<   2008年 04月 ( 9 )   > この月の画像一覧

助っ人帰国 Helper Goes Home

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とうとうばびぃの帰国の日がやってきました。我が家にとってばびぃの存在はかけがえのないものです。いつも精一杯、我が家を応援してくれるばびぃ。二人の孫には愛情と時間を惜しみなく注いでくれます。私も家事から少し開放されるばかりか、精神的にも少し楽になるし、本当にありがたい存在です。5ヶ月半の今回の滞在中は、私の盲腸、舞姫の中耳炎、ドラ息子のつま先骨折というハプニングまであり、大活躍でした。そのばびぃがいなくなるかと思うと、さすがに暗〜い気分になります。

空港の搭乗ゲートの入り口では、私たちと同じような家族の別れの場面がちらほら。何度来ても寂しいところです。いよいよばびぃが手荷物検査に入って行く時、ダディにしがみついて泣き出したドラ息子、ばびぃっ子だけに可愛そうでした。家に帰ってからも、ばびぃの部屋に閉じこもってしくしく。姉の方はいつものように我関せずのようですが、そのうち「あれ〜、私のうどん係がいなくなったな〜。」と気がつくことでしょう。

でも、ずっと会えないわけではありません。懲りずに「また来ますよ。」という頼もしい言葉を残してくれたので、次回の到着を楽しみに夏を乗り切るしかありません(^_^;)。

Finally the day came when Babi left for Japan. For us Babi is an invaluable being. She gives all she has to support our family, always free with love and time to her two grandchildren. I am not only able to get away from some of the housework, but also I am better off in terms of mental state when she is here. I cannot say how much I appreciate her support. During the five and half months of her stay, she played a vital part in some crises we had had; my appendectomy, princess’ ear infection and dragon’s broken toe. Needless to say, I feel very depressed with the idea of not having her around.

At the entrance of boarding gates in the airport, we were not the only party saying a farewell to a beloved one. When Babi finally proceeded for the security check, my dragon boy started crying, holding on to his daddy. Since he is so attached to Babi, it was such a heartbreaking moment. When we came home, he locked himself in her room and sobbed a while. On the other hand, his sister looked indifferent as usual, but I’m sure she will notice a difference and wonder, “Where did my noodle feeder go?”

After all it’s not that we won’t be able to see her again. She promised that she would be back despite all the hard time we had given her. We just have to survive this summer on our own before we see her again (^_^;).
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by danceofdragon | 2008-04-30 14:04

またまた先生 Being a Teacher Again

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ここのところ先生づいてます。今度は小学3年生が相手です。ドラ息子のクラスに、もう一人の日本人ママと一緒に特別ゲストとして、折り紙の指導に行ってきました。

3年生になってからは、「もうマミーにはクラスに手伝いにきて欲しくない。」という息子の意思を尊重して遠ざかっていたのですが、「それならドラ君は折り紙を折らずに、写真係になってもらったらどうか。そしたらママがいても大丈夫だろう。」という担任の先生のアイデア。本人に聞いてみたら「えー!僕がカメラマン?!」と目がキラキラ、今度は「マミー、いつ来るの?」と心待ちの様子。子供の心理を見抜くあたりさすが先生です。

かくして当日がやってきたわけですが、生徒たちの期待のまなざしを全身に感じながら始めました。ドラ息子はカメラを片手にうろうろ、先生はドラの席を陣取って自分も生徒になって折ってます。今回作ったのはキツネ、ネコ、犬、ヘビの動物シリーズ。中には「僕、折り方知ってるから説明したい!」としゃしゃり出てくる男の子も二人出てきて、キツネと犬をまかせました。

いちおう平面の折り紙だったのですが、紙に貼る時、立体的にしてた子数人。貼らないでうちに持って帰って遊びたいという子が数人。三つの動物をくっつけて一つの動物を作り上げた子一人。「僕は母の日のプレゼントにする!」って叫んだ男の子一人、子供の豊かな個性には驚かされます。

今やビデオゲームの世の中になってしまいましたが、こうやって、シンプルな折り紙を楽しんでいる姿を見るのはいいものです。先生の優しい配慮のおかげで、楽しくていい経験をさせてもらいました。

I have had continuous opportunities to be a teacher lately. This time third graders were the students. As special guests, another Japanese mom and I taught origami in my dragon boy’s class.

