Apr 24 2015

Art, Music, Clock, Sun

Category: Art,Catsshisoneko @ 12:10 am

Yoshi checks out the Star Wars pencil holders:


And with the artist (all made for the “Repurposing Museum” at school—using toilet rolls and a sample fence board):


The tree coming out of Tashi’s head (from husband’s photo on the wall behind her) is a little funny.

Also, speaking of funny, a shot from the museum sister sent:


And speaking of art, here’s a recent one from Rio:


Figuring out this thing at the piano teacher’s:

And finally, the sun-worshipper:


Apr 21 2015

The Met and More

Category: Art,Family,Sportsshisoneko @ 8:59 pm


We met up with sister and family, and brother too up from Philly for the day, at their place in the city Sunday. It was immediately obvious that Rio and Rohan had gone to the same hairdresser that morning.


We made it out to the Met, where I wanted to show the kids the Egypt exhibit (the Temple of Dendur etc.). We sort of raced through it, although husband and Rio, separated from the larger group, did get to stop and really look at things. Some sample Rio questions: “What does that sign say? What is this one Daddy? Why did they draw these? Is someone still in there?” Tashi did notice an owl, which Rohan said stood in for a vowel in hieroglyphs. (Except maybe I misheard him, as it seems to stand for M—he may have meant a bird in profile.)

I appreciated that the guard, in addition to acknowledging the 19th century graffiti including by someone who also wrote he was from NY, pointed out the graffito in Arabic.


After Egypt we did a little arms and armors with cool samurai swords and (truly beautiful) old guns and even a helmet worn by someone on Henry VIII’s side during the meeting at Calais (the stuff of Hilary Mantel). Also, armor with the blue and red silk still apparent for the 5-year-old Infante Luis, Prince of Asturias (how crazy is it that I can link to these things!).

It would be good to go back and pick one exhibit we all want to go to, maybe Greece, and really look at everything together. Especially as we can get in via a corporate membership (and the suggested donation is $25/adult—I remember paying $6!). Rio and Tashi managed to walk to the museum and back, from their apartment six long crosstown blocks away, which still is remarkable to me. And in what must be a good sign, Rio complained mightily when it was time to leave at nearly 4pm. “WHY? But I JUST got here!!” [shriek shriek] Kids made off with a growling Chewy toy.

The day before on Saturday, we walked even more, in warmer weather, for the kickoff of the baseball/softball season in town, in a parade. The parade is a crazy event we have bumped into before because it blocked off streets en route to Kumon or swimming. This year we were in it for the first time, and literally the entire village is IN the parade, with a dozen or so actual spectators. Rio is doing kickball with the Little Ivy team. It is our first official foray into the town’s organized sports industrial complex… wish us luck.


It meant getting out to the train station at 830am and waiting for the parade to start at 9am. We did not wake up early enough for coffee at home and I was in dire need. Yes, family walks alongside too, so Tashi and teammate Luca’s family all walked too. (And like I said, along with everyone else!) Luca’s dad is the coach. Afterward, we had swimming and then went to my new Thai friend’s house for Thai food plus climbing dome and trampoline (both of which I started to think we needed, till I saw how expensive they are). I also got to see Tish for dinner here in town too Saturday night. Yay! Games start Sunday! Someone described it as herding cats. We shall see!

Apr 16 2015

Expo Insanity

Category: Music,School,Videoshisoneko @ 9:56 pm

The International Expo was this week. I see from last year I wrote NOT to get involved with the evening portion. O well, so much for that. I ended helping to run the thing (half of us Asian). Here is the Latin dance dress rehearsal:


Rio outside on the playground:


Then the night of… Tashi was busy filling out her passport and getting flag stickers (for which I ordered extra Korea stickers, overnight, after it emerged that Korea was presenting in virtually every class—26 students in the school!). She was nervous about the dance. (Yes, she is wearing her swimsuit as part of the costume!)


