Things not to say to a potential customer...

Dear National-Chain-Department-Store Sales Associate Lady,

Hi. You might not remember me but I'm hoping to forget the experience I had with you--maybe you were having a bad day when I walked in looking for a bathing suit on the sale racks, but to be honest, I was pretty shocked by what you said to me.

Granted, I did have my husband and our two little sons with me so it wasn't a great day for me to be shopping for me, but you have to grab these moments by the horns if you are hardly ever able to get out and shop on your own. And probably because I had them with me and I was distracted, I didn't actually have a chance to process what you said until I left.

You asked what size I wore and when I said I'd been living in Japan and wasn't sure what size bathing suit I would wear in the US, you took a guess (six sizes bigger than what I do wear). When I told you what size the pants/trousers were that I had on that day, you looked me up and down and replied, "Wow, looks can be deceiving."

I've worked in retail before and though I had minimal training, I do know that words like yours should never be spoken to a customer.

Like I said, maybe you were having a rough day and later regretted what you said, or maybe you're used to saying what you think and not having anyone bite back.

My chompers won't be used here, either, and I guess you'll never read this, but I had a moment to digest what happened and just wanted to throw it out in cyberspace, for whatever reason.


A Former Lifer Customer Who Now Shops Elsewhere


To Our Dear Fushigi Readers,

What would you have said or done? I always kick myself later for not saying something at the time. It's so easy to think of comebacks after you've left the scene (hindsight is 20/20!).

Or maybe it's better that my temperament is wired the way it is, or I would say something that I would regret later.

What do you think?

Sympathy, anyone?

P.S. I did call the manager later that day and got a form of an "apology" on the phone while she was half-listening to me and was busy helping and talking to another customer.

P.P.S. The strange thing about all this is that my weight is the lowest it's been since before getting preggo for the first time.

P.P.P.S. Just writing this to get it off my chest and then I can move on. That's all.

Staycation Continued: Kubota Garden

Hidden away inside a neighborhood, we never would've known about this gorgeous city park if we hadn't seen a sign for it on I-5, just before the exit. It's in south Seattle, so a bit of a drive for us, but well worth it.

We especially enjoyed "The Terrace", a good place for barefoot running and having a picnic (go left on the path after the entrance).

The historic Japanese part of the garden was also very lovely with a red arched bridge and some small ponds, but it is a large park and by the time we got there, after running with the beans all morning, we were ready to hit the road.

We did get some flower piccies along the way, though...

I'm pretty partial to these blossoms, myself...

Staycation Continued: Fay Bainbridge State Park

We took a little trip to Bainbridge and Fay Bainbridge State Park this past May for Stephen's Golden Week holiday, and we went back again for the day, 1.5 weeks ago when Stephen was taking some time off every day.

It was definitely warmer this time around! We also got to meet up with some friends there, which made it even nicer.

And it was so clear, we could see Mt. Rainier in the distance...

The three boy-beans enjoyed seeing a Datsun convention there, too...

Seattle was looking summery on our ferry trip back home...

Vanilla Beans

We're teaching Matthew to read and he's doing great already after just a few lessons! The bean is lapping it up like a cat with some nice milk. He also loves using small lowercase alphabet fridge magnets on a cookie sheet/baking pan, making his own words and reading ones we make for him.

Matthew totally surprised me at QFC the other day, too. I was reaching for our usual plain yogurt (I never buy vanilla or other flavors) when Matthew said, "Mom, why don't you buy vanilla yogurt this time instead?" Huh? How did he even know about it? I asked him where he saw "vanilla" and he said, "Right there, Mom! On that carton!" and pointed right to the word "vanilla". He doesn't watch TV so he hasn't seen any commercials and I don't know how he figured that out, but he amazes me.

Matthew's chat with Jesus tonight before bed was really sweet: "Jesus, thank you for giving us lots of muffins, for Luna and Kai, for giving us lots of food to eat, and for giving us lots of friends."

And Joel's language skills astound us every day: The beans were waiting for our friend Luna-san to drive up today and Stephen asked Joel if she was here yet. Joel replied, "Not quite yet, Daddy!"

Japanese Garden in Washington Arboretum

They even had Japanese garden ladders! Natsukashii (feeling nostalgic)!

Two Beans in a Pod

Stephen's been taking a few hours off every day the past week and a half so we've been exploring our local area even more (having so much fun that we haven't had time to blog about it). More posts to come later will have more details but for now...the beans...

And the bean pillows...

The bean watering cans (acquired from our local Daiso - Japanese 100-yen shop)...

And a couple of beans hiking in the Washington Arboretum...

We Are What We Eat

If that's true, then that explains a lot about our two beans.

Here's a breakdown of what they consumed today:

  • oatmeal with honey, cinnamon, peanut butter, applesauce, milk, and raisins
  • green smoothies (lots of goodness)
  • onigiri (rice balls with salmon inside and wrapped with nori seaweed)
  • Beard Papa's choux creme puffs (oh, how we have missed these from our time in Japan and were so excited to find them in the international district today!)
  • pink smoothies (berries and bananas with protein boost)
  • cheese quesadillas
  • Marmite toast on rustic roasted garlic bread
  • grapes
  • bananas
  • crystallized ginger slices (they love this stuff and laugh when the spiciness kicks in!)
  • milk
  • orange juice
And the day is not yet done--they're already asking for their customary plain yogurt with honey for before bedtime.

