<   2007年 07月 ( 10 )   > この月の画像一覧

新しい友達「マギー」 A New Friend “Maggie”

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「ガチャッ、ギーッ」(玄関のドアが開く音。)
「ドーッ」(ベージュの物体が入って来て、いきなり足元を駆け抜けて行った音。赤い紐がチラッと見えたような。)
「ガッチャーン!」(壷が倒れた音)
「マギー!」(義理の姉が叫ぶ声)
「ノー!マギー!ノー!」(義理の兄が叫ぶ声)

先日、ストックトンのグランマの家に行きました。夏休み二回目の訪問です。今回は、義理の兄夫婦が新しく犬を飼い始めたとのことで、会うのを心待ちにしていました。私たちが先にグランマ邸に到着、あとから兄夫婦がその犬を連れてやって来た時のことです。玄関の扉が開くや否や、これらのことが一瞬にして起こりました。

名前は「マギー」、生後5ヶ月のメス、ラブラドールとテリアなどが混ざった犬。いやいや、これまた竜巻のような犬で、まるでドラ息子の数年前を見ているよう。しかも、グランマの巨大な犬(アイリッシュ・ウルフハウンド)と堂々とわたりあってるではありませんか。じゃれ合って泥んこになったマギー、次は舞姫をターゲットに泥まみれの挨拶をしてくれました(^_^;)。

もちろんドラ息子は、マギーとすぐに友達に。お互いにミックスだし似た者同士でいいコンビかもね。

“Click, squeak.” (The entrance door opened.)
“Swoosh!” (Some kind of beige object dashed in through the door. I caught a glimpse of a red lease.)
“Bang!!” (A ceramic pot fell down.)
“Maggie!!” (My sister-in-law yelled.)
“No! Maggie!! No!!” (My brother-in-law yelled.)

We were in Stockton visiting Grandma for the second time this summer. This time we were looking forward to meeting a new puppy that my brother and sister-in-law had recently got. We arrived at Grandma’s first and later they came in with the puppy. That’s what happened in a blink of an eye.

“Maggie” is the name of the puppy, a five month old female and a mixture of Yellow Labrador, Parson Russell Terrier and something else. Oh my, oh my, this puppy was a tornado, just like my dragon boy had been a few years before. She played real hard with Finnegan, a giant Irish Wolfhound of Grandma’s. After playing with him in the mud, she found another target which was my dancing princess and gave her a muddy greeting (^_^;).

My dragon boy? Of course he made friends with Maggie in an instance. I think they are a perfect pair. Both being a mixture, they somehow look alike, don’t they?
[PR]

by danceofdragon | 2007-07-27 15:20

どっちが舞姫? Which is Princess?

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写真は、先月近所を散歩した時のもの。ドラ息子が「僕も車椅子で行く」と言い出してこんな光景に(^_^;)。舞姫が長年愛用してとうとう小さくなった車椅子が、ついに自分のものになったわけです。この車椅子、現役時代ほんとにいろんな所に行って頑張ってくれました。引退してゆっくり休んでと言いたいところですが、ドラ息子のおもちゃとして、まだまだハードな日は続くかも。

一方、舞姫が乗っているのは、5月にebayで購入したもの。大きくて軽くて丈夫な中古品を、かなりの安値で買うことができました。大人でもゆったり乗れるサイズなので、長いことお世話になると思います。

散歩中、ドラ息子が「僕がママを押したい」と言い張るので、車椅子に座ってしばらく押してもらいました。考えてみると、自分が押されることってほとんどない。乗ってみるとこれがなかなかいける! 息子が押すので、わざとギリギリのところを行ったり、突然曲がったりとスリル満点。まるで遊園地の乗り物に乗っているよう。

そうか! 実は舞姫、遊園地のローラーコースターも平気で乗るんです。それも笑うんです。謎が解けました。舞姫の場合、毎日が遊園地、ローラーコースターなんてその延長に過ぎないんですね。「母、妙に納得」の日でした。

The picture is from when we took a walk in the neighborhood last month. My dragon boy insisted that he would go in the wheelchair too, so there we were ending up like this (^_^;). The wheelchair my dancing princess had used for a long time and finally had outgrown now became dragon’s. During its career, it worked so hard, going to all kinds of places with us. I would like to give a peaceful retirement life to the chair. But hard days may be still waiting for it as my dragon’s toy.

