The Furry Warren

I have an extra 20 minutes this morning.  I have some extra room in the office.  I have some extra room in the living room.  I have a dog door that can remain shut.  I have an extra bag of dog food and a few months of heartworm and flea and tick medication.  I have a whole bunch of dog treats and dog toys.  I have a hole in my heart that I did not expect to be so big. 
 Ruby is 13 years old. I still find it difficult to put her in the past tense. I love her. It’s not I loved her. I still love her. 
 Ruby, I’m sorry I had a baby in the middle of your last good years so that I didn’t have much time to play with you.   Ruby, I’m sorry I didn’t take you to Fort Funston more when you could actually run around and enjoy it.   Ruby, I’m sorry I didn’t believe that you really saw raccoons coming in our house and that you were trying to protect us all those years. 
 Ruby, thank you for always trying to protect us, even when you were deaf and could only bark when you finally saw new people in …

Becoming / Being an Artist

Sometimes people ask me if I'm an artist and I usually just say that I pretend.  I love making art, but I've always felt that if my job wasn't in the arts, then I didn't really deserve to call myself an artist.

I guess I just don't really want to disappoint people or want people to judge me once I tell them I'm an artist.  For me, declaring you're an artist means that you are good at art. I've decided that even bad artists are still artists, and hey, I could be one of those!  I'll just be forever learning.

Sometimes I start pieces where the inspiration is huge.  I have this grandiose idea of how it's going to come out.  And then I get halfway through, and it's looking pretty good by my standards, and then I start to freak out because I think maybe the result won't be able to live up to my own expectations.

My five-year-old son drew this picture of a house and I think it's amazing.  

This prompts me to want to paint my own version of …



I've stopped calling Golden Age to let them know that I'm coming.  Sometimes I have to say it several times, and it often doesn't matter. Sometimes when we pick him up for dinner, they've already fed him.  And it's always too much, according to my grandfather. "I just can't eat that much anymore," he always says.

I walk in the door and Connie tells him that I'm here. He starts to turn around and I lean over the chair to put my hand on his shoulder.

"Hi, Ba," I say. "Do you want to go out to lunch with me?"

"Sure!" he answers brightly.

This is better than the last time I came over to pick him up for the afternoon this past Friday. That day, when I came over, everyone was watching TV and my grandfather had his head down, looking at his hands.  He did not look up when I came over, so I put my hand over his so he could see me.

He looked up, his eyes teary.  I told him I was there to take him over to my house, bu…

The Last Mother's Day

When I went with my grandfather and my parents to visit my grandmother in rehab on May 3rd, I brought a drawing pad for him and some watercolor crayons.  He used to always draw with me and was a wonderful artist.  He sat at the edge of her bed and I sat in a chair next to him.

I asked him to draw something and he just looked at me confused.

"I don't know what to draw," he said.
"How about... a dog?" I asked.

He took the pad and stared at it for a while, the crayon in his hand.

"I can't," he said. "You were always the artist."

What? He had to be kidding.  My grandfather used to be able to draw and make anything and everything.  I remembered one time, he carved a beautiful Chinese New Year lion out of a bar of soap for a school project where I was supposed to carve something.  Now he couldn't even draw a dog?

He handed the pad and crayon back to me shaking his head.  I sighed and just started sketching some orchids that were in the r…

For China Relief!

I haven't really written much about my grandparents lately.  Life just gets away from me with a baby.  A lot has happened since I wrote here regularly.

There is a lot of video footage to go through from several years ago from the dinners with my grandparents where I asked them to tell me stories.

My grandparents' great grandchild was born on New Year's Eve 2013.  At least my grandmother doesn't have to ask me if it's twins anymore.

This past December, my grandmother fell and fractured her pelvis. My grandfather couldn't help her up and she ended up in the hospital, and then rehab again.

Then my grandfather developed severe edema from his horrible diet and he could no longer walk while my grandmother was in the hospital, and he too ended up in the hospital.  My parents decided this was "the event." They had to go to a care facility.

When my grandfather got out of the hospital, he didn't go home. He went to Golden Age, which is an elder care home a …

Visiting at the new home

Went to visit my grandparents today with Joss. They really enjoyed him and Grandma even seemed a little more lucid than normal. "Stacey!" She said right away and recognized me. She and Ba took turns making faces at Joss and making him laugh.

Not Even Fifteen Cents

She pushes the noodles of her Vietnamese mixed bun bowl around. "Look, there's nothing here!" She has already given most of the meat and imperial rolls from her meal to my grandfather and my dad.  All that's left are the noodles.

My dad asks me about work and we chat a little bit.

"This wouldn't even cost fifteen cents," she says angrily, pushing the noodles around in the bowl some more. "Look at this!"

My grandfather joins in.  "Everything is just warm, not even hot."

"I'm never coming back here. Ever!" She pushes the noodles around continually, demanding that we look at it.

My father just smiles at her. "You're going to forget in three minutes anyway."

She doesn't hear him.

"I don't even think it will be three whole minutes," I reply to my dad.

"Not even fifteen cents!" she mutters again.

"Wednesday is better because then I have time to forget what it's like.  When …