Friday, September 30, 2005

Maiya's September Photo Blog

Guess what! I did the photo pages for Maiya's 7 month September photos and it's still September! I am still working on July and August, but thought you'd enjoy some recent pictures!

Presidents' Priorities During Crises

Here's how OTHER U.S. leaders have handled a crisis like Katrina:

President: Nixon
Danger: Category-5 Hurricane Camille (August 1969)
Area: About the same area as that affected by Katrina

Response: Nixon prepared the National Guard in advance, ordering rescue ships from Tampa, FL and Houston, TX to stand waiting along with over a thousand regular military, 24+ helicopters to assist the Coast Guard and National Guard about as soon as the hurricane passed.

President: Bush the Elder
Danger: Hurricane Andrew (August 92)
Area: Florida

Response: In the middle of a re-election campaign, Bush ceased campaigning the day before the hurricane, went to Washington, and
assembled one of the largest military forces ever mustered on U.S. soil. Seven thousand National Guard and 22,000 regular military were sent in with the necessary equipment shortly after the hurricane passed through.

President: Clinton
Danger: Category-3 Hurricane Floyd (September 1999)
Area: Virginia and Carolinas

Response: Meeting with China's president Jiang in New Zealand, Clinton immediately declared the hurricane-affected areas as federal disasters, allowing the military and National Guard to move in and help. Clinton flew home immediately, one day before the hurricane hit, to help coordinate the rescue.

President: Bush the Lesser
Danger: Category-5 Hurricane Katrina (August 2005)
Area: Gulf Coast

Response: National Guard troops are down about 8,000 members because they are in Iraq with much of the necessary rescue equipment needed. Bush was on vacation, riding his bike for two hours the day before the hurricane lands. On the day Katrina landed, Bush attended a birthday party for John McCain. The levees began to crack. While emergency 1.5-ton sandbags were ready to be placed to steady the levee and absorb water, there were insufficient numbers of helicopters and pilots to set them before the levees break. Ray Nagin, the mayor of New Orleans, pleaded for federal-level assistance and got none. Bush went to San Diego to play guitar with a country singer and end his vacation early -- but not until the next day, because he had tickets to a San Diego Padres game.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Cruisin' Along to 8 mos.

The 7th month has come and gone quickly, and it has been one of increasing change for Maiya, and we are trying to keep one step ahead of her.

Happy, but outgrowing the infant seat

First off, Maiya has gotten too big for her infant car seat carrier. At 6 months, she was already 27 1/2 inches, and the car seat carrier maxes out at 26 inches. Even though some parents keep their babies in there longer sometimes, it has just gotten so heavy to carry her like that. So, we got out the convertible carseat and put it in the car. Surprisingly, Maiya must like the new seat better (Brixtax Marathon for you baby-gear shoppers). It's soft and cushy, and she is calmer, and seems to fall asleep in it much better than the old seat.

Happier in the cushy new seat

Maiya is crawling, pulling to standing, climbing under, over and around objects, cruising along the couch, bouncing up and down, quick to smile, and has even surprised us with a few tantrums images of her strong personality, with some serious likes and dislikes. Likes: Mommy & Daddy. Dislikes: diaper changes & getting her faced wiped.

Getting into some mischief

Under the chair

We had a big scare last week. After a poopy diaper change, I was cleaning Maiya's diaper cover in the bathroom, and had set her in the crib. Since she co-sleeps with us, she's not often in the crib. She was in there, happily babbling away, quite loudly and nonstop. Next thing you know, I heard a loud THUMP... then WAAAAAHHHHHHH! I ran in there, and she wasn't in the crib, she was on her back, on the floor, screaming! Oh. My. God.

I stopped breathing myself, scooped her up and ran to the couch with her, holding her, soothing her and telling her she was going to be ok. After about 30 seconds, she stopped crying. I checked her head, back, arms, legs, eyes, everything seemed ok. I put her on the floor and she was crawling, no problem. Happy as a clam. We think she might have tried to get at a mobile which I had moved facing outside of the crib, and pulled herself up with it (which we didn't know she could do), and lost her balance. So the mobile was immediately removed, and the crib mattress lowered to the bottom rung. We watched her pretty closely for a few days, and it seems everything is ok. Lesson learned.

