Friday, March 31, 2006


The course I was teaching ended this week. My students graduated and then we celebrated with a potluck of tasty homemade dishes. Here is a picture of my students on the last day of class.


On my days off, I have a new routine with Jonah. Thursdays we go to story time on at the library and on Fridays I hang out with my friend Mia and her son Ira, who is six months younger than Jonah. Today Jonah and Ira interacted more than ever before. See pictures. I finally got to see Ira with his eyes open. He gazed at me for quite some time with his deep brown eyes. What a powerful experience. Jonah liked him too. He touched him on the arm and sholder, held his hand for a while and when he started grabbing at Ira and patting him a little too vigorously, we decided they needed a little break from each other and moms stepped in to separate them. I can't wait till they are both a little older, so they can really appreciate each other. It's been so fun to hang out every week.

Story time has been fun too. Yesterday Jonah actually stayed awake through the whole thing. He watched the other babies, and I swear, tried to imitate them crawling. He got on all fours and I was sure he would start crawling for the first time right there and then. But he didn't. His arm strength is good enough, but it's his legs that don't quite grasp the concept of crawling yet. We will see. He might skip crawling all together. He is mainly interested in standing after all.

The librarian handed out the lyrics to some of the nursery rhymes and songs we sing in story time. Now I know Pat-a-cake and Way Up High in the Apple Tree. I'm learning! Jonah loves anything with clapping and hand motions. So, I'm working on adding more of those numbers to my repertoir.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

weekend trip

We had a great weekend. Jonah got to meet his great-grandparents. He was all smiles in great-grandma's lap. Tim's cousins, cousin's one-year-old son, and uncle showed up too - a mini family reunion as Tim's grandpa called the gathering.

After visiting the great-grandparents, we continued the trip to Seattle where we got together with friends for dinner and again for a walk and brunch the next day. We stayed in a hotel, which I tend to enjoy... except no Jaccuzzi after I had looked forward to one the whole trip up. But otherwise, the hotel was a good choice. Jonah enjoyed it too. At dinner, he nursed, then passed out on my lap and slept there under the table almost the whole dinner. Everyone forgot a baby was there with us.

Jonah was in good spirits the whole trip except for the last forty-five minutes or so of the car ride each way. He'd had enough sitting still and started getting upset. I had to come up with all kinds of ways to keep him quiet and entertained, so Tim could drive without panicking. I have never been so creative in my life. I guess Jonah's limit in the car is about an hour and a half.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

college is calling

Some exciting news. I was just hired to teach a Czech language course at the local community college during summer term. As long as enough students sign up, it's a go. The program manager that hired me would like to make Czech classes a permanent feature of the college's offerings. So let's hope people sign up. I am happy to have something new to think about and plan. I am also hoping that this course is a way for me to get my foot in the door, since I would love to teach other subjects at the college. Fingers crossed.

Monday, March 20, 2006

marching on

Tim, Jonah, my mom, and I went to the peace march marking the third anniversary of the beginning of the war in Iraq. I read that there were upwards of 40 to 50,000 people there. That's what independent media said. Major news outlets estimated 10,000. Regardless, the protest was huge!

The most powerful speaker was an Iraqi peace activist from Baghdad. She spoke in first person about what the war is like for the civilians. Truly terrifying. Another powerful speaker was the father of a soldier who died in Iraq. He said that every day he is plagued by guilt, thinking he could've done so much more to prevent this bloodshed. I am glad we were there.


Sunday, March 19, 2006

An infinitely wide open field

It was as if we had crossed a border and entered a strange, still world. The morning was crisp shadows, bright blue sky, sharp yellow light, and suddenly everything turned soft, milky, and uncertain. We could only see half the bridge, half the hill ahead of us, half the trees lining the road. The river turned into a lake and the only thing that was alive were the birds on the weathered wooden poles in the water. But they too stood there quiet and still. The fields covered with puddles also disolved into a fog like the rest of the landscape. Had we entered a photograph?

We stopped short of our destination in front of a locked gate. This was the place. Beyond a bend in the road an infinetly wide field opened up. There, beside the blackberry bushes we decided to burry her.

I was afraid she would have to suffer, but perhaps even more so, I was terrified of seeing her dead. I had lost a white mouse and several fish as a little girl, but never a cat.