And given the mere handful of rehearsals—not all of which all of us attended—they did pretty well. Plus, you can get a sense of some of the crowd chaos here. Which I, and a few other co-chairs and volunteers, tried unsuccessfully to tamp down.

The show ended by 830pm, amazingly, and we got this snap after the show—two tired kids. Though it’s hard to tell, I did update this board to incorporate “the arts,” this year’s theme:


Meanwhile, more performances! We switched to a new piano teacher, Kubo-sensei, who does a kind of modified Yamaha method, and who immediately put Rio on two hands. Here he is practicing “Ode to Joy”:

And Tashi, for the first time since we started piano, is excited to play—the song probably helps. Here she is practicing.

The breath beforehand! Neither kid knew I was filming them practice.

Apr 13 2015

Crocuses, Finally, Yay!

Category: Art,Flowersshisoneko @ 9:05 pm

Under the Ivy sign, planted in Roger’s memory:


Also at our house! Which is still a mess in front, so this is the side yard (facing south):


I have been bonkers busy with the Int’l Expo this week, spending most of my time at school (which has lousy connectivity). I’ll post photos of the main event that is Wednesday day and night. In the meantime, welcome home to Baba, from Asia, and some Rio artwork:



This dino is eating another dino, and the little figure by the front foot is Rio, for scale:


Some Star Wars origami, inspired by the books!



Tashi’s self-portrait:


And finally this funny one that Rio spotted at Trader Joe’s—can you see the owl budgie?


Apr 09 2015

School Projects

Category: Art,Schoolshisoneko @ 8:14 pm

Rio, and his rocket (above right):


Tashi, and her poem about writing (above left):


As you can see it’s back to cold weather here, with Tashi’s coat!

Apr 05 2015

Jenga and More

Category: Holidays,Travelshisoneko @ 8:50 pm

Mornings the kids played solo (till they fought), usually Uno (Tashi won most of the time) and Jenga (or building with Jenga).


Our last full day we met up with Xeno, the 6.5-year-old son of Greg and Nina, who also happened to be vacationing near Palm Springs the same week (which I learned at Sateeb’s funeral).


We were pretty beat after pool action at their hotel, but rallied for some final pool/hot tub action in the late afternoon.


In the a.m.—some last snaps in and around the house before the promised two-hour drive to LA (which actually took 1 hr 40 min—bonus!—and not 4.5 hours as it did the Friday afternoon we arrived!).



(Above, that’s the top of a cool blue outdoor stool.)


Nighttime shot… arriving 40 min early! What a change the trip back compared with the trip out. Bonus: no snow on the ground!


Back at home: Easter morning Lego sets from the bunny (after finding two dozen eggs, with a bit of Chinese and math). Tashi is wearing the winter white dress from Rohan (over long underwear) from I think three years ago. Getting a ton of use out of it!


The weather back home was in the 50s, at least.

But—we miss the desert. Wheeeee!


Apr 01 2015

Desert Vacation

Category: Travelshisoneko @ 9:50 pm

It’s HOT! As I keep saying. Even the dry heat is a bit tough to bear after 10am in the direct sunlight. So the solution is to go up a mountain… except I forgot extra layers for the 59 degrees. Hence Tashi’s scarf at the very top of the tramway.


That’s the view back down toward Palm Springs. Apparently the San Andreas fault runs parallel to one of the highways you can see, and there are a ton of windmill farms. Also, at some point there was a lake created by the Colorado River (the same that carved the Grand Canyon), and Coachella Valley, now known for the music fest that starts right after we leave, is also nearby.


The tramway itself was a long drive partway up the mountain, then a walk uphill in the heat, then a 50-minute wait—who knew there’d be so many people on a Monday? Tashi wrote a postcard for Mrs. Buckler and actually I am not sure how else we killed the time. The tram itself was a steep, vertiginous climb up, and yes, we did see snow!


