Sunday, August 30, 2009


Cereal. It's the bane of my existence. I will eat cereal all day long. I will eat it and eat it and eat it, and then, if you give me some more, I will eat that too. And, in some cases, I will leave little trails down the hallway when I eat it, which means that everyone else knows I eat it too...

Yesterday morning I was walking down the hallway, getting ready to dive into my last (sigh, oh woe is me) bowl of Lucky Charms. Like usual, I had filled the bowl completely full (yes, I do go through a small box of Lucky Charms in three days), and then added milk (soymilk, of course). And as usual, I was trying to eat it and walk down the hallway at the same time. The problem, though, is that because it was so full (as it is every day when I face this problem), each time I wanted to take a bite, my spoon spilled little bits of charms all over the floor, leaving a trail behind me. Which I had to get down and pick up. In heels. Which made me tip the bowl and spill more. Which made me curse. And I was thankful that there was still an hour before school started so that a) no kids heard me cursing, and b) no teachers saw me on the floor picking up my precious Lucky Charms and (forgive me for those of you with a faint stomach) putting them back in my bowl.

Hansel and Gretel would be proud. Except for that part where I picked up my breadcrumb (i.e. Lucky Charm) trail and ate it.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


Ok, so I am inspired to write this blog by Annie, a friend of mine whom I haven't seen in 10 years. She has always been trendy, and since leaving high school, has followed that inspiration to become an interior designer in California.

Just recently, I realized that An has a cool blog where she shares tips and ideas for things that inspire her in and within the world of fashion. It's a great site, and has recently started inspiring me, since I am also a big fan of all-things-that-look-good. The other day, she posted a contest on her blog, that in order to win a pair of gorgeous feather earrings, you just had to post a comment about what inspires you. So I did, and I won! There is more to the story about me being the fourth person to write on her wall (as well as my lucky number being #4), and she posted that on her blog as well (it's well worth a read: and the winners are...). Please check out her site: for a bit of fashion inspiration of your own!

As a result of this random set of circumstances, An and I have been back and forth checking each other's blogs out, as well as getting back in touch via Facebook and e-mails. It just so happens that all of this reconnecting has happened in the last week, after I wrote the blog about my clothes fetish (see: stuff), which Annie enjoyed. So, in her latest e-mail to me, she said this: "You should send me pics of your organized closet...people go crazy over that stuff!"

Well, ok!

I mean, I thought about it for about one second, and realized that, YES! I do have some really great fashion tips for keeping scads of clothes organized. A few that would only personally work for me (like the bike - see below), and others that could be used (and should be used) for anyone (backwards hangers - it's for the environment!).

So, with pleasure, I present to you 'Wendy's clothesroom tips'...

1. Keep pictures that inspire you (especially of outfits that you'd like to try) clipped out and stored in a place where you can look quickly for inspiration (especially on a bad clothes day).

2. Use anything and everything you can to hang clothes, hangers, or odds and ends on (you see, storing my bike in my spare room was originally a ploy to keep it safe over the summer, but will remain an EXCELLENT clothes hanger, and a great place to put hangers, clothes that need ironed, and with two baskets, even dirty clothes!).

3. A girl can NEVER have too many shoes. Or belts. Or earrings. Or clothes in general, for that matter.

4. S-hooks can create space for you anywhere. I use them to hang belts in my closet, jeans from my curtains, and scarves from the door.

5. Clothes make great decorations too! A great jacket, a purse, some bracelets, and shoes can really brighten up a regular chair (and create more space elsewhere!).

6. Never, ever, ever, ever be far from your iron. The truly well dressed always look well kept too. (note to #2 - an ironing board is also a great stand for night-before outfits, didn't-work-this-time shirts, or occasionally, a chair).

Now, most of the above are fun, or easy tips that you can take or leave. But I do have one trick that I pride myself on for it's practicality, fashionability, and environmentally friendliness:

7. Each fall and spring, I hang all of my clothes in the closet so that the hanger's hook faces out. After I wear an item of clothing, I hang it back up in the closet with the hanger's hook facing in, in the opposite direction. For starters, this gives me a good indicator what I have and have not worn (lord knows we ladies like to wear the same thing over and over again - this ensures that you can be more uber-fashionable, as well as get more wear out of the clothes you have). As for the clothes whose hangers are still backwards after 6 months, and haven't been worn? They get donated or recycled.

