Monday, April 30, 2012

Portraits Came In

Family portraits came in from Phyllis, my mother-in-law. Here are two of the photos.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Feeling a Groove

(My Ducati is in there, on the left.)

I just got down from Skyline and I am in a nice groove. Wind feels good on my arms as I sit here typing this at a coffee shop. Tami told me I needed to go on a ride before dinner; good advice, good medicine. First I took the Norton around town to run some errands and then I grabbed the Ducati for a ride. For the first few minutes I kept trying to figure out what I wanted to achieve on the ride. What ride or stop to make? Then I convinced myself to just ride and not worry about it. I found myself on the freeway and really liking the feeling. Often I avoid freeways and get into the hills but the freeway felt so good I just kept cruising and headed north on 280 until I took the Woodside exit and then got in a few mountain twisties to go with the freeway steady cruising. And I feel good. I feel neutral.

In other news... My daughter climbed up onto the toy rocking motorcycle all by herself today for the first time. I just watched and held Enzo back from helping her to see if she could and she did it. Neat. She is really maturing, for an adorable baby. One year old is just a week away. One of the coolest new things with her is she comes in for kisses now all by her own initiative. It is awesome! She leans in smiling to get a kiss on her head or face. Today she went back and forth between me and her Mami for several. I loved it. If you didn't know what she was doing you might think she was about to bump your head but she stops and gets a kiss. Lovely.

Enzo takes care of Ana as best he can for a two year old so long as she doesn't happen to have the toy he wants which isn't easy because most toys she picks up become instantly more interesting to him. In the sweetest voice he will say "You ok Ana?" "You need help Ana?" That last question he asked this morning and then tried to lift her onto the couch when he saw she wanted up. After a struggle, "Papi, you help? Ana wants on sofa."

He is using more and more words. Now he will tell me "That Spanish" or "Yes, that English." I find that interesting; him classifying words. I am also very aware now that when we teach or do something with our children then we must affect the lives of other families because their play is affecting ours. Because of kids he plays with my son now knows how to, and does this at least once a day, be a lion and growl. Today he even play acted excited as he ran around from an imaginary fire. These are two things I don't think we played at home before he brought these into our house. Which is also funny because we have toy fire trucks but we haven't put out any fires yet. I wonder if other kids are playing baseball and making waffles at home and those parents are thinking "when did you learn 'let's go Oakland!' and how to mix food ingredients?"

Ana, mostly quiet, is definitely understanding so much more now. She is such a little person and so happy and smiley. And adorable to kiss. Sometimes when I pick her up she rests one arm on my shoulder and pats my shoulder a few times. It's sweet. I am very lucky to be part of this.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

14 Years of Riding

Today is the 14th anniversary of me riding home on my first motorcycle. I feel kind of motorcycle-y all over just thinking about it. It's a good day. I took a few moments to just glance over some photos from rides over the years.

The feeling of riding is a fantastic, remarkable, beautiful experience worthy of poetry. I see the photos and I remember great experiences of discovery, gravity, calculation, physical and mental exertion, awe, appreciation, companionship, solitude, exhilaration, contemplation, inertia, centripetal force, belonging to nature, embracing existence. Such moments are worthy of poetry I can not write and gratitude which I give freely.

I wonder though, how one gets interested in motorcycles in the first place. All my evidence of love for the ride comes from experience of riding. But like so many kids I wanted a motorcycle well before I ever sat on one, rode one, or had a realistic chance to experience one. I noticed and pointed out motorcycles on the street like so many other kids do. I watched with wrapped attention movies where motorcycles raced through a scene. I imagined myself on a motorcycle riding through the unpaved land along the highway outside the car window on long drives before I had even driven a car. What is the attraction of the ride and of the motorcycle that lures us in? Once in, it is clear how we remain in, but what brings us in for the first real taste?

I don't know for certain but it starts pretty young in some cases, I can attest to that. And it does not go away upon achieving the ride. Since finally riding, all of those 14 years ago today, I still daydream about riding, I still think of motorcycles on occasion when I drift off to sleep, I still get excited at the prospect of a ride, and I have even been reminded that I was driving a car by others because I was driving the car like it was a motorcycle, choosing different lines and acceleration points while leaning in my seat, meshing reality with imagination on a winding rode.

I don't know what all is involved in attracting people to ride; I suppose I could think up some of the factors that affected me if I choose to. For now, I'm just smiling and thinking about a ride.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

First Driving Lessons

(Enzo taking Ana out for a Sunday drive in the driveway.)

