Sunday, November 9, 2008

Doh! - またしでかしてしまった。。。

I wanna cry, too, bunny.

I'm just not good at sitting still and healing myself...

After months of dealing with spotty tonsils and flared-up mono, I was finally feeling up to taking up a role in our Toastmasters meeting -- i.e. I was dying to go out and do something. (Never mind it took an IV/massage/acupuncture/qi-gong blitz on Wed/Thurs/Friday.)

Well, the ending result is a bleeding throat. Doh! So much for dreaming maybe I'd be able to catch a chat with a friend over tea some time soon. (I guess I still could -- I just have to be a really good listener and not so much a chatter. Or I need a chalkboard.)

I talked to my doc last week, and we'll do another 3-month round of chelation therapy to rid of more mercury/heavy metal in my body (I was taking a little break to rest my kidney), and we'd try double-dosing immunoglobulin shots this time along with the anti-viral IVs in an attempt to boost my immune system.

So the saga continues... I guess the fact I can be up and typing is an improvement from a month ago, though. :-)


P.S. A thought: Maybe I should enroll in some miming classes, so I can learn to communicate without talking.




あーあ。 もうちょっとで、お友達とお茶でも飲んで


そしてまた冒険は続く。。。 でも、こうして起きて
ことですね。 (^_^)


P.S. しばらく喋らなくてすむように、

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Hope wins! Thank you.


What a night. (Pinching myself to make sure it's true.) The next president will undoubtedly have one tough job ahead of him, but we picked the right guy for the job!

Excited crowd at Grant Park in Chicago.

Way to go, America. Thank you, to all those who voted, and worked so hard to get out those votes (like our friend Eve)!


P.S. It's nice to see Colorado turn blue! Thanks to Maine, too, for giving all its 4 electoral votes to Pres. Obama :-)

Friday, October 31, 2008

The Economist Endorses Barack Obama!

"It's time"

Happy Halloween everyone :-)

I just got the new issue of The Economist in the mail, and I couldn't be happier. The Economist, which is one of the most sensible magazines, endorses Barack Obama.

This is significant, because The Economist (while unabashedly pro-free trade) is a naturally skeptical (thus thoughtful) magazine, so it argues both sides of the equation. It freely expresses its doubts for both candidates and points out a better choice. It's also significant because it means the decision makes sense from the econimical, political, and security standpoint, not just from the ideological standpoint.

"America should take a chance and make Barack Obama the next leader of the free world... He has earned it."



Thursday, October 30, 2008

Aging while being sick (and during an election cycle)

Hello Kitty Pumpkin! Truly awesome.

Happy Halloween Eve! (For those of you I haven't emailed: You must check out The 7 Types of Pet Costumes.)

I’m barely making my once-a-month post… My friend Mick left me a comment on my last post (which had to do with the fall festival): “Please post a new page before a 'snow festival' starts.”

Ha ha, very funny. Hey, at least it’s not time for the cherry blossom festival yet! So would you forgive me?

A couple of days ago, I found my second piece of gray hair. For the first one, which I think I found a few months back, I had this visceral reaction to pluck it, although they say you shouldn’t do that. I realize a lot of folks get gray at a younger age, so I shouldn’t gripe about it, but it was so shiny and silver among my brown/black hair it shocked me a little bit. Yes, I plucked it again. I blame this one on the election season.

(You know you’re being too obsessive when you’re incessantly checking Google News & & & on top of your regular NPR programming, and you’ve read one too many article on and The New Yorker magazine. I usually don't mind my limited exposure to The New Yorker to be at my Bostonian therapist’s office -- although their endorsement for Obama presidency was one of the most eloquent prior to Gen. Colin Powell's, which also referenced a beautiful, haunting picture in the magazine. The “election season” has gone on for waaaay too long, and the suspense is killing me. I'm bad at sitting still... as I'm too sick to volunteer, I’d like to go into a cryogenic freeze chamber and come out Wednesday morning.)

I always hoped to age gracefully. We live in a culture that’s obsessed with youth, but I always believed with age came wisdom, and along that reasoning, that aging must be a good thing.

Except I don’t feel particularly wiser, than, say, when I started becoming sick about two years ago. For that matter, I don’t feel particularly older, either. Having been sick and spending much of my time in bed and various clinics has felt a little bit like having been in a glass box -- like the one depicted by mimes. I’m in there, and my life is paused, while I watch everyone else outside, living their lives and moving. Friends have had babies, loved ones passed on, and here I am, kind of in the same place, in the same old glass box.

Behold: squirrel mime.

Of course I’m probably feeling like this because I’m writing this with my left hand while getting my nth (who can keep the count?) anti-viral IV, which I’ve been getting weekly. Since this summer my lovely & chronic Epstein-Barr viral infection (a.k.a. mono) seems to have flared up, with accompanying tonsillitis to boot. I don’t know if my Vancouver jaunt was premature, or if it was the combination of that with other summer activities, but according to the key witness (a.k.a. husband), “It was a steady downward spiral for a while there,” a bit like Sarah Palin’s approval rating.

Fortunately, not my throat...
The Wiki picture of tonsillitis. Yikes!
My white spots are much smaller now, thank you.

My white blood cell count is now in the low end of acceptable range, but not high enough to fight off my infections, and my natural killer cell count is… well, let’s just say they apparently barely exist.

I also got my most recent mercury test result back, and the news is mixed. It’s gone down a little bit from before (yay), yet it’s still twice as high as the upper limit of normal range (boo). And I have high levels of lead and tin (why?!). Having been a good student most of my life, getting back bad test results feels like failure, like I’m not a good patient or something.

I know I shouldn’t feel that way. Although I still get low fever every time I move around a little bit, I’m definitely doing a little better than I was in September. I can drive myself to my appointments instead of taking a cab. So who knows, maybe soon, my glass box can turn into a mosquito net, from which I can step out.

In the meantime, I need to gain back some weight. (I used to have a roommate in high school who weighed something like 95 pounds at 5'7", and she was always complaining she couldn’t find clothes that fit. I was a little chubby back then and I thought she was a bitch for complaining about such things -- 20 years later, I feel her pain. Hey, maybe I am becoming wiser. This illness is teaching me empathy!) If you’re in the area and want to go grab some prime rib shabu shabu or BBQ ribs (sorry, my vegetarian friends! Sometimes a girl needs pure fat before winter), give me a holler. If you’re not in the area but want to help boost my natural killer cell count, go vote for Barack Obama (just kidding… well, not really).

Obama '08 - Vote For Hope from MC Yogi on Vimeo.


すみません m(__)m )

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Aki Matsuri is here again! - 今年もやって来た秋祭り!

Aki Matsuri poster --
once again designed by my wonderful hubby!

Time flies. It's that time of the year again - Japanese Fall Festival (a.k.a. Aki Matsuri) is coming up this weekend (Sept 6, 7)! I can't believe it's been a year already.

There will be exhibitors, nomi-no-ichi (flea market), martial arts demonstrations, photo ops with Hello Kitty, awesome puppet shows, festival food (yatai), etc., etc.... Fun times.

An astute reader such as yourself probably noticed that this is my first post in a long time -- and that it probably means I hadn't been feeling well.

Ding-ding-ding-ding! You are correct! Sorry, I don't have a prize.

Okay, I'll admit now that taking that trip to Vancouver might have been a bit much. I'm still recovering from it, and that combined with the renewed anti-viral therapy combined with the mercury chelation therapy with DMSA, I've been feeling like I have mono squared.

Then there was a confluence of wonderful family visits -- my parents, Daniel's parents, Daniel's brother Brent and his always wonderful wife Kathy -- all of whom I wanted to spend more time with, but much of my summer was spent in bed, spiced up with few outings. :-/ It was wonderful seeing everyone, though, and I'm so grateful they came to Seattle, we got to be with them, and our parents were all so helpful and easy-going. (Thank you for all the goodies you brought back from the farmers market! Sorry I couldn't go with you -- I'm still enjoying the currant jam and ikura, though!)