Which gives me an excuse to go shopping again. So really, everyone is a winner, right?

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Those who can't, teach.

I've always hated that phrase.

For starters, I don't understand it. What do you mean 'those who can't, teach?' So, like, if I can't play basketball, you want me to teach it instead? WIth all of my knowledge? I mean, if I'm not good enough to play it, why would you want me to teach it to others?

Secondly, as a teacher (and a darn good one), I take offense in thinking that teachers are lesser beings of a bigger purpose, and by lack of qualifications, resign themselves to teaching others (as a last result of a failed existence?).


Whatever, that is, except for today. Because by default, today the saying sticks. I am in charge of new teacher orientation. And because I am not (can not) be a new teacher, I get to teach the others who are. I can't, so I teach. And I've got this orientation thing licked.

When I was a new teacher, we had the most wonderful orientation by two amazing teachers, Brian and Leila, but it was all such a blur of driving down streets to places that I never actually found again. I didn't have any money or way to get around, which, along with being completely lost, kept me from waning to revisit any of the places they took us. In fact, in two years, I can count on one hand the number of places I have returned to after that first week. Not because I don't want to, but because I wouldn't know where to go if I did!

Last year's orientation, done by a different teaching couple, was much of the same. Of course, I didn't take part, but I have the notes, and can sense that it was a very similar overload to the year of my beginning.

This year, though, I have a better game plan. Although orientation doesn't officially start until Friday, I thought, 'Why don't I invite the new teachers over to my place to see what everything looks like?' They can check out the sizes of curtains, dimensions of couches, and so on and so forth. They can ask how to nail things into the wall? How to decorate? What kinds of things can they buy? And I can offload some of my possessions, that, after a summer home of shopping, I have no more room for.

Clever, right? It's a pretty good plan.

But it's even better. Because after that, I will walk them to sushi train (for yummy sushi!), and then Jusco, where I will familiarize them with the walking paths and store layout (and buy groceries for myself at the same time!). You see, this is what I would be doing anyway, only now I'm going to make it an 'official part' of orientation and multitask everything into one. It gets me what I want, gets them what they want, and clears out a bit of space for Friday's schedule, which will (surprise) include more shopping (at places I need to go to too!).

I'm not going to lie - I think I'm pretty clever. So, don't tell me what I can and can't teach...


It's 8:33 and I'm struggling to stay awake. I laughed as I set my alarm for 8:15 tomorrow morning, knowing full well that I"ll be up a good 8 hours before that, but as a wishful thinker, I am setting my sights high.

Of course, I can't go to bed just yet. So, what is a tired girl supposed to do to fill her night for a bit longer?? Iron.

Earlier today, I unpacked my bags, all of them, and quickly and efficiently put everything away. As my closet (truly) filled up, I set aside a pile of wrinkled shirts to be ironed at a later time, which came just a bit ago. But, as you could expect after a summer of shopping, as I set to ironing, I ran quickly out of hangers.

Being a bit OCD, I can't just use any hangers - the ones I need have to be the same light-blue-with-grey-plastic-tip-from-Daiso variety, and although I am fortunately going there tomorrow, it doesn't help me tonight. So what do I decide to do when Ironing fails? Count my clothes.

No, really, I truly sat there and thought (and remember, I am really, really tired), 'Well, this closet looks (amazing and) full, we might as well just count it all up, for just the darn sake of it.' And so I did. I stood in front of my closet (much like a sales clerk inventorying on a clipboard) and tapped the hangers with my pen, creating categories, and writing the results on a pink post-it.

I was shocked (but silently pleased) at the amount of clothing I own. And I think, were I richer or more famous, People magazine would come and take a few shots. But, after getting over my guilty pleasure, it was only 8:30, and unable to go to bed, still, just yet, I set down to find more things to do to kill my time. The result? This blog. I figured, what the heck else do I have to do for the next hour than past my eyes wide open while I type? The subject matter interests me (although maybe not you so much), and the amounts I found are so shockingly ridiculous that they are worth you having a bit of a laugh at.

I no longer wonder where all my money goes. The proof is in the numbers.

