最新クロスステッチ The Latest Cross Stitch Project

f0146342_1761964.jpg
これは、Masakoさんがヨーロッパ旅行に行った時、おみやげに買ってきてくれたクロスステッチ・キットを仕上げたものです。実はもらったのはおととしの夏、1年以上経ってやっと順番が回ってきました。紫の濃淡がなんとも言えません。仕上がったものの、思うようにフレームが見つからず、黒枠のフレームを自分で紫に塗ってみました。「Masakoさん、やっとできたよ〜」 他にももらったクロスステッチ・キットがたくさんあります。次に完成するのはどれで、一体いつになるでしょうね。

This cross stitch piece was made from a kit Masako-san brought me as a souvenir of her trip to Europe. It was back in the summer of 2009 when she gave it to me. More than a year later, I finally started working on it. I like the different shades of purple. When the stitching part was over, it was hard to find a matching frame so I painted a black frame purple all by myself. "Masako-san, I finally did it!!" I still have a lot of kits that have been given to me. I don't know which one will be finished next or when...
[PR]

# by danceofdragon | 2011-01-22 17:06

サンフランシスコの街並み Streetscape in San Francisco

f0146342_35083.jpg
サンフランシスコは長崎と同じく、坂と階段の街、私のもう一つのお気に入りの場所です。こんな風光明媚な街から車で1時間くらいの距離に住んでいるというだけで、嬉しくなります。日帰りでよく出かけていきますが、今回初めて1泊してみました。ケーシーの大学時代からの古い友人が結婚することになり、そのウェディング・レセプションに招待されたのでいい機会です。

San Francisco, a town of slopes and steps just like Nagasaki, is another favorite place of mine. We often make a day trip there. It makes me glad that I live only one-hour away from such a beautiful city. This time, we stayed overnight for the first time. The invitation to a wedding reception gave us a good opportunity. An old friend of Casey's from college was getting married.
f0146342_355454.jpg
素敵なカップルの豪華な場所でのレセプション、別世界に来たようで夢心地だったのですが、どういうわけか、ディナーの途中で舞姫がパニックに陥り、いきなり現実に引き戻されました。いつまでたっても泣き叫びっぱなし、泣く泣く引き上げることに。やっぱり舞姫がいるとこうなるのか、、、普段は心の隅に追いやっている負の感情がむくむくと頭をもたげてきて、その夜はさすがに落ち込みました(- -;)。

I felt as if we were in a dream, attending the reception of the nice couple at a gorgeous place. During dinner, however, for some reason, princess got into a panic and could not stop screaming and crying. We were immediately dragged back to reality from this fancy world and had to hurry out of the place. "After all this is what I get with princess around ......" The negative part of my emotion, usually locked up deep in my mind, started to raise its head. I could not pull myself together that night.
f0146342_364168.jpg
でも翌日は快晴のお天気のおかげもあり、サンフランシスコでの一日をどうやって過ごそうかと、元気が出てきました。まずはロンバード通りのジグザグ坂をドラゴンと歩いてみました。坂の両側にあるのは本当に人が住んでいる家、こんな有名な観光スポットに住むのってどんな感じだろうと思いながら、ひぃひぃと坂を上がりました。

Next day, however, thanks to the nice weather, I began to look forward to our day in San Francisco. "How are we going to spend the day?" First, dragon and I walked up and down the zigzag slope of Lombard Street. The houses on both side of the slope actually have somebody living in them. Wondering what it is like to live in such a famous tourist spot, I panted my way up the slope.
f0146342_372623.jpg
サンフランシスコの特徴は何と言ってもあの街並み。どれ一つとして同じではない、長細くて出窓が可愛らしい、カラフルな家がくっついて並んでいるのを見るだけで、楽しい気分になります。特にアラモ・スクエア沿いに並んでいるヴィクトリア調の家々は「ペインテッド・レディー」というニックネームで有名です。20年以上前に一度見たきり、やっと再び来ることができました。う〜ん、クロスステッチしたくなる風景です。それにしても、ここも普通に人が住んでいるのよね。

The streetscape of San Francisco is no doubt one of its major characteristics. Narrow and tall, colorfully-painted houses with cute bay windows stand right next to each other. None of them is exactly the same and just looking at them is fun. Especially the Victorian houses along Alamo Square, called the "Painted Ladies," are pretty famous. I once visited there more than 20 years ago and had always wanted to go back. I finally made it this time. This is certainly a scene that makes me feel like cross stitching. It is interesting that these houses are also lived in by ordinary people.
f0146342_38719.jpg
ケーブルカーはサンフランシスコのもう一つの風物詩。これもずっと乗ってみたいと思っていました。ケーブルカーの心臓部である、ケーブルを動かす巨大な機械がある場所は博物館になっていて、その迫力たるや一見の価値ありです。博物館前から、やってきたケーブルカーにドラゴンと飛び乗ってみました。行き先も料金も知らないで、出たとこ勝負とはまさにこのこと。急な坂をぐんぐん上り、今度はぐんぐん下がっていきます。ケーブルカーの外側の手すりにつかまったドラゴン、なんだか神妙な顔をしています。しばらく乗って着いた終点は海のそば、向こうにアルカトラス島が見えます。絶景絶景。さてどうやって戻ろう。線路伝いに歩いて戻ることにしました。実はケーブルカーは運賃がちょっと高かった、、、(^ ^;)。