On the other hand, princess was sitting in a wheelchair we bought at ebay back in May. Luckily we found a big, sturdy and light one at a very inexpensive price. Now this adult-size chair is going to help us for a long, long time.

During the walk my dragon insisted that I sat in the chair. So I let him push me for a while. I realized I had almost never been the one being pushed. Well, it wasn’t so bad after all. Since it was my dragon who was pushing, it was full of thrilling moments, going almost over the edge on purpose or making abrupt turns, just like amusement park rides.

Now I see! My dancing princess. She rides roller coasters without getting scared. Not only that, she actually laughs during those rides. Now I know why. Her life is just like going to an amusement park everyday and roller coasters are just extended attractions for her. It was a day everything made perfect sense to me!!
[PR]

by danceofdragon | 2007-07-23 15:00

もっとほしい!(キャンプその4) S’more!! (Camping Journal No. 4)

マシュマロはキャンプファイヤーには欠かせないアイテム。あの白いフワフワしたマシュマロを、棒の先につけて火にあぶって、中が柔らかくなってきたところで食べる。たまにマシュマロにボッと火がついたり、あぶりすぎてポトッと落ちちゃったり。

今回のキャンプで初めて体験したのは、火にあぶったマシュマロを板チョコに乗せて、それを2枚のグラハムクラッカーではさんで、ぎゅうっと平らにして食べるというもの。一緒に行った友人が準備してくれていて、ご馳走になりました。

なんでも、あまりのおいしさにもう一つ食べたくなって、「Some more!!、もっと欲しい!」と叫んでしまうところから、こういう食べ方を「S’more」(Some moreが短縮されて)というようになったとのこと。お味は? もちろん”Give me s’more!!”(もっとくれー!)。キャンプの楽しみがまた一つ増えました。(写真は友人のご主人が撮ったもの)

Marshmallows are one of the must items when enjoying campfire. You skewer a white squishy marshmallow on the end of a long stick and roast it over the fire for a while. Then you eat it when inside the marshmallow becomes soft. Sometimes it catches fire or it gets too soft and falls off the stick.

In this camping trip, we did something new. We put the roasted marshmallow on a piece of chocolate and sandwiched it between two pieces of graham crackers, making sure to flatten it. The friend who went with us brought all the ingredients and we had a chance to try some.

From what I’ve heard, it is called “S’more” because it tastes so good that people badly want to have another one and cry, “Some more!!” So here it is, shortened to “S’more.” How did it taste? “Give me s’more!!” of course. We found another fun thing to do in camping.
(The photo was taken by my friend’s husband.)
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[PR]

by danceofdragon | 2007-07-20 22:50

たまごが孵った! The Eggs Hatched!

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先日発見した鳥の巣、どうしてるかなぁと数日ぶりに覗いてみることにしました。私がもたもたしている間に、さっさと脚立をもってきて巣を覗いたドラ息子。次の瞬間、「ママー、なんかいるよ!茶色いの。怖いよーー。」と飛んで来ました。 脚立から落ちんばかりにびっくりしたようで、 お化けでも見たような顔してます。

「何!? 猫にやられたか、もしかして蛇??」私も恐る恐る覗いてみました。いやいやスリル満点。確かに茶色いフワフワした固まりがうごめいています。 よーく見たら、 三羽のひながお互いくっつき合って、一つのボールみたいです。まだ目も開いていなくて、生まれたてのほやほやって感じ。

「鳥の赤ちゃんだよ。」「えーっ!」と不信そうなドラ息子。初めて見たから無理もないか。三つのくちばしを見分けてやっと安心した様子。とにかく無事に孵ってよかったです。次の楽しみは巣立ち、シャッターチャンスあるかなぁ。

A few days after we found the bird nest, we decided to peek in again, wondering how the eggs were doing. While I was taking some time doing something else, my dragon boy quickly brought out the stepladder and peeked in. Next moment he rushed to me as if he had seen a ghost. “Mommy!! Something is in there. Something brown. I’m so scared!!” Actually he almost fell off the ladder.

