Archive for February, 2013

Good girl

By
February 15th, 2013



We're going through a tiny speedbump in the road of childhood. Olivia has been disobedient for a week-long streak. It's minor, and it will pass. In the meantime, I'm trying various methods of getting the lesson to her.

One thing I said was that Mommy has to follow the rules, too. "When I go to work, I have to do what my boss tells me to do. If I don't, the punishment is much worse than time-out," I said.

"What happens to you?" she asked.

"If I'm really bad and I don't listen for a long time, I could get fired!" I said. "Fired means they kick you out from your job and you have to find a new one!"

She looked scared on my behalf. "I don't want you to get fired!" Olivia exclaimed.

I was flattered at her empathy and thinking that maybe she's finally going to start being obedient at home. Silly me for thinking that.

"You have good brunch that you get to eat. And a nice pool. I want you to keep working there," Olivia said. "You keep being a good girl."

Terrific. Now my priorities have been straightened out and I know why I have to keep this job.

Salvation of the car-nanas

By
February 13th, 2013



I wouldn't be a real American if I didn't contract everything into its most monosyllabic possible combination. Case in point: Bennifer, JLo, etc.

Naturally, the logical shortening of the words "car bananas" is "car-nanas," our family's wonderfully efficient way of making fun of my latest ditziness, as detailed in the Car Bananas blog.

Carnanas: it refers to when I bought bananas and lost them in my little compact car for a week, and then couldn't figure out what the banana smell was every time I entered the car.

I know. How does this woman have a graduate degree?

Anyway, who's got the last laugh now? When life hands you overripe bananas, you make banana bread!

IMG_1526

Here's the great recipe I used from Chef Joanne Chang's recipe book, Flour:

1 1/2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour

1 t. baking soda

1/4 t. ground cinnamon

1/2 t. kosher salt

1 c. + 2 T. sugar

2 eggs

1/2 c. canola oil

3 1/2 very ripe, medium bananas, peeled and mashed (1 1/2 c.= about 340 grams)

2 T. creme fraiche or sour cream

1 t. vanilla extract

3/4 c. walnut halves, toasted and chopped

Makes one 9" loaf.

Directions:

Put rack in center of oven, heat to 325 degrees F. Butter a 9x5" loaf pan (*though as you see in my photo, I used muffin tins and freelanced on the time!). In bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt. Set aside.

Using stand mixer with whip attachment, beat together sugar, eggs on medium speed, 5 minutes, or until light and fluffy. On low speed, slowly drizzle in oil. Should take about a minute.

Add bananas, creme fraiche, vanilla. Continue to mix on low speed until combined.

Using rubber spatula, fold in the flour mixture and nuts until combined. Pour into pan.

Bake 1 to 1 1/4 hours or until golden brown on top and center springs back when you press it. Cool in pan on wire rack for 30 minutes, then pop it out of the pan to finish cooling.

*I'm not a pro baker but I got lucky. I watched the muffins and used the finger test, so mine were ready after 22 minutes. I also substituted 1/2 c. bittersweet baking chips 60% cacao, because I live with chocoholics. It all turned out really well!

Enjoy... thank Chef Chang when you make this... and just know that you don't have to ripen your bananas in your car for a week. You could probably just let them sit on the kitchen counter! LOL

Car bananas

By
February 11th, 2013



This is another blog about how parenting makes people forgetful and scattered. For a week, I've been smelling a delicious banana odor when I get in my car. Without fail, I always think, "What a nice smell. I wonder why it smells like bananas in here?" The smell fades after a minute, and I forget about it.

I remind myself of how dogs are portrayed in cartoons, with a super short attention span. Look, a bird! Oh, I'm distracted now! What banana?

Last night, Claus got into my car because we were using my car to go somewhere. "What's that banana smell?" he asked. He said out loud what I've thought to myself for a week. In one car ride, we've now spent more energy on the banana than I have in seven days.

"I don't know! I don't see bananas in here! Isn't it curious?" I exclaimed. Then forgot about the bananas because we arrived at dinner, and there were better smells to be had in the restaurant.

After dinner, when we got home, Claus went into the trunk. I was there too, to retrieve the bag of leftovers. He stuck his hand in my big bag of canvas shopping bags. "Aha!" he pronounced, and handed me one of the bags.

I was -surprise! - distracted because I was trying to get Olivia out of the car and hustle her into the bed because it was past bedtime. He's dangling a small canvas bag at me. "What? What is this?" I said absentmindedly.

He thrusted the bag at me. I finally took it. OH! There's bananas inside!

Man, I knew I bought bananas at Foodland the other week and wondered where they went after I didn't see them in the kitchen. Also, I'm glad he found them, because in another week it would have been quite unpleasant.

Isn't this a scary little glimpse into the mind of a distracted mom?? Please, someone tell me you've done this too so I know I'm not crazy. Or alone in being crazy.