ところが考えが甘かった。サンフランシスコの坂の傾斜ときたら半端じゃありません。長崎の比じゃないです。これじゃ舞姫とはサンフランシスコには住むのは不可能だと実感しつつ、ひぃひぃと歩きました。でも車で通り過ぎるのとはまた違って、のんびりと街並みを楽しめたのはよかったです。ケーシーと舞姫が待っているカフェテリアで一服、帰路につきました。

駐車するところを見つけるのに苦労したり、お腹ぺこぺこなのに手頃なレストランが見つからなかったり、しまいにはケーシーが車を駐車していたトラックにこすりつけたりと、都会ならではのストレスを味わう場面もありましたが(^ ^;)、1日をたっぷり過ごせてこれまた満足、たっぷり歩いた証拠に足は棒のようでした。何度行っても飽きないサンフランシスコ、次はどんな顔を見せてくれるかなぁ。

Cable cars are another feature of San Francisco that I had always wanted to ride. There was a cable car museum that had huge, huge machines and wheels that were pulling underground cables. This very heart of cable car operation looked so powerful that it was worth seeing. In front of the museum, dragon and I hopped on a cable car that had come, without knowing where it was heading for and how much the ride was. This was exactly "playing it by ear." Vigorously the cable car went up the steep slope before it started going downhill. Dragon, holding on to a bar, stood on the outside area of the car. He somehow looked very serious. After a while, we came to the last station just near the coast, with the spectacular view of Alcatraz Island. Now how do we go back? We decided to walk back along the tracks. Actually, the ride was a bit expensive....(^ ^;)

Soon after we started walking, I realized I had apparently underestimated how steep the slopes were. Slopes in Nagasaki were no comparison. More panting. There was no way of living in San Francisco with princess. Anyway, it was a fun walk, taking our time, enjoying the streetscape, different from just driving by. We finally got to a coffee shop where Casey and princess were waiting, took a rest and headed home.

There were some stressful moments unique to urban areas; having a hard time finding a parking space, getting hungry but not being able to find a good restaurant. Lastly, Casey added a scratch to our van against a parked truck(^ ^;). Still we enjoyed our day in San Francisco and my exhausted legs were good evidence of the long walk. I already look forward to visiting again, wondering what kind of day the city will have in store for us the next time. I never get tired of visiting San Francisco.
[PR]

# by danceofdragon | 2011-01-16 03:08

長崎観光その3 Nagasaki Sightseeing Part 3

長崎の観光記が途中で終わっていました。これを書かないと年を越せません!

I am still in the middle of writing my journal about our sightseeing in Nagasaki. I can’t let 2010 go without finishing it.
f0146342_15463991.jpg
いよいよ最終日、曇り空の下、眼鏡橋に向かうべく路面電車に。ところが途中で降りそこねて着いたのが諏訪神社。間違えて行った先でも観るところがあるのが長崎のいいところ。それにしても気の遠くなるような長い階段です。いやいやどこを見ても坂と階段の長崎、車いすの人はどうしているんだろうと、舞姫との生活を思い起こしました。ばびぃも杖をつきながら最後まで登りきりました。ドラゴンはおみくじに興味を持って、いくつも買ってましたが、よく見ると、一緒についてくるマスコットが目当てのようでした(^ ^;)。

It was our last day in Nagasaki. Under the gray skies, we hopped on a street car for Spectacles Bridge. However, we missed our station to get off and ended up at Suwa Jinja, one of the major shrines in Nagasaki. Even a mistake took us to something to see in this town. Anyhow, looking at the long, long way up to the shrine by steps almost made me faint. Babi, using her cane, worked her way up to the top. Throughout the town, every direction I turned, there were slopes and steps, which reminded me of my life with princess. I wondered how people in wheelchairs were living there. Dragon, fascinated with paper fortune, bought them one after another. Actually it was small mascots that came with fortunes he wanted to get.(^ ^;)
f0146342_1534484.jpg
それからのんびりと眼鏡橋のある中島川沿いを歩きました。中島川にはなんと20近くの橋があるそうで、個性的な石橋ばかり、どれも眼鏡橋に負けていません。日本最古の石橋の一つである眼鏡橋で思い出すのは、1982年の長崎大水害です。当時高校生で下宿していた私は、下宿先の家族と少しでも高いところを目指して、胸元まできた濁流の中を歩いて避難しました。ちょっとでも足を取られたら流されてしまいそうな凄まじい水の勢いは今でも鮮明に覚えています。300人近くが犠牲になり、眼鏡橋も半壊しました。長崎のもう一つの悲惨な歴史を背負う眼鏡橋、どっしりと落ち着いたたたずまいからは、そんな過去は微塵も感じられませんでした。

