Tuesday, December 30, 2003

Bye Charlie!

Well, it looks like one of my guilty pleasures of blog surfing,Japaneze, wasn't really what it seemed to be. It was actually .... ART!
And now it's gone.

Monday, December 29, 2003

Ringing It In

So, here it is, the end of the year. Feels kind of anti-climactic since Christmas and Hanukah were the crest of the holiday wave. New Years is kind of like washing up on shore. But I could be easily discounting what will happen on New Years Day, since I will be, right off the bat, fulfilling one of my yearly resolutions, which is to play music out in the world in front of people. Yup, on Jan 1 2004 Bolt (me and Stef at this point) will be joining Mill Town Two at 8TRAX in Rochester. Should be some other good special guests there too. Do you realize this means Stephanie unplugged? Stephanie sans Stratocaster! I won't be playing acoustic but I don't need to because my whole set up is perfect for this kind of gig. We'll do some of our own Bolt songs and a few together with Mat and Toby. It's going to be a totally new thing for us and while I realize that it's all good, it kind of freaks me out.

Saturday, December 27, 2003

And I somehow think I become invisible

Christmas was good. Presents, food, food, food, talk, talk, talk. It was relaxing and good. Now hopefully I can get over it and my seasonal disorder and start thinking about the new year and what sort of resolutions I'm making.
I do have a seasonal disorder. Every year for at least the past 2 or 3 years I have felt physically ill for the last couple of weeks of the year and every winter I need to find something to obsess on. This year it's knitting which is not only harmless, but also productive. Four years ago it was the guitar. Another fine choice. I taught myself to play and spent 3 or 4 hours a day practicing. For a couple of years after that the obsession of choice was martial arts. The discipline of it was great for me, especially after having spent a couple of years chasing after what I had thought was my will but turned out to be just really a big whim.
I mentioned the phenomenon to my mother yesterday and she asked if I thought it was due to things I'd gone through in past holiday seasons. I kind of dismissed the thought but she's probably on to something. The first time my younger sister Kate went completely and undeniably nuts was in December when I was in high school. And the last time I ever saw her was in December right before Christmas about 10 years ago. She came up from New York to visit and we all went out for Chinese food. I remember saying good bye and promising to go down to NY to visit in January, but I never called her and never went and she died in February. I doubt a couple days visit from me would have changed how anything happened with her. She was on a crash course and she struggled for so long. I fled so I wouldn't see it happen. It was all I could do in the aftermath of growing up with a sister, one year younger than me to the day, who was delusional and determined to run with that. I could see it was all going wrong, but I didn't know how to stop any of it. All the family shit that happened when I was in high school was certainly part of what led me to go so far away for so long. It was easier living in an alien world than in one filled with ghosts.
I know most everyone has their own stories and tragedies at this time of year. It's not just me. There's no sun. It's easy to want to spend your days lost in something, be it music, the computer, tv, video games, drugs, drama, drinking, narcisism, or a serious knitting habit. You just need to consider the aftermath and make the right choices.

Monday, December 22, 2003

Another Bad Jew!

Cool! I found another bad jew at Amish Tech Support.
Among the many pearls of wisdom he drops down in this rant (and I mean rant in a good way) against mindless bondage to tradition for tradition's sake, this one was my favorite:
Any idiot can make a box of forty-four candles last eight days. Sure, it takes a math whiz to do the numbers and come up with a ritualistic pattern based on them. Probably a good cantor to write up a song and lyrics. But the miracle was conservation, not some empty gesture where you follow directions like a robot. If God wanted robots, he should have built them himself instead of giving man the sense and independence to build them himself.

Bad Jew!!!

I received this comment calling me a bad jew on my previous post and I've got to say that I got quite a kick out of it. I certainly wouldn't deny the accusation, since I protested (with picket signs and everything) to quit Hebrew school as a kid (with good reason, but that's another story) and never even got bat mitvah'ed.
I've said it before and I'll say it again-- subversion and agitation are where I'm at. In my own small way I do what I can to break down all the bullshit that keeps people locked into doing what they're supposed to do rather than what's in their hearts. I'm not the kind of person who does things just because I'm supposed to. In fact, it's taken me a long time to stop doing things just because I wasn't suppposed to be doing them.
If it's in your heart to keep with faith and tradition then mazeltov and keep at it. We need people like that in the world. We need people like me too.

Sunday, December 21, 2003

Seasonal Insanity

This whole holiday season has got me temporarily (I hope) insane. We're doing Chanukkah since I'm Jewish by birth. We're doing Christmas since I'm a mom and not strong or Grinchly enough to deny my child the joy of the Christmas spirit.
I haven't located my menorah, which is probably lingering in one of the many still unpacked boxes from our move here in April, so I'm improvising using regular scented candles. I feel awful about it but my daughter reassures me that we have the Chanukkah Spirit so it's okay. I am fully unprepared to explain all the religious significance of the holidays and even less able to explain why our family celebrates them even though we don't really practice any of the religions they come from.
Nobody really paid any attention to religion in Japan so it was easier to ignore it. It never really felt like the holidays there anyway. At least not until New Years and we celebrated that in a very Japanese way anyway, so it was in context. Now we're back in the States and definitely caught up in the holiday spirit and celebration, but it bothers me that I can't really explain why I do it, other than that's it's really fun. Maybe that's reason enough.

Thursday, December 18, 2003

Finally finally finally

I was in Best Buy yesterday to pick up some DVDs I had ordered online and couldn't resist poking around. To be honest, it was the first time I'd ever been in there, which is really odd considering that visiting electronics stores was one of my hobbies when I was living in Japan. Not only did I leave with my DVDs, I also splurged on a RCA wireless speaker and transmitter set as an early holiday present to all of us. I didn't even wait for any suitable holiday, I just set it up as soon as I got home. No, I couldn't even wait the 2 days until Hanukkah (which starts tomorrow). I really can't tell you why it took me so long to make that purchase. Guess it just seemed like such a luxury. It's a lot easier for me to spend money on other people than on myself.
Now these speakers are not exactly masterpieces of high fidelity sound, but the wireless part was too cool to pass up. I can connect the transmitter to my computer or my iPod and put the speakers anywhere in the house, which is pretty damn cool. Can even put them out on the back deck when the summertime comes back around. What I'd like to do now is get more wireless speakers so I can put some upstairs and in the living room.

Monday, December 15, 2003

Sum It Up

Found out about The Mayfly Project 2003 from Kinuk. The task is to sum up your 2003 in 20 words or less. I did it!
Left Japan. Moved back home to NH with my family. New job. Crappy salary. Got a dog. This life rocks!

Sunday, December 14, 2003

When it's 10 degrees outside, eBay is Where It's At

These days I'm way too into eBay. My current targets are cross country skis and sewing machines. The skis are because we can go right out our door and ski for as far as we wish or can manage . Seems like a lot of people buy gear, use it once or twice and that's it. I've never done a lot of cross country skiing, but what I have done has been pretty enjoyable. It's kind of like cycling in the pace and the view. Hunting season ends tomorrow and I guess it's officially safe to go back out into the fields without decking out in orange. Hunters do come around here but not that many and they seem very cool about it. It's kind of weird to see them in a basically residential area, but we are right on the edge of some great reserve land. I have a pretty good idea of the topography around here now and I'll be able to check out the places that are too wet to be reasonably accessible when they're not frozen. There are fingers of land separated by streams leading down to the Bellamy River. I want to get out into the fields and then down to the circular trail along the river and eventually all the way down to the Audobon land at Durham Point. That's the plan. Now the skis are on the way. And the snow is too.

Friday, December 12, 2003

Discretion is the Better Part of Valor

I believe the shit is probably flying at work these days in no small part thanks to my contributions. I'd love to sit and write the whole thing out here and I suppose once it's all done with I probably will, if just to release it from my mind.
I'm sure the powers that be think I cannot see the forest for the trees in the matter under question, but they don't compensate me enough to ignore the screaming trees I deal with on a daily basis.

Wednesday, December 10, 2003

Monday, December 08, 2003

Welcome to the Machine

I've had a really shitty day due to crap at work that I would love to spout off about but won't on the off chance that it might work out ok in the end. It would be beyond stupid if things got screwed up because I chose to vent my frustrations in this public format.
So instead I'm going to bitch about something stupid and meaningless. Why did so many women with fat, pale legs have to be wearing shorts at the post office (talking customers here) in December the day after the end of a weekend long snow storm? Just because it stopped snowing it doesn't mean it's summer.

Sunday, December 07, 2003

Funky Colors for a Funky Kid

I made this for my daughter out of some wool blend yarn I had hanging around.
She's been wearing it out playing in the snow the past two days and seems pretty happy with it.
(This is how it looks unfolded. She wears it with the brim folded up.)

Soft and Fuzzy

This cap was made by double stranding with a mohair blend yarn and a baby wool. It is very soft and light. It doesn't give you hat hair either. Don't think I'd try to wear it out in a blizzard, but it's awfully nice when you're feeling a little chilly around the house.
I originally bought this yarn combo to make a scarf for my mom, and then changed my mind about what colors to use for the scarf.

Black Fairisle-ish Cap

I finished this cap last week. I used the Basic Hat Pattern from Mielke's Farm site and adapted the patterns by picking and choosing from something I downloaded from another knitting site whose address I have now forgotten.
Anyway, I like the hat because it's warm, but for the cap I now have in progress I used a smaller needle for the ribbing so it won't be so loose.