On Thursday I went to Tami's work to pick up my kids so she could work a little longer. That's when I got to watch Enzo give Ana one of her first driving lessons. This went on for a very long time and I got a little bit on video. It was super adorable to watch. I wish I recorded more but it was so fun to just watch at the time. I really like the ending, too.

I have already watched that video 5 times on my phone.

Then I did the unthinkable. I took the two kids to a restaurant all by myself! Sometimes it is barely doable with two adults but I did it all by myself. Here is the photo evidence I took to prove this to Tami.

(At one of our favorite Mexican food restaurants.)

And when I got home, Tami tells me that a just-because present arrived for me. I have been wanting an Earth flag ever sense we moved into this house with a flag pole in the front yard. Tami decided to order one for me as a present and so we would have it before Earth Day. Awesome.

Thursday just turned out to be an unexpectedly extra special day and that was a pretty great surprise. I've taken a bunch more great photos recently and I'll add them to my online albums soon. Here is one of my favorite new ones.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Ana Looking Outside

This picture quite simply deserves it's own post and so here it is.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

What's Been Going On

Enzo's Mariachi Class recital.

I rode the Norton.

We went to the A's home game opener.

We went to the De Anza flea market......

And walked around.

We decorated Easter eggs.....

Many Easter eggs.....

And Enzo found them all. 
*Update: Tami would like me to clarify that Ana did find two eggs before her brother got outside.

And Ana sat with Papi.

Enzo hung out on the grass with Hun and Tata.

Enzo's school went on a field trip to an A's game where Enzo, Traci, and Stomper took a picture together.

Friday, April 6, 2012

11 Months and Beautiful

This is breakfast. Tami already had both kids dressed in matching number 8 Suzuki shirts and was wearing her A's gear as well at 8am. The game is not until tonight. It's the home game opener and we will all be there to enjoy the start of the season and to celebrate 11 months. Happy birthday lovely Ana Uku.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Climbing, Chewing, Talking

(Ana having a walk and enjoying Charlotte's 1 year birthday party.)

Ana Uku climbed up onto the bed last night! I was already impressed that she always turned feet first and got down from the bed so easily but now she can climb up. What did I discover when she climbed up into bed all by herself? A fourth tooth! All four middle teeth, two up and two down, are there. Granted, one is just barely poking out of the gum.

And now, for a super special moment meant for a man who loves his children and motorcycles. Enzo Raines was sitting on the toilet and flipping through a book of motorcycles while I brushed my teeth. It's from the pictures on this book of motorcycles that I taught Enzo the words front, back, and side as I pointed to the bikes and then rubbed his belly, back, and side to match the words. It's also the book I taught Enzo to flip like a flip book where the pages go fast while a thumb moves along the slightly arched book pages. He loves when we do that. So, he was looking at bikes and flipping the pages like a flip book when Ana comes walking in and goes up to her brother who was sitting on the toilet. And then something so cool happened.

Enzo holds the book open, points to the back of a motorcycle and repeats in a soft teacher voice "back, back, back." and Ana says "back." I know! So cool! Enzo did it several more times and Ana copied! My son is so teaching my daughter and he is using a motorcycle book to do it!!

Super cool. Super super cool. Loved watching it. Loved listening to it. So f'n cool!
So does Ana talk? As with Enzo, I don't know when it's officially talking. I don't know for sure when to say Ana is saying her first word (for the second time). I will say that she says "Mama" all the time. That has been going on for a couple of weeks now. She knows it means a parent but she uses it currently to mean Tami or me. So I guess she is saying a word but she hasn't defined it as specific as she could. None the less, I guess I should say that Mama is her second "First Word." In case you don't already know, she said "bye bye" appropriately and more than once back at Christmas time but then never said it again in the new year. That was her first "First Word." but Mama is actually sticking. Also, she is copying more and more words and word sounds but Mama is the one she will initiate on her own when she wants her Mama, sees her Mama, and occasionally when she is talking to me and wants me to pick her up. My favorite response when she calls me Mama? "Pronk!" That's a joke that you will only understand when you read the Spanish version of "Are you my mother?"

To sum up; Ana and Enzo have added more to my life than I could have imagined.
And for your additional amusement, here are the photo and words Tami texted me yesterday at work.

"Look at his feet. He wanted to wear his boots today but could only find one before we left."