The following stats on my closet do not include undergarments, fall/winter clothing, sports clothing (such as t-shirts or running shorts), or casual pajama/housewear. They also do not include my dirty laundry (that is pilling up, and worth a good stat of its own), outdoor-wear, swim suits and swim covers, or the clothes that still need ironed. But they do include the following:

26 pairs of pants (20)
4 skirts (2)
7 professional jackets (3)
18 collared/long-sleeved/lace shirts (10)
18 simple tees (16)
27 tank tops (19)
13 dresses (8)
7 pairs of shorts (5)
9 belts on one s-hook, 6 on another, and 3 draped over the closet door (6)
9 dressy scarves (7)
10 folded pairs of jeans, as well as three s-hooks containing 3, 5, and 2 pairs (15)
39 pairs of shoes (not including flip flops, which make up 10 more) (29!!)
6 pairs of boots (5)
12 clutches (7)
2 vests (2)

As I sit here, though, I realized that typing it out did not take as much time as I thought (or needed), so for fun (and because it's still not bedtime yet), I went back to my closet and counted only the new items. Then, I subtracted the new from the total, to calculate how many of each thing I had before I left for the summer. Those numbers are in parentheses above.

Evidently, though, having a lot of clothes doesn't solve all problems. You see, I am still not sure what I'll wear tomorrow...

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Happy Ending

(read first: Around The World)

I did make it to Narita (Tokyo) just fine. Upon finding the closest United counter out of the gate, and hearing out that there was NOT, in fact, a request for my ticket having been sent through, I was pleased that this agent did what the other two just should have, and plugged in a damn number in the first place. It took her less than 2 minutes and no hassle to just assign me a new ticket number to get me right as rain. Check-in was a breeze, and I dutifully collected my luggage. And to top off things going right for a change, I found an even happier ending when I located a luggage shipment service, cheap as chips, that will deliver my luggage from here in Tokyo to school (in Nagoya) by tomorrow morning. So in the end, I came home luggage-free and lightweight.

And satisfied. So satisfied, that, when I came through the terminal to the waiting area in Nagoya, where, like every other year, noone is waiting for me, I pumped my hands in the air and yelled loudly, 'Welcome home, Wen! Good to see you!' I got a few awkward stares, no doubt, but I am still satisfied.

Now if I could just ship these bags under my eyes. Bloody hell, I'm tired...

Welcome back, Wen.

Around the World

Please sit back and relax as you prepare yourself to go on a tiring and whirlwind adventure of an around-the-world traveler's journey through everything-that-can-go-wrong-will.

To start off, in answer to my earlier question (Read blog post Like Sands Through The Hourglass), I do believe that I am now one day older than I was when I left Japan. I have decided that, scientifically speaking, traveling west, continually, without backtracking east is a surefire way to thrust oneself into the future by a day, (that is, once you have landed where you started). I am officially claiming myself to have two birthdays next year - one on the 11th of May (my proper birthday), and one on the 12th (to celebrate my true age).

But aside from the physics of traveling through the space time continuum, and more importantly for this specific blog, I can also tell you that if you ever purchase an around the world ticket, that it is not advisable to take any chances, move any flights, or take part in any situations that would thereby alter the original ticket in any way. Rachel, Miche and I have learned the hard (and tiring, and tearful) way that much like the idea of traveling one direction entirely around the whole world, each flight on a ticket this kind of ticket is like a link in a perfectly circular chain necklace, where if one piece breaks, the whole thing can virtually be rendered useless.

This was the trouble I faced this morning - a worthless set of tickets. And let me tell you, it was a real mission to get home. I saw it coming - I really I did. I knew there would be trouble, and it started without fail in Indy where Dad and I spent 2 hours in line at the ticket counter as the nice airline lady frantically worked to get me on a flight.

