November 2003 November 30 - Wrap Up/Clean Up Ok, well, it's the end of November. On Thanksgiving night, we went to the Ayala's. It was a fun time. Tony's Uncle Bill came and stayed awhile. Letty (Hi Letty) made a very awesome pumpkin pie, and yummy pumpkin cream cheese rollups. After dinner, Mrs. Ayala taught me how to crochet! (See Nov. 22 Blog #3(5) below!) It was very fun, although with most things, I can see it will take a lot of practice. I learned to crochet when I was a very young girl, but I don't remember any of it.
Last day of a 4 day weekend. It's time for cleanup. Cleaning up November, organizing our life. Archiving the November bloggies and website. Except for a trip to Trader Joe's and prime rib dinner with Uncle Bill last night, we've barely left the house this weekend. Tony's been working on a 7-page CV-curriculum vitae for an Asian American History class he'll be teaching at SMC in the Spring. So, in order to find the info on what he's been doing the last 10 years, our house is torn apart. Then I decided to go through this storage box of 2-10 years of Rafu Shimpo newspaper clippings, on every JA topic imaginable. Reading old columns of Tony's and friends of mine. I have a thick file folder with music lyrics and pathetic college letters written at 2am to exroommates, exboyfriends, and confidants circa 1982-1985. I am spread all over the living room, Tony has taken over the computer room. In a perfect, HGTV world, we'd have this mess cleaned up before this weekend is over. Well, a girl can dream, can't she? Sunday - 9:15 am - Click here to comment:
November 27 - Giving Thanks Today, I'm thankful for my talented, generous, supportive, handsome, funny, and fantastic husband. I'm thankful for a healthy family and really cute nephews. I'm thankful that we always have more than we need. We live simply, we never need for food, we have jobs that suit us politically, and a warm place to sleep at night. We have the choice to buy and eat organic foods, use organic beauty products, and clean our house with nontoxic chemicals. Our plumbing works and my car (knock on wood) always starts. We have many friends. We live life in a way that we both believe in... we have built art, activism and love into our lives. But. There is oppression and hypocrisy and the Patriot Act. Today, I saw Bush fly secretly in to Baghdad, give some lame-ass speech to the troops on a "press" junket, and then do what the troops cannot do, come right back home to their families. Then I just read about Champuru, whose husband has just been called to Iraq. The war is not over. There is still no cure for cancer. The homeless are not just hungry on Thanksgiving. While we have much to be thankful for, we have so much work to be done. Thursday - 4:30 pm - Click here to comment:
November 23 - Haircut, Teddy's, Cirque & Curry It's the weekend. Friday night, I went to see "Women, Music, Movement and the Moment" at Highways. Phloe from GL was in it, and it was curated by my good friend Traci. It was really great, especially Alison's pieces. Saturday, woke up, cleaned the house. Mike and his dad came to give us some advice about our kitchen remodel. It's going to be a long process. I went to get a haircut, went to Savon's and the Japanese market. I liked my new Kelly Ripa-style hairdo, only it's one of those blow-dries that only lasted one day. Then I went to 3 beauty salons in search of, but not finding, Paul Mitchell gloss polish spray stuff that made my hair less frizzy and really soft and smooth. Then, went home, took a 15 minute catnap, read a magazine. Mike and Laura came over, we went to Hop Li for Chinese food, then spontaneously went to see ELF, my second movie of the year. This morning, Tony & I went to Teddy's and met Hector, Letty, Mr.& Mrs. Ayala for breakfast. I got scrambled eggs, toast and potatoes.
