Saturday, December 30, 2006

good bye dog days

this will be my last post of the year. it has been a crazy year. dramatic peaks and dips all the way through and frankly, i am tired of 2006. i will appreciate it as the year i was first published, the year i conceived and delivered nico but it was also the year we left japan and the year we learned that we will have to pay for jason's school. the interview last week made us realize how tired we are because as much as we complain about jacksonville, we aren't ready to move yet. a vacation would be grand about now but unlikely. i am tired of searching for job openings and writing cover letters. i want to spend my days enjoying the company of my family, not scolding them for interrupting my thoughts as i answer application questions. things should be simpler. we should be able to laugh without worrying about the rent. it is frustrating. but let's blame it on the year, okay? because next monday it will be over. happy new year's everyone! 皆様のご健康をお祈り申し上げます。 新年おめでとうございます。

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

the day after

first, thank you everyone for the lovely gifts and holiday greetings. we spent the last two days x-masing but it wasn't as stressful as we feared. everything was low key and relaxed. last night we returned home for some paella and woodchucks and tried to get the house in order. today i have to find space for all the new toy additions. sebastian has every thomas the tank engine toy/dvd/bath towel ever created. i am still working on my resolutions but i know one of them is to try and shrink the size of my ecological footprint. this includes, among other things, returning to a vegan diet, reducing the amount of packaging and plastics brought into the house, and starting a container garden on our balcony. another project is battling the mistletoe epidemic that is spreading throughout the region. this is one of jason's major gripes so we are trying to figure out some sort of productive/positive solution for this problem. anyway, these are just a few of my morning thoughts. hope everyone is well. take care.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Festivus for the Rest of Us

Do you have your festivus pole ready?

More cookie making on the agenda for today. These will be for our neighbors and landlord. I'll be making a vegan pumpkin cheesecake with a gluten-free gingersnap crust to take to the parents' tomorrow. For people who don't celebrate x-mas, we are sure doing a lot for it. I think of this more as an opportunity to show our appreciation. Nico is laughing up a storm in his sleep. Sebastian and I made some whole-wheat donuts this morning and now he is searching for more to eat while he watches Kiki's Flying Delivery Service again. We'll try to get some pictures of the x-mas lights tonight but we've been having lots of evening thundershowers (high temp. in the low 80s) so we have to hope that it is clear. For all you reading from Japan and complaining about the cold, please know that on the other side of the planet I am cursing the heat. Merry x-mas to all of you who celebrate. I'll post after the holiday is over, hopefully w/ pictures. Take care.

things to do

my, how quickly december is passing. nico was born one month ago today which means i have been applying for positions for about a month now. i believe i have sent in my resume to a total of twenty positions, most of which i am unqualified for and yet i march on. the perfect position will present itself soon, i am sure. until then, tako no tako making, nengajo making and delivery (which will most likely arrive after the new year, but will definitely arrive), and major house-cleaning. new year's day will be spent at the dharma center w/ the first light ceremony (108 candles lit for peace) and a pot-luck lunch to follow. then some kite flying. i am really looking forward to new year's, x-mas not so much. sebastian is bound to get overwhelmed and over-sugared and it will take a few days afterwards to calm him down. like today, after two days spent driving around and thus breaking our routine, sebastian needs rest. today there is a lot of book reading and toy playing going on. after the new year, i will be seriously cracking open the montessori books to use counting and writing activities. and most likely the majority of sebastian's toys will be put away in favor of books and art/craft supplies. anyway, today, i am considering making a gingerbread house. we'll see how that goes. take care.

Friday, December 22, 2006


my interview went okay. not great or poor but okay. it took more than an hour and i looked like the woman conducting the interview so those are good things but my answers felt flat and lame, predictable. the truth is that it was excellent practice and i now possess a snazzy interview outfit for the next time. i was escorted there by my parents and with the rain and crying baby we ended up a few minutes late. i realized i was unaccustomed to bullshitting and this is a position that requires skillful bullshitting. i don't really think i was the right person for the position and i don't think we are prepared to move within the month. i really want to work in jacksonville, i like our place, a new health food store is opening nearby, and i really think we can contribute to the community here. it might require a car but i am starting to feel okay about that purchase as well. anyway, please continue crossing your fingers that i will get a call from t.f.p.l. thanks.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

all dressed up in jeans

well, tomorrow i have my first professional interview since my return. i have sent off many cover letter/resume combos and yet this is my first call back for a position entitled community resource specialist. it is for a non-profit in gainesville so if i got an offer and accepted, there would be big changes soon. but i really want another position here in jax with the trust for public land. it is pretty much my dream job. i sent off the usual combo yesterday and thought i did a fantastic job but then i realized AFTER i had sent it that there was a typo (under instead of understand. gasp.). i have plotted how i could resubmit a revised cover letter but every ploy seems tacky so i just have to learn from my mistake and try not to beat myself up and lose sleep over it. please hope that they will overlook that little flaw and call me for an interview. and if the only job offer is from the one i am interviewing for tomorrow, could you also hope/pray/vibe that it pays 30k or more a year? something to make it worthwhile to relocate to? anyway, tomorrow i will go down there with the help of my mom and wear tights and earrings and other girly stuff and try to convince them that i am a capable adult. if nothing else, it is good practice and maybe we can take sebastian to the natural history museum. win-win. thanks and take care.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