"I'm ok, if you're ok!" - Nikkei babe taken a few days before the mattress was lowered

Maiya will be 8 months old on Friday. She is still nursing about 10-12 times a day, more if she's teething or sick (first cold this week), and less if we are really busy. She now has 5 teeth, 3 of which have come through in the last two weeks, painfully so. Since the 5th one came in, she seems to be sleeping a little more at night, which is good, but there are more new teethcaps on the way. We are bracing ourselves looking forward to seeing what changes are in store for October!

Detroit Asian Youth Project

Asian Week did an article on the Detroit Asian Youth project for their cover story back in August. Tony's design for the Detroit Chinatown Mural was used with the article. Thanks to Emily for sending the article from Detroit. For more pix of the development of the Detroit Chinatown mural, go here.

PS. A quick congrats to my cousin Marlon & Hiroko (and big brother Akira)on the birth of their son, Riki Curtis, born Friday, September 23rd! Welcome!

Monday, September 19, 2005

Our Grief is Not a Cry for War

Let's play anti-war boggle!

Ok, guess how many words or phrases are in Maiya's play mat.
Leave me a comment with your answers.

Our Grief is Not a Cry for War

Mass March and Rally in L.A.
From Iraq to New Orleans
Fund People's Needs, Not the War Machine

Saturday, Sept. 24, 12 noon
Olympic/Broadway, downtown


Saturday, October 8th
Westwood Federal Building
Noon Until After Dark

Maiya's first hip hop show with our friend Luke of The Aesthetics Crew
who will perform at the October 8th concert

Peace. Out. Of . Iraq. Please.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Stand Up (Maiya Grace!)

Maiya Stands Up!

What will she do next? She may just bypass the whole sitting thing.

At 7 months, Maiya's newest trick is that she can now stand up on her own. When I say on her own, I mean we need to be there to spot her, cause she can only stand for about 10-20 seconds before she falls or flips over. She can get off the couch (note our latest Craig's list acquisition), feet first, and land in a standing position. What she cannot do, is get up to a standing position from the ground. She can put both hands up on the couch as if she is about to stand, but then just smiles, weaves and pivots for awhile, promising that she will get up there before we know it. She did give me quite a scare the other day, when she pulled up to a standing position from inside the crib. Tony just lowered the crib mattress a few weeks ago, and now we need to do it again!

On another note, Tony's mom still hasn't talked with her sister Barbara directly yet. Last we heard, they were in a shelter in Baton Rouge, but they don't appear to be there anymore. We are waiting and hoping things are all right with Barbara and her family. I heard on KPFK yesterday that the Red Cross is spending $4,000 a day per evacuee, but that if they just gave each person $4,000 a day, they would be able to relocate and start to rebuild their lives that much quicker. Will heads roll at the top for appointing such an obviously unqualified person to run FEMA? I hope. I hope. I hope.

If you live in L.A., don't forget to vote today. There is actually an election today, not that you'd know it.

Stand Up (for Justice!)

Dear Friends of NCRR,

Join us in celebrating NCRR’s 25 exciting years of redress and social justice advocacy at a luau dinner on Saturday, September 24, 2005 at Centenary Church, 300 S. Central Ave in Little Tokyo from 4 to 8 PM.

Recapping our history:

* NCRR worked tirelessly to build a grassroots movement in the Japanese American community to seek reparations for the incarceration during World War II, and then to work with other groups to insure that Congress passed legislation to make individual reparations from the U. S. government a reality. After President Ronald Reagan signed the Civil Liberties Act of 1988, NCRR and the community urged Congress to quickly appropriate funds to carry out the provisions of the Act.

* In the early 1990’s, NCRR received hundreds of phone calls and letters from Japanese Americans denied redress. They needed help. NCRR organized community meetings and lobbying trips to Washington DC so that those denied could appeal their cases to the Office of Redress Administration (ORA) in the Department of Justice. Among those subsequently found eligible were minors deported to Japan, fired railroad and mine workers, and detained Hawaiians.

* NCRR worked with volunteer attorneys from the Japanese American Bar Association and the American Civil Liberties Union to file lawsuits for many of these Japanese Americans denied redress and for Japanese Latin Americans.

* During the post-9/11 era, NCRR actively supported the Muslim and Arab American communities with candlelight vigils, Breaking the Fasts, and community forums. Educational talks on Black and Mexican reparations and on the plight of former labor and sex slaves of World War II Japan were held.

* NCRR and Visual Communications produced Stand Up For Justice, about Ralph Lazo who went to Manzanar with his young Nisei friends during World War II. In addition to the yearly Day of Remembrance which NCRR has sponsored since 1981, our new website has been used as a resource by students here and abroad and we are in the process of publishing an NCRR Reader.