Since dragon became a third grader, I had stayed away from his class respecting his wish that he didn’t want me to come for volunteering. Then his teacher suggested that I come in to teach origami and that dragon be in charge of taking pictures instead of doing origami. That way, the teacher said, he wouldn’t be disturbed by my presence. So I asked dragon what he thought of the idea and, to my surprise, his face lit up with excitement, “What? I will be a cameraman?” Now he seemed to be looking forward to it. I was amazed with the teacher’s insights into child’s mentality.

Then the day came and I started teaching, feeling the students’ anticipation all over my body. While dragon walked around with a camera in his hand, his teacher took over dragon’s seat and worked on origami just like other kids. We made animals that day; a fox, a cat, a dog and a snake. I had two boys come forward, saying, “I know how to fold, I want to teach!!” So I let each boy do my job on the fox and dog.

The animals were flat but a few kids glued their projects on paper three-dimensionally. A few kids didn’t want to glue them, saying they wanted to play with the animals. One kid put three animals together to make one new animal. One boy shouted, “I want to give this to my mom as a mother’s day gift!” I was very intrigued by the abundant individuality of each kid.

At the time when everybody seems to be hooked up with video games, I always feel good to see children enthusiastically enjoy simple origami work. Thanks to the teacher’s kind consideration, it was a fun and good experience for me.
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by danceofdragon | 2008-04-26 22:23

祝福のキス? A Kiss of Blessing?

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グランマ、義兄夫婦を招いてのお祝いの日です。予定はまず公園でピクニック。公園の駐車場で待ち合わせをしたところ、なんと義兄夫婦の犬マギーが車に乗っているではありませんか。マギーもストックトンからはるばるやって来てくれたのです!だがしかし、その公園がペット禁止だということがわかり、急きょ場所を変えての始まりとなりました。

舞姫、到着早々マギーから祝福のキスを浴びました。まさしく熱くてウェットなキス(^_^;)。ドラ息子も思いがけずマギーと遊べたので大喜び。でもすっかり成長してたくましくなったマギー、ひもを引っ張る力も凄まじく、ドラ息子がでこぼこの小道で5mくらい引きずられるというハプニングもありました。たまたま前の夜に観た映画に、カウボーイが馬に引きずられる場面があって、まさしくそれを生で再現したわけです。

それにしても、春の天気はわかりません。ここのところ空気が冷たくて、お日さまの下にいても寒いのなんの。グランマが持ってきてくれた温かいチリ・ビーンズに救われました。ひとしきり食べて遊んだ後、我が家に移動。次はケーシーのお得意のバーベキューです。またまたひとしきり食べた後は、ケーキ・タイム。グランマが持ってきてくれたお誕生ケーキは、なんと舞姫にぴったりのプリンセスのケーキでした。

2月はドラ息子とグランマ、3月は私、そして4月は舞姫と、3ヶ月続く誕生日三昧もしばし休息。ケーシーの7月の誕生日までは静かになります。

It was the day to celebrate princess’ birthday with Grandma and my brother & sister-in-laws from Stockton. The plan was to start the celebration with a picnic in a park. When we met the folks in the parking lot of the park, we saw Maggie in their car, the in-laws’ dog. Wow, she came all the way, too!! However, we soon discovered that dogs were not allowed in the park, which made us change the plan and head for another park.

As soon as we got there, my dancing princess received blessing kisses from Maggie, truly passionate and wet ones (^_^;). My dragon boy was overjoyed to play with Maggie, an unexpected company. But Maggie had grown so much that she was pretty powerful. There was a happening that dragon got dragged by Maggie for about 15 feet on a bumpy path. The night before we happened to watch a movie, one scene of which had a cowboy dragged by a horse. Well, he replayed the scene by himself.

