Friday, December 31, 2004

New Year's Eve...


buddha'shand, originally uploaded by aikitherese.

New Year's wish...


jizo, originally uploaded by aikitherese.

...may it bring us all contentment, joy, and compassion...

Thursday, December 30, 2004

More rain...


wetsteps, originally uploaded by aikitherese.

It really was coming down around 4am...buckets!! The day has brought partly cloudy skies and some sunshine...at times...and more rain at others (like right now!!).

Went and did a final pre-new year's shopping at Costco and the Natural Grocery. I don't want to have to shop any more until...next year!!

Getting ready to write my list of new year's resolutions...nah, not really resolutions. My list is more like reaffirming and energizing already established practices. Looking forward to 2005!!

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Respite...


xmaslite, originally uploaded by aikitherese.

We had a brief respite from the rain/grayness today. Big puffy clouds, sunshine and blue, blue sky. I couldn't believe that another front would be rolling in again late this afternoon, but so it has...

Not complaining, though...rain is appreciated...

Wednesday...


ganesh, originally uploaded by aikitherese.

Just a few more days until a new year...

Lotsa rain the past couple days...more in SoCal than up here, though. Still, the vegetation's getting very green and weeds...VERY overgrown!! I think perhaps if Jan. 1 is not rainy, we may prune our fruit trees which are now all dormant. The gardening bug is going to be itching me as soon as we get a few days of sunshine!!

Great aikido practice last night. Walt Sensei was up and came to give instruction. I came away w/a little bit of insight...just a little...but anything is good!

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Chai time...


cardamom, originally uploaded by aikitherese.

Tuesday...


moss, originally uploaded by aikitherese.

Cold and gray...no actual rain today as yet.

Dark wood...green moss...red bricks... I love the way the dampness brings out the rich colors...

Monday, December 27, 2004

Not over yet...


garlandpost, originally uploaded by aikitherese.

Rainy streets...


wetstreets, originally uploaded by aikitherese.

Tonight...


4statnight, originally uploaded by aikitherese.

Rain today...


pumpkin2, originally uploaded by aikitherese.

...quite a lot during the night as well. A trickle of water is running through my darkroom in the basement, but that's not unusual or unexpected considering the downpours over the past 12 hours.

Things are finally calming down. Just the nuclear family around now. Maybe we'll go see a movie today or redeem some gift cards at Cody's!!

I look forward to the new year. This is always a special time in the calendar for me, because it has such a great feeling of renewal and recommitment and just plain good energy. I'm anxious to tweak my routines and home in on some good ways to increase my practice of awareness...

Sunday, December 26, 2004

Christmas candles...


candles, originally uploaded by aikitherese.

December 26, 2003


rainbow, originally uploaded by aikitherese.

This was taken a the trip down south to see the folks. THIS year, they've been up here. Weather is looking like it might be stormy tonight...maybe we're in store for a rainbow ourselves in the next day or two...

Saturday, December 25, 2004

Fitting 12...


Fitting 12_2..., originally uploaded by aikitherese.

...around tables in my small dining room was a challenge. But we managed...by turning the tables diagonal!!

Merry Christmas...


presentswrapped, originally uploaded by aikitherese.

Wishing everyone a very wondeful and warm holiday...

Friday, December 24, 2004

New painting...


buenprovecho, originally uploaded by aikitherese.

...that Adam painted for me!!

We all love it!! It's going on the wall of the kitchen as soon as the remodel's done (maybe before!!).

Thanks again, Adam!

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Bubble lite & citrus...


lite_citrus, originally uploaded by aikitherese.

More clean counters...


counters2, originally uploaded by aikitherese.

A few things done...


cleanedcounters, originally uploaded by aikitherese.

...today...like cleaning the counters of the kitchen so things will be manageable come Christmas Eve. It's amazing how much space cupboards provide once they're rid of such things as empty soy sauce bottles and expired herb tablets!!

Gotta be up...before the crack of dawn tomorrow, to make the SoCal trek. Then back up north on Thursday!!

Just a reminder...


hndtintedpear, originally uploaded by aikitherese.

...that there are more pics at flickr (click on "aikitherese"). I upload a lot more than I'm having time to post on thisiswhatisee right now...

Happy Solstice!!


foggyxmaslites2, originally uploaded by aikitherese.

Why does the shortest day of the year fall when there are the MOST things to get done???

Feels like my feet are moving through mud. However, I AM accomplishing tasks. What ends up undone will be what's unnecessary to begin with (or so I convince myself!!).