Friday, December 05, 2003

Bring It On

Jerry says I'm doomed and since he lives up further north than I do I guess he knows about this NH winter stuff. I lived here the first 18 years of my life, so it's not like I don't know what to expect. It's just that I haven't been here for the duration of a New England winter in a long time. So far, I'm getting a kick out of it.
Our first big forecasted snow storm is due to arrive later this evening. The sky is already white and you can just tell it's gonna snow soon. I went to the supermarket to stock up for a weekend of settling in (chocolate chip cookie ingredients, a chicken to roast, chai, etc) and it's already kind of crazy in there with everyone doing the same. It's like watching another version of the squirrels that were all around the yard a month ago.

Local man rebuilds after devastating Maine Turnpike crash

This is a really touching story. Way to go Foster's for running it.

Thursday, December 04, 2003

And Alejandro Kind of Looks LIke a Young Matsukata Hiroki

Just go ahead and call me a teacher geek if you must, but this Japanese Oral Exam video rocks. They aren't my students. I don't know their teacher. I got the URL from a posting on a mailing list related to teaching Japanese.
Their filmaking and editing are awesome and the Japanese is pretty good too. It even has subtitles so no one has to miss out on the fun.

Tuesday, December 02, 2003

And So It Begins

Woke up to the first real snowfall of the season this morning. It was still dark and suspiciously blue outside when I opened my eyes this morning, so I thought I might see snow when I looked out the window. Even still, I had to say "woah!" when I actually saw everything decked out in white. My husband and daughter had the same reaction. And it was the dog's first snow ever. He seemed perplexed, cold and happy about it.
I thought it would probably melt away by noon, but I guess I was underestimating what winter really means around here. It wasn't gone by noon and the temperature never got much above the low 20s, so there's still plenty of white on the ground. And while it could theoretically melt away within the next couple of days, it could also be the last time we see the bare surface of the ground until spring.

Monday, December 01, 2003


Tonight we watched How The Grinch Stole Christmas. The real one from the mid-60s, not the Jim Carey one. It was on Cartoon Network. (Those folks make me proud sometimes, the way they honor their heritage and show classic cartoons.) It was the first time my daughter ever saw this version and probably a couple of decades since I'd watched it myself. It was as good as I remembered it being, but it was a lot shorter. For a less than 30 minute show, it sure has impact.

Friday, November 28, 2003

Bye Bye MP3.com

I guess there's only a couple days of existence left for our Bolt page on mp3.com. The parent company was bought out by some other big company (Vivendi and CNET, if you really want me to name names. It's all just corporate crap to me.) and I have heard that all the data now on mp3.com will be deleted when the changeover takes place December 1.
I suppose I could spend part of this weekend putting together a new site for us, but I'm working at Atomic all weekend long and I still have plenty of work to do for the last two weeks of the semester. I'm bummed that I will not be getting any pay checks from mid-December to late January. I should have been out looking for a seasonal job this past week, but I knew I was needed to cover hours at Stef's store. I work there for store credit, basically hair services.
I can feel seasonal grumpiness (where's the sun dammit?!) coming over me. I should be writing more songs. I can feel them stewing around in me. I shared a couple with Stef and she said she wants to use them. We need to write more anyway. We also still need a drummer and a new website.

Monday, November 24, 2003

Winter Look

Spur of the moment "image change" inspired by the discovery of squidfingers' incredible patterns. Also added a little Web Fire Escape button for anyone who needs to suddenly bail from the page at work.

Sunday, November 23, 2003

It Can't Be Helped?

I could write volumes about why I hate the particular textbook I am teaching from this semester, even though I am told it is very popular and widely used in Japan. (I'm using it because my students were halfway through it after last year.) But rather than go on and on about its myriad faults, I will share with you this one superlative example of the total randomness of this text.
In Chapter 21, the Translation and Grammatical Notes book lists the often used phrase shikata ga arimasen, which means "it can't be helped" or "nothing can be done", in the vocabulary section. It's definitely a key phrase for understanding the Japanese language, culture and psyche. But it does not appear even once in Chapter 21 in the main textbook. It's not in the example sentences, the conversation, the drills, the short conversations or anywhere else. What the hell is up with that? It can't be helped? I think it could have.

A Unique Form of Torture for a Sunday Morning

Looking to add a little pain to your life?
I've got your solution. Try spending a sunny Sunday morning proofreading medical research reports (otolaryngology) written by Japanese doctors. After a couple of years at this I now know far more about olfactomtery (measuring the sense of smell) than any lay person should.
Yes, I realize that it's cool that in my own small way I am making a contribution to the global body of medical knowledge by helping these doctors get their research results published in English language journals. (It also benefits my financial status, which is certainly in sore need of assistance.) Maybe I just hate the fact that I have spent a beautiful weekend morning working because I procrastinated all week. Also, my nose has been out of order for about 5 days due to a cold and I don't feel like thinking about noses right now!! And maybe I just feel like having something to crab about.

Friday, November 21, 2003

I just listened to WHEB's Morning Buzz crew interview James Iha, now in A Perfect Circle. He's like the rocker dude version of
Tiffany on Daria.
He s-p-e-a-k-s s-o s-l-o-w-l-y.
But out of the constellation of various rocker types, I kind of think that type is cool.

Wednesday, November 19, 2003

Today's Lesson Learned

I will not take "non-drowsy" daytime cold medicine before going to teach ever again.
I don't care how big and blocky they write "NON-DROWSY" on the side of daytime cold medicine, that stuff renders me half brain dead.I figured between bring a little medicinally affected and feeling like a small porcupine was living between my nose and the top of my throat and needing to blow my nose every 30 seconds, the medicine option seemed at least more socially acceptable.
That was probably a misjudgement. I figure if I had pounded a few beers and taken a couple of bong hits it would have had roughly the same effect on my mental processes. I was giving the answers when I meant to be asking questions and I couldn't remember entire sentences that students had just said. I apologized for being so out of it and they're all pretty cool so I think they understood it was an honest mistake.

Monday, November 17, 2003

How Did I Get Here

I've worked long enough now to know that I like a satisfying job that pays less more than a job I can't stand that pays more. It doesn't even have to be a job I can't stand. One that annoys the hell out of me isn't worth it either.
Last year at this time I was teaching lethargic students and was feeling that way myself. The paycheck was fat. The apartment was tiny and heated by a kerosene fan heater. I spent a disproportionate amount of time wishing to be elsewhere. All in all, it kind of sucked.
Now I have a job I really enjoy even though the pay is crappy, the benefits nonexistent and the future prospects don't exactly appear to be burning brightly in the near or far distance. So on the security scale I'm hovering low-- no health insurance, no job security, just making ends meet. Welcome back to America.
On the other hand, we have a house, a yard, a car and a dog. I'm in a band and writing songs with my sister. I sleep well at night and wake up feeling pretty good almost every day. I feel like a completely different person than I was last year. Wouldn't want to be where I was then now.

Thursday, November 13, 2003


Not quite the classic that Soylent Green is, but then again, what is?

Tuesday, November 11, 2003

Hats R Me

Currently on a severe knitting jag. Just finished knitting my very own Marsan Watchcap. It only took a couple of days and I have already started making another one for Rachel.
Last week I made a crappy prototype for the hat with some black yarn I had hanging around. The first of anything I make is usually pretty rough, so I didn't worry too much about mistakes. I just wanted to make sure I liked the shape and fit of it before I went all out.
I went to Spinning Yarns in downtown Dover to get the yarn. It's a really nice shop with a great selection of merchandise and a mellow and open atmosphere. Before I even started looking for what I was going to buy I checked out every type of yarn they had, because there was so much variety and it was all so nice.
For hat #1 I settled on a skein of navy blue 100% worsted wool. It came out nice and I think I will proceed with my plan of hand knitting caps to give as holiday season presents.
I've got to admit. A lot of my knitting motivation comes from this guy right now.

Saturday, November 08, 2003

Ch ch ch ch changes

Today is a full moon, a lunar eclipse and the day of Harmonic Concordance. Big changes are afoot all around.
I spent the afternoon at the funeral of a friend. He was one of the truly sweetest people I have ever known. I'd never been in an Episcopalian church before. It was interesting. I haven't been to a funeral since my sister Kate died almost ten years ago.
Most religions I've ever heard of or read about have some kind of heaven. I like to think that since it's such a universal concept among religions there's got to be some truth in it.
There's heaven in Buddhism too. I don't know if people know that or just think it's about going around in circles. Pureland Buddhism is actually kind of like Christianity. It's not about acheiving enlightenment through individual effort, but a belief that belief in a higher power and repetition of prayers will gain you entrance to the Western Paradise when you pass on. I suppose a lot of the details are different, but I see a definite similarity in form.

Thursday, November 06, 2003

Getting Electric at the Cave

OK. It's almost 1am and I have to get up and teach tomorrow morning but I am still too wound up from our jam session at the Electric Cave to go to bed, so I'm drinking chamomile tea and trying to will myself into sleepiness.
Jim Tierney, the Cave Master and ultimate Bogaht brother, IS THE MAN. I don't even have the words to describe how totally fucking cool he is and how much fun we had. And we're planning on doing it again next week too!!!!! Life rocks sometimes.

Dover voter turnout low

Dover voter turnout low
This sucks that people can't even be bothered to get out and vote for their local government officials.
I did. It took all of ten minutes, including getting registered there at the polls.

Monday, November 03, 2003

The Observer | International | Bush says God chose him to lead his nation

This article, Bush says God chose him to lead his nation, is exactly what scares the hell out of me about America and all of its religious nuts.
I am not godless, but I don't buy in to organized religion. I'm all for morality, just not much one for conformity or patriarchy. At least in America conformity is pretty much optional. It was everything in Japan. Conformity could be the religion of Japan.
In my heart I know it's live free or die. That was probably the seed of my discontent in Japan. I know it all depends on how you see things, but I never really felt free there.


