Saturday, April 30, 2011

North Beach

North Beach is San Francisco's "Little Italy" and, as we've seen in many other cities across North America, where there's a "Little Italy" there's a Chinatown nearby. San Francisco is no exception. Chinatown is North Beach's closest neighbor. You can literally cross from one side of the street to the other and find yourself going from Italian restaurants to Chinese ones.
Every year, however, we see Little Italy shrink a little as Chinatown muscles its way in on Italian turf. When Italian restaurant closes for business, a Chinese one quickly gobbles up that piece of real estate. The heart of Little Italy is Washington Square whose perimeter will always be Italian bakeries, cafes, and restaurants... or will it? When Rai insisted that we pick up some of his favorite focaccia bread at the century-old Liguria Bakery, we stopped by Washington Square to find it full of seniors doing tai-chi and others performing exercises and stretches involving giant, red Chinese fans. Hmm... has Chinatown finally encroached completely into the heart of Little Italy? Perhaps.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Every Day is Mother's Day!

The month of May is almost here so Mother's Day is on my mind. In our home, every day is Mother's Day for Ashe is the most incredible mom in the entire world. Everyone always tells us what a happy boy Rai is and Ko is starting to show us more and more that he has the same kind of good-natured, always joyful temperament. The source of the smiles on our boys' faces is Ashe.
She showers them with and endless stream of love and affection. How could they not be happy?

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Peachy Yo Yo

Rai loves his peachy yo yo (peach yogurt).

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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Did we Mention we Love Furlough Days?

A couple days ago, I wrote about the positive aspects of cuts to education. Sure, funding for education is at its worst in a decade or two. Sure, the next generation of students may have few options during high school and no options beyond high school. Sure, high school class sizes may go up to 50 students next year and Honors level courses may be cut entirely.
That all sounds pretty dismal, but I have a solution: furlough days. We love 'em! Last year, teachers had four unpaid days. Students and teachers alike enjoyed the 4 extra long weekends. Everyone was happy!
That's it, then. Furlough days are the solution to education's budget deficit. Budget woes? Just add furlough days. Imagine if the school year was cut from 274 teaching days to 200 teaching days! Wow, that could mean more than 25% in savings in staff salaries which is by far the biggest portion of public education's budget! Students would definitely love to have a 4 month summer holiday instead of just 2 months. Heck, we could cut even more days and just cut out Spring entirely. Then, the holidays could be called the spring and summer holidays instead of just summer vacation! Students would only have to learn 70% of what they're learning now -- a welcome relief on our poor students' stressed brains.
Okay, enough with the sarcasm. Furlough days are great in moderation but too much of a good thing is a bad thing. We'll take a few more furlough days, but let's keep that number under 10. While we have the handful of unpaid days that we do, however, we'll keep enjoying them like we did this recent one. Our visit to the Japanese Tea Garden was just Monday morning. In the afternoon, we visited our favorite sand ladder down to the far south end of Ocean Beach from Fort Funston. Beautiful.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Spaceman

We believe in the power of subliminal messages. For months, Rai has slept in sports pajamas with baseballs, footballs, and soccer balls all over his pants. Alas, Rai loves sports. He can't get enough of throwing balls or playing with his t-ball set.
Now, we're trying out a new theme: space. He got some new pajamas for his birthday with planets, spaceships and astronauts all over them. A few months of wearing these and he'll be crazy about the stars! Let's see what happens.


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Monday, April 25, 2011

We Love our Furlough Days!

As the State goes bankrupt, so do it's school districts. The hard times have begun for the employees and students of San Francisco's district, too! This year, we had a paper crisis and all staff were given four furlough days. Some had a problem with the four unpaid days. We certainly did not! Today was one of those days and we made the best of it by beginning our day at one of our favorite places: the Japanese Tea Garden!
We have plenty of friends who work all year long, and struggle to get their 2 or, if they're lucky, 3 weeks of holiday time. We, on the other had, enjoy a good three to four months of holidays per year. Sure, we make half the salary that many of our friends do, but we'll take time off over money any day! There's nothing more precious than time together as a family and we've got plenty of that! We're home by 3 p.m daily and have months (instead of weeks) of holiday time. Our tune may change when our friends retire in luxury while we struggle to pay the rent but, for now at least, we say: Keep those furlough days coming!
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Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter Sunday