Very foggy during the night and into this morning, but it's clearing out already. I think it'll be warmer than yesterday, which had me seeing my breath whenever I went out...

Looking forward to the light once again...the cycles continue...change being the nature of the universe...

Monday, December 20, 2004

Monday...


frostyrooftops2, originally uploaded by aikitherese.

Very cold out this morning. Lots of frost on the rooftops. The sun is shining, though, no wind or clouds, so I imagine it'll be another lovely day such as Sunday.

Soooo much to still do. I think Christmas gift shopping is complete, for the most part. I have the bulk of my baking done as well. Now I need to clean and do some preliminary prep for Christmas Eve dinner, which will be at my house. The extra early preperation is on account of a whirlwind journey down to SoCal I'll be making Wednesday. I'll leave before dawn and get to Seal Beach by early afternoon so I can rest up, and make the drive back north, brining the folks along, on Thursday. Should be...character building :)...

Poppyseed cakes...


poppyseedcakes, originally uploaded by aikitherese.

I finally got them made yesterday...along w/two fruitcakes (don't laugh, they're really good and nothing like the commercial stuff that gets passed - supposedly - around from Christmas to Christmas...).

Sunday, December 19, 2004

December sky...


decembersky, originally uploaded by aikitherese.

Actually, this was taken a week or so ago... Very clear and dry today...no clouds whatsoever...

Did a little more Christmas shopping w/Laurel and now am going to hunker down and bake a few goodies. Making fruitcake and coffee cake are what's in store for the rest of the days activities.

Happy Birthday to Ed!!!

Friday, December 17, 2004

What is Jazz Workshop?


jzzphtshp, originally uploaded by aikitherese.

"The Jazz Workshop is a beginning/intermediate jazz band. The focus is to teach new and experienced musicians jazz history and play music of different styles within the jazz idiom. Traditionally, the Workshop has been the place for new students, but this year will be taking trips to the Hayward and Reno Jazz Festivals for the first time in its history."

I can't express how grateful I am that this opportunity has been made available to my son and the young people in our community. Although our public school district is plagued by underfunding (as many public school systems in the US are), we are very fortunate to live in a community that really IS a community and bands together to support programs like "music in our schools." If it weren't for the continued support and generosity of parents, family and friends we wouldn't have such vital opportunities for our children.

I urge everyone to support your local schools in whatever way you possibly can. Change happens at a grass roots level and even small efforts made by many people can be effective.

Mr.Johnson


Mr.J, originally uploaded by aikitherese.

"Mr. Keith Johnson is in his second year as director of the Portola Middle School Jazz Bands. Raised in El Cerrito, Mr. Johnson graduated with Honors from El Cerrito High School in 2002 and had the pleasure of learning from talented music teachers such as Jesse Leyva and Brian Barfield, respectively.

"Currently, Mr. Johnson is a Music Major at San Jose State University where he is pursuing a career in music education under the direction of Dr. Edward C. Harris. He studies trumpet with trumpet professor Jeff Biancalana and has performed with the San Jose State University Wind Ensemble, Symphonic Band, Brass Ensemble, and Jazz Band.

"More recently, he was the director of two summer jazz ensembles with the city of El Cerrito. Mr. Johnson has also guest conducted the El Cerrito High School Concert Band, and the Stanley Middle School Symphonic Band. In May of 2004 he was honored by receiving the Satsuki Arts Festival Community Service Award."

Jazz Band...


jzzbnd, originally uploaded by aikitherese.

...the second year jazz students at Portola Middle School ("workshop" are the first year students).

Julian on sax...


jonsax, originally uploaded by aikitherese.


waiting, originally uploaded by aikitherese.

Jazz Workshop...


Jazzwrkshp, originally uploaded by aikitherese.

...at the Portola Middle School Winter Concert.

These kids only practice together (meeting at 7:15 AM...BEFORE classes begin) twice a week. And they are AWESOME!!! Mr. J. is a fantastic director...a college student donating his time...and an accomplished trumpet player himself. He definitely inspires and motivates the students. It's very gratifying to see how much energy these kids will put into practice and playing when encouraged in an effective way.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Thursday...


12-16snrs, originally uploaded by aikitherese.

Fantastic sunrise this morning!! While it was still very dark out, I could see the thin, cirrus clouds already coloring up. THEN, they faded out. THEN...they colored up again. Pretty trippy...

With the high clouds have come somewhat "dry" conditions. A little bit breezy this morning...and the call is for clear skies the next few days. Not very cold at all...

