Welcome Down Syndrome Parents!

I have had some visitors from the Down Syndrome message board... to you I say welcome! You have my utmost respect and good wishes. Our life with a Down Syndrome family member was not always easy, but still great. And I don't know if anyone has told you, but some DS folks can have wickedly funny senses of humor. And a little bit of style, and scandal. I think that's my brother in a nutshell.

After my parents died, Jerry lived with us for a few years. We had to teach him some basic living skills, because my parents really babied him. But after a few years of teaching hygiene, bed making, and some cooking and cleaning, he was ready for more independence and so were we.
He moved to a group home nearby, which is a beautiful place with several individual homes on the property. He belongs to their travel club, and has been to the Super Bowl (twice), a Caribbean cruise, a trip to Philadelphia, a trip to Disney World, a trip to Hawaii, and is going on a Mexican cruise. For the first time, he has true buddies that he can hang out with. Though I sort of feel bad that he doesn't live with us, he is immensely happier hanging with his friends, working, and doing fun stuff.

Labels: ,

Portrait Time!

Nadia got her portraits (finally - her last ones being when she was less than one year old).

I'm thinking she could play the young version of iCarly, when she does flashbacks... we've gotta get this child in at least commercials. She has way too much personality.

Labels: ,

On Learning to Clap

When I was born, I was an only child for a long time. Ten years. That's pretty formative. I got a lot of the only child habits and attitudes. Then, after my cousin was born, I told my parents that I wanted a baby brother. Being very good parents, they complied with my request and my baby brother was born about a year afterwards. I even suggested his name. After he was two weeks old I desperately wanted to change his name to Dennis, but apparently my parents wouldn't give on that.

When Jerry was born, no one knew that he had Down Syndrome. Because we are half Asian, it seemed to be OK that he had slanted eyes. But he did have a terrible sucking reflex, and some floppiness etc., things that caused concern. At some point, months after he was born, he had a chromosonal analysis that uncovered that he had trisomy 21 version of down syndrome.

My mom told me about Jerry's condition after the results came back. I'm sure they must have been worrying about him, but never let me in on it. I didn't really fathom what his diagnosis meant at the time. Truth be told, I had gotten to be a rather bratty, spoiled only child. I valued intellect (since I was in the gifted program) and was getting rather snooty about people who didn't fit into my IQ range. That was odd in itself, given the fact that neither of my parents had graduated from college. I guess it was the extended family and school influence.

Anyway, plop comes a brother into my life who will never even have an IQ of 100, much less more. My mom, who had been thrown into a terrible postpartum depression after I was born, got even deeper into a spiral of hopelessness. She was a paranoid schizophrenic, but I believe at this point it was just a real depression that she fell into. Mom was Japanese, and Japanese people didn't have retarded kids. There was a distant relative on my Dad's Caucasian side of the family, related by marriage, who had Down's Syndrome and I'm sure Mom felt it was Dad's fault that Jerry came out with Downs.

I found out later that Dad didn't really know what to do. Mom wouldn't pick him up, or change his diapers, or tend to him. Since he worked as a mechanic for a major airline, he had flying privileges and got my aunt to take care of Jerry for the weekend so we could go to Hawaii. My one and only time in Hawaii - I was in the fifth grade, having a great time, oblivious of the fact that my mom was desperately, suicidally miserable and my dad was hopelessly grabbing at straws trying to make her happy.

Anyway, we spent the weekend in Hawaii. Mom slept a lot, but she did at least come alive to some degree. We came home, and found out that while we were away, Jerry had learned to clap. My aunt had worked with him, and he was clapping on command when we got home.

Somehow, the clapping was a sign that he was not an animal. He would learn. He could interact. It was hope, and it gave mom hope. From there on, we got him into infant stimulation classes, made friends with other parents of Down Syndrome kids, and Jerry learned to walk, and talk, and read, and do math, scheme and dream and eventually work in a store.

I later found out how much it had shocked my parents that Jerry clapped. They were told by the first doctor they met with to give him up into an institution (this was in the mid 1970s) and that he would never speak. Our own pediatrician had told them to raise him as a regular child in our home, and just love him. My aunt's teaching him to clap gave them an incredible hope, and lit the fire to raise him and teach him. I used to work with him for hours on various things and rejoice in the accomplishments. Every milestone: a hop, a thrown ball, a recognized letter, was a victory and a celebration.

