<   2009年 06月 ( 6 )   > この月の画像一覧

イチゴとさくらんぼ Strawberries and Cherries

f0146342_15402538.jpg
2週連続でフルーツ狩りを体験しました。最初はサンタ・クルーズのイチゴ農園です。太平洋を遠くに眺めながらの贅沢なイチゴ狩り。あまりにも美味しそうな鮮やかな赤に、思わず1、2個口にぽいっ。「おいしい!」私たちは遠慮がちに食べたけど、口の周りを真っ赤にして堂々と歩いている小さな女の子もいました(^_^;)。これもあれもと摘んでいるうちに箱は一杯に。こんなに食べきれるかしらとちょっと不安に。全部で5パウンド(2.5kg)ほど、ちなみにお値段は1パウンド2.5ドル(1kg=約500円)。

次の週末には、結局イチゴはもう食べ尽くして一つも残っていませんでした。今度は内陸の方のギルロイという町でさくらんぼ狩り。はしごがなくて、ケーシーがドラ息子を肩に乗せて上の方のさくらんぼを収穫。さすがにもう肩車の年齢ではなくなってます。ケーシーが大丈夫かとそっちの方が心配でした。さくらんぼの赤もまた鮮やか。果肉がしっかりと詰まっていておいしいのなんの。6パウンドくらい穫って帰ったけど(ここも1パウンド2.5ドル)、これまたあっという間に食べてしまいました。

ところで面白いなと思ったのは、そういった自分で収穫ができる農場の看板です。「U Pick」と書いてあります。「You pick(あなたが摘む)」の「you」が「U」になっているんですね。キウイ農園もあって、11月に「U Pick」となるそうな。フルーツ狩り、我が家の新しい行事になりそうです。

We went for fruit picking on two weekends in a row. First, we went to a strawberry farm in Santa Cruz, which had a luxurious view of the Pacific Ocean in the distance. The vivid red of the strawberries was so tempting that we threw a couple of them in our mouth. “Yummy!!” We did it with a little hesitance but there was a little girl walking openly with her mouth marked in red (^_^;). We kept picking and soon the box was full. We were not sure if we would be able to eat all of them. The price was $2.5 per pound and our strawberries weighed five pounds.

After all, the strawberries were gone by next weekend. This time we were off to an inland town called Gilroy, for cherry picking. There was no ladder on the farm, so Casey let dragon sit on his shoulders to reach the upper part of the trees. He was now too big to be carried on the shoulders. I was worried if Casey was all right. The red of the cherries was very vivid, too. Fruit was so rich and dense, tasting so good. We ended up with 6 pounds of cherries (same price as strawberry) but again it didn’t take long before they were gone.

I found it interesting that the signs of those farms said, “U Pick.” “U” was used for the word “You.” I learned that there is a U-pick kiwi farm which will be open during November. Fruit picking will now be in the list of our activities.
f0146342_15405094.jpg

[PR]

by danceofdragon | 2009-06-30 15:40

Oさんの盆栽 Mr. O’s Bonsai

f0146342_10474982.jpg
義姉のお父さん、Oさんが亡くなってあと数ヶ月で3年になります。草花をこよなく愛したOさんのお宅には、生前育てた盆栽がたくさん残っていて、奥さんが今も水やりを欠かしません。実は、そのOさんの盆栽が我が家に二つあります。去年の夏、ドラ息子が奥さんからいただいたのです。

なぜか盆栽にとても興味があるドラ息子。「僕は日本で見たことがあって、それから盆栽が好きなんだよ。」って。「へ〜、それは知らなかった。」一度は種から育てたこともあります。ひょろひょろの芽が何本か出てきただけで、虚しく枯れてしまいました。

そんなわけで、この盆栽をいただいて、ついに念願が叶ったわけです。でもきちんとお世話できるかは別問題。Oさんの形見を枯らしてしまうわけにはいきません。「ちゃんと水あげてるの〜」「昨日はあげてないでしょ、お世話しないんだったら返すよ!」これも親子バトルの一つの種ではありますが、ドラゴンにとってはいい勉強です。

残念ながら、一つは元気がありません。「そっちの方はブログに載せないでね。」とちゃっかり注文がきました(- -;)。Oさん、ごめんなさい、、、。でももう一つは、今、見事な花をつけています。義姉から「これはツツジで花が咲くよ。」と聞いた時は信じられませんでしたが、春になったら、本当につぼみがポツポツと現われ、みるみるうちに膨らんで、続々と開花するではありませんか。

触ると消えてしまいそうな花びらがあまりにも綺麗で、心が癒されるようです。なぜか一つだけピンク色なのがまた神秘的です。来年も咲いてくれますように。お世話する人の腕次第かな。

In a few months it will be three years since Mr. O passed away. Mr. O, my sister-in-law’s father, was a big plant lover. At his house in Stockton, there are still a lot of bonsais that he grew, which Mrs. O now waters everyday. As a matter of fact, we have two of those bonsais here. Last summer, Mrs. O kindly gave them to my dragon boy.

Somehow, dragon shows a great interest in bonsais. “I’ve always liked bonsais since I saw them in Japan,” said dragon. “Oh, yes? I didn’t know that at all.” He once tried to grow one from seeds, only to have a few weedy sprouts which vainly died out.

So his wish finally came true when he got them. However, whether or not he is able to take good care of them is a different matter. They are precious remembrance of Mr. O. We can’t let them die out. “Are you watering the bonsais?” “I know you didn’t water them yesterday. If you are not responsible, I’m going to return them to Mrs. O!!” This is one of the factors of our mother and son battles but this gives him a good chance to learn something.

Unfortunately, one of them is not doing so well. Dragon shrewdly told me not to put the picture of it in this blog (- -;). Sorry, Mr. O.... However, the other one is now in full bloom. I could not belive it when my sister-in-law said this was an azalea and would bloom. Surely it did. When spring came, small buds appeared one by one and grew big in no time and started to bloom one after another!!

The petals look so fragile that it makes me think they would disappear if I touched them. They are so beautiful and comforting. Only one pink flower among the white ones makes it look more mystifying. I hope they bloom again next year. Does it all depend on the caretaker?
[PR]

by danceofdragon | 2009-06-25 10:49

卒業 Graduation

f0146342_5504014.jpg
四角い黒い帽子をかぶって、黒いガウンをはおって、卒業証書を誇らしげに受け取る。そんな経験は残念ながらありません。大学の卒業式では袴が主流でした。

敢えて言えば、ドラ息子が東京のインターナショナル幼稚園を卒業した時です。みんな小さいのに一人前って感じで可愛いらしかったな。ただ、我が子だけは出てこなくて、感動の涙を拭くために持っていたハンカチは、顔から出てくる火を押さえるのに使ったっけ(^_^;)。

それはさておき、先日、卒業式を実際に見ることができました。舞姫のベビー・シッターをしてくれるHさんが、ミッション・カレッジというところを卒業するというので、お祝いがてら物見遊山で行ってきました。

照明を落とした会場は人だらけ。そして黒装束の集団が前の方に固まっています。舞台の様子は両脇にある大きなスクリーンに映し出されています。先生方が学生たちの努力と功績を褒めたたえ、一人一人に卒業証書が手渡されます。Hさんの順番がなかなか回って来なくて、ほんとにこの集団の中にいるのかしらと思ったほど。やっと見つけたHさん、一つのことをやり遂げた達成感からか、いつもの笑顔がとびきり輝いて見えました。「卒業おめでとう!!やったね!」

In a black robe, with a mortarboard on, one proudly receives a diploma. Unfortunately, this is something that I have never experienced. When I graduated from college, most graduates including me wore hakama or Japanese skirt.

If I can count this in, my dragon boy did it at the graduation ceremony of the international kindergarten in Tokyo. All the kids in the robe looked so cute and mature despite their physical sizes. It’s just that dragon was the only one who wouldn’t come in the ceremony room. I had a handkerchief ready to wipe my tears when overcome with emotion. Instead, I used it to wipe my face which was burned with shame. (^_^;)

Anyway, we had a chance to observe a real graduation ceremony the other day. H-san, princess’ babysitter, was graduating from a local college called Mission College. To say congratulations to her, as well as out of curiosity, we went to see the ceremony.

The hall in dim light was full of people. At the front part of the hall was a huge group of people in black. There were huge monitors on either side of the hall, showing what was happening on the stage. Teachers praised the students for their effort and achievement, and a diploma was handed to each student. We waited and waited for H-san’s turn so long that we wondered if she was really in the crowd. When we finally spotted her, her usual smile shone much brighter from, I suppose, this big accomplishment. Big congratulations to H-san, “You did it!!”
[PR]

by danceofdragon | 2009-06-17 05:51

バーベキュー・パーティ BBQ Party

f0146342_12405080.jpg
5月のメモリアル・デーの週末、親しい人たちを招いてバーベキュー・パーティを開きました。W家、Y家、U家、Hさんの面々。我が家でパーティをやったのはずいぶん久しぶりです。食べ物だけでなく、椅子やテーブルも持参してもらい、大勢でわいわいがやがや。牛や鶏やリブのお肉系の他に、ししゃもやイカやカニも登場して大満足です。

