Sunday, November 30, 2008

NaBloPoMo the end, and a recipe! (#30)

Finally, we've come to the end of the month. I'm so relieved. I didn't miss any NaBloPoMo days this year, posting 30 blogs in 30 days. I've tried to keep it interesting, but some of those days all I had in me was to just post a few photos and be done. Next time if I'm taking an online class, I won't do this. Just too much stuff going on this month.

I've enjoyed the time off this long holiday weekend to do catchup. It was a low key Thanksgiving for me. I stayed home while Tony took Maiya and his dad to Thanksgiving at Tony's uncle's house. I did laundry, homework and dishes. That night, we went to the Ayala's as usual for dinner and played games, that was a lot of fun. Friday, I stayed home and wrote a paper, finishing up about 4-5 loads of laundry. Tony took Maiya out for errands. Then yesterday, we went to visit Laura and kids in their new house, then drove up to the mountains to clean and organize Tony's dad's house. I worked on the kitchen and the laundry room, sorting things to give away, tossing old food and clearing the cupboards and fridge, while Maiya watched a DVD. Tony was on the roof clearing the raingutters and trimming overgrown pine trees, I have never been so scared in my life. Today, on my agenda is the last 2 homework assignments in my class, Farmer's Market, Trader Joe's, more laundry (ugh), the gym and play with Maiya.
Anyways, I just saw a cool recipe on my stickies, and I don't think I've ever put it on here. It's the easiest oatmeal cookies you will ever make, just 5 ingredients, and I found it on the bax of an oatmeal box. It's one of those easy recipes that a small child can do with you.

Easy Oatmeal Cookies
2 cups oatmeal
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
4 TBS veggie oil
2 TBS maple syrup (i used a low sugar one)

I also added 1 TBS honey, just because i like honey.

So we mixed it all up real well, waited 15 minutes for everything to soak into the oatmeal. Then, drop spoonfuls onto greased cookie sheet into rounds, flatten with a wet fork, then put in oven for 10-12 minutes at 375. Cool, then transfer with a spatula. Need to store in a tight container.

They tasted like soft granola bars. I think some might like them harder, but I liked em kind of soft. It made about 12 cookies. I never knew how easy they were to make.
Okay, well, don't look for me to blog tomorrow. I think I might take a few days off.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Grace on Living for Change (#29)

Maiya Grace with Big Grace in April 2007

Here is an excerpt from Grace Lee Bogg's new article in the Michigan Citizen (Nov. 30-Dec. 6):

"Two weeks ago in my first post- election column, I wrote that I will not be among those organizing or participating in protest demonstrations against Obama’s actions or inactions, trying to hold his feet to the fire. Neither will I wear a hair shirt, regretting that I voted for Obama instead of Ralph Nader or Cynthia McKinney whose policies are more in line with mine.

That is because my support for Obama was never based on his policies or promises which, with few exceptions, are not that different from those of other Democrats. From the outset my eyes were on the people at his rallies, especially the youth who, inspired by his persona and his eloquence, shed the fears instilled by the Nixons, Reagans and Bushes since the 60s and, imbued with a new hope, began organizing on his behalf.

For me, not just Obama’s victory but that transformation of “we the people” from Fear to Hope, from passivity to activity, from looking on as spectators to participating as citizens was what was so historic about this period.

As I wrote last week, “Every time Barack insisted that it was not about him but about us, we were reminded of our potential for becoming a better people and a better country. When he talked about change we can believe in, and we shouted back “Yes we can,” we were discovering the room for growth in ourselves.”

Now that the campaign is over, let’s not turn all our attention to the Oval Office, constantly comparing Obama and his actions or inactions with FDR and the New Deal, refusing to face the reality that our time is not the 30s. and forgetting the millions who were transformed during the campaign and who need to continue this process of transformation into active citizens if we are to save our planet and ourselves.

Instead of throwing billions at the economy in order to get our financial system working again, we need to take steps, however small to begin with, towards creating a local sustainable economy that enables us to work, eat, and take care of our families, bring the neighbor back into the ‘hood. and slow down global warming. Together we can create a local food system, local health clinics, local safety and security committees – and happiness."