The yellow leaves are the last to go.

Saturday, November 01, 2003


I shared a success I had this week at the Weight Watchers meeting this morning. (By the way, Weight Watchers is awesome, in case you're wondering.) Yesterday afternoon I made cupcakes for my niece's Halloween party. Anyone who bakes or has a baker in the house knows that licking the bowl and the mixing utensils after you're done is part of the fun of it all. But even just a few good swipes and you've got a couple of teaspoons of the stuff down your gullet. You could eat most of a cupcake's worth of batter and pretend you never did it. It's mindless eating.
Anyway, I shared that after I made the cupcakes I threw all the utensils into a bowl of water in the sink as soon as I was done using them and I did the same with the bowl when I was through with that. Everyone ooh-ed in empathy and clapped. I also lost 1.4 pounds last week, which makes almost 5 lbs in 2 weeks.
When I went to WW as a kid with my dad those meetings made me cringe sometimes. How could you sit there and talk about your weight in front of other people and not want to die of embarassment! Now I think it's awesome. There really is something satisfying and rewarding in having other people acknowledge your accomplishment. Even if it is just for throwing a chocolately spoon in the sink instead of licking it.

Thursday, October 30, 2003

Hot For Teacher

The findings in this article, Do Good Looks Equal Good Evaluations? , really come as no surprise. It's one reason why I see teaching as being not all that far removed from any other public performance.


It's really interesting to see the effect that communications and media technology have on language learning. My second year Japanese students have so much more outside, self-sought exposure to the language than I ever did (or could have). When I studied Japanese in Colorado I basically had what was in my textbooks for source text and a sprinkling of Japanese novels in translation in the library for cultural background. Someone once had a video tape of Japanese tv in my last year of school. I borrowed it and watched and the only thing I could make out was "yon-daburu-d", which through the context of the truck commerical I understood to mean 4 WD (4 wheel drive). I was thrilled.
These kids have sooo much more exposure through games, videos, cds, websites, dvds and manga. They bring so much more knowledge with them to the class than I ever had. It's very cool. It's not like they don't have a long way to go to being completely competent in the language, but they seem to be able to grasp the flow of things and not demand one to one English equivalents. Expressing yourself in Japanese is very different from expressing yourself in English. You need to be able to get beyond what the individual words mean and go for the overall meaning and effect you hope to acheive. That's basically easy to do in your native language and not so easy to do in an acquired one.

Tuesday, October 28, 2003

Fall Frenzy

Squirrels are all obsessed with gathering nuts this time of year. I'm obsessed with knitting and crocheting. Wonder if it's some deep genetic legacy that sends me in search of knitting needles once most of the leaves are off the trees. Right now I'm about 2/3 done with a big comfy chenille blanket for the living room couch and I'm starting on a winter hat for Rachel (she gets the prototype) and also looking to make a light blanket for her room with some leftover yarn I have from when I made her this pillow.
I found this blog,Sweater Project the other day and forget how I got there. It's by a guy in Austin, Texas who happens to be a damn good knitter. I'm dying to make something like his caper hats, but too proud to ask for directions to something that's got to be pretty simple to figure out on my own.

Sunday, October 26, 2003

Girls Night Out

Went to Shooters Pub in Exeter last night to catch MondayMen opening for Heavens to Murgatroid. Shawn and Adam, who we met at our gig at the Muddy River the other week, make up two thirds of MondayMen. We also caught a few songs by the first band that played, Heroes Die aka The Roadies. Apparently the names are anagrams. (play around with the letters and you'll see what I mean) It was a night of high energy rock and it was totally worth the drive to Exeter.
Out of the three bands I think I'd have to say I enjoyed MondayMen the most (not just because we're planning on jamming with Adam and Shawn either). They were tight they rocked and had a sort of 80s new wave flavor with good hooks and the right amount of punchy-ness. They were also sporting a Devo/Convict look since it was a Halloween event. It seems like our musical styles would make a great blend and we're planning on getting together next weekend to initiate the experiment!
It was my first time at Shooters, my first time seeing any of those bands and the first time I ever saw SpongeBob wail on a Stratocaster. (Sponge Bob being Tim Theriault on guitar for Heavens to Murgatroid in a big Sponge Bob costume with bare legs, Sponge Bob boxers and Sponge Bob looking shoes!!!)

Thursday, October 23, 2003

What the ?!#%@$^%???

It's been just about 6 months since I moved back to NH and I guess the honeymoon is over. Here it is, still OCTOBER and it's snowing. It's not sticking but it's still snowing!
I wore a raincoat today. The whole concept of snow at this point is not something I can easily accept. It does not fit my vision of how the world should be. I'll probably see someone more in denial than myself today at school wearing shorts.

Wednesday, October 22, 2003

Durham Post Office

Now that I've finally figured out where the Durham post office is I've been doing more of the auction mailings from there. It's right on my way home from school. Durham by no means provides the level of human entertainment value that the Dover PO does, but it does have a very interesting mural around the perimeter of the lobby. A plaque states it was a gift from the Durham Women's Club and Friends in 1959. The mural is a series of paintings with slogans on the bottom that I guess are supposed to exemplify the good character of the citizens of the area. It is definitely a product of the pre-PC era.One of the scenes shows a lone garrison-style house in the background and a loin-clothed native with a feather in his hair bearing a flaming torch and obviously casing the joint. On the bottom it says Cruel Adversity. Another one shows a winter morning scene and a couple dressed in their Sunday best (black suit and stovepipe hat for him, and a hoop skirt and bonnet for her) approaching a white steepled church. On the bottom it says Steadfast Faith. I imagined a cartoon dialogue bubble coming out of the guy's mouth saying "It's frikkin cold!"
I'll have to go back and take photos sometime (and leave my Sharpie marker at home). It's pretty frikkin cool.

Tuesday, October 21, 2003

Now A Part of Something Bigger

Well, Brian, that renowned Dover blogger of Kreblog, The Dover NH Post and the cover of last week's Dover Community News page fame, has aided and abetted the sydication of this blog on Seacoast Bloggers, a group of blogs by folks in the area. It feels good to be part of a community, especially a virtual local one (if that makes any sense).
I'm starting to feel a little more at home at UNH, too. My students are awesome and I can honestly say I look forward to going to work every day. Now if UNH just paid a little more and offered me benefits I'd having nothing to bitch about at all. At least as far as work goes...

Monday, October 20, 2003

Don't Let It Bring You Down

Stef and I practiced this evening. Just the two of us. It was as much talking as playing, which isn't an unheard of mix with us. Jammed out on some stuff that sounded slow and desert-y; although she was thinking cowboy and I was thinking Sahara. Spindly sounding music, sort of. Guess it all seems a little spindly without a drummer.
For various reasons, I wasted a good chunk of my day playing Jan Brady to Stephanie's Marsha. "Why is it always Marsha Marsha Marsha!?!" Being a jealous little sister sucks. I'm 38. I ought to get over it. I allow myself to wallow in it for an hour or two, until the ridiculousness of it all finally brings me back around. Rock on.

Sunday, October 19, 2003


Jim C's observation that band drama is like high school dating is really spot on. It's still got me kind of wigged out, but I guess this is part of it too. I think we'll feel freer to write more now. Stef's lyrics tend to be sort of wistful and lovely and the stuff I come up with ends up being kind of cynical and bitter, such appealing qualities. It's always stuff that makes me cringe at the thought of my parents hearing or reading it. I guess it's one place I feel free to express sentiments I'd be too chicken to express face to face.

And speaking of bringing up tender topics...
Last weekend while enjoying the brunch buffet at Abercrombie and Fitch (very nice, btw), my dad mentioned he'd be going back to Weight Watchers this week. We used to go together when I was 10 years old and wearing 32-inch waist, boy's ToughSkins jeans because they were the only thing that fit me. I was a big fat little girl and my parents were concerned, so when my dad joined Weight Watchers when I was 10, he took me along with him. I went for about a year and even though it was a hard thing to face for a shy 4th grade girl, I did it and learned a lot about good nutrition and good choices and habits. I've more or less dwelled on the sturdy, healthy girl side of things since then.
My niece is a lot like I was. Sometimes I get the oddest sensation of watching myself as I was when I see her. She also eats like I did. My dad offered to take her to WW, which I thought was a wonderful idea. I also thought she might not be entirely comfortable in the situation. Then a lightbulb flashed on over my head; I'd go with them. I went when I was her age. She knows that and knows I can relate.
So yesterday my dad, my niece and I joined Weight Watchers. This is kind of a major deal for me because even though I don't want to lose a huge amount of weight, not even 20 pounds, I do have to re-confront all my old issues. This time I'll try to start by not imagining that being in control of my eating habits somehow compensates for being out of control in other ways.

Friday, October 17, 2003

Brings Me Back to the Good Old Days

Galvin's Japan Journal is the shit. If you ever get yourself mixed up in the JET program, you better hope you have someone like Galvin nearby.
(Thanks to Charlie at Japaneze for this one.)

Thursday, October 16, 2003


Yeah! I just got my copy of Dan Blakeslee's Halloween Special cd at Atomic this afternoon. It's wacky. It's awesome. I get the feeling the world would be a lot more fun if more people were like Dan. But I guess he's really one of a kind.

