October 2007 Archives

Cute bathtime!

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Tesla took a bath with her best friend Sofia. It was the cutest scene ever!

T's 1st pumpkin

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J & M & S invited Tesla and I over to carve a pumpkin. Tesla loves going over there...but she was timid about this pumpkin carving business. I don't know if it's a stage or her personality, but although quite interested, she wouldn't try and help (as in grabbing the gooey seeds out), and stood staring. Sofia loved it. Soon, Tesla and Sofia will be at a stage where Tesla can or want to interact more. Not quite there yet...A

The final result, thanks to Michelle's awesome design work, was a nice jack-o-kitty!

Dav's lunches

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I was cleaning up my desktop and found a folder of pictures I took of lunches I used to make for Dav. Used to...during my maternity leave when I got to be as domestic as I wanted to. I loved it. I'm a very domestic person and loved planning, shopping for, making, and sending Dav off with yummy lunches. I took pictures because I knew I couldn't continue that when I worked, but was bashful about posting them. They represent great memories of a wonderful time when I got to fulfill my domestic urges and lovingly support daddy while he worked, and while I bonded and cared for our tiny T.

Heh. I still make lunches every morning, but for Tesla. She's into basic finger-food now, but I look forward to the time when it's worth making smiley faces or cute structures out of her food to entice her. Japanese cooking for kids is very cute and fun. I plan to take advantage of that : )

best house party

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Alex's Halloween house party was the best house party ever!

Great music and great costumes. But what tickled me most was that a friend of a friend was there because he lives next door. Nice to meet him in a great party environment. And Alex's housemate Anita, actually was part of the group that interviewed Dav and I years ago. I walked up to her as she adjusted the music to thank her for the party as she obviously lived there. Then we discovered our other connection.

I think Dav had a similar experience at another Alex party...where he kept meeting folks from entirely different social circles.

Yes, Alex puts on great parties that way.

I will share that this photo is my favorite. We were at J & M's waiting for our shared babysitter to arrive as our babies slept. : )

Osmosis

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Waaaaay back in May, Dav gave me the most wonderful gift for Mother's Day. It was a gift certificate for the "Ultimate Experience Package at Osmosis, a spa located in Freestone in the Sonoma Wine Country. Dav took me there once before.

It was heaven. The gift certificate was for two, and I chose to bring granny Marie, who also cares for Tesla. So us women caretakers of Tesla got to relax and be pampered for a full 5 hours! I appreciated it, but didn't quite understand the brilliance of giving such a gift to a mommy. I'd do whatever needed for both Tesla and Dav anyway. But I'd simply not give such a luxurious gift to myself, so having Dav provide that to me and us was simply wonderful. I almost cried when first getting snuggled into the enzyme bath, thanking Dav for this moment to completely focus on myself and my body. Ahhhhhhh.

Both Marie and I really enjoyed the Japanese influence on the place, and spent some nice moments wandering in the garden they have there. Enlarge the 2nd photo by clicking on it, and you'll see a very bird just Maria and I got to see.

So thank you, Dav. Really. You rock!!

First time at Chuck E Cheese

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Tesla was quite intimidated when we first entered this kiddie mayhem playhouse. There was a giant furry animal concert going on which Tesla didn't quite know what to make of, but she was certainly intrigued.

Once I took her inside the jungle gym thingy (with screaming kids inside who intimidated both of us), and especially once she found a cute red car with a steering wheel, she was all set and enjoyed herself. She's really into steering wheels these days...

When we left, however, she was still loving her steering wheel and had a fit about leaving. I love this picture at the exit door. I say “love” because her fits don’t faze us, and I can’t help but admire and appreciate her disapproval that we cut her play time short. I would too in her shoes.


I like newborns

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I'm behind in several baby updates, but we have 2 new babies in our circle. Plus, we have one more coming in 30 days or so in North Carolina. All so exciting.

Now that I have Tesla, and know how precious newborns are, and how fun it is to see them grow into little beings, I'm all gaga over holding them and just looking. See how happy I am holding Aesha? The pictures are from about 5 weeks ago when she was just born. Both Ari and Toni look so wonderfully happy as parents too.

