Category Archives: memorable things

More Messages

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I’ve gotten more messages from my friends to share with everyone in Japan! If you’re not in Japan, please read the messages for some good vocabulary.

Flowers from my local farmers’ market

Name: Pat & Winston
Location: El Cerrito, California, USA
Message: There are no words in any language that can express our sorrow for what has happened, and is happening in Japan. Our thoughts and hearts are with you.

Name: Erin
Location: Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Message: We are thinking about you and hoping for your safety and well-being, and the well-being of your families and friends.

Name: Alex
Location: Fremont, California, USA
Message: We stand with you, and we are so proud of you! We hope you recover soon. We have great faith in you!
頑張れ 日本!!

Name: Kirsten
Location: San Francisco, California, USA
Message: I am cheering for you. You are in my thoughts every day. Please stay safe. I am so sorry and my sorrow is for you and Japan.

Name: Ellen
Location: England
Message: I want to send a message of hope to the people of Japan. The rest of the world supports you.

Name: Ian
Location: New Forest, England
Message: My thoughts are constantly with you all. I salute your strength and fortitude through these difficult times.

Name: Caroline and her mother
Location: Minnesota, USA
Message: The strength and spirit of the people of Japan inspire us. We pray for you in this time of tragedy.

Name: Dion R.
Location: Bay Point, California, USA
Message: Hearing what has happened in Japan caused much pain, but do not lose hope. I pray to God you’ll all make it through. I encourage you all to continue assisting others in need, as well as staying safe. May you be protected and live another day.

You can leave a comment if you want to say something.

Continue reading More Messages

Messages of Support

Sunrise at the lake near my house – a peaceful scene few days ago

Some of my friends and family wrote messages of support to everyone in Japan. In the US and other places, there has been a lot of news about the earthquake, tsunamis, and other problems. I think we all know about it and are sending our best wishes.

Here is what they said. If you want to answer them or say anything, please leave a comment at the bottom!

Name: Marty (that’s Clarissa’s mom, by the way!)
Location: Fayetteville, Arkansas, USA.
Message: May better days come soon.

Name: Julie F, ESL teacher
Location: Emeryville, California, USA
Message: I am aware of what has happened to you, which is so frightening, and my thoughts and concern are with you. It will be a while before life feels normal again. In this time you must be loving and patient with yourselves and others. I hope your country can safely heal, rebuild and move forward. My deep condolence for any lost friends and family members.

Name: Scott
Location: Denton, Texas, USA — Land of Cowboys, Horses, Tornadoes, and quite a few people from Japan who are here going to school.
Message: Y’all have my best wishes for future recovery. Many, many condolences for those you’ve lost. People at my office could not stop watching the news sites this Friday. We were awed and horrified by what we were seeing. I certainly hope things start getting better as quickly as possible.

Name: Melissa
Location: Sacramento, California, USA
Message: We are very sad about the tragedy that has happened in Japan. We grieve with you. I hope that you all recover and heal quickly, and I hope that the world will come together to help you in this dark time.

Name: Bardi
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio, USA
Message: May each morning be a flower of greater hope.

Name: Erin
Location: Washington, DC, USA
Message: I would like to send good wishes and hope to the Japanese people during this difficult time.

Name: Stephanie
Location: Washington State, USA
Message: I wish there is more I can do to help. Take care of each other. Japan is in my heart and prayers.

Name: Brent E.
Location: Seattle, Washington State, USA
Message: This time is tough. I hope that all of you stay safe. Japan will recover!

If I get more messages later, I’ll make another post!

Please take care of yourself. Take a break, eat when you can, get some rest, and drink enough (if you can!). Be kind to yourself and others. We’re thinking of you!

Continue reading Messages of Support

100 Posts and a Contest!

This is post #100!

Time for the first Readable Blog contest!


The contest theme is “Sharing Our English Tools.”

  • Think about one way that you practice or study English — something that works well for you. It can be anything. It should be something that you actually do.
  • Think of a way to tell me and other people about it. You can do that by taking and uploading a photo of you doing something (or a photo of a thing that you use). You can leave a comment on this entry. You can send me a message here. You can make a post in your blog, and Tweet me a link. You can draw how to do it, and send me a letter (please contact me and give me your e-mail address if you want my address. You can even post a video on Youtube or something like that. Almost anything is OK–just ask here or on Twitter if you’re not sure!
  • If you send it to me privately (by mail, contact form, etc.), please let me share it with everyone.

I will send something by mail to the entries that are

  • the most useful, based on what I believe as a teacher
  • the most fun to do
  • the most unusual
  • the most thoughtful

The (mysterious) thing each winner might get could include a book, something from Trader Joe’s, chocolate…Each winner will be able to choose between at least 2 things.

The deadline (last day) is November 6th! I must have received your entry by then.

P. S. You should be an English learner and a reader of this blog or a @readable follower to enter. (Of course, you can start reading this blog or following @readable now!)

(My Twitter follower, @10Lizy, suggested the idea for the contest. Thank you!)

Wedding Anniversary

Yesterday was my seventh wedding anniversary. My husband and I got married in 2003 in San Francisco.

