Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve this year was at Letty & Paul's new house.
 The gift exchange was pretty fun this year.   
 Maiya stole Nick's Fart Book.  She has memorized the book.
Maiya with Mrs. Ayala and the PEACE blanket she made for Maiya.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Holidays @ Work

I always say that there are like 7 or 8 potluck events and parties at my work during the holidays.  
This year, I think there were actually more than 10 events.  Here are a few of them.
Navidad en el Barrio - we packed and distributed 125 baskets of food. 
I went in on a Saturday after being out sick 3 days from work.
Santa Claus came and gave out toys to the children.
He was like a rock star.
Santa's Angelina Groupies
Our preschool Children's Holiday Performance
 Run, Run, Rudolph!
Singing "Feliz Navidad"

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Tree trimming with Tula

Our friends Scott and Tula from Detroit came over a few days before Christmas.  Tula and Maiya put up our tree.  It was a 3 foot tree, actually maybe 2 feet tall with a foot long stick at the top.  Since it was pouring rain when we got the tree over the weekend, we just grabbed it and ran it to the car.  It was so small it fit in the backseat.  We had it drying out in the garage for a few days and finally put up the tree 3 days before Christmas with Tula's help.  We put it on a cooler... it only needed one strand of lights and about 1/4 of my ornaments.  
 Tony made me this Peace Sign out of lights and rope and wire.  He had bought the wire last year.  This year I bought some solar lights that go on the bushes.  I was pretty excited about the peace lights.  So are the girls in the window, can you see them?
*P * E * A * C * E *

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Hanukkah 2010

Here are Tony and Maiya making a homemade candle after reading the Hanukkah book "One Candle."  The book is about the story of two sisters who made their own secret Hanukkah candle out of potato, butter and twisted threads while WW2 prisoners.  They then make the candle and share the story with their grandchildren every year at Hanukkah.
Opening Hanukkah presents from Bubbe Fran and Zeyde Don from Idaho.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Seeking Playdate for Maiya's Japanese Restaurant (#28)

Help us please.  Anyone want to come over to Maiya's Japanese Restaurant?  Maiya asks us to come to Maiya's Japanese Restaurant every day, several times a day. Please come to our house. Tony and I would appreciate it.  The menu is consistent.  We will even give you some homemade cash to pay for your food.  Irrashai!
Then afterwards, you can play with her and her friends (see purse below).

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Small Biz Saturday... Jenni's Gift Ideas (#27)

Did you know that today, the day after the shop-until-you-drop-day-after-Thanksgiving-day is Small Business Saturday?  It's the first I've heard of it, but I'm all for it!  Let's support our small, internet and home-based businesses, especially those offering green gift items.  Thought I'd share a few gift ideas for the season.

Here's a new Goodbyn lunchbox Maiya's getting for Christmas (don't tell her).  Well it won't be a total shock since she picked the color.  This is a growing, but home-based husband and wife business.  They are 25% off until Monday, November 29.
Here's a website that I like that offers a lot of cloth and other types of bags...

And you know about Great Leap's B.Y.O Chopstix for sale at Blacklava right?  A portion of the proceeds help support nonprofit arts as well as help to sustain the earth.
I know you've seen the video, but in case you haven't... 
help us spread the word about bringing your own chopsticks when you eat at Asian food places.  
For some community-based gift ideas, here is a book "Nanka Nikkei Voices 4: The Japanese American Family" published by the Japanese American Historical Society of Southern California.  This is a project that I helped out on the editorial team for the past 2 years or so that was finally finished a few months ago.  Both Tony and I have several pieces in the book, including the original 101 Ways to Tell You're Japanese American.  It's not available online that I know of, but you can get it by sending a check or money order to:  JAHSSC, P.O. Box 3164, Torrance, CA 90510.  For info email
Also, the Little Tokyo Historical Society (you can find them on FB) is selling a Little Tokyo calendar, with past, present and future images of Little Tokyo.  The cover and inside features Tony's Little Tokyo Mural.  It's not the picture below, but it's from the same day.
And finally, if you're in Orange County, go visit the beautiful Plant Depot, a family-owned nursery and boutique in San Juan Capistrano owned by my cousin Jackie's family.  You have to go see their beautiful fish pond.


Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thxgiving 2010 (#25)

Went to my mom and dad's house for Thanksgiving after watching Scott Pilgrim, not a movie about the pilgrims.  Tony & Maiya went to see Uncle Bill, then went over to his Aunt Janice's house for Turkey Day.  Auntie Keiko and I went to my mom's, then Tony & Maiya came later as we were just finishing up eating.  After, we went to the Ayala-Vera's (Letty & Paul's new house).  Didn't break out the camera there, but it was nice to see everyone.
 There's always an adults table 
 And of course the kids table.  My generation's table was in between the two
 Gayle's MIL Diane and her sister Aunt Marge
Kids had a lot of fun with oldest cousins Shannon & Ryan
Maiya with Auntie Keiko

And for those who read my blog yesterday and wondered what I ate, here it is.  Breakfast/lunch:  carrots  and hummus.  Appetizers:  about 3 tortilla chips with salsa, carrots with brie (instead of bread), olives.  Dinner: Mashed potatoes, green beans, ruttabaga (sp?), Italian sausage, broccoli & asparagus, corn, fruits (then back for seconds).  No turkey, I don't usually eat turkey anyways... it's the gravy and stuffing I really missed this year.  Dessert:  one bite of Maiya's banana cream pie and one bite of pumpkin pie.  Then at Letty's had one tiny slice of pumpkin roll cake with cream cheese (she said she made it for me because I LOVE it... ahh I could have eaten 10 slices).