Then we strolled along Nakashima River where Spectacles Bridge is. I didn't know there were almost 20 bridges along the river. All the stone bridges we saw were very unique, favorably comparing with Spectacles Bridge. Spectacles Bridge, one of the oldest stone bridges in Japan, reminded me of the 1982 flood that partially destroyed the bridge. I was in high school and was staying with a host family at the time. Trying to get to any higher place, we evacuated and walked against the muddy stream that had risen up to my chest. I still clearly remember how strong the current was. So strong that I could have been easily swept away if my leg had slipped a little. Nearly 300 people lost their lives then. This is another harsh history of Nagasaki. However, Spectacle Bridge as we saw now stood calmly and massively, giving no hint of such a past.
f0146342_1535644.jpg
次はグラバー邸、19世紀後半長崎に住んでいた外国人貿易商の邸宅や、歴史的な建物が山の斜面に集まったところです。途中、雨がぱらつきましたが、そこからの長崎港の眺めは最高、こんなところに住んでみたいなぁっていつも思います。グラバー邸では不思議なことがありました。案内役のボランティアさんを何人か見かけたのですが、一人話しかけてきてくれたおじさんがいて、話をしているうちに、なんと父の古い友人をその方も知っていることが判明。こんな奇遇もあるんですね。

Our next destination was Glover Garden, where residences of foreign traders in the late 19th century and other historical buildings were kept on a hillside. Although we had some sprinkles here and there, the view of Nagasaki Harbor was spectacular. I always wished to live in a place like this. At Glover Garden, we had a very mysterious encounter. There were several volunteer docents and one of them came up to us and offered to give us a guided tour. While talking with the man, we found out that he knew an old friend of my father's. Hard to believe such a coincidence exits.
f0146342_15492270.jpg
さてさてお腹もぺこぺこ、長崎名物ちゃんぽんを食べて幸せな気分になり、ふと稲佐山の方向を見てみたら、なんと頂上が見える! 1000万ドルの夜景で有名な稲佐山、長崎に到着して以来、頂上にはいつも霧がかかっていて、展望台に上るのは無理かなとあきらめていたのですが、今からならまだ間に合う! 大急ぎでタクシーに飛び乗って、ロープウェイ乗り場まで駆けつけました。東に長崎の街、西に海が見渡せる絶景です。天気がいいと五島列島も見えるのですが、さすがに霞んでいました。でも最後に青空を見られて気持ちもすっきり、大満足です。

夕方、大学の時によく利用した長崎空港を後にしました。いろいろな思い出の詰まった五島と長崎を、こうして母と息子と訪ねられ、私にとっては大きな意味のある旅となりました。書き終わって満足。あ、でも、年は明けてしまいましたね。今年もどれだけブログ更新できることやらわかりませんが、引き続きご愛顧お願いいたしま〜す。(^o^)/

Now we were so hungry. After filling our empty tummies with Champon noodles, Nagasaki's famous cuisine, I gave a glance at the top of Inasayama Mountain, very famous for its "Ten Million-dollar Night View." I could not believe my eyes now that we could see the mountaintop. Since we arrived in Nagasaki, the top of the mountain had always been covered with fog. I almost gave up going up there this time. "If we go now, we still can make it to the plane!!" Next moment we jumped in a taxi and headed for the ropeway station. Stunning views of Nagasaki Town in the east and the ocean in the west awaited us there. Although it wasn't clear enough to give us an overlook at Goto Islands, the last minute blue sky was pretty much satisfying and refreshing.

Early evening, we took off from Nagasaki Airport where I frequently flew in and out when I was in college. This visit to Goto Islands and Nagasaki turned out to be a very memorable one; visiting places with lots of memories with my mother and son. I feel so good now that I've finally finished writing about it. Oops, new year has already come. I don't know how often I will be able to update this blog but I hope for your occasional visits every once in a while!! (^o^)/
[PR]

# by danceofdragon | 2011-01-04 15:39

クリスマス前夜 The Night Before Christmas

f0146342_1133167.jpg
日本はもうサンタさんが来ましたね。カリフォルニアにはこれから、ドラゴン、気合いを入れて(?)寝入ることでしょう。

なんだかのんびりしたクリスマス・イブです。それもそのはず。旦那さんがキッチンで腕を振るっているのです。毎日クリスマス・イブだといいな〜。

数年前、chiezoさんがくれた飛び出す絵本、驚くほどよくできていて、見るたびに感動です。ちょっとお裾分けを。では、メリークリスマス!

I suppose Japan has been visited by Santa now. He hasn’t come to California yet. I’m sure dragon will go to bed vigorously (?) tonight.

Somehow I’m spending a very relaxed Christmas Eve. Oh, yes. My husband is in the kitchen now, vigorously working on our dinner. I hope everyday is Christmas Eve.

This pop-up book was given to us by chiezo-san several years ago. It is amazingly well done. There hasn’t been a time I don’t get mesmerized when I open the book. I wanted to share some of the pages with you. Merry Christmas!!
f0146342_11331566.jpg

[PR]

# by danceofdragon | 2010-12-25 11:33

読書の冬? Winter, Best Season for Reading?

f0146342_920275.jpg
「うちの子、本ばかり読んで困るのよ。少しは遊んでくれないかしらねぇ。」

こんな悩みとは全く無縁の私。ところが、ここのところ少し変化が出てきました。

自分が子供の頃あまり本を読まなかった後悔から、ドラゴンには当然たくさん本を読んでほしいと思います。手を変え品を変え、ドラゴンに本を読ませようと試みては空しい思いをしてきましたが、気がつくと、ここ1年くらい続いていることがあります。それは1日15分くらいの親子読書タイム。ドラゴンと私が1章ずつ交互に声を出して読むことから始めました。

最初に選んだのは、少年向けシリーズ「Five Ancestors(5人の先祖)」(著者はJeff Stone)、虎、猿、鶴、蛇、鷹、龍、それぞれの動物のスタイルに秀でたカンフーの達人が、17世紀の中国を悪者から救うという話です。ドラゴンが習っているスタイルと同じカンフー・アクションが満載だし、登場人物が同じくらいの年齢だし、期待してしまうというものです。

全部で7巻の長編(写真には6冊しかありませんが)。最初はかなりのスローペース。1冊読むのに1ヶ月以上はかかったと思います。ところが4冊目を読んでいた頃、信じられないことが起こりました。ドラゴンが先を待てなくなり、自分で続きを読み始めたのです(もちろん黙読で)。最後の3冊はあっという間に一人で読んでしまいました。しかも感情移入してて、目がウルウルになっていたこともありましたよ。

「面白ければ、こうやって自主的に読んでくれるのね〜。」

それからはドラゴンが自分で黙読する本と、私が読んで聞かせる本が別になり、並行する格好になっています。「Five Ancestors」のようにのめり込める本が見つかるだろうかとちょっと心配しましたが、運良く「パーシー・ジャクソンとオリンポスの神々」シリーズに出会えました。人間とギリシャ神話に出てくる神々の間に生まれた子供達の冒険物。シリーズの最初の3冊をグランマにもらったのがきっかけでした。ドラゴンが自分で読み始め、最初はやはりスローペースでしたが、ここに来てはまってます。しめしめ。気がつくともう第3巻が終わりそうになってる! 慌てて図書館に第4、5巻を予約、滑り込みセーフでした(^ ^;)。この調子でいろんな本を読んでくれるといいのですが。

年末の忙しさでちょっと中断している親子読書タイムですが、実は私にとってすごくいい英語の勉強になります。ドラゴンが私の変な発音やアクセントを注意してくれるし。「いやぁ〜、私ってこんなに下手な英語をしゃべってたのね〜。」と今更ながら痛感の日々。次はジャック・ロンドンの「白い牙」に挑戦するつもり。かなり高度な文体にきっと悪戦苦闘するでしょうが、頑張ってみます。

そうそう、私が今寝る前に読んでいるのは「二つの祖国」、再び山崎豊子の小説で、第二次世界大戦を舞台に、日本とアメリカという二つの国の狭間で揺れ動く日系アメリカ人の話。Virgoさん、やっぱ読み応えあるね〜!教えてくれてありがとう!

Winter, Best Season for Reading?

"All my child does is read. I wish he would play even a little."

This is something I never have to worry about. However, things are a bit different these days.

Out of regret that I didn't read much when I was a child, I, of course, hope that dragon will read as many books as possible. I tried all possible means to get him into reading, much of which vainly failed. However, there is one thing that has been going on for about a year; dragon-mommy reading time, a fifteen-minute reading together eachday. First, dragon and I took turns reading aloud one chapter of a book.

What I picked first was a series for young readers called "Five Ancestors" by Jeff Stone. It is a story about Kung Fu masters who save the 17th-century China from a bad guy. Each one has his/her own animal Kung Fu style; tiger, monkey, crane, snake, eagle and dragon. The story is full of Kung Fu action, exactly the same styles as dragon is learning and the characters are about his age. My expectation was obvious.

There are seven volumes (only six of them are in the picture). We got off to a very slow start. I think it took more than a month to finish one book. However, as we were on the fourth book, something unbelievable happened. One day, dragon could not wait to find out what happens next and started reading on his own (silently, of course). The last three books were read all at once solely by dragon. He even got emotionally involved and had teary eyes once.

"If a story is interesting enough, the rest follows voluntarily."

Since then, there have always been two books; one that dragon silently reads by himself and the other that I read to him aloud. I wondered if we would ever encounter a book like "Five Ancestors" that would get him into reading so much. Luckily there was another series, "Percy Jackson & the Olympians," featuring adventures of the children born between human and gods in Greek mythology. My mother-in-law (Grandma) gave him the first three volumes of the series. Dragon started reading it on his own, again rather slowly. Now, his pace is very fast. Good! When I realized he was already on the third book, I hastily made reservations for the last two volumes at the library. They barely made it (^ ^;). I hope he keeps up and starts reading avariety of books.

