Friday, April 29, 2011

{this moment}

A Friday ritual (inspired by Soulemama).
A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week.
A simple, special, extraordinary moment.
A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.
Have a wonderful weekend and happy arbor day!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

3 Things: Japanese Books for Toddlers

It's only fair that I give fair due to the Japanese books that have influenced our bedtime reading rituals. There are so many, it is hard to narrow it down to three, but here are some that we love, broken down into two categories:

In Japanese:
Umi Dai Suki by Yoko Imoto
A sweet and simple story about a family's day at the beach.

Tebukuro o Kaini by Niimi Nankichi, Illustrated by Kuroi Ken (also available in English Translation under the title "Buying Mittens")
A sweet folktale about a fox cub visiting a human town to buy mittens in winter.

Boku wa Ukki by Claudia Bielinsky
A simple tale of a little dog and his adventures during an entire day. Excellent for learning Japanese!

In English, with Japanese themes or storyline:

Suki's Kimono by Chieri Uegaki, Illustrated by Stephane Jorisch

One Leaf Rides the Wind by Celeste Davidson, Illustrated by Kathleen Hartung

Where Are You Going? To See My Friend! by Eric Carle and Kazuo Iwamura

And a few extra, because you know I'm a cheater:
A Place Where Sunflowers Grow by Amy Lee-Tai, Illustrated by Felicia Hoshino
Wabi Sabi by Mark Reibstein, Illustrated by Ed Young

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Today You, Tomorrow Me

While out running errands in our trusty Hyundai I heard the following broadcast on the Splendid Table:

I almost had to pull over because I was in tears. If you'd rather read the article you can find it at The New York Times.

It made me grateful for all the people, particularly strangers, who have stopped to help me when I've been in need. And also grateful for uplifting media, because I can only take so much of all the depressing journalism that passes for "News" out there.

Hope you enjoy it too!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Memory Monday

Memory is a way of holding onto the things you love, the things you are, the things you never want to lose. ~From The Wonder Years
A (sometimes) regular column featuring a blast from the past, a remembrance, a little history...

Here's a school picture of MamaQ at age five. Still just as cute and lovable 29 years later. Happy birthday Q!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter!

We certainly have our secular Easter basket prepared for little Miss Mayumi, but what we're really looking forward to it hearing her sing in the children's choir at church and raising our own hosannas in gratitude and joy.

Whatever your religious inclinations, here's wishing you a peaceful, joyous celebration of hope and renewal. Happy Easter friends!

Our Easter basket this year celebrates our shared Japanese-American heritage. In solidarity with our Japanese brothers and sisters who have suffered so much through the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear meltdown, we dedicate this Easter to the hope we have for renewal, rebirth, and redemption, especially over there in Japan! Ganbatte!
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Meditation: Plans!

Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?
~Mary Oliver

I saw this quote on the top of the Ink Stains blog and it resonated... on the eve of my birthday I'm pondering my existence.

Life really is fleeting - you never know what day will be your last. I want to fill my days with special moments of connection, with creative bursts of energy, with music, with dancing. I recognize that there are so many things that I love to do (like reading and watching movies, knitting and sewing, playing the koto or performing in a play, and even blogging) that ultimately won't be my crowning glory. I can't imagine I'll be on my deathbed looking back and thinking, "I'm so glad I read The Help and wrote that post on planning what to do with my life..."

And yet, those little things are part of what makes my life so fulfilling. The past thirty three years have been pretty good. I think I've had a pretty solid plan from the start, but it continues to be modified. And while my current plan is to strive to live in the moment, take time to smell the roses (and help them grow), help a person in need, find peace and tranquility, laugh a lot, expand myself, and most importantly, enjoy every precious second with the people I love - I'm also going to continue to enjoy those less-important moments and simple pleasures like working with a really fine wool, sewing up a cute little dress for a niece, and refining my writing and communication skills through little blog posts (but try to not let them interfere with the big stuff!). How that for ambitious? Hey, I'm thirty-four and feeling mighty fine, so why not!? Hurrah for another year!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

A Hot Date

As a relative new-comer to the world of public blogging, one of the most exciting and rewarding things has been making other bloggy friends. You start recognizing return-commenters and then you visit their sites and see that you have a lot in common and you leave comments on their posts and soon you have a little repartee going. You might even reach out and connect through email and get to know each other by your real names. And occasionally you might even be brave enough to suggest an actual face-to-face meeting!

Yes, it's true. I had a total bloggy crush on Pomegranate Girl because not only do we have common interests and a similar background, but she seems uber-talented, interesting, and genuine. And it turns out she lives in the same area where I grew up. So on my recent trip back to New England, we met up. She suggested we have lunch at Flatbread Company in Amesbury and when I looked it up on line and read about this restaurant's commitment to local, organic produce, free-range chicken, nitrate-free meats, and community-centered philosophy it made me love Pomegranate Girl that much more. And when we showed up and she greeted me with a warm, genuine hug and her little boy was so sweet and friendly to my little girl, I realized that this could be true love. You know, in the kindred spirit/bosom friend kind of way.