From there, we crossed town to see Cirque du Soleil. As we walked up to the tents, we heard, "Hey Hey, Ho Ho, Discrimination's got to go. Hey Hey, Ho Ho..." Uh-oh. Our "activist radar" went up. There were people dressed as clowns and kids passing out information for an action against Cirque du Soleil. We got a flyer telling us about Matthew Cusick, a gymnast who was fired from Cirque du Soleil because he was HIV-positive. He had received physicials from CDS doctors saying he was "a healthy athlete" and "clear for full participation at Cirque." His two jobs, Russian Highbar and Chinese Poles involves minimal contact with others, and involves catching other performers while hanging by the legs of a swinging structure. With no confirmed cases of HIV transmission in any athletic setting, the NCAA, and other medical authorities agree that exchanging bodily fluids in mid-air is unlikely. So we took stickers to wear at the performance, signed a card to send to Cirque, signed a petition available at www.lambdalegal.org, and took a balloon with a sticker on it. I went a step further by blogging about it. It was good that a lot of people inside were wearing the stickers. Anyways the show was pretty phenomenal with many oh-my-gosh moments. I never realized that the music and singing was live. After the show, we went home. Tony made delicious curry, I did dishes and some laundry. I sat with Tony and taught him how to size digital photos and design his first webpage ever, and now, I'm blogging. Looking forward to a short week coming up, but in denial that with Thanksgiving this week, Christmas is right around the corner. Sunday - 9:00 pm - Click here to comment:
November 22 - Friday Five @ 3am 1. List five things you'd like to accomplish by the end of the year. (1) Finish my overdue grant reports (from June) and poetry zine I'm editing for Manzanar.
(2) Start back up with yoga several times a week.
(3) Cook once a week.
(4) Start kitchen remodel.
(5) Make a baby with my hubby.
2. List five people you've lost contact with that you'd like to hear from again. (1) Maura H - my first roommate at CSUN who I saw about 10 years ago when she lived in Aspen.
(2) Minna T/Kathy I - best childhood friends from Canoga Park (in touch by email and birthday cards... but not in person!)
(3) Cynthia G - friend from 5th grade thru high school (saw her at 20th year hs reunion but never hooked up again)
(4) Takae H - friend from first year of college dorms she's in Hawaii or Japan (and Ladan E, Scott, Kev & Tim same era)
(5) Emiko - a beautiful, talented gymnast with long black hair who I idolized and who I named myself after.
3. List five things you'd like to learn how to do. (1) Cook without recipes.
(2) Learn Photoshop and web design really well, not just playing around, but really learn all the bells & whistles.
(3) Sound and lighting techie for theater productions
(4) Learn to play taiko - wait! I started taking a class in April!
(5) Knit or crochet - I used to crochet in elementary school
4. List five things you'd do if you won the lottery (no limit). (1) Fund Great Leap for the next 25 years to pay staff what they're worth, hire all the staff we need but never have money for.
(2) Create a foundation and/or endowment for API artists and activists and the orgs I'm involved with. Donate, donate, donate.
(3) Remodel home to meet all our needs, add a bathroom or move closer to downtown LA at least 3 bedroom house.
(4) Buy a Scion, Prius, Outback or newer Honda. No big SUV's.
(5) Set up college fund or trust fund for my nephews. Help any friends or relatives who need a little more.
(6) Get an Apple Laptop, DSL or cable modem, iPod and cable TV.
(7) Travel with TonyO. (Hey I know that's 7, but there's no limit and I won the lottery!)
5. List five things you do that help you relax. (1) Meditate.
(2) Go to the spa and/or get a massage.
(3) Start yoga again.
(4) Live in a clean, clutter-free house.
(5) Spend leisure time with TonyO. Saturday - 3:00 am - Click here to comment:
November 21 - Deep Sleep Last night, Tony got together with friends from elementary school, middle school and high school. He had mentioned that it would be from 7pm-9pm for drinks. Ok. So I was at a meeting and didn't get home till 9:30, but knowing Tony and his ability to talk in parking lots late into the night, I wasn't really worried. I went to sleep about 11:30 pm, and thought maybe I should call his friend Hector's cell phone just to make sure he was ok, but then I fell asleep. And I mean a deep sleep. Apparently, Tony, the obvious designated driver since he doesn't drink, had to take someone home to Westwood, and then took Hector home as well. Since Tony doesn't have a car, he started calling me, from midnight, leaving 5 messages on our answering machine over the next hour, yelling into the phone for each message:
