Friday, December 12, 2008

Saturday December 13, 12:34 p.m.

Well, got through the guys. Mr. TOEIC and I basically noshed on favourite foods. We exchanged ramen and burger tales. I gave him my point card for the amazing Foo Foo. TOEIC remarked that the burgers at MosBurger, arguably producers of the best burgers of all the fast food chains in Tokyo, have shrunk due to the oil shock of '08. The Intellectual and I spoke on more esoteric fare such as the increasing numbers of elderly and how to take care of them.

I was talking with Marcie about this year's crop of nengajo or New Year's Cards. I wasn't quite sure when I should send them Every year at this time, there is an official date set when it's OK to send the cards out so that they get to people's homes on January 1. Marcie reassured me that probably Monday will be OK. If it had been much later, I would've had to give them to Speedy or someone to send out and I would much rather face 001 in a chug-a-lug contest than do that since my calligraphy is just horrible. Any resemblance between my kanji and that of a Grade 1 student is purely coincidental. And I just can't seem to keep the letters in a straight line. The recipients of my nengajo must wonder if my printing has a bad case of scoliosis. Well, at least they should get a nice laugh out of it.

Just munched down too much lunch again. I had to share my dessert with Marcie. Next up are three ladies.
Saturday December 13, 9:21 a.m.

Coming across some entertainment stuff of the sad, surprising and not-so-surprising variety. As for the sad part, I just read that actor Van Johnson passed away today. Even as a child, I remembered his name for some reason...I think he popped up a lot in guest roles on TV shows and commercials. But of course, he was the wishy-washy Lt. Maryk on "The Caine Mutiny". Never won an Oscar or got nominated for one.

Of the surprising variety, I also read that Hugh "Wolverine" Jackman is gonna host the next Oscar Awards. I can just imagine Jon Stewart and David Letterman having a field day with this one.

And then, there is the news that the revamped "The Day The Earth Stood Still" has been getting bad reviews. No, not all that surprising, although the casting of Keanu Reeves as Klaatu was pitch-perfect.
Saturday December 13, 8:45 a.m.

Once again typing early at Speedy's. Got another 5 here: Mr. TOEIC, The Intellectual, The Businesswoman, The Publicity Agent and The Bostonian. Plus, I gotta get stuff prepared for the bossman's go with Swank. It's gonna be another busy. Luckily, I was able to get an hour of lunch into the schedule between The Intellectual and The Businesswoman.

Did get to see those old Number Painter sketches with young Paul Benedict and Stockard Channing. (for your information, try the numbers 4 and 5) Yup, pretty fetching...Stockard, I mean. I also came across her audition tape on Youtube for Christopher Reeve's "Superman".

Had to decline MB's offer of catching "Tropic Thunder" tomorrow. It was a bit of a tossup since I had a couple of hours between the brunch and the movie outing, but I'm gonna be doing a lot of crosstown commuting to get the remaining stuff for home so I just said it'll be dinner. And I did want to see how Akihabara was looking these days. I read something to the effect that the Sunday hokoten was back after a few months of reflection following the killing spree there in June. Tourism apparently plummeted there since the authorities pulled the weekly event.

In another possible sign that PM Aso's is going through the Reader's Digest version of George Bush's "success" in office, his own coalition ignored a direct order concerning his intention of increasing the consumption tax rate within 3 years. And his approval rating is about the same as Bush's...20-25%. I may have to pick up that Aso manju the time I get back from vacation, it'll be replaced by the latest confection for the next flunky to become Prime Minister.

Read an article in today's "Japan Times" about the word "o-mae" which is one of the ways to express "you" in Japanese. The instruction manual on this word states that this "you" is supposed to be used between sempai and kohai or folks who have a very close relationship with each other...spouses, family and the like. However, it's become rather clear and very belatedly that the targets of o-mae greatly resent being addressed like that. I can vouch for that. Even if I know the person very well, I would feel stung if I got called that way. Perhaps it's because as a child, my parents used the term when they weren't too thrilled about something I did or didn't do. And so, o-mae is a word that I wouldn't mind seeing expunged from the Japanese lexicon. Plenty of nicer ways to use the 2nd-person singular. Of course, the crusty older generation who can read English would probably be chewing this article and spitting it out like chewing tobacco, and railing very loudly about the further oversensitization of the current generation.
Friday December 12, 10:00 p.m.