With lots and lots of clapping.

Labels: , ,

Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper

We are planning our annual pancake supper for shrove Tuesday.

Why do we do it?

Well, it's a tradition that sort of comes from the idea to get rid of all the eggs, dairy, and fatty meats - "Fat Tuesday" aka "Mardi Gras." So that on Ash Wednesday, you can start the proper Lenten fast where you abstain from eggs, dairy, and meat. We call this the "Daniel Fast" now, but it's been a traditional fast in the eastern and western churches since... well, since.

We are as merry as possible, because the next day, we enter into a time of repentance and we don't celebrate so much, for 40 days, until Easter.

If you have been celebrating Lent without the pancakes beforehand, you are missing a good time.

If you are never celebrated Lent, well, it's something to be tried. There is really something to entering into the church calendar, and the period of repentance, making some sort of effort to actively draw you closer to God - it makes Easter so much brighter, such a celebration, and an eagerly anticipated highlight of the year.

You can see a full list of the traditions at wikipedia. But let me say a few things at this moment:

There will be no shrove Tuesday pancake race. Apparently ladies in the UK have had pancake races since 1445, the genesis being that someone was late to church and running out of the house with her frying pan and pancakes. I am busy enough making all the sausage and bacon without having to run around with a pan of pancakes.

Now, let me just say that though I love the Filipinos and the Polish, there are traditions of theirs I do not want to follow:

from Wikipedia:

"In the Philippines a popular treat is bibingka, a pancake made from rice flour and topped with white cheese, butter, sugar, salted duck's egg, and coconut. Bibingka is baked on hot coals in a clay pot lined with a banana leaf. It is traditionally served with salabat or ginger tea.

In Poland, Pączki and Faworki are traditionally eaten on Fat Thursday (Polish: Tłusty czwartek), i.e. the one before Shrove Tuesday. However, in areas of Michigan with large Polish communities, they are eaten on "Fat Tuesday" due to French influence. Shrove Tuesday itself is sometimes referred to as "śledzik" ("little herring") and it is customary to have some pickled herring with vodka (Polish: wódka) that day."

Here is our plan:

6:30 pm: we eat pancakes, egg casserole, sausage, bacon, orange juice, milk, coffee, and maybe some fruit if anyone brought some.

7:30 or 8pm: we burn the palms from last year outside, in order to make ashes for Ash Wednesday the next day.

Simple, but a really nice time. You can come! It's next Tuesday, February 5.

Labels: , ,

The Ball, 2008

You may recall my post describing this year's 12th night of Christmas ball. I got some pictures of it today!

Everybody dance now:


Photobucket Photobucket

Our King and his Queen:

Our talented organizers:

Artfully DJ'd by SteVB:

A skit:

Let's give them a hand:

Hey, why do I always blink at the inopportune time?

Labels: , ,


f you have a blog, having a statcounter is really fun. You can see how many people visit your blog per day, and you can see what they are looking for, and what they do when on your blog.

You can see if they were referred from someone else. I get referrals from Cechome, Pastors' Wives Online, Not Your Typical Pastor's Wife, The League of Pastors' Wives, Contagious Fire, Laundromat, Blackpurls Knitpickings, and Charley's (now unfortunately on vacation) Blog.

It is kind of sad when someone googles "naked eurasian girl" and then looks at my pictures archive. I don't think they'll find what they are looking for there.

Sometimes, you put up something funky and none of your regular readers care, but it comes up a zillion times on searches. For instance, I'll bet none of the regular readers cared about baked mochi. But many, many people have sought it out. Ditto the fried bologna sandwich post. And the "how to make a soccer banner" post is going to be probably my most popular one ever, worldwide.

