Sunday, December 09, 2007

2008, when everything will be great

i won't be posting until the new year. wishing you and yours the best during the holiday season. take care.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

so it goes

it's been a rather long week. job hunting has dominated and it looks like we'll have to continue next week as well. i do have an interview on monday though the only reason i got this is because it so happens that i used to work with the woman who is in charge of hiring. it's a strange world, isn't it? online applications are the norm but the only way i seem to get any true opportunities is by connecting with people i know "in real life". networking, i believe the kids are calling it these days.

as for the job in kyoto, it's been over a week since they received my application packet and i still haven't heard from them. they were scheduling interviews on a rolling basis so i expected to hear from them this past week if i had moved on to the next stage. of course, i am disappointed. it was a long shot but the school's program is really superb (it is a SELHi with a international and cultural studies program that employs ten ALTs) and it is located in northwest Kyoto-ken in the lovely, lovely mountains. so yes, i am sighing as i accept the reality of their decision but i am happy that i tried. the positive aspect of this rejection is that it makes me feel that i definitely need to move to tampa and spend the next two years working towards my master's in tesol so that more doors will open for me. (that also gives the ex-nova bunnies time to thin out a bit). tampa does not thrill me but of course all i know of it is busch gardens and the retired circus performer village so i maybe i should give it another chance.

i was hoping to have some sewn goods to show off by now but i've been swamped with the job search. it is really a full-time job in itself. sebastian and i made some baker's clay holiday ornaments/alphabet letters and he's in the process of painting them today. we also are working on a few mini-kokeshi made from origami paper and wooden clothespins that can go on our little tree. i would like all of the ornaments this year to be handmade. sebastian is going to be gone this weekend for his usual grandparent weekend but after that we want to make some of the cool stuff that sarah has posted so kindly. i am also going to try and make all of our christmas gifts this year as well of our nengajo that we intend to design and print this next week so we can actually get them sent out this year. (so if you have moved recently, please drop me an email with your new address :)). also, the boys' stockings are on the to-do list.

all in all, i am feeling rather positive. my life has always been very cyclical so by now i know that the upswing is just around the corner.

hope you have a wonderful weekend.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Saturday, November 24, 2007

a space for making

i finally finished cleaning out the pantry so i could convert it to a making space. it is small and the light is shabby but it is so liberating to have a place to create again. when i was working during the day, it broke my heart to see our sewing/drawing/printmaking materials shoved into the closet. now they have some room to breathe.

immediately i started on a little project.

tomorrow is nico's little birthday party. we are having it in the morning because jason works in the afternoon. so today sebastian and i are making muffins and gingerbread cookies in preparation for tomorrow's brunch. i also have a polar bear hat and softy to put together for mr. 1's birthday gift. sebastian has picked out some material and is going to help me make a soft ball for his brother.
the only downside to this new space is that it is rather distracting. it opens my mind to a flood of ideas yet unfortunately i am experiencing a drought of time these days. luckily i have adopted the practice of keeping paper and pen within reach so i can jot down the ideas and free up some space in my head for focusing on what is at hand.
thanks for nico's birthday wishes. it is hard to believe how quickly this past year went. it has also been a year since i began blogging here so i just wanted to thank you for keeping up with us. i have really appreciated having this space for connecting with old and new friends alike.


in one year

we went from three to four.
we started here...

...and now we are here.

happy birthday nicolai augustus. you make our family whole.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

what a week. at the beginning i was a bona fide full-time employee and today i am sitting here watching our new black cat bat a piece a paper around, eating soup while nico naps. it's not that i don't like work, i do, but what i don't like is working a job that is absolutely unsatisfying for very little pay. my tolerance for working in the corporate world is minimal and that is only when the benefit is a decent paycheck. i really value my time and spending up to 13 hours a day away from the boys without due compensation was painful. so now back to the drawing boards. what next? who knows but i have begun applying for jobs in the social work field. i like helping people and i like jobs that keep me on my toes. so we'll see. jason's joining the job hunt too so hopefully something will crop up soon. i am feeling positive about it.
also, i finally applied for the teaching position in kyoto yesterday. odds of getting an interview are probably about 1 to 350,000 but i am willing to gamble.
today is rather quiet as jason is at work and sebastian went to my parents' for a sleepover. it gives me some time to be home and calmly organize and consider what possibilities lie ahead. we are open for anything at this point and ready to dive in.
hope everyone has had a lovely week.