When we came back home, we hit the pool and hot tub. Our vacation routine, now that the wedding is over, is to do something in the a.m. and then hang out at the house afterward.



On Tuesday nearly at opening time in the a.m., we made it to the Living Desert, which is basically a zoo with a lot of cacti (and information about desert plants, like the bearded palm tree we see everywhere).


It was hot, and we didn’t last much past lunch there.


There was a crazy dinosaur show, to underscore how animals are made extinct:


And, oddly, a model train set in the center of the zoo. Check out the farm animals here:


This swing seat is part of a re-creation of a Native American village:


There are owls at the very back of this cage… asleep of course:


Since we got here, Rio has bashed his finger in the car door (a heavy SUV car door, to be fair, but he’ll never try to keep a door open again by NOT using the handle only!), has had a bloody nose all over the sheets (fortunately, white cotton so easy to bleach clean), had another bloody nose and bashed upper lip (thanks to his sister playing rough by dragging him around on a blanket on the concrete floor) (there was SO MUCH blood! And brother and husband both taking showers at that exact moment), and both have touches of diarrhea, whether from not eating properly (though they never really do), or a combination of sun, heat, and pool water.

They always seem to be fine for the pool itself, though:


And winding-down TV:


Brother drove to LA last night (Tuesday). Wednesday a.m.—as it is APRIL FOOL’S DAY, it is our eighth wedding anniversary! So Tashi dressed up (and I wanted to get some shots of our midcentury-gone-mad house):



Then we hit the air museum at the tiny airport here. It’s quite a good air museum, as those things go—met a WWII vet, age 91, who swears by drinking, smoking, and chatting as the key to longevity. It was mostly indoors, which is pretty key. This is the outdoors part:



They lasted 2.5 hours, and while they were more interested in rocks at the end than anything else, they did pretty well:


Some other shots I meant to post (and husband will have more, just haven’t uploaded them yet)—Tashi’s hair post-wedding (“I like it curly!”):


And husband’s disembodied look one morning:


Mar 29 2015


Category: Family,Flowers,Swimming,Travel,Weddingshisoneko @ 10:16 pm

So the thing especially among Millennials is hash tags… for Twitter and Instagram and other social media. Hannah and Thomas’s is “you only paradise once” or “yopo” with the hash tag (ie in full: #hannomasYOPO). It was HOT! 100 degrees, but since we are in the desert, it’s a dry 100 degrees, which is a huge, huge difference compared with a humid 100 degrees, or even a humid 80 degrees. It was a beautiful wedding!

The bride and one of the flower girls:


The groom:


The bougainvillea was a late addition (per Tashi); the topknot hairstyle by me, per Hannah; and the dress by Crewcuts (J. Crew):


More backstage (swans were a theme… never got why the swans!):




Tashi: “This is bo-ring, when’s it going to start? I have to hold the baby’s hand? Can I have your phone?” etc. Then a little “golden rule, do unto others” etc. reminding and she turned it on for the actual ceremony itself.



They were to release the balloons one by one, which wasn’t going to happen with the hand holding and the strings all tied together, so they released at the tree. Tashi’s went straight up into the tree, which I figured would happen. We never spoke about what to do after they walked up the aisle but Tashi (with an assist from husband) figured it out and stood next to the bridesmaids for most of it. I got some snaps before husband said they’d made an announcement about not taking photos!



Maya, her adorable co-flower girl, is age 3, half-Japanese, and lives in San Francisco. Her dad and Thomas worked together in NYC.

Tashi was slathered with SPF 55 to 70 head to toe. (Rio, too. We didn’t end up putting him in a jacket or pants because of the weather.)


He did wear Keens vs. Crocs… slightly better? And yes I did bring Tashi a spare set of shoes to wear after the ceremony!


We caught up with Eugene, another cousin, whom I’d last seen in Tokyo in 1999, which I’d forgotten but he remembered!