Last weekend, they all came over for dinner, and Michelle & Sofia too. Wtih Sofia and Tesla's toddler energy, our attention was divided, but we had a fun time. By the end of the evening when Sofia went home and Tesla was asleep, we all got to take turns comforting Aesha who started getting fussy. It was such a pleasure to hold her. Dav was so cute holding such a tiny baby again. Both Toni and Ari are doing great, and I got to pass down a bunch of T's summer clothes to Aesha.

Ben and Mena just recently welcomed Penelope, a much anticipated baby in our Six Apart world. Both Dav and I love that name. And isn't she just the cutest? I'm looking forward to seeing more of Penelope as Ben and Mena settle into family life. There are several babies at Six Apart now, and I love that Tesla is part of them.

Lost Boys of Sudan

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We watched an amazing documentary tonight called God Grew Tired of Us. Oh boy. It's a painful, yet inspirational story. Very deeply human.

I don't feel my attempt to blog about my thoughts can do justice. I just feel incredibly lucky to live the life I have. I highly recommend that you see it.

Barak Berkowitz

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From our recent business trip to Tokyo together, October 2007

This is a post I've been needing to do. It's personal, but very important to me.

As many of you know, Barak resigned from Six Apart as the CEO recently. And I want to take a moment to acknowledge all that Barak has meant to me.

I'm not going into how he was central - obviously along with Ben and Mena - in creating Six Apart. And I usually don't talk about work on kokochi because Six Apart is so online and blogged about anyway. Search any name/product and you'll find a bunch of stuff.

What I want to say first and foremost is, Thank you, Barak.

I've had a lucky streak with great jobs. When I left my last job in Tokyo to begin a life with Dav in SF, I left a job that I originally thought, upon entering my very own office on the 21st floor smack in Tokyo, "This is my perfect job!!" However, Dav prevailed. Our 'plan' was that I'd move to SF, and I'd get a crappy job to preoccupy myself with for a few months while he elegantly exited his job. Then we'd travel the world. What we didn't expect was that I'd get a job that I really loved.

I met Barak back in January 2003 at the first Tokyo Movable Type meet-up. Frankly, I didn't know Ben and Mena (sheesh; I misspelled Mena's name!), and took a picture with them to show Dav that I did indeed go to this "blogging whatever" meet-up that he said I should go to. :) I did, however, chat with Barak for quite some time as I missed SF. He was from the Bay Area and super friendly to indulge me in conversations about it.

When I arrived in SF to get my 'crappy' job, I only got responses from jobs in Silicon Valley, but that was way too crappy of a commute. So I sent an email to Barak letting him know I was in town, and that if he knew anyone with whatever sort of job, I'd be game. He emailed back to meet for breakfast. I arrived with wet hair and no resume. I was meeting to get some contacts about crappy jobs, mind you. As we chatted, he asked if I was open to Six Apart...as in the company that had allowed me to moblog in Tokyo. Sure! It beat a crappy job by any measure.

He suggested I meet Mena right then. I arrived in the tiny San Mateo office soon after. Mena was already busy with the day's work, with no idea why I waltzed into her office. Then Barak pretty much left us. Who knows?...somehow Mena and I clicked. Maybe because I didn't know what I was getting into. Maybe because I actually used Movable Type and loved it, but still had no idea about the significance of it, so I wasn't gaga. Anyway, I walked out of that office with a job (responsibilities TBD...or in start-up speak: everything).

That's the context about how I came to work for Barak - and Ben and Mena. After Maile, the office manager, I was pretty much the only one who dealt with "all that other stuff" other than creating the product, making giant partnership & budget decisions, and maintaining our servers. My 1st desk was literally between Barak and Mena. I came very close to saying (or maybe I did say) "shut up; I gotta concentrate" to Barak and Mena as they discussed whatever they discussed. I'm sure there was valuable information being passed, but I didn't care. I had very active issues to deal with.

