Saturday, May 28, 2005

Spitting Image

Maiya, 3 months

Jenni, 3 months (taken 40 years minus 1 day before Maiya's birth)

Tony, approximately 3-6 months is our guess

The picture of Maiya with the giraffe is my current favorite photo (top image). I think because she is just so darn cute when her head is up and she's all looking around. People keep telling me that Maiya looks like me. I thought I saw a resemblance, but actually, I think she looks like my brother Darin did when he was a baby. But when I saw this photo of myself at 3 months (middle image), the same age Maiya is in the photo with the giraffe, I was amazed! She really does look like me. As she gets older, I think she starts to look a little more like Tony (bottom image), especially in the eyes. What do you think?

P.S. To Bubbe Fran: Do you recall how old Tony was in his baby picture?
P.P.S. Maiya now has her own webpage which includes her photo album, Maiya's Home.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Totally shocked!

I demand a recount... If I wasn't going to get Anwar, I really wanted the rocker dude. And while I rarely saw the show, I've been following what's been happening each week and really thought it was Bo's show to win. Me and Maiya fell asleep on the couch watching it tonight and woke up for the last 5 minutes. I can't believe the result. Boring. Safe.

The Kitchen is Open

I think I set a record. I cooked two nights in a row. Last night, I made capellini with homemade basil pesto in the blender from a cookbook that I bought in the mid-80s and don't remember ever using. It was the first time I ever made pesto and I have to say, it was delicious!!

Pesto sauce:
2 cups sliced basil leaves
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1/4 cup romano cheese
3 TBS pine nuts
1 tsp fresh parsley
1 clove garlic sliced in half
1/4 tsp salt
dash pepper
1 cup olive oil

Blend all the above in the blender and drizzle in the olive oil. Used hashi (chopsticks) to get the stuff off the sides and bottom.

Tonight was Taco Bar night. I made tacos old-style like my mom used to make when we were growing up with some adjustments to 2005 in parenthesis. My mom was over today watching Maiya while I went to the spa. I did the fake meat and grated the cheese, while mom chopped onions, tomatoes and lettuce.

Make-Your-Own-Tacos 2005:
Ground beef with McCormick's Taco Seasoning Packet (Veggie Soy-fake meat and low sodium taco seasoning)
Grated cheese (organic sharp cheddar)
Chopped tomatoes (vine-ripened from the Farmer's Market)
Sliced iceberg lettuce (old-style)
Diced Onion (Farmer's Market organic)
Guacamole (Mom said she never used guacamole in tacos. It came in a bag from Trader Joe's cause I couldn't find any ripe avocados at the Farmer's Market)
Black Olives (Kalamata from Farmer's Market)
Sour Cream
Corn and Flour tortillas (back in the day mom used to fry the corn tortillas in oil and stuff it with the meat. I just put them on the burner)

We're going to try to plan the week's dinners in advance. I'm thinking it will help us shop better and more frequently when we know what we're going to be eating, and it will avoid the what-are-we-having-tonight-for-dinner dilemma. I'll keep you posted.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Tricks are for Kids

Maiya's learning new tricks every day.

Lately, Maiya likes to kick off. On your lap, wherever she can be propped up with her legs dancing around on a solid surface. She likes to be upright and she likes to be entertained. Put her down and you will hear from her immediately.

She has also learned (or maybe it's just innate) how to drool over every thing and every one. When she's "flying" on our legs or knees, she can drool in your face or in your mouth if you're not careful.

Yesterday morning, she was on the bed, face up, kind of propped up on a pillow. I was next to her and was reading a book. I saw her lift her head off the pillow, while lifting her legs about 5 inches off the bed. The girl is a yoga baby. A few seconds later, I looked at her, and she had flipped around, moved her body 90 degrees to the right and was face down on the bed. Ackk! But no worries, although she was face down, I watched her lift her head up and push up with her arms and look around. So cute!