So the summer is almost gone, and I'm hoping all the feverish, dizzy, painful days are somehow helping me get over my chronic infections. We'll have to see. It's always dark before the end of the tunnel... right?

I'll take a break from the anti-viral therapy this week, in the hopes that would help me have enough energy to carry out my volunteer duties. I'd be interpreting the lecture to be given by the special guest from Japan, and I'm hoping I'll have some leftover energy to sell the festival T-shirts to raise funds for the organization. This year's T-shirts are really cute! (Daniel did a rockin' job, I think. It features the same cute Darumas seen on the poster above.)

Please come by Bellevue Community College if you're in the area, and say hello.


Wednesday, July 30, 2008

No pain, no gain (?) -- 痛みあって得るもの。

I <3 Vancouver!

Sorry I hadn't posted in a while... I kind of felt like I'd been put though a washing machine cycle after the trip to Vancouver :D

But I'm back, alive, and it was totally worth it!

I should know that reckless acts often result in pain. The big scar on my kneecap (from my kindergarten days, no less) is a good reminder. I must say, though, spiritually, we all need to stretch beyond our current limits sometimes.

Still recovering... my IV took almost 5 hours today :-( (Other folks seem to get out in about 2 hours.)

Another good news: the latest lab results (from the blood draw shortly before the trip) came back, and my white blood cell count is up! I'm finally back into the "normal" range (although at the lowest value of the range). So the doctor thinks I can re-start my anti-viral IVs again, now that my body might be somewhat more ready to fight the infections.

My chronic viral infections (Epstein-Barr, HVV6) were still rampant. Sigh.

Well, one thing at a time. Actually two things! I'm toasting to the successful trip to Vancouver and the increased white blood cell count.



Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Reckless is (or used to be) my middle name -- 無謀でも、いい。(たまには)

Have you ever tried to jump off the top of a jungle gym when you were little? Go down a big slide with your head first? Run and jump off the halfway landing of a staircase? Climbed too tall a tree? Climbed a school fence? My favorite "stupid" thing was pushing a swing as high as possible and jumping off into a prepared pile of leaves. Stupid, but so much fun!

I think I either tried or accomplished all of the above in my early days of kindergarten and elementary school. Needless to say I was told no, and I have gotten mangled on multiple occasions. Now I feel bad for my mom, for having to deal with my dirty and torn school uniforms day after day.

I'm not sure if I would've been diagnosed with ADHD if I had been born years later (or in the U.S.), but I couldn't sit still for the life of me. I could keep my attention for like a minute, and after that I was looking out the window and dreaming about what to climb next. On my report card, there was always a mark taken off for lack of patience :D Considering how many classes I skipped because I got too antsy (I also figured out how to imitate my mom's writing to write excuse notes... sorry mom!), it's a miracle they didn't fail me then. (Thank you, generous teachers. You probably knew I was writing those notes.)

Now that I've grown up (or maybe I just got tired) I don't have nearly as much an urge to climb trees, though I still do. As adults, we become much more afraid of consequences: of looking stupid, of being injured, or of becoming sick. That's good most of the time, because it's inherent in our nature to protect ourselves. When that's bad is when your fear is holding you back to reach your potential.

Sure, doctors may still tell me to avoid big crowds, my mom would probably be worried, and Daniel is probably skeptical if I'd be able to recover. But imagining the rush I got jumping off a jungle gym (which may not be such a hot idea -- I realize that), I got a round-trip bus ticket to Vancouver to see my friends! I know, it's not that far, but this is a big deal after being nearly bedridden half of the time for two years. I'll take my chances, because I feel like I almost can.

I'm getting an IV for nutrition/pain management and an energy injection tomorrow, too, so that would certainly help. If I'm feeling dead, I'll just rest over there!

I'll try to take it easy when I'm there -- I'll try to spend my days there like I do here as much as possible. Two to three marbles a day. I hear they are having some power outage, too (though that may be fixed by the time I'm there), in downtown, so that might contribute to having a slow life as well. (Weird I don't find power outages annoying now, because it's about my speed.)

Maybe the rush of adrenaline and dopamine would boost my immune system and bring up my white blood cell count! Who knows?


飛び降りてみたことは? 高すぎる木に

思います。 そりゃあダメって言われたし、
ついたでしょうね。ごめんなさい m(__)m


らしたんでしょうね。 先生ありがとう。)





買っちゃったんです。 フフフ。 ワクワク、




分からないですよね? (^◇^)


Tuesday, July 15, 2008

A charmed life? Maybe. -- 幸運は自分で呼び込むもの。

Am I lucky? Yes!

I just got a free bang trim from my always cheerful and extremely professional hairstylist, Tim. He is one of the people who inspire me to think I, too, can take care of myself, get better and do the things I'm meant to do. (Thank you Tim!)

Tim is a cancer survivor.

His cancer was bad. It spread to other parts of his body, and both he and his brother (apparently their liver problems were hereditary) continue to have various issues. But you wouldn't know it from looking at him. I only happen to know the health woes he's been through, because he shared them with me when I talked to him about my health problems.

In my opinion he doesn't look a day older than 50 (his outfits from H&M certainly help), but in fact he is closer to my parents' age. This doesn't surprise me, knowing how hard I know he works to take care of himself to keep the cancer at bay. Looking forward to continually educate himself at the Sassoon Academy in London only helps his determination to stay well.

Other people may look at him and think he's "lucky" for having his own salon, being his own boss, doing what he loves to do and hopping over to London every year. I also happen to know the road wasn't a simple one. He was a math major who worked in another field until about age 40; to get to where he is today, he had to work some not-so-dignified jobs until he established himself as a hair artist. It must have been quite interesting to have graduated from college (I forget if he has a postgraduate degree, too -- I feel like he does), have had a career and then go to cosmetology school with 18-year olds. That didn't faze him, possibly because he might have felt like he had little time to live.


When I talk to other Japanese people, they often say, "It must have been nice to have come here so young," complementing my English, as if I had it easy. These folks didn't see me staying up until 6:30 am on the cold, hard dorm hallway floor (the heat in my dorm room was broken and it was warmer outside!), day after day, with a dictionary in my hand, when other people were having fun in high school. When people say, "How lucky! You hardly have any accent," they don't know I practiced moving my mouth hundreds, if not thousands of times, in that same dorm room, so I wouldn't sound as silly the next day.

Apparently that paid off, because now I'm often mistaken for a Japanese-American. (Or at the very least people are confused as to where I'm from -- which wasn't really my objective -- I just didn't want my accent to get in the way of communicating.) I continue to feel inadequate, though. I still practice moving my mouth, listening to NPR in the car, sometimes trying to imitate the announcers. I might look like a crazy lady talking to herself. (Maybe if I had directed these efforts to other things, I might have made something out of myself by now. :P)


I think similar things happen to my husband, when people say he is "lucky" to be so artistic, or when they think his game ideas just pop into his head, all formed and ready to go. He's good at drawing, partly because he loved it, and mostly because he kept doodling and doodling and doodling AND doodling what visions he had in his head.

The same goes for game design. Young people may look at him all starry-eyed and think he's had this glorious career, but much of the time he had to do something else, but continued thinking about game design, scribbling about it, breathing the stuff, even thinking in his sleep. It's not rare to find him suddenly waking up and starting to write. (It can be startling if you're the one sleeping next to him.) "I read your stuff in school!" People might say. What they don't know is that he wrote that essay maybe twenty times (if not more), in his head, in his notebook, on his computer, then his head, his notebook, and back to his computer. Like a chunk of clay he keeps molding.

I do feel blessed to be surrounded by such diligent people. So, after all, I am lucky in that sense.



勇気が出てきます。 (ありがとうございます!)