Finished my last lesson at the juku for the year. The Restauranteur was alternately bashful and cheerful...good combination. We both hope for the boss' safe return. I remarked that it was pretty quiet up here.

Had Misia playing on the stereo before The Restauranteur came over. It'd been a while since I played her. I may have to take one more listen before I go. Can't believe it's been a decade since she hit the airwaves. But then again, the same can be said about Hikaru Utada. Frankly, both have seen better days professionally.

Time to go...still, miles to go before I sleep.
Friday December 12, 9:04 p.m.

Well, will wonders never cease. Even at my advanced age, I can still pick up an eye-opening piece of trivia. Yes, it's been a very quiet night...Mild Jr. never showed up so I've been pretty much alone with Toonces (who did get back in) for the past 3 hours. Was able to get some of my nengajo (New Year's cards) written up in bad kanji and got the lesson ready for The Restauranteur. A neighbour came in about an hour ago to take care of some household chores for my hospitalized boss.

As for the trivia, I was tooting about Wikipedia just to keep myself occupied when I came across the fact that it was a young Stockard Channing (aka Rizzo of the movie version of "Grease" and First Lady Abby Bartlett on "The West Wing", both characters who could hardly be called wallflowers) who played the cute and mute doe-eyed woman on those Number Painter skits on "Sesame Street" all those years ago. And the Number Painter himself was played by Paul Benedict, who would find further TV fame as the somewhat bizarre Mr. Bentley, neighbour to The Jeffersons. And I also found out that the man had just passed away less than 2 weeks ago...and that he wasn't even British but a native New Mexican. I remember those old Number Painter sketches (whoops!) with the ragtime piano theme and ol' NP painting single digits on stuff such as sandwich bread and bald heads. I went straight to YouTube but with the condition that the juku computer is in, Internet Explorer just kept giving up the ghost whenever I tried to start the video. Well, guess I'll be taking a quick look when I get in to Speedy's tomorrow morning.

I'm not sure if it's because my ol' Canadian persona of being a culinary vacuum cleaner is coming back before I head home, but recently I've been getting some major cases of the late-night munchies...which I should definitely not be doing at my age. However, I've just been feeling that dinner hasn't been all that soul-satisfying. Then again, I haven't had any lunch for the past couple of days so that might be causing these stomach grumbles. Tonight, I went over to KFC...the set was OK (Mariya Takeuchi's annual Xmas theme song for the franchise was playing in the background) but again I'm feeling that I could pick up a little something on the way home tonight. Last night, I ended up getting an instant shio yakisoba pack to munch on...and this was just an hour before I hit bed. I had a slight case of the bloat when I got up at the obscene hour of 5 this morning but not as bad as I used to remember them. Not sure what I'll get tonight...maybe it'll be another instant noodle pack or just some kaki-P (spicy rice crackers and peanuts). I also have to remind myself that I need to pick up the new scheduler for 2009 since students have already been starting to fill up my January slate.

The Matron has sent over another package to me. I checked the undelivered notice and it said that it doesn't seem to be food...her usual parcel. That would be good since I can't really eat her usual stuff within the time I have left before departure. I just hope that it isn't a request for me to bring something back to the parentals.
Friday December 12, 6:39 p.m.

Got through the latest double with Swank. She did well with the Reading stuff; glad that was what she wanted to do...I was pretty thin on the other stuff. Tried some of my homemade exercises on Ray and Marcie; they made it up to Eiken 2. According to Speedy, the gap from Eiken 2 to Eiken 1 is about as wide as the Grand Canyon. I think I rather depressed Ray after she couldn't hack too many of the questions. In any case, that'll be the last time I'll see her for this year since she doesn't come on Mondays and that'll be my last day.

