Archive for the ':: dad ::' Category

Nine years ago today…

…my life changed forever.

Incidentally, I just looked back in my archives in 2013 and 2014 and I didn’t make a blog post like this for the last two years. (I may have tweeted something out, though… who knows?) I know the reason for this is because for those two years, I was in the throes of putting on V3con (V3con 2012 was in August).

V3con 2015 is coming up this weekend and it will be the fourth one… and the first that I am not in charge of. I am grateful for the team of new leaders who I worked with for the previous two years and who stepped up to organize it and allow me to (finally!) retire from conference planning. I’m so proud of what they’ve accomplished for this year’s event and put together for what will surely be another memorable weekend! (Randall Park! Joe Zee! Dao Nguyen! And that’s just Friday night!) More importantly, their leadership allows me to have time to do things like sleep and write the occasional blog post.

Coincidentally, I happened to have pulled an all-nighter last night, but (mostly) not because of V3con, for once!

I just have a lot on my plate, a lot in my calendar (upcoming business travel ahead), and then a lot to deal with unexpectedly.

Last night (Tuesday), I went to a special screening of Awesome Asian Bad Guys (in celebration of their digital release) at East West Players in Little Tokyo. Around the corner at JANM, the V3con team was busy with their last planning meeting before the big day. I had planned to stop by after the screening to drop off some stuff/equipment for the event and then leave to join all the revelers at the AABG afterparty at Far Bar.

Anyway, when I got to JANM, Bel saw my new-ish Hello Kitty iPhone5 case and she took my phones (yes, I carry two) AND THEN PROCEEDED TO DROP IT HARD FACE DOWN ON THE TILE FLOOR. At first I wasn’t worried about it because the screen looked fine and I was able to power the phone on and off, but it wasn’t until later that I realized the home button was broken!

What I haven’t mentioned is that my iPhone5 had been out of my possession and at the “iPhone Hospital” (that’s what I call it, but it’s really the home of my friend Jenny, who does mobile device repair) for 3 days because we were waiting for parts to come in to repair my power button and back camera. I swear, my iPhone5 should be renamed “Frankenphone” because I don’t know what’s left that’s an original part!

Anyway, I had just gone on Monday night to get my newly repaired phone back from Jenny and I didn’t even have my phone back from 24 hours from the iPhone Hospital when Bel tried to kill Hello Kitty and killed my home button instead! The phone was stuck in text messaging mode, so I texted Jenny who happened to be home and up late so she said “Come over and I’ll fix it for free.” And she did. The cost to me was my time and one highly anticipated AABG afterparty. But thankfully for Jenny and her generosity, now my iPhone is now back in working order and staying far, far away from Bel.

I wanted to share a humorous anecdote because I also have some heavy news, not for me personally, but for a close friend I consider family: Todd. This past weekend was Father’s Day (see my post about my Grandpa, if you missed it), which has been tough for me ever since Dad died because Father’s Day 2006 was actually the last time we were all together as a family. I wasn’t really online all weekend so it wasn’t until Monday that I found out that Todd’s Dad passed away on Friday night. Todd and I met around the time that my Dad died and even though I’d just met him, he was a huge support to me at the time and has been since.

So on a day that I’m remembering what it was like to lose my Dad suddenly and unexpected, my heart aches for Todd, who is living it now. Sending him lots of love and support, whether or not he knows I’m writing this.

What I wrote every year on this day:
:: 2014 :: no post
:: 2013 :: no post
:: 2012 ::
:: 2011 ::
:: 2010 ::
:: 2009 ::
:: 2008 ::
:: 2007 ::

PIC: Happy 70th birthday, Dad. I miss you everyday. (Taken 9/14/2003)

PIC: Happy 70th birthday, Dad. I miss you everyday. (Taken 9/14/2003)

Ba-Ba Day (2014)

Originally written 8/8/07 and accidentally posted to 8Asians:

8/8 (Eight-Eight in Mandarin is pronounced “ba-ba.” Father in Mandarin is also pronounced “ba-ba”) is Father’s Day in Taiwan. Even though we refer to him as “Dad” in English, 95% of the time, we called him “Ba-Ba.” Usually, my Dad would be in Taiwan at this time of year, so I would have to remember to call him on 8/7 so I could wish him a happy Ba-Ba Day on the right day.