Although the dragon-mommy reading time is temporarily stopped now due to hectic days toward the end of the year, it gives me a great opportunity to learn English. Dragon also makes corrections of my strange pronunciation and accent. After all these years of studying English, I'm painfully realizing now how bad my speaking is. The next challenge will be "White Fang" by Jack London, an author of highly sophisticated writing. I'm sure it won't be easy for me but will give it a try!

Oh, do not let me forget to mention "Futatsu no Sokoku (Two Homelands)" that I'm reading in bed. It is again by Toyoko Yamasaki and about Japanese-Americans whose minds waver between two countries during the World War II. This is so much well worth reading. Thank you, Virgo-san, for letting me know about this book!!
f0146342_992675.jpg

[PR]

# by danceofdragon | 2010-12-22 09:09

不二子はどこだ? Where is Fujiko?

f0146342_15153187.jpg
オーナメントになった不二子ちゃんです。
Here is Fujiko who is an ornament.
[PR]

# by danceofdragon | 2010-12-21 15:14

ハロウィーン折り紙 Halloween Origami

f0146342_10324917.jpg
季節もすっかり変わり、年の瀬に向かって慌ただしい時期がやってきましたが、とっくの昔に終わったハロウィーンの話を一つ。

ドラゴンが通っていた小学校のハロウィーンのお祭りで、去年、友人Cさんが主宰したフェイス・ペインティングを手伝った話を書きました(http://dradance.exblog.jp/12301485)。やっぱり絵筆をもつのは苦手、折り紙なら得意なんだけどな、なんて思っていたら、今年はそのCさんの後押しで、なんと自分が折り紙コーナーを受け持つことになったのです。(^ ^;)

ハロウィーンの定番キャラクターの中から、こうもり、お化け、パンプキンを選び、それぞれに、小さい子向けの簡単バージョンと、高学年向けの難しいバージョンの2種類を用意しました。とここまでは簡単ですが、一番の問題は助っ人です。誰でもいいって訳じゃありません。折り紙を人に教えられる人に限定されるのですから。助っ人を集められるかに成功の鍵があると言ってもいいくらいです。

そして、運が良かったとしか思えません。まず、私の折り紙クラスの最初の教え子達4人が来てくれることになりました。ドラゴンと同じく小学校を卒業して、今や中学生になっている子達です。そして日本人仲間から、maidoさんと中学生の娘さんAちゃん、近くに住んでるmasakoさん、そしてHさんの高校生の娘さんRちゃんと強力なメンバーが揃い、ドラゴンも入れて9人のスーパーチームが出来上がりました。これで子供達が殺到しても大丈夫!実は、例の舞姫の転倒事件はこのイベントの2日前に発生したという、相変わらずスリル満点の日々でございます(^ ^;)。

営業(?)時間は夕方6時から9時まで。最初はのんびりとした感じでスタート、人が来なくて、助っ人の中学生ボーイズが宣伝役をかって出て、看板片手に呼び込みの旅に出たりしましたが、あれよあれよという間に教室が満杯に。ハロウィーンの衣装をまとった可愛い子供達が続々と入ってきます。子供達をテーブルに誘導して、助っ人さんにこの子をお願いねと確認し、込んでいるテーブルでは自分も教える側に回ってと、最後まで目の回るような忙しさでした。中学生ボーイズはさすが男の子、時々いなくなってはちゃっかり遊んでました。

どの子も楽しそうに取り組んでて、出来上がった時の嬉しそうな顔と、パパやママが目を丸くして驚いている様子に、自称「折り紙仕掛人」としては「うっしっし、これよこれよ」と笑いが止まりません。この企画を後押ししてくれたCさんにひたすら感謝です。

ところで面白い現象を2つ発見しました。1つは、子供達が3つのキャラクターを一度に折ろうとしないこと。どれか1つを選んで作っていくのです。「へぇ〜、これは予想してなかった」と一人で関心。中には何度も戻ってくる子もちらほらいて、「また来たね〜」と冷やかしてあげたり。

もう1つは、どういうわけか3つのテーブルに均等に子供が来ないことです。さっきまでこうもりのテーブルが押し合いへし合いしていたかと思うと、次はお化けが大繁盛、パンプキンのテーブルまで進出しないと追いつかないっ。ところが、暇だと思っていたパンプキンも気がつくと賑やかになってたり。「へぇ〜」とまた関心することしきりです。

イベントが終わって集計したら、延べ180人の子供が作品を1つ作った勘定になりました。助っ人の方々本当にお疲れさま、お陰さまで大成功でした〜!(^o^)/
f0146342_10101423.jpg
Halloween Origami

Now the seasons have completely changed, hinting that the busy season is arriving toward the end of the year. However, here is a story about Halloween which is already a thing in the past.

It is about the Halloween festival held annually at the elementary school dragon attended. I wrote last year in this blog that I helped in the face painting station that a friend of mine, C-san, had put up (http://dradance.exblog.jp/12301485). Not being good at handling a paint brush, I thought I would do much better with origami at the time. Then this year, with her support, it turned out I was going to lead an origami station. (^ ^;)

I picked three Halloween characters to for kids to make; a bat, a ghost and a pumpkin. I prepared easy and hard versions of each character; easy for little kids and hard for older children. This part was pretty easy. Now, the biggest issue was to get helpers. This could not be anybody. They had to be someone who could teach origami. It was no exaggeration that success would totally depend on whether I could recruit a good number of helpers.