Dwell On

Lest I forget my manners, I'd like to mention the two other bands who played after us last night at the Muddy River. In the slot following us was
Gregory Paul and the Autumdivers, a trio from Rochester, NY. I only caught a couple of songs from their set because we went upstairs to have dinner with our dad and step mom. I'd have liked to see more of their set, but as far as judgement calls go, family definitely took priority. The last band of the night was Clarias from Boston. They played a very impressive set and a visit to their website confirmed my hunch that half the band came out of the Berklee School of Music.
Never heard who "won" last night, but I'd say it's a safe bet it wasn't us, which is cool because we're not really about polished professionalism at this point. We're just true to ourselves and fortunately, so far people seem to appreciate that.
It's weird to think that it's just me and Stef now, but it gives us the opportunity to work together more and try new songs and directions. Que sera sera, just like Doris Day sang

A Bolt From The Blue

Our gig at the Muddy River went pretty well last night. There wasn't much of a turnout what with Game 6 of the playoffs and the windy, crappy weather on a Wednesday night, but our Dad and Step Mom came by to see us play for the first time ever, so that was very cool. Everyone at the Muddy River was great, very hospitable and welcoming. (And they fed us too. Gotta love that.) We also received a cd and video of our performance, which I guess is a nice way to end it with Chip, our now former drummer. A couple of days ago at practice things kind of came to a head and Chip decided this would be his last gig with us. It's been a really strange couple of days leading up to the gig. It's sad. We've been playing together for a long time but I guess he doesn't want to push ahead with it as much as Stef and I do. We're all still friends and there's no animosity involved, just sadness and a feeling of loss. Stef and I will keep on together and see what happens next.

Monday, October 13, 2003

And Speaking of Taint

Taint nothing normal about this. Just go and see for yourself.

Oh Ye Great Bass Fairy!

The Bass Fairy does indeed love me because Adam is bringing his bass rig by tomorrow so I can use it on Wednesday night at the Muddy River. Adam, you RAWK and I love you, even if you do come up with sleazy suggestions of ways we (me and sis) could express our gratitude for the favor. Tell you what, how about I make you one of my duct tape wallets instead?

Announcement to World!!!!

My daughter Rachel finally has pierced ears. The long awaited piercing of the lobes took place at Claire's in the Fox Run Mall at approximately 2:30pm this afternoon. Both lobes and the child herself are fine, and somewhat prone to stopping to admire the sparkling new additions in any remotely handy reflecting surface.
Now I will hopefully get at least a few days of respite before the next "oh Mom I will absolutely DIE if I can't have ..." thing crops up. (I've been listening to the earring moan for several months.)

Friday, October 10, 2003

Now THIS is famous

Another big score for the Dover Community News! A front page article on the first destination on my daily strolls around the bloggerhood, The Dover (NH) Post
. Brian is also starting up a new NH Seacoast Bloggers site that pulls together the latest postings from the members' blogs into one easy and handy to read page. Pretty cool stuff.

Everyone's Right

Guess it is true what all my friends who made the crossing back used to tell me; living back here in the States you miss the disposable income you had in Japan, but other stuff more than makes up for it.
I now stress over amounts of money that used to be pocket cash in Japan, but the weather and the foliage are incredible, there's half an awesome homemade apple crisp on the counter, we've got a gig coming up on Wednesday and practices are going good, and this afternoon we (my family, we) are going to take a drive out to Calef's Country Store and check out the foliage. It's typically the peak weekend for the leaves around here and I'm kind of curious as to what constitutes "crowded with tourists" this time of year.

Thursday, October 09, 2003

I forgot to put the $2, 3 bands. For 1 cause: EXPOSURE" info on it.

I'm Not Stephanie!

I'm just as excited as anyone else about the great front page article about Atomic in the Dover Community News last week, but I've been mistaken for my sister three or four times in the past week and gotten comments about the article and picture. It happened again this evening when I went to pick up some Moes.
What's really pissing me off is that Stef said she hasn't had anyone say anything to her about it. I want a shirt that says "I'm Not Stephanie". I'll wear it anytime I leave the house to go anywhere in Dover or Portsmouth.

T'aint So Hard to Make a Splash in a Puddle

Ha ha! Gotta love life in a small town. I went over to Stef's to practice again tonight since our "big gig" is next Wednesday and Chip had copies of this week's Spotlight, where I scored an anonymous mention as a ""famous" blogger" in the Seacoast Music Scene and Heard section. Too bad they got the info about the night we're playing wrong.
I love those quotation marks around "famous" because if this ranks as famous around here there's definitely something wrong.

Tuesday, October 07, 2003



What anime stereotype are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

That's just lovely, isn't it?
I especially love how they misspelled "intelligent"!

Saturday, October 04, 2003

Washout and Creep Out!

We got to the Apple Harvest Day festivities just before 3pm today, just in time to watch all the vendors packing up in a hurry after spending a cool and soggy day in downtown Dover. I heard them calling to each other with relief in their voices, "They said we can pack up and go now!"
The Apple Harvest Day activities sure appeared to be a washout, but at least I was able to catch The Crimson Ghosts playing at Atomic. The Crimson Ghosts were very cool-- an instrumental, surf rock trio playing Misfits songs. How f*cking cool is that?!?!
I'm thinking about picking up one of their cds as good Halloween tuneage, but I'm also kind of waiting to check out Dan Blakeslee's Halloween cd, too. I met him for the first time the other day at Atomic when I was in getting my hair trimmed. That guy is a ball of energy-- one of those people who is probably seriously magical and not entirely of this realm. There's a nice article about him here in the Spotlight, of all places. The Great Pumpkin is probably watching out over the whole thing at this point.

Thursday, October 02, 2003

What Happens When You Watch Too Much Gilligan's Island

I do not mean to be a big huge bitch when things are going wrong, but I've been following the chronicles of these people for a few months now. It's a painful portrait of what happens when people put their desire to be groovier-than-thou ahead of common sense.
I wouldn't begrudge anyone their right to pursue a change in lifestyle. But if you want to run away to Fantasy Island do it either before you have kids or after they're old enough to be part of the decision. Don't go dragging your babies off to parts unknown to satisfy your own simple minded fantasies.

Wednesday, October 01, 2003

The First Chill

It's October 1 and when I got up to let the dog out this morning it was 39 degrees. I'm talking farenheit, not celsiuis. It's been a long time since I've spent days like this here. I always left NH at the end of September and jumped back into another month of what I'd consider summer in Japan. It doesn't start to get seriously chilly in Otsu until November or December. And at worst it gets to around freezing. But with no central heat, "just" around freezing is pretty damn cold.
New Hampshire has serious winters. It's beautiful here now. The leaves are turning and falling and people decorate around their homes with dried corn stalks, bales of straw (use it to mulch the garden later), pumpkins and big baskets of mums. I look out the window and see squirrels scampering among the fallen leaves. It's just so picturesque and Norman Rockewellian.
Winter is a beast I haven't really confronted since I left Colorado in 1987. Western Japan has relatively mild winters and Hawaii's winter was always just fine by me.
It's been my suspicion for some time that a "relatively mild" winter without central heating is less comfortable than a harsh winter with a heated abode. Guess I'm going to get to test my hypothesis from here on out.

Monday, September 29, 2003

Your Mileage May Vary (But I Doubt It)

If you are one of those people who have lived in Japan for a while and you're worried that, among other things, if you move back to the States (or where ever you may be from) you'll get fat, I hate to tell you this but, you're probably right. On the bright side, you probably won't care as much as you did in Japan because compared to the average person you run across in the course of a day you won't really feel so big after all.
Never one to possess a really positive self image to begin with, being in Japan completely messed with my mind. Even when I'd come back here on vacation and end up buying size 8s when I'd spent most of my life as a solid 12, I always felt enormous in Japan.
Now I've been back here in NH for about 5 months and I've put on a few pounds and I don't really care all that much. It could be that I'm getting old, fat and lazy (gasp!) or it could be that the lack of that constant personal spotlight of foreigness I wore in Japan has allowed me to stop being so paranoid about how others see me.
And hypocritically enough, I decide to go off on this tangent on the same day I logged back on to FitDay.com to try to drop the above mentioned few pounds before the holiday season starts to kick in. As Bugs might say, "What a hypomacrite!"

Sunday, September 28, 2003

Maybe They Really Are Just Snobs?

I received a mail today that said a 'special' member of the BlogSnob administration saw this blog and reported that I am violating some rule of theirs. I can't figure out what I am doing that could be construed of as rule breaking. I have their link displayed prominently in the right hand column and I don't really think my content is all that offensive. I have a suspicion it might be a disgruntled Ataris' fan taking offense at my position that the Ataris suck. I heard their new single on the radio the other day and I certainly do stand by my sentiment.
I wrote the BlogSnob back and asked for clarification on how I am violating their rules. If you, dear reader, have any idea of what the problem might be, please leave a comment.

Thursday, September 25, 2003

The Bass Fairy Descendeth

Apparently the Bass Fairy does exist and she has heeded my plea for help.
Yesterday on the way back from UNH I decided to drop by the local music store to see what they have in the way of used bass rigs. I spent a good chunk of time there, 30 minutes? 45? Time has no meaning when you're playing around with cool equipment you know you personally cannot afford.
I can't afford the really powerful stuff, but I do now have my eye on a particular 400w head that is out there on the floor. Even more so after the bass man said he could sell it to me for $100 less than what's on the price tag. Also learned that a good, used 115 cab will be traded in soon. Sounds like I could put together a nice rig for around $600 total. But I still need to wait until the other cab comes in and go back there with my bass and see if it's really what I want.
No sooner did I go home and call Stef to tell her about my findings, than she tells me that at the same time I was at the music store, she and another guitarist friend had been talking about my quest for new equipment and that I should go talk to the guy at the music store who I actually was talking to.
And then later on another friend came around and said he has two cabs he wants to sell and maybe other gear too. He said he'd bring it buy so I can try it out and see what I think.
Thank you, Bass Fairy.