転移もしました。 遺伝的な要素があったようで、



思うかも知れません。 自分のサロンを持って、

ありませんでした。 彼は実は数学者だったのが、
確か大学院も出ているはず。 その後、






なるようです。 日系? ハワイ? でもちょっと違うし、
みたいな。 そういう混乱を呼ぶために練習したんじゃ
ないんだけど。。。 単にコミュニケーションの壁を
とりはらいたかっただけで。 (^_^)ゞ ポリポリ 

今でも口を動かす練習はします。 NPR 聞きながら、
もうちょっと何か達成出来てたかもね・・・。) (_ _;)





別の地味な仕事だったし。 でもその間も、

知らない。 今でこそ書いて少しお金が
書き直してます。 粘土の塊を何度も

私は、そこがラッキーかも! o(^_^ )o♪


Monday, July 14, 2008

Yearning to spread my wings -- どこまで出来るか試したい気持ち。

Another beautiful summer in Seattle is upon us, and I'm amazed everyday how beautiful the sky is.


I feel... trapped.

I tell myself, by all accounts I should be happy. I'm blessed enough that I have time to take care of myself, so I can get better. I live in a wonderful place, with a wonderful husband, with wonderful cats, surrounded by caring friends. All four (!) of our parents are coming to visit this summer. (Thank you!)

Maybe it's the fact everyone travels more in summer. I hear of people's summer plans, and I hear that pesky voice in the back of my head. "I love to travel, too!"

I've been avoiding any rides longer than 30-40 minutes for the past two years for the most part, because the vibration from bumps on the road hurt a lot. While my pain is better managed now with different tactics, the fact it hurts hasn't changed. As even sitting in a movie theater for 2 hours would make me very sore, going on a plane seemed to be out of the question. (Good for lessening my carbon footprint, though! :D)

Now I'm questioning that judgment: If I'm hurting anyway, does it matter if I'm traveling and hurting at the same time?

Undoubtedly any prolonged trip would cost me dearly in the following days, but is avoiding long(er) trips altogether worth feeling trapped? That's my current golden question, because I'm pondering if I want to go see a friend in Vancouver who's just lost her brother unexpectedly and is there for a couple of weeks to make arrangements. A mere three hours away (well, more like four by bus/train, since I couldn't drive that long). I keep hearing her voice on the phone, "I wish I could see you."

I don't know the right answer at this time. I'm hoping it'll come to me. I feel like a penguin, flopping its little wings on the side, wondering if I am in fact a bird... "Maybe I can fly if I really wanted to?" Penguins accomplish amazing things in their lifetime, traveling long miles, don't they? Maybe I can, too.








訪ねて来てくれる。 (ありがとうございます!)

「どっか行きたい~」という声が押さえきれない。 (-_-)





耳から離れない。 (;-_-) =3 フゥ






Monday, July 7, 2008

Wish upon the stars! -- 星に願いを。

↑ Our first personal Tanabata tree!

Tonight (the 7th night of the 7th month) is Tanabata, the Japanese star festival, which is originally from China. The Japanese variation of the story goes, Orihime (Vega), the Weaving Princess, only gets to meet her loved one, Hikoboshi (Altair), the cowherd, once a year across the Milky Way (Amanogawa -- literally sky river) on this night, because her father the Sky King was mad at them for not doing any work after they got married. They were apparently so madly in love they got nothing accomplished. :D (It's interesting, because the Chinese story is much more intricate, but the Japanese take on it got simplified and became a fable about not working.)

The gist of it is that you get to piggyback on their wish being granted on this night: you get to make your wishes on a bamboo Tanabata tree.

I'd been eyeing the bush of little bamboo trees that cropped up in the parking lot of a dry cleaner down the street -- two years ago they were tiny weeds, and now many of them are taller than us. It's not a part of their intended landscaping, so most likely they'd be whacked at some point if they get in the way of business. So the Operation Tanabata Tree was hatched. (Namely, we just walked down a block with a little handsaw and scored ourselves a perfect bamboo bit.)

The best part of this festival is that it requires very little capital (well, if you live in a place where bamboos grow freely) and you get to dream. All you need is a little bamboo bush, a few pieces of origami paper to make celestial-themed ornaments, and voila! You get to make your wishes. Daniel at first felt greedy to make wishes about ourselves, but once he figured out we can make wishes about others, too, he quickly took to the idea. Lots of our wishes are about our family and friends.

Now Daniel wants to do this for Christmas, too. He likes the idea that it involves no material expectations. I'm not so sure if it works for Santa, but we could try it. For now, since it's originally intended for July 7th of the lunar calendar, maybe we'll keep it around for another month. I'm grateful I can see my loved one more than once a year, and that he's rather enthusiastic to go along with my silly antics.






今はいっぱい。 邪魔になったら



調子に乗ってきました。 家族の健康とか、

のたまわっています。 笹は木より早く育つし、
やってみてもいいけど~。 笑



Thursday, June 26, 2008

Hallelujah to Brallelujah! (Best bra for those in pain) -- 肩が痛い人に朗報!のブラ

That's not me. She's a happy underwear model,
who for once didn't have to pose with another bra with digging straps.

↑This is the back. No, that's not me, either.

[If you are a man, you don't need to read this post, really, so you can stop here. Just enjoy the pictures. Unless you're a caring person who's concerned about the plight of women's painful shoulders. Then I applaud you.]

For quite a while, I'd been feeling like American underwear companies were discriminating against smaller-breasted women (like me), whose shoulders may hurt just as much as the next gal who's been blessed with ample bosom. Wider, more kind-to-your-shoulders bra straps tend to come available only in bigger sizes. Finally, I found one bra that doesn't discriminate!

A lot of people ask me (including my doctors, so don't feel bad), "Where does it hurt today?" As a fibromyalgia sufferer, on many days it's actually easier to point out what doesn't hurt. As most of my body is sore/tender much of the time, especially my shoulders and back, regular bras with thin straps can become a form of torture on many days. (Yes, I still buy them, because they are cuter. Yes, I'm a sucker.)

More liberal friends have suggested I might just go sans bra, but that would render me somewhat shapeless and very nipple-y. So, as a proper lady (?) who seeks more support, I've been forever in search of a bra that fits my less-than-American-average size, that also doesn't hurt me.

And I found one! Well, it still hurts me somewhat, but about 70% less than other ones. This one's from Spanx, and it's aptly called Brallelujah! Full Coverage Front-Close bra.

I'd also tried their older version, the all-hosiery Brallejulah. While that was comfortable, it didn't do anything to flatter my shape (i.e. it squished down my tiny chest). Maybe good for those who want to minimize.

This new one, on the other hand, is kind of like a hybrid between a regular bra and hosiery. The cup part is seamless and comes with underwire for support, while the wide straps and back are made with soft hosiery material (like the waist band part of your pantyhose, but smoother). Compared to other bras on the market, the straps and back are heavenly.

Of course we're all shaped differently, so what works for me may not work for you. But if you suffer from digging-straps syndrome (I think that's most women), I highly recommend you give this one a try. It seems costly at $62, but it was totally worth it for me to reduce the pain level. Sometimes retailers like Bare Necessities have a 10% coupon going around (which I personally used), so if you're shopping online, be sure to Google for coupon codes first!

To all women with love,

P.S. You may have to try a couple of different sizes to figure out what works for you -- for example (not my size! just an example), they say 34B is roughly equivalent of 36A in terms of cup size, and since front-close bras' bands are usually made tighter than regular ones, you may find 36A is more comfortable for you if you regularly wear 34B. If you're ordering online, I recommend you get a couple of different sizes and keep the one that works better, returning the one(s) that didn't work.





くるんですよね〜。 (でも買うけど、可愛いから。


で、見つけました! これでもまだちょっと痛いけど、
Brallelujah! Full Coverage Front-Close bra

あんまり見た目は良くありませんでした (><) (胸を小さく見せたい人にはいいかも。)

不思議なブラです。 サポートするワイヤーもついてて、

ないですね〜。 でも、ストラップ痛い痛い病の女性
一品です。(Spanx の回し者ではないです。)

Bare Necessities とかのオンラインショップで


P.S. フロントホックのブラって、バンドがきつく
出来てることが多いようなので、例えば 34B と
36A (私のサイズではありません)のカップは

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Small pleasures in life. - ささやかな幸せのカタチ。

Summer has arrived in Seattle!

It's always such a wondrous time here. One minute it's cold and damp, and the next minute, boom, it seems as though it's always been warm and sunny and gorgeous with flowers blossoming everywhere.

