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Showing posts from 2010

Holidays 2010

I have grandiose aspirations for my little blog about my family, but it turns out that time just gets away from me and before I know it, it's been months since I've written anything. I've been feeling a little guilty because the past two Tuesdays, I've taken a break from my weekly dinners with my grandparents as I've had holiday things to do, my college roommate is out here visiting, and I was going to see them on Christmas anyway. They still dutifully called me on both Tuesdays though, to see if I was coming, even though I had written on their calendar that I wasn't coming for dinner again until January 4th. I think my visits help break up their weeks, and get them to keep time better, which tugs the heartstrings especially taut.

Thanksgiving was somewhat frustrating during cleanup. My grandmother insisted on helping - I think she gets anxiety over feeling useless. She kept bringing in people's glasses that they were still drinking from when we were …

San Bruno's Own Public Hell

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Thursday
I am going out the front door of my office when my cell buzzes in my bag. It's my mom. She sounds panicked. She says something about a huge explosion near her house and she doesn't know what to do and then she has to go. She says she'll be in contact later. I'm puzzled and worried and mention it to my coworker as we head for the train station.

I take my seat on the 6:27 train leaving San Francisco and then proceed to text my boyfriend with the little information I have from my mom's scary and cryptic phone call.  I don't hear anything from my mom on the way home and I fall asleep on the train, frightened, but lulled by the train's familiar rocking and my own mental self-assurances.  As the train pulls up to the San Bruno station, I see a huge plume of black smoke emanating from the west, but still very close by.  A man in scrubs waiting to get off the train at the same stop as me says he heard it was a plane crash. Stunned, I exit the train in hope…

And Then It Was Monday Again

Tuesday, August 17th, 2010 Dinner

I knocked on the door of my grandparents' house at quarter after seven this evening and no one answered. I knocked again, louder, and waited.

My grandfather opened the door slowly. Both he and my grandmother paused, looking at me somewhat confused.

"Oh, it's so good to see you!" my grandmother said. "Are you hungry? Did you want something to eat?"

I looked at her, puzzled. I had just spoken to my grandfather yesterday about having rice porridge today for our weekly dinner.

"Um..." I stuttered.

"Next time you should let us know you're coming and then we can have dinner ready for you! You can tell us what you want to eat and Ba will make it. Aren't you coming over tomorrow?" she smiled.

"I... uh..." I continued to stammer. What happened? Did my grandfather forget too? "Today is Tuesday," I said. "I've been coming over on Tuesdays for dinner."

"Today is Mon…

"But, I have nothing to write!"

I had dinner with my parents, my grandparents, and my great uncle tonight. My grandmother asked me what I wanted for my birthday. My mother said she was proud of her because she didn't even have to remind her that it was my birthday soon.

"I want you to write in the journal I gave you," I told her.

"What journal?" she said.

"The spiral bound one," my mother said.

"With the waves on it," I added.

She scrunched her face at me. "But, I have nothing to write!" she said. "I don't do anything interesting."

"No," I explained. "I gave you a journal and I wrote a question on every page. All you have to do is answer the question."

"Oh, okay," she said. Suddenly, it is not such an insurmountable task. "How many questions are there? Is it a hundred pages?"

"It's probably more," I said. "But, there's not that many questions. There's a list of questions I'm…

Kleenex

This is a short story, just because I have to get back in the habit of posting more frequently. My grandparents told me this story back on my 12/30/2009 visit.

My grandparents met when my grandfather was in the Navy during World War II, but that story is longer, and for another time. My grandfather was telling me about the perks that he got working as a cook in the Navy at Pearl Harbor. He was a good enough cook that some of the higher ups stole him from the galley and used him for their personal chef.

"On our first anniversary, guess what I gave her?" my grandfather asked me with a huge grin on his face.

"What did you give her?" I asked him.

"They told me it was paper," he said. "So, I bought her a whole case of Kleenex from the ship's service!"

My grandmother was in the kitchen washing dishes. I called out to her and asked her if she remembered what my grandfather had gotten her for their first anniversary.

She came out of the kitchen …

Gelusil

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[Bear with me as I try to catch up with all the video I've been taking. I was going to try and put in the rest of the visit from my last blog about my grandfather from my dinner on April 28th, but I'm really getting behind on all this video so I thought I'd start from the first video dinner that I took on December 30th, 2009. I had videoed my grandparents at Christmas, but this was the first real dinner for my project. I'll have to put the Christmas video content in as a special edition later, I suppose. I also took some screen shots of some of the video to add here, so that's why the pictures aren't all that great.]

My grandfather had made tomato beef chow mein for me that night, my favorite childhood dish, and the first one I really learned how to say in Chinese: fankur gnow yok chow mein. I'm sure I butchered the phonetic spelling.

I taped my grandfather doing the finishing touches to the vegetables, beef, and sauce before pouring it over the noodles…

First Journal Entries

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I called my grandparents around 6:15p to let them know I was catching the train and would be at their place around seven this past Tuesday evening.

"Grandma, I'm coming over. Is that still okay?" I often worry that she doesn't remember.

"Of course it's okay! What time are you coming over?" she asked, excitedly.

"I'll be there around 7 to 7:15," I replied.

"7:17?" she verified.

"No, quarter after seven," I said.

"Okay!" she said.

When I drove up to their house, my grandfather was standing in the front yard by the gate.

"You're right on time!" he said. "I knew you must have said 7:15. When you called, Grandma said you were going to be here in fifteen minutes so I came out here to wait for you!"

I sighed. "I'm sorry, Ba," I said. "I told her 7 to 7:15!"

"I know that's what you must have said. She didn't remember."

I got my stuff out of the car and went …

The Sewing Factory

I guess this blog will also be about my grandmother's memory loss...

Yesterday my grandmother called me on the phone, asking me to come over for dinner.

"We bought all the stuff for guern fun!" she said, excitedly.

I had told them the night before, when I came over on Tuesday, and they asked me what I wanted for dinner next Tuesday, that I haven't had that dish in a while. It's thick rice noodles rolled with chopped bits of egg, bbq pork, cilantro, and pickled vegetables. At least they remembered that I mentioned it. I couldn't say no. They had driven all the way to San Francisco's Chinatown from their home in South San Francisco to pick up fresh ingredients to make it for me.

I went over to their house around 7p, after I got home from work. My grandfather, whom I call "Ba," was cleaning up in the kitchen.

"You're too late!" he shouted jovially, over the clatter of dishes being cleaned. "We ate it all!" I smiled as I loo…

Introduction

I've never really appreciated blogs. I tried writing one a while back (at least 5 years ago), but I think the subject matter really wasn't very worthwhile. A friend of mine introduced me to Allie Brosh's blog and I became enamored with her writing.
And then, last year, two of my grandfather's brothers, my great-uncles, passed away. They were the first people that I really knew and held close to my heart that I had lost. This made me painfully aware that my grandparents are not invincible, even though it seems like they are. My grandfather was just complaining on Monday that he can "only ride [his] bike around town for 20 minutes now!" He's 94. Yes, I know... crazy amazing. At the same time, my grandmother's memory has been steadily deteriorating...
I got my BA in Literature because I'd always wanted to be a novelist, but I never really knew what to write about, and my creative writing senior thesis was garbage. It was the worst writing ev…