I was able to get back home with my pressed and cleaned sweaters plus a box of cheap sneakers that I'd bought at the neighbourhood store for the measly price of 1,900 yen. Yep, they could melt in the heavily salted streets of Toronto, but I only need them for the Holidays. And I managed to get a bit of dinner in before getting over here. Once more, the place is empty. Even Toonces is out there somewhere. I am assuming that Mild Jr. will be showing up in about 15 minutes since I haven't received any cancellation call. Then, it'll be another 90 minutes of downtime before The Restauranteur shows up.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Friday December 12, 1:11 p.m.

Just waiting for Swank to show up. I've got as much done as I could. Hope it all holds together. Had The Smile and that model student from Nov. 21 who got converted into an official student. She reminds me of a slightly older and shyer version of Skippy. Not sure what I'll tag her as...perhaps Miss Cute. In any case, she did quite well although she looked rather tired by the end.

I was also able to get material done up for The Restauranteur tonight for what will be the final lesson at the juku this year. The Ace will be gone for a bonenkai tonight. I'm assuming that Mild Jr. will be showing up earlier in the evening. However, between Swank and the juku classes, I gotta pick up my cleaning and buy some cheap sneakers for the trip home. I certainly can't wear my loafers in the snow and salt of Toronto.
Friday December 12, 7:38 a.m.

Ugh....I really gotta do something about these lousy early wake-up lessons. I mean I like the Smile and all, but...

Tried to smash in as much information as possible for Swank's lesson today but still gotta putter around a bit for her, plus I got that new student in between her and The Smile. This may not be a good day.

The Lens got back to say that most likely Saturday night will be a wash. I'm not too put out since I'm probably gonna be too busy getting stuff done myself.

Well, gotta get ready....just hope I don't end up stressing myself out of a trip.
Thursday December 11, 7:32 p.m.

Well, it's been another long day. Strangely coincidental as well...on Tuesday, I ended up being the guy to open up and close down the juku with the boss being in hospital. And today, I opened up the school here at Speedy's and will most likely be the one to close up here as well unless Speedy gets back in within the next 10-15 minutes. Ray couldn't wait up for me to finish with The Carolinan (I always end up spending extra minutes with students unless there's a lesson immediately following...can't help it, I'm intellectually curious), so she left me. Mind you, the bossman will return sometime tonight.

Didn't have time even to grab a quick lunch from the conbini since I had to take care of the stuff for Swank tomorrow. In fact, the lady did come in to pick up the text. Had to do a bit of the verbal softshoe since she was asking so many questions about Eiken/TOEFL with me. I'm kinda glad that it'll be my last one with her before I take off but Speedy still expects me to make enough material to last him for the next couple of lessons. I can try... However, I found an ace in the hole by using some of the taped stuff from The Smile's textbook. I don't really want to spend a whole lot of time tonight making up questions since I've got an especially early departure tomorrow morning. Plus, I gotta make up material for The Restauranteur's half-hour tomorrow night. Don't even know if Mild Jr. is swinging by.

As for the other lessons today, Grandma FON took up the slack that Grandma Dynamite left in her wake. And Miss Sedona spent a good chunk of the lesson doing the after-action report of the bonenkai last Saturday. Miss Pronunciation was doing pretty well...things seem to be settling in nicely for her.

Well, just about to take off. I'm fairly famished but it looks like I may end up grabbing something from McDs due to time constraints. Shouldn't but don't really have a choice.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Thursday December 11, 11:26 a.m.

Man, that was a drag and a half. It wasn't a great day for Grandma Dynamite. She was pretty much Grandma Wet Fuse today. She has those days from time to time; Speedy sometimes warns me that she's not up to speed. This was one of those days. I even had to roll out the family photos to keep her attention. Still, we finished about 10 minutes early since it was no use beating the dead horse that was this lesson.

