December 2007 Archives

Happy New Year!

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Continuing with the fun in making our family holiday card, here's our 2nd. Have a wonderful new Rat year!

More Teslas

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When we named Tesla, we discovered via Flickr that there was another Tesla girl, much older than our Tesla but with the same birthday! Then a few months ago, we heard about a new baby named Tesla in a friends of friends' social circle (we wonder if they heard about our Tesla and liked the name...).

This morning, Dav found a Tesla in Second Life who sells hats and shoes.

I hadn't heard of Tesla before naming our Tesla. Lately, we hear more and more about the inventor, the car, and the name. Now that our Tesla is Tesla, the name fits her perfectly, and it's rather neat to see how she and the name evolve.

Thoughts about gifts...

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Giving gifts is a wonderful thing. And there is nothing better than finding the perfect gift that you know the recipient will love. Receiving is also special. I love using items given to me because they have more meaning to me.

But both Dav and I don't like the pressure to give because of a holiday. Like Dav, I don't want to buy something just because I feel obligated to. I still tend to get into gift traditions though as I don't want to disappoint people, yet I have conflicted feelings.

In addition, as the environment and my actions that affect it become more important, I cringe at all the wrapping paper, and stuff. Nice, fun stuff, but still stuff that we probably wouldn't have if there wasn't the gift-giving tradition around the holidays (that is commercially-driven). I don't want to seem ungrateful as I totally appreciate people thinking of us. But again, I feel conflicted.

This year I decided to try something new. For a few for whom I did want to give gifts, like my niece and nephew, I bought them donations. So the money I would have used to buy something that may or may not have pleased them (I've goofed up before on buying items that weren't hip and in) went to a cause I believe in. I could feel good about giving such a gift.

I decided on the World Wildlife Fund. It was perfect because with the donations, I got nice cards that I could send to my recipients, and with that card, they could go to the website and decide which animal to support, AND they could get a cute stuffed animal along with an informational card about the animal. For children, it's nice they still get a little something.

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I also bought a few of donations from Oceana, and sent penguin cookie cutters that came with the donations.

I think I will give such donations increasingly. If I find gift things that are useful and perfect, great. If not, I will give a donation.

Opening gifts

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As most know, we don't do traditional Christmas celebrations. I do a tiny bit of decoration because it's fun and festive, but I don't buy a tree or have a whole box of decorations. The only thing we do is make and send out holiday cards. Overall, we simply enjoy the time off to relax and be together - and love how the city gets all quiet. With Tesla, however, it's changing. She still has no idea what's going on, but I felt the urge to get in the spirit for her sake. Plus, we received many presents this year, mostly for Miss T. So I decorated our palm tree under which we placed the gifts. And to play along, I waited until the 25th to open them (I say 'I' because Dav really doesn't care).
We started the morning with french toast and mimosas. Then sat around and made a big fun mess in the living room. We pretty much had to open T's presents for her, but she's been slowly inspecting her new goods.
Tesla got a star named after her!
She got a pink poodle outfit that included poodle wings (?). I put the wings on T, but she kept turning, trying to grab them off. Maybe later...She also got her very first baby doll from Kennedy Obaachan.
I got a wacky hat from bro & family. I giggled thinking how they thought of me when they saw that hat! It's a bit big so I had Dav try it on, who said he'd gladly wear it and I'm sure he will.
We each got fancy bento boxes from my parents - mine comes with a special container that keeps the rice warm. Gotta make more bentos! And finally, the aftermath from the morning...it was a perfect morning. Then we went strolling around Fisherman's Wharf. Happy Holidays!

A sentence!

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Tesla has been babbling for quite some time. Her babbling sounds like full-blown conversations, but we don't understand much yet. We try to engage with responses such as, "is that so? then what happened?" but aren't sure if we make sense to her either. She has been increasingly saying recognizable words though. And this morning, when UPS dropped off a box, she pointed to the box and clearly said, "what's that?"

Wow! I hugged her.