Anyway, it is hard to predict spring weather. It has been very chilly lately. Even in the sun we felt so cold. I cannot tell how much I appreciated the warm chili beans that Grandma had brought. After the good meal and play, we moved back to our house and Casey started BBQ, his specialty. After enjoying the meal again, it was time for the birthday cake. The cake Grandma had brought was, wow, a princess cake!! The cake made just for princess.

Now that birthday months are over; February for dragon and Grandma, March for me and April for princess, things will be much quiet until Casey’s birthday in July.
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by danceofdragon | 2008-04-24 07:54

家庭菜園 Vegetable Garden

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5年前に裏庭の一角を畑にして以来、春から夏にかけての家庭菜園は恒例になっています。今年も種まき、苗植えの時期がやってきました。途中、日本にいた時を除いて4回目です。

さすがは農業の街カリフォルニア、野菜や果物がぐんぐん育ちます。でもコーンは枯らしちゃうし、スイカは熟れる前に鳥に食べられちゃうし、去年のキュウリは苦かったし、難しいのもありますが、確実に育つトマトとほうれん草は常連です。トマトはドラ息子の大好物、食べる量がすさまじくて破産するかと思うくらいなので、今年もたくさん植えました。他には茄子とピーマンとさやいんげん。うまくいくでしょうか。畑の隅っこにひっそりと生えている小ネギは、ばびぃが世話しています。

今年はついにコンポストを購入しました。サンノゼ市が売っているもので、買いに行ってびっくり。「こ、こんなに大きいの?(下の写真)」でも、生ゴミを捨てる罪悪感から開放されたのは嬉しいです。 これからどう堆肥に変わっていくのか、興味津々。

ところで我が家には果物の木が一本もありません。友人からお裾分けしてもらうレモンやライムには大助かり(Amyさん、いつもありがとうね)。うちにもりんごやオレンジの木があるといいなと思ってます。そうそう、破産といえばもう一人、バナナで我が家を破産に導いている人がいます。はい、舞姫です。でもさすがにバナナの木は植えられないよね〜(^_^;)。

Five years ago, we converted a corner of our backyard into a small patch of vegetable garden. Since then it is our annual event to grow vegetables from spring to summer. It was time again to plant seeds and seedlings, for the fourth time excluding the time when we were in Japan.

As may be expected of California, a country of agriculture, vegetables and fruits grow so well here. But some are hard to grow. Corns died, watermelons were eaten by birds before they were ripe, and cucumbers were so bitter. Still, tomatoes and spinach are familiar faces since they rarely fail to grow. We planted lots of tomato seedlings this year again to make sure we will have plenty for my dragon boy, a big tomato fan. He eats so much tomatoes that he puts us on the verge of bankruptcy. We also planted eggplants, green bell peppers and green beans. I hope we will be successful. At a corner of the patch are green onions living in obscurity. Babi takes care of them.

This year we finally bought a composter from San Jose City. We were so stunned to see how huge that was (picture below)? I always felt guilty when I threw away food scraps but now I don’t have to! It is such a good feeling. We are watching with great interest how those scraps will turn into compost.

By the way, we don’t have any fruit tree in our yard. Sometimes we get lemons or limes from friends, which I greatly appreciate (Thank you, Amy-san!!). I always wish we had some fruits trees. Apples or oranges would be nice. Oh, I should not forget to mention another person in this family who is leading us to bankruptcy by eating lots of bananas. Yes, my dancing princess. Well, unfortunately, I don’t think a banana tree would be a good option to plant here... (^_^;)
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by danceofdragon | 2008-04-21 14:49

舞姫13歳 Princess Turns 13

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4月15日は舞姫の誕生日でした。なんとも中途半端な数字の13歳、晴れてティーン・エイジャーの仲間入りです! 普通のティーン・エイジャーとはだいぶ違う舞姫ですが、マイペースでちゃっかりと成長しております。

日曜日に、ストックトンからグランマと義兄夫婦を呼んでのお祝いを計画しています。誕生日当日は小さなケーキでささやかなお祝い。しばらくろうそくの火を見てたのですが、カメラを向けるとうつむいてしまう、いつもの舞姫でした。

April 15 was my dancing princess’ 13th birthday. The number 13 really sounds odd but she is now an official teenager. Well, she is a lot different than other teenagers, but is growing on her own pace.

