27 June 2008

cardboard box project

I bought a $12 cardboard box in the shape of a house. It is meant as a kids project where you can all draw on it. It did work well, for about 2 minutes....you can see footprints on the above shot. We had a nice time in the front yard painting this thing but after a short time there was other more interesting things to do.....my darling has been in the US so, I have had some time to add more images....car, shoe, anmals, bulldozer...

Lots of fun in there but Ma Ma is not allowed inside :(

25 June 2008

sunny afternoon

Summer is here and you just have to deal with rainy season. Mould is evil. It grows everywhere, in towels, damp clothes, in your bed, damp teatowels, kitchen sponges, anywhere there is moisture, the mould and smell appears. On the upside there is every cleaning product conceivable to combat these nasty smelling black spots, or grey or green.....being a Melbournian I never have to worry about any moisture in the air at home. The dry summers mean your belongings last a lot longer than they do in Asia. Leather shoes, handbags, unworn clothes, anything that is not used a lot grows mould....lucky I got rid of a lot of stuff before moving here! To be sure I have put a lot of the small canisters of moisture absorbing gels in all our cupboards and then some moth ball things to stop any nasty beasts who want to feast on our mouldy stuff....I hope this does the trick...

In the meantime, the sun does shine and the air dries out and we can go and play in the local fountain. The really nice thing about this place is that all the other local kids come here to play. There is no real water for young kids to play in. The pool does not allow children who are not toilet trained/under 2 (dont get me started about that logic).....so we all just hang out here and splash and play. It is a very nice atmosphere despite being located just metres from one of the busiest roads in Tokyo...and you can bring the dog....who licks the water...

A kid asked me if Long Long was pregnant. Mistaking his huge rib cage for a belly, I thought it was such a clever question. My Japanese provided an explanation but Im not sure how good it was. I need to find the word for 'ribs' and 'lungs'......

22 June 2008

toothbrush wars

Every parent or carer of young kids as some stage has to go through the toothbrushing wars...we are still in the middle but making some progress. Thanks to some handy shaped toothbrushes, some random toothpaste found in my darlings wash bag, cute water mug and a TV snippet. Yes, part of the kids TV program, kind of like playschool, has a 30 second snippet of kids brushing their teeth and then their parent helping them. It has a little song to it too. So at toothbrushing time, I start to sing that song, moo gets it immediately. He actually makes kind of a ssss ssss ssss sound (meaning toothbrushing time) and when heading towards the bathroom at any time of the day starts ssss ssss sssing. This is really positive for me. The actual brushing requires some good and firm wrestling tackles coupled with lots of encouragement and singing of the song. Most days are great and some days are not. This seems to be the lot of the toddler parents :)

19 June 2008

dear long long,

You are such a good boy. Lucky we chose you from that funny breeder. I wanted the other boy but Baba wanted you. I cannot imagine our lives with anyone but you.
But, these days, things have changed. Your nickname, Moo, is now used by someone else...interchangeable actually, you are constantly bullied by the ever growing mini moo and life is just not as relaxing anymore. I want you to know I understand and I try to keep up with lots of walks, drives and cuddles and sometimes some treats.

These days will pass, as mini moo gets older and less interested in bashing you up, pinching your skin, pulling your tail, rolling in your bed, annoying you while you eat, frightening you, throwing objects at you, appearing friendly with a hug but ending with a pinch.....you are such a good boy and never complain, grown or snap. You just run away and find another place to sit, if he comes along, then you run somewhere else. I really admire that. You know I am always close by in case you need me. Remember, we love you very much and know that one of mini moos first words was 'longlong' and he says it everyday, first thing. He loves you too xxx stay a good boy with soft fur and kind eyes xxx
Love Mama

16 June 2008

the grassy garden

I have returned to the old days! We have grass but the garden is so small it doesnt need a lawn mower. So, every couple of weeks I get out these choppers and cut the grass, rake it up and put it in the recycling. I actually enjoy it, it is good exercise and moo loves hanging out while I do it. Of course this requires very careful poop scooping before said task is performed due to close proximity to the ground...it also feels like a job well done when I look out the window and things are nice and neat. I am always in a quandry about whether the invest any more time and energy into this small garden. It is the double edged arguement, this is a rental and we will move on so why invest the time and money but on the other hand, I like to live in a nice environment and I like being in the garden and doing gardening......bring on the inflatable splash pool!!

14 June 2008


It really is hard to believe it is rainy season when you see these photos but it is. This is the general cycle of rain for a few days, clouds then sun. We have been lucky to have two sunny days in a row. This is a small promise of what summer has in store for us.....hot, hot and more hot........the garden above is part of a beautiful botanical garden just 20 mins drive from our place. We visited here to see the ume blossoms just after winter and it is amazing how much the landscape has changed in the past few months. Today was beautiful and serene and amazingly uncrowded.
Of course, like a strange summer religion, everyone eats kakigori, or shaved ice with syrup. Moo wasnt that impressed.

