Friday, March 28, 2008

Where's Daddy?

Lately Maiya has been asking where's Daddy? The answer is that he's at a baseball game or practice--at least 3 days a week. Tony is helping his friend Danny coach his son Matthew's baseball team. Tony & Danny played together when they were kids. It's been a rough season so far... but they have a lot of games in the season, and I hear they're improving. I'm hoping he will blog about the experience.

Tony bought Maiya her first baseball and glove and she really loves it. Here we are at a game a few weeks ago.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Weekend Update: Easter

Maiya's homemade bunny basket from preschool

Visiting Teacher Jessie at former childcare center for Easter party

At the Santa Monica Pier after lobster lunch for Uncle Bill's BDay

Calling Grandma Machi to tell her we're going to the Farmer's Market.

Easter dinner in the backyard

On Saturday, we went to The Lobster for Uncle Bill's bday lunch at the Santa Monica Pier. Afterwards, I went to get my haircut, bought some new shoes and clothes for my upcoming trip to Kentucky. It will be my first time away from Maiya overnight--first time in her life I'll be gone for longer than 17 hours.

On Sunday morning, I cleaned the backyard, then Maiya & I went to the Farmer's Market while Daddy stayed home moving around furniture. Yes, again. When we got back, Auntie Keiko was over, so we went to lunch with her. Maiya & I played pretend preschool for several hours. I was appointed to be the teacher and she was the student. Daddy made Tuna Noodle Casserole using his Grandma Chie's recipe for dinner. After dinner, we hid Easter eggs in the backyard until it got dark. Then, all too quickly, the weekend was over.

Monday, March 24, 2008

93 yrs young

I have 3 amazing friends over 93 years old. One is Detroit-activist Grace Lee Boggs, another is Mamie Kirkland, who is Nobuko & Tarabu's mom. And then there is Fred, who I have worked with on the JACS Board for the past 6 years.

Fred with folks from LTSC

3 & 93

A few weeks ago, Maiya and I went to Fred Hoshiyama's 93rd Birthday Celebration and event for the Fred Hoshiyama Asian Leadership Fund. Fred has been associated with the YMCA for over 60 years, and continues to train YMCA executive directors around the country, having been retired for 28 years. Fred has the gift of inspiring and challenging people to do more, give more, and to make a difference. Since last year, they have already raised $188,000 (or was it $288K?) for the fund in his name.

Saturday, March 22, 2008


Lately I'm into the Bento thing for Maiya's lunch. I've been surfing a lot of Bento websites. Flower PB&J, flower cheese & cukes, baby carrots, Farmer's Market strawberries, all organic, except the cukes.

Frugally Green List

My friend Tracie created this list. I thought it was great as a guide. Many of these things I try to do, or know I should, but don't do them consistently. I'm going to mark the ones I think I can do and add my comments. My proudest conversion/achievement is the recent change in #27.