So...what am I trying to share? It's been a ride. A fantastic and amazing ride. I've seen in front of my own eyes how a company comes to existence. I've seen how much it takes to bring a concept to support millions to do what they want to do. It's a helluva lot of work. And Barak guided us all to where we are now.

OK...enough of the work aspect. What I REALLY want to say is that Barak is a great leader and a wonderful person to work for because he's just...well, Barak. I mean, Maile confused Barak for a handy-man because he was fixing stuff like light bulbs when she was interviewed. Barak taught me (just by being himself) how important it is to care about everyone. Products don't happen. It's the employees who make it happen. I had never had the experience where I pretty much got to do whatever I wanted to do. I had very little guidance, but lots of support and belief. I thrived. And that was an eye-opener. I've never felt so connected to a company.

On our recent and last trip as Six Aparters together to Tokyo, I expressed to Barak how I never imagined what this job would be. And Barak being good 'ol Barak said, "you made your position." In my mind, I was just doing what I could where I saw a need. But yes, Barak letting me figure out what was needed was huge for me. You see, I've been raised in a culture that lauds following. And I got to spread my wings enough to realize what I - as an individual with my specific background and experience - could offer. That's a pretty darn good boss to work with.

Most of my work has been behind the scenes - where I prefer. I don't have target numbers or product releases to show. In particular, my strength has been working with the Japanese team, advocating their needs, and providing details about work in the SF office. I've been a bit out of it from maternity leave, but am re-establishing relationships.

In that recent business trip with Barak and Chris - to introduce Chris as our new CEO - many expressed how grateful they were for the work Barak has done. What I totally didn't expect was a nice acknowledgement of the work I've done over the years (almost 4!!). I was floored and super touched to know I had made a difference in helping the two offices (cultures) work together. I bring this up because 1) it meant A LOT to me and 2) I would never have known such work, that perfectly fit me, even existed if it hadn't been for Six Apart...and Barak.

So, thank you, Barak. It has been life-changing. I sincerely hope our paths cross again.

p.s. I do also want to say that I'm quite excited about Chris as our new CEO. Joining him on the recent trip to Tokyo allowed me to get a sense of how he approaches things, and I'm looking forward to working with him. Getting to see how a CEO shift influences a company will be a rare experience too. There is palpable excitement in the company about new ideas and energy.

left brain vs. right brain

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My colleague sent this to me. Initially, I saw anti-clockwise turning. Told to concentrate to get the dancer to turn the other way, I didn't even know how to concentrate. Then whoop! She changed directions. Neatest thing ever!

Then I had the site up and was IM-ing to Dav, and I could see out of the corner of my eye that the dancer was changing directions back and forth...as if my brain found it fun to switch brain use while I was focusing on another task. Weird!

The description of left brain vs. right brain at first sounded like Dav and me. He's Mr. Logic, and I'm super emotional. But I'm horrible with spatial perception, and am safer than a risk-taker.

Dav is our hero

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We left L.A. Sunday morning after having breakfast with Dav's cousin Megan and her husband Costa. All was good, but we felt bad that Tesla had to be strapped to her car seat yet again for a long ride. Very quickly, however, we hit a snag. A huge snag. Interstate 5 was closed and traffic was detoured to some other route. With the traffic load of L.A., anything off of the freeway creates huge jams as you can imagine. Our hearts sank as we slowed into the traffic muck...inching towards some direction we didn't know. We thought of Tesla and how subjecting her to the normal trip of 7 hours + whatever this mess was going to be was just cruel. We were already kicking ourselves for not flying.

It was really bad. We didn't know at the time, but it was bad enough to make the NYT.

You know what though? As I was wondering whether we should turn back and try leaving the next day, Dav whipped out his Treo and was studying Google Maps. Soon I heard, "ok, now if we take xxx, then turn right, we should hit xxx, then we can go over xxx," and on and on. I assumed since all these seasoned motorists were just sitting there, there was no other way out. Dav, being the super independent brilliant husband that he is, figured out a route to get us out of hell. Seriously, I couldn't keep up with his plan, but he drove through the town roads...and when we caught up with I5 near Magic Mountain, there were like 5 other motorists! It was like we beat the whole messy crowd. I am still amazed that 1,000 others weren't following us.

