Monday, February 28, 2011

Konichiwa from Denver

Tojinbo, Japan (Emily in foreground taking a much better photo)

I'm back in Denver after an interesting trip to Japan.  We went to places that Americans ordinarily don't go, so this made for some challenges, but mostly a trip to remember. This was my fourth trip to Japan but I don't think I've been in any locations before that were quite as remote (meaning non-Japanese just don't generally go there) before.  

Since I got home at about 2:00 a.m. last night (early Monday morning) after a day of intense traveling, I won't expound on the trip in this post.  I want to save the discussion for a day (hopefully soon) when I am fully functional and that is definitely not today.  

On our last day in Japan, at the suggestion of the hotel clerk, we set out after breakfast for Tojinbo on the Sea of Japan. It was a great suggestion as it's a beautiful spot. But the travel on this last day was daunting.  Starting with our trip to Tojinbo and ending at my apartment in Denver, I took a cab-train-bus-bus-train-cab-cab-bus-plane-bus-bus-plane-car-plane-car (I may have missed some mode of transport but you get the idea and this is actual, not exaggerated).  So it's not at all surprising that today I am addled with jet lag.

More to come soon on the trip - I promise.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

What's Blog-Worthy?

I haven't done a blog post in a while because I've been torn about what to write in the blog.  I started the blog to keep my friends who are far away updated about my move and my life in a new city.  But now that some of the newness has worn off after 3 months, I've started to wonder about what belongs in a blog and what doesn't.  What is interesting to those who read the blog and what could be considered self-absorbed banter that would be of interest to no one?

So the question of what exactly is blog-worthy (definitely a word that is a rip-off of one of my favorite Seinfeld episodes in which Elaine must decide which men are sponge-worthy as she considers her diminishing supply of her favorite contraception, the sponge - see wikipedia)  is on my mind right now.  With most of the traumas of moving behind me, do I write about the great dinner I had last night or the fact that my shoulder hurts or who I had lunch with?  I think not.  Those are the everyday little things that you might discuss with someone at a face-to-face get together but are just not that interesting to write or to read. Yet, those little everyday details are what create a close relationship.  I really do like to know what my friends are doing that makes up their days.  Inevitably, when you lose that knowledge and the ability to understand how a person chooses to spend his or her time, you lose a certain level of familiarity that you once had.  On the other hand, if I write about that in the blog, it seems, well, pretty boring.

I watched the revolution in Egypt with great interest and awe.  It seemed amazing that in 18 days, mostly by peaceful means, we could see the toppling of a regime.  I wanted to blog about it, but thought twice before I did.  Just by the little that I read and watched, I was by no means an expert on Egyptian government.  Why did I feel qualified to blog about it and put my thoughts out in the universe?  So I didn't post anything.

My conflicted feelings about what is blog-worthy were emphasized when I read about a teacher who was fired for writing disparaging comments about her students (although she mentioned no names and didn't identify the school) on her personal blog.    Click here to read about her situation.   This raises lots of issues regarding what belongs in a personal blog and what does not.

If you who are reading this have the time to write a Comment, I would love to hear what you think does or does not belong in a blog; what you think is good reading and what is not; and what is just TMI (too much information).

Postscript to my post:

For those of you who last heard from me when I was virtually frozen in the tundra known as Denver, I am happy to report that the last week has been lovely and the snow (at least 95% of it) is gone.  It's been sunny, in the 60s, and downright spring-like.  Those who have been here a while, though, tell us not to be fooled.  That March is full of snow storms and those are usually the big ones.  So we shall see.

Second postscript to my post:

I am leaving on Sunday for a Japanese adventure with my lovely and talented daughter, Emily Shur.  I am tagging along as Emily takes pictures to finish up a personal project on Japan.  She's been there many times, but has no photos of Japanese winter.  So we head to the cold Japanese Alps.  We are staying in places that I've never heard of - Yudanaka, where we will commune with the snow monkeys as they bathe in the hot springs, and Kanazawa.  I return to Denver in the wee hours of February 28 in one of these weird time warp trips where we leave Japan on one day and get home on the previous day.  This trip will definitely fall into the blog-worthy category, but that may not happen until I am back in the U.S.A.  

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Hello from the Tundra

Our Lady of the Tundra

I was bouncing along in December and January surprised and pleased with the sunny, springlike weather and then February happened.  Since this month began, it has been so cold that "freezing" really doesn't describe it, especially since it is way below freezing.  In the last week, it has snowed at least 4 (maybe 5-6) times, and the fact that I've actually lost count should tell you all you need to know.

Terrace, February 8

I was reluctant to get out of my apartment today as the thermometer showed it to be 7° outside, but there is one thing that will get me going no matter what, a hair appointment.  So I walked a block to the 16th Street Mall FreeRide (, which you can just hop on and off for about a mile, and rode that to the end of its route.  Then walked about 3/4 of a mile to the salon. Although I had thermal gloves and glove liners (a whole separate pair of gloves that go underneath your gloves), my fingertips were cold to the point of almost frozen.  I got to thaw out at the salon and then did the whole thing in reverse.  I would have taken a real bus if I knew how but I haven't yet learned what you are supposed to do to be entitled to ride a bus.  

Warm Apartment

Couldn't be happier to be back in my apartment (with my hair cut and colored) without any body parts freezing or falling off.  What masochistic tendency makes people live in this climate?

Monday, February 7, 2011

Time Management

I've been thinking a lot about time lately and why my management of it seems to have gone completely askew.  But trying to analyze how one spends her time can be tricky.

First, there is the issue of sleeping.  Although we've been in Denver for almost three months, my body is still on east coast time, which is two hours ahead of my new Rocky Mountain Time life.  I wake up each day between 4:30 and 5:00 a.m.  I'd like to go back to sleep and I try to do this, but often once I'm up, I'm up.  If I lived in EST, waking up at 6:30 or 7:00 would be fine.  Likewise, at night, I am ready for bed by around 9:00 p.m. (which would be 11:00 EST), but force myself to stay up to at least 10:00 to not be too much of a wimp.  If I could use the early morning time efficiently, that would be great. But this doesn't happen - I just toss and turn and scrunch up my pillow, totally annoyed that I'm not sleeping. 

Someone once told me that a day in retirement consists of doing all of the errands that you previously did on your way home from work.  I think that's pretty accurate.  Just having a couple of errands to accomplish can consume my day.  When I look back at the end of a week, I'm always disappointed with what I've done.  

So I tried to analyze why my days actually disappear.  One of the biggest time wasters in the world is the computer.  Sitting down in front of it just begs me to squander my time.  Not only is it nice to communicate with people via email, but there are endless things to look at online, whether it's news, shopping or dreaming (lately, I've been wasting my time looking at real estate).  I need to feel more productive and will heretofore limit my time in front of the computer (I say that now but we'll see if it comes to pass.)   

I keep thinking of the old saying that "if you want something done, ask a busy person to do it."  So true.  My to-do lists now get done eventually but they are so puny compared to what they used to be.  It's embarrassing.   I will work on becoming that "busy person" again, right after I peruse the sale items on

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

This Is So Wrong

This is an actual temperature reading outside our apartment.  Yes, you read correctly:  -7°.  Now that it's noon here, the temperature has catapulted up to a balmy -2°.  That may be the high for the day.  This is so wrong, on so many levels.