Since the previous night she had been throwing up dark brown liquid. She was no longer eating or walking much. Her time had come, it seemed. She moved from one of her favorite spots in the bedroom into the center of the living room. I put her blanket next to her and she laid down on it. She no longer purred when I petted her neck. But she did bend her head down ever so slightly. This is how I'd been telling her I loved her for years. Her favorite had been being scratched with a bare foot and it pleased her to hear her name said out loud. She would let you know by snapping her tail, twitching her back, and squinting. Her purr was the loudest and deepest purr of all the cats I had known. Her love bites hurt like no other. She would often guard the food bowl as if scared of running out of food. She'd sit in the center of the house and growl at us as we paced. She was fierce and often misunderstood by those that didn't know her gentle heart. This was Cici (Chichi). She died this morning at the age of fourteen.

I watched her die and said my goodbye to her before she breathed her last breath. My mom, her original cat mom, was there too, and so was Tim. Jonah was there, but I held him facing away and he seemed not to notice. She died quickly and when her heart stopped, she looked like she fell asleep, her face tucked behind her front paws. She looked beautiful, in fact, and seemed still to be listening to us.

The blackberry bushes is where my mom first heard her little voice and from where she rescued her. And now her final resting place is beside a patch of blackberry bushes on the edge of a wide field with little birds chirping and circling overhead.

Where do animal souls go after it's all over? If Cici had her way, perhaps tuna would grow on trees, the roads would be paved with garlic and yeast pills, and bare toes would scratch her behind the ears whenever she desired in her little cat heaven.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

story time

Jonah and I just got back from our first Story Time at the library. It was so much fun. Jonah loved looking at the other kids and listening to the nursery rhymes. I can't wait to learn all the words. All the parents there were women. There was one grandmother there as well. I imagine Tim would feel quite out of place if he took Jonah there alone.

The librarian that led the nursery rhymes and read the stories was great. Very fun. The babies ranged in age from about five months to twelve. Some were crawling and a couple even walking, checking out the new babies on the block. After story time, the librarian dumped a giant box of toys on the floor for the children to play with. At that point Jonah ate and by the time the babies were wild at play, he was asleep in my arms. He hadn't had his morning nap yet, so he was very tired.

Story time happens weekly for children in specific age groups in various libraries around town. The Thursday schedule works best for me and, though the library we went to today was clear on the other side of town, one bus got us there no problem. It's pretty much a door-to-door service. The ride takes about a half hour. On the bus, one tends to meet some interesting characters. I even know some people that refuse to ride the bus because of that (e.g. Jonah's uncle Andy). Of course, I met an interesting character today - a retired professional nanny.

The first thing she noticed about Jonah was the acne on his chin. That made me roll my eyes. But she turned out to be a sweet lady. She was convinced I was recently on a show on which a whole bunch of women live in one house for a while to resolve their problems. They recieve weekly visits from therapists and self-improvement gurus. I've seen the show a couple of times, so I knew what she was talking about. The lady thought I was "the girl that was thirty weeks pregnant and unsure of who the father of the baby was." She even checked to see if my nose was pierced, which it wasn't. At that point she was already considering the fact that perhaps I just may have looked like the pregnant girl on the show, but I wasn't her. Once she found out my nose wasn't pierced, she stopped insisting.

Some people will just talk to you... to anybody for that matter. This lady was one of them. I learned more about her in a half hour than I have about some friends in years. She had led an interesting life. She was born in post World War II Japan to white American parents and grew up speaking only Japanese. In fact, her parents, who were teachers, had to insist she starts trying to speak English at the age of four, though she understood both languages perfectly. She talked about the transition to speaking English and how difficult it was. She came to the U.S. at the age of thirteen like me. She also speaks German and Spanish. Now she has a chronic illness which prevents her from working long hours. But she still loves children and does childcare at a local synagogue.

Well, that was my day. All the activity tired Jonah out, that's for sure. He is fast asleep now. We will try to go every week from now on. I'm sure he will enjoy mingling with his peers at the Thursday cocktail party for infants at the county library.