Saturday, September 20, 2003

Finally, Some Action.

Look out Portsmouth. Here comes Bolt.
We are semi-confirmed to play a slot in the Muddy River Smokehouse Stepping Stone Series in October. I say semi-confirmed because our sort of official sounding Performance Contract says we'll be playing on the 15th, but the website has us listed for the 29th. (Click on the picture of fat Axl to see.)
I wonder if playing a cover of The Monkees "I'm Not Your Stepping Stone" would get us immediately disqualified. But we don't have any keyboards and that song loses a lot without them.
Great. Now I can start kvetching. First of all, my amp is too small for that room and I'm not really able to just cruise on out and buy myself a new, bigger rig within the next three weeks. I guess I'll just have to live with it and have them mike the amp through the PA. Damn, where's the bass fairy when you need her?

Wednesday, September 17, 2003

Where's a Good Heavy Bag When You Need One?

Because if I had a good heavy bag down in the basement I'd be down there beating the shit out of it right now over the dumbass shit I am suffering through with UNH.
After not receiving a pay check last Friday, I inquired about exactly when I would be getting paid when I went in to school on Monday. I called the Payroll department and found out I hadn't gotten paid because I'm not on the payroll yet. So I brought in the necessary documents on Tuesday to get all the necessary documents on file.
Went in to school this morning and was told I could pick up my money at Human Resources, which is like 3 miles away from the rest of the campus out by the cow barns. (Ayup. We're talking New Hampshire here, after all.) Went to Human Resources and was told I needed to go to Payroll, which was thankfully just across the parking lot. They checked for me at Payroll and told me they still don't have any records for me. Contacted my department office and was told, "Oh. They told me it would take another day or two to get you on the payroll. Didn't have time to let you know."
How about I just don't show up for class until they start paying me.

Sunday, September 14, 2003

Good Times

I am proud to say I have now been a participant in the famed "Fried Clam Jam" of York, Maine. What's in the world is a Fried Clam Jam, you ask? It's a kick ass good time in a barn in York Maine that happens to be right behind the original El's Fried Clams, which anyone from around here will tell you serves the tastiest fried clams around.
I guess yesterday was a Fried Clam Jam Deluxe because it wasn't just a jam but a big old barbecue with some of the nicest, most hospitable folks it has even been my pleasure to meet. Burgers, dogs, and food, food, food, two kegs, a great yard, lots of kids running around, lots of former kids enjoying themselves, one cool dog named Tobey, a bunch of musicians and a beautiful day. Stef, Chip and I played pretty much everything we know, including a few old half finished songs we haven't played in a long time. I even actually sang. The sound in the barn is incredible. Adam let me use his bass rig and later on I even got several opportunities to play his awesome Music Man StingRay. I love those and must get one someday, but only after I buy myself a decent bass head and cab first. My bass sounded so good through Adam's rig and I could get the sound I wanted with so much more ease than playing through my little Bassman amp.
Anyway, it was a very good time had by all. Hope we can do it again some day.

Saturday, September 13, 2003


Couldn't sleep well last night. Don't think it was nerves about the "it's not really a gig, just think of it as a practice" gig we're playing at a barbecue in York this afteroon even though we haven't practiced in a couple of weeks due to everyone's busy schedules and/or exhaustion resulting from said schedules. Don't think it has any connections to 9-11, the full moon on Wednesday (though it was a beauty) or my constant obsessing about my new teaching gig. It probably wasn't even completely due to my chest cold and that crazy generic Robutussin-ish cough medicine I took last night or the mysterious "mimizu no kusuri" (made from dried powdered worms) that my mother in law swears by.
I think over the past several years my being has become trained to equate mid-September with waking up at 3am to get ready for the airport shuttle van to come get us at 3:45 so we can check in on time to catch our 6am flight to Detroit or Chicago or someplace Mid-Western that will connect to a flight back to Osaka. This was always accompanied by a deep, resounding dread in the pit of my stomach that would begin at least a week before our departure and always result in tears sometime before, and usually while, I hugged and kissed my Mom good bye as she stood in her white bathrobe, haloed in her front doorway in the darkest, deepest part of night, sending the three of us off on our journey to the other side of the world.
Well, this time it's different. I'm not going anywhere.

Monday, September 08, 2003

What the hell?

I've been meaning to mention this since last spring, but somehow I never got around to it. Why the hell doesn't anyone walk to pick up their kids at our neighborhood elementary school?
The pick up and drop off points at school were changed this year so that buses and walkers leave through the front of the building and parents picking up their kids in cars go around to the back. So far this school year I've seen a couple of people waiting for their kids over at the 1st and 2nd grade doors and I am always the only one waiting outside the 3rd and 4th grade doors. We live in a totally residential neighborhood and I see no one else walking home with their kids.
I realize people need to work. I drop Rachel off at school on my way to work now too, but I know stay at home moms do also indeed exist.The funny thing is I bet at least some of the women I see taking mid-morning walks past my house are doing it while their kids are in school. Why not just walk to school and pick them up instead? That way your kids walk home and get some exercise too.

Right Here Right Now

It's really fun to have the sense of being in the right place at the right time.

Saturday, September 06, 2003

Where's the Pause Button?

Guess Blogger is through with its little hissy fit and is letting me get back into my blog guts. It feels like someone hit the fast forward button on my life on Tuesday and hasn't let up since.
The photo above is a little press kit thingy I put together for Mat and Toby.(Sorry, you can't click it for a bigger picture or anything.) I think it came out pretty good and will suit their purposes. It was fun shooting the pictures. I used to shoot a lot of band photos and Super 8 film (!) back when I lived in Colorado. I like putting that kind of thing together but unfortunately none of the bands I know actually has any money to spend on creating press kits. It's no big deal though. I don't do it for money, I do it because I can. I'm probably going to do a little website for them too. Also need to make one for my Dad's farm. Yet another item for the To Do list in my head.

Tuesday, September 02, 2003

First Day

Today was the first day of school. One thing I love about being a teacher is that I get to have the thrill and excitement of the first day of school every year. By the end at Ritsumeikan a new semester didn't even make me flinch, which is one way I knew it was time to leave. If the start of a new school year can't give me goose bumps then I'm in the wrong place.
They were giving out free coffee in the parking lot at UNH to welcome back the commuters. It was good coffee too. And I auspiciously managed to walk all the way to my office with the open coffee cup in the rain alongside the construction work with neither spilling the coffee all over myself nor getting splashed by a passing car. I took it all as a good omen, even though it was rainy and probably in the mid-60s this morning. Definitely one of those days you'd love to burrow back under the covers. Definitely the gloomiest looking first day back to school that I can recall.
I think I was too hyper in class. I'm going to need to calm down a bit and not rush the students. I'm using a textbook that I never would have chosen myself, but it's what they used last year and I don't think it's fair to jump ship mid course. It's forcing me to be creative in my approach, which is good. It's so liberating to not have to worry about marching in step with the rest of a department. I was teaching with minimal academic freedom the past seven years and, while it's definitely important to know how to follow a curriculum, I'm at the point where I'd rather make my own. The pay sucks, but I'm very psyched to have the job.

Thursday, August 28, 2003


My dog loves vegetables. Right now he's chowing down on a big slice of zucchini. Well, that took about 5 seconds.This summer he has stolen and consumed tomatoes and corn off the counter and table. One time I walked out to the porch and found a smiling dog and a naked cob of uncooked corn. I think he goes and tries to steal tomatoes from the garden when I let him out at night. I know not to give him onions or garlic or other bulbs. He's not too big on lettuce or mushrooms, but he loves fruit and green beans too. Never saw another dog who thought veggies were such a great treat.

Tuesday, August 26, 2003

The Tataris*

I want to puke on The Ataris and their lame ass version of Don Henley's Boy's of Summer, which I guess now qualifies as an old song, even though I remember it having a video which to me means it's not that old.
The only change The Ataris make in their little power pop, incessantly blaring from the radio version of the tune is the line about seeing a "Dead Head sticker on a Cadillac" becomes a Black Flag sticker. Oh please spare me your little punk rock pretensions wrapped up in commercial power pop complete with floppy blond haired singer. It's all so MTV and so fucking lame.
I think Don Henley and Henry Rollins should go kick the shit out of the Ataris, but I bet they have Columbia Records goons watching their backs already.
*In Japanese "Tatari" means a curse.

Book Worm

In what is probably another testament to my geekiness, or maybe I need to say dorkiness since geek now has all those computer/IT connotations, one of the things I am happiest about living back here is being able to go to the library. I rarely go in there knowing what I'm looking for and even when I do have a little wish list the books are hardly ever available. That's got to be why I actually felt a little upswelling of joy yesterday to find TC Boyle's latest book on the shelf among the new releases. There are a handful of writers who are my favorites; TC Boyle, William Gibson, Tom Robbins, Russell Banks. When there's nothing new or as yet undiscovered by me of their works available, I usually end up picking stuff at random. Yesterday I ventured up the little spiral staircase in the Dover Public Library and among the music books found Marianne Faithfull's autobiography. That should be a good read.
I suppose I should read more Vonnegut since he's kind of the godfather of all the other writers I like. Anyone got any good suggestions for other odd writers?

Friday, August 22, 2003


I'm not sure if it's all that industrial strength crafting glue I've been using, the wicked heat and humidity, the proximity of Mars, the industrial scale compost fumes from around the bend or a combination of all of the above, but I must have been out of my mind to have baked blueberry muffins in the middle of the sweltering 95 degree day it was today. They are damn good muffins, but it was still awfully hot to be baking.
I think this whole extended summer vacation has got me just about brain dead. Two more weeks and I'll be back in the classroom. I'm probably going to need more than that to keep me occupied though.