At least, I have a bit more to hold onto with Grandma FON who should be here any minute.
Thursday December 11, 9:51 a.m.

Another one in the series of late nights and early mornings. I was able to get Mr. TOEIC to shave his class from a double to a single on Saturday morning, but I'll still need to leave the apartment at around 7:15...ugh! And I've got The Smile tomorrow morning for her usual early lesson at 8:15, but at least I'll finish with The Carolinan tonight at 7, so there's a good chance that I'll get some reasonable dose of shuteye tonight despite the early call.

On the walk from McDs to the school, I was suddenly greeted by a guy. At first, I thought I was being accosted by a Mormon asking whether I could attend a prayer meeting, but it turned out to be The Pessimist. Remember him? The one who finally begged off the lessons citing major depression several months ago. Well, he had a rather large smile on his face when he greeted me. It was just an exchange of greetings before we set off on our respective work-related paths. I just asked him if he was OK...and he just nodded. Not sure what to read but I just hope he's gotten over his funk.

Last night, I had my triumvirate of Wednesday women. 001 was just coming off of a cold; she actually had to miss her workplace's bonenkai, which irked her no end. Anytime she misses out on consuming mass quantities doesn't sit well with her. As for The Diver, my homemade review went pretty well; I hope the take-home test will be similarly as successful. In any case, I won't know until I get back from Canada next month. And The Fashion Designer was in fine fettle as usual.

I did my usual warm-up act with The Patent Attorney before Speedy took over this morning. We were talking about the lagging economy and the fact that SONY threw 16,000 people out of work yesterday. I'd remarked that while in past economic downturns Tokyo seemed to put itself out of harm's way while the rest of the country hit the doldrums, it now looked like even the capital may also experience the tough times.

Still kinda working the kinks out with the preparations for Swank's next lesson for her Eiken 1 test. I've been looking at some interviews on and some traffic reports from the States to help out in the Listening section. There are some potential gems in there but I'll have to do some on-the-fly monitoring.
Wednesday December 10, 5:04 p.m.

It's been a quiet couple of hours here with just the staff and myself in the office. Speedy has been out teaching The Singer. I think she's supposed to be heading out Stateside for those several weeks of English conversation training. I went off to see The New Yorker out in Ichigaya. I was going to have lunch at that somewhat pricey Japanese deli right by the station, but even at 1:30, the place was chock full of people, so I ended up going to the King Of Curry (that's the actual translation) and had a mess of Keema Curry. Filled me up just nicely although I have that faint whiff which may get some questions from my nighttime students.

The New Yorker was a bit more on the ball with the lesson today. She also showed me some of her pics from Okinawa. She seems to have the artist's hands and eyes. There was a picture of a clay statue of an Okinawan lion (shiiza) that she'd actually made. Couldn't distinguish it from a professional's creation.

The mail from Canada keeps coming in about my return to The Great White North. The Engineer has gotten married with that young lady she'd introduced me to a couple of years back in that Chinese restaurant which provided some unintended entertainment in the form of a gang fight between two punks. The Engineer and his wife promised me that they'll be taking me to a far more sedate place which has Surf n' Turf...I wonder if they mean The Keg? So far, that's the first officially scheduled night out. The Entrepreneur and his wife have invited me over to their place on New Year's Day for a potluck, but Jan. 1 is strictly a stay-at-home with the family so I'll decline politely.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Wednesday December 10, 10:41 a.m.

We'll be "broiling" at 18 C today. Go figure on this weather. Meanwhile, Toronto has been freeze-dried then snowed upon. Should be quite a transition. The social calendar continues to fill up back home. I may once again need a vacation to recover from my vacation.

There's been a bit of a respite injected into my so-called Mother of All Hump Days tomorrow. Mr. Pronunciation has canned his lesson smack dab in the middle of the log jam and put it off until the New Year...thanks for the Xmas gift. Of course, The Trekkie had a couple of errors in there. Still gonna be busy.