“What!? Did a cat get them? Or is it a snake?” Fearfully I inched to the nest. What a thrilling moment! There it was! A brown fluffy thing wiggling about. I looked carefully and began to see the three chicks stuck to each other, making them look like one fluffy ball. It seemed they had just hatched, with their eyes still shut.

“They are babies.” “No kidding.” My dragon looked very suspicious. Well, I wouldn’t blame him because that was his first encounter with newly hatched chicks. He looked relieved when he finally recognized the three beaks. I was relieved, too, that the eggs had hatched safely. Now we are looking forward to a day they will fly out of the nest. Will they give us a photo-opportunity?
[PR]

by danceofdragon | 2007-07-19 14:39

ダディに一歩近づいた! One Step Closer to Daddy!

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「えっ?僕がバーベキューやるの?」ドラ息子の面食らった顔。「うん、ママのお手伝いしてよ。」「ほんとにやっていいのぉ?」嬉しくて目はキラキラ、でも不安もいっぱい。

鶏のウィングスティックを10数本、韓国風味のソースにつけておいたのを果てどうしよう。オーブンだとキッチンが熱くなるからちょっとねぇ。バーベキューするにも、平日だからケーシーはいないし、私は全くできないし、、そうだ、頼もしい助っ人がいるではないか! 日頃、ダディがバーベキューをする時に、いつもくっついてその一挙手一動足じっと観察しているドラ息子。これほどの適役はいません。ドラ息子の顔から体から、「今日は僕、ダディの代わりに大事な仕事をやるんだ。」という意気込みと緊張感が伝わってきます。

炭をグリルの底にこんもりと積み上げて、ライターオイルをふりかけマッチで火をつける、なかなかの手つき。炭がどんな状態になったら焼き始めるのかも心得たもの。いつも助手としてダディに指示を受けているところを、この日はママが助手。指示の仕方までダディそっくり(^_^;)。焼くのはやはり難しくてお焦げがつきましたが、お味はなかなかのもの。ダディにもほめられて、まんざらではない顔。ちょっと大人気分を味わった日でした。

“What? Am I doing barbecue?” A stunned look on my dragon’s face “Yes, why don’t you help Mommy?” “Are you sure??” Sparkles in his eyes which also looked very nervous.

I wondered what to do with the chicken wing sticks marinated in Korean sauce. There were about 10 of them. Adding more heat to the kitchen by using the oven was not a good idea. But there was no Casey available to do BBQ on a week day. I didn’t know anything about BBQ. Then I realized I had a perfect helper. My dragon, who always sticks to his daddy every time he does BBQ and watches every single thing. Who could be more perfect? His face and entire body couldn’t hide his enthusiasm and also some tension, as if saying, “Today I am going to do an important job in place of my daddy!!”

Neatly piling up charcoals on the bottom of the grill, sprinkling fluid lighter, and lighting them with a match. Not bad at all. He watched how charcoals changed and knew when to start grilling. Usually he is Casey’s assistant following instructions. Now he was the boss and I was his assistant. Well, he gave all kinds of instructions just like his daddy (^_^;). Grilling part was hard, of course, and chickens got burned a little too much, but they all tasted super!! Given a compliment by his daddy, my dragon boy looked a little proud. It was a day he felt a touch of being an adult.
[PR]

by danceofdragon | 2007-07-17 00:57

鳥の巣発見! A Bird Nest!