Maiya's new sounds this week are "en-gah," and "heh-heh-haaaaa!" Just now, she sighed and said, "egggh, ahhh." Also new this week are smacking her lips together and making sucking noises. With or without her hand in her mouth. With or without my arm in sucking range.

So goes life at the Kuida-Osumi household. Besides that, what else matters? You don't want to hear about my eye infection or my wrist pain, right? Or about the 6 loads of laundry since Thursday. Stay tuned for more about Maiya next time!!

P.S. Actually, on a more serious note, I can think of something else that matters. How about signing the NO STARBUCKS IN THE SAN FRANCISCO JAPANTOWN petition? A Starbucks in the SF Japantown will compete with long-standing neighborhood businesses that sell coffee such as Benkyodo (100 years), May's Coffee Shop (33 years old), and Café Hana (17 years). According to the Starbucks website there are already 55 Starbucks within a two-mile radius of the proposed site in one of the three remaining Japantowns left in the entire United States.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Jenni's Movie Reviews

Somehow I've been watching more DVDs lately. Because of the whole Netflix and internet downloading of movies off the internet, business at our local mom and pop video store has declined. As a result, you can now get 2 movies for the price of 1. For the new releases, it's $1.50 per movie for new releases, including tax. Can't beat that. Here are some of the movies we've seen in the last few weeks. And I will go with my same star rating from January where 1* is worst, and 4**** is best.

Wicker Park **** - This one I loved. It was confusing, but it was the kind of edge of your seat, what the heck is going on, i'm totally into it. If you watch the special features, you learn that the director wanted it to be confusing. You have to really focus to get the story. Really good movie!! It was the first movie I've seen with Josh Hartnett, and I have to say, I really liked him.

A Day Without a Mexican ** - It was ok. I was hoping to like it more. Really good message politically, but kind of slow. Pace was a bit off. I liked that 2 people I know were in the movie. Shishir is a Great Leap artist, and the other is the husband/actor of my friend Cynthia, who is the Executive Director of The HeArt Project, who runs a great arts education nonprofit for continuation school teens.

Napoleon Dynamite * - Really coudn't get into it. Tony loved it, laughing throughout. But I just didn't get it, the geek factor was high. I was more interested in my dumb People magazine and folding laundry.

Shall We Dance?*** - I knew it would be corny, but I cried! Since the 70s, Richard Gere has always had it going on. J-Lo is hot. I always like her in movies so much more than I do when she's being herself. All of the dancing is real. Impressive. I know I loved the Japanese version, and I know people say this wasn't as good, but I liked it.

Supersize Me**** - Loved it. Great documentary. Funny. I loved watching the diary moments from the guy who ate a high fat diet of McDonalds for 30 days, and almost caused irreversable liver damage to himself. Got a little slow in some places when it wasn't about him. But the stuff about the corporatization of school lunches, the high-stakes testing which causes schools to abandon PE, and the amount of advertising dollars that goes into the fast-food industry was awesome.

I Heart Huckabees* - What. The. Heck? I so did not get this one. Tuned out. Left the room. And I love Dustin Hoffman but pul-eeze. I am not a Jude Law or Naomi Watts fan. At all.

Moonlight Mile*** - Another movie with Susan Sarandon as the wife. She's great in this movie, as is Dustin Hoffman. I enjoyed this movie about a guy whose fiancee is killed. He is living with secrets and with his future-in-laws-to-be-but-not-to-be.

Garden State*** - I liked this one a lot. As with most DVDs, I watced it twice to get the director's comments, which I love to do. It was sweet and I loved Natalie Portman's character. Very spunky and goofy. I like how it seemed slow, but then you get all sucked into it. Kind of like Moonlight Mile. ADDED LATER AFTER REALIZING I FORGOT IT!!

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Collective Purpose

"If my mother were here tonight, she'd say, 'Antonio, don't declare victory, declare your purpose,'" Villaraigosa said to roars of approval from his supporters.

