<   2009年 05月 ( 5 )   > この月の画像一覧

不思議な夜 Unusual Night

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ボランティアをしているPHP(ペアレンツ・ヘルピング・ペアレンツ)のために、資金集めパーティがありました。会員制の豪華なクラブでディナーやアート・ショー、オークションなどを楽しむというもので、チケットはなんと一人95ドル! 自分には無縁の世界だと気にも留めずにいたところ、なんと招待されたのです。それも私一人ではなく、夫同伴でもいいとのこと。

こんなチャンスは滅多にないと、舞姫とドラ息子をばびぃに託して行ってみることにしました。夫婦でのお出かけなんて一体何年ぶり? もう一人招待されたボランティアのKさんとそのご主人と、4人で参加しました。

会場となった豪華なクラブハウスは、サンノゼに東端にあるこれまた高級住宅地にありました。ここはなんと一帯が塀で囲まれていて、いちいち門番に許可をもらわないと入れない、いわゆる「ゲイテッド・コミュニティ」なのです。

ワインの試飲テーブルがあちこちにあって、大喜びしたのはもちろんケーシー、テーブルからテーブルへ渡り歩いています。後で聞いた話、10カ所のワイナリーが参加していたそうな。サイレント・オークションには、ホテルの宿泊券やクルーザーの旅などこれまた豪華、値段も豪華です。

一番の目玉はアーティストのライブ・パフォーマンス。ヘビメタ風のいでたちの若いお兄ちゃんが、筆を片手に(いや両手に)踊りながら、なにやら絵を描いていきます。目の前で少しずつ顔が浮き上がってきて、それがオバマ大統領とわかった時の気分の高揚はなんとも言えません。次々と有名人の顔を描き、最後のアインシュタインはなんと逆さま、あっと言わせる演技に会場は興奮のるつぼです。こんな形のエンターテイメントがあったとは、あっぱれのひと言。

彼の作品は、即オークションにかけられました。 またその競売人の話術が素晴しいこと。あれじゃその気になって手をあげてしまいそうです。ケーシーも競り落とそうと意気込みましたが、最初っから予算よりもゼロが一つ多い言い値に、出ばなをくじかれてました(^_^;)。オバマ大統領の絵は1200ドル(約12万円)、アインシュタインの絵は2000ドル(約20万円)であっという間に競り落とされ、その売り上げはそのまま寄付に回るということでした。

数時間ずっと立ちっぱなしで足は棒になり、いい気分のケーシーの傍ら、帰りの運転があるから飲み物は水で我慢だったけど、なかなか楽しい夜でした。とにかく見るもの聞くもの全てに圧倒されっぱなし。こんな夜もたまにはいいかもね。子どもたちを見てくれたばびぃに感謝すると同時に、ドラ息子が泣かずに留守番して、舞姫の世話の手伝いもできるくらいに成長したのを実感した夜でもありました。
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There was a fundraising party for PHP (Parents Helping Parents) where I volunteer. The event was a dinner, an art show and auctions at a gorgeous members-only club. The tickets were $95 each, which of course made me think it was none of my business, but, to my surprise, I was invited to the party. Not only was I invited, I was also able to bring a companion, yes, husband.

There wouldn’t be many chances for such treat. We decided to go, leaving our kids with Babi, my mother. How long had it been since we, as a couple, went out alone? I don’t remember. Along with K-san, another volunteer who was also invited, and her husband, the four of us joined the party.

The gorgeous club house was in a fancy neighborhood at the eastern edge of San Jose. This whole neighborhood was a walled, so-called “gated community.” We can’t go through the gate without the guard’s permission.

There were wine tasting tables all over the party hall. Of course Casey was the one who got the most out of it. I heard later that 10 wineries were present that night. Gorgeous items with gorgeous prices were displayed for the silent auction, such as hotel vouchers or cruiser trips.

