鳥の巣発見! A Bird Nest!

f0146342_14395052.jpg
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.
f0146342_1533672.jpg

[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)

f0146342_15154914.jpg
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.
f0146342_1533885.jpg

[PR]

# by danceofdragon | 2007-07-07 15:44

カーメルでの一日 A Day in Carmel

f0146342_23405198.jpg
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

ついに購入! Finally we got it!

まさかこんな物を我が家が購入するとは思いもしませんでした。私は基本的に大きな物をもつことが嫌な人間なのです。 絶対に必要な物は別として。それを子供にせがまれただけで買ってあげるなんて、なんというバカな親。でも何の理由もなしに買ってあげるわけにはいかない。そこで二つ条件を出すことに。

ひとつは2年生の最後の課題「一日先生(実際は30分)」をきちんとやること、もうひとつは、カンフーで黄ベルトから青ベルトに昇格すること。どちらもドラ息子にとって大変な道のりだったけど(私にとっても)、頑張りました。これまた話すと長くなりますが、何かをやり遂げるってことがどんなものかわかってくれたかしら?

6月9日いよいよ購入、いざCostCoへ。ドラ息子は満面の笑み。しかし、買って持って帰ってきたまではよかったものの、事態はそこで終わらなかった。そう、組み立ては自分たち。これがまた重労働な上に、説明書が超不親切。あーだこーだと家族崩壊の危機に何度も直面しながら、3人がかりで5時間かかってやっと完成!終わった頃には日もどっぷり暮れていました。何かをやり遂げることがどんなに大変かを味わったのは私とケーシーの方かもね。(^_^;)

I had never ever thought that we would have it. Basically, I don’t like to own big stuff unless absolutely necessary. It would be so stupid of me, as parent, to buy such a thing just because my child begs for it. We just couldn’t buy it for nothing. So I promised my dragon boy to buy one on two conditions.

First, he had to complete his last assignment in second grade which was “Teacher for a Day” (30 minutes actually). Second, he had to be promoted to blue belt from yellow at his Kung Fu. Both were really challenging to him (and me) but he did it. It will be another long story to describe what we went through. Anyway, I hope he learned what it was like to accomplish something.

So there we were at CostCo buying one with a big smile on my dragon’s face. It was June 9. Things, however, were not over yet. What about the assembling part? Well, here we were now, three of us, struggling to figure out the super unkind instructions. What a hassle and what a labor!! Going through countless family crises arguing this and that, we finally built it. It took about 5 hours and the sun was already gone. I guess after all it was Casey and I who learned how hard it was to accomplish something. (^_^;)
f0146342_9231050.jpg

[PR]

# by danceofdragon | 2007-06-29 09:23

サンタクルーズのビーチにて At a Beach in Santa Cruz

f0146342_1574324.jpg
お友達親子とサンタクルーズのビーチで遊びました。ケーシーなしで自分が運転して行くのは初めて。狭くて山道でスリリングなハイウェイ17をひたすら走り、家から約45分で到着。

海辺で育った私としては、男の子たちがずぶぬれ、砂まみれになって、海草を振り回して遊ぶ光景は何ともいえません。体を砂に埋めてもらったドラ息子、しきりに「日本だ日本だ」と連発。どうやら、砂むし温泉の写真を見たことがあるらしく、日本人はみんなやってると思い込んでいたようです。

舞姫はお姫様仕様(?)の豪華車椅子。ビーチでただで貸し出してくれます。水に入ってもいいと言われたけど、さすがにそこまでの腕力はありません。あきらめてたところに、気がついたら男の子たちが水際まで押して行ってるーー!水の中で立ち往生してレスキュー隊に助けられる姿を想像して、慌てて引き戻しに行きました。(^_^;)

We went to Santa Cruz with friends and played at a beach. It was my first time driving to Santa Cruz since Casey wasn’t with us. It took about 45 minutes to get there, going up and down the thrilling, narrow, mountainous Highway 17.