Lots to celebrate and much yet to be done! Party with us on September 24 and help us raise funds to continue our educational and civil rights work!


Nikkei for Civil Rights & Redress

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

7th Inning Stretch(ing)

It is unbelievable to me that Maiya is now 7 months old. I haven't weighed her since last month, but I can tell you, the girl is getting heavy. These pictures were taken a few weeks ago. Many things have happened with Maiya since the 6 month update. It kind of caught me off guard, but she is changing every day, doing new things. She started sitting much better, although she rarely sits, as she much prefers to be on the move. It's hard to say that she's really crawling, it's more like scooting around, putting her arms out and dragging her body along like an inchworm. She can get where she wants to go pretty fast.

Maiya is a young woman of great tenacity, who will fixate on something, and then go for it, regardless of whether she has to leap off the couch to reach the remote control, or stretch herself from the bed to the nightstand (glass top with metal edges) to get her cloth book, so I am always in the "heightened awareness" mode. She prefers to be held, almost all the time, so we are often in the "sling-a-ding" mode. It is getting harder for me to get things done, which is why I've been doing housework, paying bills, and blogging lately in the 4am to 6am timeslot. She has also learned how to squeal and scream when she wants something, and it seems to be getting louder and louder. She is quick to smile, and is very charming to people she meets. It kind of cracks me up when she shocks them by letting out some serious crankiness, thus shattering their ideal, of the perfect baby.

She is starting to go to sleep earlier on a more consistent basis, so she'll fall asleep somewhere between 9:30 to 10:30 pm. She'll sleep for longer periods of time, although she is teething again (3 or 4 teeth are works-in-progress), a possibly going through another growth spurt, which means that she may wake up once or twice a night. She still isn't much of a napper--she will take catnaps usually ranging from 10-20 minutes, and occasionally, if she is in my arms, or on my lap, she will sleep 30-60 minutes. We are moving slowly with the solid foods (once a day), on purpose, with the intention of continuing to nurse for as long as she wants (baby-led weaning), and I am amazed by the number of babies who nurse for 2-3 years. So far, she hasn't eaten anything she didn't like (bananas, prunes, apples, carrots, pears, peas, sweet potatoes)--she reminds me of her dad, when I see her eating with gusto!

I have been so interested in learning about diaper-free babies, or elimination communication, and we have actually put Maiya on her little potty, and we have "caught a pee" 4 of the 6 times we set her down. It is not "potty-training" per se, but more like reading her cues, signals, and her routine. What I have been doing is in the morning, if she has a dry diaper, then I will take off the diaper and set her on the potty and say, "pshhh." And then wait a few seconds. Most of the time she has peed within the first 30 seconds of sitting her down. If she doesn't go, or wants to crawl away, no sweat, we just take her off and change a diaper. But I can tell you that we have "saved" 4 diapers in our little bit of what-we-can-do-to-help-the-environment!

Tony bought a BBQ on Craig'sList (remind him to blog about that), and he has been grilling quite a bit. We took Maiya to the beach for the first time last week. We took the bus, which picked us up 2 blocks from our house, and dropped us off, right at the beach. We saved $7 in parking, and the hassle of driving around looking for parking. We went again on Sunday morning, Tony and his friend Hector went boogie boarding. But, summer is over. Classes started for Tony yesterday, and he is back in school. I will miss him being home in the day very much. I have been going in to Great Leap to help out quite a bit the last few months, attending meetings once or twice a week, and am going to be working there as a volunteer once a week. Due to the cashflow situation, we have had to shrink the office space, and layoff most of the staff. But, we are continuing the program, and have kicked off a major donor fundraising campaign.

All in all, I'm enjoying myself a lot, focusing on family and home. I am so lucky, and every day I am grateful for all the things that I have in my life. My love and kisses to my darling nephew Kevin who was very ill and faces some very difficult challenges ahead. But he has awesome parents, and I know that whatever happens, he will grow up happy and loved. We are so relieved to hear that Tony's Aunt Barbara, and her 4 children, who lived about 10 miles from New Orleans, have now been found staying at a hotel in Baton Rouge. We don't know any details other than that, but we know that they are safe and that they are alive. My heart goes out to all the victims and survivors of Katrina, who have suffered tragic losses because of G.W. (global warming) and G.W.B. (who should be fired), so much of which could have been prevented. While I'm incensed about the administration's negligent lack of response and preparation, I am warmed by all of the support from everyday people in the face of tragedy. Peace. Out.