Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Falling of the Fig

In our "yard" - a strip of ground about a foot wide that runs along side the driveway - we have a fig, a persimmon, a Japanese plum, a mulberry tree and a few ??? bushes. The fig tree has produced abundantly every year we have lived here. Over abundantly! And it had grown so high - taller than a two story house - that it was impossible to reach the figs in over half of the tree. We, along with Pastor, had already determined that when the figs were finished this year it was getting a major and long overdue trim job!
Figs are a wonderful fruit God gave us! So very versatile! We made up new ways every year to try them because there were more than we could use or give away! The birds rather enjoyed the fact that there were so many in the top of the tree that they could feast on since we couldn't get to them to pick.
Figs also make a disgusting mess when they get over ripe and begin to "bleed" their juice on everything in the vicinity!! Then they drop from the tree and splat all over and if you don't get them up right away they stick like glue to wherever they landed as they dry. At this stage the birds have lost interest but the bugs are loving it! YUCK - O!!!!
And to top it off the beetles had decided to infest parts of the tree and were eating it up and weakening the limbs.

So the end of our figs came early this year!
The day of the Halloween party John was so looking forward to getting home and taking a long, well deserved nap!! He was telling me all the way that he would be snoozing by 3. We had to drop by the church on our way home and that's when Pastor told him that our next door neighbors had called to complain about the fig tree. The dripping and falling fruit along with the bugs were bad enough, but now the limbs, weakened by the gnawing beetles, were cracking and falling on their roof. OOOPS!

So instead of a nap we went home and got after the fig tree!
4 plus hours later.... this is what remains.
Still has a couple of branches shooting up and next year there will be many more. And I can reach them even with out a ladder!
We think the neighbors are glad to lose the mess from the tree but a little sad to lose the bit of privacy it supplied between our house and theirs.... the bad with the good!

Hard to believe that huge tree fit into this little pile of branches and limbs and a few bags!!

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More Halloween Cuties

This little guy was so hilarious...
He and his mom came with some of John's students - first time to meet them.
"Rocko Butterfly" walked right up and picked him up out of Mom's arms and this kid is all smiles!!!!
They walk around the room a bit - 3 or 4 times during the course of the party - he loves it!
Never a pout or a tear :0
At lunch tiime, off came the costume, and this child wanted nothing to do with John!!

This little angel (along with her mom) has been coming to John's classes since she was just a few months old. She just had her 2nd birthday and it is amazing to see her with John and how much English she understands just from having been exposed by coming with her mom.

And this little munchkin (her costume is really a 'tanuki'-raccoon dog) will be 3 in January and has also been accompanying her mom to classes since just a few months old. Their moms are thrilled with how they have 'absorbed' English just from coming to their classes with them ;-)

And don't let the look on her face fool you! She was having a great time but this is a normal thing for her to put on her "serious" face when you ask her to smile!

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Happy Halloween!

The Halloween party that John and our friend, Mako, hosted this year was a great success!!
Over 100 people came to enjoy the festivities representing about 40 families.

All these little cuties are English students John teaches.

We were thrilled to see several Dads come with their families this year!

Rocko Butterfly holds the kids attention almost as good as John does ;-}

The parents always act so amazed at how well their kids understand when John talks to them!

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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The look!

So we went through all that, to get this look!
Not bad, eh?

His sister said she thought it "rocked" before the shave...

we'll see what she thinks now ;-}

His Dad said he couldn't believe he went to all the trouble to get it that color just to shave it all off! Go figure!

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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Your guess is as good as mine!

OK! So John drops me off at home after Bible study and is off to do English classes the rest of the day and back home about 8:15 tonight.
Ian has the day off work so I don't know if he'll be home or out and about.
He is at home. Relaxing. Playing video game football.
It isn't cold yet... today not even really so cool... so I'm kind of wondering to myself 'why the hood?'
But not totally out of the ordinary for him so I don't verbalize my thought.

Soon, we are in the same room chit chatting about nothing in particular when Ian asks me,
"want to see something really crazy?"
I casually nod and say, "sure".

First he takes a bite of cheesecake and sticks his tongue out ...
totally gross and he knows I'll tell him so

this was to lead me into....