Here are some things people looked at over the past 3 days:

Number / Percentage /Search Term

4 / 11.43% / chicken wing throwdown

2 / 5.71% / joann mski

2 / 5.71% / listen to the preachers wife soundtrack free

2 / 5.71% / shrimp gumbo for a crowd

2 / 5.71% / how to make a team banner

1 / 2.86% / tummy tuck jeans

1 / 2.86% / christian screamo blogspot

1 / 2.86% / sleep, interrupted blog

1 / 2.86% / buffalo chicken casserole

1 / 2.86% / what could you eat if you were stranded on a island

1 / 2.86% / beth moore daniel rich meats fast

1 / 2.86% / joanne print shop

1 / 2.86% / what to feed a lot of people

1 / 2.86% / soccer banner video

1 / 2.86% / throwdown baby faly buffalo wings

1 / 2.86% / vallarta flyers

1 / 2.86% / mitch hedgberg comedian

1 / 2.86% / pvc pipe t banner

1 / 2.86% / laudate cec

1 / 2.86% / buffalo sauce chicken casserole

1 / 2.86% / how to make stuff with pvc pipes

1 / 2.86% / mcdonalds chipotle bbq snack wrap recipe

1 / 2.86% / forum for pastors wives

1 / 2.86% / so you want to survive a plane crash

1 / 2.86% / mski

1 / 2.86% / how to make a soccer team banner

1 / 2.86% / wearing dolfin shorts school

1 / 2.86% / how to build a soccer banner

There are probably other statcounters, but I use StatCounter.com. It's very fun!

Labels: , ,

Let it Rain

Open up the floodgates of heaven, and let it rain!

Well, it sure did pour around here today. And it was a delicious, wet, cold, rain.

Nadia and Luke did stick out their tongues in order to taste it.

Jessica was nervous about driving in it.

And Naomi? I am not sure. She didn't seem too worried.

If I had been on the ball enough to bake chocolate chip cookies, it would have been perfect. As it was, it was pretty darn cool.

Labels: ,

Why Is It

That blog writing is so much more fun than work writing...

Labels: ,

Buffalo Chicken Wing Throwdown

Just a quick stop in the middle of watching Bobby Flay's Throwdown - and by the way, he has added a cute new little delivery of the throwdown piece to it (sort of like Dinner Impossible, but who's noticing? OK, I am).

First of all, have I mentioned how much I LOVE the Frank's Hot Sauce? It's the heart of buffalo wing-ness.

Oh. Second of all, I looked up the episode and got the spoiler so I knew that Bobby lost.

But third of all, I got a call from our pal Don, who was recommending his neck doctor, and got all distracted from blogging and TV. So, through the wonders of TIVO, I will go back and view the episode. I can double-task, like watch TV and blog at the same time, but I cannot triple-task, and watch TV and blog and talk on the phone at the same time. $5.95 a month for TIVO. It's the greatest thing ever.

So, back to my point - if I have one - Bobby Flay's Buffalo Wing Throwdown. Since we are addicted to all things buffalo wing these days, it was a great episode.

And here for your amusement is

Joann's Very Popular Buffalo Chicken:

1 value pack of chicken thighs and legs (3 or 4 lbs. worth)
1 package of Shake n Bake Chicken
1 cup of Frank's hot sauce
2/3 cup of butter

Bake the chicken with Shake n Bake according to directions on the package. When it's almost done, in a separate bowl, melt the butter. Add the Frank's hot sauce and whisk. When the chicken is finished, dip the baked chicken into the Frank's sauce. Serve to a very happy family, hopefully with potatoes and a nice green salad.

Labels: , ,

A Pain in the Neck

Please pray for Fr. Hubby, whose neck pain has gotten pretty strong these last few months...it is pretty tough to deal with such debilitating pain.
Unfortunately his high pain tolerance may not be so good for him.


Pastoral Car Chase

We made a dinner last night for another pastor in town, whose wife just had a baby. He is home with three kids, so we thought we'd help a brother out and send over some food.

Since he is a nice hapa boy originally from Hawaii, and she is a nice Japanese American girl from near our old hometown, I thought that in addition to the chicken and broccoli and rice that we sent over that I'd make some mochi. So I got the stuff, and made a nice mochi, cut it all up, put it in little fancy muffin papers, put it in a nice tin and all.

Then, stupidly, I forgot to pack it in the basket when DH went to go deliver the dinner.

