Last weekend, Taiyo and I did "toys in trays" installation on our gate. I placed Taiyo's toys on blue plastic trays and fastened them around the gate of the restaurant. It was grey Saturday afternoon. People immediately stopped and took pictures. Little kids and babies pointed at each toy. There were Sponge Bob, Baby Jack Jack (from a Pixer movie Incredibles,) Grover, headless painted torso of a super hero (I have no idea what it was), a finger puppet monster, a bird guy who used to be on a bike, and a Mexican wrestler. By next morning, half of them were gone. Monday morning, all were missing but the wooden robot on top too high to reach for a normal person.
They were simply ripped off the tray. Some were gone with the tray. Although only the figure we were sad to lose was the Mexican wrestler, it was upsetting nevertheless. Even a duckie I put on the menu holder was ripped off the fastener.
This was definitely "smad" moment as Taiyo would put it. Sad+mad=smad. Is it an act by self-destructive neighborhood teenagers or newly arriving hipsters who are ruining our neighborhood?
Whoever the enemy it was, I had to challenge again. I continued on the experiment with strange art objects (yarn covered light bulbs) and little toys in enclosed shrines you cannot stick your hands in. So far it's working and they are untouched for a week now. Does this mean stranger art lives longer? Or is it so bad no one wants to touch?
Time is going extremely fast these days. Almost the ends of April! No wonder Taiyo is growing up fast. It's been beautiful long spring. Flowers are in full bloom everywhere. Pigeons are mating like there's no tomorrow in the air shaft. I voted for Bernie on Tuesday but later that day I realized, "Bernie's ideals are great, but American people are not oppressed enough for a revolution!" So I hired a little cardboard robot to pimp customers outside of the restaurant. Yes, it's a tough business.
It was Valentine's Day. Escaping another icy cold spell, we were back in Sunshine State visiting Tampa and vicinity. First destination: Legoland for some serious awesomeness. And it was a perfect sunny day, not hot, not cold. Crowd: enough, but not overwhelming. It was a very well designed cute theme park perfect for families with small children. There were no serious roller coasters or nothing a small child was not allowed to ride. (or at least I didn't notice anything Taiyo wasn't allowed to ride.) There were play areas with big legos among the waiting corrals. And of course Lego store was everywhere. Especially the main store had the most variety of lego sets we ever seen in one place. So yes, Taiyo had the awesomest time. He actually spent quality time at "Miniland," U.S. Cities and their architectural icons built with ordinary Lego pieces. We especially loved seeing familiar structures of New York City.
Then there were scenes from Star Wars! With sounds and strobe lights and smoke rising out of them. So he spent some more quality time in this section. He wasn't so into the rides anyway. I couldn't talk him into getting on a wimpiest roller coaster. Anyway, Florida is great. Warm, sunny, although some things are horrible like ... food. We ate at many chain restaurants and most of the things I ate I wish I'd never have them again. We also dined at an average Chinese-owned Japanese restaurant. They also make great Cuban sandwich there. Cigar rolling Cubans used to have a community in Tampa, and so did Greek Sponge Divers. It's true. But Florida is really great. We visited Honeymoon Island and took a very, very long walk on the beach collecting shells. The beach was dotted with sunset viewing swings and benches facing the Gulf. How adorable! And there were plenty of old folks everywhere. 80 percent of work force were well above 60 years of age. That wasn't a bad thing because they were all so courteous. Yet there were enough reckless crazy drivers, some redneck in road rage, or menstruating female. So Florida seems almost livable if there weren't so many republicans. But it's always great to visit. No commitment.
So someone obviously heard my voice and decided to name the storm- "Jonas" arrived Saturday morning and snow was already knee deep for Taiyo at 9 o'clock in the morning. I've already told my staff at SOY not to come in on Saturday, since they were coming from Brooklyn and New Jersey. And Jonas was upon us and the scaffolding for the building didn't prevent the snow from falling onto my sidewalk. I still had to shovel every hour. We walked around the neighborhood a few times in beautiful new snow. Taiyo was so excited because it was truly the lldeepest snow ever for him! Dogs and kids were happiest everywhere, and even for adults- as long as we don't have to go to work and it's before the messy reality kicks in.