Personality Disorder Test - Personality Test


-- Personality Disorder Test - Take It! --

I'd never even heard of schizotypal before, but after reading the description I guess it kind of fits. Didn't even really need a test to tell me that anyway.

Tuesday, August 19, 2003


These are a couple of barrette prototypes I made last night. Got the basic idea from craftster.org and had a Doraemon craft book lying around to use for the experiment. I'm going to bring these to the store today and show them to Stef. If she likes them, I'll make some more neatly made ones to sell there. It would also be cool to make bracelets, picture frames and earrings on the same theme.
In case anyone is wondering, the words on the short barrettte are-- ladder, billy club, paste. It's not supposed to mean anything. I just liked how they looked together.

Monday, August 18, 2003

Crafty 2

I found a cool new site-- craftster.org.
And speaking of crafts. The picture is of Rachel and the rainbow colored, "70s" crocheted pillow I made for her. The pillow colors didn't come out so great in the picture, but the model's sure cute!

Thursday, August 14, 2003


It seems I have a fan. Cool.
I think Junior (on the left in the photo) just likes me because I went to his last gig and liked the new songs, especially the one with the chorus "Baby come be my whore".
I don't know. That doesn't look so good written down here in black and white. Maybe you had to be there.

Wednesday, August 13, 2003

Sing a Song

We practiced all miked for vocals the other day. I can't really play and sing together very well yet but I did better than I expected. It was fun singing Wiggy. Stef felt the need to disown the lyrics and explain to Chip that they were based on my (not her) experiences, which they are and aren't. Sometimes fiction makes a greater truth. And I know I'm not the only one with experiences. Actually I think it's kind of good that the lyrics make her uncomfortable. It means I'm agitating. Subversion is really the only goal I have for this whole endeavor. Expression and subversion. And free bar tabs.

Monday, August 11, 2003

Convenience Shopping in the Dog Days

Three houses down the street they have a big garden and a table set out where you can buy their vegetables. There's a scale hanging from a tree branch and a little tupperware bowl where you can leave your money. I walked over and got a zucchini to grill up with some pork ribs yesterday. It was very nice-- just zucchini, olive oil and a little kosher salt grilled over charcoal.
Today I'm making ratatouille. I got zucchini, summer squash, green pepper and a couple of tomatoes down the street and had to go to The Broken Pushcart for eggplant, garlic and red and orange peppers. I'm using herbs from our garden. Dinner will be ratatouille, couscous, toasted pita bread and hummus.
I guess when I have nothing more pressing to do I cook. That's not so bad. Better than sitting around watching E! or VH1. I hardly ever even watch tv of my own volition anymore. If I feel the need to space out in front of the tube after dinner I just watch whatever cartoons or kids shows my daughter is watching. I get my 30 minute fill of it and go do something else.
It seems I spend most of my time these days feeling like I'm not using it properly-- like I should be engaged in something more meaningful or at least profitable.

Sunday, August 10, 2003

Ramble On

Big day today. I've got a mic, courtesy of Chip and Dave and the guy who plays the trumpet who Dave works with who has sold me his Shure SM58 for $45! Score! Yesterday I went to Earcraft and bought a mic stand, mic clip, mic cable and some strap locks (finally). I am all ready to rock and to sing. We'll be practicing with everyone miked for vocals for the first time in a couple of hours. I'm psyched, but...
Singing freaks me out. Japan was good because over the years I did get to the point where karaoke no longer freaked me out. Karaoke in Japan generally means sitting in a little room with your friends or whoever, who are all talking and/or looking through the catalog to figure out what song they're going to sing next. Alcohol may or may not be involved. It's not like anyone is really paying that much attention to how anyone else sings. It's looked on as a form of stress release, which I think is actually a very healthy outlet. So I guess I don't really hate karaoke after all. It's fun.
But karaoke is not the same as singing in a band. I am certainly no Mariah Carey, but I'm not tone deaf either. I led the alto section in chorus in 6th grade. I even got some sort of music award then too, but I can't remember what it was for. I'm just going to do it, damn it.
It's going to be like everything else I've ever done that I really wanted to do. At first I'm going to suck at it and then I'll keep doing it until I can do it. Then I'll probably get bored and wonder why I thought it was so great anyway and will look for something else that I can't do but want to try. Or maybe not.
Wow. How's that for a little Sunday morning cynicism. No wonder my daughter tells me I'm like Daria.

Friday, August 08, 2003

A Perfect Circle

It's ironic that I left this area when I was 18 because I was tired of always being known as someone's daughter or someone's sister. I went away for 20 years and made a name for myself in totally different circles where all people knew about me was me, not my family, not my history.
And now I've moved back here and anytime I go out I'm right back where I started, as someone's sister. In a lot of ways it's cool but there's still something that grates at me, even though I know it shouldn't. As long as I'm here and hanging out with her I will always be the little sister. I guess by this point that is something that is never going to change.

Tuesday, August 05, 2003

A True Conversation

"Where's the key to the bathroom?" my husband asked.
"What key to the bathroom? The bathroom door doesn't even lock, does it?" I asked back.
"Yes it does." he said.
"Why do you need the key to the bathroom?" I asked.
"The dog is in there." he replied.
"The dog is locked in the bathroom?" I questioned.
"Yes. And it's dark," he replied as he searched for keys.
"The dog is locked in the bathroom in the dark?" I pondered aloud. "We don't have any keys that'll work in that lock. You're going to have to go through the window from the deck." I advised.
So my husband headed out to the deck and then proclaimed that the screen wouldn't come off. While he went back inside and rummaged around in his tool box I took the screen off the window.
"Shiro, I got the screen off." I informed.
"How did you do that?" he inquired.
"With my hands." I replied.
He helped our 8 year old daughter through the window whereupon she turned on the light and unlocked the door to free the incarcerated dog who was completely unphased by the whole incident.
"Why was the dog trapped in the bathroom in the dark?" I asked my husband.
"I don't know" he replied.
"But you put him in there in the dark and locked him in, right?" I pursued.
"I was testing him"
"Testing him?"
"Yes, I was testing how brave he is in the dark."
Well I guess the dog must have passed the but I'm not real sure about my husband at the moment.

What Is and Used to Be

When our friend was here visiting last week we took a little walking tour of Portsmouth. I'm either trying to overcompensate for being away for so long or I'm just getting old, but I have a tendency to refer to every shop and restaurant by what used to be there. So I see The Gap in Market Square and think, this used to be JJ Newberry's, the Coat of Arms that used to be Toucan's (ick). I even see Gilly's and remember it used to be parked on Congress Street when I was a kid.
On State Street we walked by this new restaurant which used to be The Victory Diner. I have dim memories of eating English muffins there at 2am on a Saturday morning, probably from back in the days when I used to use my sister's ID to go sneak into the Riverside where Bruce Pingree spun the (new wave) tunes.
Speaking of partying in Portsmouth-- Partyfight will be playing at the Coat of Arms in 2 days. Think I might have to go and see what those guys are up to these days.

Monday, August 04, 2003


A friend once said anything you write that is good is probably something you'd be embarassed for your parents to read. Well, by that definition Stef and I must have written some good lyrics for our song provisionally known as "Iggy".
Even though we had already spent the whole afternoon together at Dad's house for a cook out, I somehow managed to talk her into practicing yesterday evening. Didn't want to make it into a production by calling Chip so it was just Stef and me. We played around with a song we're going to cover and then we decided to take on the task of putting vocals and lyrics to "Iggy". It wasn't really my intention to make it into a catalogue of the bad men in my past, but it sort of ended up that way. Wonder if I'll ever be able to sing it without collapsing in a fit of laughter like we did last night.
Thought it was kind of wimpy of Stef to decline from adding something from her own experiences to the lyrics. She first suggested we do something kind of generic like a "you said you'd call but you didn't" theme. That sounded pretty weak to me but it somehow prompted me to come up with the opening line "Didn't know you were married 'til your wife called", which isn't exactly true to my experience, but within the realm of artistic license it's close enough.
Stephanie can drive me nuts sometimes. She says she wants to be all rocked out and in your face and then she gets all demure. Well, actually she did follow up my opening line with "Nice going buddy. You have no balls" which almost made me pee my pants from laughing so hard. I figure if we're going to get up there and entertain people we may as well be entertaining beyond the fact that we're two sisters with guitars and a drummer. Then again, I'm not held back by the fear that we're going to become major recording artistes and a big media sensation. I think Stef has lingering concerns that she and Chip (before I came along) could have been The White Stripes. I figure if we're lucky we can make ourselves a name as an entertaining local bar band.
I know I'm being bitchy but sometimes you just need to vent and that's what I started this blog for in the first place. And I'm pretty sure my sister never reads it anyway.

Friday, August 01, 2003


Took a class at UNH yesterday to learn how to use Blackboard, a "comprehensive and flexible e-Learning software platform." It's like the system I used at Ritsumeikan, but I get to decide how I want to use it. There is no Japanese interface for the program itself in the version used at UNH, so all the menus and text will have to be in English until they upgrade to version 6 next semester, but I can post documents in PDF and .doc formats for homework assignments and reference materials.
So far I know I will have the class syllabus, review and reference handouts, homework assignments, links to Japanese learning sites and probably a discussion room on my course's site. I think online teaching tools are so cool but I wonder what the students think. Is it just something they expect? Is it no big deal? Sometimes in teaching now it's easy to get lost in all the technology.
I have no idea what to expect of my students. They will definitely be different from the kids I taught in Japan and probably also different from the students I taught in Hawaii eight years ago. School doesn't start for another month and I'm already starting to get psyched about it. Basically I am such a school-loving geek that I had to become a teacher.