Now, I should stop here to mention that this pastor is really Fr. Hubby's friend and not that well known to me. I have seen him twice or so, but we would not recognize each other at the supermarket. Well, unless he was wearing his collar. Or I was standing next to Fr. Hubby.

So anyway, after church today me and the kids headed over to Pastor Hapa's house to deliver the mochi that we had forgotten. (Of course, Fr. Hubby has to get to church earlier and we never drive to church together, so he was not with us). We pulled up in front of the Hapa house, and we could see they were in their van, pulling out of the driveway and all packed up and ready to go somewhere. I turned around and another minivan got in between us. I honked, trying to make him stop. No one listened to me. They all started to pull away.

The kids started to yell to stop him. Tough to achieve, since our windows were rolled up. I honked and gave chase. We were going to have to run him down. Kids were cheering, I was on a mission to catch him. We headed to the stoplight, unfortunately it was green. We tailgated minivan #2, kept speeding along, and luckily Pastor Hapa's minivan went into the next turn signal lane. And there was space next to them.

We pulled next to Pastor Hapa, and rolled down Naomi's passenger side window. He rolled down his window, looked at us like we were nuts. "Can I help you?" he said.

At this point maybe I should have said:

1. Um, yes, can I have a cheeseburger and fries?

2. Your minivan or your life

3. Hey Homie, let's go see what these vans can do and race for pinks.

Momentarily stunned, I realized he didn't know who we were. I mumbled "We...are..."
"Oh yeah!! Hi?" he responded. I guess he figured it out. Naomi handed him the box of mochi through the window, and he took it. (You never want to turn down a nice box of mochi, no matter what crazy people who stop you in the intersection and give it to you.)

Then we all happily drove away.

It was the most exciting dinner delivery we've ever had.

Labels: , ,

Tony Achoo's

Last night I popped up some popcorn, and we added some of the Kroger's ranch flavored popcorn seasoning I got at Ralphs.

Patooey. It was really terrible.

But now, being in a seasoned popcorn mood, we put some of the Tony Chachere's creole seasoning on the popcorn. Because, it is "great on everything."

It was very tasty. But it was so funny. It made everyone who ate it sneeze.


Eddie Murphy Non-Marriage

Oh, Eddie. Eddie, Eddie. I guess if the marriage is never even made legal, you don't have to pay HALF.

Note to husbands, women do not like this type of treatment. Not even Umfufu would put up with it after a few weeks in America.

From the article:
"Eddie started yelling at Tracey in front of people," says one of Edmonds's wedding guests. "He did it on a few occasions and it was very embarrassing."

Since the couple's nuptials took place in a foreign country, the wedding was purely ceremonial – not legal. Murphy, 46, and Edmonds, 40, originally said they planned to have a legal ceremony in the United States, but that is now off.


Labels: ,

Wrung Me Dry

Yah, I got nothing today.

Work has taken the life out of me.


That was the sound of of it.

The life being sucked right out of this body.

Please check back tomorrow. Sleep typically restores some life back to me.

Labels: ,


Perhaps this has been hanging around in my subconscious, and is the reason why we have a constant backlog of laundry, and I have not caught up with it?

I may have to order this tshirt from Lela Lee...

Labels: , ,


This is what passes for sleep in the mski master bedroom:

10pm: Go to bed early, being a little wiped out from the weekend.
Midnight: Wake up, hear the dogs barking, and put the dogs in the garage. Go back to sleep.
2am: Luke (age 6) comes in crying with growing pains in his legs. Wake up, give him some junior tylenol, go back to sleep.
3am: Nadia (age 4) comes in having wet the bed. Get her into new clothes, go back to sleep.
4am: Cell phone runs out of battery and starts to beep. Wake up, answer the phone, realize it is only telling you it is going to die, turn it off, then go back to sleep.
6:30am: Wake up, get the teenage girls awake so they can get ready for school. Go back to sleep.
6:45 am: 15 minutes later, wake up, having had a nice long sleep and going to bed early.

Bright and shiny for the new week.