Pomegranate Girls's Photo: The pizza was amazing!
It made me so happy when she whipped out her camera right when I was about to whip out mine. We geeked out over cameras and lenses for a bit and she gave me loads of great tips. Seriously, where was the girl when I was bemoaning my lonely, homely Asian American self growing up? So nice to find a Japanese Mixie soul sister!
The kids were instant BFFs, too.

A fellow mama with a camera - I love this girl!

When we got home later that afternoon Mayumi and I were gushing to Mr. Q about our new-found friends. We're still on a bit of a high, actually. Thanks for the super hot date, Pomegranate Girl - looking forward to more bloggy contact, back-and-forth email, and actual face time!

Friday, April 22, 2011

{this moment}

A Friday ritual (inspired by Soulemama).
A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week.
A simple, special, extraordinary moment.
A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.
Have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Yarn Along: Spring Sweater and Everything is Illuminated!

Joining Ginny over at Small Things for the regular Wednesday Yarn Along:
Two of my favorite things are knitting and reading, and the evidence of this often shows up in my photographs. I love seeing what other people are knitting and reading as well. So, what are you knitting or crocheting right now? What are you reading?
~ Ginny Sheller from Small Things

image from Sweater Babe

Knitting Project: #50 kimono wrap lace top from
I started this one over a year ago and am finally pulling it out to finish up. I'm using a forest green Angora yarn from Berlini and hoping that this will be a nice little spring sweater wrap.
 I tried reading this book several years ago for a bookclub and couldn't get past the first few chapters, but I'm delving in again because it is one of the inspiration pieces for a theater project I'm working on with dog&pony dc. I'm just a little bit in and I'm enjoying it more than I did before - finally able to appreciate the humor and intellectualism of Foer's writing a bit more. It is a charming, clever story with funny, interesting characters. Hopefully I'll make the connections I need to be "inspired" with new creativity for our theater piece Beertown.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


Forearms and upper back are killing me, but my little community garden plot is finally ready! Oh, the possibilities...

Monday, April 18, 2011

Memory Monday

Memory is a way of holding onto the things you love, the things you are, the things you never want to lose. ~From The Wonder Years
As retrospective, a blast from the past, a remembrance, a little history...
Uncle Jeff, Dad, and Uncle Craig and an adorable photo op. As Grammie Erma would say "Isn't that cunnin'?"

Sunday, April 17, 2011

meditation: in the moment

I want my life to be one of love, not rage
Kindness, not contempt
Joy, not suffering
I want to be alive and present in this moment,
not lost in thought and delusion.
—Zen poem

Right now I am grateful for modern conveniences, moments of solitude, warming weather, my daughter's laugh, impromptu Irish jigs, thoughtful check-ins from a good friend, and backrubs from Mr. Q. Right now things are good. I'm trying to focus on right now...

Friday, April 15, 2011

{this moment}

A Friday ritual (inspired by soulemama).

A single photo capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, share a link to your "moment" in the comments.

Wishing you a lovely weekend! 

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Oishii: Oriental Chicken Salad

Have you ever wished you could recreate dishes from your favorite (chain) restaurants? Now you can!

I came across the  Insider's Recipes Master Edition that has dozens of recipes from eateries like Macaroni Grill, Marie Callendar, Red Lobster and Cinnabon, as well as brand names like Hostess, Kraft and Mrs. Fields--all of the recipes for their most popular items in one giant PDF. 

One of my favorite salads of all time is Applebee's oriental chicken salad, so I was wicked excited to see the recipe in the master edition. I put it to the test and here's how it came out:

It wasn't exactly like the real thing, but it was a close imitation. It's easy and fairly healthy (minus the corn-flake fried chicken and mayonnaise in the dressing--but hey, it's a salad). If you like a honey-mustard dressing, you'll like this dish.

It's the only recipe I've tried in the book, but would like to try more. Like Pepperidge Farms milano cookies. Or Outback's blooming onion. Or Girl Scout samoa cookies. Yum...

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Organization overdrive

It is hard to keep a neat house with a toddler, but that doesn't stop me from trying.

I recently gave a presentation on organization at a church meeting and used photos of the more organized spots in my home. Believe me, there are many places in my house that went unphotographed because there is much work to be done (my garage gives me anxiety every time I pull in), but I thought I'd share some of the better shots with you and maybe inspire you to get on that spring cleaning!