"So let's declare our purpose here and now," he said. "Our purpose is to bring this great city together. Our purpose is to draw fully and equally on the rich diversity of all of our communities and neighborhoods. Our purpose is to believe in our young people. Our purpose is to make a difference."

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Social Butterflies

Me & My Gal

Gosh, whatever happened to the days of posting to the main website every 2-3 days? Been busy, I suppose. I've been meaning to put up April's Foto Firsts--but just haven't gotten around to them.

Maiya and I have been out and about, going walking just about every day in the neighborhood. Sometimes we go to lunch just the two of us, and run errands in the stroller, or in the Baby Bjorn carrier. Sometimes we have lunch with people like Auntie Keiko, Lisa with Kai & Miya, Laura with Amani, Gayle with Kaylee & Kieth. The other day, we walked over to Lianne's house about 6 blocks away. We've gone to 3 meetings at Great Leap in the last 3 weeks. We had dinner with Lily on Friday night at CPK, and I'm having dinner with Maria this week for her birthday. Me & Maiya went to two parties, one for Kieth & Kaylee's birthdays, and another for the Ayala's 40th wedding anniversary.

In the meantime, I did 9 loads of laundry in 9 days. I've been trying to do the dishes every day. Now that my hair is falling out in big clumps, I am sweeping our hardwood floors every day.

The good news for today, is that it looks like we have a new mayor in town. Yea for Villaraigosa!!

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Aloha to Motherhood!

Mom & Dad with their 5 grandkids yesterday at Kieth and Kaylee's birthday party. From left to right is Kieth (4 yrs), Kaylee (1 yr), Maiya (3 mos), Kevin (4 mos) & Kyle (2 1/2 yrs)

Me & Maiya celebrating our first Mother's Day

Last year, I remember crying on Mother's Day because I didn't know if I would ever be a mother. I had had two miscarriages and had been trying to get pregnant for over two years. I was in the process of fertility treatments and was feeling very discouraged. Fast forward to Mother's Day 2005. My baby is exactly 3 months and 1 week old today. I am so completely happy to be Maiya's mama. It feels right and I am savoring and enjoying every precious moment.

Today, me, Tony & Maiya celebrated by going to the Hawaiian Mother's Day/Children's Day Arts & Crafts Festival in Little Tokyo, then went to The Talpa for mexican food afterwards (the restaurant we went to the night before I went into labor with Maiya). Aren't we cute in our matching red hibiscus aloha shirts that my cousin Jackie sent us from Hawai'i? Hey, I couldn't think of a better day for us to be "twins"!

Happy Mother's Day to all the mamas! And especially my best wishes and "baby dust" to all the women who are trying to conceive and want to be mamas. Aloha with Love!!!

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

May Day Seder

Beth & Valerie at Passover Seder - photo by 7 year old Erin

Jenni, Maiya & I with Elijah's Cup at Passover Seder - photo by Erin

Last Sunday, May 1st, was Maiya's first, oops, second Passover Seder. Her first Passover was at my godsister Beth's house in Torrance on April 23. We had a great time seeing my godmom, Valerie; Beth's husband Brian and their daughter Erin along with about 8 of their friends. There was matzoh ball soup, four types of kharoses and delicious chicken and brisket. Oh, and the chocolate covered macaroons were righteous. I'm glad we were invited because with Mom and Don now living in Idaho, we didn't have a place to go this year. This could have been a bummer now that we have Maiya. I want to make sure she gets culture and history from both sides of the family. Like New Year's Oshogatsu, we may need to start taking the responsibility to host Passover ourselves.

Me & Maiya (3 months old) at the Workmen's Circle for the May Day Seder

So back to May 1st--we went to the Workmen's Circle May Day Seder over on Robertson Blvd. It was the first time I'd been to a community seder. I've had my eye on the Workmen's Circle since I first heard of them because of their secular emphasis on Jewishness and social justice. In this year's Hagode, they describe the organization as: "a progressive Jewish cultural and social action organization, advancing democratic frontiers, strengthening civil rights, promoting universal health care, and opposing bigotry and tyranny, working to preserve the unique legacy and beauty of Jewish and Yiddish culture." I'm down for that.

