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Showing posts from June, 2011

For My Dad on Father's Day

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And now, memories of Dad...

When I was a toddler, my dad would show me a little bag of single serve "candy bears" and then I would know it was our special time together.  We'd run upstairs and make a little tent out of the bed sheets and hide underneath them and share the small package of multi-colored chewy sweets together.  Sometimes I wonder if I love candy so much now because of that.

Even though I make fun of my dad for hating dessert,* we both share a love of gummy candies and marshmallows, especially old marshmallows.  Both my dad and I like to "age" Peeps.  As soon as Easter rolls around, we're eating Peeps from last year's Easter. As far as gummy candies goes, every holiday and birthday, my mom and I would get him a pound or two of assorted gummy candies.  My dad would hoard them in his room and eat them a little at a time so he wouldn't have to share with the multitudes of friends I always had over, since we were like a swarm of locusts, …

Japan

A March visit...

March 22, 2011
My grandfather makes potato pancakes again today, this time without a heavy-handed dose of cornstarch and they're much better.  I always ask for potato pancakes because I know that potatoes are my grandfather's favorite food. I also think lately he's been getting more stressed about cooking because he's forgotten how to make so many things.  He forgets that he relearns it because often if he doesn't make something every week, like he's been making these potato pancakes, he will tell me, "I haven't made this in fifteen years!"  But, I'll remember that he made it a couple months ago...

I didn't know how much and for how long my grandfather loved potatoes.  He tells me that when he was young, his brothers would call him "shu jai tow," which means "potato head."

My grandmother starts asking me when I'm getting married again.  I'm glad that she says "again" because it means s…

A Life Without Ketchup

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A February journal entry...

February 22, 2011
I forgot my camera again.  As I walk in, I notice the table is set for four people.  My grandmother is confused.

"Really? No one else is coming? No one from the... game?" she asks.

"What game?"

"I don't know," she says. "Just you?"

She takes away the extra plate and utensils where I have seated myself.

"That side is better," she tells me, motioning to the seat that still has a place setting.  She motions to the seat I'm sitting in.  "That side is darker."

There are sodas at my place setting and the one she has cleared.  I pick them both up to put them back, since I always drink water, and my grandmother takes me to the garage to put the sodas into the refrigerator that is out there.  When we return to the table, she looks at the table setting again.

"Where is your soda?" she asks me.  She can't remember that ten seconds ago she led me into the garage where w…

Dong

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Another January set of notes...

January 25, 2011

The State of the Union Address is on the television when I walk in, blaring as usual.  My grandparents deny that my grandmother couldn't remember that I was her granddaughter last week.

My grandfather serves snap peas tonight with dinner and tells me that the word for them in Cantonese is "ho lan dao" because they originated from Holland.  "Dao" means bean.  He also tells me that back when he was young, if you traveled to China for a visit, you gave your relatives bags of tiny dried shrimps, because they didn't have those in China.  "But, there are no more here," he tells me.  "They've fished them too much here in America and there's no more, so now they come from South America."

My grandfather is also insistent tonight that my grandmother has a good memory and that she only forgets things that happened two minutes ago.

Later, I go visit my old room where I used to stay when my gr…

Still Flirting

Old entry from January 4th.

January 4, 2011

My grandfather is frustrated. My grandmother is trying to bring him plates in the kitchen because she insists on helping, and I know this frustrates him.  I wonder how much he forgets of what she does.  I'm afraid to ask her my normal question of what she's done today because I don't want to bother my grandfather.  She shows me a picture from my cousin Kari's wedding.

"Do you recognize anybody?" she asks me.  I know them all, but she forgets who I've met and how long we've all known them.

Soon she carries out the tomato beef chow mein from the kitchen.  They can't find the serving utensils and are bickering about it.  I walk into the kitchen to look, but I can't find anything.  Later, I return to get the chicken wings from the toaster oven and look some more.  My grandfather sees me with the plate of wings and says, "Thank you. Good help."

We sit down at the table and I ask them about their…

I ♥ My Grandpa

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Another old entry...

December 14, 2010


I get myself some water in the I ♥ My Grandpa mug.  I remember buying it for my grandfather for Christmas one year.  At my elementary school, they always had little sales where you could buy silly things for your family for the holidays.  Twenty-something years later, it's still here, sitting on the shelf atop their microwave.

My grandmother seems a lot better today.  She tells me cognizant stories about my great Aunt Gladys and doesn't repeat herself very noticeably.  She tells me about how Gladys was the plain one and Cecilia was the pretty one when my grandfather leaves the room to fuss in the kitchen.  I wonder what he would have said if he had heard.

She says, as a result of Gladys being more plain, the family gravitated more towards her.  Guess family always has to be there to champion the underdog.  Although, it seems incongruous to the norm where the more beautiful / talented child is typically the more favored.

My grandmother tri…

December 7, 2010

I found my old notebook that I was taking notes in. Here's an older entry.

December 7, 2010

There are more ants in the bathroom tonight and I always forget how small the toilet seat is.  I also always forget how large the hump in my grandmother's back has become.

My grandmother goes back to staring at her computer screen.  She points out the story on Elizabeth Edwards. "She lost three things - her hair to cancer, her son to an accident, and her husband to an affair." It makes me happy that she is reading news stories.  As she walks away to get chopsticks, I go to the screen and see that it took her that long to read and absorb one sentence.  I feel my mouth turning into a thin, firm line of disappointment, but then I think at least she got the one.

She walks over and whispers to me, "I can't get in his way when he's cooking. He gets real snappy." Turns out she has mismatched chopsticks and she goes to get more.  She mulls around for a bit and then r…