i'm taking off my gloves

i'm done. i can no longer remain a closet environmentalist. i have to re-enter the arena and fight the good fight. did i honestly think the majority of americans would do what is necessary, take personal responsibility and change their everyday life so there is a hope for the future? was it naivete or laziness or a mixture of both? i sigh as i exit the snug closet i built. life seems simpler in the dark. watch the inconvenient truth.

Monday, December 18, 2006

the weekend

-watching and re-watching the latest office episode
-watching the bbc's newly attempted and extrermely long take on jane eyre
-adding about 3 more inches to my scarf
-fretting about the future and trying to convince jason of unwise paths
-remaining off coffee and dairy
-baking vegan cookies for the dharma center
-eating oatmeal, homemade bread, salt and vinager chips, peanut butter balls
-trying to keep sebastian quiet(er) and nico asleep
-feeding peanuts to the giant squirrels at the park
-applying for jobs online
-learning a powerful lesson about what watching too much thomas the tank engine will do to you
(i.e., there is a big distinction between station master and station manager and when applying to a broadcasting position, it is best to use the latter rather than the former.)

that's about it for now. hope you guys were all mellow yellow too. take care.

Friday, December 15, 2006

do not fret

lest some of you mistake the intent/tone of my last two entries, let me clarify that i am not really feeling low nor do i suffer from ppd (eva). it is december, the time to reflect on the past 300-something days and project about the next 300-something days. i have always been a big fan of new year's and always make a list of resolutions. when the final edit is done, i will post the list here. i will tell you something right now, this next year is all about beginnings and continuity. we will increase our study of the japanese language in preparation for next december's jlpt. one or both of us will be entering school. i have found my ideal grad program and unless i find a comparable program elsewhere, we will be headed to gainesville in 2007. this is not to say i will be accepted to the program or that i will even apply this year but it is good to know what i am aiming for. the priority is to get jason in school even if we have to pay for it. a glimmer of hope was created yesterday during a friend's visit so we will chase after it in the new year. anyway, the kids are fine. we are selecting a kite to make for new year's, to continue a tradition that kai and his family started for us last year.

today or tomorrow, depending on nico's naps, we will be starting the holiday cookie baking extravaganza. i am still deciding which recipes to use but here are my options (though i realize the last two aren't cookies)
mayan cookies
vegan gingerbread cookies

since jason is allergic to wheat and i am off caffeine and dairy, whatever comes out of our kitchen is really an act of love. if i manage to give away all of the mayan cookies without tasting a crumb, well then i am a strong woman. too bad i can't post pictures right now because nico looks very sweet curled up on my lap and sebastian is having a tea party with his animal puzzles. hopefully i can overcome that technical difficulty soon. okay, hope all is well with you and yours. take care.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

these days

These Days by Nico

two inches of purple scarf waiting on knitting needles
stacks of dishes needing to be rinsed
bowls of granola and soy milk
a room in need of order
ideas that need to be noted
designs to be sketched
applications left blank
a baby who will only sleep on his mother
a child who needs to run
a harsh tone that needs to be softened
books left unopened
languages left unspoken
a sore back and dark circles under my eyes
two small boys and a cup of tea
these are my days

Monday, December 11, 2006

things that make you go hmm...

this song is stuck in my head today. i hope it infects you as well.

other things on my mind lately:
-zombies and how to protect my family in case the dead come back to life
-miniture cats. seriously, think about it. wouldn't it be cool to see tiny full grown cats living in the trees instead of squirrels?
-(speaking of squirrels) squirrels with prehensile tails
-giant animal costumes as used on trigger happy tv. i want a realistic looking duck one so i can infiltrate the duck pond at the park.
hope all is well with you and yours.

