Category Archives: Music

Koop Koop


Our five month Miami experiment began when Isaiah was six months old.  Before he learned fear, I would take off his diaper and bounce around in the ocean waves with a smiley chubby baby in hand.  We left Miami when he was almost a year old.  When he was one and two months we went back to the ocean.  I expected him to frolic into its arms, embracing the water like an old friend, but instead he cried out at its sight.  He did not want to get close to it.  Each time we got too close he cried and screamed and ran away.

Maybe its vastness made him feel small.  I do not know.  Isaiah loves to swim in his tub and in the pool.  I dreaded him becoming one of those people who are scared of the ocean.  The ocean, the sea, the lake, the river and the waterfall are my best friends.  I may not care if my son goes to Harvard (that I cannot control) but I would love for my son to be a free nature boy.

I decided back then that I have to be patient, maybe it will take him years to realize how fun it is to jump in the waves.  But he will dammit.  I tried to help him.  I ran water back and forth in buckets at his requests.  “See Isaiah, water from the ocean.  Feels good on your feet.”  I lured him closer to the water’s edge by inching the buckets nearer.  I tried to carry him in my arms playfully but when he saw a small wave crash at my feet, he cried.

On this trip, I gave up.  I decided to let time do its magic.  I did not want to lure, persuade or educate.  Yesterday, Isaiah and I were playing in the sand and Yura decided to go for a dip.  I saw Isaiah following him with his eyes.  Papa went Koop Koop (that is short for koopatsa – swim in Russian).  “Koop, Koop,” he repeated in a trance, hypnotized by Yura’s swimming form in the giant water growing smaller.  I could not believe what I was seeing, I almost had to pinch myself.  “You want to go Koop Koop?”  He did not nod but he did not shake his head either.  I picked him up and he consented.  I walked to the water and no scream.  I stepped in, he was still fixated on Yura.  “Yura, he wants to go koop koop!”

All we had to do was lead by example.

11:05 pm



listen along while your read 🙂

10:05 pm

I danced Zumba today.  I was filled with energy and excitement for life that has not been with me for weeks.  It lifted my low spirits.  Today I paid attention to Rita, a regular in the class.  Rita stands out in her dancing.  She is smiling.  She breathes life into all the moves.  She makes them her own.  She is not painfully watching the teacher to make sure she is doing it right.  She is doing it.  She is shaking it.  She did not come to class to learn, she came to dance.

I decided to do the same.

I get into the learning that I lose the goal of learning.  Am I dancing to learn to dance or am I dancing to dance.  Am I writing to learn to write or am I writing to write. Most new things I pick up, I feel that I have to learn and get better and better.  When I do not feel that I am getting better, I get discouraged.  I am waiting for that moment that I become “good.”  After being told that I am good, I start to wonder if I am “good enough.”  (Thank you Christine, for tying it all together for me, I had a feeling our conversation would make it in today.)

My sister (whose Birthday is today!) sent me the article recently about the Tiger Mom. In the article, she talks about discipline for Chinese children.  She talks about them practicing piano or violin for three hours a day.  The theory is that you cannot enjoy something unless you are good.  It made sense but I could not stop thinking about it.  Usually when I cannot stop thinking about something, it is a sign that there is something that I still have to figure out.

What is good?  Is good playing a tune in C with both hands coordinated or is it playing Rachmaninov?  In my jewelry terms, is good having creative designs or is it setting diamonds in a complex setting?  Is it making a living or is it making millions?

The idea of getting good is complicated.  I understand what the tiger mom means.  You have to practice to become good at anything but do you have to do it with your blood and your tears?  Is that the only way to get “good.”

I do not need to become a good dancer, getting my body to move like my teachers.  I can have fun shaking my body until I sweat.  If I had fun, it was good.  The idea of first being good and then having fun, just does not sit right with me.  Am I good writer?  I do not know.  I know that I am having fun writing.  Does that mean I am good?  You see, it can be a loop.

I read a book on parenting,  Nurture Shock.  It talked about complimenting your children on the effort they are putting forth instead of saying they are good or bad.  Saying they are good at something can be paralyzing.  Children become addicted to that.  They do not want to take new risks because of the fear of not being good.  They would rather just do that thing that gets them the “good.”

That is what I feel.  I have become specialized or good at one or two things.  New things are scary because there is a learning curve and fear that on the other side of the curve, I will not be good, just mediocre.  I see how the Tiger mom makes her children break through that new and bad barrier by making them put time until they are confident in it.  I think the word good should be replaced with confident.

I am just writing this because I do not think I am a good dancer and I do not think I am a good writer.  I am happy that I am putting in effort.  I do feel more confident the more I dance and write.

11:16 pm

Dance Day 16, Smiling in the Blizzard

Today it snowed in Utah.  I heard about “powder” on the West Coast.  I figured that it meant snow.  I wanted to see it with my own eyes.  Today I saw it.  And yes powder is just fluffy snow.  Snow that is deep and dry, you do not see your skis or your feet.  I do not like to fall while I am skiing but today I welcomed the falls, it felt good.  It snowed 8 inches over night and it started coming down heavily while we were skiing.

I remember this kind of snow when I was a child, said my favorite mother-in-law after coming back from skiing.  I remembered too.  I remember having fun rolling around in the snow.  To fall and be cushioned by magic powder of the gods.  Soft and crunchy to step on.

When we came to this country I found out that snow is something to be afraid of.  On the news, they said a snow Storm is coming 10-12 inches.  A storm is not a good thing.  Now on the news, a snow fall is a potential Blizzard.  A blizzard is even scarier word then a storm.  I guess they have to heighten it to keep our attention.  I understand this fear is mainly because we are a driving society and getting caught in a snow storm in a car is something people are trying to avoid.  I guess you would have to leave work a little early if you knew it was coming so you want people to be aware.  And if you are in the middle of the suburbs and your car is stuck, it could be an inconvenience.  But come on, snow is not a tsunami.  Snow is fun and friendly.

Today I enjoyed the fresh snow fall and so did all of Utah.  For Utah, snow is not a blizzard, it is a blessing.  I heard people remarking, Finally  we got some nice snow.  I guess they had a couple of days without it.  The skiers and the snow boarders were happy too.  Powder!

We skied around the mountain smiling, snow falling softly on our faces.  One of the lifts we wanted to go on was closed.  The hand-written sign said “Closed due to Avalanche danger.”  I just loved the simplicity of that.  “AVALANCHE” is a big word.  But even in this case there is nothing to fear.  We were safe on this snow-covered mountain and the path that was in any REAL danger was closed.

So please news people.  If snow is coming, just say snow is coming.  You can even tell us your guess on the inches.  Please do not say storm or blizzard.  And if there is an Avalanche, tell us where it is so we do not go sledding there.

9:59 pm Mountain Time

I wanted to put up a Bob Dylan’s song that I think of a lot.  Maggie’s Farm.  But I found out the hard way that all of these awesome black and white Bob Dylan videos have been erased from Youtube by Sony.  If you click on the video you can see the highest rated comment, I think the people have spoken.  Bob Dylan was exactly the guy who would be against that.  You can do that to all the commercial singers of the world but why touch Bob Dylan.

This is the closest I could find, his voice and words are my inspiration: