Thursday, July 30, 2009

9 Pix of 3 Kids on a Hot Summer Night

Which one is your favorite?
Photos taken by Tony on a hot summer night in Pasadena.

Pasadena's Charming Obon

My summer thing is to go to as many Obons as possible, or at least go to some new ones every year. Last year, we did 8 Obon days... this year we're falling slightly behind, but we've done it while also going to Crestline to work on Larry's house 3 times this July. So far this year, we've been to Senshin, Venice Carnival, Nishi, Venice, Pasadena and West LA this year. I also enjoy doing a little compare and contrast, pointing out my favorites of each one, as each one is so different.
So Pasadena was my favorite this year, I think because it was my first time. It's not a very big one, compared to other obons, and they don't have a lot of games. But, it had a real small town feel and was very charming. For one, there were mature pine trees in a very old parking lot and the buildings are well-worn, so it had a rustic vibe, with the mountains close by. There didn't seem to be a lot of visitors from other obons you often see dancing, but seemed to be mostly locals (Mike saw several of his relatives there).
The Food: Their Spam Musubi far surpasses any other I've had, with good tasting teriyaki Spam, and some kind of green salty nori inside, good rice texture, and a steal, at $1.50 for a pair. I didn't taste the chicken ($7) but the kids liked it, and they had real roasted corn ($2), inside the husks, which was really tasty. Chow mein was Nisei-style, said Tony. It had a handful of pan fried noodles with vegetables, beef and sauce on top. They had a delicious cold somen ($4), which was great on a hot evening, and the kids loved it. I salivated over, but passed by the red velvet cupcakes and other baked treats. Maiya enjoyed shave ice ($2) I forget which flavor, and Amani & Leela had the pink lemonade shave ice. Texture was ok, but the flavor was sweet, and prices were lower than most. A nice touch was the free cold mugicha.
Another thing I liked was the odori intermission taiko performance. I thought it was the temple's group, but they turned out to be from Norwalk. I did enjoy dancing the last few dances with Laura, Leela and Maiya, although Maiya was upset because she didn't start dancing until the last song, and wanted to go back to get her odori clothes and I told her she didn't have time. Another nice thing was the encouragement for non-dancers like myself to go out and just have fun. Anyways, I enjoyed the evening--you could feel the love there on a balmy Sunday night in Pasadena.

Next post will be some cute pictures of the kids that Tony took, and I still need to post pictures from a few other obons, but it's late, and it's been a long day.

Monday, July 20, 2009

For Zeebah

For some reason, I thought of Zeebah, who is expecting twins with her partner, when I saw this video of Maiya at the dinner table from a few months ago and I thought she would enjoy it. Maybe it's just a glimpse what's to come.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Visitors and Playtime

A few weeks ago, Lianne came over with Baby Alia. She's a cutie, huh?
Later that afternoon, Lauren came over for a playdate.
Maiya and Lauren have been friends since they were 9 months old.
Lauren and Maiya talking into the cassette recorder.
Lauren and Maiya kicking it at the park.
Helping daddy change bike tires in the backyard.

Did I mention we got a new card reader? Lots of back(b)log on the photos.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Friendly faces at Nishi Obon 2009

Welcome to the Nishi Obon!
Preschoolers behind the stage waiting to perform.

Peanut, peanut butter, and jelly!
Maiya Grace in her yukata
The Cousins' Entourage
Snowcone #1 (Rainbow) - with Tula & her friend from Boston
Odori break with Grandma & Grandpa's Snowcone (#2)
Sharing snow cones (#3) made by Daddy with Skyler Mari-chan

Nishi Obon this year was really about family and friends. So, thank you to Auntie Keiko, Chiz, Grandma Machi, Auntie Gayle, Kieth, Kaylee, Ronnie, Leeta, Uncle Darin, Auntie Sao, Kyle, Kevin, their bachan and grandpa, Auntie Nobuko, Emily, Scott, Tula and their friends from Boston for coming to see Maiya's class perform. Then later, after we ate, Grandpa Walt, Kaz, Skyler, Baby Gavin & their bachan & grandpa (I forget what you call grandpa in Japanese) came to join us in odori dancing. Thanks everyone for coming long distances on such a hot day.