"Jenni. Jenni! JENNI! Baby, wake up. Pick up the phone! Hey, you got to wake up and come get me!" I was in such a deep sleep I didn't wake up until the phone was in my hand and I heard Tony asking me if I heard the other 5 messages. Whuutt? I was so completely out of it and it was so cold out of the bed. So, for 5 minutes I laid there trying to wake up. I barely made it the 2 miles to Hector's house. I think I dozed off at a stoplight. Anyways, he had a really fun time. Of course, at 1:30 when Tony finally came to bed, I couldn't get back to sleep! Friday - 12:50 pm - Click here to comment:
November 18 - State of Depression Big sigh, yesterday was the dreaded inauguration. Goodbye Gray, hello depression. All of us in the arts are writing letters to Arnold to encourage him to support the arts, but I don't feel very hopeful. In a few months, California has gone from having the largest artist-in-residence program in the country to having none at all. I'm thinking he could fund the arts for 5 years by donating the ticket sales of one movie to the arts. But that's not going to happen. And did you hear he plans to continue living in LA and commute to Sacramento by helicopter. We better not be paying for it. Yesterday Nona said, "Not only is he absent on the issues, but now he's going to be an absentee governor." What do you think about the state of the state? Tuesday - 11:30 pm - Click here to comment:
November 17 - Walking for Meg
Well, I want to congratulate my good friend Kaz, and my sister-in-law Saori for completing the 3 Day Breast Cancer walk this weekend. They walked 60 miles over 3 days and between the two of them, raised $10,000 for breast cancer research. Kaz dedicated the walk to her mom, who is a breast cancer survivor, and to her friend Meg who passed away last year at the age of 35. I'm so proud of Kaz & Saori! Monday - 11:00 pm - Click here to comment:
November 13 - Breaking the Fast
I'm still kinda sick. But I wanted to put in a plug for the "Breaking of the Fast," event at Senshin Buddhist Temple on Saturday, November 15 at 3:30 pm. This is the third year that NCRR is sponsoring this event, along with Senshin, Muslim Public Affairs Council and Great Leap. We invite people to celebrate the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, sharing food, experiences and spiritual traditions among the American Muslim, Japanese American and Mexican American communities. Great Leap will be presenting poetry and performances as part of our current residency project, "To All Relations: Sacred Moon Songs." The first Breaking of the Fast was held two months after 9/11 and was NCRR and Senshin's effort to reach out to the American Muslim community. I went last year and am totally looking forward to this year's program, focusing on themes of relocation, repatriation and deportation. Again, multiple areas of my life merging into each other: using the arts to cross political, religious and cultural borders. Thursday - 8:30 pm - Click here to comment:
November 11 - Sniffles and Coughs
Writing from a sick place. Sniffle. Sneeze. Blow. Cough. Repeat. Been out sick the last two days with a bad cold. I wish I didn't have so much work to do when I go back. I'll probably go back to work tomorrow, even though I could use another day. Slept a lot today. Yesterday I read, Nickel and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich, who worked low wage jobs and wrote about them very eloquently. Today, I started reading Stupid White Men by Michael Moore. Sniffle. Sneeze. Blow. Cough. Repeat. Tuesday - 8:30 pm - Click here to comment:
November 10 - Missing Mago's
On Saturday, I was part of a public program about Mago's Famous Hamburgers at the Japanese American National Museum. The sign at right is part of an exhibit, "Object Lessons" at JANM, which is one of close to 50,000 items that have been donated to the Museum. Sojin, who we worked with on the Boyle Heights project, and who is in my taiko class, explained that items are more than what they seem on the surface. The Mago's (grandchild in Japanese) sign spark's people's memories and encourages personal stories of eating at Mago's, a J.A. family-run hamburger joint that was famous for its fusion foods such as Avocado Teriyaki Chicken Tacos and the Avocado Chashu Burritos. Mago's was a gathering place 24/7 for a generation of activists in the 60s and 70s in the Venice/Culver community from 1968 to 2000.
Last week, I was invited to read some of the emails that some of the guys who worked there as teenagers in the early 70s sent me when it closed three years ago. (I figure they were desperate since I didn't start going to Mago's until 1997.) My connection to Mago's was that it was directly across the street from the Aloha Grocery Mural that Tony and I organized and painted from 1998 to 2000. Anyways, when Jonathan, the grandson of the original owner who was running Mago's when it closed, emailed me in 2000 that they were closing, I emailed the Aloha Mural listserve, and about 4 or 5 people emailed me with stories of Mago's. It was nice to meet the family members, four generations who are pictured above. Monday - Click here to comment:
November 8 - Create-A-Poll
How did you find kuidaosumi.com?