I can only say that I was very lucky. First, I secured four helpers. They were my first origami students who, just like dragon, had graduated from the elementary school and were now in middle school. Then I got four more helpers among my Japanese friends; Maido-san and her daughter A-chan in middle school, Masako-san who lives nearby and R-chan, H-san's daughter in high school. Now, including dragon, the super team of nine helpers was formed. No matter how big the crowd would be, we were ready!! As a matter of fact, the incident of princess falling happened two days before the event. As usual my days are full of thrilling moments. (^ ^;)

Our business(?) hours were from 6 to 9 pm. The first 30 minutes or so were rather slow. The middle school boys even spontaneously made a round to lure customers in, holding up a sign. However, in a blink of an eye, the room was packed with kids. Cute kids dressed up in Halloween costumes came in one after another. Things were hectic until the last minute. We guided each child to the tables and made sure the child had a helper. I sometimes taught at a short-staffed table. The middle school boys were boys after all. They didn't forget to have fun themselves, disappearing every once in a while.

All the kids worked merrily. This origami fun setter, which I call myself, could not stop grinning when she saw their happy faces when they were done and their parents' faces so amazed with what their child had done. "This is it. This is what I wanted to see." I am so grateful for C-san who had given me an encouraging push to do this.

By the way, I made two interesting discoveries. First, most kids would not make all the three characters at once. They picked just one. This was something I hadn't expected at all. I was pretty much amazed but at the same time I noticed some kids were coming back over and over. "How many times are you coming back????" We enjoyed teasing them.

The other thing was that somehow the three tables were never evenly crowded. The bat table got so packed at one moment. Then I found the ghost table was overcrowded. "We have to invade into the pumpkin territory!!" However, there were times that the pumpkin table was lively populated that had been empty a while ago. I was double amazed.

Counting the tickets after the event showed that 180 kids made one project in total. Thanks to all the help from the helpers, the station was a big success! Thank you all for your great job!!(^o^)/
f0146342_1010245.jpg

[PR]

# by danceofdragon | 2010-12-02 09:57

怖〜い話 A Scary Story

f0146342_1325532.jpg
ここのところ、大きな事件がなかった我が家。救急病院に駆け込むような事態もなく、そういう意味では平穏な日々。それが、ハロウィーンも間近に迫ったある日、舞姫に災難が突然降りかかってきたのです、、、(- -;)

出かける時や帰って来る時、私たちはよく舞姫を玄関前のポーチに立たせます。つかまるところもあるし、外が好きな舞姫は上手にバランスをとりながら、いつも気持ち良さそうに立っています。ところがその日は、どういうわけかバランスを失ったようです。突然「ドカーン」という音。私はガレージで洗濯をしていたのですが、慌てて飛び出したら、舞姫が仰向けに倒れていました。

家の中にいたドラゴンも飛び出してきました。二人で泣き叫ぶ舞姫を抱え上げ、家に入ろうとした時、ドラゴンの手に何やら赤いものが、よく見ると舞姫の頬をタラーっと、、「血だーーーーー!!!!」後ろの壁に頭をぶつけたんだ、、、はい、それからはパニックです。必死で抵抗する舞姫を押さえつけ、びっしり生えた髪の毛をかき分け、やっとのことで傷を探し当てました。2センチくらいの傷がパカッと開いてこっちを見てるではありませんか。「こりゃいか〜ん!病院に行くぞ〜〜!!」二人で飛び上がり、舞姫を車に乗せて近くの救急病院に走りました。

病院に着く頃には舞姫も落ち着き、出血も止まっていました(車の中ではへらへらと笑う場面もあり(^ ^;))。家族全員が一度は世話になったことのある病院なので勝手もわかっていたし、まもなくケーシーも仕事から駆けつけたので、私も落ち着けました。一つ一つの手続きや治療の合間の待ち時間が辛かったけど、舞姫は終始元気で、結局、ホチキスを3針打たれだけで済みました。怪我から帰宅まで3時間の試練でしたが、私の中では、全身麻酔やら髪を剃ることなんかを考えていたので、あっけなく終わったとも言えます。医療の進歩というのでしょうか、傷口のまわりに、神経を麻痺させる薬を塗っただけで、髪の毛も一緒くたにホチキスで留めてしまう早業、、、恐れ入りました。

傷は順調に回復。約2週間後、かかりつけのお医者さんでホチキスを抜いてもらって、いちおうこの騒動には終止符が打たれたわけですが、悪いことばかりでもなく嬉しい発見もありました。ドラゴンがものすごく力を発揮してくれたのです。舞姫を抱えるなどの力仕事はもちろん、出血していると分かった途端、とっさに消毒液と脱脂綿をもってきて血を拭き始めたり、家の鍵が見つからなくてパニックの私に「今はスペアの鍵を使えばいいよ!」って機転を利かせてくれたり、とても頼もしかったのです。ドラゴンがいなかったら私一人でどうなっていたことか。お医者さんに状況を説明するときも、私の間違いを指摘してくれたり。病院ではずっと立ち会って、まるでパパが二人いるみたいです(^ ^;)。血が苦手なケーシーを尻目に、お医者さんのやることも一部始終じっと観察してました。