Friday, November 28, 2008

Visiting with Family (#28)

Last month, Granny Franny and Zeyde Don came to visit for the weekend. We had dinner with Tony's Grandma Shereley's friends, Uncle Izzy and Aunt Sarah and their daughters at Soup Plantation. We also went to the Farmer's Market and house hunting on Sunday afternoon. That evening, a bunch of family came over for a get together on Fran & Don's last night. We ordered LA Vegan Thai takeout. For some reason, we don't have pictures of Beth, Brian, Erin, Valerie and my parents. Maiya had fun with her godcousin Erin, they were in the playhouse in the dark while the daddy's screamed and shook the playhouse and lit up the night with their cell phones. Fun stuff.

Granny Franny and Maiya playing blocks
Don & Uncle Izzy
Fran, Aunt Sarah and Patty
Fran checking out the chili wreaths at the Farmer's Market
Maiya sampling the plums and Asian pears
Asking Cousin Danika to read "Momotaro"
Maiya's cousin Chris
Visiting with Aunt Gail, cousin Robin and family
Celebrating Fran's 60th

BTW, today, for Buy Nothing Day... we bought a house!
Or, at least we made an offer on one.  Details to follow.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanks-giving (#27)

JK: Happy Thanksgiving Maiya!
MG: I thank-for my mommy and my daddy.

That about sums it up for me.

Here's a little something that showed up on our lunch table at work. It's a cream puff turkey with a coffee flavored tiramisu-like cake inside. It's a good vegetarian alternative!

Happy Thanksgiving

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Read-A-Thon Brings Tears All Around

Today, I went to our Mommy & Me class for our Family Literacy program, the day before Thanksgiving. It's one of the fantastic programs that I manage. It was exciting because we were celebrating National Family Literacy Month and revealing the winner of our Read-A-Thon contest.

When I got there, there were about 10 mommies, and 20-25 children ranging from newborn infants, mostly preschoolers to about 10 years old. They were doing circle time, and singing and dancing together some songs in Spanish. Then, Meliza, our Family Literacy Cordinator, passed out yellow paper shaped like corn or a flower, for people to write down what they were thankful for, and then she was posting them on the bulletin board. Then they moved to lunch, where they talked about things they were thankful for. We ate baloney sandwiches, mac n' cheese, mashed potatoes, and corn. They also had centers for playing with playdough, fall leaves and Thanksgiving foam art, computer games for children, and a cozy reading area.

Then, we all gathered around for the Read-A-Thon, a challenge to read the most number of books during a 3 week period of November. The mommies had to complete a log with the book name, time spent reading the book, and write a report on each book in order to receive credit. They borrowed the books from our Lending Library, the local public library, and from our preschool. They had to write a paragraph what the book was about, then there was a space for the child to scribble or draw a picture related to the story. Meliza had put together a beautiful gift basket for the winner with books, games, gift certificate to Barnes & Noble, makeup kit, and we got these great canvas book bags from our funder First5LA for everyone, with free books and other supplies and gifts inside, with treat bags and balloons for each child.

The winner read 123 books in the last few weeks. When Cecilia and her 4 children were announced the winners, her oldest boy, about 10 years old, started yelling, and doing some crazy break dance moves right there on the floor, like he was a caterpillar, shocking everyone with his excitement. He started crying, and then Cecilia started crying and smiling, and then the 2nd son maybe 8-9 years old started to cry, and then the older girl, maybe 5 years old also started to cry. And then, the entire room was crying. I couldn't understand a word of what was happening, but happy tears were streaming down my face.

Cecilia came to this country about a year ago with her 4 children, and joined our Family Literacy program. Her oldest son forgot how to read shortly after arriving and during a difficult adjustment to a new culture and a new life. Cecilia explained how her son couldn't read, but then through this Read-A-Thon and being in the Family Literacy program, of which one of the 4 components is to engage in literacy activities with your children, he remembered how to read, and that is what she was thankful for. (Adriana, the preschool director explained to me that this is common when children are trying to learn a new language, that they forget how to read in the home language.) She said that the time they spent reading brought their family together. So it was far more important than the prize, but how it changed and changes their family.

