Fresh Ink

I'm Moving Around...

Apr 28, 2009

The good news is I've gotten permission to start moving around and I'm slowly getting off bed rest. The bad news is I don't have a lot of energy and get tired as soon as I'm out of bed.

On Saturday, my first official day off of bed rest, I had a lot of high hopes. Garo and I decided to go out for a Saturday morning breakfast. But secretly, I was planning to hit Macy's for some new PJs (that will actually fit me), go to the grocery store (because giving people our grocery lists is getting old), and the post office (keep those Ginko order coming!).
But here's what really happened:
I got up and started looking for something to wear. Disaster! I went through all my pregnancy jeans and found only one that would remotely fit and then topped it with my one black T-shirt long enough to cover - well, I don't know what it covered, but it was long!

I asked Garo to take some photos of me in the front yard because we realized I'm going through this pregnancy in a flash and we haven't taken that many photos. The funny thing is now I have about 20 photos of myself in the same outfit, in the same location. I'll work on varying it up soon. I've included a photo from that session.

We made it to breakfast at one of our local favorite places, Breadbar, and were greeted by everyone who first asked, "Where have you two been?" then took one look at my belly and said, "Ohhhhh" in answer to their own question.

Macy's was ten feet away, so I got up enough strength to pop in after breakfast and found TWO PJs that fit. I'm so excited!! And then my OFF switch got pushed and it all went downhill from there. We made it home within the hour, I changed into my new PJs, and lounged for the rest of the week-end.
I've got a bit of energy today, so I thought I'd share before my OFF switch is set again.

Until my next installment, take care!

Our Kitty and Friends!

Apr 27, 2009

Here's my first entry about our lovable kitty, Wiz. He's the best part of our home and Garo and I love playing with him. He's also quite the man about the block!

Wiz has made many friends in the year-and-a-half we've had him. He's especially fond of dogs.
YES, DOGS! Big dogs, small dogs, growling dogs, you name it. He's fearless and wants to play with them. Often, when I see a dog and owner walk by, I know Wiz will run after them. So I leap out onto the sidewalk and alert the dog owner, "Excuse me, my cat loves dogs and is chasing after you. I'm just giving you a heads up!"

I've noticed, the bigger the dog, the less likely they like cats. So far, no mayhem, just some flustered dogs and a curious cat.

Here's a photo of Wiz with one of our neighbors and regular visitors - Eric and Ripley. Wiz is lucky to have found a sweet friend in Ripley. She's a kind puppy who tolerates Wiz's sniffing and playing. We love you, Ripley!!

I just love how Ripley and Wiz posed for this photo. I swear, animals have some vanity too!

34 weeks!

Apr 23, 2009

It's been a month since I last wrote. It's been a month of bed rest, movie watching, book reading, laptop snuggling, and Oprah watching. I must say, when the doctor put me on bed rest, I wasn't excited, but I also didn't know how hard it would be. But I will say, I'm very thankful that I got to rest in my own bed and not a hospital bed!
And finally today, I am sitting at my desk to type this. I am 34 weeks pregnant and have started to mold my jelly muscles back into working limbs. I've been sitting, walking, and moving since Monday and it's been exhausting. But I haven't had and dizzy spells or blackouts - which I was having before just to use the restroom!
I'm getting back on track.
This means that all the goodies and one-of-a-kind finds I've been saving since our trip to Japan in February are going to see the light of day! I'm planning to take photos all week-end and get the new items up by Monday. You won't be disappointed! I've also placed some new orders for decorative packing tape and cards. Things will be bright and fresh from now on.

That's us, in bed, of course...where else would we be???

Guess What??

Mar 20, 2009

Well, it's a long story, but I'll give it a shot. First, let me tell you that I'm pregnant! Yes, that's good news and we are very excited. This will be our first child and so everything is new and thrilling. Today, I'm 29 weeks into the 40 week pregnancy road trip.

As you know, Garo and I went to Japan not too long ago. But what you don't know is that the last week of our stay was filled with a bit of medical concern. On February 21st, I started to feel painful contractions. At that point, I was 26 weeks pregnant. I thought that this was a normal part of pregnancy. We were in Japan, running around and so I decided a day or two of rest would do the trick. By February 24th, the contractions had become regular (every five minutes) and even more painful. So we called our doctor. Mind you, we should have called the doctor three days ago, but who knew?! The doctor said, "Get to the hospital NOW. These sound like pre-term labor contractions." So we hung up the phone and got on the move.

Being in a foreign country, and not fluent in the language, made getting to the ER a bit of an Odyssey. We called Megumi - remember the couple we met who own Jinta Cafe? The wife! - she rushed to our apartment and got on the phone. Garo had a bunch of hospital websites up and Megumi crossed off the places that closed at 7pm. It was 8pm and it seems that in Japan, not all hospitals admit around the clock. The calls were not looking very promising. Megumi had made a list and kept crossing each one off, until there was only one left.

The last hospital was to be our lucky charm. The Kyoto Red Cross Hospital welcomed us with open arms. Megumi went with us, saw us into the ER, and translated as the doctors began to check and probe me. We couldn't have done any of it without her! It was a miracle we met her and her husband...sometimes, those things just happen!

The doctors concluded that my cervix was alarmingly short and my contractions were indeed pre-labor contractions. I was still in a bit of denial, thinking some medication was all that was needed and we'd be on our way. I was so wrong. The doctor pulled out a clipboard and she wrote on it "Hospitalization" then drew a star next to it. That was it. I was put on a bed, and Garo followed me and the nurses up to our new home.