Oh, and for the dorkiness... it's the Turkey Singalong.  Don't you wish you were there?
There you have it.  NaBloPoMo#Turkey#25.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Just in time--for health (#24)

So, I've been dealing with asthma since the end of August.  I used to have it when I was a kid.  It seems like I always had some form of exercise-induced asthma during my lifetime.  But in the past few years it has emerged every time after having a cold, which tends to drag on way too long.  This time, it has stayed around for almost 3 months.  I went to my doctor a couple of times and was prescribed two inhalers, given Prednisone, which didn't work, and then when I had to keep coming in for treatments and getting new medications, I got a nebulizer which helped.  But I wanted to wean off the nebulizer when it seemed like I was getting it under control.  But the coughing attacks, phlegm and wheezing didn't end.  I was still taking the daily inhaler, and the "emergency" inhaler several times a day and I don't know how many bags of cough drops I have gone through in the past few months.

I started going back to yoga after a 5 year break.  While I don't have energy to do the treadmill right now, a beginner Hatha class at the Y, I can handle.  After a bad week, I emailed my doctor again asking some questions and looking for advice.  Her suggestion was to do another round of steroids and switch to a different asthma medication.  More of the same, which hasn't really helped.  That did it.

Finally, a week ago, I went back to see my friend Victor Shibata, an amazing chiropractor and healer who does energetic work.  He has always been able to help... my back, allergies, the many times I have been unable to move my neck or head, when I wanted to get pregnant, when I was low on energy, when I had a bad cold, when my sciatica was out, when asthma kicked in... combining chiropractic with ART, autonomic response testing, which is a pretty interesting.

He does sort of a nutritional analysis and is able to pinpoint what is going on with some pretty mind-boggling precision.    He has been able to diagnose issues with thyroid, digestion and heavy metals such as lead and aluminum.  When we were in Cuba ten years ago and I was suffering from hammer to the head headaches from the heat and humidity, he did acupuncture and cleared it up.

I had a feeling Victor would tell me to cut back on my wheat.  Years ago, and I can't remember what for, he took me off of wheat.  My symptoms went away, and I felt much lighter, more energy, more focused.  And when I was better, I asked if I could go back to my beloved pastas and breads.  He said if you're feeling better why would you?  But of course, I did.

This time, he took me off not only wheat, but sugar as well.  I was expecting the wheat, I had been cutting back on pastas and breads as well as dairy products to reduce the phlegm.  No wheat AND sugar?  Just in time for the holidays.  While I do like licorice and an occasional sweet, muffin or donut, I do eat pretty healthy most of the time, eating a lot of salads and not a lot of junk food.  But of course now that it is off limits, it is everywhere and I am craving it big time.

In addition, he gave me instructions to drink 70 ounces of water a day (when I usually drink about 7 ounces a day if I'm not paying attention).  Not only that, but I am drinking water with INTENTION asking it to heal my lungs, actually my left lung to be exact, and to help me be healthier.  He also gave me occipital therapy, little accupunture pins to put in my ears, which he has me going in every 2-3 days to replace.  He also gave me vitamin supplements for my lungs, kidneys, liver (which showed weaknesses affecting my central nervous system), and 21 Vitamin B supplements a day, since apparently stress is depleting my Vitamin B (I have stress?  Really?).

While the dietary restrictions are not easy, living with asthma sucks and I am ready to move on.  So, definitely something I am willing to try.  I went back to Victor yesterday, while I am still having a lot of coughing and wheezing especially at night and in the mornings, I am feeling a little better.  He did some energy work to help me breathe better, a bit of acupuncture to open up my chest and lungs, got me to breathe from the diaphragm instead of the chest, and reminded me about stress and emotions being the root cause of my asthma and breathing issues.

So, watch me this Thanksgiving.  I won't be eating any stuffing or gravy rolls or pies or cookies or junkies.  But, I am grateful for this gluten-free life and thankful for the chance to work on making things better for me, my family, and the community.


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

More Letters from Daddy (#23)

A few more "Letters from Daddy."
October 4, 2010
Dear Maiya, Good morning.  Did you sleep well?  I did.  Mommy didn't cough all night.  That's great. Let's go to the park after school today.  Love, Daddy

October 12, 2010
Dear Maiya.  I think you are cool.  I love you.  I will see you after school at El Marino. Love Daddy

October 18, 2010 *This one is Maiya's favorite.
Dear Maiya, Hello. Hello. Hello.  It's off to work I go and you school--see you at 4:32! Love, Daddy

October 20, 2010
Dear Maiya, Ohayo gozaimasu!  Good morning young one.  Did you sleep well?  Did you dream? Did your body and mind rest?  I slept like a baby - ga ga goo goo!  Stay dry today and enjoy your muffin and machaca burrito.  Oishi, neh? Give Mommy a hug and a high five for me.  Let's go to the library today after school and get a book on club houses.  Tony "Daddy" Osumi

November 5, 2010
Dear Maiya, Good morning Love.  How did you sleep?  I slept all night and didn't wake up at all.  What are you bringing to Share Toy Day? Gaga? Sarcastic Cat? Your plastic light saber handle we got from the hardware store? When I pick you up after school, tell me.  Tonight for dinner I'm going to make gohan--rice.  White steamed rice with a fried egg on top with chopped up hot dogs and tsukemono.  Do you know what tsukemono is?  I think you spell it this way in Japanese:  つけもの.  Can you read that?  Have a great, fun day.  Be brave and strong. Love, Daddy

November 9, 2010
Dear Maiya,We have a DVD to watch after school.  We also have to take it back after we watch it.  Or maybe Daddy will take it back later in the night.  Oops! I forgot to say good morning.  "Good morning!" What fun stuff are you doing at school today?  Will  you be chasing some kids or playing soccer?  Be like Invisible Girl Mai Mai and do teamwork.  Love and hugs, Love and kisses, Love and tickles, Daddy

November 15, 2010
Dear Maiya, Good morning.  It's Monday.  Time for work and school.  Yay!  Yesterday was a cool day. seeing you on the basketball court hustling and dribbling and passing and shooting and trying your best was exciting.  Having grandma and grandpa there made it even cooler.  Next week let's invite Uncle Bill and Aunty Keiko.  I'll see you at school in the afternoon.  I'll bring a basketball.  Let's not forget to read a chapter of 100 Dresses.  I wonder what the contest will be about.  What do you think?  (Heart) and (Kisses) Daddy.


Sunday, November 21, 2010

Dreaming a Garden in Detroit (#21)

One of the things that has brought me to Detroit so many times was my work with Nobuko Miyamoto and Great Leap.  In my 8 years that I worked with Great Leap, one of my highlights was the many times I got to travel to Detroit to get to know Grace Lee Boggs, who I've mentioned in this blog many times, and inspired by Grace's commitment to community building through murals, gardens, the arts, and by making small individual changes that help transform and build communities from the ground up.  

Tony & I spent several summers with Detroit Summer, hauling hay, painting buildings, making connections.  So when Nob dreamed up the "I Dream a Garden" obon song and dance, we leapt into action.  8 years ago, we created a Harvest Circle Dance in celebration of the life of master gardener  Gerald Hairston, and a true gardening angel, with hundreds on a small corner at Genesis Church in Eastern Detroit, blocks away from thousands of vacant lots and empty houses, and just down the street from the Boggs Center, where Grace lives.  You can read about it on the old KuidaOsumi website here.  There's a few other articles on that URL I had written about my travels to Detroit and my experiences with gardening and activism.

Fast forward to 2010.  We were able to bring Maiya for the US Social Forum, and to be part of the re-create the "I Dream a Garden," as part of the USSF.  Nobuko was invited by Genesis HOPE, a nonprofit organization based out of Genesis Church that is working with youth on the East side of Detroit.  Also, our friend Ashley Kyber, who we had worked with back in 2002, also came back to add to the beauty and physicality of the "I Dream a Garden" project.

Genesis HOPE girls in their Sesame Street moment
 Tula & Maiya in matching Hello Kitty jinbei
 Nobuko with her son Kamau, 4 grandchildren, Tula & Maiya 
We'll call this Nobuko & the Grandkids Band 
since she took one look at the girls in their outfits and 
gave them a drum and tambourine to join along.
 The Griot stage built by Ashley's team (in white dress with baby on back)
 Grace Lee Boggs, Detroit's finest Griot at 95 years young
 Nobuko leading the Harvest Dance 
Native American Friendship Dance, part of the "I Dream a Garden" dance
And finally, here's a little video clip of the Sistahfriends.
It sums up our trip and the cuteness in a nutshell.

So, stay tuned for one last installment of our trip to Detroit.  And maybe a few more videos if I can get it together.  NaBloPoMo#21

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Dancing at WLA Obon (#20)

I was thinking that the West LA Obon is becoming one of my favorite obons.  I thought it was about the food, but really I think it's about the sense of community. I ran into my friend Stacy who lives in the neighborhood, who I worked with in college. It's walking distance from Uncle Bill's house and it's in the neighborhood where Tony grew up.  This year, it was all about the dancing.

 Arriving at the WLA Obon.  Maiya was looking for the games.
 I was looking for some corn (photo credit:  Maiya)
 WLA Taiko, my favorite multi-generational taiko group
Shooting hoops at the YMCA game booth
 Getting dressed by the pros...
 ...who scolded me for not ironing her yukata 
which was rolled up and stuffed in my purse. 
They put cardboard in her obi to make it stiff.
One of Grandpa Larry's Mochizuki cousins
Dancers from up above
Where's Waldo?  I mean Maiya & Tony.