Monday, November 20, 2006

The Big Reveal


Our old kitchen looked very much the same between 1941 and 2003 (when this picture was taken). Two years ago, we took out a few cabinets, got a new fridge, moved it into the laundry room, and created a prep space. It was a lot of work to make our kitchen work a little better for us, but it still was a small kitchen, with very little counter space or storage space. We have been talking about this kitchen remodel for at least 5 years, and decided to make the plunge this summer. It was a lot of stress, sweat and hassle--we didn't hire a general contractor, so Tony did all of the space planning, comparison shopping, heavy lifting and countless trips to the hardware store, while I did a lot of childcare. We went back and forth on the costs of doing a major kitchen remodel vs. painting the shelves, updating the drawer knobs and replacing the sink.


In the end, we took out 2 walls (from the dining room to the kitchen, and from the laundry room to the kitchen), extending our kitchen by 4 feet, and merging the laundry room and kitchen into one 13 foot galley kitchen. Like you see in magazines, here is what we got (in case you're interested):
  • Floors: Carbonized vertical bamboo floors
  • Cabinets: Custom cabinets by Danny Molina using Apple-ply prefinished maple with tung oil rubbed edging
  • Countertop: Caesarstone in Lagos Blue
  • Paint: Benjamin Moore Jute (only 2 walls done so far)
  • Lighting: recessed fluorescent lighting (pendant light over the sink still to be purchased)
  • Stove: DCS with Viking hood and ventilator
  • Dishwasher: Bosch (not shown in picture)
  • Back Door: Double pane single-light French door with cherry stain finish and 5-6 coats of polyeurathane seal
In all, it took 3 months. We still have some things to be done, but with the help of my parents, we unpacked our kitchen stuff from the garage and put all the pots, pans and dishes away this weekend. Thank goodness for the extra storage space because we don't have a china cabinet anymore. Gone are the days of using file cabinets in the back room to store food. We hope to finish up the dining room and living room in the next month (or so). I'm so excited about this kitchen, I'm inspired to cook and clean! Maiya is enjoying dancing around the new kitchen, and she wants to climb up and see and touch everything.

Big thanks to Tony O. whose vision and hard work really made this kitchen a reality.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Saying Goodbye to Rei

Rei, Tony and Maiya at the NCRR Fundraiser Luau - Sept. 2005
We won Rei's painting in the Silent Auction

Our friend Rei Osaki passed away this week. I worked with her on the Manzanar Committee for many years, she was one of my 3 favorite women on the committee, all have now passed away. We had a common bond with her because she was from western Idaho, and knew some of Tony's relatives in Washington. She was one of the first 50 women admitted to the Idaho State Bar in 1943. Pretty amazing. I also just found out that she was on the Board of Mother's Club, an organization that has a great family literacy and leadership program for low-income mothers. She was an artist as well. Below is a water color that Rei gave us at our baby shower.
Here's what Jan Yen wrote about Rei's community activism.

Until just two months ago Rei was an active member of Nikkei for Civil Rights & Redress (NCRR). She represented NCRR on many occasions. In 1990 Rei spoke on behalf of NCRR during a Los Angeles ceremony at which representatives of the United States Department of Justice offered formal apologies for the World War II mass incarceration of over 110,000 Japanese Americans in United States concentration camps.

Rei was also a member of a 1998 NCRR-sponsored lobbying delegation to Washington, DC. The delegation and concerted efforts by the Japanese American community culminated in the attainment of reparations for Japanese American miners and railroad workers adversely affected by President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s 1942 signing of Executive Order 9066.

Rei was a champion of civil rights. Besides her activism in NCRR, she was a member of the Manzanar Committee, participated in local Pasadena Democratic Party activities, and supported the American Friends Service Group. All in NCRR will dearly miss Rei and her wry sense of humor, astute observations, and passion for justice.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Social Justice in the Classroom

Teaching About Asian Pacific Americans: Effective Activities, Strategies, and Assignments for Classrooms and Communities

Edited by Edith Wen-Chu Chen and Glenn Omatsu.
Book (High School-Adult) 2006 316 pp

Tony is one of the contributors of this book that came out this year, co-edited by our friend Glenn Omatsu. Our friend Emily is also a contributor. In it, is Tony's Feast of Resistance. Click the pink link above to buy a copy from Teaching for Change. Makes a great holiday gift!

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Blog more? Blah-ghh!

Hmm, maybe I'll start blogging more. But if I do, you'll read more mundane things about what we did today, or what we need to do. So last night, we went to dinner for our niece Danika's 15th bday. We went to Billingsley's, a steak house in West LA. My food was delicious, I got a monterey chicken with sauteed mushrooms, avocado and melted cheese on a bed of salty rice, with mashed potatoes. The bad thing is that Tony's dad got sick last night, and Tony was sick this morning. Don't know if it's from the food, or what, but you never know. We were tired, so went to bed right after we got home, before 10pm.

Maiya has been nursing a lot at night lately, seems like all night long (while I'm sleeping) and heavily during the 5:30 to 7:30 am hours. So I was awake by 6am, thinking about all the things I need to do. We got up a little after 8am this morning. Tony went to B&B Hardware and Cox Paints (we decided we didn't like the color of one of the two walls Tony painted yesterday). Tony's dad stopped by, Danny came by to do some finishing touches on the cabinets. Tony's agenda included installing the backsplash, hood, fan and stove. Maiya had toast, cereal, OJ and cream cheese for breakfast. The cream cheese was a mistake, I had left the almost empty container on the table, and when I looked at her (I was sitting right next to her), she had her face inside the container and was licking the edges, and had cream cheese in her hair and all over her face & hands.

