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):


Mar 18 2015

Celia Cruz, March Birthdays, Mulan Music, and an Expander

Category: Family,Health,Music,Parenting,Videoshisoneko @ 9:23 pm

Rehearsal for Tashi’s Int’l Expo show… we’re still working on it. It was the first time we got together (last Friday):

Game husband salvaged from Abuelo’s basement… from his childhood, that we cleaned up and played! Not so sure about this rather loud game, but love the awesome packaging:


An essay from Tashi:



Sunday we celebrated the March birthdays—here, Tashi and Abuelo playing ball inside. I wanted to get her outfit—she dresses up, in dresses, for special occasions. Boots from Nina Ping—thank you!!



Rio spent most of the time shrieking about not being able to play this game the way Tashi did. So, the good news is he has a LOT of stubbornness about trying something till he can do it… but the bad news is that he shrieks and cries and wails the entire time until he can!


Explaining a picture he drew while waiting for our late lunch at Rumba Cubana, to celebrate Abuelo, Grise, Greg, and Amanda’s birthdays (and Abuela’s too):

Sister sent this video that I asked if I could put on the blog—Rohan practicing for the talent show! It’s a song from “Mulan”:

And finally, somewhat burying the lead: Tashi got her palate expander today. She was very curious about every aspect, and is getting used to talking and eating with it. (Let’s just say there was a lot of spitting at dinner!) Supposed to take a day or two. Since she was so curious, I offered to take this photo so she could see it in situ, as it happens:


And so yes, I have to use a “key” (a dentistry instrument) to slowly open it up every day for two weeks straight. She also is using wax to soften the edges against her cheek. Poor thing!

Mar 12 2015

A Big Art Day

Category: Artshisoneko @ 9:54 pm


For Tashi. A few weeks ago we got a note from her art teacher that an artwork of hers had been selected to appear in some gallery show. Um, I admit the first thing I thought was, the entire class got picked? I may have even said it aloud. As it happened, she was one of eight students from the school to get picked… and I think the teacher did it name-blind, as two of the eight were siblings. Go, Tashi! (She wants to be an art teacher when she grows up. Connected?)

blue guitar

The funny thing, to me, is that she adjusted the yarn strings when she saw her art on the wall. Tashi’s Daisy pal and classmate Ava also was represented—in the photo below, that’s Ava’s work in the top middle. And the teacher.

with the teacher and ava

For whatever reason, we were the only Ridgewood school there. Somerville had done it before but not this year. Tashi signed this afterward:

what does art mean to you?

“Art is creative,” wrote the lefty:

"art is creative"

She’s got a lot of cheek, right? Literally and figuratively!

Coincidentally, today we also got the local paper, where Tashi’s photo appeared:

out of this world

She had told us that her photo was taken and that we had to check the paper. This art event was back over the long weekend in February.

So, you can see why it was a lot of art today. Coincidentally, again, I also had an art docent meeting from 10am till noon (including setting up the new exhibit at school). Where was Rio? Miss Sarah brought him home from Ivy to have his piano lesson (Tashi got to skip hers).

Mar 09 2015

Snow Day Snowflakes

Category: Homeshisoneko @ 12:06 pm

Husband did a lot of heavy lifting (literally and figuratively) last week when I was in California. Monday and Wednesday were delayed openings. Thursday was a snow day. I left on the one day, Tuesday, there wasn’t bad weather in the morning… although there was wet, heavy snow to shovel when husband got home from volleyball late Tuesday night.

Tashi’s taken her snowflakes to the next level. Check out these Star Wars-themed ones! My favorite is the R2-D2. She did them all by herself (with a tiny assist for the Boba Fett):




And some illustrations from over the weekend:



(To which I say, between Tashi and Rio’s Legos and Star Wars obsessions, our work is complete!)

We are in summer camp signup mode. We’re doing sports camp for a week in August at the Superdome, which had a $50 off in-person signup thing this weekend, where they were also doing free face painting. Tashi partook, Rio did not. This young woman who did the painting was super fast and super talented! (Yes, I got her card.)

owly closeup

Speaking of things that Tashi and Rio have the opposite reaction to, add to this any kind of change, including a wardrobe update for Rio. He’s been sitting at size 4 for ages, including all this winter (yes, he turned 5 in November), so I swapped in size 5s on Sunday. Sunday afternoon, after getting his clothes all wet from puddle-scootering, he would not wear any of the new shirts. None. Not even ones with motorcycles or guitars, previous obsessions. Alas. So, here he is wearing an underneath shirt OVER a shirt whose design I guess he wanted to cover. And a hat from the library (to be decorated for St. Patrick’s Day).