今年はなぜか涼しい気候が続いていて、日が落ちるとジャケットなしでは外にいられません。ひとしきり食べた後は、家の中に移動してデザート・タイム。U家のMちゃんがちょっと前に誕生日だったので、内緒でバースデー・ケーキを準備しました。パパとママのそれはそれは驚いた顔と、それはそれは大喜びのMちゃんに、仕掛人としては「しめしめ」。

ドラ息子と同じ名前のY家のパパがたくさん写真を撮ってくれたので、今回はその中から拝借しました。我が家の裏庭と居間がとても広く見えて嬉しいです。

On Memorial Day weekend in May, we had a BBQ party, inviting close friends; W-family, Y-family, U-family and H-san. We hadn’t had a party at home for a very long time. Not only did we ask our guests to bring some food, we also asked them to bring chairs and tables. It was quite a big crowd, making big cheerful noises. In addition to beef, chicken and ribs, there were shishamo smelt, squid and crab, making our tummies so happy.

This year, the weather has been very cool somehow. Once the sun sets, we can’t stay outside without a jacket. When our main course was done, we all moved inside for dessert. A birthday cake was secretly ready for M-chan of the U-family, whose birthday was a few days earlier. As a plotter, I was quite satisfied to see the indescribably surprised faces of her mom and dad and the indescribably excited face of M-chan.

Dad of the Y-family, who has the same name as dragon, took a lot of pictures, some of which I borrowed here. I’m amazed that our backyard and living room look so spacious in the pictures.
f0146342_12411921.jpg

[PR]

by danceofdragon | 2009-06-11 12:41

ミッション・プロジェクト(模型編) Mission Project (Model)

f0146342_14222362.jpg
模型の制作、最初は途方に暮れました。巷のクラフト・ショップにはちゃんとミッションのキットも売ってます。でもそういった市販の物を使ってはダメ、全て家庭で手作りするべしとあります。材料は何を使ってもOK。「そ、、そんな殺生な、、そもそも縦、横、高さの寸法はどうするの? ミッションに巻き尺持って行って測量ってか?」

インターネットでいろいろと探して寸法を手に入れました。よっしゃ! その寸法をもとに、最初はプラスチック・キャンバスを切り抜いて壁や屋根を作りました。そして小さくした粘土をくっつけてみたのですが、粘土が乾くとポロリポロリと剥がれ落ちてきます。「こりゃだめだ。」と思い切って断念、違う材料を使って一からやり直すことに(一番上の写真)。

次は厚紙を切って組み立てました。そしてドラ息子が画用紙に色を塗り、それをちぎって貼ることに。いわゆるちぎり絵です。やってみると、ミッションの古ぼけた感じが出ていい感じ。ドラ息子は、紙をつけていく時に糊が指につくのが嫌だと言ってなかなか進みません。ほんとは地面も紙を貼りたかったのですが、本人は砂利を敷き詰めたいと言い張るので、しょうがなく砂利だけ買ってきました。提出日の前日、小麦粉粘土でドーム部分をかたどって厚紙で作った十字架を差して完成です(下の写真)。これまた小躍りしましたよ、私。

作品はオープン・ハウスで公開されました。個性的な模型が並んでいて面白かったです。親子が一緒に頑張った作品がほとんどだったけど、中には親が全く手伝ってくれなかったんだなってわかる作品もあって、ちょっと心が痛みました。AmyさんちのLちゃんの模型、立派でした。絵の具に砂を混ぜて壁を塗ったそうな(一番下の右側の写真)。

え?成績? 実はドラ息子が二、三日前に持って帰ってきました。レポート、模型ともになんと100点満点!これには正直驚き。ストレスも満点だったけど、二人で作り上げるのも楽しかったし、学ぶこともたくさんあったし、いい思い出になりそうです。ところで、失敗作と完成作の二つの模型、どうしたらいいんでしょうかね。
f0146342_14215075.jpg
First I was at a loss. How do we make it? Actually you can buy a mission model kit at local craft stores. But instructions from school said commercial kits were not acceptable. The model must be home-made. We could use any material. “This project is killing me!! How do we measure in the first place; the length, width and height?? Do we have to walk around the mission with a tape and measure?”

Looking here and there on the internet, I was able to get the sizes of the mission. Yes!! Based on them, I first cut out walls and roofs from plastic canvas. We attached flour clay pieces onto the building. But once the pieces were dry, they just started falling off one by one. “This is not going to work.” We decided to redo it from the beginning using different materials. (Photos at the top)

Next, I used cardboard and made a building. Dragon painted craft paper, torn it into pieces and glue them onto the building like mosaic. It looked good actually. Torn paper somehow helped create an old building atmosphere. But dragon kept complaining he didn’t like the sticky feeling of glue on his fingers. So this process took a while.