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とにかくびっくりしました。こんなところに鳥が巣を作るなんて。というのも、ガレージの横にある木の中なんです。巣の場所としてはやや大胆なところ。でも実は鳥もよくわかっている、、、我が家の周りの草木ときたら、水もやらないのにぼうぼうと茂ってくれます。毎年これでもかこれでもかって剪定するんですが、次の年には元の木網どころかますますぼうぼうに。それで、今年もいい加減始めないとなーと、重い腰を上げて取りかかったところ、一本目でこの巣を発見したというわけです。

気持ちよくバサバサ枝葉を切り落としていくと、なんか中の方に小枝の固まりが、、「なんだこれ?」と鷲づかみにした瞬間、ドラ息子が「バードネストだ!」と叫んでふと手が止まりました。「ほんとだーー!」脚立に登って覗いてみたら、可愛い水色の卵が三つ、ちょこんとあるではありませんか。手入れしていない木をちゃんと選ぶあたり、鳥にしてやられたって感じです(^_^;)。

剪定作業は即刻中止(ちょっと写真だけ撮らせてもらって)。なんとも中途半端な見栄えになってしまいましたが、よしとしましょう。逆に、せっかく分厚い枝葉の層に守られていた巣を見えやすくしてしまって、天敵に狙われないか不安になってきました。しかも巣を触ってしまったから(手袋はしてたものの)親鳥がきちんと帰って来れるか心配になりましたが、今のところ帰ってきているようだし、卵もちゃんと三つあるからひと安心です。ドラ息子の楽しみが一つ増えたのは言うまでもありません。

It was quite a surprise to find a bird nest there. “There” means in a tree next to our garage, where it would be a bit too bold to build a nest. But after all the birds made a wise decision. Although we never water them, all the trees and bushes around our house are vigorously thriving. Every year we aggressively prune them until they are almost naked. Next year, however, they just grow back and get even thicker and more dense. I’ve been very lazy this year but finally reluctantly decided to struggle with them. I picked this tree to start with, and then there it was.

I was beginning to enjoy cutting off excess branches and leaves when I saw a bunch of twigs piled up in the middle of the tree. ”What is this?” And at the moment I mercilessly grabbed it, my dragon boy shouted, “It’s a bird nest!!” My hand stopped there. “Oh, my god. It is!!” We brought out a stepladder and peaked in. What we saw were three blue eggs sitting snugly in the nest!! I felt outsmarted by the birds. Well, they wisely picked a tree which hadn’t been neatly treated (^_^;).

We immediately stopped pruning (but didn’t miss a chance to take a picture). The unfinished tree looked funny but that was alright. But I began to feel guilty because I somewhat ruined the secrecy of the nest behind the thick layers of branches and leaves, which made it easier to be spotted by their enemies. Also I was afraid that the parents might not be able to come back since I touched the nest (at least I had a glove on). To my relief, I’ve seen the parents are back and the eggs are safe. Needless to say, my dragon boy is thrilled to have another exciting thing to watch in his daily life.
[PR]

by danceofdragon | 2007-07-14 14:45

荷物との戦い(キャンプその3) Struggle with Equipment (Camping Journal No.3)

キャンプで何よりも大変なのは、そう荷物です。とにかくありとあらゆるものを持って行かなくてはなりません。テント、寝袋、毛布は言うまでもなく、ガスコンロ、フライパン、鍋、まな板、包丁、皿、お箸、スプーンといった台所用品、防寒対策も考えた洋服一式、他にも椅子に薪に箒に斧に。日程分の食料も飲料も。クーラーに入れる物、入れない物に分けて準備しなければなりません。我が家の場合、さらに車椅子、おむつ、携帯トイレといった舞姫グッズがどーんと加わります。ある意味、舞姫も大きな荷物(^_^;)。

とにかく、以前のキャンプで、これだけの荷物を車に積み込めたこと自体が奇跡のようです。でも荷台の天井まで積み上がった荷物ってのはいただけません。まるで夜逃げならず、昼逃げです。それで今年は決心しました。といっても私ではなくケーシーの決心ですが、車の上にラックを取り付けることにしたのです。かなりの出費で財布は大打撃、さぞやいい代物に違いない、、、うーん思ったより入らないぞ。ないよりもましってくらいか。上の写真は出発直前、下はキャンプ場を出る時、やっぱどう見ても夜逃げだね。