Tony took the shift in the Preschool Snow Cone booth this year. We saw lots of friends at obon this year, and it was fun to see all the preschool parents and kids enjoying/working the obon. We were there for over 6 hours and it was a hot and exhausting day... no nap for the weary, well, actually daddy took a nap in the air conditioned bingo room, but Maiya sure could have used one. Her mood went up and down throughout the day, down when we said no more games, and up when friends came or snowcones appeared. We did participate in more dancing this year, about 6-7 dances. Daddy joined us at the end for some tanko bushi, One plus One and the Shiawata Samba (?). We love summer, and we love Obon.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Backyard fun

Over the past few weeks, I have cleaned and moved Maiya's playhouse closer to the house. It was full of spiders and spider webs, and not used much. I also put some of our small pots next to the house to make it homier. Here is Maiya with her new garden window--beets and onion chives. She and her rabbit Kasha would love for you to visit.On Sunday, Maiya hosted a "7th birthday party" to herself, a few years early. Auntie Keiko brought over some new-out-of-the-box vintage toys, actual Tupperware Toys from 1979 and 1980. So we had a little fruit & cake party.
And this morning, we picked a ripe tomato and cucumber from our garden. The garden itself is not doing too well, I think it'll take a year or two to get the rich organic soil that I am hoping for. But, the compost is cooking, so hopefully that will make for a better garden next year.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

4th Weekend

Nice to have a long weekend. Thursday, I was off and took Maiya to the LTSC work picnic. She had a good time. Then we went to swim class, worked out and over to The Wood Cafe for an all-organic dinner.

On Friday, we went up to Crestline to continue with clearing out Tony's dad's house. It's probably our 5th or 6th trip there. We made a lot of progress this time, sorting through things to keep, donate, recycle, give away, donating many boxes of things to the local thrift shop, and bringing home all the recycling. After we went to the thrift store, Tony went at it with the weed wacker, and I took Maiya to Lake Gregory for the first time. It was cute, it had a little beach. She had a lot of fun playing in the water and playing in the sand, err, dirt. Water was cold, but the day was hot in the sun. And I got to read a little of my book, "On Gold Mountain." On our way home, we stopped and had dinner with Mike in his front yard and hang out for a bit.
For the 4th, Tula, Scott and Emily (of Detroit/Boston/Seattle/LA) came by and we went to Jackson Market for lunch. The girls had a great time playing and spending time together. Me & Maiya went to the Culver City High School fireworks. We went with the little girls next door and their family. It was freezing out there on the soccer field, but we got to lay down and watch the fireworks. Maiya loved it. I wasn't so crazy about the America-rah rah, but I did like the green peace fireworks and the happy face fireworks, which I've never seen before.

Today, more cleaning and purging over here. Farmer's market, grocery shopping, laundry, all that fun stuff. Then tomorrow, it's back to work.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

3 Hats

With other parents from Proyecto Pastorale

I went to the Early Learning Advocacy Day in Sacramento earlier this month and I was proud to wear 3 hats, one from Little Tokyo Service Center's Child Development program, the Asian and Pacific Islanders California Action Network, and as parent of a 4 year old preschooler. The morning was a mixture of speakers in the ECE field, parents, business community, and politicians. I learned that California is now 47th in the nation in per child spending, and will soon be 49th. We learned about updates on several bills and legislation.

I also sat up and listened when Carl Guardino from the Silicon Valley Leadership Group talked about the tale of two "states," the "haves and have nots" and the 3.1 million Latino/a children and their high school exit stats vs. white children. His advice to show how we in early childhood education "add value to the State of California" was a very clear message. I was also inspired by Kris Perry, the ED of First 5 California, who spoke about the "children who need preschool the most, don't have access to it."

We also spent the morning preparing for our legislative visits in the afternoon, my first time... my group went to visit Assemblymember John Perez' office. We had 3 parents from Boyle Heights in our group and it was wonderful to hear their stories and share in their first visit to Sacramento.

Overall, being part of close to 400 people from all over the state coming together was really special. The day helped me reflect on our infant toddler program in downtown LA and our preschool in Echo Park/Angelina Heights and feel proud about the work that we are doing with children and parents in our Family Literacy program.