Throughout the meal their very own Mit Gezang Yiddish Chorus and Voices of Conscience Social Action Chorus led us through a variety of English and Yiddish songs like one dedicated to the courageous resistance in the Warsaw Ghetto in 1943. One very cool part was when they sang Earl Robinson's "May Day Song" and showed an old photo of Paul Robeson singing with the Earl Robinson Singers. One of the singers in the photo is now in the Workmen's Circle choir and it was touching to see him still doing his thing on stage. I guess the historical connection was also meaningful because Jenni and I thought about naming our child Robeson if we had a boy.

Approximately 80 people were there and all of us shared in the reading the Hagode. They said it was their largest turnout in a while. The food was tasty (the choice between brisket, chicken, salmon or veggie plates) and the more common list of 10 plagues that visited Egypt, was replaced with plagues on hunger, homelessness, hatred, ignorance, totalitarianism, greed, war, disease, poisoned air, water and earth, and the nuclear shadow over our lives. At the end we sang the Anthem of the Workmens' Circle and The Internationale with updated words by Billy Bragg and revised by Workmen's Circle Executive Directer, Eric Gordon. Great stuff.

For more info check out the Workmen's Circle website for interesting programing like upcoming Cuban films, art shows and a Jewish take on animal treatment and vegetarianism.

Motherhood @ 40

People have been asking how I feel about being a mama. I've only been at it for 3 months & 3 days, but I have to say simply and clearly, I LOVE IT. I LOVE IT. I LOVE IT.

For much of my life, I really wasn't sure I wanted kids. I was dating my first boyfriend for close for 9 years--a guy I met in my first year of college. Long story short (and to be nice about it), we just weren't compatible. In my 20s, I was building a career in management/human resources for a 100-person law firm, and had some crazy visions of being a career woman and a single mom--I secretly thought about having a girl, and naming her Danielle Setsuko (after Danielle Steel--pre-activist days).

In my 30s, I became very active in the JA community, volunteering my time and money to many grassroots and activist organizations, sitting on several boards, editing books, doing programming for organizations, your all-around organizer and fundraiser. Along the way, Tony & I got married. At the same time, in my career, I was running a mid-sized nonprofit arts organization. I was keeping up 5 websites, a backyard organic garden, as well as spending a lot of time for some projects in
Detroit (living in CA). I started taking taiko lessons and joined Bombu Taiko. I was trying to keep up a daily (or every other day) yoga practice. I was trying to live an organic, healthy and balanced life, but I was running around chasing my tail.

Tony was just as busy, working as an artist and a teacher, and volunteering for additional organizations. So we really didn't have the time. I had inklings that my 30's were getting away from me, and that my clock was ticking, but I really wasn't convinced I wanted to have kids. Our life was very full!

But then, 4 years ago, my sister Gayle had a baby boy named Kieth. My nephew Kieth changed my mind completely. When I held him in my arms, when he first smiled at me (I remember the exact moment), I was in love, and baby fever hit me off guard, and with a passion. I was almost 37 and having made up my mind, I almost waited too long. It took a few months of discussions with Tony before we decided to go for it. After trying to conceive for a year, we sought medical intervention from the fertility dept at my HMO. I had two miscarriagess, several invasive procedures (tests to rule out infertility) and was in my 2nd round of clomid, hormone injections, and intrauterine inseminations when I finally got pregnant last year, and Maiya was born 3 months ago.

I think that despite my fears and misgivings, that I am glad that we waited until we were sure we wanted Maiya. Yes, it is a lot of work, and little sleep, but in many ways, it is easier than my crazy life was, because it is instinctive and natural, and I know what I need to do. I think that it has calmed me down and given me focus. Maiya needs me now, and it's important is that I be there for her when she needs me, and be conscious enough to give her space when she needs it in the future.