What is the hardest part in camping? Yes, the camping equipment. You just have to take everything with you. A tent, sleeping bags, of course. Kitchen stuff such as a gas stove, pans, pots, a cutting board, plates, chopsticks, spoons and forks, and sets of clothes that can be ready for all kinds of weather. That’s not all. Chairs, fire woods, a broom, an ax. Food and beverages that will last during the trip. Some go in an ice chest. Some don’t. On top of everything, we have additional big load which are; a wheelchair, diapers, a portable toilet and so on. Yes, they are for my dancing princess. In a sense, she is also a big piece of luggage (^_^;).

Anyway, our van had miraculously held all these equipment for our past camping trips. But having all the stuff piled up to the ceiling of the van was not what we wanted. It surely would look like fleeing by day (instead of night). So, this year, we made a decision. Actually it was Casey’s decision to have a rack on top of the van, which was a hard hit on our wallet. So, it’s got to be good... It turned out it didn’t have as much capacity as we expected. Well, better than nothing. The photo on top was taken at the beginning of the trip. The one on the bottom was taken when we were loading the stuff to go home. After all it still looks like fleeing by night.
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[PR]

by danceofdragon | 2007-07-12 15:20

もう一人のすごい子供(キャンプその2) Another Amazing Kid (Camping Journal No.2)

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そう、もう一人のすごい子供のことを忘れちゃいけません。2才での初体験以来、キャンプ歴8回(延べ30日)を誇る、その名も舞姫。重度の障害をいくつか合わせもつ舞姫。きっと診断書だけを見たら、どんなにひ弱くてか細くて、哀れな子供だと思うでしょう。ところがどっこい、なかなかどうして、たくましいのなんの。親も顎で使い、我が道を堂々と歩んでいる娘なんです。

そんな舞姫の一番のお気に入りはお出かけ(食べることの次にかな)、 外の空気を顔いっぱいに浴びるのが最高の幸せです。 車椅子でも自動車でも動いている限り文句は言いません。車に乗っている時なんてあまりにも静かで、時々ちゃんと乗っているかしらと思うほど。こんなんですから、キャンプが嫌いなわけがありません。熟練キャンパーと言ってもいいかもね (^o^)/。今回も、Redwoodの森の澄んだ空気をふんだんに吸い、ビーチの強い海風に満面の笑みを見せてくれた舞姫です。

Yes, I mustn’t forget about another amazing child. Since her first camping at the age of two, my dancing princess has proudly gone camping for eight times (30 days in total). She has a few disabling conditions, all of which are profound. If you just look at her diagnoses, you probably would imagine a vulnerable, fragile, miserable girl. Well, that is not the case for my princess. She is one tough little girl, who turns her own parents into her servants and lives her life in her own way.

Going out is her most favorite thing to do (maybe next to eating). Feeling fresh air in the face is the happiest moment for her. As long as she is on the move, whether in her wheelchair or in the car, she doesn’t complain. She is so quite in the car that I sometimes have to make sure she is with us. So there is no wonder that she loves camping. I guess we can call her an expert camper (^o^)/. This camping trip was no exception. She inhaled a plenty of pure air in the Redwood forest and showed a big smile at the strong coastal wind.
[PR]

by danceofdragon | 2007-07-08 14:02

子供ってすごいね!(キャンプその1) Kids Are Amazing! (Camping Journal No.1)

7月1日〜4日、キャンプに行ってきました。行き先は家から1時間半程度のブタノ州立公園。Redwood(アメリカ杉)という巨木が茂る森林の中で3泊4日の生活です。今回はキャンプ初体験のお友達家族も一緒に。現地で顔を合わせた瞬間から子供たちは意気揚々、これから始まる冒険に胸がワクワクです。