Actually we are having a bit of issues with his inability to manage his anger. I remember Tashi at age 5 was also a bit id-driven. No surprise, he got a 2 (out of 4) on “recognizes own feelings and manages them appropriately” for his report card in January.

Other things to note: Tashi read more than 8,000 pages during the reading marathon in February. She was at 7,900-something when there was a delayed opening and read one more to get her to 8,000. Unfortunately there’s no prize for most pages read. Also, to be fair, some of the books were a bit easy, like the Junie B.’s, and a cartoon book here and there. But it was 8 pages of books!

Finally, a huge congratulations to Rohan for getting into Hunter by passing what was a tough middle school exam with UNDER a 5 percent acceptance (test-passing) rate—harder than Harvard! Now sister’s kids both at the same very excellent school on the same side of town as where they live. Congrats!!

Mar 07 2015

Are You Feeling Orange?

Category: Schoolshisoneko @ 11:07 pm

I’m playing catchup on stuff that went on while we were dealing with Sateeb’s death and the planning of his funeral and service. For one thing, the science fair that was at the end of February. Tashi’s project was “Are You Feeling Orange?”—a word color association experiment. Basically it was something I found online that was relatively easy in concept, wasn’t messy, and simple to understand. (Just Google “1st grade science fair” and see what you get!)

Tashi explaining to her classmates:


And giving the color association quiz to Mrs. Buckler:


The elementary school science fairs are the lead up to the one at the high school on the weekend. Because of swimming and the orthodontist (more on that later) we caught just the tail end—to me the best part, the rocket launching outside.

rocket watchers


It was very bright out, especially with the snow. Rio borrowed my shades (Tashi had husband’s):


And, the orthodontist. Tashi is starting what I’ve just learned is now standard protocol for kids who eventually need braces. Instead of pulling teeth to fit overcrowded teeth and straighten them, now they do something called a palate expander. It looks like a retainer and is fit around your molars. And yes, it can start at age 7 or 8… and it is meant to just make the braces easier (and no teeth pulling). There’s a thumb sucking prevention element to it too, but for now we’ll do the typical one. So far it’s just spacers between her back teeth to make room for the pieces that go around the molars.

waiting for spacers

It’s hard to think of the science fair and not think of Kerrie, whom we last saw last year at the high school. She’s been in a coma since last spring, after a terrible, life-threatening reaction to a common chemo drug. And in 2013, Tashi demo’d Lego robots (a class she’s taking again).

Rio at Gunnar’s birthday party on the first of March:

gunnar's party

And a Magnatile heart he made:


Feb 25 2015

Slap Sticker

Category: Art,Friends,Schoolshisoneko @ 10:56 pm

Meanwhile, life continues. I highly recommend you get this app, if you have young children:





It is the only way we got through two stops post-swimming Saturday, when it started to wet-snow, to move along phase 3 (yes, 3… the basement and eventually the driveway and deck). Once again choosing tiles, countertops, fixtures, etc.



They took all these themselves!


Because without the phone, at the marble place, this is what they did:


Another remodeler commented, Gee, that sink is much bigger than I thought!

Tashi had an in-school visit Friday, so we could watch 19 videos (19 students). Here is most of Tashi’s. They are learning to speak in front of an audience. I have to say she did better than I would have:

Then I did a Chinese New Year thing for Rio, bringing Tashi with me. Another mom did a thing for Year of the Sheep (Goat, Ram) too, which was great:

Chinese New Year Sheep

I have a photo and video from the final ski lesson of the season—just need husband to make it unprivate. Next week I am off to California from Tuesday to Thursday for Sateeb’s funeral.