Friday, July 25, 2003

Lame Ass

Dear eBay member.
Your account has been chosen accidentally. Since there are a lot of cases of cheating, we'd like you to visit your account.If you are not going to do that, your account will be removed away from our site system.

This is the actual main text of a fake e-Bay spam scam html email I got. It looked right and I suppose if you don't really read very carefully and are a moronic robot you will send them all your eBay user id info so they can then go and log in as you and maybe hijack your eBay account?
At least learn how to write the damn copy if you're going to try to spam me!!!!


I always want to write about the two years I spent as a rough and tough Karate chick, but I never seem to know where to start. Being a "Japan person", as my friend Dave puts it, I've always been interested in martial arts and had already gotten a couple of years experience in Aikido and Judo under my white belt before I gingerly stepped into the world of Total Combat Budo. All I had really intended to do was sign up my then 5 year old daughter for kids Karate classes at the new dojo that had opened up near the station in Seta. When the Shihan (head dude) asked me if I wanted to try it too, I said, Sure why not?. I'd always wanted to try Karate but had never thought I could really hack it. I never imagined that working out together with my daughter at the dojo would lead me to bare fisted standing and ground fighting with guys close to half my age. It scared the hell out of me at first, but then I grew to love it. In the beginning I had a hard time even hitting anyone because I didn't want to hurt them. After a while I got the hang of it and found out I was also pretty utarejozu; I was good at taking hits and kept on fighting. I could do 700 squats in a row when the Shihan demanded it. I could push myself to the point where I knew I was just minutes from passing out and would step off the dojo floor just long enough to go outside and take in some fresh air to make the spinning stop before I headed back in for more. And I was able to infiltrate and make a place for myself in a very male, very Japanese situation. It was cool.
I was going through a phase where I had a lot of dangerous, volatile energy in me and the dojo gave me a place to channel that. Sure it fed my aggression too, but it was something I needed to work out with myself. It took me almost two full years from my first timid steps to the point where I had to walk away because I had been pulled so far into the inner workings of the organization that I was in danger of losing my autonomy. Sounds dramatic, I know, but it was dramatic.
I do not miss the bruises and the injuries but I miss the buzz. The high I got from sparring was as good as the one I get from playing music. Sometimes I would go directly from a jam session with my buddy Hokkan to a practice at the dojo and the Shihan could always tell because on those days my timing would be spot on. On a really basic level sparring and playing music are the same; you put a lot of time in practicing your basic moves, breaking things down into their simplest parts and mastering them to prepare for when it's time to get up there and let it all loose and it flows from you without thought or premeditation.

Thursday, July 24, 2003

Point of No Return

Now that I have safely made it back to The Other Side I've become one of those who can say, "I miss having all that cash in my wallet, but I have a better quality of life now." That was always the point my friends who had left Japan and gone back home would raise, even though I'd secretly wonder how they could be enjoying life without the generous salary and vacation time Japanese university jobs supply.
That was always the issue for me. Everyone I know who works for a Japanese university cites how great the pay is, how long the vacations are and most of them are headed for the airport as soon as classes have ended for the semester. During the last year I was in Japan it became increasingly apparent to me that spending 45 weeks a year wishing I was someplace else meant that I was not where I should be anymore, even if I had put enough years into it that most people had me pegged as a lifer.
Going home from Japan after a year or two or three is normal. For people who end up being Japan fanatics, because they are studying martial arts, other arts, language or living out the playboy fantasies they could never indulge on their home turf, five to seven years may pass almost without them realizing it. After seven or eight years have gone by, people start to consider you a lifer. What's even scarier is you start to think of yourself that way too. You start to wonder how you could ever go home again, not just for a visit but for good. Who would hire you? How could you survive working a "normal" job? Could you really interact everyday with all those foreigners? And isn't the government all screwed up too?
One of the oddest phenomena I observed in Japan was how brave and bold young men and women embarking on the adventure of living in Japan transformed into cautious and conservative folk ensnared in the web of Japanese conformity. I know because I was one. It happens in tiny increments. With every trip home, the clothes I bought became drabber in color. I'd put on makeup for a trip around the corner to the supermarket because someone I know might see me and makeup is etiquette in Japan. I came to feel it was my duty to buy souvenir gifts for my family in America every time I went back home. I stopped asking "Why ...?". Japan became comfortable and safe and it had taken so damn long to finally understand the way things worked that once I'd gotten that down it seemed such a waste to admit that it didn't really suit me after all. The scariest words I ever heard were from Edward Seidensticker, my University of Colorado sempai and a God of Japanese Literature Studies who translated the entire Tale of Genji, at a lecture he gave in Hawaii in 1992 or thereabouts, when he said something like, "I'm not sure it's been worth it" in reference to his life's work and five decades in Japan.
Japan is so hard at first. The common sense you bring with you doesn't apply to anything anymore. It takes so much work to get things right; the language, the customs, the "common sense". After years of learning the hard way and plain old hard work, you start to get it. And then you start to become able to work the angles in your favor, once some people realize you know how to play by the rules. It helps to have a family of your own. One that will claim you and soothe you. And make you a respectable member of society by placing upon you a yoke of responsibility.
So you settle in, feeling proud of your adaptability and your accomplishment of finally understanding that which logic defies, yet still is. You learn that the answer to "why" questions is "because that's the way it is." You work so hard to make a place for yourself that you're shocked when you realize that you have become the antithesis of the person who got you there in the first place. What happened to that young adventurer who set off to conquer the world and explore its mysteries? What happened to that young woman who went to Japan with a big backpack, some travelers checks, an open ended ticket home and a Lonely Planet guide book, without a job, a place to stay, a plan or a clue? How did she turn into me, someone who "fit" in Japan but found herself homesick after a dozen years and almost too scared to do anything about it? After all, the splendor of longing is considered to be so noble, any Japanese lit grad knows that.
Well, I dug out what vestiges of Adventure Girl remained and despite the doubts-- my own and those of friends and family who thought it was much too late and risky to leave the security of the little world I had ensconced myself in-- packed it up and moved it out. And what do you know! I haven't fallen into poverty and ruin, not yet anyway. I don't miss standing out in a crowd. My feared tendencies to overconsumption only seem to appear when ice cream is involved and that's just because the $2.25 small is about the size of three Japanese servings of ice cream that would cost $3 each. I don't have as much money as I used to, but it doesn't matter because everything else is good.
"Are you happy now?" my sister asked, "You're back. You have the house, the yard, the car, the puppy, a teaching job lined up. You all set?" Yes, I am. For now.

Monday, July 21, 2003

Rock On

OK. So the news of the comatose state of my band was a little premature. Stef and I got so fired up by the ShuttleCock show that we called for a spur of the moment Sunday morning rehearsal and Chip answered the call, as he most always does. "Going to church", he calls it. Yeah, the Church of Rock. We sounded good, even though we didn't have the PA for vocals because it hadn't been set back up in the basement after Mat and Tobey's gig on Friday at The Loft at Strafford Farms.
I think Chip and I are going to get in on singing too. All our favorite bands around here have everyone miked for vocals. It adds more to the mix and the show and it might take some of the pressure off of Stef. Now we just need to keep on with it and line up a few gigs. We had a great time playing outdoor gigs a few summers ago. Maybe we can line some up for August.

Sunday, July 20, 2003

ShuttleCock Rocks!!!

If you are hungry for The Rock, you best get yourself some ShuttleCock. They are one of my favorite local bands and they played in Dover at The Barley Pub last night. Hope they're coming back again.
They have mp3s on their site. I suggest you check it out.

Friday, July 18, 2003

Seacoast Blend

Oooh, all this "it's a small world" stuff seems to be too much at times. I may have struck the Seacoast NH-Japan mainline. Got this guy at You Who writing about this guy Eric who studies Kenpo and writes Inspirational Haiku for a Recessed Economy (good stuff there) and who writes about OnMyMind, which is written by Stephen, who is a Seacoast native who now lives in Japan and who found my blog just about the same time I found his.
Eric mentioned that his wife is studying Japanese. See, I knew there were people around who want to learn it, even if the people at the NH College for Lifelong Learning completely ignored my inquiry about the possibility of teaching conversational Japanese courses there. If anyone out there is interested in taking Japanese lessons privately, get in touch. I'd be psyched to teach a small group of students once or twice a week evenings or weekends. I even have credentials and everything.

Thursday, July 17, 2003

Anyone remember the China Dragon?

We were having an ice cream at Dover Delite last night and I looked over and saw a sign hanging from the roof of the Asia Chinese Restaurant on Third Ave. It said they were celebrating their 32nd anniversary. I commented to Shiro that I remember my family coming up from Portsmouth to eat at the new Chinese restaurant in Dover. It's actually one of my few memories of Dover from when I was a kid. None of the other people sitting at the picnic benches said, "Yeah. I remember that too." It felt more like they were thinking, "Man, you've been around here that long?"
The old Chinese restaurant meant the China Dragon in Kittery. It was in a huge, old, fancy wooden building right on the water. I think it might be the spot that's across from Bob's Fried Clam Hut now. I liked their tea.


Animals that have been within 15 yards of my front door in the past four hours:
-- A large turtle or tortoise with a shell diameter of about 1 foot. It headed out across my neighbors' lawn and looked like it was on its way down to the river, which is about half a mile from here.)
-- A stampede of about 7 or 8 cows and oxen being chased down the street by the police. I think the stampeding herd included the ox I saw being walked down the street last week.
-- a grey fox that ran across the yard and into the blackberry bushes on the side of the yard.
I'm scared to walk out the door anymore.