Friday, November 09, 2007

sewing books+scones

with the cooler november air, i have been heating up the oven and eyeing the sewing machine.
when i came across these groovy books at my local used bookstore, i had to make them mine. these first two books are really sweet, with advice for busy mothers on how to find time to sew. advice that i truly want to heed.

this one was irresistible despite it being mainly girl clothes.

look at that red dress with the pinafore. i am lucky that i have friends with little girls so i can make it.

this book on smocks is great because not only does it have some crazy smocks but it also contains a rather exhaustive history on the smock. it also explains how to properly do smocking without that scary multi-needled spool.

now, you can understand why i used the adjective groovy before. this guy is far-out. there is also a low-cut smocked bathing suit in the chapter entitled modern smocks, but this guy really took the cake. i mean, look how happy he is buying his citrus at the market in his completely awesome outfit and fro. i think we would all achieve such heights of happiness if we too could wear our pants tucked into boots under an handmade smock, don't you agree?

and lastly, i leave you with a glimpse of one of the products of my short-lived domesticity. i'd thought i would share my recipe for gluten-free chocolate cinnamon scones with you for being such good sports during all my belly-aching recently (like, a whole year). i'll post another scone recipe that is vegan next week. hope you enjoy.

2 cups of flour (i used a sifted combination of 1 C rice, 1/2 C chickpea, and 1/2 C tapioca flours but you can use an all purpose flour instead)
1/4 C sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon (or more if you wish)
1/3 C unsalted butter, cold
1 large egg, beaten
1 T vanilla
1/2 C milk or cream
1 C of chocolate chips

Preheat oven at 375 degrees F. Line pan with parchment paper. Whisk dry ingredients together then cut in butter (you can use that fancy pastry mixer or two butter knives like I do). Mix until it looks like crumbs. In a separate bowl, mix all the wet ingredients. Slowly add to "crumbs" until just mixed. Add chocolate chips. Put dough on floured surface. It should be rather unsticky, if not you will want to add more flour. Knead dough then roll out. Cut into triangles or shape with your hands. Place them on the baking sheets, add a little cinnamon-brown sugar to the top if you like. Bake for 15-18 minutes.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Monday, November 05, 2007

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

focus on the environment

you are here right now.

look closely at the world around you.

look and feel lucky. look and be inspired to act.

Saturday, October 06, 2007


little gifts:: living so close to the river, having parents who are willing to change (and fix) my tire for me, having a landlord who is understanding about the rent being late, finding forty cents in my pocket to lower the library fines enough to check out our stack of books.

greater gifts:: overcoming my anxiety and ungratefulness, holding the luxury of choice in my hand

decision:: our address won't change for a while.

gift:: sunshine, precious light though fleeting. coming home to myself.

on the other hand...

blue is a lovely color too. i was in no way suggesting that blue sky should be shy.

moderation is the key to rain, don't you think?

so blue skies, come back, i miss you.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

The Waiting Place

We've been doing a lot of waiting in this past year...

"...headed, I fear, toward a most useless place.
The Waiting Place.
...for people just waiting.
Waiting for a train to go
or a bus to come, or a place to go
or the mail to come, or the rain to go
or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow
or waiting around for a Yes or No
or waiting for their hair to grow.
Everyone is just waiting."
-The Places You'll Go by Dr. Seuss

I know patience is involved but sometimes the waiting room is so intolerable, like being tied to a dock when our sails are full of wind. Hopefully big decisions will be made soon and we can continue stomping along because I can't imagine sitting here much longer, dependent upon the whims of others.

That's not for you!

Somehow you'll escape
all that waiting and staying
You'll find the bright places
where Boom Bands are playing."

