Arvada Colorado’s Cherry Trees, Sakura Blossoms, a Gift From Japan

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In 1912 Mayor Yukio Ozaki of Tokyo made a gift of friendship, 3,000 cherry trees to the city of Washington, DC.

Commemorating that 1912 gift the Consul General of Japan made a gift of three cherry trees to Simpson United Methodist Church at the 100 year anniversary and celebration.  These trees are thriving and they are now welcoming spring and blooming this week!

Members of this diversified church include first, second, third, fourth and fifth generation Japanese-Americans.  We are fortunate that we will be able to practice hanami (flower viewing).  Perhaps we should arrange a Sakura Hanami Festival and enjoy viewing our very own blossoms with a traditional picnic.

The Denver Cherry Blossom Festival this year is Saturday June 27, 2015 – Sunday June 28, 2015.  The Sakura will be done blooming but Denver will enjoy a festival of entertainment, vendors and great food.

 

My Earliest Memory

 

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Your earliest memory will be a childhood memory that touched your soul, shaped your future or perhaps was the most important event in your life.

In 1959 one of the heaviest September snow storms of record began as rain and changed quickly to heavy wet snow.  The storm caused massive damage to trees and shrubbery which were still in full leaf.  The storm dumped 10.6 inches of snow at Stapleton Airport in Denver, the third heaviest September snow amount to date.  Falling trees and limbs disrupted traffic…broke power and communication lines…and damaged buildings and cars.  When it was all over on October 1st, after three intense days, well over 10 inches of snow had fallen.

It was at this time my brother Sam decided to enter the world.

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Mommy was really fat and the snow made her fatness a problem.   She had to go to the hospital right after the big snow storm when the roads were still bad.

She was at the hospital for what seemed like a long time to a little girl not even three.  But whatever the hospital was Daddy said she would be coming home from there soon with a surprise.

The day we went to the hospital to get Mommy (and the surprise) was a sunny day.  Daddy parked the car in front of the hospital which was a big  building.  He pointed out this guy who wore a uniform and told me that the guy would be watching over me and not to be scared   It would take him a little while to get Mommy and the surprise.

I thought the guy kind of looked like a policeman.  I already knew about policemen and knew I could trust them.   The guy had a badge too!

I waited a long time and suddenly I wanted to cry but the guy came over and smiled at me and I was brave again.

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Out of the hospital building came Mommy and Daddy.  They had a big blanket.  Not a great surprise….  Mommy got in the car and said I should sit in the middle and she and I would share the surprise on our laps.  The surprise blanket was pretty heavy and Mommy showed me something wrapped up inside.  I had a baby brother!

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Mommy and Daddy let me hold him all the way home with just a little help from Mommy.

One of the happiest days of my life.

My earliest memory.

My soul was touched that day.  I never feel as lonely as before my brother came in that blanket, after brother is much better!

Maybe this was the most important event in my life.

 

Today’s Muse Bonfils Blood Center

Muse: A source of inspiration and a guiding spirit.

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Today’s muse is the Bonfils Blood Center.

When I pulled up to the building and saw all the cars parked in the blood donor spots it made me smile and lifted my spirits.   Donating blood makes you feel pretty good anyway but when you’re surrounded by lots of other people doing the same thing it’s extra special.  I also got this cool cap to wear in the next Colorado snow storm, just for donating blood!

My platelet count has been down and I haven’t donated platelets for a couple of years.  Today I was told my platelet count was in an excellent range and I can once again donote both platelets and whole blood.

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I’m eligible to donate platelets next weekend and whole blood again in eight weeks.

Donating whole blood is pretty quick and takes about half an hour start to finish. However donating platelets is a whole nother deal, in takes about two hours.  Bonfils has Internet or tv or a stack of recent movies.  I usually watch a movie as I can always find one I missed in their stack!

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My blood is A+ so donating platelets is preferred.   However, I am also missing an antigen in my blood which makes it rare and desireable for transfusions to people missing the same antigen.  I am thrilled to be able to do both whole blood and platelet donations again.

Bonfils Blood Center:  My hero and today’s muse.

 

Make My Day, Judy and Judy

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For some reason I have become obsessed with Owls, probably because they are so wise and just thinking about an owl has helped me get through some tough times recently. Reminding me to take a deep breath and just chill.

This owl was a gift from my friend Judy to cheer me up and let me know she was thinking about me.  Makes me smile every time I see it!

I am actually blessed to have two Judy’s as friends.