So 2 things I learned: Always think on your own and try. Following is not necessarily the smart thing. Duh, but with that many cars dutifully waiting, it's hard not to assume that was just life at the moment. And the internet rocks! Our advantage of having a tiny device to access it will soon be gone as this sort of information becomes readily available to all. Sunday morning though, with our toddler, we needed that advantage.

Yay to my fantastic hubby who got us out of probably a 4+ hour yucky mess!

My Blog Action Day post

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We just got back from L.A. last night, and if there's a city that makes you think about consumption and polluting transportation, L.A. is certainly one. We were actually quite busy with a packed weekend, so I didn't have much time to reflect on this year's Blog Action Day theme, the environment. And I guess that is my point...that I find daily life so full and busy, that even though I care about our future and environment, I'm way too focused on feeding Tesla, getting to and from work on time, remembering our social engagements, trying to keep in touch with loved ones, etc.

But changes have to start somewhere. We do our share in recycling and buy organic, sustainable items when possible. Yet I catch myself drinking bottled water at work. And I don't have a mug for all the tea I drink, and use the disposable ones. Shame on me. So my post here is a declaration that I will use only a mug now, and I will bring my own permanent water bottle to stop drinking bottled water when possible. Small steps count. And this is what I will teach Tesla.

[update]

Here is my new mug and my water jug in the background.

okonomiyaki dinner

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It's been a while since seeing my ASIJ friends so it was a much appreicated gathering at Yuka's for an okonomiyaki dinner. Kagari and her family came over too. Dav got a group pic. As always, we just got back into good 'ol times mode, although this time we had 2 kids running around and Tesla following them, mesmerized at all the big kid things they did.

off to L.A.

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Just for the weekend but with T's stuff, our car is full! It's raining here so L.A. will be nice. We'll visit my high school friends, and Todd in Malibu.

Blog Action Day - October 15th

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Bloggers Unite - Blog Action Day

Check this out. I'm rather excited to see how this spreads. Over 10,000 blogs participating at the moment.

Blog Action Day is not-for-profit and exists solely to facilitate bloggers getting together to create a better world.

I will donate to National Wildlife Federation (NWF). See you on 10/15!

Happy Birthday Dav!

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To my honeybunny husband, and Tesla's daddy-o. We love you.

Weeeeee!

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Somebody likes speed and adventure, just like daddy...


Good essay

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Notes from Underground by Lynn Harris.

Via Babble

Finally...

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It took quite a while to get my energy back, keep working, still have social fun, etc. after Tokyo. Now I'm feeling better. But then the order of my Tokyo pictures got all messed up, and I just gave up trying to blog 2 nights in a row. This rarely happens, but I had a lot of pics in one post. Soon, editing HTML will be a thing of the past for folks like me...so that's why I'm only now getting my Tokyo pics up (with Dav's help). Already feels so long ago!

Tokyo - family and favorites

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Being able to see family is always a super sweet treat. And I feel very lucky that I got to visit my grandmother, Tesla's great-grandmother. The first pic is where my grandmother lives, and I just loved how Tesla ran around making herself at home. Here she is on the tatami seating area. Next is my favorite: Four Generations!

Tesla with my aunt and uncle. Grandma and Grandpa Kennedy.

Grandma Kennedy. Me saying bye to my grandmother.

Two great shots of Tesla and her greatgrandmother, thanks to fab Elida. She really took wondeful pictures of us. Tesla now knows her great-grandmother from both sides. In this day and age, that's pretty special.

Tesla walking from the family cemetery.

And my 2 other special moments. With mama-san at Enoki, shared with Elida. And a very touching and memorable dinner with Ichiro and Daiji, with Elida too!


Tokyo - Misc shots

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Tesla sleeping on the floor in the plane. A baby bed in a bathroom in a hotel. Now we're talking!

A very expensive wooden toy that really shouldn't be so pricey. A guest tag at NTT headquarters.