We are going to have a party on Sunday, inviting Grandma, her uncle & aunt from Stockton. On the night of the birthday, we had a small celebration with a small cake. She looked at candle lights for a while, but as usual she turned her head down the moment I pointed a camera at her.
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by danceofdragon | 2008-04-19 12:10

飛行機三昧 Airplanes, Airplanes, Airplanes

我が家の二人の男の子(?)は飛行機大好き少年ですが、実は私も隠れ飛行機ファン。見るとワクワクするし、作られた時期の最先端の技術が詰まっている感じがたまらなくて。空港の屋上なんか、離着陸する飛行機を眺めながら何時間でもいられます。男の子だったら、きっと飛行機のプラモデル少年になっていたに違いありません。

2週間くらい前になりますが、航空博物館を見つけたので行ってきました。以前書いた空母の博物館にほど近いオークランドという町にあります。博物館といっても特に立派な建物があるわけではなく、古ぼけた格納庫の中に飛行機や展示物が並べられています。片隅には修理工場もあるし、裏庭は使い古した飛行機のスクラップ場って感じで、とても現実的(^_^;)。のんびり飽きることなく飛行機を眺めた一日でした。

My two boys (?) are, needless to say, big fans of airplanes but actually I am too. I just don’t openly talk about it. I get thrilled to see airplanes which are the products of cutting-edge technologies of the time. I can stay on the rooftop of an airport terminal for hours, just watching planes take off and land. If I was a boy, I would have been crazy about making plastic models.

About two weeks ago, we went to an aviation museum that we had newly discovered. It is located in Oakland City close to the aircraft carrier museum I once wrote about. It was a museum but not a kind of one in a fancy building. Airplanes and other exhibits were displayed in a shabby hangar with a repair shop at the corner. The backyard was like a scrap yard for old airplanes, making the place look so realistic (^_^;). It was a day we just took it easy walking around and enjoyed looking at the airplanes.
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*左は、1903年ライト兄弟が初飛行を果たした時の飛行機の複製。右の飛行機は何か変です。「どっちが前?」プロペラが後ろにあって、尾翼が主翼より前にある何とも不思議な飛行機でした。

*Left is a replica of the airplane that the Wright brothers successfully flew for the very first time in 1903. The right airplane puzzled me, “Which is the front?” It had propellers on the back and tail unit in front of the main wings, looking so odd.
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*この二つはジェット戦闘機。左が「F-14トムキャット」。なんと空を飛びながらスピードに合わせて翼を開いたり閉じたりできる鳥のような戦闘機で、ドラ息子の一番のお気に入り。右は「ハリヤー」と呼ばれ、これまた空中で静止して左右に動けるという強者。一度エアショーでそれを目の当たりにして、不気味な迫力に圧倒されましたが、近くで見ると普通だったのが意外でした。

*These two are jet fighters. Left one is “F-14 Tomcat,” dragon’s most favorite. It amazingly can open and close its wings while airborne just like a bird. Right is another formidable fighter called “Harrier.” It can hover and move side to side in the air, which we actually saw at an air show before. Although I was so overwhelmed with its eerie appearance in the air, to my surprise, it looked no different from other airplanes when I came close to it.
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*これは船か飛行機か? なんと両方です。とにかく大きい!