Friday, April 8, 2011

{this moment}

a friday ritual (inspired by soulemama).

a single photo capturing a moment from the week.
a simple, special, extraordinary moment.
a moment to pause, savor and remember.
if you're inspired to do the same, share a link to your 'moment' in the comments!

wishing you a sweet, musical, peaceful weekend!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Foreign Policy and a Whole Lot of Villages

A few weeks ago Mr. Q forwarded me an article on on Hillary Clinton and how she is trying to remake foreign policy. He thought it might be something I could work into a post for Wabisabi Mama and I think he was right. I've never been super-involved in politics, though I certainly have my opinions on how things should be done. But I do have strong feelings about community involvement and activism and I think understanding politics and foreign policy is an area I could improve in. Here was the context on the article referenced:
Can Clinton Remake US Foreign Policy?
Smart power means focusing on a package of national security challenges that don't fit easily into classic foreign policy boxes -- like women's empowerment, human trafficking, poverty, disease, internet freedom and climate change. These challenges, Clinton has argued, will do more to shape the 21st century than conflicts between states. To meet them, Clinton has adopted an ideology she espoused in her book "It Takes a Village," in which she argues it takes all aspects of society to raise a child. As secretary she argues that civil societies, and women in particular, have an important role to play in solving modern challenges and expanding economic and political opportunity for ordinary people.
I haven't always been a fan of Secretary Clinton, but I'm intrigued by her assertion that "women in particular have an important role to play in solving modern challenges and expanding economic and political opportunity for ordinary people." This isn't really new information to us mamas, is it? Isn't part of the reason why some of us chose (and love) parenthood is because we intuitively understand that we can make a great impact here at home, on the micro level, which will then ripple outwards to affect the entire world? In fact, if more men and women felt empowered to truly center their lives on their families instead of allowing most of their energy to be drained by their extractive (often unfulfilling) careers, wouldn't we have a lot less crime, poverty, malnutrition, illiteracy and political upheaval? Okay, maybe I have no right to make such claims, but let's talk about it...

In some ways there has been a shift back towards the home, hasn't there? A new appreciation for the domestic arts, child-rearing, homesteading...a trend that I think should be encouraged and embraced. Perhaps as we focus inward and heal and strengthen our families it really will result in better neighborhoods, better schools, better communities and better relationships between states.

But I'm really interested in how you're working in your own "villages" to make promote social change. How do you find the courage to speak up? How are you contributing to your communities? In these troubling times, what are you doing to make a difference?

Friday, April 1, 2011

April Giveaway: Nerdy Little Secret

Our Wabisabi Giveaway for this month is from our sponsor Nerdy Little Secret, a super-cute Etsy shop run by Hilary Spencer. Hilary lives in Maine and specializes in crochet and polymer clay crafts. She learned crochet from her sister and grandmother as a child opened her first Etsy store two years ago. Her forays into polymer clay products are primarily focused on kistchy earrings that look like mini food products.
In her words:

My shop name, Nerdy Little Secret, is an idea I played around with a lot before I finally committed to it. It's purpose is to remind us that everybody can be a nerd sometimes, and there's a person hidden inside all of us that goes crazy for something, be it pac-man or puppies. We all have something that makes us a nerd.
Some of the whimsical pieces you'll find at Nerdy Little Secret:

Cookie Monster scarf and earring set

Mini chocolate rose cake - for a dollhouse perhaps?
Amigurumi penguin

Pac-man charms

Non-gooey s'mores - one of my favorites in her shop!
This month Hilary is offering one lucky reader the Cookie Monster scarf and earring set featured above and a second winner will receive a set of earrings (you choose from her store!). Hilary's goodies are fabulous gifts for children - and with Easter just around the corner, these would be lovely tucked into a basket!

To be entered to win please leave a comment on this post. You can gain additional entries by becoming a fan of Wabisabi Mama on facebook (1st timers only - leave a separate comment) or becoming a follower by clicking on the sidebar (1st timers only - leave a separate comment). Comments close one week from today, on April 8th at 8pm EST. A winner will be selected by random number generator and announced here on April 9th.

In addition, Hilary is offering a 20% discount off the purchase price to all Wabisabi Mama readers, so please visit Nerdy Little Secret, add one of her fun creations to your cart and input "WabisabiYAY" at checkout.

Comments closed! So sorry to see so few of them, but I hope more people were able to visit her cute, nerdy little shop!

The winner of the Cookie Monster scarf set is Pamela:

and the winner of the set of earrings is Stephanie (Stephanie, I can't access your email from your blogger account, so can you email us your contact info se we can mail you your prize, please?):

Thank you so much for your comments and support. Stay tuned for another fun giveaway on May 1st!

{this moment}

A Friday ritual (inspired by soulemama).

A single photo capturing a moment from the week--a simple, special, extraordinary moment, a moment to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, share a link to your "moment" in the comments.
Wishing you a lovely weekend!