Monday, April 29, 2013

Trying, but slowly

Did you know I am trying to create a Japanese garden in Sacramento? Most of you do. Besides my never, never ending alphabet book, (which I referred to back in March of last year...already that long ago?! I am now on J, a year later) the other creative endeavor I spend my time on is the Japanese garden. At the moment, it's not creative. It's oppressive. Nevertheless, it needs to be done. Well, it doesn't need to be done, but I would really like it to be done.

All along, I have been arguing for a Japanese garden to be built because I thought we could use that specific type of beauty here. Last week, I was fortunate to meet with an official of the Asian Community Center here in Sacramento. It was a very constructive and encouraging meeting. As I talked with her, I was reminded of another reason I would like to establish the garden. Talk of Asian-American history and culture fires me up!

It all began when I first learned that my dad was born in an internment camp during WWII. Then I read the memoir Farewell to Manzanar, by Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston and James D. Houston, in eighth grade and that solidified my interests. I wish I could say that I had some Irish-American equivalent in my life, if only so my mother didn't feel like I was neglecting the other half of me. (My daughter said to me the other day, "You're white, right?" Perhaps that's why I don't have an Irish equivalent. That side of me is already writ large on my face.)

It was rejuvenating to be reminded of that motivation. I had already been planning on a well appointed facility for classes, talks and cultural understanding. I had forgotten why, until my meeting. I was getting bogged down in the drudgery of incorporating a nonprofit. I am buoyed again by the vision of a meeting place, an especially lovely meeting place, for all sorts of people to get fired up along with me.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Plan on it

A gift from my friend Mary. A 2013 calendar from Italy. Maybe a foreign calendar will help me get things done?
The new year is here again. I am a sucker for start-overs and new year's resolutions and fresh calendars.
My love for calendars, goes with my need for planning. I am incessantly conjuring possible new routines, ever hopeful that I will find one that empowers me to accomplish everything on my lists. Every dozen or so pages it seems, I diagram a variant of a routine in my sketch book. Neat blocks of time or messy arrows leading from one hour to the next. Wake at six, write for twenty minutes, fifteen minute breakfast/shower/dress, get girls up (of course, I will be ready for the day and ready to tackle any morning grumpiness directed at me by the sleepy children), out the door for school (early of course!)...well, any surprise that I mostly sleep in until the last possible moment and then it's me who is grumpy?
I've done this schedule-developing for years now and I don't think any have stuck. Mostly, life just changes and sometimes the change helps me fulfill a goal. My planning, re-planning, over-planning do not appear to accomplish much. And yet, I do not give up hope. I seem to be perpetually one perfectly planned daily routine away from having it all! And to be sure, 2013 will be no different.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Holding on to Letting Go


Today my daughter was having a hard time. We arrived at a BBQ late. People were there that we didn't know.  As we entered the party, my daughter began to low-moan (a kind of quiet whine with no words.) The introverted side of her personality was taking over. She was overwhelmed by the requirement to be social. If I could have, I would have low-moaned too. The requirement to be social is not an easy one for me either. Instead I felt compelled to appear socially able and greet the people around me. I also felt very irritated by my daughter's discomfort and behavior. I knew exactly how she felt and perhaps because of this, I was very irrationally angry with her. Mothers: so unnecessarily hard on their daughters. After forty-five minutes of low-moaning into my arm and some dinner, she decided to go and play with the other kids. She was fine for the rest of the night.

The host's parents were there and I began to chat with them. They are grandparents. They asserted that my daughters' young ages are the best ages. That I will look back at these times as the highlight of raising them. It was hard to believe them. Forty-five minutes of low-moan does not appear to me to be a highlight. But, then the question did pop into my mind, "What if I could just let go...?" The rest of the question was not verbalized in my mind, but rather came in the form of an image of the crowd of people at the BBQ that I was trying to please, the appearance of perfection I was trying to present, the attempts to make my daughter into something she isn't. What if I just let go of all that? For a moment I was able to hold onto the idea of letting go. It was a relief. I will try to hold onto it longer next time.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

H is for Half

Pages of the book, on my fireplace. Yep, my fireplace is very rocky.

It's been a long time! I guess I haven't written since it was 2011! Well, hello! This post is about the name of my blog, Both and Neither. I recently wrote a poem, entitled "H is for Half". It is part of a series I am slowly creating for an alphabet book I send out. That's a lot of layers of making and creating but basically, I am making a book. I send it out page by page. It's a book of poems. A is for Ask. B for Butter. H is for Half.

I wanted to share this with you because the poem I wrote for H explains the name of my blog. So, here it is:

H is for Half

She has always known herself to be half,
neatly divided into
two parts
two parents
one one thing
one the other.

Her, as a girl, declared
"I am half Japanese and half Irish,
and whole American."
Explaining herself to herself
Both and All.

Now, she feels,
Both and Neither.
(more Neither than Anything.)
There is no neat description any more.
It takes too long to say:
"I am half mother, half daughter,
half wife, half only child,
half worried, half religious,
half staying at home,
half writing this,
half of all that makes up a woman
these days."

Ancestry and heritage-
just the half of it,
perhaps influencing the look of things,
like eye shape and home decor decisions.
She can no longer sum it up by
as if she ever could.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Urban Planning

This a little city my kids and their cousins created. I would not be opposed to living here or at least painting my existing city more colorfully.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Drawers on the Lawn

School started and I lost track of the things I was doing. Every day and all tasks suddenly revolved around my kids' school. Then, sometime around mid October, I remembered my blog. Now, sometime near Halloween, I post, finally!

I took these images at my husband's great aunt's house. She and her only daughter have passed away. The task of clearing the house has gone to extended family. Here are the drawers to a dresser we are moving to our house. The other image is of the view across the road.

Monday, September 5, 2011

A Horse of Course

Today we went to the Little Buckaroos event at the Crocker Art Museum here in Sacramento. There, the kids got to make very simple, but very inventive crafts: a cowboy hat, a fake mustache to go with the cowboy hat and this horse (consisting of a paper horse body, button eyes, feathers and two clothes pins.) None of it required glue!

Each craft station was held in a different part of the museum. There, in the middle of the modern art exhibit were a dozen children on the floor creating horses. It made one feel a bit nervous to see the kids so close to priceless art, and yet, it was also very good to see the kids in such close proximity to the art. Making art surrounded by art...