But don't worry--they run it all off.

See Plane

Driving back home on I-5 today, Joel fell asleep, but I was giving Matthew a commentary of different things to see from the car.

"Look, Matthew, a seaplane!"

Matthew craned to look left out of Joel's window to see if he could see it coming into "land" on Lake Union.

And he was not the only one to try to spot it: Joel, deep in slumber with his eyes tight shut, jerked his head up and also craned to look out of his window to his left. The strange thing was that he did this all without ever waking up or opening his eyes.

I guess it is true what they say about words having power.

Dem Beans

As I tucked the boys in bed the other night (Stephen was at his Thursday night discussion group he occasionally attends), Matthew said sweetly, "Goodnight, dear Mom!"


Both boys enjoy "reading" my Marmite cookbook with me--they especially love the photos of the London black taxis that boasted the Marmite livery for a while.


I called Matthew "Matthew James Munday" one day and then asked Joel if he knew what his middle name was. He answered cheekily, "Chocolate Milk!!!" And I think if Matthew had had a choice for his, it would've been "Rice With Furikake!!!"

Pass the Peas, Please

Did anybody ever tell you that if you swallowed watermelon seeds, you'd grow a watermelon plant inside your bod?

Poor Ron Sveden thought he had lung cancer, until the surgeons pulled out a .5-inch pea plant. And then they served him peas for dinner in the hospital--if it had been me, I think I would've hidden them in my napkin or thrown them across the room.

Olympia and Mt. Rainier

Volcano country!

The state capitol building.

Inside the state capitol dome in Olympia.

Bring financial "gifts" for your state senators and representatives

Down at the harbor with the capitol in the background.

Climbing beans.

Houseboats and sailing boats.

This is a continuation of the previous post. Actually, I won't mention Mt. Rainier much in this post as the previous photo sums it up pretty well, except to say that the mountain dominated our view for much of our traveling in the Olympia area.

Olympia is the state capital but, as seems to be the case with state capitals, urban developments passed it by so that Seattle (and other cities in Washington, I'm sure) have far outgrown it in size and prestige. Having said that, it seems like a pleasant town with a good selection of well-kept parks, a beautiful capitol, and a quaint shopping and waterfront area.

The boys enjoyed running around on the grass in front of the capitol as well as playing in a big play area down by the harbor. When we toured the capitol, they enjoyed looking up at the domed ceiling and going across the "bridges" (arches) as we circled the building looking at the two chambers. Perhaps the highlight of this for the boys was bumping into a state trooper and getting a couple of silver Junior Trooper badges to wear on their tummies.

Abigail was a trooper, taking all the driving responsibilities. But the boys also did much better than expected riding in the back. I think the ever-changing scenery speeding by kept them interested.

Mt. Rainier

A longer post about our day will be along soon, I'm sure, but in the meantime, I thought I would share with you a picture of Mt. Rainier, which I took out of our car window as we sped along the interstate back to Seattle. Needless to say I was not driving.

It was a beautiful day to see the mountain, which we had done from numerous angles. I just wish we had been able to find a place where we could have stopped the car, got out and just enjoyed the view. Perhaps locals reading this can make suggestions.

J is for Joel

Recently the boys' favorite book is B Is for Bulldozer: A Construction ABC by June Sobel and illustrated by Melissa Iwai. The text is clever, the illustrations are cute, and Matthew and Joel love it--there's something to talk about every time we turn a page.

Today as we got to the last page where the kids are coming down the roller coaster with their hair blowing in the wind, Joel pointed to it and shouted, "Their hair coming off!!!"

Seeing Things

When we first moved to Japan, all the characters I saw everywhere reminded me of letters from the English alphabet for some reason.

And now that we live back in the States, I expect to see Japanese everywhere and I'm surprised that the images I'm seeing are the alphabet and not characters.

I also still do double takes at all the non-Japanese folks and think they are gaijin (foreigners) until it hits me that they are the majority!

Deception Pass State Park

We didn't know until we got there, but Whidbey Island's Deception Pass State Park bridges were 75 years old today! There were all kinds celebrations going on so lots of gawkers. We didn't actually get to walk on the bridges but we did drive across them, which was a blast!


We drove up I-5 from Seattle to Mt. Vernon and then across a bridge over Skagit Bay (not the same bridge as the famous ones in Deception Pass) to the northern end of Whidbey where the park is located...

Spent most of our time there at the Little North Beach where we had a great view of the two bridges...

And did lots of rock heaving...

Also got to see two tugboats herding some logs under the bridge...

Drove back home down the length of Whidbey to the port town of Clinton where we boarded the ferry to Mukilteo (remember our visit there in May?)...

And then home again in time for leftover lentil stew and rice for dinner!


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