Jenni/Tony told me
Friend told me
From a weblink
From another blogger
Saturday - 10:30 pm - Click here to comment:
November 5 - The People's Bus To help bus riders in Los Angeles County during the current MTA bus strike, the Bus Rider's Union (BRU) is providing a free shuttle called The People's Bus. You can catch one of the People's Buses at a bus stop from 6am to 10am:
Wilshire - East and West from Fairfax to Broadway Vermont - North and South from Sunset to Slauson Pico - East and West from Rimpau to Broadway King - East and West from Crenshaw to Western connecting to Exposition Crenshaw - North and South from Wilshire to Florence For updates, changes or questions, call the BRU (213) 387-2800.
I applaud the BRU for doing this. It really puts the MTA to shame, that the mostly poor, immigrant and people of color in LA County have to suffer during the bus strike. Tony and I try to carpool to work at least once a week. If he needs the car, I take the DASH bus from his school to my office (City buses operated by the LADOT are still running, County MTA buses are not). The other day while waiting for the DASH bus, a guy was telling me how hard it's been for him during the strike to get around and to figure out how to use the DASH buses, which only cover limited geographic areas.
P.S. To read an article I wrote about the BRU about 6 1/2 years ago, click here.
P.P.S. I hope you'll email the MTA Board to stop provoking the strike with the mechanics. Wednesday - 11:20 pm - Click here to comment:
November 3 - Introduce Yourself So what do you think of my new colors? Did you notice I have a new tagboard on the homepage? Would love to hear from YOU! I am now getting about 20 hits a day, but I don't know who you all are. Would you take a moment today to drop me a line and let me know who you are? Many of you are repeat readers, but many don't comment. I sometimes feel like I'm writing, but don't know what you think. I don't mind if you disagree with some of my blogs. Do you love Arnold? Hate him? Either way, let's talk about it! Anything you'd like to hear or see more of? If you've been lurking on this blog, the door is open. Come on in and say hello. Yes YOU! You can leave me a comment, drop a tagboard note, or email. Introduce yourself. Right on... Yeah, Introduce yourself. Monday - 11:42 pm - Click here to comment:
November 2 - Practice Zinn It's my 39th birthday today. I don't look or feel this close to 40, but I woke up feeling tired and lethargic. So, I decided to treat myself to a trip to the Korean spa for a "Quickie" massage. I went in the mugwort tea bath, the oxygen and jade steamroom, the jacuzzi and scrubbed my skin with the rough cloth before my massage. During the massage, I was doused with oil, milk and honey. My face was covered with a fragrant mask of cucumber and milk. Then, I had veggie sushi, seaweed soup, kim chee and carrot juice.
Afterwards, I met Tony and some friends to see Howard Zinn speak, sponsored by the Southern California Library. SCL's mission is to use history to advance social justice. Our friend Laura emceed and introduced Professor Zinn. Although he was pretty much speaking to the choir of 1500 activists and progressives, I found him to be articulate with a wonderful sense of humor. Author of the bestseller, "A People's History of the United States," he speaks the truth about history and he tells the untold stories. Here are some things that I jotted down:
ZINN: "The war on terrorism IS a war to increase terrorism. War itself is terrorism. When you deliberately kill innocent people in order to achieve some objective, you create more terrorists. No matter how "smart" the bombs are, you're still killing innocent people... We have to bring democracy alive. Find a group that's doing something good. If you can't find one, create one... People can change things. We can get rid of Bush. We can create a social movement... Go to the library. That's where the stuff is." Sunday - Click here to comment:
November 1 - Kyle's Bday Party
Went to my nephew Kyle's first birthday party today. Here are some snapshots from the day. Had fun playing with the little guy. I made him laugh when I pulled him in his Lego dumptruck backwards saying, "beep beep beep." Notice the birthday boy's 3 outfit changes. Afterwards, I was able to see a special private concert of TAIKO PROJECT. My taiko teacher Bryan Yamami is the Artistic Director and is working with some of the most phenomenal emerging taiko players. More than a taiko concert, it's a bit of stories about taiko masters, personal memories, some hilariousness, stories of Obon, and more. Their premiere concert will be at USC on Monday, November 3rd. It was fun to see friends from Bombu, my taiko group/class, people from Great Leap and Kinnara. Once again, many parts of my life coming together in the same place. Saturday - Click here to comment: