Dav has been away this weekend to Vegas to watch rugby games. I didn't know he had it in him, but he's gaga over rugby. He's going to Vancouver next weekend for rugby too. Kids and I miss weekend time with him, but I'm happy he pursues his passion. And I don't mind just me & kid weekends.
Today I announced to the kids we were going hiking. Then it started hailing! It's a rare experience in S.F. as you can see from Aila's wonderment. Once cleared, kids and I drove off to Mt. Davidson. It was chilly, and we had to backtrack on one trail where a fallen tree completely blocked our way. When we finally made it to the top, we discovered a giant cross and fantastic views. I had no idea.
See Tesla by the cross to show size?
Soon a giant dark cloud loomed over, and while we scurried back, gusts of wind hit us, the trees made eerie sounds as they swayed, and hail started again! Luckily Aila had her umbrella, but she was a bit afraid, and Tesla without an umbrella had hail hitting her face. Both kids were such troopers. I love stormy weather, and was proud they braved it
Then we had hot chocolate. When we got home, we saw a rainbow. Later Aila made a gift for daddy for when he gets home. It was a nice day : )
It's nice to have markers during the year to pinpoint where you are in the 12 months. But geez...those markers come quicker and quicker. We have this year's Hinasama up. Just for fun, here is a link to 2010 that has a further link to our first one. With Tesla, my mom gifted the prince and princess. When Aila was born, she gifted the next row, ladies in waiting. So happy she did that. They are beautiful, and the kids love it when they are out.
This year, my mom's friend sent a lovely origami version to us. So sweet. Aila immediately decided it was for her, and placed it ever so perfectly on her desk:
Aila also drew the princess:
We went to Yosemite the other weekend, staying at Tenaya Lodge with my dear high school (Japan) friend Patti and family. It's been a long drought. So much that Aila was born during it, and when we got a bit of water, she was over the moon. Last time we were at Yosemite, it was dry as bone, no waterfalls to be found, and there was a forest fire we could smell as we drove back.
This time the waterfalls were glorious but in reality 2017 is giving us a bit too much water at once. We missed the major snow by a weekend, but found decent patches for fun. Driving around, I was sad about the orange dying trees that didn't survive this drought. Tons of water now, but the climate impact is visable. Still, Yosemite is magnificent:
We went sledding a mile away to a bigger hill. It rained at the end, but we had fun!
The lodge had a pool which was a highlight.
In a bit of rain, we still found a way to do smores at the lodge we stayed at.
We've all hung out a lot so kids know everyone, but this time, Aila fell in love with Patti. Aila asked me during our stay, "Can I kiss them?" I told her they are "framily...friends that are like family so you can kiss as long as you ask." What a snuggle bug. So special to share with an old friend.
This came up in my Facebook memory from 2 years ago. We started a kitchen remodel right after the new year, and this 2/10 post was when things were taking form after complete gutting. I remember so clearly how excited I was. After each day of construction, I'd stand in the kitchen imaging what was next.
Let me first share the professional pics Fireclay took of our backsplash because those tiles from Fireclay are still one of my fav things that I'm happy we splurged on. The tiles are from recycled computer and TV screens which is perfect because we use lots of screens. I originally thought of Heath tiles but was turned off by zero customer service I got while Fireclay was very friendly. I thought I wanted a simple green backsplash, but when I saw the CRT tiles in the showroom and touched them (handmade so each is unique and bumpy), that was that.
We used Ikea cabinets that were a big discount because Ikea was ending all cabinet lines for a new concept back then. I splurged on appliances and the backsplash. Although...when I thought I'd pick up cabinet handles at Lowe's, I ended up at a handle showroom, and discovered that handles are a thing that required thought. Handles ended up being a splurge too. I learned a lot during this process.
Thank you to Tall Glass Architecture. And Dan who built it. The pic below shows a teapot I got from Michelle. First pro pic shows the Heath plates I got from dear Rachel. I love being able to display dishes that I use regularly.
2 of my fav details below: garbage tucked way with compost. If chopping on the counter, I can just swipe stuff into the drawer. And the "drop zone" where papers, keys, odd stuff that used to clutter my counter can go. Plus there's a gadget charging drawer, and the cats' bowls have a designated place.
Last night was Drag Queen Bingo night a few minutes from our house. It was a fundraiser for a garden area in Portola, and was kid friendly so after bath time, we headed over. Very first bingo round, Dav won (coupon to our fav brunch spot Tiffany's).
I told Aila that people will be dressed up, so Aila got out her special dress, her cheetah tail, a necklace, and her fancy purse. She wasn't disappointed to see folks in sparkles and big dresses. The Bingo numbers were a bit much for her, but she liked the party. I left early to get Aila to bed, but Tesla & Dav later came home with another bingo prize and a raffle prize that Aila wanted (golden dinosaur with a plant stuck to it). We scored!
I was happy that I got to meet a neighborhood leader whom I've only known via Nextdoor.com. I now know he's friends with 2 members of our Friends of Palou Phelps group. He was dressed up fabulously, leading the show. It's nights like this that make me really happy to live in our neighborhood, with people coming together for a cause. And with my organizing around the Palou Phelps hill, it's rewarding to hear people know about our cause : )
Today was a beautiful day. I packed up our bikes (Aila rides attached behind me) and we went to Golden Gate Park. We rode and explored with Tesla as the lead. Stopped at Stow Lake to paddle boat around while we ate ice cream. Aila just got cheapo roller skates that she brought, so we stopped at the skating area in GG Park. Tesla patiently waited, and when I joined Tesla on the bench because Aila wanted to skate on her own w/o mama's help, a super pro skater later approached Aila and gave some lessons! Golden Gate rejuvenates.
When we came home, Aila still wanted to skate so we opened the garage. Then Dav came home and they played hockey.
Hockey at home in the garage:
I started taking lessons on how to put on a kimono with the goal of being able to put it on properly by myself. There are various levels I can try to achieve, but I'm focusing on the simplest obi tie that will take months to learn, and I'm not even planning on delving into the dos and don'ts for each season (color, cloth make, obi match etc).
First lesson was going over all the stuff we need, and how to properly fold kimono back for storage. My amazing mom handed off a lot of things to me this past summer, and now I know what a valuable gift it is. I have what is needed but I've learned from my kimono teacher that very recent kimono tools make it easier, so I'm about to ask my mom to send me that stuff that utilizes velcro, stretchy bands, and other hidden tricks.
Now, I can't imagine back in the day putting on formal kimono by oneself without the modern shortcuts. I simply never knew the layers and layers involved in getting properly dressed. I've worn kimono before but was either helped by someone, or utterly misdressed myself.
Luckily I have a fellow student (another mama at Rosa Parks Elementary, Ikuko-san) to share laughter at how one ideally needs to have amazing arm strength and flexibility to put oneself in a kimono, mainly to tie the obi. If assisted it's much easier.
By the end of today's lesson, Ikuko-san and I were rather exhausted. We couldn't fathom how women then went on to a formal tea ceremony that lasts for hours, and if in the city, requires riding a train, but you can't sit back because of the beautiful obi you sweated over to get right and don't want to smush. And we're doing the casual "living in America" version - meaning we can break rules.
I'm thrilled at the depth there is to learn. And so grateful to my mom who shared this, and was happy to hand over her gems to me. I hope if I can actually learn the rules, and my kids see me dress and wear it out more often (which is my goal), then somewhere, later, they will feel a connection.
I do feel very happy feeling snug in a kimono, a bit like a corset.