Of course it was approaching in small increments, in that plants have been working hard by absorbing all that rain. It just seems sudden because the temperature jumps from 50s to 70s.

It's my "slow day" today. Whenever I see people they exclaim, "...but you look so... well!" They're often surprised to hear I'm getting weekly IVs (without them I'm pretty much useless). What they don't realize is that for every consciously "on" day (albeit a few hours of social time), I pay for it with "slow" or "off" day(s) afterwards. If my speed other people see were 5 mph, the next day I'd usually slow down to about 1 mph. If I go at 5 mph (let's say that's the "normal person speed") for two days in a row, I have multiple slow days or days on which I can barely move. I become a slug and my carriage (i.e. my GTI) turns into a pumpkin.

I sometimes feel bad that Daniel is usually the one who sees and deals with me on my slug days. However! Not being able to plan big things (like going out or seeing movies) results in small pleasures, and makes us realize we really don't need much to feel happy.

Today we went to Whole Foods after my massage appointment, and took a picnic out to the nearby park. Little and big flowers were blossoming everywhere, in neighbors' gardens and at the park. We stopped and observed busy bees weaving in and out of vibrant-colored blooms. Some purple, some orange, some pink, some yellow... so pretty! Then we noted that we both really liked one of the trees we saw at the park, because it had a big, fat trunk and lines reminiscent of a person.

I became cold in this amazing weather (I have a hard time regulating body temp when it's my off day -- the edges of my lips were apparently becoming blue), so we stopped and had a cup of tea outside a local food shop/cafe. Watched some more bees and crows and saw an adorable pug refusing to walk further. He was insisting he stop and stay stretched right next to the water bowl outside the store. I love how stores and cafes around here always have water bowls for dogs.

I was once again completely dead by the time I got home, so now I'm icing my legs, but before that, we also saw tiny cherries and apples on someone's trees. Summer in Seattle is so plentiful and delightful.

Come to think of it, the fact I could go to a grocery store, then walk to the park afterwards on my off day is amazing. That's a vast improvement from last year.

I was thankful for my off day, because it prohibited us to plan anything ambitious, and we got to re-explore the neighborhood together. Noticing pretty flowers with your loved one, I think, is so much better (and cheaper) than drinking a $100 bottle of wine alone.

Thank you, Daniel, for sharing my slug day. :-)









でも! そうだからこそ、いろいろ出かけられない



きたらしい。) そこで車に歩いて帰る途中にまた
ひと休み。 小さい食料品店兼カフェの外の


しまいましたが。。。 痛い足を冷やしつつこれを
書いています。 でも車に着く前に見た、誰かの
微笑ましかった。 シアトルの夏って、ほんとに






Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Another piece of puzzle, found -- また見つかった、パズルのヒント。

If I were a medical detective, I might have found my case to be quite intriguing and fun.

Most doctors don't have that much time to spend on one patient to unravel the mystery that is a human body -- so pieces of information are found little by little, very slowly. Even then, finding something is exciting.

I just found out yesterday that the mercury level in my body is quite high -- off-the-chart-high. (Literally. They had a bar chart on the lab result sheet, and my result went off the "very elevated" range; the doctor said it was the highest level she'd seen. This is one of those times where you really don't want to come in on top.) I also have an elevated level of lead.

I don't really know how this happened, because it's not like I ate more tuna than an average Japanese person. It's not even my favorite fish. :-/

One thing Daniel and I could think of was the old form of dental amalgams. Most likely due to celiac disease, I had very little enamel on my teeth as a child and as an adult, so I'd had basically melting teeth and extensive dental work all my life. Needless to say, I've had lots of metal in my mouth, though all the metal crowns have been replaced now.

Signs of mercury contamination can include fatigue, lack of physical endurance, headaches, and immune suppression, possibly immune dysregulation. It can advance to tremors and incoordination, anemia, psychoses, manic behaviors, possibly autoimmune disorders, renal dysfunction or failure. (In other words, it's a good thing I found this out now.)

Hmmm. Suspicious, very suspicious! It would make sense, if one of the reasons I couldn't get rid of my chronic infections was immune suppression from mercury. I was frustrated recently by the fact my white blood cell count keeps dropping, so if I can help elevate it by getting rid of mercury, that would be good news.

I'll start on a detoxifying agent (DMSA) for a couple of months to see if that helps. (It'll make me nauseated, but oh well. No pain, no gain.) Wish me luck! The hard part will be limiting certain kids of sushi...



少しずつ見つかるようです。 それだけに、何かまた

はみ出してしまった。 先生も「きっと今まで見た中で
一番高いわ~」とか。 そんなんで一番になりたくない。)




腎不全などになります。 (見つけて良かったね~、ということ。)


挑んでみます。 (気持ち悪くなるけど、良薬口に苦し、
ってことで。) 一番つらいのは、種類によってお寿司を

- 英

Thursday, May 8, 2008

NPR always knows how to cheer me up :P -- NPRは私のツボを知っている。

So what if I have a nerd crush on Ira Glass?

I do realize that by admitting I'm an avid NPR listener, I'm basically admitting I'm a huge dork.

Well, I'm well into my 30s now, and I'm not ashamed of who I am. I must admit, when my parents-in-law said they've just been to a live taping of A Prairie Home Companion, my heart skipped a beat. I knew I married into the right family.

(Incidentally, it may not be an overstatement to say that I broke up with my ex because he couldn't stand my heavy NPR listening. Also incidentally, Daniel thought I was an angel when I revealed that I listened to Car Talk podcasts. We were meant to be.)

I've been quiet for a while because I was in my MAM (Minimum Activity Mode -- I just made that up) stage. I was thoroughly worn out by my interpretation stint, I'm still yet to recover completely. But two things I heard on NPR inspired me (well, one of them made me laugh really hard) to write again, because happiness is to be shared.

One piece of wonderful and unexpected information was that Brian May, the lead guitarist of Queen (yes, as in We Will Rock You), recently completed his Ph.D. in astronomy, 36 years after he left school to pursue his music career. Now at age 60, he is Dr. Brian May, astrophysicist, AND the 39th greatest guitarist of all time (according to Rolling Stone Magazine). I thought, "Well, this goes to show that you really can start and finish anything at any age if you wanted to."

Another thing that cheered me up was a rap song, out of all things, by a Chicago band Psikotic. This one made me laugh like a mad woman. I have to warn you, though -- you'd only get this if you've read The Economist magazine (yes, I'm a subscriber, though Daniel reads it more than I do). It's a HILARIOUS homage to the magazine. Give it a listen, if you'd ever wished George W. Bush would read The Economist.

I've been having a hard time cultivating compassion for myself, something the Dalai Lama said you must do before you can have compassion for others. I was frustrated that my body was not recovering. But NPR saved the day by letting me know about Brian May (lol), then cheered me up with the song.

So much better than TV.




義理の両親が先週末、 A Prairie Home Companion

ちなみにダニエルは、会ってほどないとき「わたしね、Car Talk
思ったそう。 気が合いすぎる。)

滞ってしまいました。 すみません。


博士号を目指して大学院にいたそうな。 でもバンドの
天文学博士号をとったそうです! う~ん、人間、

バンドによるラップソング。 お断りしておきますが、
面白くないです。 でも読んだことがあるなら、
とんでもなく笑える歌。 購読して(さらに、ブッシュさんも

持てませんでした。 体がなかなか回復しなくて、不甲斐無さに
いらだっていたから。 でも、NPRがまた助けてくれました。



Thursday, April 17, 2008

Beat but inspired! -- 死んでるけど心は元気!

As expected, I'm totally beat after 4 days of interpretation. (+_+) My pain level is at about 8 out of 10, and I'm running a fever. My ears are plugged up, too, so I'm trying my best to rest and not get an ear infection. :D At times like this, I'm really glad there was such a thing as Tramadol, even if it makes me woozy.

Nonetheless, being involved in Seeds of Compassion conference was an incredible experience, and the talks were so inspiring! I'll write about some things that really resonated with me, once I start feeling somewhat alive. (If you're interested, you can still watch the webcasts from the event here -- in 24 different languages!)