Feb 19 2015

Roll the Pill

Category: Friendsshisoneko @ 10:25 am

Screen shot 2015-02-19 at 7.35.14 AM

After living with terminal, inoperable/untreatable cancer for about nine months, my friend Sateeb passed away overnight Tuesday. I found out Wednesday night, from a call from my friend Jefe, who happened to be in San Francisco (he’d moved to Vancouver), and, as he put it, had had plans to see Sateeb Wednesday night. Instead he and Craig were making calls around to everyone from our Bangkok days. We’re a far flung group—Hongkong, New Zealand, Cambodia, Philippines, and of course East and West Coasts. I felt horrible as it’d been on my list to Skype with him for the past couple weeks. But I guess that happens when it’s sudden—you first think about what you didn’t get to do, but then you start to remember what you did get to do. He had a great crew of people he was hanging out with this month, including bar-hopping Monday, and since I knew he wanted to go out peacefully, without prolonging things or burdening anyone or, for that matter, suffering a lot of pain and indignities like the last time… I really think he lucked out. It’s just what he would’ve wanted. I’m glad I got to spend time with him in LA in August.

The photo at the top is from February 2006, when I went out to Bangkok and then Penang, Malaysia with him, and, incidentally, had a daily email exchange with now-husband from there. The photos were taken at his favorite chicken and rice spot. And that’s Coke in a bottle, with the Thai script looking like “Tan” to us English readers.

I’m hoping we can get together some kind of memorial, virtual or actual. I really had thought we’d be able to swing seeing him when we go to Thomas and Hannah’s wedding next month in Palm Springs, as he sometimes was back in LA.

Speaking of which, here’s one in Dylan’s apartment in LA, both of us feeling sort of foolish doing a selfie:

Screen shot 2015-02-19 at 10.20.51 AM

And the title above? One of his references from his memoir. I’ll really miss him!

Feb 15 2015

Cards, and Elsa

Category: Friends,Holidays,Sportsshisoneko @ 10:05 pm

A sampling of the cards we got from the kids! From Rio:


And the inside:


One of several from Tashi (she is mad for holidays, all of them! Was the reason husband got red roses):


This another one:


After swimming Saturday we had Daria’s birthday party at Sweet & Sassy, which was pretty much Tashi’s dream party, between the girly girl setup of makeup, nail polish, costumes, makeup, and “Frozen” for good measure:


group snap

And Elsa appeared!

elsa appears, for other elsas

In addition to swimming Saturday and skiing Sunday (one more lesson to go!) we have been doing movie afternoons on the occasion of our four-day February break (through Tuesday). “The Empire Strikes Back” Saturday afternoon, in the swirling snow and high winds, and Sunday “The Return of the Jedi.” Rio needed explanations all around but then afterward wanted to build a Lego mini fig like a character he’d seen. “I can build that one…” Kids were troupers for skiing Sunday in the minus 6 windchill for their 5th lesson (one to go). Empty, so they got a lot of longer runs in (once the magic carpet was running). Wish I could say we took video, but it was seriously cold.

Feb 13 2015

Hearts and Arrows

Category: Family,Holidays,Schoolshisoneko @ 10:15 pm

Valentine’s Day is tomorrow, and our holiday-obsessed daughter is all over it. But we no longer do handmade cards (circa age 3 and 4); this year was Oriental Trading cards that had an X’s and O’s theme tied in with tic-tac-toe (which she soundly beats me at every time). I didn’t bother with Rio’s class—and it was discouraged at Ivy anyway with the treats factor. (As for ordering from Oriental Trading, I also had to get Chinese New Year paraphernalia for Year of the Goat/Sheep/Ram coming next week!)

Rio did a craft at Ivy, thanks to the class parents (including Luca’s mom):

valentine's day craft

Today was super-cold so for the first Friday since school I picked Tashi up by car, and then we all went to the library, where we ran into Nathan’s mom (they live in our short-sale house) and Tashi and Rio crashed a Valentine’s Day craft (pipe-cleaner flowers in a recycled Crystal Light vase) in the back room. Tashi also checked out, no joke, 35 books. She’s taking this reading marathon thing really seriously! (Most are shorter chapter books like Cam Jansen.)

We passed 100 days of school! I neglected to take a photo of the owl thing she did, printouts of owls including her drawing glued onto paper in the shape of one, zero, zero.

Yoshi-budgie (budgie being a term of endearment that Rio made up for his owl) by the radiator today—double-downing on the warmth with the sun, too:


And finally I had said I neglected to take a photo from Rohan and Arjun’s birthday party last Saturday—here’s one from the candle blowing! (From sister.)

long candles

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