I wanted to cover the ground with paper as well, but dragon insisted to have gravel laid out. So gravel was the only thing we bought for this project. The day before the due date, the model was finally done. We placed the domes made of flour clay. On top of the domes were cardboard crosses stuck on them. (Photos right above) I danced out of joy again, of course.

The project was displayed at the open house night. It was fun watching all the unique models of other kids. Most of them were made in joint effort of kids and parents. But I felt a little heartbroken when I saw a project that I could tell was made with no adult help. Amy-san’s daughter, L-chan’s model looked great. She said they mixed some sand in the paint for walls!! (Right photo at the bottom)

Grade? As a matter of fact, dragon brought it home a few days ago. To my surprise, the report and model got 100% score!! Wow!! My stress level was also 100% while working on the project, but everything is a good memory now. It was fun to create something with dragon and we learned a lot. Anyway, what should we do about these two models now? Finished one and failed one......
f0146342_14263828.jpg

[PR]

by danceofdragon | 2009-06-08 14:22

ミッション・プロジェクト(レポート編) Mission Project (Report)

f0146342_6251718.jpg
ドラ息子4年生の有終の美を飾るミッション・プロジェクト、その後の報告、まずはレポート編です。レポートは、表紙、目次、参考文献もつけて、まとまった体裁のものに仕上げないといけません。しかも本文は六つに章立てして、各章段落に分け、一つの段落には最低四つの文章を入れるとあります。

それで何を書くかというと、自分が取り組むミッションがいつ、どこで、誰によって建てられたか、その場所に建てられた背景、先住民インディアンの生活がどう変わったか、農作物や家畜、ミッションがカリフォルニアの発展にどのような役割を果たしたかなどなど。そしてこの課題を通して自分が感じたこと、学んだことで締めくくることになっています。

他の子供はいざ知らず、ドラ息子が一人でそんなことできるわけがない、、、「なんで親がこういうことを教えないといかんのよ。」とやっぱり愚痴をこぼしつつ、図書館で借りた本を読んで必要な情報を抜き出すことから始めて、レポートに仕上げていく過程を一つ一つこなしていきました。

とは言っても、本人が率先してやったわけじゃありません。いたって呑気で、今日はこれをやってと言うまでは全くやる気なし。こちらは頭から湯気を出しながら忍耐あるのみ。自分が書くんだったらどんなに楽だろうなと何度思ったことか。本人が感じ取ったこと、書きたいことを最大限に尊重しつつ、親がどこまで手を入れるべきかを考えながらの作業は至難の業でした。

約1ヶ月半かかりました。ドラ息子がレポートを束ねる最後のひもを結び終えた時の達成感といったら、言葉では表わせません。思わず小躍りしてしまいました。そういえば学生時代、こんなに必死で勉強したっけ? あまりにも昔のことで忘れました。

ちょっと前だったら手書きやタイプだったんでしょうが、今はコンピュータの時代。見た目は綺麗なものです。いい成績がもらえるかなぁ。次は模型編を書きたいと思います。

This is a sequel to what I wrote about my dragon boy’s Mission Project, the last hurrah of 4th grade. To begin with, the report part had to include a cover page, table of contents and a bibliography in addition to the report itself. The report had to be divided into six chapters. Each chapter had to have paragraphs, each with at least four sentences.

What to write? When, where and by whom the mission was built. The reasons why it was built at that particular location. How the lives of native Americans changed. Crops and livestocks. What role the mission played in the development of California, and so on. Then we were to conclude with what you felt and learned through this assignment.

I didn’t know about other kids, but I knew for sure that dragon would not be able to do this by himself. “Why do I have to teach this??!!” I couldn’t help grumbling after all, but starting with extracting necessary information from library books, we worked each step very carefully toward the goal of putting the information into a nice report.

But this didn’t mean dragon took the initiative. He was just careless. He wouldn’t do anything unless told to do this much of work everyday. Feeling myself steaming, I was nothing but a patience. I don’t know how many times I thought how easy it would be if it had been my assignment. I tried to respect what dragon had in his mind or what he wanted to write as much as possible. How much should I get involved? I constantly kept that in mind and it was not easy at all.

It took us about one and a half month to finish it. I just can not describe how good I felt when dragon tied the last string to bind the report. I even danced for joy!! Did I ever study this hard when I was a student?? Well, it was too long ago to remember.

The report would have been handwritten or typed a few years ago, but now computers completely took over the job, making the report look neat. I hope we get a good grade. I’m going to write about making a mission model next time.
[PR]

by danceofdragon | 2009-06-03 06:25