May 02 2016

Take Our Daughters to Work Day

Category: Events,Schoolshisoneko @ 10:02 pm

So, for the first time we were able to take advantage of this national (!) event! NBC organized a half day of activities, ages 8 and up. So Rio couldn’t go, although it is now Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day, always April 28 I believe. Or close to it.

It was packed. Meant to be a Rio Games theme but barely…


Her “pretty scary” face paint. Half and half!


I’d had a day in the city for work, seeing sister and family and in-laws afterward. It’s spring break for NYC schools so they’ve been staycationing… for what Rohan described as the first time in a long time. Here they are declaiming poetry from the Norton Anthology.


Tashi’s reporting of her day (turns out seven or eight kids were out for this event at their respective parent’s office—more than a third of the class!):



This week, the first week of May, is Teacher Appreciation Week. So, as one of the class parents for Rio’s class we did this door, with a padawan-Force theme. (Also, it’s May the Fourth this week!)


That’s Jaya, fellow class parent Kelly’s daughter. We also did the library door again.


Weekend report: dinner chez Amber and Ben’s, rained out Sunday, unsuccessful attempt to see “The Jungle Book,” instead seeing “Deathly Hallows 1” back at home! (Tennis Friday was also rained out. It’s been a mostly chilly spring!) Meanwhile still consumed by the election, having met candidates now more than once. It’s May 10. The grassroots movement is kind of amazing.

Apr 25 2016


Category: Art,Books,Home,Sportsshisoneko @ 9:02 pm

I preferred the light drizzle we had this year in still-decently-warm-enough temps to the 80-degree sunshine we had last year. Still think it’s the all-town parade that means doors should be triple locked at home! We did see more spectators than usual this year… maybe because it wasn’t so hot.

Rio’s team, dubbed Green Giant (no kid got the reference but they liked the name), sponsored by Little Ivy—just one of several teams! I am most psyched about our coaches—Isabella’s dad Dennis, Maeve’s dad Glenn, and Henry’s dad Todd.


Tashi’s team, the Gold Stars (haha, especially given it’s supported by the teachers’ union, still in a contract dispute, now into 2nd year, with the Board of Ed.!):


Husband went with Tashi, I went with Rio, the first of many dividing and conquering events when it comes to weekend sports. Tashi for her part is more into this sport than soccer, possibly because husband played baseball and has gotten them gloves, helmets, and a T and net to practice batting. Rio we’re still working on getting into it.

Post-drills practice Sunday, Tashi showing off the newly repainted birdhouse; she did the clouds, using samples from our renovation. In the back in the big pot, which I need to pot with actual flowers, are two seedlings for evergreens.


Rio’s Earth Day pledge:


And book report:


Still fully immersed in local politics and the election coming up; here’s a good unvarnished FAQ, and a recap of last week’s quasi-debate I attended. I don’t think I’ve ever wanted a law degree except now. One of the candidates is Latino (half), met him yesterday—it’d be the first time anyone of color was elected to the council. It’s getting awkward with friends on the opposing side, literally (east vs. west) and one candidate whom I am not for is the husband of a book club friend.

Gonggonng has returned safely from Asia, and happy birthday to Roxana!

Apr 19 2016

Start of Spring Sports

Category: Family,Flowers,Friends,Sportsshisoneko @ 10:10 pm

I never thought I’d be saying that, but yes, we’ve started. Tashi has softball, sometimes three times a week for a second grader (!!!!!!!) who has never played, and Rio has T-ball, once a week, always at the same time, fortunately, to balance the all-over-the-place schedule that Tashi has. She also appears so far to be a switch hitter.

Anyway, this means everyone now has mitts (Tashi’s a lefty, and we’re also appreciative of the hand-me-downs from sister), so we were well prepared for the cousins’ visit Sunday (for them we were in between brunch with Faisal and a visit to the Bahlers, who just had their third baby, a girl this time).

For us, we had Surbhi’s birthday party down the street (dropoff party with 20-some kindergarteners! Tashi went too) and Rio’s T-ball at Somerville. Popo and brother also came up Saturday late afternoon, so we were able to go out to dinner with Andrea and Rich to a Lao-Thai place (not loud Thai) in Maywood. Yay!


Sunday we also elevated the Buddha, something Popo has been recommending we do for a while. Since we have a ton of slate from under the old deck, it was easy-peasy to create a platform. We’re using round shells from Avalon to offset the sharp corners.


I’ll probably supplement with Popo’s photos soon but wanted to get this up.


Tashi did two art classes over spring break; the second one was “eco-art” and included a pinecone covered in lard and rolled in birdseed (which the birds especially the cardinals really loved):


And this balloon filled with dirt, water, and radish seeds. They are sprouting!


And, finally, our low-70-some degree weather seems to be holding. And our tulips bloomed!


Don’t mind the no-care dirt surrounding them. And, did I mention I am composting? A work in progress; I think it’s not heating up enough to get the food scraps to decompose.