The main feature of the night was the live performance of a young artist. In a heavy metal-like outfit, dancing on the stage with a brush in his hand (actually in his both hands), he began drawing something. In front of our eyes, a face gradually appeared. It is hard to describe the excitement I felt when I found out that was President Obama. One after another, the artist drew portraits of celebrities and the last one was a super kick; the face of Einstein drawn “upside down!!” His breathtaking performance inflamed the whole audience. I was totally in shock, amazed by the kind of entertainment that I had not known to exist.

His pieces of work were auctioned right away and again I was amazed with the speaking skills of the auctioneer. His talk was so inviting that I felt like raising a hand myself. Casey was so eager to get one but his enthusiasm vanished right away when the first asking price was already an extra zero figure from what he had imagined (^_^;). President Obama was sold at $1,200 and Einstein at $2,000 in a few seconds. The proceeds would also go to the charity.

My legs got so stiff from standing for a few hours without resting and I had to drink water to drive home while Casey enjoyed wine. But it was a very joyful night. Everything I saw or heard that night was so overwhelming. It was good to spend a different night. I’m so grateful for Babi to stay home with my kids. Also I realized my dragon boy has grown so that he could stay behind without crying and even helped Babi take care of my dancing princess.
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by danceofdragon | 2009-05-25 01:22

面白すぎる! It is Too Much Fun!

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今年の目標の一つであるクロススティッチ。第一作が遂に完成です。最初から大作に挑んでしまい、何回も間違えてはやり直したり、糸がもつれたりと四苦八苦続きでしたがどうにか完成、開始してからおよそ4ヶ月後のことです。

何もない白い布地に絵が浮き上がってくる感覚になぜか血が騒ぎます。 毎日、何もかも放ったらかしてチクチクする時間を作りました。1日に1回はやらないと気がすみません。

もともと絵を描くのは苦手なので、何でここにこんな色を使うんだろうとか、何でここにこういうスティッチが入るんだろうとか不思議に思いながら、キットの説明書のままやっていくと、平面の絵に奥行きが出てくるではありませんか。新鮮な驚きでした。

この灯台のある海の風景の周りに、義姉にもらった端切れを縫い込んで、額に入れて仕上げました。ちょっといびつになっちゃったけど、最初にしてはなかなかの出来、と一人で勝手に悦に入っています。さてさてこの額縁、家のどこに飾ってあるでしょう。

Cross stitching is one of my goals this year. The first project is finally complete. I picked a major project for a beginner. So it wasn’t without struggling. I made lots of mistakes that I had to fix so many times. Very often I had the thread tangled up. It took me about four months to finally finish it.

Somehow I get excited to see a picture gradually show up on a totally white, blank piece of cloth. Every day I squeezed out some time just for this needlework, leaving all the chores aside. I must do it at least once a day.

Since I am not very good at drawing pictures, sometimes the instructions puzzled me. Why do I use this color in this particular place? Why do I put this kind of stitch here? Anyway, I followed the instructions only to see the image on the flat surface appear as though it had been given some depth. It was an amazing discovery for me.

Around the seascape with a lighthouse, I sewed into pieces of cloth given by my sister-in-law and framed it. It looks a little awkward with the irregular rectangle. But I’m smiling to myself that it is not so bad for the first try. Where do you think I put up this frame in my house?
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by danceofdragon | 2009-05-22 23:02

初ビーチは暑かった! The First Beach in the Heat

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1ヶ月近く前のことですが、U家の方々と再びお出かけ。山に行こうか海に行こうか迷ったあげく、その日は暖かくなるとの天気予報に「よっしゃビーチだ!」と張り切って出発。それまでドンヨリヒンヤリの気候が続いていたので、久しぶりの青空に心も躍ります。 目的地のサンタ・クルーズに向かうフリーウェイは早くも混雑の兆し、ビーチに着いてみたらこれまたすごい人。みんな同じことを考えるのね。

そして気温がみるみるうなぎ上り。そこまで暑くなるなんて予想もしてなかったから、暑さに喘ぎながらの今年初のビーチでした。ドラ息子は海パンでおおはしゃぎ。普段着だったU家のAちゃんも、結局首から下ずぶ濡れとなりました。舞姫とMちゃんはテントで涼み、たまにビーチ用の車椅子に乗って波打ち際まで繰り出しました。