It was quite reminiscent to watch the boys play, getting wet, getting covered with sand, and waving about seaweeds. It brought back lots of memories of my childhood. My dragon boy, buried up to his neck, kept saying “This is Japanese. This is Japanese!!” I later realized he had seen a photo of people buried in sand in Japan. It was a beach where people “sand-bathe,” using terrestrial heat for healing purposes. He thought it was a custom everywhere in Japan.

My dancing princess, on the other hand, sat in a gorgeous wheelchair specially made for a princess(?). We can borrow it at the beach for free. I was told we could go in the water with it but I certainly didn’t have the strength to push it in the water. But the next moment, I noticed the boys were pushing it toward the waterside with her in it!! With the image in my mind that we get stuck in the water and rescued by the lifeguards, I rushed to get them back. (^_^;)
[PR]

# by danceofdragon | 2007-06-27 15:10

父の日 Father's Day

f0146342_12445099.jpg

1週間前の父の日、近くのCampbellという町でブランチを楽しみました。 典型的なアメリカの朝食のお店。 パンケーキ、ワッフル、オムレツ、スクランブルエッグ、クレープなんかがどかっと出てきます。ものすごい人気で、待つのを覚悟で行ったら案の定70分待ち。でも、ちょうどその通りでFarmer's Market(朝市みたいなもの?)をやっていて、野菜や果物、パンなどが色とりどり並んでいるのを見て楽しみながらブラブラしてたら、あっという間に時間が経ちました。

食事はもちろん絶品、いかにもカロリー高そうな食事で体重計が気になりながらも、たまにはいいよねとパクパク。ドラ息子から、学校で作った写真フレームをプレゼントしてもらったパパ。また1年頑張って働いてくれよー。

On Father’s Day, which was a week ago, we had a nice brunch in Downtown Campbell. The restaurant serves pancakes, waffles, omelette, scramble egg, crepes, etc. in big volume, typical American-style breakfast. We were expecting to wait because the place is very popular and we did have to wait for 70 minutes. But there was a Farmer’s Market going on nearby and time passed quickly walking around and looking at colorful vegetables, fruits and bread.

At the restaurant, food was good, of course, really high-calorie looking. But we decided it was OK to be indulged every now and then and enjoyed the yummy food, forcing the image of the scale away from our mind. My dragon boy gave his daddy a picture frame he made at school. “Well, Daddy, keep up the good work until next Father’s Day!!”
[PR]

# by danceofdragon | 2007-06-24 12:40

夏到来!パワー炸裂 Summer is Here, Power is Blasting!

いよいよ恐怖の夏休みに突入。子供たちのパワーに圧倒されながら1週目も終盤に。既にへこたれております。そんな時にブログを開始しようとするのは、あまりにも無謀?自分の精神状態を保つためにやった方がいいという本能かな。おつき合いのほどよろしくお願いします。

写真はグランマ(私の姑ですな)の家のプールで泳いだ時のもの。グランマはSan Joseから車で1時間半くらいのStocktonという町に住んでます。夏休み初日早速出かけてきました。大きなプールで泳ぎ放題だし、グランマやおじさん、おばさんにも会えるし、ドラ息子はStocktonが大好きです。ドラ息子も舞姫もプールに入ったら最後、出てきませんよ。でも今年の夏はちょっと涼しくて助かってます。

Well, here we are, in the dreadful summer vacation. The first week is passing by while overwhelmed by the power of my kids. I’m already exhausted!! Am I being too wild starting my own blog at this time? Or is it my instinct telling me that it is a way to keep me from losing my mind? Anyway, I’m looking forward to your visit to this site every once in a while.

The photos were taken when we visited Grandma (my mother-in-law) in Stockton. It was the first thing we did this summer. Stockton is about 1.5 hours away by car from San Jose and it is my dragon’s favorite place where he can go swimming as much as he wants and meet his grandma, uncle and aunt. Once in the water, my dragon and dancing princess never get out. Good thing is that it has been nicely cool this year.
f0146342_23193666.jpg
[PR]

# by danceofdragon | 2007-06-22 23:17