Labels: ,

Two Cuties

Clearly, there is a lot of determination on the part of Nadia, and expression on the part of Noah. How would you caption this picture that Jessica took at Christmas time?
"Nadia uses Noah as a ventriloquist dummy, moving his head and mouth?"
"Noah shrieking in terror before Nadia smooches him?"
"Girls!! Ewwww!!"

Labels: , ,

Live 14 Years Longer

Because we here at the Blog Adventure want you to thrive, here are some tips recently proven in London:

1. Quit smoking

2. Drink moderately

3. Exercise

4. Eat 5 servings of fruits & vegetables daily.

Here's the full story:

Labels: ,

The Ball

It was a lovely ball on Friday.

It rained like cats and dogs. That was a bummer. There were some accidents on the freeway that slowed things down, and all the vents at the restaurant were leaking rain. In some cases, this meant that the dance floor had water on it. In other cases, it meant that the nice wool suits were getting wet. It also meant that people came late, and had to leave early worrying about the rain.

People looked all snazzy. I did spot one mink coat in the crowd. There were lots of sparkly dresses, ties on some of the men, open shirts on some, some more casual in jeans and things as well, but mostly people looking a little nicer than their Sunday best. I wore a dress that had a sort of 60s look to it, and it was suggested that I should be wearing some boots, but I just can't get my feet into them comfortably. PTTD problems, I suppose (meaning my arches are falling and they can't get up - and they hurt in lots of types of shoes).

The food was great. Delicious appetizers: hummus, lavash, cold cuts, cheese, eggplant, etc. Chicken kabobs and beef kabobs. Cheesecake and various cookies and fruits, yum.
Diane baked a King's Cake, which is traditional at 12th night balls throughout the years. You hide a baby Jesus in there, and the winner is crowned the king or queen of the ball. Dick was crowned the king, and he chose his wife of 50+ years, May, as his queen.

DJ SteVB and DJ Jess did a great job with the music. Nomi and Colton sold ball raffle tickets. We had tons of door prizes and raffles. The karaoke machine did not work, unfortunately. But that was OK, because we still danced all the fun line dances and YMCA, etc. And a lot of people danced slow dances.

We presented the slide shows, which I had been making. Four of them. I know, a little excessive. But only 15 minutes in total, and they do highlight some of our ministries for the people who were not regular church members. The first slideshow was on generally things in the Spring with Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper, Easter, Womens' Tea, and a glimpse of Doug on the road, to Randy Stonehill's "Celebrate This Heartbeat." Next, was a bit on the Brothers' House guys and generally men from our church, to Randy Stonehill's "Angry Young Men." (Yes, we were all Randy Stonehill, all the time.) (And yes, we will do a womens' tribute at a future event). Then, we had the pictures from fall, with confirmations, picnic, a baby shower, and various activities, set to "Welcome Home" by Brian Littrell. That was the only song I used that was recorded this century. We ended the slideshow presentation with Advent, Christmas, and last year's ball, set to "Joy" by Whitney Houston, from the Preacher's Wife soundtrack.

Our Deacon Michael and Deacon Joshua presented a very nice thank you to Fr. Hubby, me, and Alena. Fr. Hubby presented thank yous to his Deacon team, as well as the servers and general church helper outers.

The laudate youth did a skit mocking us, as they do so well each year. Here are some of the words I sort of remember from the song, sung to the tune of "Yesterday," regarding their complaints about Lent...
Lent was just a little time to pray
You gave up chocolate and you were OK
Oh I believe in yesterday...
Why we had to go on the Daniel fast, I couldn't say
I ate something wrong now I long for yesterday...

All in all, it was quite a nice time. Diane and Jim did a great job with organizing the thing. Our Bishop Kessler and his lovely wife came, as well as Deacon Dave and Jody Anderson, Fr. Aaron and Lily Appleby with Lily's mother, and Fr. Ted and Edith Sayo.

Our dear friends Don and Angie came and it was great to have them. As I was working on various computery things, I looked up and we were having raffle ticket drawings. I thought "geez, I should be looking at my 20 raffle ticket numbers." I looked at our table, and Angie was checking them for me. And that was really comforting. It's so great to have a old friend around who naturally steps in and does what you need.