今回、立派にお姉ちゃんを守って、グランマ、ばびぃ、伯父さん伯母さんにすごく褒められて、しばしヒーローとなったドラゴン、案外救急医療の世界に向いているかも。本人もまんざらでもなさそう。もし将来ドラゴンがお医者さんになったとしたら、舞姫のおかげということになるのかな(^ ^;)。

そうそう、立派だったドラゴンも、病院に向かう車の中では、さすがに血を見たショックで泣きじゃくり、赤信号にひっかかるたびにさらに「うわぁ〜ん」と泣いたりして、子供らしい面もあったことを付け加えておきましょう。ナイーブなヒーローでした。

A Scary Story

Lately our life was quite peaceful without any big incident. Peaceful in terms of not having to rush into an emergency hospital or things like that. One day, however, when Halloween was right around the corner, it was my dancing princess who all of a sudden was visited by a misfortune....(- -;)

Very often, when we go out or come home, we let princess stand at the front porch of the house. There is a bar for her to hold onto. Princess, who loves being outside, contently stands there, keeping good balance. However, that day she lost her balance for some reason. BANG!!! At the sudden huge noise, I flew out of the garage where I was doing the laundry. There she was, lying on her back.

Dragon also dashed out of the house. Hearing shrieking screams of princess, the two of us held her up and tried to bring her inside the house. Then something came into my sight. Something red on dragon's hand, then something red streaming down princess' cheek!! "It's BLOOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" She must have hit her head against the wall behind her. Yes, we were in a panic the next moment. Dragon and I held down struggling princess, went through her thick hair and finally spotted the wound. It was about 3/4 inch long, wide open, looking at us. "NO!!!!!! We have to go to the hospital!!!!" We jumped on our feet again, put princess in the car and took off to the nearby emergency hospital.

By the time we arrived at the hospital, princess was calm and there was no more bleeding. During the ride she even made a few laughing noises (^ ^;). It helped that we knew well about the hospital since all of us had been taken care of there at least once. Soon Casey joined us from work, making me feel a bit relieved. Although the waiting part was hard, between each administrative procedure and treatment, princess was fine. All she needed was three staples punched onto the wound. From the time of the injury, it was three hours later when we finally came home. However, I would say the ordeal was very short. I even imagined full anesthesia and shaving her hair. I don't know if this is due to advancement of medicine, but all they did was apply some numbing cream around the wound and then stapled the wound together. What an awesome job at lightning speed!

The wound healed smoothly. About two weeks later, this knockabout came to an end when our home doctor pulled out the staples. In this crisis, however, there was a joyous discovery. Dragon did a great job. Needless to say, he was physically a great help when holding princess up. A few seconds after he saw her bleeding, he was already wiping the blood with absorbent cotton, holding a bottle of hydrogen peroxide in his hand. When I was in panic, not being able to find the house keys, he quick-wittedly said, "We can use the spare key now!" He was so trustworthy that I don't know what Iwould have done if I was alone. At the hospital, when I explained what had happened, dragon pointed out a mistake I made in my description of the Princess’ fall. He attended his sister the whole time as if the princess had two daddies (^ ^;). While Casey was afraid of looking at the blood, he carefully watched every single thing that the doctor did.

He was later praised by his two grandmas, uncle and aunt for what he did to protect his sister. He might be suited to working in the field of emergency medicine. He doesn't seem to think it is a bad idea either. If he is to become a doctor in the future, will it be thanks to princess (^ ^;)?

By the way, let me add one thing to this story. There was also a childlike aspect of this heroic dragon. On our way to the hospital, he was sobbing from the shock of seeing a lot of blood. Every time we got stuck at a red traffic light, his sobbing got worse. Let us call him a naive hero.
[PR]

# by danceofdragon | 2010-11-10 13:27

1年がかりで完成! It Took One Year to Complete!

f0146342_326398.jpg
自分でもどうしてこんなことが好きなのかわからないのですが、のめり込んでしまうクロス・スティッチ。それも、ややこしければややこしいほど燃えてくるのです(^ ^;)。というわけで1年がかりで出来上がった作品です。その間、贈り物として作った小さな作品も3つあります。みんな、嫁ぎ先で元気にしてるかな〜。

Cross stitching. I don't know why but I get so indulged in it. The thing is, the more complicated a design, the more excited I get (^ ^;). Here it is; a project that took me a year to finish!! There are also three other small projects that I made as gifts. I wonder how they are doing at each of their homes.
f0146342_3284138.jpg

[PR]

# by danceofdragon | 2010-10-21 03:24

泣けました~ A Moment of Tears

f0146342_10332935.jpg
ドラゴンを育てるのは決して楽な仕事ではありません。自分のストレスや不満、不安、要求など全てを親にぶつけてきます。野球の直球みたいに飛んでくることもあれば、ボクシングのボディブローのように、じわじわとくることもあります。思春期の兆候か、1年くらい前から手強くなってきました。親としての技量を試される毎日、時には真正面から闘いに挑み、時には防波堤になったつもりでじっと荒波を受けるのですが、さすがに耐えきれず、精神的疲労から泣いてしまうこともあります(- -;)。でもこの日は違っていました。なんと出たのは嬉し涙だったのです!

よくあちこちのイベントで見かけるのが、海兵隊のブース。もちろんこれは兵士募集のための宣伝活動です。そこにはたいてい鉄棒が置いてあって、懸垂に挑戦するとちょっとしたご褒美がもらえることになっています。ある週末、サンフランシスコのドラゴン・ボート・フェスティバルに行った時、ケーシーが挑戦、5回やりました。ほんとは7回やったけど、うち2回は不合格(^_^;)。ドラゴンはその時は尻込み。無理もないか。人前だし、負け勝負には最初から挑まないタイプだし。

ところが、それから火がついたように家で練習し始めたのです。毎日暇さえあれば裏庭で練習して、自分が懸垂するのを見ててと言われたり、何回やったよと報告してくれたり。そして迎えた次の週末。恒例のサリナスでのエアショーに行ったら、ありましたありました、海兵隊のブース。緊張の面持ちのドラゴン。それでも私はやらないだろうと、最後までたかをくくっていました。でもそれは大きな見込み違い。

ドラゴン、両脇を抱えられて棒にしがみついたではありませんか! 「本当にやるの〜〜!?」慌ててカメラを取り出してシャッターを押していると、涙がどどっとあふれてきました。海兵隊のお兄ちゃんたちの大きな声援を浴びながら、歯を食いしばって、、、。な、、なんか感動しちゃって、、。カンフーで黒帯に昇格した時より嬉しかったかも~(涙o涙)〜。一緒に行ったU家の人たちに、しっかり目撃されてしまいましたよ(^_^;)。

結局6回やり遂げ、ご褒美にポスターを何枚ももらったドラゴン、私も大きなご褒美をもらった日でした。まだまだ嵐のような日々は続くんだろうけど、こういう日もあるもんね。赤ちゃんと大人の間を行きつ戻りつ、ちょっとずつ成長しているドラゴンを、親としてしっかり受け止めていかないといけないです。

ところでこの日、後になって、ドラゴンがきょとんとした顔で聞いてきました。「マミィ、どうして泣いたの?」だって。ひゃぁ~!親の心子知らずとはこのことか~(- -;)!!

A Moment of Tears

Raising dragon is no easy job. He never fails to take out all his stress, frustration, worry and desire on his parents. Sometimes it comes like a fastball in baseball. Other times it comes gradually like body blows in boxing. It may be a sign of adolescence, but since about a year ago, it has become especially difficult to deal with him. Everyday I feel that my parental capacity is being tested. Some days I challenge a straightforward battle with him. Other days I imagine myself transformed into a breakwater, quietly tolerating rough waves. However, every once in a while, things would come to a point where I give way to tears out of exhaustion(- -;). But that particular day, it was different. It was tears of joy that I let out!

One of the things we often see at festivals here and there is a Marine booth. It is of course one of their promotional activities for recruiting soldiers. Most of the time, the Marine booth has a pull-up bar and if you try pull-ups, you get some reward. On one weekend we went to a dragon boat festival in San Francisco. There, Casey tried and did five pull-ups. He actually did seven pull-ups but two were disqualified (^_^;). Dragon, on the other hand, hesitated. I wouldn't blame him considering he had to do it in public. He is also not the type of kid who would challenge a game if he knew he might loose.

After we came home, however, all of a sudden he vigorously started practicing pull-ups. Every minute he could find, he went to the backyard and practiced. He sometimes asked me to watch him do or other times he came to me to report the number of pull-ups he had done. Then came the following weekend. We found the Marine booth at the air show held annually in Salinas. Dragon looked a bit nervous. Still I didn't believe he would try until the last minute. I was completely wrong.

Holding up both arms, he emerged upward and grabbed the bar!! "Is he really going to do it???!!!" After a struggle to get the camera out of my purse, I started pressing the shutter. Then all of a sudden tears started flowing out of my eyes. Surrounded by young Marines giving him big, loud cheers, he was doing his best with his teeth clenched. I was so, so, so amazed..... I may have been impressed much more than the time he advanced to a black belt in his Kung Fu!! 〜(涙o涙)〜 Embarrassingly, the U family were with us and they saw everything ...(^_^;)

Dragon did six pull-ups and got several posters as a reward. I felt like I received a big reward, too. Although stormy days with him will continue for a while, a day like this also comes every once in a while. I guess I have to firmly accept dragon as he is as his parent. After all he is surely growing up a little by little, going back and forth between a baby and an adult.

Later that day, innocently he said, "Why were you crying, Mommy?" I almost fainted. This is exactly, "No child knows how dear he is to his parents (- -;) !!"
f0146342_1036291.jpg

[PR]

# by danceofdragon | 2010-10-15 10:34