Hope it's just Mercury Retrograde. It feels like things are going wrong left and right for me this year. Even from the end of last year. I woke up with a pink eye in Florida a few days before New Year. Since then, I'm having waves of little disasters one after the other. Every few days. I would not go into details because it would depress me. Probably Mercury Retrograde, right? So it should pass soon. Maybe with the blizzard it will pass. And now yes, we awaits for the blizzard. Do blizzard get a name, like a hurricane? I don't think so. Why only hurricanes get to have a name? In Japan hurricanes(or typhoons rather) only gets numbered. "Typhoon number twelve is reaching Tokyo by midnight... " as such. I think the naming in the US makes them a bit more drama, like we have to face some evil old lady. Anyway, Amelia Island, Florida was so fantastic. That's all I wanted to say.
So our Halloween came and went. I had a memorable home made costume as a giant "bug" as a response to a recent visit by an Inspector from Hell from Health Department. This ill-intentioned inspector falsely and unfairly reported and I contested but the judge didn't believe me. So I'm charged with upward of $1000 in fines and almost deciding to quit. Their every visit is so discouraging, but this time I really wanted to quit. What they ask you is to keep everything protected, keep everything at right temperature, and basically not to touch any food. So you can't think about cooking. All day you're supposed to poke your thermometer around in various foods and make sure everything is at the right temperature. This is what they would like us to do as a food operator. Does that sound fun? Reasonable? By the way she didn't find any vermin, so I put on this costume. "What do you think of this, Health Department!"
Then Thanksgiving came and went. My little turkey was beautifully roasted with bacon on top as usual. And super crispy bacon strips always go fast! As tiring as it is, this is the most important holiday for me- after Taiyo's birthday.
Taiyo has been so obsessed with his Christmas wish list this year. And I've been trying not to give too much ideas about Santa Clause since I don't celebrate Christmas, but of course he already knows all about it. Every year, I ask bunch of people if they think Santa should come. They all say he should. But I still ask. And how long this is supposed to go on? My fellow veteran parent the other day told me, you can't fight it. You have to go with the flow. So I did. We went to Macy's to see Santa. When I told him that we're going to see Santa at Macy's, he said, "There's Santa at Macy's? Is it a real Santa, or Mall Santa?" I said I don't know. We'll find out. I feel I'm too honest sometimes. To my surprise, he decided to leave the lengthy list at home and decided to just ask for periscope and microscope. Decoration at the store was so pretty- as soon as we walked into Macy's Taiyo whispered into my ear, "I think I'm going to faint." Upstairs, Taiyo sat on Santa's lap and told him what he wanted. This was kind of a little Santa, so Taiyo looked too big to be sitting on his lap. But afterwards, Taiyo told me he was real. I guess it's all right to believe in something- even if it's not real- especially at his age. And you have to let go of a bit of your credit and let someone else take it. So I'll be the ghost gifter.
Then we went up to Empire State Building. First time for Taiyo, and I haven't been there more than 10 years. No. It was Black Friday, and stores were crazy, but this major tourist attraction was nice and empty. After so many years in the city, I realized I was able to tell Taiyo much more about places. I can tell which patch is what park, and which building we've been to. Taiyo was already recognizing some of the landmarks, too, like Flatiron Building. The city was curiously beautiful from above.
Another long weekend trip due north over Columbus Day. We were blessed with possibly the last warm weekend. First stop: Farm Project at Saunders Farm in Garrison. As we entered the farm, cows were grazing alongside sculptures in pasture. We loved it. It was incredibly peaceful and beautiful. And there were much more cows than humans in the field. Sun was warm, and leaves were changing colors. What a perfect afternoon that was.
Next day we went on a bi-plane ride - 15 minute trip over Hudson, forests and pastures. It was simply awesome. I've never flew on anything other than commercial aircraft, so it was first time for both of us. We loved it. At $65 per person, it was a treat. Being with a kid was a good excuse to do something like this.
Then we went antiquing in Hudson. This city is dubbed Brooklyn of Hudson Valley, and it sure felt comfortable with antique shops, galleries, cafes and such. I felt we could move there the next day. They also got lots of cute old houses. We loved it.
Next day was for apples! Beautiful plump apples ready to drop to ground! This was at my old favorite farm destination of 20 years- at Greig Farm in Red Hook, New York. We also picked up some pumpkins in a vast pumpkin field, then spent a quality time with goats, his favorite farm animal. Theirs was cute dwarf goats. Except for the traffic coming back, everything was just perfect for this little weekend trip.