They are both amazing and both provide me with inspiration.  They are similar in that through tough times they both stay positive. Maybe it’s the name “Judy”?

We are fellow tadpoles (we swim together).  They are both awesomely supportive and, along with many other women in my life, are a couple of ladies who fill the place of the sister I have lost.

I hadn’t been able to get into the Christmas spirit this year.  I think the other Judy must have noticed my slightly Scroogey demeanor or my Grinchy attitude.

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She surprised me with this light up Christmas snowman. It took the place of the Christmas tree I didn’t bother to put up. I plug it in every night to help me not forget to take care my spirit.

If a Judy should enter your life embrace her she’ll be a wonderful friend.

 

 

Make My Day T’s Gifts!

imageMy friend T, brought my dogs five boxes of treats this week. How sweet and thoughtful my dogs said Woof Woof!

We got to talking about another friend of mine B, who T does not know.  B is having financial problems.  She still has a long road ahead of her.  B is devoted to her family and a big part of her family are her two dogs.

The next time I saw T she had five boxes of treats for B’s dogs along with a big bag of dog food which  T asked me to deliver to B.  I called B and told her I had a surprise for her, someone had given me a gift of food and treats for her dogs. As I was hanging up the phone I could hear her screaming excitedly “Oh my gosh! Oh my gosh! Oh my gosh!”  I thought: “??????”

When I dropped off the dog food and treats to B she told me they had just run out of dog food.  This gift came at the most perfect time hence the screaming.  The most interesting thing was T had picked out the exact brand B’s dogs were used to eating.

B was ecstatic with this gift and asked me if she had ever met T.  When she realized a perfect stranger had done this for her, her happiness was even greater, it was so wonderful!

Later that day, relaying B’s happiness to T, a tear came to T’s eye.  She was not having the best day.  This lifted her spirits knowing she had lifted somebody else’s spirits and that somehow she had provided a perfect gift at the perfect time.

Sounds like a small miracle to me.  My spirits were lifted and I have been smiling ever since, hope this puts a smile on your face!

 

Today’s Muse 5

Muse:  A source of inspiration and a guiding spirit.

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The weather and temperature here in Denver this last week has been more like the weather we experience the two weeks of the National Western Stock Show and Rodeo in January!  Snowy and frigid.

This morning I woke up to a sunny blue sky and the possibility of 50 degree weather.  My crankiness from yesterday replaced by lifted spirits.  I actually smiled to myself!

The sunny morning.  My hero and today’s Muse.

 

 

 

Updated Grace Motoyoshi’s easy fried rice

Updated below in italics….

Grace Motoyoshi’s is my brother-in-law’s mom.

When my sister Kris started dating Den I was a teenager. Kris was nine years older than me and everything about her was fascinating.  I was intrigued. I wanted to know everything about Den.  I would ride my bike to visit Den’s parents to find out more about him and his family.  I just recently found out that Den never knew about these visits.

I think Den’s parents found these visits somewhat alarming at first but then they became amused and resigned and just dealt with me – that teenage sister of their son’s latest girlfriend.

We didn’t have much in common me being at that  annoying age, a teenager who knew it all, I was probably not a lot of fun for them.  I bless them that they tolerated me and didn’t complain to Kris and Den about my visits.

They were thoughtful and knew a teenager would be hungry.  Grace would make me something real quick to eat.  Fried rice not like anything I had ever tasted because Grace had a secret ingredient she used.  Dashi dried soup stock!

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Here is her recipe with a very few additions I have made along the years.

You will need cold day old rice (cold rice isn’t  so sticky).

Heat some oil in a pan.  Here you can add some butter and/or some toasted sesame seed oil for extra umami (savory taste).  You can also and some onion or some minced or crushed garlic here and if you do cook for a bit. Then add your cold rice.  Stir occasionally until heated.  Sprinkle with dashi powder to taste.  Here you can also add soy sauce but be careful as dashi powder will also be salty and you will want to taste frequently.  Last add one egg per portion, this is quick fried rice so just crack the egg(s) over the pan in stir in.

The update which my brother-in-law Den reminded me about is fresh grated ginger.  As a teenager this was a step I was too lazy to undertake.  Ha!  This is the secret ingredient and explains why Grace’s fried rice always tasted better than mine!  Thank you Den!

Here is Grace Moyoyoshi’s quick fried rice with ebi (shrimp) tempura fishcake and kasuzuke cucumbers.

Itadakimasu!

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