As a group, our mommies read 559 books in just 3 weeks. For our mommies, who attend English, computer and parenting classes with us 5 days a week, engage in interactive literacy activities at home, and send their children to our preschool or our family child care providers, it is indeed these success stories that make our work so meaningful.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

$1.99 and 100% (#25)

I saw unleaded gas for $1.99 today! Oh, actually, we saw no-brand name gas for $1.75 in Pasadena this weekend. And in other good news, I woke up at 4:30 this morning to study, and just finished my online exam for my class, got 100%. Yay!

And, here's a random photo...
Me & Maiya stage managing the Manzanar Pilgrimage, April 2007

NaBloPoMo #25, 5 more to go!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Today's MG-isms (#24)

In the car this morning: Mommy, when I am 4 years old I want to go on a airplane. I want to go on a airplane to Granny Franny's house. Can I go to Granny Franny's house? Is it very far away?

In the car tonight:
JK: Did you know that Thanksgiving is this week?
MG: I thanks-ful for Mommy and Daddy.

Laughing hysterically at a Greg & Steve Song:
MG: Mommy, I can't stop laughing at this funny song! (Pause) Mommy, L says that I am not funny. She says that H is a funny boy, but I am not a funny girl. But I AM funny!
JK: What? Maiya, you are very funny. You're the funniest girl I know.
MG: I know!

Mommy cooking dinner tonight (Hamburger Helper--ground turkey stroganoff):
MG: Mommy is not a very good cook.
JK: Maiya, just because I don't cook very often doesn't mean I'm not a good cook.
MG: But daddy is a good cook... and you're a good cleaner!
JK: Oh.
MG: But daddy isn't a very good cleaner, is he?
JK: Hmm. You're right. Daddy isn't a very good cleaner but he is a good cook.

Just now on the 1973 red rotary dial phone (not plugged in) next to me: "Hi Kaylee, where are you? Grandma Machi's house? Oh, hold on a minute. Mommy, she's at Grandma Machi's house. Umm, Kaylee? Are you working with Grandma Machi? Oh, you are? Mommy, she's working with Grandma Machi. Uh huh, what are you doing? Auntie Gayle's there? Oh! So? Oh are you having fun there? No? Mommy she's not having fun there. Oh? She said yes. She changed her mind mommy. Bye bye."

Right now she is reading all the numbers on the channel labels for our vintage 9" Sharp TV. Ok, I got to get this girl in the bath and to bed. Then I have to read and outline a chapter and study for Exam #2 in my class. Have to complete it tonight or tomorrow.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Farmer's Market Field Trip

I'm taking an Early Childhood Education online class. Here are some photos from my trip to the Farmer's Market today with one of my classmates. We're doing a group project, planning a field trip to the Farmer's Market. So these photos are for Group B - Lauren, Zarina and Janay. You can click on any of the photos for more detail.

Generic Farmer's Market photos:
Food Samples for children to taste:
Apples (& things you can make from apples):
The Honey Bee Booth and Display:
Arts and Craft for Kids:
Farmer's Market/Community Awareness:
*Brownies collecting "Pennies for Peace"

*Fire Dept Pancake B-fast for Toys for Tots:Kids at the FM:
Flowers (Kids Pick One Free):
There are learning opportunities everywhere, even at the Farmer's Market.
  • We saw a dad say to his girls, "Hey look at this--this is how bees collect honey (science)."
  • We saw kids waiting in line to pay with dollar bills in their hands (math/social).
  • We saw kids water coloring painting with leaves and experimenting with salt (art).
  • Kids are exposed to 7 different kinds of plums, and can taste the different varieties (science/math).
  • We learned that all of the food vendors accept WIC from low-income families (community).
  • We saw a toddler dancing to music from a DJ (music).
  • Another toddler was pointing to the letters on one of the posters (early literacy).
And it's all about eating organic and locally grown, healthy fruits and vegetables.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

A Busy Saturday (#22)

Busy day today. Got up about 7:30, blogged, ate a little breakfast, then me and Maiya went to Cousin Kaylee's soccer game. Very hot day, but fun to watch the little girls run around and play soccer. Maiya was getting overheated, so we went back to the cool side of the town, picked up Ono's Hawaiian BBQ for lunch, 99 cents worth of frozen yogurt, got gas (only $46!), then went to Uncle Bill's to have lunch. When Tony got back from dialysis with Larry, we went over to Mike & Laura's to help them unpack from their move to their new house. It was fun watching the 3 kids and helping, but overall a pretty long and tiring day.