She's just beginning to use a few Japanese words. I'll be thrilled when she says her 1st sentence in Japanese.

new neighborhood park

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This park on Arkansas St. is next to the Potrero Hill Recreation Center, and was recently renovated. This gives Potrero Hill 3 distinct and quite nice parks for kids to play in. This one clearly has the best views. Tesla can be in the swing, and we can both see the city, the bay bridge, and the bay. Nice.

2nd pic is of Tesla going down the slide carefully (especially after this at another park).

Random but apt words inlaid in the grounds.

new hair

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I was on a long stint growing my hair long. Especially with pregnancy, and even after, my hair was different and seemed more conducive than before to being long. But I just got bored. And I kept putting up my hair so what was the point?

Like many of my decisions, I felt it coming...I pondered and wondered which way to go and what I really wanted. Then last week, I just felt it, and immediately called a salon near work known for its very good cuts. I have a regular place I go to, but because I wanted something totally different, I wanted to try a new place too.

I was not disappointed. They spent quite some time discussing and planning with me. At first, my hair was cut longer, but I said I wanted "change," so they cut more. I rarely care this much about my hair, but I love it! And a day later (after the beautiful finish by the pros has washed away), I still love it.

The place is Grasshopper in South Park. Yes, I recommend it. A bit pricey, but worth it!

忘年会 - bonenkai

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We hosted a 忘年会 - bonenkai - chez nous. It is when you gather with various groups of friends or co-workers to say farewell to the year. Or forget the year. Living in Japan, you'd usually have many of these to go to from all your social circles. With Tesla, I'm happy to host, but requested it to be pot-luck style, which is not a Japanese concept, but it worked well. We had tons of yummy home-made food!
Beau and Garth brought an amazing array of stuff for sushi, and Beau created beautiful platters to present it all.
Folks who had never been to our house came, and our neighbor Jeremy joined. I contributed nabe.
Being a 6A 忘年会, we pulled up flickr photos tagged with 6A, and watched ourselves :)
We had a decent but tame aftermath of wine and sake bottles. It was definitely a pleasure to 久しぶりに have a 6A gang over.

p.s. It's tradition to also have a 新年会 - shinnenkai - a party to welcome the new year. Japanese love to gather and party!

Visiting SF Zoo

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'Tis the holidays and I'm thoroughly enjoying just being home with Dav and Tesla, doing a little this and that, and not much more. But I did want to post some pics from a visit to the zoo from last Friday, my day off from work. I went with just T. Definitely worth it, but after a few hours (when I was right smack at the far end of the zoo), Tesla got antsy. She didn't want to be in the stroller, and if I let her walk, she walked the wrong way. So I had to carry her back to the exit, which was quite far, while pushing the stroller. It was work for mama!

But showing animals to Tesla was worth it. And although I dislike zoos, with the current rate of environmental destruction of animal habitat, I have a new appreciation.

In this picture, T was looking at some monkeys, totally getting into it. Picture on the right was her seeing penguins for the first time. The penguin group was actually really loud and stinky, so that all probably got her attention.
This picture was the lowest point for me...seeing a beautiful lion couple in a cage. Granted they had a door to an outside big pen, for whatever reason were stuck indoors. So magnificent. They just did not belong in a cage at all. There were several indoor cages with other lions. After I left that area, I heard a huge roar and was quite bummed I wasn't inside when that happened, although I have no idea how T would have reacted.

Pic on the right is T seeing flamingos for the first time. Such quirky birds!

We got to see various large birds being fed by the keepers. The owl, waiting for her turn, was mesmerizing. I got to see her turn her head completely backwards. Such a starer! T and I both saw a hawk get its lunch - a mouse - up close. I turned away several times as it ripped the mouse apart, but knowing I don't get to see this everyday, I tried my best to experience it. [Click on picture to see details.]
The most fun part was a petting area with donkeys, pigs, chickens, and goats. T was pretty intrigued by all of that, and me too. I think being able to touch the animals made a big difference for T.

The last pic is of a tiger - not in the petting area, of course. Very beautiful to see, but sad as it seemed like the tiger would want to run a bit and there was no space. Like the lions, I couldn't help but see the tiger in a prison-like situation. Not a fun sight.

Overall, it was good. Since I can't go to Africa often, I will go to the zoo again, and maybe even get a membership. T already shows quite a liking to cats and especially dogs (interesting since we don't have a dog), and I definitely want her to experience and love animals.

hairdo

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Last Wednesday, the day T goes to another house for a nanny-share, Dav picked her up with this cutie hairdo. I dunno what happened since daddy picked her up. Somehow the nanny got inspired to try this hairdo on T. I loved it, and was more interested in getting a decent picture of T during dinner time than making sure more food went in her mouth than on the floor.

p.s. This particular nanny-share is a temporary situation until mid-January. Granny will continue with 3x/week, so we are looking into a group daycare place that accepts 1x/week. It's actually hard as most daycares want at least a 3x/week commitment. We've visited a few places that are flexible...and it's really weird to think of dropping off Tesla at these places. I think it'll be more of a transition for mommy than T. I know she is quite ready for group play...

Tesla's new kitchen

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I've been wanting to get a bigger kitchen set for Tesla as she loved this little version that KC gave to her. I was actually cruising craigslist to find shelves for T's toys...and happened to come across a beautiful wooden set of a cooking station and fridge. I like the fridge because I can put away her toys in there.

Anyway, it was still rather expensive, but cheaper than a new set...and such good quality. We put it promptly in the living room so she can play when we hang out there.

She loves it. Being used, the seller threw in a complete set of mini pots and pans, and wooden utensils.

Yay for craigslist!! And now I will pass on the smaller kitchen to Penelope :)

TED

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Lately, Dav and I have been getting into TED talks. This is an invite-only, quite expensive conference, but the talks are online too! And they're just brilliant. Such a variety, but all so good in an informative, educational, and inspiring way. I just love the fact that this exists, and that it is so popular. People want to know and want to change the world for the better. Yes!

Tonight we saw Larry Lessig's talk. It was actually one of the best thus far (we haven't seen all). Very well given, and with a touch of humor. He mentioned several examples why protecting the ReadWrite culture is necessary.

It's a good talk. : )

p.s. The diaper scene from the example reminded me of this...a neighbor in the Potrero Hill area. We went to a neighborhood house that showed Gabriel's various learnings, and it was simply hilarious.

Watch and pass it on.

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Inspiring video. Take a moment to see it; it's worth it. It's about the future for all of us. Global climate destabilization.

Dinner chez Kevin & Esther's

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Here is a story: I used to work with Esther. Long before I heard of blogging, before I moved back home to Tokyo, before I met Dav. She was on my team, and when I thought our projects were impossibly behind schedule, she'd smile and say, "no problem, it will all be fine." And it would be.

Later, completely independently, I started working for Six Apart. One day, Kevin, Esther's husband, emailed me inquiring about an upcoming visit by one of our Japanese partners. Turns out he works with them. So he joined our meetings, and now from time to time, we see each other at work!

Last Sunday we went to their house for dinner. They have Kai, who is 4, and a younger baby boy just 3 months old. I felt bad coming over when they have a youngster plus a baby! Graciously, they served the most yummy Spanish meal. Wow.

Kai and Tesla immediately bonded in the sense that they were the only tiny tots around...but Tesla had never really faced a 4 year old boy. It was quite a challenge for Tesla, but as long as she didn't wail for cover, we let them go (with the eyes and ears of 4 parents keeping check). Tesla hung in there although there were some rough moments (the video looks a lot worse than it was...she got up and was right back at it later), and in the end she was exhausted from so much running around.

It's really neat to see toddlers/kids interact. They can't really speak to each other but they get that they are in a similar world than the adults.

Anyway, thank you K & E & K & A for a wonderful evening.


This family gathering had performances! Scottish tradition. And I loved the teenager with his earphones - too cool to really listen to the performance, but he was there at the family gathering.

Brother Markus gleeeeefully eating. Great-grandmother Maria, mother of 8, playing the piano. She and Tesla hang out with each other a lot since granny Marie takes Tesla to Great-granny. I am very happy Tesla knows her great-grandmother.
Tesla with her cousin who will soon be a big sister!!