We were in the hospital until February 28th. There were some ups and downs, some tears and laughs, some red flags and finally some good news. My contractions were stabilized and we were given the OK to get on a plane. That was the our biggest concern - the doctors said that until my body stabilizes, I'll have to stay put no matter how long it takes. So we left it all up to fate and hoped for the best.

On March 1st, we boarded a plane for LA, medication in hand, and made it back home. Actually, we dropped off our luggage and headed to the hospital where our doctor met us and all the test started up again.

Now finally for some GOOD NEWS!!!
I was discharged on March 2nd, with some new medication and a strict bed-rest rule. I had heard about bed-rest and I never thought I'd be pregnant and on bed-rest. Then I figured out the biggest rule of being never know what going to happen, so don't count on anything going as "planned"!!

I am so thankful for being our lovely country, in my own home, in my cozy bed! But let me tell you, bed-rest is not all that it's cracked up to be. I went downhill before I saw the light and got zen about it all. Now I'm living vicariously through you, my Ginko customers, my computer, and my daily fix of Oprah.

So far, all this has not had any effect on Ginko Papers. My husband and some friends have chipped in to help with going to the post office, but basically Ginko is running smoothly. One thing to let you in on is that we have brought back tons of fun things from Japan. Normally, they'd all be up on the website by now...but, being on bed-rest has put a damper on taking product photos. So if you start to see a lot of stationary and cards on a bedspread, just remember why!

Dr. Mabuchi (on our left) and some of the nurses who took care of us day and night at the Kyoto Red Cross Hospital.

Cafe Jinta

Feb 23, 2009

Garo and I have been eating out every day and have loved some of the Japanese cafes we've found. The typical Japanese cafe serves coffee drink, hot and cold, as well as delicious deserts. Honestly, there is no point in counting calories or trying to eat super healthy here. I've found that for a country full of slim and petite people, they LOVE eating sugar and carbs. Bread, sweets, past, pizza, noodles, noodle sandwiches! If it's bready or sugary, they love it!
Anyhow, one afternoon, we were walking down Sanjo Street, a very lively street full of cute shops galore, and we saw a display menu of fresh looking, veggie and meat dishes. So we went up to have a look and discovered out new favorite cafe...Cafe Jinta.
We love our new friends there. Megumi and Jin own the cafe and they just opened in October 2008 - no wonder we hadn't seen it on previous trips! We've been back several times and we've made a date to go out next Sunday night for dinner. That's funny since they serve dinner! But, they close at 8pm on Sunday and they often want to go out and try the dishes their competition is serving up. Since we're always game for a good meal, we decided to join them. I'll be posting photos form our night out as soon as it happens!

Garo and Megumi. Peace!

Garo and me right before we dig in. Yummy!

More Paper Finds!

Feb 20, 2009

I can't even begin to tell you about all the amazing stuff I've found! Right now the card industry is gearing up to celebrate Girl's Day, a national holiday celebrating girls on March 3 (3/3). Boy's Day is on May 5 (5/5). The dates are very cute, don't you think?
There are beautiful card commemorating Girl's Day all over with dolls and special shrines. I've bought a wonderful pop-up card which I'll be putting on the site soon! These cards are mainly red and pink with a lot of gold accents.

Here are some photos of me and the card sections of Japanese stores.

Bunny Cappuccinos

Feb 19, 2009

Here's how they make yummy cappuccinos in Japan! Bunnies of foam that were so cute, we were almost tempted NOT to drink our hot beverage...but alas, we did! (No Bunnies Were Harmed in the Making of the Blog!)

Snow, Snow, Snow

Feb 18, 2009

We're sitting near a cafe window and outside is a small Japanese garden. Some large rocks, white pebbles, and mossy grass surround one thin, Japanese maple tree. The windows look across to another set of cafe windows and beyond it I see a couple settled nicely on a sofa.

All last night and today it's been cold in Kyoto. We bundled up for our short walk here with scarves, gloves, coat, and an umbrella on standby. Now that we're cozy in our little cafe, a flurry of snow has begun outside. The flakes are fluffy and light, melting just as they hit the ground. It's cold, but clearly it can get much colder than this. Very beautiful! Very cold!

Some Of Our Cards!

Feb 17, 2009

Yay! I've just been in a Japanese Department Store, depato - as they like to call them, and seen a bunch of the cards we carry on Ginko Papers! That was very exciting because it only verifies my goal of trying to bring the real Japanese cards to you!!

The image on the left is of our Bus Pop-Up Card and Girl Pop-Up Card.

The image on the bottom is of our Puppy Birthday Card , Kitty Birthday Card , and Bunny Birthday Card.

Kyoto Shopping Loot

Feb 16, 2009

These little shops are crammed to the walls and every surface is filled to the brim with something wonderful to look at.
Kyoto is in love with paper. Every neighborhood has a small stationary shop next to the grocer or stand-up noodle dive. Stationary is as vital as food. These little shops are gems. What's inside is usually artistic, cute, and practical all at once. I can never choose what to buy or what to leave behind. There are cards, letter sets, postcards, stickers, notepads, kitchen towels, and washcloths - used in Japan as a necessity when out and about to dry your face or wipe your hands.

I found a few goodies I couldn't pass up and will feature as "one-of-a-kind" Finds. I've bought some amazing stamp-like stickers, beautiful cherry blossom letter sets, cute-as-a-button greeting cards, and chirimen silk trinkets. I'd love to buy some of everything I see around me, but that would be........impossible?

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