So I'm running low on things to share for NaBloPoMo. Anyone have any requests? I'll try to be more energetic tomorrow or at least write something more meaningful, but right now I'm even boring myself. Yawn. Oh yeah, I have to get up at 5am to pick up Lily from the airport. Night all.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Losing Steam (Backposting NaBloPoMo #21)

Ok, I missed it again. NaBloPoMo. Not sure why I feel the need to justify... worked until 5:50 pm yesterday, then picked up Maiya from preschool and got to Uncle Bill's house by 6:55 pm. Sat on the couch maybe 5 minutes, then got on the computer until Tony called me for dinner. Spaghetti with Prego sauce, can't go wrong there. Got back on the computer to finish 2 homework assignments due tonight. Did I mention this online class is kicking my butt? I finished the two assignments after midnight while Tony & Maiya watched Kung Fu Panda, but didn't finish the reading for the 2nd exam which needs to be taken 11/23-11/25 and then did some online shopping and left Uncle Bill's about 1 am. Here's what I bought:

For KO Family: "Connection Parenting: Parenting Through Connection Instead of Coercion, Through Love Instead of Fear, 2nd Edition" Pam Leo; Paperback
For Jenni: "In Between Dreams"Jack Johnson; Audio CD
For Maiya: "Snack Time" Barenaked Ladies; Audio CD
For Tony: Not sharing. I think I'll give it to him for Christmas, but he put it in my shopping cart back in June.

Well I have a full day. We're going to Kaylee's soccer game, then helping M&L move and unpack, and I have to find time to read the last 2 chapters for my exam. Before I go, here's another 2 vintage photos from June 2005 (4 months old).
There's NaBloPoMo #21.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Ack #20!

Ack! I just realized that I missed NaBloPoMo #20! Well, I worked until 5:45pm, picked up Maiya, sat in traffic and got home at 7:20 pm, got on the computer, ate dinner, had a phone conference call meeting for a group project in my class from 8:30 till 10pm, then fell asleep on the couch watching ER.

Soooo, I'm backdating this post to 11/20. Not that anyone noticed. Or cares. Why we give ourselves these pressures to do certain things that don't really matter, is just beyond me.

And just for the heck of it, here's a classic photo that I love from October 2006 when it was all about the monkeys.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Rockett & Zoe @ Naya's (#19)

We had fun at Zoe & Rockett's Bday a few weeks ago at Naya's Garden, a very cool, independent indoor play place in Silverlake. Lots of cute kiddies, and great food. It was nice to see a lot of friends from work and their kiddies, as well as people like Sona and her parents J & J, who we haven't seen in ages.

Zoe (2) & Rockett (3)Can you just feel the fun?

Oh, got to run. Maiya's waking up from a late nap. She fell asleep on the table eating string cheese and green olive bread at 5:30 tonight.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Reminiscing with Ladan E. (#18)

Maiya and I met Ladan for dinner tonight at Zip Fusion Sushi. What a trip to see a good friend from 26, yes my young friends, 26 years ago. And no, we weren't childhood friends, we actually met back in 1982, our first days in college. Ladan and Takae lived across the hall from me and my roommate Maura. We had a lot of fun in those days, hanging out, studying together, eating bad dorm food, dancing to new wave and punk music, shopping at Express, going to Penguin's for frozen yogurt, Tommies for chiliburgers, and really, growing up together. Then 2 years in the dorms, we lived in the same apartment building for awhile.

We figured out that it has been 21 years since we've seen each other, many moons ago. It's so hard where to start when you haven't seen someone in that long. It's like, "Ok, so fill me in on the last TWO decades of your life!" and "Oh! I ran into so and so, oh gosh I guess it was like 10 years ago." It's also interesting to be having a grown up conversation with someone who remembers you as a naive 17 year old. But it was easy to pick up almost where we left off and joke around. Neither of us is the same person we were back then, a lot of water has passed under the bridge, but yet the essence of who we are deep down inside never really changes, does it?

Note to Ladan: It was so awesome to see you. Let's not wait another 20 years before we get together again. When I got home, I pulled out an old photo album that is falling apart, and found 3 photos of us. I'll try to scan them and get them to you. The 2nd photo of you above, was taken by Maiya. Jenni :)