Wedding Day
Wedding Day

This year, we didn’t want to spend a lot of money on an expensive dinner or expensive presents. However, we had a nice time. We packed a picnic and went to a park near the edge of the San Francisco Bay. We went shopping the day before at Trader Joe’s for our picnic. We bought some good cheese, spicy salami, crackers, nectarines, chocolate, and Hansen’s sodas. (Hansen’s sodas are all-natural sodas–they’re really good.)

While we ate, we could see the water, birds, and small planes landing nearby. The scenery was really beautiful. After we ate, we took a walk.

Then we went to a game store called Game Kastle. They sell board games, role-playing games, card games, and so on. (They don’t sell video games.) The games they sell are mostly unusual and interesting ones. Of course, they also sell famous games, like the Pokemon card game. We bought one game, but we haven’t played it yet.

After that, we went to two bookstores that are right next to each other. One bookstore sells new books, and the other one sells used books. The secondhand book shop has a big selection of non-English books, language-learning books, ESL books, etc. I had a coupon, but I only found one book that I wanted! Oh, well. At the other bookstore, I found a book I thought my husband would like. It was on sale! I bought it while my husband wasn’t looking and gave it to him as an anniversary present.

We went to one other bookstore in a nearby town and found one more book to buy. The clerk at that shop was really friendly. The shop also sold these cute hand puppets

Finally, we went to a Japanese restaurant
called Hatcho for dinner. This restaurant is not very expensive and you can order a lot of things individually (ala carte). Their menu is very interesting. We tried several things we had never eaten before. The restaurant was quiet, and the food was really good.

I guess that wasn’t really a typical anniversary celebration. If people imagine an anniversary celebration, they usually imagine something like an expensive restaurant dinner, flowers, dancing, and a gift of jewelry. On the other hand, I think it is normal for people our age to create our own celebrations. We want events and gifts that are meaningful to us. My husband and I are geeky and enjoy food. So a day full of bookstores, games, and eating makes sense for us. It matches our personalities.

It was nice to spend time with my husband, just the two of us. However, for our tenth anniversary, I think I would like to have a party and invite our friends and family.

Here are the places we went yesterday, if you’d like to see them:

Palo Alto Baylands park
Game Kastle
BookBuyers (Photos of BookBuyers)
Books Inc.
Leigh’s Favorite Books

What kinds of celebrations do you enjoy? What do you like to do for your wedding anniversary, your birthday, etc.? Is it different from what your husband, wife, parents, or friends like to do?

New Laptop

MacBook image from Wikipedia
MacBook image from Wikipedia

I have a new laptop. I didn’t want a new laptop, but I have one.

On May 28, I came home at night after I went to a convention. My door was open a little bit, and the frame (the part around the door) was damaged. I realized that someone must have broken in to my townhouse. My friend and I looked inside, just a little. I saw that my laptop was gone. I wasn’t really surprised, because it’s a nice laptop. We called the police, of course. The police came and looked for fingerprints, but they didn’t find anything. The police officer said that the thief or thieves would probably not use the laptops–they would probably break them into parts and sell the parts. Since they didn’t take the power cords, I guess he was probably right.

This has never happened to me before, but the economy is pretty bad. I know people in several different countries who have experienced break-ins. And it could have been worse–nobody got hurt, and we have renters’ insurance.

Renter’s insurance is a kind of insurance for people who are renting their homes. You pay some money each year, but if you break or lose your things, or have something stolen, your insurance will pay to have it replaced. Since I had a MacBook Pro, which is kind of expensive, and we had a couple of other laptops, and a lot of books, etc., we got renter’s insurance about a year ago.

Anyway, it took some time to get our new laptops, but now I have a very nice new MacBook Pro. Our insurance paid for most of it. It has a new operating system and other new features that my old MacBook Pro didn’t have. Unfortunately, I’m missing a lot of files and photos, because I didn’t back up my data often enough. :( I’m very glad that I have a laptop again, though. I’m still setting it up (getting it ready) by downloading my favorite programs.

Have you ever had anything stolen from you? It’s not very common here (I know everyone thinks the US is really unsafe, but it’s usually pretty safe here.) It can happen anywhere, I think.

Continue reading New Laptop

Squirrel-Rescuing Adventure

I was going to write a short, simple post about myself today, but something more interesting happened.

I was at an English-teaching conference all weekend. As I was leaving on Saturday morning, I saw a dead squirrel outside, under a tree. How sad! Then, Saturday evening, I heard a strange noise. We looked outside and saw a small squirrel running around and making this unhappy, strange noise.

We realized that the dead squirrel must have been a mother squirrel, and the small squirrel must have been her baby. However, it wasn’t really small. It was more like a “teen squirrel” than a baby squirrel. We thought maybe it would be okay, even though it was an orphan now. We know you shouldn’t feed wild animals, but we decided to put out some water (because it’s been dry recently) and some pine nuts (because they didn’t have any salt or artificial stuff in them).

On Sunday morning, before I went to the conference, we saw two small squirrels. They were running around on our patio and still making the unhappy noise. I said “Uh-oh…I wonder if there are more?”

When I came home Sunday afternoon, there was a third squirrel, too! They were climbing around a little bit. My husband went out to look at them, but they didn’t seem to be very good at hiding. One squirrel was not very sure about what to do around humans. That’s not good, because it means it could be hurt by humans or cats. (And a cat came by and looked at them! Oh no!)

One little squirrel just before it fell
One little squirrel just before it fell

Their nest seems to be near our door. One tried to climb into the nest and it fell! It lay on the sidewalk, and we just stood there. We didn’t know what to do. Finally, it blinked and started to move slowly. Then it got up. We were so relieved that it was alive. However, we were also worried. If they were not strong enough to climb into their nest, maybe they weren’t old enough to live on their own. Also, even though the squirrel who fell was moving, it might still be hurt inside.

I decided to use Google and search for a wildlife rescue group. I found the Ohlone Humane Society Wildlife Rescue. Since it was Sunday, I didn’t think they would be open. I was so surprised when their phone message said “We are open every day…” I left a message and they called back in 15 minutes! A nice woman said “Put on some gloves and try to catch the squirrels. If you can catch the squirrels, then they are too young to live by themselves. If they are old enough, they’ll be able to run away easily.” Oh…okay!

So my husband put on some dishwashing gloves (really!) and tried to catch them. The two squirrels who were together in the patio ran away. The other squirrel (the who had fallen down earlier) just “hid” in the middle of the sidewalk. (Not so smart.) It was shivering and looked so scared! My husband put a sheet over it and put it in a box. We drove it to the rescue center. I said, “Do not let it out of the box in the car!” He said, “I know! We could die.” Haha … I was worried that the squirrel would escape from the box while I was driving.

The rescue center was kind of far away. When we got there, we knocked on the door. The woman we had talked to before opened the door, and we brought in the squirrel. She told us that they would take care of it that night. She said that on Monday morning, a vet tech (a kind of animal doctor) would see it. After it’s healthy and grown up, they’ll take it somewhere it can live and let it go. We were so happy that they were there to help us. I know it’s just a squirrel, and there are a lot of squirrels in the world. But usually, when we see an animal who needs help, we think “I can’t help…” This time, we were able to.

(If you want to comment right on the video, like at Nico Nico Douga, you can go to this link. Feel free to comment! :))

They’re still running around my patio…They’re cute, but I hope they don’t live there forever!


“Rescue” (v./n.): When someone or something is in trouble and needs help, that help can be called a “rescue.” It’s usually used for very serious help, like saving someone’s life. Sometimes we use it for other things, mostly as a joke. Ex. “Thanks for rescuing me from that guy who wouldn’t stop talking to me!” (This use is mostly a joke.) “This morning, two firefighters rescued a woman from a car that fell into a river.” A wildlife rescue organization is a charity/volunteer group that helps hurt, lost, or orphaned wild animals.

“Was going” (v. phrase): In spoken English, this phrase usually means that I had some plans to do something, but my plans changed. I didn’t really mean to change my plans. It just happened. Ex. “I was going to study for the test yesterday, but my friend called me from Korea and we talked for three hours.” “We were going to make spaghetti for dinner last night to save money, but then Shuji said he’d heard about a really good new ramen place, so…” The pattern is often “I was going to [do A], but [B happened], (so/and I didn’t/couldn’t do A after all).” We don’t always say the “so I didn’t…” part. It’s just understood by the listener.

“Realize” (v.): To suddenly begin to understand something. It’s hard to explain the difference between “understand” and “realize,” but “understand” would sound strange here.

“Orphan” (n./v.): An orphan is a child whose parents have died. Lots of books and manga are about orphans. One famous orphan from Japanese manga is Candy. We can also use it as a verb: ex. “The squirrels were orphaned.”

“Nest” (n./v.): We usually use this word to talk about the bowl-shaped thing made of sticks and leaves that birds live in. However, squirrels make something kind of like that, except bigger, so it’s also called a nest in English.

“Relieved” (adj.): To feel good or relaxed because you don’t have to worry about something anymore.

“On their own (adv.): “On your own” means independently. This could mean by yourself, without someone else paying your bills, or without being taken care of by a parent or caretaker. The meaning depends on the context. Ex. “It’s not safe for you to live on your own while you have this medical condition.” “I started living on my own as soon as I graduated from high school.” “The kittens can’t find food on their own.”

“Shiver” (v./n.): To shake from cold or fear. Usually used as a verb: ex. “Hurry up and turn on the heat! I’m shivering!” Sometimes used as a noun, especially in the phrase “the shivers.” Ex. “That movie didn’t make me scream, but it did give me the shivers.”

“Escape”(v./n.): To get away from a dangerous or bad situation; to get away from a person who is trying to stop you; to get out of somewhere you have been caught; to avoid something bad that was going to happen. The basic meaning is “to get away” or “to get out.” Ex. “Is ‘Prison Break’ about people trying to escape from prison?” “I was trying to wash my cat, but she escaped every time I caught her.” “Some people think you can’t escape your fate, but I think I control my own fate.” “My boss tried to send me on that work trip, but I was able to escape by telling him my son is sick.”

If you have any questions or comments, please leave a comment!