*Is this a boat or plane? Well, it is both. It’s so huge, isn’t it?
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by danceofdragon | 2008-04-14 02:26

森林浴 Walk in the Woods

f0146342_3171687.jpg ハイキングの季節になりました。北カリフォルニアの海岸沿いの山々には、セコイアの森がたくさんあって、たいていが州立公園となっていて保護されています。久しぶりに歩いてみました。州立公園にはトレイルと呼ばれるハイキング用の道が張り巡らされていて、この日行った公園のトレイルは、全部合わせると32kmもあるそうです。私たちはいつも車椅子で行けるトレイルを選びますが、難関コースなど、ハイキング好きの人にはたまらない魅力だと思います。

いつもながらセコイアの巨大さには圧倒されます。人が悠々と10人くらい入れる空洞が根元にできたものもありました。「ここで寝た〜い。」とドラ息子。どんな虫や小動物に出くわすことやら。

森の空気をいっぱい吸い込んで、3時間ほどハイキング。ほどよく疲れた後の帰路はひたすら爆睡。いつものことで運転手さんには申し訳ないけどね (^_^;)。

Here comes a good season for hiking. There are quite a few Redwood forests in the mountains along the northern California coast. Most of the forests are preserved as state parks which have lots of trails throughout. We took the first hike in this season. The park we went to that day has 20 miles long trail in total. We always take wheelchair accessible trails but some trails are challenging which must be an irresistible attraction to hiking lovers.

As always, I was overwhelmed by the scale of the Redwood trees. One is hollow at the foot of the tree where ten people can fit in without problem. “I want to sleep here overnight,” said my dragon boy. Well, I don’t know what kind of bugs and small animals he would encounter there.

Inhaling as much forest air as we could, we walked for about three hours. On our way home, nicely tired, I was out like a light. It is my usual habit to fall asleep in the car going home and I feel sorry for the driver (^_^;).
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by danceofdragon | 2008-04-10 03:26

一日先生? Teacher for the Day?

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ここのところ忙しかったです。それというのも、勉強会の講師をやることになっていて、その準備に追われていました。以前PHP(ペアレンツ・ヘルピング・ペアレンツ)という組織でボランティアをしていると書いたことがあります。PHPの仕事は障害をもつ子供のいる家族を支援すること。その中に日本人家族を対象としたサポート・グループがあって、私は会報編集の担当をしています。今回スタッフの方々と新しく持ち上がった企画が、言葉の勉強会でした。

ここアメリカの特殊教育の大きな特徴は、子供一人一人の障害や能力、ニーズに合わせた個別の教育計画があるということです。頭文字をとってIEPと言われます。日本にも似たような指導計画はありますが、このIEPははるかに重要で、その子供の教育の全容が書かれているだけでなく、法的拘束力を持っています。

でも同時に、この分野特有の難解な英単語や頭文字の言葉のオンパレードで、とっつきにくいものでもあります。IEPミーティングとなれば、子供の教育に関わる関係者が勢揃いして、しかも当然英語でのやりとり。私も含め、英語が母国語でない親にとっては圧倒されるものがあります。通訳をつけるつけないに関わらず、親自身が言葉の面で少しでも自信をもっていれば、それは強力なプラス要因になるはず。そう思い立ち、IEP用語を勉強する機会を設けようということになったわけです。

講師は親としていちおうIEPの経験豊富ということで、当然のごとく白羽の矢は私に(^_^;)、、、それからが大変、自分も一から勉強です。途中で盲腸炎にはなるし、冷や汗ものでした。プレゼンテーション用のソフトでスライドショーなるものを作り、当日に臨みました。少人数の勉強会ですが、人前で話すのが苦手な私にとってはそれでも一大事。1時間半しゃべり続けたら舌が回らなくなってしまったけど、出席者の方々の学ぼうとする真摯な態度や、子供のためによりよい教育を求める親心に、逆に感銘を受けました。また2週間後に第二弾があるので、しばし休憩してまた準備に没頭する日々です。

写真はその勇姿。恥ずかしいから小さめに(^_^;)。

I had been very busy lately, wrapped up in preparation for a workshop that I was to be a lecturer for. I once wrote that I was volunteering at an organization called Parents Helping Parents (PHP). PHP’s job is to support families that have a child with disabilities. In PHP is a group called Japanese Support Group that helps Japanese families where I’m in charge of editing its newsletters. The new idea that we, the staff at the group, came up with was to have a workshop to understand English words.

One of the big characteristics of special education here in America is the existence of Individualized Education Program that is specially designed for each child according to his/her disability, ability and needs. It is called IEP from the first letter of each word. Although there is a similar instructional plan in Japan, this IEP is far more important. Not only does IEP include everything relevant to each child’s education but also it is legally binding.