The Frugally Green List by Tracie
1. Buy less stuff.*
2. Buy in bulk.
3. Reuse jars and containers to store bulk goods.
4. Reuse foil and baggies if you must use them. (* We still have foil from our wedding picnic 10 years ago! We often go many months to a year without any paper towels - and try to buy the recycled unbleached ones if we do)
5. Use glass containers for food storage. (* Tony has wanted to do this in the past, but Maiya's snacks/leftovers for lunch are plastic. We do have one of those stainless steel stacking lunchboxes, but it needs to have dry/non-leakable items)
6. Drink filtered tap water, rather than buying it in bottles.*
7. Use biodegradable bar soap.
8. Clean floors with vinegar, straw brooms, and microfiber towels.*
9. Clean mirrors and dust with microfiber towels. (*Yikes! I only dust a few times a year!)
10. Eat little or no meat. (*I need to be better about this)
11. Send email cards rather than greeting cards.
12. Dry clothes on line. (*Before Maiya, I used to do this pretty regularly, but lately, and in winter, we dry a lot at night)
13. Use homemade laundry detergent or half of the recommended amount. (*We have high efficiency front loader so we do this)
14. Use cloth napkins. (*We do this for daily use, but I buy paper napkins for parties)
15. Use baking soda and vinegar to clean bathrooms. (*Oops. Our bathroom is rarely cleaned. See a pattern?)
16. Buy clothes secondhand. (*I bought Maiya a bunch of clothes for Christmas on eBay)
17. Repair anything that you can, rather than buying new.
18. Turn off lights and electronics not in use and Unplug. (*I try to turn stuff off, but we leave the hall light on all night--at least our lights are compact fluorescent)
19. Pack a lunch. Don't buy fast food. (*Hmm. I bring lunch 1-2 times a week. I can try to increase.)
20. Buy fair trade. (*When I see it. Trader Joe's makes this easier.)
21. Buy local whenever possible. (*We need to do the Farmer's Market weekly)
22. Use salt water for mouthwash. (*I don't use mouthwash)
23. Turn down the thermostat and put on a sweater. (*Ok. Luckily it's getting warmer so this is easier now)
24. Clean the lint filter on your dryer once a month with soap and water if you use fabric softener. Your dryer will last much longer. (*Never knew this)
25. Turn off the water when brushing your teeth. (*Reminds me to be on Maiya more about leaving the water on full blast when washing her hands)
26. Fill a milk jug with water and place in the toilet reservoir. Flushing will use less water. (*We have a low flush toilet)
27. Use Scott toilet tissue-it's 1 ply. (*Me and Maiya have been using homemade "family wipes" (cut up her old receiving blankets which I had cut up to use as burp cloths) for #1 the last few weeks. I'm over the "moon" about that! I rinse, hang to dry, then wash)
28. Reuse towels after the shower. (*Not a problem. We use about 1-2 weeks or until stinky)
29. Don't buy books. Borrow from the library or friends. (*I maybe buy 3-4 books a year for myself, and I've been buying books for Maiya from yard sales)
30. Use 2-n-1 shampoo & conditioner. It works just as well and buy one less plastic bottle.
31. Wear glasses rather than disposable contacts that require you to use saline solution.
32. Cook in a crock pot.
33. Make your own salad dressing. (*My mom used to do this when we were kids)
34. Don't buy shredded cheeses or precut veggies. (*Uh oh. I buy pre-cut & frozen veggies)
35. Grow a garden. (*Mmm, it's been several years since I had my garden, which I LOVED. I miss it, but I used to spendat least an hour a morning on it and with all I have to do to get Maiya out of the house in the mornings, I just don't see doing it. Maybe I can do potted tomatoes in the front yard?)
36. Freeze or can food.
37. Compare unit prices in the grocery store. (*Of course. But sometimes it's better to buy small if it's going to take too long to use before going bad)
38. Buy fewer cardboard boxes. *
39. Use razors that only need the blade replaced. Disposable razors are wasteful & expensive. (*I use about 1 blade a year. My razor is over 20 years old, which says how often I shave.)
40. Use rain water to water plants and garden.
41. Compost. (*We bury/toss/compost veggie scraps in the backyard)
42. Buy generic.
43. Stock up when things are on sale.
44. Use baking soda to clean oven. (*You're supposed to clean the oven?)
45. Don't use paper plates, cups, or napkins. (*This is hard for larger parties)
46. Never use styrofoam. (*We don't buy it, but I've been thinking of bringing my own containers for restaurant leftovers. Take-out is another story--eating at a restaurant is probably better than takeout)
47. Wrap gifts in cloth or recycled materials.
48. Use cloth grocery bags. (*Yes! I keep a small folding bag in my purse and lots of canvas bags in my car)
49. Don't use plastic produce bags. Take your own small bags or don't use at all--I'm amazed at how many people I see putting their BANANAS in plastic bags. WHY? *
50. Use a reel mower rather than a gas powered one.
51. Contact those sending you unwanted mail and ask them to stop. (*Need to do)
52. Borrow and trade magazines rather than having them sent to you new.
53. Only buy newspapers when you need them or have time to read them. (*We don't get the paper)
54. Reconsider your hair. (Can you cut it yourself? Do you really need it colored?) (*I do cut my bangs, and haven't cut my hair in 1 1/2 years, maybe 2, but it needs it bad).
55. Use the back sides of paper.
56. Only buy quality toys.
57. Buy handmade.
58. Don't print what you can read on your computer.
59. Use ceiling fans.
60. Replace light bulbs with compact fluorescents. (*Done)
61. Use cash/envelope system for budgeting.
62. Plan menu for weeks or months at a time.
63. Feed the freezer-make several batches of meals and freeze for future reheating.
64. Install low flow faucets and/or flow restrictors.(*Done)
65. Fix leaks.
66. Insulate doors and windows.
67. Make your own yogurt.
68. Don't wash clothes that are clean and could be worn again. *
69. Clean refrigerator coils.
70. Make your own coffee, rather than going through a drive-thru.
71. Avoid traffic jams at all costs.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Egg-citing Fun!

Sorry for the lack of posts lately. I have a ton of cute photos piling up. I've been sick, phlegmy and bronchial the last few weeks since the marathon and am having continual back/leg/glut pain. Anyways, on my day off today, I went to see my chiropractor/healer/friend for some accupuncture, and then we had fun making colored eggs.

We did it the old fashioned way, with vinegar, food coloring and a crayon. We made eggs that said "PEACE" and "HAPA EGG" (1/2 pink, 1/2 green), and a bunch with our names and drawings on them. Even more fun was crack n' peeling them for our after nap snack. And now, it's photo sharing time.

5 Years of War in Iraq

Here's a vintage blog - 5 years ago today... a lot going on in my life back 5 years ago if you want to take a peek from my March 2003 Blog.

March 19, 2003 - Stop the Bombing

Art by Weston

The big bad bully launched his war tonight. After work, Tony and I drove down to the Federal Building in Westwood to join in the call for peace. We thought there would be many more people there, but they had only started the bombing about 10 minutes before we got there. I'm guessing many more people will be gathering there tomorrow nite. I feel mad, especially when I hear people talk about standing behind the President, and when I see the misinformation lies the mainstream media puts out. Stop the bombing.