Lunch was more enjoyable for him. This time another summer religion, somen, a type of cold noodles. Notice the haircut? The first one, ever. I kept some hair, a bit of a sook I know. The hairdresser visited is just for kids with huge cars to sit in, TV screens in front of the kids, bowls of toys and lots of free gifts. He screamed for the duration and ignored all the fancy things but the hair got cut. He got a free glass of milk at the cafe next door, which happened to look down (from the 9th floor)over Shinjuku station and forgot about the trauma once he saw the trains...

Anyway.....we ate lunch in this lovely, cool forest, which was bare a few months back.

And nearby was this beautiful pond filled with lillies and lilly pads and carp and little turtles.


12 June 2008

catch my breath

Our guests return soon after a couple of days hunting around in Kyoto. Lucky them!! Im just having a sugar and coffee indulgence before they get home. Can you believe that only one of the sweets above is edible? MMMMmmmmmmmm can you guess which one?

I attended my very first parent teacher interview today, which for an 18mth old, is usually unheard of in Australia...it was really just a meeting to go through how he is developing and his interaction and general wellbeing at daycare. It was also a chance to have more than a 2 min conversation as you drop off/pick up. They had not only a two page written report covering all the developmental areas but photo and video evidence to back it up. It was quite amazing!! I actually felt a little nervous beforehand....silly, I know.

11 June 2008

rainy season

Its officially rainy season, so the next 6 weeks give or take will be rain, rain, sun, heat, sweat and mould...on the upside, take a look at the green grass against Long Longs fur...what a beautiful contrast...I also planted some tomato and carrot seeds about 3 or 4 weeks ago and within one week the tomatoes have gone from one to 10 centimeters....I am so shocked! I might get some real tomatoes at this rate....

We took a road trip to the mountains and stayed in a self contained cottage. It was so good to have some fresh air, birds singing, nature crackling and peace and quiet. The area is famous for a few things, onsen, or hot bath and a special kind of cooked rice with beans, black cattle beef, mochi or rice cakes and so it seemed, dog cafes....this means a cafe where you can take you dog, inside, and buy it a plate of food to eat while you eat yours......Long Long was lucky to come on this trip so there was no way he was getting a cafe meal for lunch....:)

The restaurant below, was not one of the dog friendly places. This was the kind of place that really makes my heart beat fast, like looking at a beautiful artwork, hearing a lovely song or eating something truly delicious...

A beautiful welcome with a sliding wooden door that you need to bend over to climb inside............

Inside is all wooden with rice boiling on huge stoves near the door so the smell is not only of rain but warm, slightly sweet rice. The menu was small but the best food I have eaten in a while. Handmade noodles and soups, rice balls with sweet beans, slow cooked veges, crisp bitter pickles, endless cups of warm tea and green tea ice cream with sweet beans.....most delicious, great price, lovely staff and most pretty and serene surrounds. It was also raining so heavily it almost drowned out the talking. Moo got a bit bored but since we have some extra hands at the moment it allowed us all some time to savour the moment.

Then we had to go and poke around outside and catch the rain falling from the water spouts...

7 June 2008


I havent been drawing much lately but it is probably due to my Mum being here and now two more family members here for a week or so. We are going out to explore some mountains and stay in some cabins so it should be fun.....and guess what, even Mr Long Long can come along!!

6 June 2008

the best week

I've had so much fun since my Mum has been here. We have done lots of stuff together and now she can see so much of my life here and feel a bigger part of it. We have gasbagged a lot, eaten a lot, walked and explored a lot and played with the mini moo a lot. But, she had to go back to Oz today. I feel very sad to say goodbye, even though we will be home for a visit at xmas time. I guess these visits are very special and intense and pure quality time together. This makes my life feel alive and meaningful and full of good thoughts about what is important in life. Simple things. Being away from my family makes me appreciate them even more.

3 June 2008

illustration friday-baby

As if I can miss this weeks theme! Baby!...my favourite thing in the world :) well, unless I cook a very delicious meal and then........

1 June 2008

back on track

Moo is back in action after 6 days of constant grizzles related to illness and teeth! Oh hooray, hooray, he is such a cool little kitty cat. I guess these illnesses are just part of being a kid and being in daycare where they like to share these things around...it is great to have my Mum here even though already it feels like time is going too fast. This past week has been a huge test of patience and strength as it is the most sick he has been in his 18mths of life. I guess the first time is always the hardest. The first tantrum was also just awful but that gut wrenching feeling in the stomach seemed to be absent this weekend when he rolled around the floor screaming in the toys section of the department store. It stopped as soon as it started and not 2 minutes after it was another Mum's turn...kind of comforting in a weird way. These hard days are certainly rewarded by the kinds of smiles above, cuddles and gentle touches, eye contact and interactions. It makes every moment of tired, frustrated, angry, relentless questioning totally worthwhile.