I have been a bit consumed with the upcoming local election, and for the first time since moving here have put up candidate signs, and am getting out the vote. A distressingly large proportion of friends aren’t registered or don’t really care! Still working on it though. It’s a little awkward with a former candidate (pro-hospital expansion) living across the street, and another with the same viewpoint married to a book club friend. In a funny instance of “who knew someday,” I went to a meet-the-candidate event tonight at a friend’s house, whose husband is the chair of the zoning board that ultimately voted against our front porch variance (to be fair, he voted for). All is forgiven. We need to get the right people voted in!

Gonggong is just back from his Asia jaunt. Welcome home!

Apr 15 2016

Storm King Redux

Category: Art,Birds,Travelshisoneko @ 9:06 pm

We’ve been on spring break this week, so husband was able to take one day off—Friday! We headed to Storm King once the weather ended up being nicer than it was earlier this week.

And I have to say, two years after our Mother’s Day trip (about which Rio remembered, then age 4, remembered the picnic and a red sculpture), they did much better. My phone tells me we logged five miles. Then they had tennis! (I crashed, long week.)



This time we headed north instead of south… the art is closer together up there.


And it’s technically (on the map) called the woods:


One of my favorites still Andrew Goldworthy’s stone wall, built with five actual British stone wall builders:


Maya Lin’s Wave Hill, which we never got to last time either—but now we can’t go on them, which is just as well:


Because we saw two fairly large groundhogs! Which initially I thought, hopefully, were bunnies? Here’s one of them, running toward the kids:




And the highlight for Tashi, getting her iPod Touch… for making it to 100 day without sucking her thumb. I think we are finally over it!!! We started Jan. 1, she didn’t make it that day, so it was actually Jan. 2, and that first week or so was the only problem… since then she’s been able to do it. Finally. Yay!


Patsy’s Pizzeria in the Nanuet Mall is quite possibly the best pizza place to go to ever. We miss Dara and family for no longer being nearby to meet up there!


Birch tree bark I hope makes it to our calendar:


Part of Tashi’s “eco-art” from earlier this week included this pinecone covered with lard and birdseed. The little birds love it!


Apr 13 2016


Category: Art,Food,Friendsshisoneko @ 9:20 pm

Rio has been at Ivy this week, and Tashi at home. Every day this week so far we’ve hung out with her new friend Milly, who just moved here from Melbourne, Australia, and who is in Tashi’s class. We hadn’t meant it that way necessarily, but a playdate last week when school was still in session meant we set up another one during the break on Monday, and then we convinced them to join an art class at the Stable on Tuesday, and Milly came over here Wednesday.

Shrinky Dinks haven’t yet reached Australia, we learned! I could not get Tashi to make a normal face.


The mom was game enough to let me bike the girls around, from her house to ours, and to Wasabi for set lunches:


Milly’s a quarter Chinese (HK), can you tell?

And the artwork from Tashi’s Tuesday “eco-art” class:



Rio’s constellation from Ivy:


Two more days in our staycation! Another art class tomorrow for Tashi, and Friday husband is taking the day off. Popo, brother, and sister all visiting in a few days!

Apr 10 2016

Spring Concert

Category: Animals,Cats,Friends,Videoshisoneko @ 9:29 pm

Tashi practicing:

And her spring concert Friday afternoon—Rio accompanied me and was really into it! No speaking or playing part this year (actually, she hasn’t gotten around to the latter, but our third year in, I can definitely tell they are good about rotating through and making sure everyone gets a chance!)


Apologies my videos are definitely varied quality—I forgot how crowded the concert is and arrived just five minutes beforehand. Rio was really into it—somehow singing along!

Another alien rockets drawing from Rio!


The kids are really into piggyback rides… Tashi’s now strong enough to take the role of Rohan. They not only do around inside the house but also outside, for better or worse.


We had Brian and Rachel (child-free) over Friday, went to Anne and Joe’s Saturday with Alex and Jorge (just the hosts’ kids there), and had Tine and Daragh over today (all of our kids)! Busy weekend. With Anne (a lawyer) we talked strategy about the hospital. It’s complicated but hoping the next election to determine half the new Village Council will make a difference. Unfortunately the Valley fight is shaping up to be east vs. west side, again.

Spring break starts as of tomorrow—stay-cation! Rio will go to Ivy, and Tashi has a range of activities planned but mostly will be at home. Next weekend starts the crazy spring sports schedule I somehow bought into (softball for Tashi, T-ball for Rio). If I’d known there’d be some weeks with practices Saturday and Sunday and then a game Wednesday for Tashi I would not have done it. Hopefully she’ll like it at least a little bit.

Rio channeling Yoshi on the heated bathroom floor:


And the best, Anne’s bunny, a soccer star!!

Apr 06 2016


Category: Art,Friends,Health,Language,Schoolshisoneko @ 10:04 pm

The hospital expansion reared its ugly head again… like an awful game of whack-a-mole. I said as much at a time for public comments before the Village Planning Board… not nearly as eloquently (and poignantly) as many of our school’s students who spoke. They were amazing, including Allison’s oldest, who is in 5th grade.

Allison (my simultaneous translator friend) had the excellent idea of wearing face masks to make the point about pollution in the air… like China. (All the kids wearing them happen to be Asian. I never thought of bringing our kids… the meetings started at 730pm, which is just about their bedtimes!)