And by the way, Jonah tried some banana for the first time today, mixed with breast milk. He liked it. Finally, he liked some solid food. I'm excited. We are going to try to feed him twice a day now. Hopefully he will start eating more solid food now.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Oh oh... here comes Oprah again

I don't know why I keep dreaming about Oprah. This is the second dream I've had about her in the past month. Is she sending me a message? In both dreams I thought: "This is my big moment. I'm right next to Oprah. I must say something memorable and convey my admiration of her." Well, my interaction with her left lots to be desired.

The first time I was having dinner at a restaurant with Oprah right at our table. I don't remember the dream too well. But I know that to my disappointment, I was pretty much tongue-tied.

Two nights ago again Oprah made a cameo appearance. We were both in a checkout line at a store. She was sporting a new lipstick color - a very bright red called "Communist." There was some buzz about it among the people surrounding the cash register. I looked at her with a meaningful sideways smile exaggerating her name, "Ohhhhoooopraaaah," teasing her about her Communist lipstick. She gave me the cold shoulder.

I've done it again, I thought. Missed my opportunity to make an impression. Oprah will never be my friend. Hear me sigh, see a tear drop fall to the ground.

seven months old

Jonah turned seven-months-old yesterday! We had a great day. It was sunny here finally, but chilly. Tim, Jonah and I went on a walk along the river waterfront. We ate lunch at the Saturday Market, where I also bought a new hat. Tim saw it and asked me to try it on. It was perfect. I hesitated, wondering if I'd like myself too much in it and spend too much time looking in the mirror, admiring my new look. I decided to get the hat made by a local artist. You can vaguely see it on one of the pictures in the "more outdoor adventures" album. I also added more pictures to the "Jonah, friends & family" album.

Yesterday we also had Jonah try apple sauce. He seemed to like it. Hopefully he will soon take to more solid food. He hasn't really been that enthralled by it. But we will keep trying!

It was also my grandmother's birthday yesterday. She said: "The number eleven is our number." That is true. Jonah is lucky to share two birthday digits with such a special lady!

To finish off the day, Andy came over and watched Jonah while Tim and I went on a date. We had a drink and played pool. I had the longest run ever! It must have been my new hat - too cool for school. I sank six balls in a row, but then ended up losing the game. Oh well. It was fun. Thanks, uncle Andy! Then at home I made dinner and apple pie, and we watched another Netflix movie, The Station Agent (not bad - the best part, I thought, was the screenplay and scenery/sets). A great Saturday.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006


Not much new here. Still going to the gym. Hooray for me! Jonah is not really into solid food anymore. He only liked it for about three or four days and now he is no longer interested. We will try banana soon. Maybe the sweet taste will appeal to him. So far we've tried rice cereal, peas, and sweet potato (uhm... I almost wrote pees and sweat potato!!!).

Also, I gave Jonah a haircut - just his bangs and a little bit on his side. I've included a picture here. Please ignore the spit up on the front of Jonah's shirt.

My latest obsession has been Netflix. My sister couldn't talk enough about it and a few friends as well as Tim's parents get their movie rentals via Netflix, so we decided to do the free trial. I have been glued to the computer screen, perusing their movie selection, rating movies, putting movies on hold, and seeing what my friends are currently watching and how they've rated movies I've seen. Everyone needs a hobby, right?

The first two films I watched were Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room, a fascinating look at the Enron corporation scandal; and Murderball, an excellent documentary about quadruplegics playing rugby in wheelchairs. Can't wait for the next movies to come.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

weekend without dad

Jonah and I have had a great weekend without Tim (for the first time since Jonah's birth), who's been away at the beach with the boys (his guy friends that is). On Friday Jonah and I took a nice walk through a pretty park with a view and then around a neighborhood with lots of shops and cafes.

On Saturday, the weather was perfect! Warm and sunny. I got together with a friend and we went on a long walk around the river waterfront and out to eat chinese food. As always, Jonah enjoyed his stroller and napped most of the time in it. Downtown we ran across a strange race of sorts - groups of people dressed in peculiar costumes, pushing shopping carts and apparently running from bar to bar, sampling beer along the way. One of the teams was all vikings, another nuns and priests. The best-dressed individual was a tall, bulky man completely nude except for his crotch area, which was covered by an ill-fitting cup, his butt bare as a naked mole rat. On his head an oversized blond curly wig, and over his eyes, trooper sunglasses. He was perfect!

In the evening my mom came over for dinner and stayed the night. All in all, a great weekend!