If you ever have one of those days when you're wondering what day of the week it is or if today is possibly one of those obscure holidays that only a handful of people know about, then Grandma and Grandpa's place is the place to go.
Grandma loves to celebrate and to decorate. Their home is like a conveyor belt of decorations. As the seasons, weeks, and holidays pass, so the items on their walls and tables. Christmas, Hallowe'en and Thanksgiving are unmistakable in their home, but the Solstices, the arrival of Spring, and other less celebrated occasions are also recognized in this home.
Easter is here so the bunnies and eggs have arrived to Grandma and Grandpa's home. Scavenger hunts are a family tradition and Rai participated in his first, opening plastic carrots to find clues inside as to the location of the next carrot. Rai followed those carrots all the way to the finish line where he got a basket of sports eggs and opened a giant egg to find a fluffy bunny inside!
On this Easter Sunday, the sun was bright. We took a long walk in the Park (wearing our bunny ears, of course). Nothing says Easter like India, so we had to have lunch at our favorite: Naan 'n Curry. Happy Easter!

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Saturday, April 23, 2011

Rai's Raging 2nd Birthday Bash

Thank you Grandma and Grandpa for organizing yet another perfect party for wonderful little Rai. All Rai's little (and big) friends enjoyed his Easter-themed birthday so much! And, who wouldn't enjoy face painting, bunny ears, story time puppetry (including a great scene in which Grandma consumed then threw up an Easter basket, perfectly intact), an Easter egg hunt, and carrot cake cupcakes? This one won't soon be forgotten!

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Friday, April 22, 2011

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Tree Huggers

Earth Day is one day away. That means that, tomorrow, Rai will be 2 years old!
The focus will shift to Rai tomorrow. Today, let's think about Earth Day. We're still doing our best to raise two, little tree huggers. No doubt, by the time they grow up, the world will need tree hugging to be more mainstream than it is today.


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Hoop Dreams

It was time to upgrade Rai's basketball hoop. Until now, he had one of those tiny ones with the mini-mini-balls. These days, however, Rai likes to handle real basketballs so we had to find a new hoop for him. Already he's bent the rim down plenty from all his wicked slam dunks. Next, he'll be tearing that rim down a la Shaquille O'Neal.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Daddy Who?

Who's your daddy? Daddy Maciej, of course.
Rai has learned that Mom and Dad have names just like he does and that 'mommy' and 'daddy' are just titles. What? There are other Mommies and Daddies out there? We're not the only ones?! Yes, it's a "Santa Claus is not real moment" in the making here -- for Rai and us both.
Now that the realization has set in, Rai feels more than comfortable to call us by our names -- especially Daddy. Sorry, Daddy Maciej.

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Monday, April 18, 2011

The Play Pen: Jail or Dream Destination?

For some reason, Rai loves the caged in playpen that we recently assembled and put in this room. Obviously, Rai is way too big for a playpen designed for babies just learning to sit and crawl. The playpen is for Ko. Still, Rai loves it. Every day, he asks us to put him in there. He then asks for all his blankets and stuffed animals and, soon, we hear a "night, night". I guess when he's not sleeping, he likes to do imaginary play that involves sleeping.
Rai also loves Lalima. Now, when you combine these two loves (the play pen and Lalima), Rai is in heaven. There must be something attractive about that play pen because whenever Lalima comes over, she is drawn to it, as well. Invariably, her and Rai end up inside. Before we experienced this phenomenon, we would have guessed that they'd go crazy, shouting for freedom. Quite the contrary. They're happier than can be inside that colorful cage.

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Sunday, April 17, 2011

The Death Ride

Every summer, our little town of Markleeville hosts "The Death Ride: Tour of the California Alps". This event is definitely one of the toughest bike races out there. Riders doing the entire 5 mountain pass route ride more than 100 miles and ascend more than 15,000 feet. Wow! We'll definitely be watching the riders go by on July 9 this year, but the real question is: will Rai join the race? He seems interested and his Kettler is one fine tricycle. Boy and machine are more than ready for this challenge.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Redemption

Below is an actual e-mail sent by Rai to the Blogspot Support Center.
Dear Blogspot Support Staff,
My name is Rai. I am a boy. Not a girl. A boy. I am 2 years old. My Mom and Dad have created a blog for me and my brother Ko Ko Bean. Last month, they posted a story about me reading one of my favorite books, When I Go to the Supermarket. I can say the final word on each page of this book. I'm proud of that. The video they posted on the blog does not show me at my best, though. Sure, I'm saying the last word on each page, but it's not my best performance. Can you remove that post from the Sequoia Grove blog? Please put the video below up, instead.
Thanks in advance for making a toddler's wish come true.
Sincerely,
Rai Sequoia
When Rai got no response to that e-mail, he tried to call the Support Center but since he doesn't recognize all numbers yet, he couldn't dial the phone number correctly. Better luck next time, Rai.

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