Tuesday, October 12, 2010

What happens in Vegas...

After not taking any trips the last two summers, I was determined to go somewhere this year for vacation. So, me and Maiya went to Las Vegas with Grandma Machi and Grandpa Walt for 3 days in August.
We did this alot.  Can you say that 3 times fast? 
 "Flamingo Las Vegas. Flamingo vas legas, Famingo fos faygas."

Enjoying the 3 pools and giant slides at the Flamingo Pool while grandpa gambled.
15 acres of pools at the Flamingo.
I think this is the Mirage, no?  And yes, we saw the volcano, 
and the Treasure Island show in 105 degree weather.
Walking in the sauna called the Venetian at dusk.
More pool time.  I mean, really, what else do you want to do when you're 5?
We went down the big slide.  Maiya loved it.
Photo Credit:  Maiya.  (Not bad, huh?)

We loved "Love" the Beatles show by Cirque du Soleil.  
Worth every penny, ahem I mean, dollar.
A new Beatles fan is born.

Guess who?  Storm trooper and R2D2 will take pictures for tips.
We did do a lot of eating.  This is Maiya's first-ever rootbeer float.  
This expression was her response after the first sip:  "Awesome!"

It was nice to spend time with grandma and grandpa.  Every night when Maiya and I went back to the room to get ready for bed, grandma and grandpa would go back out on the casino floor for more video poker, and get back long after we went to sleep.  After being in the sun all day at the pool, and walking around the Strip in the evenings, we were exhausted.  Grateful to Tony (and Hector) for staying home working on some home improvement projects.  Maiya really missed Tony a lot.  She wrote him a postcard and waiting for it to come in the mail was almost as fun as the trip itself!  She got to pick out a souvenir (budget $5) to take home... it took her about 20 minutes to select this pink Flamingo Las Vegas keychain.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Overnighter to DC 2010

I went to Washington D.C. on Thursday morning and came back on Friday night.  I was there to meet with fellow grantees from the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy.  It was a much different experience from 6 1/2 years ago when I went to DC.  Very nice, unseasonably warm weather.  I stayed near Georgetown so I was able to walk there for dinner. There was a Trader Joe's there that I walked inside just to check it out.  No problems with parking as I would expect from Trader Joe's because there isn't any.  Everyone there looked like a young professional, no shopping carts, everyone had a hand-basket for their things--I guess everyone lives within walking distance.  I walked over a mile looking for a place to get a good healthy salad and never found anything.  I ended up at a fancy Indian restaurant for some so-so Indian food. 

On Friday morning, two fellow grantees and I, shared a cab over to the Barbara Bush Foundation's office for their Grantee Training for the 2010-2011 grantees.  We were able to meet the other grantees from around the country.  Our Little Tokyo Service Center Family Literacy program was 1 of 9 (and the only one from the West Coast) from across the country that was awarded this year!

We were each asked to make a 10 minute presentation of our program, so I put together a Powerpoint to describe all the various aspects of our Family Literacy program.  After lunch, we were able to break up into small groups to talk about things like Recruitment, Retention, Sustainability, Curriculum, Program Design and Assessments.

It was very cool to learn about and meet (mostly) women who run these inspiring Family Literacy programs from urban neighborhoods in places like Chicago and Miami, to very rural communities like the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community in Northern Michigan, and the Dakotas.

Our meeting finished relatively early so with my map (and my rolling suitcase) I walked over to the White House.  I wanted to see if I could see Michelle Obama's organic vegetable garden on the South Lawn.  I was able to see it, but from a pretty far distance (it's behind me to my right at the corner of the photo).  I went to the White House Visitor's Center eager to find info about the First (Black) Family in the White House-- but was disappointed to find that it is really an outdated historical display with no sign or mention of the Obama's.  The most recent stuff I saw was from the Eisenhower years.  Lots of stuff about the building and gardens in the early days.  I was able to find some Obama stuff for my daughter Maiya at a t-shirt vendor parked a few blocks from the White House--an Obama family postcard and key chain for $1.25.  I also went over to Lafayette Park and found Conchita still there--she has been the White House's closest resident since 1981.  Same signs and photos from my first trip in 2004.

It was a long commute trip for just one night.  But all in all, a productive trip to D.C.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Blog killer

I think FB killed this blog.  Oh well.  If you want to know what's happening with Kuida-Osumi, Facebook us.