I have no idea so don't even ask! Just because he could is as good as I can figure.
Self administered. Now he's trying to decide just how he wants me to dress it up with the clippers....
All the same length? A little longer in the mohawk fashion down the middle?

When he makes up his mind I'll try to get another shot to share with you ;-}
Ahhhh...... youth!

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In case you were wondering?

What we did this past weekend, that is...

Saturday Tokai hosted a team from Niigata for a full day of practice games.

Sunday the Under 16 Nagano prefecture team had their first practice of this season and spent the whole day learning and putting into practice new drills, warm-ups and plays.

I went to get Zack signed in officially and to listen (though not totally understand) the talk they give the parents of the kids chosen to be on the team to let them know what their participation will entail for the next 5 months.

John & Ian, being Sunday, were in their respective places at Church that day :-)

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Conehead continued...

Yesterday we took Onyx back to the vet to get his foot looked at again and we hoped to lose the cone, but as you see it remains.

We're not exactly sure if Ebony is jealous that Onyx has something she doesn't....

or if she's showing empathy and trying to console him by joining him in there!

Whichever, they both seem to be handling as well as possible. Still not a definitive answer on just what that blob on his foot is so we'll keep a close watch on it for now and try to wean him out of the cone if he cooperates and doesn't mess with the ? on his foot!
We'll let you know more when we do!

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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Conehead

So after a full day of basketball on Saturday we get home and John has to give Ebony & Onyx some extra attention after being 'home alone' all day. A little relaxing time before a busy Sunday of church and then more basketball on Monday. So Sunday afternoon we're about to head back to church for the English service John leads, when I notice THIS on Onyx left hind foot!

YUCK!! This picture doesn't look nearly as bad as it did in person - John said it looked like a giant strawberry with black stubble. We need a vet! It's Sunday afternoon! A former student is a vet and we could really use one we can communicate with! John tries her email and her cell - no longer in service. We drive to a pet clinic we've seen not too far from our house.. closed, and tomorrow is a holiday so closed then as well. We head to the church and ask Pastor if he knows the vet his daughter used- no, but he calls his daughter-in-love and asks who she used, gets the number, calls - yes! they're opened! John has to do the service so I head home to get Onyx and take him to the vet, all the while wondering how I'm gonna say what I want to say and understand what they tell me, since my Japanese is far from fluent. God is SO good!! I walk in to the clinic and one of the vets there is Yuriko! John's former English student - YEAH!!
She examines Onyx foot, lances it, gives him a shot, gives antibiotics to take for a week until we return to get it looked at again, and......

The CONE! He has to wear this for the week so he cannot get to his foot. He DOES NOT LIKE IT!!!! The walk that night was cruelly hilarious! Poor Onyx! Every time he tried to sniff out a spot he banged his conehead, which scared him and we learned that if he cannot sniff first he cannot pee! Seriously! We finally had to remove the cone so he could - or would. So he gets a few minutes relief each day for meals and walks but then it's back to....


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Yes! More Basketball!

This was a 3 day weekend in Japan, and an opportunity for a 3-day pre-Winter Cup tournament at Tokai. They invited 8 high school teams from other prefectures and played 6 games each in the 3 days (more including the B-team games). Besides the games, there was a lot of practice and warm-ups....
and more shooting practice and warm-ups! And this week for Tokai even more as they won only 5 of their 6 games...!
All the Tokai parents are quite accustomed to this - waiting - a lot! On this day about an hour and a half while their boys, being the host team, put away all the equipment, chairs, cleaned the floors and bathrooms; waited for the Coach to come out to talk to them about the weekend games and what the coming weeks activities would be - and then finally got to take a snack break!
And THEN came over and said a quick 'Thank you for coming! See you next time.", before heading off to......... shoot some hoops!!!!! No! I am not kidding! Gotta love it! :-)
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Friday, October 3, 2008

Class in session!

Here it is! Proof that there is indeed a usable space in our downstairs! John held his first class there Wednesday evening with 7 kids (3 & 5 year olds!!) and 4 Moms. From the sounds that drifted upstairs they were really enjoying it! he did 3 classes that night and was so happy to be home as soon as they were finished ;-)
Now... if I can just find my way through the rest of the piles in the other room!! Wish me luck!
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