They did a loi krathong kind of thing with the lanterns (and because of local rules against releasing them into the sky):


They had a lot of really lovely funny and/or personalized details, from the order of ceremony “music starts/we get married/let us party” to these tote bags that everyone—roughly 90 guests—got. Thomas gave his dad a nice speech about how his work ethic was inspiring, which was sweet.

These are the totes we got (you can see them above hanging on the backs of the chairs); brother’s was “Red food freaks me out,” sister got “Thomas crashed on my sofa when looking for an NYC apartment,” and Amrish’s sheer genius: “I deal in drugs but my true passion is wine.” And on the menus, “Fun fact #56: The ring bearer was born on the same day Thomas proposed to Hannah (April 16, 2014),” and “Fun fact #88: Thomas and Hannah’s first date was ice skating in Central Park.”


Today, Sunday, brother came over at 7am (dropped off my sister en route to LA and airport), and we had a morning of our pool (from the last blog post), followed by an afternoon of the pool at the house where the wedding was. See, the swans!


Rio swimming by brother (with the swans on the opposite end):

With Googoo and Larry, Thomas’s parents, Thomas, and Hannah’s mom (her dad passed away):


At the end of a long day in the sun and pools, waiting for what must be our sixth Uber ride:


And finally, some house shots—zoning in front of the TV—the pool is actually in the front yard:


And the back yard. Brother is staying with us for a couple nights (tomorrow night he is babysitting):


Mar 28 2015

P.S. Wedding!

Category: Family,Travelshisoneko @ 2:01 pm


We are in Palm Springs, Calif., for Thomas and Hannah’s wedding! The highs are upper 90s, lows are in the 60s—a HUGE change from what we left on the East Coast. It took us 16 hours door to door to get here, though.


Our flight was 830am, so we got a car at 530am to beat any a.m. rush hour traffic. The flight left on time, but almost immediately there was a call over the PA system for a doctor or nurse. It seemed like someone in first class had had a heart attack. We could see him laid out on the floor getting chest compressions and made an emergency landing in Buffalo, N.Y. (where it was snow flurrying instead of the steady rain we had at home). We were delayed about an hour and a half there, and fortunately our electronics all survived battery-wise… husband was smart to bring extra chargers. Unfortunately we are not positive the rather young fellow made it.



Then the drive to Palm Springs even at 230pm was insane traffic-wise. it took four hours! Normally two. The kids napped a tiny bit. But the house is great, it is very warm (99 expected today!) and we made it in time to get to the welcome soiree:


(We missed rehearsal but I think Tashi will be okay walking down an aisle.) Saw sister, brother, and Amrish; Googoo and Larry (they gave us hongbao—Tashi managed a xie xie!); and of course the bride and groom. The kids were pretty zonked and hunted for four-leaf clovers and then ran around like lunatics before we Uber’d it back home.

More photos of the house to come—it’s totally mid-century.

We all went to bed before 10pm last night—that is, 1am ET—but slept in till after 6am, which was an accomplishment! View on morning run:


Yoshi is in good hands with Amber—and Miles. Here she is showing a little belly in a snap Amber sent Saturday morning:


Mar 22 2015

Meanwhile, Back at the House

Category: Houseshisoneko @ 9:09 pm

Portico! Framed in two days—last Wednesday and Thursday, before the snow.


And the skirt roof (I think that’s what it is called—protected by the blue tarp for the snow the next day):


Snow, which led to an early close Friday (called Thursday night though, and not really warranted, I have to say):


Rio at the end of a hole, dug for the pilings that will support the deck:


Yoshi’s view:

black cat

Friday, the day of the snow, was the first day of Spring. At around 645pm husband did manage to balance an egg!

equinox egg

With Amy at Sophie’s birthday party Saturday (at Pinot’s Palette, and way pre-dinner with Dan and Kim):

unicorn girls

Museum visit Sunday (with maple sugar cookies):

Miller-Cory House Museum

Icicles off particle board (blocking the hole that is front of the front door):


Next Page »