Thank you for your support lately as I whine and groan. I really appreciate the comments and emails though I haven't had a chance to reply. Perhaps I am too impatience with other people's clocks and need to just worry about my own, with its hands racing, building speed everyday until I am left breathless at midnight, wondering where the day went.

Today I plan to lay my hands upon the second hand and muck up the works for a bit.
To the library, laundrymat, and other ordinary places that steady my perspective.

It's been raining a lot here lately. I feel compelled to mention this element as it has been so overwhelming for this area. We live near the river and so all the places we roam have been submerged this week. Lots of flooding and grey skies. The river was swollen almost to the point that it had risen to the street level. I think I am the only one in Jacksonville who loves the rain. I like a change from the blue, sunny skies that makes Florida famous. A strong wind rattling the windows, rain against the panes. Grey lovely days.

Monday, September 10, 2007

::looking forward to::

i am looking forward to so much::
::the start of the fall semester tomorrow. i have been reading up on teaching grammar as this semester i have my first grammar classes for the intermediate level students. i am a little nervous but glad to be starting something new. next week is the start of the evening community classes, something that i am really excited about this term. ::
::meeting with advisors at the university's college of education to discuss the possibility of getting a master's of education in elementary education.::
::expanding my garden beyond containers. i am on the waiting list for the neighborhood community garden plot.::

::this boy's birthday that falls on thanksgiving. we have decided to plan a mini-vacation for that holiday weekend, our first as a family ever. i am hoping for mild weather so we can head north for some mountain-side camping::

::fixing up our apartment some and getting the landlords to live up to their promises (i.e., replacing that dang cardboard patch on the kitchen ceiling)::
::volunteering as an esol tutor with the local library and elementary school::

::watching this::

::and this::

::cooler weather (cross your fingers) for knitting and soup making::
::eating a big bowl of the chili stewing on the stove on the porch in the cool twilight air::

Sunday, September 09, 2007

our children's house

this week's quote from ms. montessori
we are a montessori house. i have been reading books by and about the montessori method since i was a teenager. it has always been my dream to become a montessori teacher but due to pragmatics, it won't be happening soon. when i say we are a montessori house, i don't mean that we have all the proper equipment or follow any guidelines precisely. what i mean is that the words of maria montessori are reflected in our intentions, if not always our actions. at home the difference is not noticable, it is only around others that i realize that we are bringing our boys up differently. our children are alert and observant, they are energetic but kind and very friendly. the montessori philosophy, though often coupled with christian schools, in fact corresponds to buddhism. we are not interested in academic achievement or test scores, we want our sons to be successful as humans. to be independent and confident, courteous, polite and gracious out of respect for others as well as themselves. we want to help them discover the world on their own terms, be their guides not their dictators.

nico putting the blocks away after building towers with them.

nico walking at a little under 9 months is rather alarming for other parents with 12 month olds who refuse to toddle. i reassure them that each child develops at their own pace but they never seem convinced. they look for ways to explain his progress, eventually settling on the explanation that having an older brother makes the difference. they ask me when he started pulling himself up or turning over, i tell them that nico and sebastian met those "milestones" at precisely the same age. then, to make themselves feel better i guess, they try to compare the size of our children. the funny looks i get when i tell them i have no idea about either of them because i have yet to find a pediatrician that i respect, that i understand sick-child visits but well-child visits confuse me.

sebastian chooses and pours his own drinks, putting the container back where he found it when he finishes. he also puts his cup in the sink and wipes down the table with a sponge if necessary.

i am not being sassy when i say these things. i get questions like, but how do you know they are healthy? how do you know they are doing okay?

having finished his lunch, sebastian stores the rest of his food away so as not to waste it.

my answer: i just look at them. take for instance when i needed some pictures to accompany this post's subject. all i did was take a picture of what they were doing at the moment.
i trust myself but mainly i just have an absolute faith in the human ability to grow and prosper and this includes my own children. i watch and help when needed though i do first make sure that it is their needs not my own.
a trust like this is easy when you spend time with children, when you observe instead of interfere with the somewhat bizarre expectations of mainstream society. it is similar to the faith children have in their parents and teachers, the belief that we are serving them with their best interests in our hearts and minds.