Tuesday, July 15, 2003


I was out walking a nice little black Lab mix as part of my volunteer duties at the shelter on Monday and he and I (yes, I consult with the dog about where we go on our walk) decided to go investigate a tall white marble monument sitting on a hill out behind the county services building and the county jail. The inscription said it was dedicated to those who lost their lives in the Strafford County Farm Asylum fire of 1893. Two sides of the monument were covered with the names of the 41 deceased. I think the majority of them were women.
I'd never heard of the asylum before but it's always seemed like the county offices and courthouse and jail were set away in a lonely part of town out there on County Farm Cross Road. No fancy new housing developments under construction out that way.
Once I got home I did a Google search for Strafford County Farm Asylum fire and came across this account written circa 1914. I also found this Poorhouse History site. The Poorhouses by State pages are pretty interesting and there's also info about Pauper's Cemeteries. Fascinating stuff.

Monday, July 14, 2003

And Another Thing... or two

The Sears Technicians who delivered and installed our new washer and dryer (which work great, by the way) connected the hoses wrong so the hot water was feeding into the washer's cold water intake and vice versa. When I called the Sears Customer Service line to ask about the steaming hot clothes coming out of the washer the woman there advised me to check the water lines. I told her our washer was installed by Sears Technicians. She told me hers were too and they had screwed hers up that way. No lie. And she was right about ours.
Oh, and the phone calls. "Hello this is Sears and why haven't you bought repair protection plans for all your appliance? If it breaks and we have to come out there it's gonna cost you a lot so why don't you just pay us now since you know it'll be breaking before the warranty ends anyway." Next time this happens I'll have to stop hyperventilating long enough to say "Please take me off your call list." I'm almost afraid they'll say no and point out that somewhere I have signed away my right not to be harrassed by Sears.

I Hate Sears: Part 2

Actually, the Sears online order fiasco is just one reason why I hate Sears. What happened after that made me hate Sears even more.
Once we were relieved that the online order had been cancelled (yeah, right) I noticed an email from Sears that said any purchases made that Saturday would receive an additional 10% discount. "Cool!" I thought, "We can just go to the store and order the stuff from there and avoid Sears' shitty online service." (This is the part in the horror movie where the audience shouts, "Don't do it!!! Don't go back in here! It's a trap, you fool! It's a trap!!!")
We went to the store in Newington and after one of the sale clerks found it in herself to break away from the pack of chatting employees to offer us some service, we made our purchase. However, we were told that the merchandise was not in stock so we would have to go pick it up at the warehouse at the end of the following week. She didn't even bother to give us directions to the warehouse, which is not located at the mall where the store is.
I asked my Mom where the Sears warehouse was and she told me. On the appointed day Shiro and I drove down to Portsmouth to pick up our stuff at the warehouse. After waiting a while for someone to appear from the depths of the warehouse, we were given four boxes for our 2 orders. It was only after we lugged the stuff home that I saw we were missing a Box 2 of 2 from the set.
I ruefully got on the phone to Sears customer service again and navigated through the automated answering system maze until I was, miraculously enough, finally connected to someone in the sporting goods department in the store down in Newington. I explained to him about the missing box from our order and he called over to the warehouse and confirmed that they still had our box there. There was no way I was going to fight with the Friday rush hour traffic over the General Sullivan Bridge, so I told him we'd go collect our box the next day.
Saturday afternoon we take another trip down to the Sears Warehouse. I present my receipt to the guy working there and explain the situation. His remark was "Yeah, that was [insert name here]. We all heard about that." No apology. No "sorry for the inconvenience". No "thanks for being so nice about our shitty service".
I really really really fucking hate Sears.

I Hate Sears

Can't believe I haven't written about the saga of my ordeals with Sears yet. I think I was just too pissed off about it before to address it, but I think the time has come. Sears-- that bastion of American retailing has really sunk to previously unplumbed depths in the realm of customer service.
It all started back in May when we went looking for some home gym equipment. We priced the offerings at Decathalon Sports and Sears and decided that Sears had better quality merchandise to offer. We didn't make a purchase in the store, but after we got home I decided to check out their prices again online and saw they also offered an in-store pick up option rather than delivery. I checked out how much the order would be with home delivery and laughed at the $500 charge and then placed my order for IN STORE PICKUP online and was promptly charged $500 for home delivery. Knowing that this kind of situation was better addressed with quick action, I called the Sears customer service number to get the order cancelled as soon as possible. I was then told by the young Sears representative that it was not possible to cancel orders placed online. I explained the situation to him and he transferred me to his supervisor. She told me it was not possible to cancel orders placed online, even if they were placed less than 5 minutes ago. I told her I could not pay $500 in delivery charges. She asked if the problem was my credit card limit. I told her the problem was my household budget and the stupidly expensive delivery charges that I DID NOT ORDER. She put me on hold a half a dozen times and then told me the order would be cancelled but it would take a few days for my online account statement to reflect that.
A week later the order was still there in my online account statement, so I called again and asked when it would be removed. Got more run around and was told the charges were in the process of being removed. A couple weeks later I got another online statement with the delivery charges still included. This time I sent an email to Sears and they sent me back an email which said, "As you have requested, we have cancelled your order. " "Finally!" I sighed with relief.
The next week a large truck pulls up in front of my house and when I answer the door and ask the delivery guy what he's bringing me he says some weights from Sears. I told him that order had been cancelled and he should take it back. That was less stuff for him to lug around, so he said OK and drove away. I thought about calling Sears but was so disgusted with the whole thing that I just shook my head and tried to forget about it.
Today I received a billing statement with $500 in delivery charges from Sears. I see on the bottom of the page in miniscule type there is an address for sending billing error notices to. I may just print this out and send it to them. I sure as hell am not going to pay them.

Sunday, July 13, 2003


I've been on a craft project rampage for the past couple of weeks. It was kicked off by Stef's comment that she would love to sell a certain type of spidery-looking sweater at the store once the season becomes sweatery. I know exactly what she's talking about, even though we can't find any pictures of it, because I inherited the black, stringy, mohair creation from her many years ago, after she was done with it.
I am a knitter and thought I could knit up what she was looking for, but the more I thought about it I realized that it will probably need to be crocheted. So I'm teaching myself to crochet now. The best collections of free crafting information seem to come from About.com, and luckily the new Safari browser takes care of all the annoying pop-up ads that used to drive me nuts on that site. I've made two crocheted halter tops. One is orange and I'll try to sell that at the store. The other is made of variegated yarn in white and shades of pink and its for Rachel. I've also finally learned how to make a nice looking granny square and will try to make a few throw pillows with them. I'll probably start by making a rainbow colored one for Rachel's room. Now that I have the basic form down (see picture above for photographic proof) I can start playing around with color.
My husband still finds the craft side of my personality incongruous with the rest of me. Not sure if that's because it demands attention to detail or because he thinks it's more of a girly homebody pursuit than his image of me reflects. Or maybe it was because the first sweater I ever made for him had such a tight neck that he couldn't fit it over his head and I had to rip it out (the sweater neck, not his head!) and redo it.
Anyway, I was going to post a photo of the pink and white top but my model is still upstairs asleep in her bed.

Thursday, July 10, 2003

Aren't Genetics a Bitch?

After being interrupted by my 8 year old daughter in a grown-up conversation in the car for the 827th time this week, I told her to stop asking me questions about conversations that she was not involved with.
"Didn't you used to ask your parents questions about their conversations when you didn't understand?" she asked accusingly, as if she might jog the recesses of my age addled brain and spark me to recapture an elusive childhood memory through her experience. I informed her that I never had the habit of asking my parents to explain their conversations to me. I never would have had the nerve, frankly.
"Well," Miss Rachel proclaimed from the backseat after a short pause, "I'm different."
Yes, indeed she is.

Wednesday, July 09, 2003


Was driving back home this afternoon from a family excursion to the supermarket and saw from a distance a guy walking what looked to be the tallest Irish setter I've ever seen. Just as I was about to say "look at the size of that dog!!", I saw it was the guy who lives around the bend walking one of his oxen down the sidewalk on a rope, like it was a colossal dog with really huge horns. He wasn't even walking on the quiet back road where our house is, but on the sidewalk along Back River Road which is lined with houses and fairly well travelled. The horn span on that beast probably equals the width of the sidewalk. I imagine the usual walkers and joggers had to step off the curb and go around.

Sunday, July 06, 2003

To The Sea

I should probably keep my mouth shut, but then again it's not like there's heaps of you out there scoping my blog for the next Hot Spot. The best public beach access from around these parts just may be Seapoint Beach in Kittery. I'm so used to thinking of Rye when I think of the beach because I grew up right in town in Portsmouth and every summer biked to Pirate's Cove every day. I'm sure it's not even called Pirate's Cove anymore since the restaurant of that name went bust years ago and it's not even a cove to begin with, but I don't know what it's called now. Private-- probably.
We went to the Kittery beach this afternoon and the drive down 103 was beautiful. The parking was effortless. Of course the water was freezing, but what do you expect? No one's ever going to confuse Maine with Hawaii.
And it was so much fun driving home, crossing over 95 on route 236 and seeing all the south-bound traffic of the holiday weekenders creepy crawling along on the slog back home. Can't wait until mid-September when the dog restrictions are lifted on the beaches and the tourists have all gone back home.
I think the next swimming spot I want to scope out is Packer's Falls in Durham. I went when I was high school and it was really nice. Easy to get to too, as far as I remember.