遊んでも遊んでも、まだまだ遊び足らなかったです。この日は生まれて初めて肉眼で蜃気楼を見ました。島も何もないはずの水平線の上を、帯状の青いものがすーっと走っています。この幻想的な風景、うまく写真に映ったでしょうか。蜃気楼の写真以外は、ほとんどU家の方々がとった写真を拝借したものです。

ところで、その日から数日異常な猛暑が続き、またぐっと寒くなり、豚インフルエンザが流行りだしと、なんだかとても支離滅裂な日々でした。近くの高校がカリフォルニアで最初に閉鎖になった時はさすがに青ざめましたが、事態はひとまず収束に向かっております。ほっ。
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It was about a month ago when we went out with the U-family again. We wondered whether we should go to the mountain or a beach. It was the weather forecast that helped us make up our mind. It said it would be nice and warmer. “OK! Off to the beach!!” We could not help but getting excited to see a clear sky after the long, overcast and chilly weather. The freeway in the direction of Santa Cruz, our destination, was starting to get crowded and when we got there, the beach was already crowded. I guess everybody was thinking the same thing.

The temperature started to rise like a spiral, which we did not expect at all. We spent the first day in beach this year panting from the heat. Needless to say, my dragon boy was so overjoyed in his swim pants. A-chan of the U-family didn’t have swim wear on but after all she got soaked from neck to toe. M-chan and my dancing princess stayed cool in the tent, occasionally venturing out near the water in the beach wheelchair.

We played and played and there was no end to the fun. That day I saw a mirage with the naked eye for the first time in my life. Along the horizon where there was no island or whatever was a strip of something blue stretching all the way. I’m not sure if I was successful in catching this fantastic scape in the camera. Most of the other photos other than the one with the mirage were borrowed from the U-family.

By the way, we have had very confusing days since then. This unusual heat continued for a few days before the temperature dropped again. Then we had the swine flu outbreak that put the nearby high school into the first closure in California. I paled at the news but the situation has settled at least for the time being. Whew.
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by danceofdragon | 2009-05-15 02:40

カリフォルニアの鯉のぼり Carp Streamers in California

f0146342_8321765.jpg 5月5日は日本の端午の節句、今年は鯉のぼりを飾りました。というのもちょっと前、グランマが古ぼけた鯉のぼりセットをくれたのです。ケーシーは5歳の時に家族と東京に住んでいますが、その時にグランマがケーシーとお兄さんのために買った鯉のぼりが、ドラ息子に引き継がれたというわけです。つまり40年以上も前の物。

一番感動したのはレトロな箱。色調といい文字といい龍のイラストといい。「なんで中身は鯉なのに龍の絵?」という疑問はさておき、「浩宮様も祝った」という謳い文句は微笑ましい限りです。 日本でも今時見かけない年代物に、昭和40年代の日本に戻ったような気になりました。我が家の旗立てにちょうどいいサイズ、カリフォルニアの空でも悠々と泳ぎました。

「我が家で最後に端午の節句をお祝いしたのいつだっけ?」と思い返すと、なんと10年前、ドラ息子が生後2ヶ月半の時以来です。写真を引っ張り出してみました。「まあ、二人とも若くて可愛い! でもドラゴンが1歳児くらいに見える、、やっぱり巨大だったんだ、、、」兜の額縁は知り合いの方が作ってくれたものです。一体どうやって作ったんだろうと、よくよく見てみると、なんと手の込んだ木目込みではありませんか。今も色褪せることなく、堂々とした姿を保っています。

今年は、chiezoさんが送ってくれた五月人形のポップアップカードも加わって、雰囲気ばっちり。これからは毎年欠かさずお祝いしようと思ったけど、そういえば何歳までお祝いするのかな、、、。f0146342_8324942.jpg

May 5th was a Japanese festival called “Tango no sekku.*1” This year, we put up carp streamers. A while ago Grandma gave us an old set of carp streamers she had bought Casey (5 years-old then) and his brother when the family stayed in Tokyo more than 40 years ago. Now it has been handed down to my dragon boy.