Here's an excerpt of Michael Moore's letter to George Bush: "The majority of Americans -- the ones who never elected you -- are not fooled by your weapons of mass distraction. We know what the real issues are that affect our daily lives -- and none of them begin with I or end in Q. Here's what threatens us: two and a half million jobs lost since you took office, the stock market having become a cruel joke, no one knowing if their retirement funds are going to be there, gas now costs almost two dollars -- the list goes on and on. Bombing Iraq will not make any of this go away. Only you need to go away for things to improve."

$2 a gallon for gas? Cough, cough. I paid $3.79 the other day. Peace. Out.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Tony Blogs About the Bike Marathon

Hello Everyone,

Last Sunday was the L.A. Bike Marathon. Thank you to everyone who pledged. With your help, over $700 was raised for Great Leap.

Riding with Glen Kitayama (in at least his tenth marathon ride), I finished in about 2 hours. We kept a comfortable pace that was slow enough to maintain a conversation. Pedaling around the city safe from cars, stop signs and red lights was a pleasure. It hints at what large scale bike commuting could be if given priority.

This year I rode an 18-speed mountain bike with 100 psi slicks. Pedaling was easier than on last year's 3 speed folding bike. Only the skinny little seat gave me trouble. Ouch!

After the ride Glen and I skipped the long line to get our medals and headed straight over to Tak's Coffee Shop at the Crenshaw Square. Chicken wings and eggs hit the spot as much as that soft vinyl booth did.

By 10 am I made it home to Maiya and a very sick Jenni. Both walked the marathon's 5K. For details on their adventure, check out

Monday, March 03, 2008

Marathon Fever!

Well, we did it. Maiya, Tony & I raised about $1,100 for Great Leap this weekend in the LA Marathon Bike Ride and 5K. I was running a fever on Saturday night through Sunday night. It was a busy & crazy weekend. Considering that I had insomnia, neverending sinus drip and a fever the night before, we did pretty well. I was up from midnight to 3:30 am, woke up at 4:30 am, woke up Maiya just after 6am, got her dressed and out of the house, through Marathon traffic, arriving at 7am, and meeting Nobuko and the other Great Leapers.

Here we are waiting for the start of the LA Marathon 5K - 7:15 am

Great Leapers walking for Great Leap at the start line

Early and in good spirits (still)

I love that we were on Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.

Maiya eating a granola bar at Mile 1

Maiya was in good spirits for the first mile. When we went under the freeway, it was dark and people were hooting and hollering and I felt that pride of emotion that I get when I see ice skating, or a corny commercial. I didn't want to get her out of the stroller too early, because I knew that she wouldn't go back in, even if she got tired.

Finally free! I let her out of the stroller after the halfway point

So I let her out, just after 1 1/2 miles and that's when the meltdown began. She insisted on pushing the stroller, which meant going from side to side because it's too big for her to control. She was miserable, whining and refusing to get back in the stroller. Walking sideways, hanging on the stroller, pulling on my jacket, wanting to be carried...

JK: Maiya, let's sing a song, "A, B, C, D..."
MG: No song Mommy. Stop singing!

JK: Should we march? (Starting to march)
MG: No marching!!

MG: Mommy I hungry!
JK: Here's some apples I brought.
MG: No apples.
JK: Well, do you want cereal?
MG: No! No cereal!
JK: I have oranges.
MG: No! I no want oranges!!! I want bar!
JK: You've eaten 3 granola bars already. No more granola bars.
And on and on.

Can't believe we made it to Mile 3 - notice our matching sweats

Nobuko helped by pushing the stroller the last mile. Then thankfully, I could see the freeway overpass. So I told Maiya that we just had to make it under the freeway and around the corner to the finish line. That helped both of us, having a goal. Then while taking pictures at the Mile 3 marker, we ran into our friend and yoga teacher, Krishna, and the Yoga for Youth group. That was pretty exciting.

Our friends from the Black Yoga Teachers Assn - Yoga 4 Youth
Krishna on the far right

Exposition Park at the Finish Line! We did it in 1 hour 15 minutes.

Showing off our medals

Maiya showing me how she really feels

We finished at 1 hour, 15 minutes, and crossed the finish line together and stood in line to get our medals. In all, I'd say she walked about 1-1/2 miles this year. Then, Maiya had to go poo poo, so she unfortunately had her first experience in an Andy Gump--not pleasant. Anyways, by then I was drained. We got home about 9:30 am, and I was in bed shortly after that for the rest of the day and night. My fever peaked at 101.3 at about 5pm. Tony took Maiya to Jessica's Bday party for me.

So will we do it again next year? I'll have to think about it. But Maiya proudly wore her Marathon pin to preschool the next day. And, if I'm going to wake up that early, I'm going to do it for Great Leap.

BIG THANKS to all the generous friends who sponsored Kuida-Osumi in this year's Marathon.