Julian has yet another concert this evening. It should be fun since the Jazz workshop he's in is going to play, in addition to the regular advanced band he's part of (actually all the Portola bands wil be performing: beginning, intermediate, advanced, Jazz workshop and Jazz band).

Matt and Laurel did some Christmas shopping last evening, after we went to the pub for dinner. Bit by bit we're getting prepared. I think I'll work on fruitcake today!!

Sunrise...


12-16snrs3, originally uploaded by aikitherese.

12-16-04...

Christmas lights...


moon_lites, originally uploaded by aikitherese.

...and moon...

Glow...


lamp, originally uploaded by aikitherese.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Sigh of relief...


winterweb, originally uploaded by aikitherese.

Julian and I had our rank testing last night at aikido. I must say that it went better than I'd expected. Either that, or once I'm in the thick of it, I just go w/the flow. In any case, it feels good to have it done before the holidays...and it's motivated me to continue in a more dedicated manner. My attendence will probably still be at the minimum until after the holidays, but w/the new year I'd like to participate in more practice sessions.

We have quite a lot of low fog this morning, although I can see the sun starting to break through already. Perhaps later today will get the "mostly sunny" skies that have been promised.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

10 days...


cha, originally uploaded by aikitherese.

...until Christmas eve!! So much to do before then. However, I've actually gotten a few things taken care of, so I'm beginning to feel a bit more in control (is THAT ever really possible...being in control???).

Lisi was generous enough with her time to come by yesterday and help Julian and I prepare/review for rank testing this evening. I must say, I'm at least a little more confident of my understanding and skill now. Julian, too, is feeling better about tonight's events.

A gray morning up here in the Bay area. It's supposed to clear out for the next few days according to the Nat'l Weather Service. I'm waiting to see if their prediction is correct!!!

From Maria...


neighbor'sgift, originally uploaded by aikitherese.

Monday, December 13, 2004

Hyatt tree...


hyatt tree, originally uploaded by aikitherese.

Aloha shirt ornament...


aloha shirt ornament, originally uploaded by aikitherese.

...at Macy's in SF...

Union Square tree...


union square tree, originally uploaded by aikitherese.

Hyatt sculpture...


hyatt sculpture, originally uploaded by aikitherese.

Self portrait...


selfportrait, originally uploaded by aikitherese.

Late lunch...


longlife noodle house, originally uploaded by aikitherese.

...at the Metreon.

Winter in SF...


surrounded, originally uploaded by aikitherese.

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Sunday...


pineapples, originally uploaded by aikitherese.

Thinking about Hawaii sunshine on this gray, foggy morning...

Saturday, December 11, 2004

Saturday evening...


neighbor's, originally uploaded by aikitherese.

Got a few things done today...slowly but surely...

Still a lot of moisture around...fog mainly...but broken up enough to allow for some sun. Not too cold...maybe mid-60's...

Friday, December 10, 2004

Friday...


bubblelite, originally uploaded by aikitherese.

Very foggy this morning, though not too cold. I have a feeling we're going to get clear skies later, which will be nice for a change...

Lots to do this weekend. Shopping, baking, outside lights, etc. etc. It's all good...

After last night's aikido practice, I feel better about testing next Tuesday. Perhaps I had been in denial about how soon we'd test and when sensei told us this past Tuesday that it was only a week away, I got a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. But twice this week, we went over a lot of the basics and what's required for 3rd kyu and I feel a little more confident. I only know what I know... While I seem to have an innate aversion to testing, I realize that the experience is probably exactly what I need...precisely for that reason!!

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Thursday...


ornaments, originally uploaded by aikitherese.

Gradually, holiday items are getting ticked off the list. Decorating and Christmas cards (mine, anyway, Matt still needs to do his) are taken care of. I have shredded coconut and bittersweet chocolate chips out to make haystacks, the fruitcake recipe to check for ingredients, and I think we're due for making more cookie dough. The kids are asking about shopping, so that could happen this weekend. I'm lucky we don't do any BIG parties...or I might be in trouble!!

Very gray and damp this morning, but I'm not sure there will be any more rain. It would probably be nice to have a few days to dry out. But I can't complain...the rain has been really nice and the plants (that aren't deciduous) and grass are becoming a lovely shade of green...

Decking the halls...


decopic5, originally uploaded by aikitherese.

...with red and green wooden beads...

Christmastime 2004...


decopic3, originally uploaded by aikitherese.