What struck me the most was the box. Its color tone, letters and the dragon illustration; everything looked so retrospective. “Why dragon for carps inside?” Putting this question aside, I was so intrigued with the catch-phrase printed on the box, “Prince Hironomiya celebrated with this.*2” This is such a vintage I don’t think it can be easily found in Japan anymore. I felt like being brought back to Showa 40’s (1965-75). The streamers, nicely fit in our flag post, nobly flew in this California sky.

Thinking back, “When did we last celebrate the festival?” I realized it was ten years ago when dragon was two and a half months old. I pulled out the pictures at that time. “Wow, both boys looked so young and cute!! But dragon looked like he was already 12 months old or so... Now I realize he was a giant baby...” The framed worrior helmet was made by one of our friends. “How on earth did she make this?” I looked carefully and found out it was elaborately made in “Kimekomi” method*3. Even after 10 years, it still shines with dignity.

This year, joined by the pop-up warrior doll card that chiezo-san had sent to us, we were in the good mood for celebration. I decided to do this every year from now on, but, wait, what age of the boy do we celebrate until??

*1: We celebrate the day wishing for health of a boy/boys in the family. Traditional items are carp streamers above the roof of a house, a warrior doll and helmet display in the house, etc.

*2: Prince Hironomiya was born in 1960 as the first son of current Emperor Akihito.

*3: Kimekomi is a folk art of Japan. Pieces of fabric are tucked into grooves carved into a base (usually wooden), instead of being sewed into an applique.
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by danceofdragon | 2009-05-10 08:33

第二回陶芸教室 Second Pottery Class

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春休みを利用して、ドラ息子とまたストックトンに日帰りで行ってきました。目的はもちろん第二回陶芸教室。前回形まで作ったお皿や壷(と呼べる物であれば)に色付けです。伯父さんが数日前に前もって釜で焼いてくれ、ちょっと小さくなった自分の作品と久しぶりのご対面となりました。

カモフラージュが大好きなドラ息子のことだから、緑や茶色や黒を選ぶかなと思いきや、意外にも赤と黒の二色を選びました。最初は不思議に思いましたが、「ははーん、そうか。」どうやら伯父さんの作風を真似したいようです。一度塗って、乾いたらまた塗って、乾いたら最後にまた塗ってと、根気のいる作業をなんとかやり遂げました。

これをもう一度釜で焼くと出来上がり。釜に並べてスイッチを入れるところまでやらせてもらい、その日は終わり。数日後、焼き上がった作品の写真を伯母さんがメールで送ってくれて、大喜び(写真右上)。それから2週間後に実物を手にして、さらに大喜びのドラゴ ン、伯父さんに一歩近づいたかな?

早速、食器や花瓶として活躍(?)している作品です。「ドラゴン・ギャラリー」お楽しみください。

My dragon boy and I went on a day trip to Stockton again during his spring break. The purpose was of course to take the second pottery lesson. He was supposed to paint his pieces that he had shaped last time: pots and plates (if you can call them so). Dragon came face-to-face with his own work for the first time in a while. His uncle had fired them a few days earlier. They had shrunk a little from firing.

I thought he would paint them camouflage, his favorite combination of colors: green, brown and black. However, he picked only two colors; red and black. I first could not figure out why, but soon I realized, “Oh I see.” He wanted to imitate his uncle’s style. That’s why. He applied first coating of paint, let it dry, then second coating, drying, then the last coating. He worked seriously on this very patient process.

Now it was time to fire them for the last time. His uncle let dragon arrange his pieces in the kiln and turn the switch on. That was it for the day. A few days later, his aunt emailed the pictures of the finished pieces (right photo above). Dragon was so excited. Then two weeks later, he got to hold them in his hands. He was more excited. Has he come one step closer to his uncle?

They already proved very handy (?) as tableware or a vase. I hope you enjoy viewing the “Dragon Gallery.”
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by danceofdragon | 2009-05-01 15:15