After The Nurse today, I'm heading out to teach The New Yorker over in our old haunt of Ichigaya. Just don't wanna use this school as a crutch although Speedy himself will deny that.

Looks like corruption in Illinois is as deep as Chicago pizza. The governor there has been arrested for some rather sleazy politics. I think most of the citizenry is just yawning.
Tuesday December 9, 9:26 p.m.

I've finished my final Tuesday of the year at the juku. Not quite the same way without the boss nattering away with some student or in the far rarer case of chewing him/her out. Toonces is back inside after drying himself out on some of the futon inside the closet. I just hope that water was the only thing he has left there. He's very dry now.

The Milds were very kind in taking care of my place during my absence. I gave them my package of Yoku Moku Cigares as an advance thank-you gift. Of course, there was the usual token give-and-take about it, but they accepted it. Mr. Mild actually pinpointed my apartment, thanks to Google Earth and was even able to get a photograph of the side of my building...which is a bit disturbing to find out.

Well, I'm ready to head home although it's gonna be through a mess of rain. Looks like the weather folk have got a lot to answer for again, since this stuff was supposed to be restricted to the late afternoon hours. I'm gonna have to put The Beehive's gifts deep into my bag.

It'll be a fairly usual Wednesday tomorrow. I've got The Nurse to start things off...thankfully, she's asked for a 11 a.m. slot which means that I don't have to wake up with the rooster. Then, I'm heading out to see The New Yorker in Ichigaya (I just don't want to use Speedy as the default place all the time) and then I'm coming back for the usual nighttime trio of 001, The Diver and then The Fashion Designer. I'm sure the latter two will want to talk about the bonenkai from last Saturday.
Tuesday December 9, 7:52 p.m.

Got finished with Suzanne and The Artist just now. Looks like Suzanne is getting that wanderlust; most likely, she'll be heading outside Japan sometime in the next year or so. Can't imagine her sticking around the juku for that much longer. She's thinking about spreading her wings and I'm all for that. Referred her to "What Color is Your Parachute?" to help her gauge her capabilities.
Tuesday December 9, 5:22 p.m.

Currently at the juku with Anita Baker's Xmas CD playing on the old stereo. A bit jazzy, a bit R&B, all Anita. I think she is indeed the reincarnation of Sarah Vaughan. The New Orlean jazz treatment of "Frosty The Snowman" will probably be a tune that will have to grow on me, but so far, the album is going pretty well otherwise. Toonces The Cat has been in and out. He'll probably come back when he's thoroughly drenched. Don't know where the towels are for him.

Made the call to Fujimamas to make the reservation only to have the waiter refresh my memory that they don't take reservations for under 6 people. I just sent word out to Tully about the change in venue, so hopefully he and The Coffeemaker will be OK with meeting at Kiddyland.

The rains did come while I was in the I-cafe, and continued on while I made my way over to the juku. Unfortunately, my thank-you gift for The Milds got mildly wet but not too much damage.

I've got the sniffles right now and I've developed a bit of a rash on my hand, both probably due to some allergic reaction from Toonces (happens now and then), so gonna be taking the meds. At least, I'm better than Mild Jr., who just blanches at the sight of a cat due to his somewhat stronger allergic reaction.

I couldn't a candy cane for Suzanne but settled for some cute pieces of Xmas cake from the local supermarket. Don't think I'll be getting any dinner tonight since I engorged on some rather cholesterol-rich fare today.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Tuesday December 9, 1:07 p.m.

Supposed to be raining right now, but the sun's still out. Had my final lesson with The Beehive this morning. When I got into the Tsudanuma Becker's, my ears were assaulted by the cackling of several soccer moms taking up a whole side of the second floor. I was worried that our little own kaffeeklatsch was finally going to be usurped after over a year, but not too long after Mrs. Travel arrived, the group quickly parted like The Red Sea. Mrs Jade and Mrs. Alp came in and I took in their gifts for Mrs. Tulip back in Canada, throwing a little something for Mom. The gifts won't take too much room in my carry-on, I hope. I splurged a bit this time at the Becker's...opting for a gravy-laden poutine with my tea. I guess it wasn't a good idea that I decided to go for The Double Quarter Pounder set at McD's for lunch. My arteries are probably gonna end up looking like downtown Tokyo at 6.

Found out that my destination for that thank-you brunch for Tully and The Coffeemaker on Sunday, Beacon's, is gonna be kashikiri...i.e. the entire restaurant has been rented out...probably by a pesky bunch of wedding folk. Ah,'s gonna be Fujimamas then. At least, it'll be closer to the JR for Tully to get to his part-time job in Shinjuku quickly and it'll be a bit cheaper for me since I'm picking up the tab. Still sting a bit from that rather rude waitress from a few years back on Xmas Eve but I'll give it another try. Plus, The Lady had told me one class that some sort of marketplace has opened up in the area, which strikes me a bit strange since this is fancy-schmancy Omotesando we're talking about with all of its Jimmy Choos and Hermes and other boutiques. Anyways, I'll make the call tonight.

Got a message from Speedy about Mr. TOEIC asking for one of his doubles on Saturday morning. Well, I've got The Intellectual right at 11 and since I've got a stack of classes right after him, I'm assuming that TOEIC will be asking for bright and early in the morning. Well, I'll give him a single but no more than that...bad enough I'm coming in from crosstown twice this week for early classes but not on a weekend.

Should be a quiet night at the juku since the boss is now in hospital. It'll just be Suzanne, The Artist and The Milds. I've brought some Xmas CDs for a bit of atmosphere and hopefully, I can get some sort of Xmas candy for everyone.
Monday December 8, 9:02 p.m.

In the midst of all that coffee talk over the best restaurants in Tokyo, The Lady did give a pretty funny story about the father of a friend of hers. The father, an elderly fellow in his 70s, accidentally bumped into a few fellows somewhere. The fellows happened to be key members of the Waseda University rugby team, and apparently they took extreme umbrage at the old guy invading their personal space and decided to make an example of him. My immediate thought was that any person in their 20s who would even think of beating up on an old man for a slight bump should be in extreme need of anger management, but I digress. In any case, just when the three were going to show the old man a very up-close-and-personal look at their physical skills, the old man showed them some of his own...he happened to be a 6-dan karate expert a couple of decades back, and much to the rugby players' regret, he still was. Several bruised ribs, broken teeth, and a round of applause from the adoring crowd later, both parties were at the local police box where a university official pleaded with the head officer to release the players. Under the circumstances, the police let both the embarrassed players and the Yoda go. I believe the Waseda team did win their match the next day, although without the assistance of the three idiots who dared take on a Jedi warrior. Showed them some manners, he did.

Meanwhile, MB signed in to see if I were available to watch "Tropic Thunder" on Sunday. I had to give one of my rare apologies and decline since I have to wrap up some shopping. But I did say that I was available for the after-action dinner. Looks like I may not be able to see Skippy before this year is up since she said she could make it for the movie but then has to head out to a concert afterwards.

Looks like my social calendar is taking shape in Canada. I've got my old university buddies talking to me about dinner, the Anime King and his otaku for another round for Chinese dinner or dim sum, and people like The Entrepreneur and The Egg asking me as well. My sister-in-law has officially asked me about the annual service on Xmas Day.
Monday December 8, 5:05 p.m.

Feeling a bit off-guard right now. I thought I was gonna be swamped with stuff to do with attempting another translation for Cozy, figuring out Swank's next lesson plan and then the fact that The Lens is coming to town. Well, Cozy has cancelled the assignment though he expressed his worries about the juku boss' upcoming operation on her cancer, my plans for Swank may involve stuff that I can't really do about until the day of, and I got The Lens' arrival time all wrong. He's in town now, but no chance of me getting to see him for lunch since all of the students here want a piece of me before I head off for Canada. I threw him a line for Saturday night for dinner, but if he were available he would have told me that fact already. So, I'm actually quite a bit freer right now.

My week is gonna be rather busy, though. Thursday will be another in the series of Mother of All Hump Days. I'm looking at 6 hours' worth then, and I'm only lucky that The Smile decided to move her lesson to Friday morning that I may not end up with an aneurysm on Thursday night.

Today may be the only really slow day this week. I just had The Class Act and SIL. The Full-Timer is still on vacation in France, so it's a few hours before Medicine Man comes in. The Lady gave me a bottle of Italy's best extra virgin olive oil to give to my parents, but frankly speaking, I don't think Mom is that much of an Italian cuisine freak and since the bottle isn't exactly light, I may decide to just use it for my own purposes. Nope, not exactly kosher but the flight home is already aggravating enough. The Matron was all decked out in her kimono for reasons that I'm still not sure about. Basically, the 2nd-last lesson of the year for them was them going all bonkers for various restaurants. It turned out that they'll try and get some sort of lunch thing with me included going at Quintessence, that French restaurant in tony Shiroganedai, for sometime in February (this place is one of those places which needs those 3-month-in-advance reservation calls).

Beforehand, I did drop by Tower's and picked up this year's Xmas album in the form of Anita Baker's CD. Might as well.

SIL's lesson was partially stand-up act with my dislike of flying being the topic du jour. Of course, we once again went down memory lane with our favourite American TV show of the 60s. Did mention the fact that CBS, although ironically called The Tiffany Network back then, was far more famous as The Farm Network with its string of countryside comedies such as "The Beverly Hillbillies", "The Andy Griffith Show" and "Petticoat Junction".

Back at Speedy's. The bonenkai on Saturday worked out well. It was at Nakamura, that celeb-owned izakaya. The course was worth 5,500 yen (but as a bonus, Speedy told me to hold onto my money) and included the 2-hour all-you-can-drink option and a chicken hot pot. On the staff side, the bossman and I were there along with Ray and AK. A lot of my students came out as well including The Diver, The Intellectual and Miss Sedona. I was initially worried about The Diver since she's such a Nervous Nellie. When I saw her take the farthest spot at the end of the table, away from the bunch in the middle, a Social Yellow Alert sounded. So I quickly made my way out to the end and engaged her in conversation. Luckily, The Intellectual sat by me and then my semi-regular student, The Germanic Nurse, sat by The Diver. The Intellectual is also a diver and since The Diver and The Germanic Nurse share careers, the conversational cross-pollination did the trick. Actually, Speedy and I were a bit worried about the Grandmas...they just seemed to be in their own little world. Grandma Fado looked somewhat mute and withdrawn, but then again, she was like that last year. I gather that she's not really all that communicative in group settings. However, I tried my best and engaged them in conversation.

I found out at the party that the part-time teacher who comes out on Mondays is a full-on sci-fi freak of the highest level. The Geek, as she herself calls herself, is a jovial young lady whose birthday was right on party night, so of course, the bossman led the requisite chorus of "Happy Birthday!". I had the best conversation of the night with her talking about Trek and Who. I'd also found out earlier that she's been a longtime anime otaku. This lady is a convention organizer's wet dream. And to think that she and The Trekkie have yet to meet. The friend that she'd brought to dinner even had a passing resemblance to Billie Piper, aka Rose Tyler.

Meanwhile, Miss Honolulu was going full bore on the 2-hour all-you-can-drink rider and regaling her newfound friends like The Fashion Designer and Miss Sedona with lots of stories. She was definitely the tipsiest out of the students there and was more than happy to lead the folks to the second party. I opted out politely. I don't think I can really do more than an after-dinner coffee and dessert.

Sunday was a walk in the park. Got to stay totally at home...or at least in the neighbourhood. Just did some shopping and then drew up the map for The Milds to get to my place when they act as guardians. I bought a pack of Yoku Moku Cigare Cookies as an advance thank you gift for them. I even got started on my New Year's cards.