(Quickly backtrack to 6 weeks ago, when while traveling from Barcelona to Nice, my fellow travelers and I, under no fault of our own, missed one flight and were redirected through Zurich instead. Happy to placate us for having missed a flight, the Swiss clerk put us up in a hotel for the night and quickly re-routed us the next morning, getting us to Nice fairly quickly and efficiently. What it seems she forgot to do, though, is keep the chain of flights in tact. By breaking it up and not carefully and correctly re-entering the order of flights, as they were, through the computer system, she effortlessly (albeit innocently) rendered our itineraries useless, and our ticket numbers simply vanished. As a result, ever since that flight, I have shown up to each airport with a paper itinerary that proves I have purchased a flight (16 flights, actually), with my name always in the computer, in the system as a scheduled traveler on each of the flights I have been assigned since the missed one. But, without that ever-so-important ticketing number, which was likely deleted during the re-direct, they cannot find my record in the system, thus making it impossible to get me on the plane).

Thus, the two hour wait at the counter in Indianapolis.

Now, although I missed my first flight out of Indy, I did catch the second flight this morning, with special exception to board the plane without a ticket, followed by explicit directions to, upon arrival in Chicago, leave the terminal (and out of security), to the ticketing counters to get paper tickets printed out. Of course though, as was my luck, my flight landed in Chicago behind expected time, leaving me less than an hour between arrival from Indy and departure to Tokyo. I was then faced with a split decision, a crap shoot: do I go all the way out of the Terminal and risk time and having to explain it all over again, or do I head to the gate and ask there, hoping for quicker and closer help? Well, with less than an hour to spare, I decided on the latter, against my good judgement, as it seemed easier and quicker and likely to be ok.

I was wrong.

(side note: missing my flight from Indy to Chicago was no big deal, as I was sure there would be 1-2 more flights going out that would get me there, which there was. In Indy, I was calm and collected. Missing a flight to Tokyo, though, is a different story, as one flight per day leaves for this destination. A missed flight is a bit more of a big deal when I have to wait 24 hours until the next one. I don't do calm and collected in that situation...)

The lady at the gate looked at me like I was the dumbest thing she had ever seen, and assured me that I would need much more than good credit to board the plane. It was at this moment when the situation, and my day, slowly began crumbling around me. In loud tears (I might even go so far as to call them sobs), I ran my bags backwards through the terminal to the ticketing area. Of course, each person who stopped me was sure she could help me, and, without time to explain the situation, I panicked even more, angering them and frustrating me. I then used my sobbing sorrow to cut in front of a ton of people to get immediate attention at the first counter where I could find a teller. Of course, as expected, I was unreachable in the system, a ghost, now outside of security, with no tickets, and 30 minutes until my flight left.

Now, I am not sure how often this happens to one person twice in a day, but the lady at the counter, after checking with a few other agents, says, "Ok, go ahead and take this boarding pass and get on this flight. We have no time to resolve this now, but we'll work on it while you're in the air." So, I sit on this flight right now, typing this out, as a non-existent traveler, hoping that the message gets through to Tokyo, where my boarding pass to Nagoya will be magically waiting for me. To ice the cake, my checked bags are full of kitchen knives, among other things, which leads me to believe that if I get stopped and searched, I just might end up in international prison. At least, that's how it seems to be going.

I have ended up in a middle seat between two nice men. Of course though, on the unfortunate side, I am surrounded in the front and from behind by the least-nice-to-sit-next-to-on-the-plane people. In front of me, a loud, screaming 5-year old whose parents have no tolerance level for the amount of sound that comes out of his mouth. Behind me are three 20 somethings who have just met, but are what I like to call 'one-uppers'. You know, we all have those friends, braggers who take turns telling stories to outdo each other. The married one on my behind right is obviously the popular one to the younger, more-impressionable college kid on my behind left, and they are enjoying each other's company a little more loudly than I would like. I feel like I know righty better than his wife, who he has mentioned at least 6 times, does.

On top of that, not only is this the FIRST international flight I have EVER taken that does not have private televisions in each seat (yes, I am watching the big screen in the front of the plane, just like it's 1998 or something) but my mid-flight meal snack was ramen. I mean, really. I am getting ready to go live in Japan for 10 months. Do you think what I want you to offer me on this flight is ramen? How about a bit of creativity here, folks? Who makes these decisions anyway!?

At hour 6, minute 14, as we begin our 'descent' from over Alaska towards Tokyo, I spilled bloody mary all over my white lace shirt. Luckily for me, I shop at Forever 21, which means that the cheap synthetic (and obviously plastic) fabric repelled the liquid magnificently. Whew. One less disaster averted. For now...