テントの周りは自分たちの世界。隠れ家もあれば休憩スポットも。楽しいことがいっぱいで、想像力は膨らむばかり。ハイキングに行けば形のいい棒集めに夢中、どれが自分の棒かもとても重要です。 倒木があればよじ登らずにはいられません。 黄色い巨大なめくじ「バナナスラグ」とはお友達に。ビーチは宝物の宝庫、貝殻集めに精が出ます。

日が暮れても一日はまだ終わりません。ストーリータイムが待っています。 これをやらずには眠れない。 キャンプファイヤーを囲んで輪になって、一人ずつ順番に前の人が作ったお話につなげて、皆で一つのお話を作っていきます。即興能力を問われるなかなかのゲームですが、子供たちはワクワク、目はキラキラ、自分の順番が待ちきれない様子。面白いお話がたくさんできました。

おもちゃもテレビも本もない。それどころか大自然をおもちゃにして、一日中飽きることなく遊び続ける子供たち。そのエネルギー、豊かな想像力、遊びを創り出す力には、脱帽の連続でした。

We went on a camping trip from July 1st for three nights. Destination was Butano State Park, located just north of Big Basin, about 1.5 hours from home. Joined by the friend family who were first-time campers, a camp site in the thick forest of huge Redwood trees became our home. The moment they met each other, the kids were in high spirits ready for adventure.

In and around the camp site was their own world, with resting places, hiding places and lots of exciting things going on, only to fill their imagination. On hiking, finding a good-looking stick was a very important business, so was which stick belonged to whom. Fallen trees, they couldn’t pass without climbing on. Made friends with “Banana Slugs,” huge yellow slugs. Beaches were teeming with treasures, making the kids busy collecting shells and pebbles.

After sunset, the day wasn’t over yet. It was time for stories. There was no way of going to bed without doing this. Sitting around the campfire, each of us made a sequel to the story the previous person told, making one long story. It was a hard game requiring improvisation skill, but the kids were so excited, with their eyes filled with anticipation. They almost couldn’t wait for their turn. Wow, we made lots of funny stories!!

There were no toys, no TVs, no books. But the kids just kept playing all day long, turning the whole nature into their own toys. I just kept amazed with their energy, rich imagination and creativity.
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by danceofdragon | 2007-07-07 15:44

カーメルでの一日 A Day in Carmel

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カーメルは日本人観光客にも有名な美しい海辺の町。 San Joseからは1時間ちょっと、 4年ぶりに出かけて行きました。「17-Mile Drive」という海岸沿いの風光明媚な道は、入るのに9ドルもとられます。一帯は超高級住宅、ゴルフ場や会議施設などが点在、クリント・イーストウッド邸もあるそうな。そういえば、カーメルの市長さんでしたね。

「17-Mile Drive」に入ったのはなんと16年ぶり、新婚旅行以来ということに気がつきました。 写真にある一本杉は「The Lone Cypress」と呼ばれるここの風物詩。吹きさらしの風に耐えながら16年前と変わらずに立っている姿を、自分と重ねて思わず涙が、、、とはいかないのが子連れの旅(^_^;)。帰りはビーチでひと遊び、舞姫は転がってすやすやと眠り姫に変身、ドラ息子は波との追いかけっこで大満足の一日でした。

We had an nice outing to Carmel the other day, for the first time in four years. One hour-plus driving took us there. Carmel is a pretty seaside town that attracts a lot of tourists including Japanese. There is a scenic road called “17-Mile Drive” along the shore we have to pay $9 to get in. We saw exceptionally luxurious residences, golf courses, meeting houses, etc. I heard Clint Eastwood lives there. Oh, yes, he once was mayor of Carmel.

We realized Casey and I visited there 16 years ago for honeymoon. The cypress in one of the pictures is called “The Lone Cypress,” major landmark of the area. Looking at the cypress standing just like 16 years ago, surviving in constant coastal wind, reminded me of myself and I couldn’t hold tears......Well, there is no way of getting sentimental like that in traveling with the kids (^_^;). Later, we stopped by at a beach. My dancing princess turned into sleeping beauty for a while and my dragon boy had fun chasing waves.
[PR]

by danceofdragon | 2007-07-01 00:30