At the same time, however, IEP is hard to approach with lots of jargons typical to this field and a parade of acronyms. When it comes to an IEP meeting, every single person involved in the child’s education attends and, of course, discusses in English. For non-English speaking parents including me, the meeting gets more or less overwhelming. We believed that it would be a strong plus factor for parents if they understood and were confident with those words, regardless if they use an interpreter or not. That’s how we came up with the idea of providing an opportunity to go over the IEP vocabulary.

Who does the talking? There was no question that I would be the one for my supposedly abundant experience with IEP as a parent (^_^;). Since then things were hectic. I studied from scratch. Along the way I got appendicitis which put me in a cold sweat. Using presentation software, I made a slide show and there came the big day.

It was a small workshop but big enough for me to be nervous since I’m not good at talking in front of people. After talking continuously for about 90 minutes, I got tongue-tied. But I was so impressed with their sincere attitude to learn and seek for better education for their child. After a little break I will be wrapped up again for another workshop in two weeks.

In the picture is my brave figure. I’m too humble to make it big. (^_^;)
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by danceofdragon | 2008-04-07 10:14

手作りの贈り物 Handmade Gifts

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立て続けに手作りの贈り物をいただきました。親しい人二人からです。一つは義姉から、濃厚な青や紫が鮮やかな、葉っぱの形のビーズのペンダント。以前「面白い物で面白い物を作っているよ。きっと想像もつかないよ。」というようなことを言っていた義姉。ほんとに想像もつきませんでした。そのビーズの由来を聞いて驚きです!

1991年に結婚した時、義姉とその妹さんにブライド・メイドになってもらいました。いわゆる花嫁の介添人です。その時に二人は濃紺のドレスを着たのですが、そのドレスについていたビーズなんだそうです。結婚式のあたりは自分が舞い上がっていて、ビーズがついているなんて気づきもしませんでしたが、自分の結婚に立ち会ってくれたビーズとこんな形で再会できるなんて、ちょっと感激。それにしてもまた精巧な作りで、義姉の器用さには脱帽です。このペンダントに似合う服を探さないと。これまた楽しみです。

もう一つは海を越えてやって来た封筒に入っていました。これまた器用なちえぞう作のハワイ風携帯ストラップ。2色の細いリボンを編み込んで作るそうです。ついている小物もまたハワイっぽくてかわいい! ハワイの全てが大好きって感じで、キルトをはじめハワイアン・クラフトに燃えているちえぞう。小さくて可愛い粘土のフラドールも、こねこねと上手に作り上げます。そうそう、フラダンスの練習にも余念がないんですよ。

春の嬉しい出来事でした。

I just received handmade gifts from two persons very close to me at one time. One is from my sister-in-law, a leaf-shaped pendant made of beads. Its dark blue and purple beads look so vivid. She once said to me something like, “I’m making something interesting for you from something interesting. You’ll never guess what it is.” It was where the beads came from that I could never imagine. Was I surprised or not to hear about the beads!

When I got married in 1991, I asked her and her sister to be my bridesmaids and they wore dark blue dresses. She told me that was the dress where the beads had originally been. At the time of the wedding I was so nervous and busy that I didn’t even notice the beads on the dress but it was nice to reunite with the them this way. The beads that had witnessed my wedding. Anyway, the pendant was so delicately made. I will never be able to give enough compliments on her hand dexterity. I am going to look for some outfit that matches the pendant. That will be fun.

The other gift came in an envelop from the other side of the ocean. Here is another woman of dexterity; Chiezo. She made a few Hawaiian cell phone straps using two strips of thin ribbon. The accessories attached to them also look very Hawaiian and cute! She loves everything about Hawaii. Her enthusiasm toward Hawaiian crafts especially quilting is just amazing. Kneading clay this way and that she makes out a tiny cute hula doll. Oh, I shouldn’t forget to mention, she is also an intent hula dancer.

This was a happy happening in the spring.
[PR]

by danceofdragon | 2008-04-02 14:18