They got a lot of press, including here in the Daily Voice, and also (more than just a blog) on (In one of those photos I am just visible in the back in a pink tee, for Roger.)

We lost, but the fight goes on. It’s exhausting, to say the least. There were late meetings Monday and Tuesday night (till 11pm and midnight, respectively). There are a TON of parents this time around, it feels like, which is good. I always felt like one of the few going to the other meetings in 2014. All this followed our auction Saturday night (I am embarrassed to say I was out till 3am—but working till 1am first!), and of course the Expo the week before (not nearly as late, but full on for two days and one night!).

Sunday in the freezing temps and very strong winds I managed to make it to Jamie’s house to talk strategy with an organized anti-Valley-expansion group, and then we all collapsed in front of the penultimate Harry Potter movie (if you count the last two-parter, adapting one novel, as one). Monday a.m. we got wet snow (Sat. night saw hail and lightning thunderstorms!), and I had to go into the city for one meeting and then turn around again to pick up Tashi. At least we didn’t lose power like Popo! And the meeting mostly worked out, though, which was good.

It’s been a busy, busy past few weeks. Gonggong has been in Asia!

Rio’s alien spaceships artwork:


Apr 01 2016

La-La-La Shakira

Category: Friends,Music,School,Videoshisoneko @ 9:02 pm

The International Expo was this week, Wednesday and Thursday all day, plus rehearsal Wednesday afternoon and the show Thursday night. The format changed so that we each had to lead groups of 5-6 students ALL DAY LONG Wednesday and Thursday; I think the kids got more out of it but it was definitely more of a challenge for the parent volunteers!

Rehearsal—the song is “La-La-La” by Shakira:

That’s when we decided to put Rio onstage. Bagpiper to kick off the show!


The show! It was unseasonably warm again… 70s! Calmer in the front this year, but the parade still needs some managing.

Backstage before the Latin dance, one of nine acts (some 60 kids). Rio freaked out a little since he didn’t know where he’d be standing. BUT—he got onstage the night of!!! Not an easy thing to do!


For the Latin dance, Rio’s on the fire right, Tashi’s in the back left wearing maroon. The theme was sports this year, to tie in with the Olympics, and hence the soccer (football) jerseys the girls wore with their coin skirts:

Post-show with Atsuko and Sabrina!


And finally, April Fool’s ninth wedding anniversary bonsai, came in the mail from husband!


And library cherry trees! Post-tennis for me and kids! But separately!


Mar 28 2016

More Cherry Blossoms

Category: Activities,Flowers,Holidays,Home,Schoolshisoneko @ 9:31 pm

Because, why not? Also, it was Easter Sunday! We had an egg hunt outdoors and then in, and then later a Sunday bike ride into town (left bikes at bottom of hill chained to a flag pole). Late lunch at Raymond’s, then frozen yogurt.




Monday was a professional development day, so no school. Rio went to Ivy, and Tashi helped me do a thousand things to get ready for the Int’l Expo later this week (with the auction two days afterward, which I am also tangentially helping with!). We did flags for the flag display at school to advertise the Expo. I did countries husband and I visited, with an assist from Tashi with South Africa:


We stapled them to the display later:


And… including dance rehearsal in Oradell!


We have a challenge keeping the coin skirts up—they kept slipping off these skinny minis!


So it was: labeling the country passport stamps and bringing them to school, where despite being closed to students was open for teachers; figuring out the class visit schedule and sending around that info to all the volunteers with a signup schedule; prepping class labels for the passports; dance rehearsal for an hour; picking up and distributing the passports back at school before 4pm; adding our flags to the display; and in between going to Trader Joe’s for $200 of shopping, and getting gas! What I did not do: any other work, nor update our own Cuba poster display. Tomorrow!

Plus, photos I hadn’t posted, from the dance party (Girl Scouts, with Vashni, a new girl around the corner):


And Danielle and Julia and Ava!



Mar 26 2016

Cherry Blossoms Haiku

Category: Activities,Friends,Mediashisoneko @ 8:58 pm

Cherry blossoms! Early for the season, of course, after our super-mild, global-warming winter.


Cherry blossom poetry project for Rio’s class (we were meant to do a haiku… we did manage to talk about syllables and springtime words):


Cherry blossoms bloom
Pink and early this season
At least there’s no snow

Good Friday post-movie (Zootopia, an interesting foray into an issues movie for Disney—about racial profiling!), post-East Coast Burger lunch (where I ran into Nancy and Logan):


On the walk from town back to the car that I left at the library (where we ran into two other sets of friends, Lia and Reese, and Jen and Molly):


They are holding Bookends bags; they used their gift cards—Tashi to get a Wimpy Kid book and Rio a Lego set (non-Star Wars, since we have all the Star Wars). The kid ice cream cones were via coupons from school for the reading marathon. Score!

Saturday post-swim Raffa visit, Tashi playing the big sister! A six-princess day for Raffa, four she was wearing, plus two she was carrying—we remember those days!


Next Page »