When I think about it, I wouldn't have even dreamed of participating in such an event last year, so I'm ever so grateful I'm doing a little better this year. I can drive short distances, and I was able to work some! It feels nice to be of some use to other people. It was totally worth it.

Now if I can only sleep, that would help :P I'm getting my weekly IV tomorrow, so hopefully I'll recover some more!


予想通り、4日間通訳をして、かなり疲れました。  へろ へろへろ~ (;@_@)ノ
久しぶりに、10段階評価でいくと痛みのレベルは体中、指先から爪先まで8ぐらい。 微熱が出て、なんだか耳が詰まっている状態です。 中耳炎にならないようしっかり休もうっと。 こんなときは、くらくらしたとしてもトラマドルみたいなお薬があって良かった、と思います。

それでも、素晴らしいとしか言いようのない経験をさせていただいて、いろいろ有難いお話を聞いて、心の栄養になりました。 特に心に残ったお話、回復してきたら、かいつまんでここでも少しお話しようと思います。 (もし興味がおありでしたら、こちらから24ヶ国語でビデオを観られます。)

考えてみると、去年だったらこんなお仕事を請けようとも思えなかったでしょうから、比べて少しずつでも体力が出てきたことに感謝しています。 少しなら自分で運転して出かけることも出来るようになったし、働くことが出来るのが嬉しかった。 少しでも誰かのお役に立てたことは幸せです。 ですから疲れ果てたとしても、やった甲斐がありました。

これで眠れたら、もっと助けになるんだけれど。。。 明日また、毎週行っている点滴に行くので、それが助けになることを願っています。


Saturday, April 12, 2008

Learning to fail -- 失敗から覚えること。

The Dalai Lama and Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire (AP)

Sigh (><)

The second day of trying to simultaneously interpret is over. I think it went better than yesterday, but I still made a few mistakes... When you think about it, people study for years at post-graduate level to do this job, so I really couldn't expect to do it smoothly. Even then, I feel bad that it couldn't have been better. It made me think of Daniel's blog post from a while back about Nintendo's strategy to develop prototypes of the games quickly, thus "failing" quickly with as little consequences as possible.

Indeed, failures are needed for success. What I need to do is learn from my failures, quickly, so I can do better on Monday. So we had a reflection meeting over dinner.

I've decided:
- Rather than trying to come up with the "right" word, I should just go through with it with a substitution phrase if needed, so I can move onto the next part of speeches;
- Instead of trying to absorb and understand what is being said before saying something, I should just translate real-time, even if it ends up sounding weird (and follow up if necessary). Otherwise I'd lose track and can't keep up.

These are just some mental notes. Although it has been exhausting, I should be thankful I still have a partner to take turns with -- seeing that one of the Polish interpretors quit after the first day, saying it was just too hard.

I really want to interpret the Dalai Lama's words as accurately as possible. I'll rest up and prepare for Monday :-) Good night!



同時通訳をなんとかつとめて2日目が終了しました。 昨日よりは少し上手くいったけれど、それでも間違いがほろほろ・・・。 (先住民を原住民と言ってしまったり、長老を酋長と言ってしまったり。 笑えると言えば笑えるけど。。。 そういう人達が出て来るとも聞いていなかったし、とっさに思いつかなかった!) 考えれば、大学院以上のレベルで何年も訓練してみなさん通訳になられる訳ですから、そんな最初から素人で上手くいく筈はありません。 それでもやはり、聞いていただく皆さんに申し訳なくてしょうがありません。

ダニエルが以前ブログの中で、任天堂のゲーム開発のプロセスのことに触れて、「彼等は試作品をすごいスピードで作る。 失敗のコストを最小限に抑え、いいものに絞っていくためだ」みたいな話をしていたのを思い出しました。

確かに、失敗をしてみなければ成功はできません。私が今しなければいけないことは、失敗から早く学んで、月曜日の通訳をもう少し改善することです。 ということで、反省会を夕食をとりながらしました。

- ドンピシャの単語を無理に思い出そうとしているとつまってしまって後が続かないので、代わりにいくつか余計に言葉を使っても進めるものなら進めてしまう。
- じーっと話の意味合いを完全に理解するまで待っていて通訳すると次の部分が聞けなくなってしまうので、ちょっと変でもどんどん順繰りに通訳していって、後で必要があればフォローする。

ほとんど自分のためのメモですけど。 疲れましたが、まだ交代する相方が残っているだけ感謝しなくっちゃ、と思います。 ポーランド語を担当していた2人のうち1人は、一日目を終えて「難しすぎた」と言って辞めてしまったので。。。

ダライ・ラマ法王のおっしゃる言葉を少しでも正確に通訳できるよう、一日休養をとってまた月曜に備えます。 おやすみなさーい。 m(__)m


Friday, April 11, 2008

Lots of compassion all around -- 慈悲の心がいっぱい。


I just came home from interpreting the Dalai Lama! ...and the other distinguished panelists, for Seeds of Compassion conference. It was a lot of talk about nurturing compassion.

Admittedly, we (being the other interpretor and I) took a while to warm up, and in some parts may not have made much sense. I think we were doing okay by the end. :-P

I'm not a simultaneous interpretor by trade. In our defense, when we took this job, we were only told to translate for the Dalai Lama. He speaks in fairly slow English, as well as his interpretor, so we figured we'd do fine. Then a couple of days ago, we were told we were to translate the entire dialogue amongst several panelists.

Even professional interpretors were expressing their concern -- they said you're usually supposed to have more interpretors for multiple panelists. And then they showed these video tapes that talked about the types of research/work each respective panelist was doing, which we also had to translate by surprise. (We were given no script.) Plus (as if those weren't enough) we kept having technical difficulties, in which we kept getting another, unrelated, audio feed: we were hearing the conference in one ear and audio feed from another TV show in the other for a while.

It was exciting but exhausting... I think I'll take a nap. Hopefully we can do better tomorrow... Please have compassion for our translation ;-)


ダライ・ラマ法王(とその他の専門家の先生方)の通訳をして今帰ってきました! 慈悲の心をみんなで育もう、というコンファレンスだけあって、「慈悲の心」がたくさん出てくる会話でした。

最初ぐだぐだ、めちゃめちゃだった~。 (T_T)ウルウル 慣れるのにしばらくかかりましたが、最後の方はもう少し良かった・・・かな? (今日の分は聞かないで!)

ご存知の通り、私は同時通訳が職業ではありません。 (頼まれて個人で通訳はやったことあるけど。) 言い訳みたいですが、当初引き受けたときは「ダライ・ラマ法王の通訳を」と言われて引き受けたんですよね~。 彼と彼の通訳の人の英語はある程度ゆっくりだから。 そうしたら2日ほど前になって、「あ、あと他の専門家のパネリストの分も対話を全部通訳してね」と言われて。 (ヒキツリ) プロの通訳の人でさえ、「普通、パネリストがいっぱいいる場合は通訳の人数もその分増やすんだけど~」と言ったぐらいで。
それで、台本とかは全然もらっていないところに、それぞれの専門家がこんなリサーチ・お仕事してます、みたいなビデオが出てきて、お、これも通訳?となってよけいヒキツリ。 それだけでは終わらず、ハプニングは続出。 何かAV側に問題が生じて、対談中しばらく、コンファレンスの音声と、もう一つ全然関係ないテレビ番組の音声が同時にヘッドフォンに入ってきていたのでした。

とっても光栄だったのに変わりはないんですが、疲れた。。。 お昼寝でもしようっと。 明日はもう少し上手くやれますように。 聞く・見る機会がもしあったら、慈悲の心を持って見てください。。。


Thursday, April 10, 2008

Today I'm doing... -- 今日は何をしてるかというと・・・

Weather: Cloudy -- but spring is here! 51°F
Energy Level: 3 out of 10
Mood: 5/10
Health: 3.5/10

His Holiness began his monastic education at the age of six.

I realized, in some necks of the blogsphere woods (especially Japanese blogs), people just write about what they're doing that day.

