. The best way to do this was for me to face the windows as if looking outside the train. The windows are reflective though so I could see them very well. If I turned around to look, they would always be looking away. Facing the window though…..well…you get the idea.

Another anomaly I would experience was the occasional prejudice against me as an American. I didn’t take it personally. It’s just the way they are sometimes. Most often that meant no one would sit next to me on the train. Frankly, I loved and exploited this when it would happen. The train could be wall to wall with riders but no one would sit next to me. What a convenient place to set my purse and belongings! This never bothered me. Moreover, mothers with children would usually have one of two reactions to me getting on the train. They would either take their children and go as far away as they could from me, or, conversely, push their children at me while saying “Engrish, Engrish….practice Engrish.” This always brought a smile to my face.

Another peccadillo of Japanese culture is the premise of pretending to sleep. This is an extremely common and socially acceptable way to avoid having to look at or talk to anyone else on the train. One out of three riders would pretend to sleep. The instant the train stopped at their stop though, they jumped up and were off the train.

Subways and Trains, Tokyo, Japan

A typical rider gets on the train.

Subways and Trains, Tokyo, Japan

And instantly pretends to be asleep so as not to engage anyone else.

Subways and Trains, Tokyo, Japan

This was a humorous solution I recently found to the swaying issue when pretending to sleep on the train.

Subways and Trains, Tokyo, Japan

Subways and Trains, Tokyo, Japan

Subways and Trains, Tokyo, Japan

Subways and Trains, Tokyo, Japan

Subways and Trains, Tokyo, Japan

Subways and Trains, Tokyo, Japan

This lady was so elegant in her kimono.

Subways and Trains, Tokyo, Japan

This lady is wearing something called a Yukuta. It’s like a kimono but less expensive and more every day wear.

Subways and Trains, Tokyo, Japan

This handsome fellow is wearing “geta” on his feet. These are the traditional wooden sandals they wear.

Subways and Trains, Tokyo, Japan

Subways and Trains, Tokyo, Japan

Subways and Trains, Tokyo, Japan

Subways and Trains, Tokyo, Japan

Subways and Trains, Tokyo, Japan

Subways and Trains, Tokyo, Japan

Subways and Trains, Tokyo, Japan

This was an ad inside the train.

Subways and Trains, Tokyo, Japan

Also an advertisement.

Subways and Trains, Tokyo, Japan

Main entrance to Ebisu Station in Roppongi, Tokyo, Japan.

Subways and Trains, Tokyo, Japan

Sign for Ebisu Station in Roppongi, Tokyo, Japan.

Subways and Trains, Tokyo, Japan

Looking out the window onto a typical Japanese street scene.

Subways and Trains, Tokyo, Japan

Inside a station.

`Subways and Trains, Tokyo, Japan

I just really dug the pattern as it curved to the right

Subways and Trains, Tokyo, Japan

Subways and Trains, Tokyo, Japan

Five Totally Bizarre Observations on Japan


They might as well be from the moon, they’re so different from us.

  • They ride their bicycles on the sidewalk instead of in the street.

bikes sidewalks

  • Smoking outside is not permitted. One is only allowed to smoke inside. The Japanese consider smoking a right instead of a privilege.

japanese smokers

  • Americans are taught to look people in the eye whether we are having a direct conversation with you or simply passing you by on the street. The Japanese are an uber shy society; looking people in the eyes is not something they do. Moreover, calling attention to yourself or others is very uncool. When I first arrived there, a lady at the train station in front of me dropped a bunch of papers. Naturally I stopped to help her pick them up. She was mortified. It was only later that I learned that by calling attention to her plight that I was embarrassing her. I eventually trained myself not to do these things but it is completely incongruent to the American way of life. By the time I moved back home from Tokyo, I was fully versed in this lifestyle though. Near the end of my stay there a woman walking down a hill towards me slipped on the rain slicked asphalt and fell right in front of me. I just stepped over her and kept going. It felt weird as hell but much less weird than if I had stopped to help her. One habit I could never break though was holding doors open for people. In America it’s polite to hold the door open if there is a person behind you walking into the same place. It seemed heartless to me that a healthy young person could let a door slam in the face of a bent over old man struggling along behind them. This was the one habit I could not break and it would inevitably (but in this case happily) surprise the person behind me.

japanese slip and fall

  • I hate hate hated their brooms. In America we use brooms with nice long handles to avoid the inevitable backache from bending over for so long. In Japan, they use these tiny brooms that look like they made them themselves by lashing some palm fronds together. One might argue that because they are so short, they don’t need brooms with longer handles. The brooms they used though were so short that even they had to bend over to use them. As for me, it was easier to just sit on the floor and use a dustpan and broom than try to bend over to clean my floor with a bunch of leaves.
japanese broom

japanese broom

  • The moon doesn’t rise in Japan like it does in America. It sets.

japan moon set

All Things Coke in Japan


Coca-Cola has a huge variety of products in Japan that we’ve never seen here in America (I’m speaking about you Hot Lemonade.) Take a peek at these fun pictures.

Coca Cola Truck in Japan

Coca Cola Truck in Japan

Coca Cola Truck in Japan

Coca Cola Truck in Japan

Coca Cola Vending Machine in Japan

Coca Cola Vending Machine in Japan

Coca Cola Vending Machine in Japan

Coca Cola Vending Machine in Japan

Minute Maid Juice Vending Machine in Japan

Minute Maid Juice Vending Machine in Japan

Minute Maid Juice Vending Machine in Japan

Minute Maid Juice Vending Machine in Japan

Tiny Coke Mascot in Vending Machine in Japan

Tiny Coke Mascot in Vending Machine in Japan

Coke Products Vending Machine in Japan

Coke Products Vending Machine in Japan

Coke Products Vending Machine in Japan

Coke Products Vending Machine in Japan

Vitamin Water Delivery Truck in Japan

Vitamin Water Delivery Truck in Japan

Weird Flavor of Juice, Cassis and Grape Blend

Weird Flavor of Juice, Cassis and Grape Blend

Weird Hot Lemonade Drink Product from Japan

Weird Hot Lemonade Drink Product from Japan