Saturday, March 26, 2011



Before photos... Note the elegant dining table, I mean, card table.


A couple of weeks ago we had installed artificial turf in our backyard to replace the rocky landscape which was not exactly conducive for kids. To finish things up, today we had some landscaping done to the front and back. The new furniture replaced the grungy card table set that had been functioning as our outdoor eating space. We are really happy with how everything turned out, we just couldn't have chosen a worse time to spend a big chunk of change. Oh well, after all, they do say hindsight is 20/20.

The internet connection in Japan is spotty right now, so I decided to put these photos on the blog so Colin can see the finished product without having to struggle with downloading a bunch of photos.

Hoola Hoops, Dogs and Pandas

These photos are for Colin who is missing the kids and probably needs a photo fix right about now. The weather is fine right now and the kids are taking full advantage of our backyard which is no longer solely comprised of rock but rather plenty of the green stuff. OK...fake green stuff, but green nonetheless.


I just realized that it has been over a month since I last posted and I wonder where the time went. But when I give it a little more thought, I know exactly where it went.

My birthday came and went, we turned our rock laden back yard into a desert oasis, and worked on other home improvements and then along came March 11th.

March sheer luck, Colin had just called in sick for that day and was not in Japan when the earthquake struck. His roommate was there and said he was scared to death and was certain the building he was in was going to collapse. The fridge in their apartment ended up halfway across the room and the rest of the apartment was involuntarily rearranged. Thankfully no one we knew was hurt.

The devastation in Japan is incredible and unfathomable. During the crisis, we never turned the T.V. on because the kids were home on Spring Break and we didn't want them to see it and worry about Colin returning. However, we followed it closely on the Internet. Emotionally, I kept myself pretty distant in order to cope with the task of gathering information and making the very difficult decision about when he would return to work. For some reason, that emotional distance crumbled when I saw the video of the two dogs. At that moment, the tears started flowing and didn't stop for quite some time.

Colin returned to work this past Tuesday. The situation at the nuclear plant is unstable at best, the aftershocks are frequent, the stores have no food or water and the feeling of uncertainty is palpable.

In the face of what people who endured the tsunami and those who live near the Fukushima plant are going through, the turmoil our family is suddenly experiencing pales by comparison. It is humbling to see the stoicism and quiet determination of the Japanese people. Yet we have to face some realities too. We recognize that after two years working in Japan, Colin's job security is suddenly precarious at best. We are hoping things will stabilize and be OK but realize that the future is far from certain.

In reality, all of our futures are uncertain, all of the time. Fortunately, most of the time, we are just not that cognizant of how quickly your life can change with little or no warning.

For now, we take it day by day and formulate our strategy to adapt and survive. When I was in the police academy, I had an instructor who always used to preach that in any difficult situation we should challenge ourselves to "improvise, adapt, and overcome." During the academy, his endless repetition of this philosophy drove me nuts. But at times like this, I'm grateful for his platitudes because that particular one helps reminds me to stay focused, on my feet, and seek out a viable solution.

Meanwhile, our thoughts and best wishes go out to those who have lost so much during this surreal tragedy and we pray the situation in Fukushima doesn't get any worse.