Saturday, December 09, 2006


is it cheating to use year-old pictures? i am sure that this scene looks very much the same today as it did last year. the hustle and bustle of kyoto station. many people (especially gaijin) hate this place because it is thought of as a blemish of modernity on a historically beautiful landscape. but we loved it. it might be that country bumpkin perspective but to us, it is exciting being in a station full of people going places. i love that from kyoto station you can board a train for any destination in japan. it is a place of possibilities. last year we thought we would still be in japan at this time. we thought that maybe we would go to india to ring in the new year. we thought lots of things. during this past year i was published for the first time. i started sewing again, jason started drawing again. we became serious about learning japanese. we realized how much we love the land of the rising sun. i was going to start an internship with the kyoto journal. we were going to go wwoofing. i started a dharma group in my house and joined an organic co-op. it was the year of beginnings. and then in february, we created nico and everything changed. it was such a difficult decision to return home and sometimes we question why we had to though we have no regrets. we learned the importance of not being attached to ideas, a lesson that was extended when ingrid became nico. i was able to have a natural birth using a midwife like i always wanted. i am home with the kids (for the time being). we have time to collect ourselves, to breathe and find our way. we know we want to return to japan, that we want the kids to grow up there instead of america. i have to decide if i am going to become a professional woman and pursue graduate school or if i am going to craft a more independent life. the latter is actually the path of risks, and the path that i will take if i can muster enough courage. and a sound budget. we discovered that there is no possible way jason will ever get financial aid so we must pay for his education ourselves. he is determined to get an education because he wants to be able to work in japan when we return so we have motivation on our side. and for once we are neither anxious (me) nor depressed (jason) about these matters. we have been through enough in this past year alone to make us realize that getting tense about the future is futile. we can plan but those plans will undoubtedly change shape or transform into something completely new and unexpected (like nico). we must remain true to ourselves then everything else will work out on its own. i hope all is well with you and yours. take care.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

may we all have peace and love

i have been following the story of the Kim family every since it appeared. i assume it is because it really touched close to home. i realize that all around the world people go missing and often their stories are lost as well because of their race/economic status and yet i have shed tears for this family because jason and i often make wrong turns, because we have two little kids that we would walk miles and miles to save despite our own well-being. i really can't imagine the grief of the wife, well, i suppose i could but it would be so crushing that i wouldn't be able to go about my days. tragic instances like this can serve to give us perspective about what truly matters in life and stop taking joy for granted. we are all really blessed to be alive right now and we should do our best to remain aware of this state despite lesser stresses like rent, school, work, money. we all have a fantastic opportunity. i wish you the best in taking advantage of it. hug your babies tight, love your partners/friends/selves like there is no tomorrow.
peace and love to you all.

Monday, December 04, 2006

she's making her list + grey days and red boots

in case you were wondering what happened to nico...

the only time of day when you can catch his eyes open.

so, i am making many lists these days. the easiest two lists are the sweets list for the holiday gifts we are making for those near and dear as well as the list of people to send new year's cards to. we are going to be doing the family portrait this week and since jason works at an art store that happens to also print things we should be set. the more difficult lists include cities where we can relocate to and the on-going what do we want to do with ourselves one. we know our goals but this recent twist of circumstances has made us question the direction. jason needs to go to school, i want to work but i also want to homeschool, and write, and make things to sell. so what to do, what to do? as for cities, we like the portlands (maine and oregon) but we aren't sure how we could pay the bills there yet. but we have some time as i don't think winter is the time to pack up the wee ones and take off for a strange city. but perhaps in august? if nothing else we might go to gainesville again as it has more for us than jacksonville does. i know we should not be asking what our city can do for us but what we can do for the city and yet life is so incredibly short. we should live someplace that has the resources and amenities that we need. i still believe that it is possible to live without a personal vehicle but i also realize that we must live someplace that has alternative means of getting around. jason went to target on the bus yesterday and it took him four hours round trip. it is only a ten minute car ride at the most but because on saturdays the bus only ran every two hours (and there is hardly any sunday service in the entire city). considering the segment of the population that relies on bus transportation in jacksonville is of the lower economic class, i don't know, it just feels unjust. anyway, i am also thinking about participating in this eco-video competition just for kicks. anyway, that is about all i have to report here. mellow days spent browsing through my knitting books wishing for time/skills/yarn to do all the fabulous projects i see. hope all is well with you and yours. take care.

Sunday, December 03, 2006


(this is from jason's co-worker yuki. she made it before ingrid turned out to be nico.)

I realized today that I haven't posted anything relevant to our life recently. As you can imagine, my hands are rather full with two young charges but we are also busy scheming due to an unexpected kink in our path. Nothing really major but we do have to reassess what we are doing and where we are going. It is possible that we might leave Jacksonville as the city is rather depressing. We are stuck in a very small corner and though we try to make the most of it, we feel cramped and a bit wasted. Jason has been denied financial aid at the local community college. This absolutely blows. We can't afford to pay for his education ourselves and yet his education is the reason why we are here. We have to figure out if there are other schools where he would receive financial aid, perhaps someplace that has a competent staff. It is completely frustrating but we will adjust and find a solution. In the meantime we are working on New Year's cards, Jason is learning his kana again, and I am holding down the fort. Nico is doing great, if you were wondering. He had his first check up and has already gained a pound over his birth weight. He looks so much like Sebastian that it is almost like having baby Sebastian back, which is a little surreal. But Nico's multiplying chins remind me that he is his own person. I believe he is going to be quite the chub most likely due to his daily routine of sleeping and eating and sleeping and eating. What a life. Anyway, again the dishes call and Nico is stirring so I must be off. I hope everyone's December is going well so far. Take care.