Don broke his neck at Thanksgiving in a diving accident, and he was there with his brace. He said it only hurt when he turned his neck. I immediately answered "Don, look down there, a dollar!" but could not get him to quickly look to the side. :-)

I am waiting on pictures, and will post them when I get them. But until then, here are some from the slide show:


The Pastors' Wives Forum is Up

Phew! Thanks WebDeacon.


New Patriarch Elected

ICCEC members, please check http://www.cechome.com/ for the results of the election of the new Patriarch.

Labels: ,

The Pastors' Wives Forum is Down

Sorry, the server crashed or something. We'll get it back up and running as soon as possible.


What is Your Bloginality?

My Bloginality is INTP!!!

Labels: ,


It was a great 12th night ball. I'll post pictures as soon as I get some - my camera is out of commission.

Today, we have a little quote from The Phantom Menace by our favorite Grover sounding Star Wars character, Master Yoda. We are saying this little truism all the time now in the Mski home. Of course, it is not nearly as effective unless you use the Yoda voice.

"Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. And hate leads to suff-ferr-ring."

Labels: , ,

Preacher's Wife Soundtrack

I am putting the finishing touches on our slideshows for tonight's 12th Night Ball. I am so pleased because I found the perfect song for our Christmas season slideshow - Whitney Houston's "Joy," from the soundtrack of "The Preacher's Wife."

I have been listening to all of the soundtrack, and it is great. Where most of the songs of Christmas albums I have/listen to have got the same tired songs on it, Whitney has got a lot of new (to me) gospel songs with a super choir behind her.

Dearest Whitney, just think of the Preacher's Wife you could have been. Just one more reason to be angry with Bobby Brown.

Labels: , ,

Betta Fish

Today, our betta fish was sort of half floating, still as could be, with that glazed over look in its eyes. Heavy sigh as I walked by, it's never good to have to bury a pet.

I tapped on the side, and lo and behold, the fish is alive. Those fish are resilient, and can withstand a lot.
(We know this, there was once the Arctic freeze suffered by a betta who got cold bottled Arrowhead water once put in their bowl by mistake.)

On the other hand, they are sort of ... lifeless. They are like a stone. It's pretty bad when people can't tell if you are alive or dead.

Oh, there have been times when I felt like I was turning to stone. Especially when I was at the receiving end of criticism. Stand still, eyes glaze over, find a happy place...

I am a good survivor too, like the betta fish. But can people tell that I am alive?

Labels: ,

Mission Impossible: A Clean Playlist

We are all a flutter here trying to get things ready for the All Saints 12th Night Ball on Friday.

Things are actually pretty well under control. But we are working on the songs for the playlist to give the DJ.

I found a pretty handy internet resource for music - http://www.cleandance.com/. They've got the top songs and a longer list of songs to be able to choose from. And chances are, those songs will not have things that will make you go "hmm" at your church dance.

You can use the lists for free, and donate if you want to.

I highly recommend it as a great place to start for your clean playlist!

Labels: , ,

Baked Mochi

Happy New Year!

One of the great traditions of New Year's when you are in a Japanese family is making mochi. Many of my friends get together and their families pound rice into mochi. To the left are various types of mochi. I would describe mochi as sort of a stiff, smooth rice pudding.

Well, our side of the family has sort of scattered, and while freshly made homemade mochi the traditional way is incredibly delicious, it is hard to make and sort of takes a village.

So, here is a cheater's mochi - a sweet dessert mochi very easy to be baked by one person. It comes out white in brownie-ish squares.

Baked Mochi

1 box (1 lb) mochi flour (mochiko)
2 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 can coconut milk
1 can water (use the coconut milk can)

cornstarch (or potato starch)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Mix dry ingredients together with a whisk. Add all the liquid ingredients and whisk until smooth.

Grease and lightly cornstarch a 9"X13" pan, pour the batter in and and cover with foil. Bake one hour or until mochi does not look raw anywhere on the pan.

After the mochi comes out of the oven, let it cool for an hour. Put cornstarch on a cutting board. Plop the mochi out of the pan onto the cutting board. Cut the mochi into rectangles, and roll each piece lightly in cornstarch. You can put them in individual muffin papers for an extra fancy touch.

Store covered or in tupperware. Delish!