Family performances by the older children, and Tesla mesmerized. Uncle Markus being the ho-ho-ho Santa. Me loving his act.
Tesla crashed before the end. Bless her heart. She participated as long as she could.

Dressed up for a Holiday Party

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Alrightly...finally catching up about last weekend. T'was special as there was the grand Callaghan family Christmas party. I was actually really excited for this since I've never been to a gathering of the family all together. The family is huge...and I grew up with a small family so it's a neat thing to experience.

Tes wore her adorable jacket and matching hat. Granny Marie gave this to her at my baby shower! But it's been too big forever...and now it fits. It is so cute!

After we entered the hall where the party was, we spotted T's cousin Maria-Rose who was wearing a different jacket by the same designer. I love seeing them together, and made them pose. Of course Tes lost her hat during my photo attempts. The cousins do seem to connect as if they know they are related...

p.s. Yay to Granny Marie who bought her adorable red shoes, and the jacket. She also figured out the perfect dress as I was too busy to dig through all Tesla's clothes.

A moment to note

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I'm behind in blogging. I have tons of pics and videos from the weekend. Some from the 60+ attendees at the Callaghan Scottish family Christmas gathering on Saturday where Tesla loved running around with her cousins who are toddlers too. She also took advantage of leaving Dav and me to explore on her own - which we let her since it was all family and as safe as safe can be. Then on Sunday, we had dinner at our friends' who just had their 2nd son. Their first, Kai, is a rambunctious 4 year old who played with Tesla - fed her apple sauce and rough-housed her with pillows - and we were quite pleased at how she held her ground although at times I think it was a bit much for her size.

But I got sucked into lounging with Dav tonight. I thought I'd put off posting because I was enjoying hanging with my husband, just the 2 of us as Tesla snoozed.

Then, I went to the bathroom. And I got my period.

To put this into perspective, I have not had my period for 27 months.

It was a very nice break from the monthly hassle. And I appreciated that break. But, I've had signs that it was coming. Plus, I only breast feed Tesla maybe 2 days a week only when I want her to go back to bed when it is 5am and she wakes up. She pretty much has stopped asking for it by herself. So I knew my period was around the corner.

Nevertheless, seeing my period, was...uh...actually very emotional for me.

I started crying and came out to Dav for comfort. I explained that although I see Tesla grow and her need for me has definitely changed from physical to emotional, for ME to have the definite signal from my body that it is done with giving Tesla sustenance, and is ready to be back to normal, was rather a shock. I had a mourning. It felt sad in a let-going way that my body was telling me, "Your baby is fine now. She will continue to need you, but has exited her first stage from you."

I'm happy (I have been eager to completely get my body back), but touched also at how significant this feels. Thank you, body, for giving us Tesla!

Hence this post.

going out!

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This was Thursday night before I went out with a friend. I wanted to capture the moment; the, "huh, this is my life and before it would seem crazy but it's so normal now" moment. I had come home from work, fed Tesla, made dinner for Dav and me, gave Tesla a bath, folded some laundry, then went out.

Dav had been up numerous times the night before dealing with Tesla, so I really wanted to help out Thursday night with dinner & bath. Otherwise, Dav would have taken care of all that. I really didn't mind, and actually wanted time with Tesla. But then to go out...just after doing so many household things...felt weird. Or, I just felt so 'mommy.'

An indoor fortress

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Dav sent this to me at work so I could see "real time" what little Ms. T was doing on a rainy indoor day like today. Brightened my day!

Extra Action Marching Band

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They are way beyond what most think a marching band does. Brings the crowd together like no other.

These pics of their 3 main dancers are to entice you to check more pics and video on Kokochiino.

If you ever have the chance to see them, do not miss them. Once there, you will know what I mean. It's the old kind of fun where the performers and crowd are there together to celebrate ALL out. Refreshing, to say the least.

Videos on Kokochiino

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I just uploaded several videos of Tesla babbling, hanging in Hawaii, climbing with daddy, and general park fun. Over on Kokochiino. よろしくね。