The gratitude experiment

By
February 8th, 2013



I'm addicted to Netflix. About once or twice a week, we have time/energy at night to watch a movie before bedtime. My in laws, visiting us for six weeks from Denmark, join us for movie nights since they're living in our house.

The other night, it was my turn to choose, and I was feeling mischevous. With Claus, we only watch action thrillers or foreign films. Musicals, sci fi, serial soaps (like Once Upon A Time), and romantic comedies are usually met with an eye roll. Therefore, as a prank, I picked The Big Gay Musical.

Courtesy: The Big Gay Musical

Courtesy: The Big Gay Musical

He came upstairs and I hit play. I snuck a sideways glance at his face in the first minutes of the film because I wanted to laugh at his reaction. I was not disappointed.

Actually, my mother in law, whose English doesn't come easily, was trying to read the title and was like, "The Big Guy Musical?" And then when it started to play, I later learned, my father in law - who pretty much only speaks Danish - complained under his breath.

Unfortunately for Claus and his stepdad, the movie ended up being interesting enough for me to want to stick with it past the first few minutes of the prank. It has a really great opening scene full of funny jokes and nice singing and dancing. The pretty men twirling around in tight or scant clothing entertained me, too.

The movie cuts back and forth between the musical, which is hilarious, and the lives of the two main characters. The musical is used as a tool to let the viewer reflect on what's happening in the characters' lives.

Unfortunately for Claus and his stepdad again, there's a lot of gay sex in the characters' off-stage lives. The movie kind of ratchets up the nudity levels so by the time it reaches its most graphic, you see two nude guys in bed with everything shown except the front. At this point, I think my father in law had had enough, so midway through, they excused themselves to go to sleep.

After the movie ended, Claus and I were lying in bed, winding down with our respective reading material. I had a women's magazine. There was an article about how it's nice to be grateful. There was a little sidebar giving you tips on how to count your blessings.

"Let's play this game," I said to Claus. "Name one thing you're grateful for today."

"I'm grateful that movie is over," he said dryly.

"No, really," I said.

"No, really," he said.

"The magazine says to list in detail why you're grateful," I pressed on.

"I'm grateful I'm done watching a gay musical. That veered into soft porn. With my parents, who I think you traumatized," he elaborated with a stare.

I still thought he was being cynically humorous. I tried to make him keep playing this game. I read another tip from the magazine. "Fine. You can list something you're grateful for, and explain how the absence of it would impact your life," I said.

"I am grateful The Big Gay Musical is over, and I would have been better off if you had not made me watch it," he insisted.

"Be serious," I implored.

"I am serious," he answered. "Your turn."

This husband makes me laugh all the time. I was laughing so hard I was crying. OMG. Did I just watch gay porn with my in laws?

"Well, I have two gratitudes. I'm grateful for you, because you constantly bring humor into my life," I smiled. "And that there's a sequel to The Big Gay Musical. I hear it'll be on Netflix next month."

Posted in dad, family, mom | 5 Comments »

Catching up with Kenny Endo, taiko drummer

By
February 6th, 2013



Videography by Mr. Tracy Arakaki of Tracy Arakaki Productions

Honolulu musician Kenny Endo is set for a busy start to 2013. He has a new dance performance scheduled at the university.

Describes Endo: “This February for the first two weekends, the Kenny Endo Taiko Ensemble is going to collaborate with the U.H. Dance Department. It’s an exciting project. We’re premiering two new pieces. One by myself, one by Derek Nakamoto who is a keyboard player. It’ll involve not just taiko but a lot of melodic instruments as well and dancers. We’re very excited about this work.

We’re kind of blurring the lines between accompaniment and dancers in that we’re taking six of our ensemble members and six U.H. dancers and each holding an uchiwa daiko – a fan drum- and they’re doing movement.

It’s just called “Taiko Drum and Dance.” This particular piece is called Midnight Moon because it involves 12 people and it’s the 12th hour in the evening. [It is] just to open up the possibilities of seeing taiko outside its traditional context.” This show performs February 8, 9, 15, 16 at 8 p.m.; February 17 at 2 p.m. UHM student buy-one-get-one-free night is February 8. Ticket prices $13 - 24; UHM students with valid ID $5. hawaii.edu/kennedy

Endo is also releasing a new music album. He describes it as “a duet CD with myself and Kaoru Watanabe called Convergence. We recorded it last year and it’s finally coming out, hopefully in January or February.

It’s a combination of traditional pieces and improvisations as well as original works by Kaoru and myself. It’s like taiko stripped down because there’s only two of us. In many cases it’s just one taiko and one bamboo flute playing. It’s very different [from his previous works] because Kaoru and I have a background in traditional music in taiko, and western improvisational music as well.

Two new ways to enjoy a traditional Japanese art!

Kenny Endo Taiko Ensemble

http://www.kennyendo.com

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