That's one way to fill the Internet. Daniel and I both tend to be -- how can I put it -- long-winded overachievers, who feel like we should write something that's somewhat entertaining or meaningful. But that often results in long posts which are hard to read, contradicting our intention. Ah, the irony.

One of my goals this year is to take care of myself, so in that spirit, I'll try the shorter, "I'm doing this today" approach for size today :-) (This would take less marble.)

Today I'm doing:
- Getting a nutrition/pain management IV for a couple of hours
- Brushing up my translation skills to get ready for the conference this weekend

I haven't worked in a while, but this weekend and into the next week, I'll be working as a Japanese interpreter for the Dalai Lama and other panelists, for the webcast of Seeds of Compassion conference. The conference will be broadcast over the Internet in over 20 languages.

While I am incredibly honored to translate the words of His Holiness, the setup of this job is less glamorous than it sounds -- I'll be canned in a studio at the local TV station for hours on end with headsets, staring at the monitor screen. I don't think I'll get to personally meet the Dalai Lama. Even so, I'm very excited. We all need to nurture more compassion in this world, and I can't wait to hear what he will say.

The conference starts tomorrow (April 11), and if you are interested in viewing the webcast, click here!

Wish me luck ;-)


天候: 曇り、でも桜は満開の春!11°C
元気度(勢い): 3/10 
気分: 5/10
体調: 3.5/10


日本語のブログは世界で一番多いそうで、日本人は、自己表現の場に飢えてるんでしょうか。 ダニエルとか私の場合、頭でっかちなので、多少考えてから書こうとか、ちょっとは読んで役に立つような、とか考えすぎてしまい、更新が滞ってひとつひとつのエントリーが長くなってしまいます。 でもそのせいで話が長くなると読みずらいので、結局当初の良心とは逆の効果となり、なんとも皮肉な状況が生まれます。

今年の目標のひとつは生活を簡易にして自分の体の面倒を見ることなので、「今日はこれしてま~す」という短いアプローチを試してみようと思います (^_^) (その方がビー玉も少なくて済むし)

- 栄養補給と痛みを和らげる点滴を数時間
- 今週から来週にかけてコンファレンスがあって通訳を頼まれたので、出てきそうな言葉のおさらい

しばらく仕事はしていないのですが、たまたまシアトルにダライ・ラマ法王が慈悲の心を育てる、慈悲の種を蒔くという主題のコンファレンスのメイン・ゲストとしていらっしゃるので、彼が参加する会談をいろいろインターネットで放送するのに、恐れ多くも(英語から日本語に)通訳をさせていただくことになりました。 (もう一人の方と交代しながら。)

と言うとすごく華やかなことのようですが、法王についてまわる、とかいうことではなく、20ヶ国語以上の通訳をみんなでするのに、何日かテレビ局のスタジオ内に缶詰め状態になって、モニターを見つつヘッドフォンで聞いて同時通訳するのです。 たぶん法王とはすれ違いになってお会い出来ないでしょう。 そうはいってもありがたい機会で、すごく光栄なことには変わりありません。 とってもワクワクしています。 慈悲の心、思いやりの心を育むというのはこのせちがらい世の中でとても大事なことですから、どんなお話をされるのか楽しみです。

コンファレンスは明日(4月11日)の朝からです。 ウェブキャストに興味のある方は、こちらを見てください。



Saturday, March 29, 2008

Progress: One marbles to two marbles -- 1つのビー玉から2つになった進歩。

If one activity (e.g. grocery shopping, going to a doctor, taking a walk) was represented as a marble, how many marbles do you have in a day?

One of the tips I got from the fibromyalgia study was to imagine that you have a certain number of marbles (probably less than the normal population) in a bowl, and that you spend your marbles by moving from the original, "available" bowl to another, "spent" bowl. Once all the marbles are gone from the original bowl, you should stop.

A little over a year ago, I'd say I had zero marble on many days. I couldn't get up from bed. Other days I had one marble to spend. I'd go grocery shopping, and I'd be done for the day. I'd get together with a friend, and I was down for a few days. All I could manage was making it to doctors' appointments to figure out what's going on.

Then between last January and March, I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, and celiac disease. I started treatment with the fibromyalgia clinic last April, and went on gluten-free diet at the end of March.

Progress comes slowly, but it is there (this I need to tell myself). Now, on most days I have two marbles to spend. On good days, even three! Hey, that's a 100%-200% improvement! If I were a company, my stocks should be skyrocketing.

But if I go over my allotment, or do an activity that requires two to three marbles all at once (e.g. going out to eat and then seeing a play, symphony, etc., coupled with taking buses or driving), I have less marbles on following days.

I think it's also helping that I'm getting a nutrition IV every week, especially since I seem to have lost about 10 pounds while fighting multiple opportunistic infections. (I wasn't particularly that tiny before, so I'm not really underweight yet. I'm OK, but my chest goes away!!)

I try to pace myself, but often, I've had to say no to planned social activities when I felt a bit too spent, so I wouldn't be down for weeks. I love people, so this has been hard. In the past couple of months, I've been trying to see more friends and schedule activities I enjoy for my spirit (music, play, movies, tea with friends, etc.), and I feel terrible when I can't make it.

Thank you to all my friends (you know who you are) -- for always being so understanding, and standing by my side. Please know, if I had a choice, I'd get together with you (or write you or call you) much more often.

I'm recharging; I hope I continue to make progress. I dream of coming days when I have enough marbles to fill a small bowl :-)


(日本語訳は疲れたのでちょっと後で。。。Japanese to come later. I just spent about 0.5 marble.)

[そして余分なビー玉がないまま、あっという間に一週間+! Oops!]


「無理をしないよう、一日に使えるエネルギーをビー玉に置き換えて(多分普通の人より数は少ないけれど)、それがボウルの中に入っていると想像します。 そして何かしてビー玉を一個使うたび、「使用済み」側のボウルに移していきます。 もとのボウルにあったビー玉がなくなってしまったところで、それ以上無理をせず休みましょう。」

1年ちょっと前、ほとんどの日、私のビー玉の数は0でした。 ベッドから起き上がるのが出来るか出来ないか。 その他のときは、一つビー玉があるくらい。 スーパーに行ってお買い物をして、帰ってきてバターン。 ちょっとお友達とランチをして、その後数日お休み。 (悪いカードをひいた双六みたい。) ほとんどのエネルギーは、数々のお医者さんに行って、何でこういう風なのか解明しようとするのに費やしていました。

そして去年の1月から3月にかけて、いくつか答えが出てきました。 まず痛くてたまらないのが線維筋痛症、そして疲れて何もできないのが慢性疲労症候群、そしてお腹が痛くなって偏頭痛のもとで栄養不良にになったのがセリアック病。 (アポがそれまでとれなかった)4月に線維筋痛症・慢性疲労症候群専門のクリニックで治療を始め、3月にはグルテンフリー(と乳製品と卵フリー)の食事療法を始めました。

進歩はゆっくりですが、着実にあると思います(自分に言い聞かせてる)。 だって最近を振り返って見ると、ほとんどの日には2つくらいビー玉があります。 調子のいい日には、3つあるかも! それって、100~200%の向上です。 もしこれが株式会社だったら、株がすごい上がるところです。


毎週続けている栄養点滴も、助けになっていると思います。 慢性感染と戦うのにエネルギーを使ってしまうせいかここ何ヶ月かで10パウンドほど体重が減ってしまったので、なんとかある肉はとっておこうとしております。 (もともと大柄だから痩せすぎということはないけれど、胸がなくなる~。)

できるだけ安定したペースで過ごそうと思っても、予期できずビー玉が突然少ない日もあるので、その後週単位でダウンしないよう、予定していた約束が果たせないこともあります。 ここ何ヶ月か、引きこもらないよう、できるときは、自分の気持ちが盛り上がるような好きなことをいろいろするようにしてきましたが(音楽、劇、映画、お友達とお茶、などなど)、人好きなので、行けないときはつらいです。 それにすっごく悪くてしょうがありません。

私の周りの優しい方々、いつもおおらかにご理解くださって、できるときに付き合って下さって、支えて下さって、ありがとうございます。 もしできるものなら、もっと頻繁に手紙を書いたり電話したり会ったりしたいこと、身勝手ですけど知っていてください。

充電中で、すこーしずつ良くなってきています。 たとえ小さいボウルでも、将来ビー玉の数が増えて、もう少し盛れることを夢見ています。 (^_^)



Thursday, March 27, 2008

Losing weight? w/o meaning to -- ダイエットしてないんだけど。。。

I don't personally own this one, but aren't Japanese bras cuter?

Now that I'm back in the blogsphere and have established I'm often not capable of writing anything deep or meaningful, I feel much better.

I'm justifying this by thinking that many people with my conditions experience what's commonly known as brain fog, and that they may feel better by knowing I'm in a foggy state. :-P

I've been noticing that my pants are getting looser lately, and I'm rather curious to go back to see the doctor and step on a scale. (We don't own one.) I was muttering last summer I thought I gained weight, but it seems it was just a case of edema from my thyroid gland not working properly. My weight had mostly stayed the same, and I'm eating as much as ever, so I'm not sure what's happening now. Maybe I'm still not absorbing nutrition properly from my small intestine. (Or, maybe my flesh just shifted downward due to gravity. In time I'll have really fat feet!)

The downsides of (inadvertently and possibly) losing weight in your mid-30s:
  1. It seems you only lose from the top and not from the bottom. Not good if you don't have much on the top to begin with.
  2. It's disconcerting to see the ribs on chest and midsection, especially since I'm neither Mary-Kate or Ashley.
  3. You notice some previously unknown wrinkles on your face.
  4. I may have to buy new clothes. (Although this could potentially be construed as a positive.)
The upsides (?) of losing weight:
  1. I can take off some pants without unbuttoning, saving me time.
  2. I no longer have to ask, "Do I look fat in these pants?"
  3. I may be able play on monkey bars again.
  4. My nice husband thinks he should cook me even more nutritious food.
I now have a good collection of bras in various sizes, and American sizing is becoming too big on me! Which led me to shop on Japanese websites (shipped to my mother), which led her to ask, "[getting this many bras,] does Daniel ever ask you, 'how many breasts do you really have?'"

Fortunately, I have a very understanding husband who enjoys my pseudo fashion shows of new arrivals (thus far). I'm a lucky girl. And no, I don't have 20 breasts, thank you very much.





骨太で日本人にしては結構大柄の私ですが、なんだか最近ジーンズやチノパンがゆるくなってしょうがありません。 うちに体重計はないので、次に主治医に会ったとき、体重を計ってみるのが楽しみです(痩せたかもしれないからではなく、好奇心で)。

去年の夏、太ってやだ〜、とぶつぶつ言っていましたが、実はその時期には体重はそんなに変移しておらず、甲状腺機能の低下で、むくんでいただけでした。 今までと同じで食欲だけはいつもあってたっぷり食べてるのに、なんなんでしょう。 まだ、小腸から栄養が吸収できてないのかな。 (それか、単に重力に逆らえず肉が下方面に移動しただけなのか?  そのうち足がシュレックみたいに大きくなるのかも)

  1. 上半身だけ痩せて、下半身はあまり変わらない。もともと貧弱な上半身の場合特に困ります。
  2. 胸の上と下、両方あばらが見えるのはちょっと嫌。 オルセン姉妹じゃあるまいし。
  3. 顔の、今までなかったところにしわができたような気がする。
  4. お洋服が合わないので新しい服が必要かも。 (これはプラスととれることもあるかも知れないけど)
  1. ジーンズなどによってはボタンを外さずに脱げるので急いでいたら時間の節約になる
  2. 「このパンツ、太って見える?」と聞かなくて済む
  3. また運梯で遊べるかもしれない。
  4. 優しい旦那様がもっと栄養のあるものを料理してくれようとする
サイズが変移するおかげで、いろいろなサイズのブラジャーコレクションができました。 アメリカのものだとなんだか大きくてすかすかする(寂しい・・・)ので、日本の通販サイトで買ったものを実家に送って母に転送してもらうのですが(お母さんありがとう)、去年からバーバファミリーのようにいろいろ変わってきたのを個人輸入エージェントとして体験した彼女は、「ダニエルさんに、'いったい君は胸がいくつあるの?'とか聞かれない?」と心配していました。 (もっともな心配。)

幸運なことに、私のだんな様はとても理解があり、(今のところ)新着ファッションショーをエンジョイしてくれます。 ありがたいことですね〜。 なにかの副作用で胸が20個になったわけではないので、ご心配なく!


Wednesday, March 26, 2008

I can wear cute shoes (sometimes). -- 可愛い靴が履ける(ときもある)。

Maybe in another 10 years I'll work my way up to this.

I can't believe I went without posting for over a month! Sorry. I was -- well, living, and that didn't leave me with much extra energy to write on my blog. STILL fighting sinusitis. (Plus EBV and HHV6. Think mono and roseola and sinus infection rolled into one convenient package! Don't worry, I'm not contagious.)

Then I started experiencing a writer's block; since I haven't said anything in a while, I started feeling like I should make a comeback with something fantastic. (This must be what Michael Jackson must feel like before coming out with a new album. Who knew having fibromyalgia/chronic fatigue syndrome would allow me to sympathize with MJ?)

Of course, such expectations are all in my head (a.k.a. part of my neurosis), so I decided to start again, break the ice, with something silly.

My feet and legs haven't stopped hurting, but sometimes on good days, I can now wear shoes with some heels! (For a few hours, provided I'm sitting most of the time, but still.)

I think I worked my way back up to about 2.5 inch heels. This may not seem like a big deal to some, but for someone like me who likes all sorts of shoes, this is a momentous achievement.

I suffer more than usual on following days, but it's so worth it, to have an outfit with matching shoes. Silly, I know, but it's something that makes me happy.

I'll save talking about being able to carry a purse for another time. :-P


ぼーっとしていたら、1ヶ月以上もブログを更新せず過ぎてしまいました。 すみません!


副鼻腔炎は未だ治らず。 EBウイルスとHHV6も退治できてないので、単核症と、バラ疹と、副鼻腔炎が仲良く共存しているというようなことです。 (するなよぉ~。 うつりはしないから安心してね。)

それでしばらく書かなかったので、カムバックをするのに何かすごいことを書かなきゃいけないような気になってきて、手が余計止まってしまいました。(マイケルジャクソンがアルバムを出そうかな~と思うときってこんな感じかな? 線維筋痛症と慢性疲労症候群が、MJと私の距離を縮めるとは夢にも見なかったわ~。)

なーんてね。 そんなことは自分の頭の中で考えてるだけのことなので、緊張(神経症?)をときほぐすべく、あほなことからまた書き始めましょう。

足と脚が痛いのは治りませんが、日によって、調子がいい日なら、低いヒールのある靴がまた履けるようになりました! (数時間だけね。 そのほとんどの時間座っていれば。)

6センチくらいのかかとの靴なら履けるようになってきました。 これって普通の人にしてみたらあんまり大した話じゃないかも知れないけれど、かわいい靴が好きな私としては、達成感(?)は大きいです。

その後何日かちょっとつらくても、お洋服と合った靴を履けるということは嬉しいんです~。 ばかみたいって分かってるけど、小さな幸せ。



Thursday, February 21, 2008

What made me cry today - 今日、なんで泣いたか。

No, it wasn't because I found out today my car needed a repair that would cost $3K.

It was because people are so nice.

I went into the nearby bank today, for the first time in a couple of months. When getting out of bed everyday is a challenge, some errands are naturally put off.

There, I saw a familiar face: a girl with a bright smile, a gorgeous girl with cascading dark curly hair. At first, I couldn't remember where I knew her from. Why do I know this cute person in her early 20s? (Because you know, I seem pretty old compared to the college students bouncing about in our neighborhood.)

As I went up to the counter, I went through the possibilities in my head. Have I volunteered with her? Did she work somewhere else before, where I frequently shop?

I couldn't remember. I told her, "You look familiar, but I can't recall from where." She smiled and said, "I thought the same thing when you walked in! But I couldn't remember, either."

Then, in the middle of the transaction, it hit me: we were in a same math class!

Since I inexplicably enjoy working out math problems, I started taking a couple of math courses at a local college before I got really sick from chronic Epstein-Barr and HHV6 infections. Then I had to withdraw, because the daily classes got to be too much.

When I told her how we knew each other, she seemed genuinely delighted. She is one of those people who wear everything on their face. With a huge grin, she chimed in: "That's right!"

She went on to tell me, "We really missed you in the class after you were gone! I remember, the teacher even teared up some when he was telling us you were gone. It's so good to see you."

I couldn't believe it. I barely spoke to this girl in the class. We might have said hi to each other a few times. As for the teacher, I never had a full conversation with him, but I remembered him telling me repeatedly, "You're gonna take more math classes, aren't you? You really should."

When I told my English teacher I was taking a quarter off from her writing classes, she wrote me an email: "That's too bad! Every class with Aya in it is a good class. You add so much to our discussion."

I don't really think I do, but thinking about these conversations made me cry. People around me are so sweet. I want to get better, so I can be around them more often.

Maybe it was also the fact that both moms (the one in Japan and the one in Calais) called tonight that pushed me over the edge. It was kind of a cumulative effect -- so many people around me keep doing nice things for me, it was as if my tears filled up a glass and spilled over.

If you are reading this, you are probably one of the people who made up that glass. Thank you, and I promise I'll get better.


車の変速装置が壊れていて、$3,000 相当の修理が必要なことが今日発覚したのですが、それで泣けたのではありません。


今日は、何ヶ月かぶりに銀行に行きました。 朝ベッドから起き上がるのが一仕事に感じるとき、銀行に行くというようなちょっとした用はどんどん後回しになってしまいます。

銀行に入って、カウンターに立っている笑顔が輝くように可愛い、若い黒髪の女の子(と言うのは失礼かしら)を見て、はっとしました。 どこかで会ったことがある。 一体全体、どうしてこんな可愛らしい20代の女の子を知ってるんだろう? (うちの近所は大学の周りなので、若い人ばかり・・・だから相対的に見ると自分はおばさんに思えるのです)

カウンターに行って話し始めても思い出せないので、頭の中でいろいろ考えてみました。 一緒にボランティアしたんだったかな? よく行く他のお店(スーパーとか)でアルバイトしていたのかな?

思い出せません。 彼女が覚えてるかもと思い、「なんだかどこかで会っているような気がするんだけど、どこでだか思い出せないの」と言ってみました。 彼女は微笑んで、「入ってきたとき私もそう思ったんです! でも私もどうしてか思い出せない。」と言います。

そして、受け答えをしているうちに思い出しました。 一緒の数学のクラスだったんだ!


思い出したことを伝えると、彼女はほんとうに嬉しそうに笑って、「そうだったわ!」と言いました。 思い起こすと、クラスに入って来る時も、いつもその時の気分がそのまま顔に出ている人でした。

そして彼女はこう言うのです。 「あなたがいなくなって、みんな寂しかったのよ。 先生なんて、あなたが具合が悪くなって来られなくなったとみんなに伝えた時、涙ぐんでたもの。 また出会えて、すごく嬉しい。」

そんな風に言ってもらえるなんて、信じられませんでした。 彼女とは何回か、「ハーイ」と挨拶を交わしただけで、そんなに話したことはなかったし、先生とも、ちゃんと一対一で話したようなことはあまりなかったからです。 ただ、ちょくちょく、「もっと(他の)数学のクラスをとり続けるよね? そうするべきだよ。」と言われたことは覚えていました。

国文の先生に、「体調が悪いので、次の学期の修辞法のクラスは行けません」と言ったとき彼女はわざわざメールをくれました。 「それは残念! 英がいるといいクラスになるのに。 討論をしているといいこと言ってくれるから。」 

彼女が言ってくれるようなことはないと思いますが、そんなことをみんな言ってくれることを思うと、泣けてしまいました。 みんな私の周りはすごくいい人ばかりなんだもん。 健康になって、こうしたみんなと過ごせる時間を増やしたい。

両方の母(日本とメーンから)が今夜電話をかけてきてくれたのも、涙腺のゆるみに拍車をかけました。 でもなんというか、好意の蓄積です。 優しいことをみんなでしてくれたり言ってくれたりしたので、コップに涙がだんだんいっぱいになって溢れてきてしまった感じ。

これを読んでいるあなたは、きっとそのコップの一部です。 ありがとう。


Friday, February 1, 2008

勇気をもって生きていくこと。 - Living everyday with courage.

天候: またしても曇り(シアトルの冬); 4°C
元気度(勢い): 1.5/10 
気分: 3.5/10
体調: 2/10


テク、テク、テク、(と点がはいるくらいのテンポで)ドラッグストアに歩いていけるくらいに回復してきました! \(^0^)/ わーい。




右目の視力が5%ということを聞いて番組のホストが、「5%しか見えないっていうことですね」と言うのに対して、彼女は、「5%はあります!」と言いただします。英語で言う、glass half full (instead of glass half empty)ということですね。










Weather: Cloudy -- this is Seattle in winter after all! 40°F
Energy Level: 1.5 out of 10
Mood: 3.5/10
Health: 2/10

I recovered enough to step out and walk (ever so slowly) to the drugstore! Yay. :-)

We don't have a TV at home, so when I was drugged out and sick, I watched lots of YouTube clips. (Being sick, I had a very short attention span and little tolerance, so it was perfect to watch tidbits of things.)

It was then when I came across a clip of an old Japanese TV show called "Life [in which] You Can't See." In this program, the host interviews and follows the life of this young lady named Rie Urata, with severely impaired vision (by medical/governmental standards, she is considered the same as completely blind). Sometimes the host attempts to physically experience what she goes through in her daily life.

Ms. Urata can't see out of her left eye at all, and her vision through her right eye is 95% gone. Nonetheless, her positive attitude toward life was the most impressive part of the program.

Upon hearing that she only has 5% of her vision left in her right eye, the host says, "so you only see 5%." To this she quickly comes back, "I can still see 5%! That's huge." She's really trying hard to see the glass as half full.

She admits she had days when she thought, "why me?" -- but in another clip, she says the words an instructor spoke at the community welfare center (for the mentally and physically handicapped) really helped her. Her condition (retinitis pigmentosa) is progressive, so she will eventually go completely blind, but he said to her, rather than counting what you can't do anymore, you should count what you can do. She says those words really stuck with her.

With her wonderful smile, she says that advice eventually allowed her to keep smiling. You can only take such an advice with an open, strong heart. Her vision started really deteriorating around age 20, and now she's in her early 20s. She says, while she can see even a little bit (she can only make out general shapes/colors in a good light, kind of like out of a pinhole), she wants to see and learn as much as she can, so that's why she's staying so busy. (She even puts on her own makeup -- something I can barely do with a perfect vision -- she learned what it feels like, how long her eyebrows should be, etc., with various people's help.) She says, "Of course there are inconveniences, but I can still live fine."

I really respect her.

When you get sick, it's so easy to focus on what you can't do anymore. For instance, for me, I dwell on the fact that a slight slope seems like Everest on some days, when I used to be able to lightly trot such an obstacle. But when I think about it, I can still walk. Unlike those who are visually impaired, who may need to get used to a path with repeated training, I can take whatever path I want, whatever is easier for me.

Since her vision started going away, Ms. Urata not only got a professional license as a masseuse and acupuncturist (a common profession in Japan for the blind), she started playing a new sport (goalball) for blind athletes. She's training for Beijing Paralympics!

I can only imagine that from day to day, she's doing what she can, one thing at a time, instead of dwelling on what she can't do. I'm sure she has bad experiences and failures, but she's not fazed by them. I found her extraordinary.

I can still do many, many things. I can still learn many things. After watching the video, I thought I should learn from this young woman and live with courage.