At 10am, she nursed a bit and fell asleep for a little nap, and I hopped on the computer, tidied up, did some dishes IN THE NEW SINK (YEAH), and tried to study a bit. Unfortunately it was only a half hour nap. Then at 11am, we had some more snacks (crackers and apples), and then time for crayons, playing with yogurt containers and some dancing. Helped Tony a little with the backsplash. At about 1pm, Maiya and I took a shower, drew Elmo in the bathtub, and then got ready to go. Tony picked up some Taco Bell, so Maiya ate half a bean burrito and needed to get her clothes changed again. Right before we were leaving, I said "let's go," and she said "no," and then spread her legs wide, bending her legs and then grabbed at her pants. Oh! What's this? Sure enough, there was a little poo poo, and she practically ran to the changing table, turning around to make sure I was following her. So, at 2:15, we finally left, and went to the Giant Robot store, and GR2 on Sawtelle to pick up some bday presents. Maiya and I went to Dyami's 4th bday party, a puppet show in Santa Monica, although we were 45 minutes late, and missed the puppet show, and Maiya napped in the stroller for most of the party. It was nice to see my friends Monica and Benjamin, and Paulina and Shabaka (all from my Great Leap days). Maiya ate a little pita with hummus and chicken and a gingerbread cookie.

Then, at 4:45, we left Santa Monica, and went home to pick up Tony, who was at B&B for the 3rd time today, and then went over to my sister Gayle's house for Taco Night to celebrate me and my brother Darin's bday. We got there an hour late. Maiya had so much fun! Their house is like romper room, with toys galore. Five kiddies, makes for a lot of giggles and playing. Playdough was a big hit tonight. We stayed till 10pm, and then came home. I put Maiya to sleep and then went to help Tony with the duct and chimney cover for the hood. He sure is working hard to make this kitchen really nice.

Ok, well, this is the kind of detail you're going to get if I am blogging more often, if you are even still reading this. TMI? Interesting? Not so much? I doubt I'll keep it up. In any case, that was the day. Tomorrow Howard, my creative wood artist friend is coming over to talk about custom TV/stereo holder, and possibly a built in bench for our dinner table, and maybe some shelves? Tony's plan is to get all the appliances in and start lining the shelves. We'll see, and then maybe we'll get to Ikea, do some laundry, and I can study for Tuesday's exam. Toodle-loo!

Friday, November 10, 2006

Parallel Play

Went over to Mike & Laura's on Sunday morning for breakfast, soyrizo eggs & potatoes, yum. Some pictures of Maiya and Amani playing together. First time they "played" together. They were jumping on Amani's new bed and having a good time.

This week, our kitchen is falling into place. On Tuesday, the plumber came and connected the sink, garbage disposal, water filter, soap dispenser, and faucet. It's great! So great to do dishes in the new stainless steel sink. No more washing dishes in the sink and bathtub. Woo hoo! This morning, Tony painted 2 of the 3 kitchen walls. We're still deciding on the color, even after it's up on the wall. Tonight, maybe we'll get the fridge moved from the living room to the kitchen and the washer and dryer moved in from the garage. Hard to believe it's coming together after 3 months without a kitchen. Yee! Ok, Tony & Maiya are napping, I should go study before they wake up.

Happy Quinceneara to our niece Danika, and a Happy 38th Bday to my brother Darin (wow!).

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Who wants to see the kitchen?

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It's coming along! Our kitchen is finally coming down the home stretch. Plumber is coming this week to hook up the sink, faucet, dishwasher and garbage disposal. We're finalizing paint colors which you can see from the video (give us a holler if you see one you like). Just a few more details and we can start moving stuff back in from the garage, and life can start getting back to dust-free.

Tony and I went to dinner tonight to celebrate my 42nd bday... Uncle Bill babysat Maiya for a few hours. We went to Tender Greens, one of those new restaurants in old Culver City. I got the Chipotle Chicken Salad and Tony got the Grilled Steak Salad. It was really good, and nice to be out on a little date. Thanks for dinner honey. And oh! Congrats to Keiko and Dean on the long-awaited arrival of their twins, Paige and Ryan, born Thursday on my birthday!

Reluctant Butterfly

Here are our pictures from Halloween. Maiya likes butterflies so I thought this year she could be a butterfly. It's one of the signs that she does that is really cute. We had been practicing with the antennae for a few days, and talking about butterflies, and reading from our books that have butterflies in them. She even started saying, "buf-fie" on Halloween morning.

Maiya was having fun running to the door when people would come.

But then, when it was time for us to go, she decided she didn't want to wear the antennae or the wings. She kept pulling at them, trying to take it off.

So, we put the butterfly on her hat, and attached one to my hat and one to Tony's. Which was fine since we carried her most of the way. We went to about 6-7 houses on our street, mostly visiting neighbors that we know, or those who were fully decorated.

The funniest part was when we came home, she squatted down on her hind legs, Asian style, dumped the candy on the floor and started sorting through all the candy, just like kids do. We have a lot of pictures of us kids on the floor after Halloween rummaging through our loot. Poor Maiya didn't realize that she wasn't going to be able to eat any of her candy! We did give her a granola bar though. Anyways, it was fun.