Fukokuseimei Building where I used to work. It's like next door to NTT and I wanted to say Hi, but we had to go...A fabulous phone charger that could charge all types of phones. A machine I really needed one morning.

2 house entrances. I'm pretty sure it was a 3 generation house where the grandparents had one entrance, and parents had another. Very cute how one is modern while the other is traditional.

Elida fascinated with a garbage truck and taking pictures. Tesla looking at something intently.

Daiji showing off his froggy hand twist that Ichiro taught us to do. I totally can't remember it now as it was quite complicated. Mine looked like a monster anyway. Daiji's amazingly tiny paper crane he made out of paper that wrapped the tips of chopsticks at the restaurant. Really incredible.

On the way to the SAKK office, I noticed a veritable fortress made out of plastic umbrellas for a lucky kitty. There was food in it, and the kitty was munching away.


Tokyo - food

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At a Korean BBQ with the TypePad team. Tons of meat..which I don't eat much of so even a few bites felt heavy and solid, although delicious. We were supposed to have live squid, but they were out of it. Instead, I got to point out to Michael that he was eating stomach lining of a cow, nice and crunchy, just as he was chewing. Sorry...should have waited on that.

One evening, we had a company dinner together that was sushi. We joked around about letting folks know that everyday there's free sushi in the SAKK office!

The last night I was in Tokyo, I met up with Ichiro, a current great colleague, and Daiji, an old colleague who was central in bringing Movable Type to Japan long ago [long ago meaning like 4 years, but in internet time, it's a long time]. He is working at another company now, and has a 3 year old at home. Nevertheless, he came out to have dinner with me! I was so honored! He actually paid for all of us (Elida was with us too), and I'm still amazed at such wonderful relationships I manage to have. As always, I enjoyed Ichiro's breadth of knowledge, and Daiji's too. We ended up talking about pretty large philosophical questions. Oh, and the place we went was a "hidden" place with no sign. It specialized in a list of top notch rice and wonderful dishes and sake to go with the rice (vs. rice going with the dishes).





Here is a "honey bar"

Every time before I get on the Narita Express to the airport, I wander around the basement of Sogo Deptartment store, carefully choosing my lunch. So many choices!









Decompression 2007

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I posted on Kokochiino.

a captured moment

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One snippet of fun from the trip, via Elida (who took a 1000 amazing pictures!). This was at my favorite Enoki whereI ALWAYS stop by. Every time, I have a hard time leaving and have a blast.

Tesla driving

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I'm still organizing my Tokyo pics, so in the meantime, here is a set from today at the park with Tesla. She is really into steering wheels now. However, today she had to share with a cute 1 year old boy, and I was amazed to see that she was rather shy around him.

He kept grabbing for the wheel or for her. Tesla backed away ... and when the baby boy came after her (thus leaving the wheel), she'd take advantage and head back to the wheel only to have the baby boy come after her again. And over and over...Our Tuesday nanny Gaby got another job so we're considering our options. For the near future, Dav will stay at home that day. But we've decided to look for a nice little daycare place where Tesla can go once a week to be part of a group. She's the queen of the house now, and granny gives her 110% attention on the days she cares for her, so we think it'll be good to get her out in a group. Most important is to find a nice place where I feel OK dropping her off. I'm sure it's way more about me, and Tesla will be more than thrilled to have playmates.

She really is a toddler now. Just today BabyCenter sent me an explanation about what it's like for a 15 month old:

Every day you watch your toddler attempt and accomplish something new, but the 15th month is one that pediatricians and developmental experts consider a "milestone" period. Most babies (around 90 percent) are walking now, and it may seem like with her first steps your baby walked right out of babyhood. Suddenly she wants to sit at the dinner table — or stand on a chair at the table — instead of in her highchair, she wants to talk on the telephone, push the vacuum cleaner, anything she can do to help you. Even if she's not totally confident on her feet, she's still very keen to experiment with different ways of moving: climbing, trotting, running, jumping, and ... dawdling.

Indeed. That's why it's taking me time to get my normal rhythm back after the trip!