Happy Ba-Ba Day, Dad.

We miss you.

Dad & Joz - 10-04-2007

I originally couldn’t remember where this picture was taken. I knew that it was taken on October 7, 2004, and thanks to my blog, I was able to go back figure out the context of this photo. I think this was taken in Rowland Heights, just before my Dad was going to get on to a shuttle bus that would have taken him to LAX to board a flight back to Taiwan.

Thinking of Dad… 7 years after his passing…

I had intended to stop by and visit my Dad’s ashes this afternoon, but due to a series of wild goose chases, and the day generally getting away from me, that didn’t happen.

I can’t believe another year has gone by and with the success of V3con 2013 behind me, I’ve been hunkered down and laying low for the last few weeks. It was nice to venture out today, get some errands done and especially to have a tiny baby in my arms all afternoon.

This past year has been pretty mind-blowing from a family perspective… not for me personally, so much as for my brother, whose own family life went into fast-forward. If he’d made it to this year, my Dad would have become a proud new grandfather and seen the joy of our family expanding by one. In almost every way, the new baby really has been a bundle of joy, and it was the first time in years that I didn’t spend the bulk of late June being completely sad, because what’s there to be sad about when there’s a new baby to be happy about, right?

I think it’s only when it’s quiet and when I think about all the “unshared” precious moments that Dad isn’t here for (in person) that I get sad. But I’ve come to really believe that my Dad’s spirit has been watching over our family and that despite not being here physically, his spirit is always close. It’s both comforting and bittersweet.

Thanks to my sister-in-law for allowing me to spend the afternoon being Auntie Joz and not having to worry about much else today. Since I’d been sick/busy/tired/busy/etc for weeks on end, I really haven’t had time to spend with the baby, so today was really the first day that I could.

I waited for my brother to get home for work before leaving and he said he was surprised that I hadn’t updated my blog about my Dad, because he knows that I do this every year. Of course, I said I was planning to before the day is out. I couldn’t help but to see glimpses of my proud Dad in my brother as he held his first child– what I see in my own father’s face in snapshots of him holding me when I was a baby.

So even though I didn’t make it to visit my Dad’s ashes, I know my Dad would have preferred that I spend time with the people I love. If he was here, I know he would want to spend every opportunity with his grandchild and so I need to remember that babies grow so quickly and I need to appreciate every opportunity I have to be Auntie Joz, especially since Dad’s not able to feel the joy of holding the baby in his arms.

I still miss my Dad greatly, but I wasn’t that sad this year since I was able to him in see my brother and the baby today. (Thanks, guys.)

From last year (2012):
From two years ago (2011):
From three years ago (2010):…
From four years ago (2009):…

Due to popular request, this is my signature: (-_-) Did someone blink?

Thinking of Dad… 6 years after his passing…

Last year, my cousin Superha surprised us by emailing a scan of an old snapshot of my Dad, her Dad and my Mom from the 1980s taken at their old home in El Monte. I cropped the photo so it would just be of my Dad, but in the original photo, all 3 of them are looking off-camera at… something… Since I couldn’t tell what they were looking at, I asked Superha if she had any idea when the photo was taken, and she said, "We used to have parties there all the time. This was that open porch area that my father created between the main house and the garage that he turned into their home office/master bedroom. We had backyard barbecues with my mom’s famous marinated chicken drumsticks. Good times. I know my parents really enjoyed the company of both your parents." Thanks to her for sending this picture and reminding me of the family parties and barbecues our families used to have together.

Speaking of those parties, I saw Superha’s parents over the weekend at my other Auntie & Uncle’s “4th of July on June 30th Party,” and they invited us over to their home on the 4th to celebrate.

Although my Mom, my brother & I are all here in the L.A. area, we are a bit off our normal schedule since my Mom had a spill the other night and is nursing a (hopefully not major) knee injury. Mom is not a good patient and she is extremely stubborn; refusing to use a wheelchair or a cane, despite the fact that her entire leg was swollen. Knowing that Mom is going to refuse to stay seated, I’m thinking that we’re going to take it easy and celebrate quietly.

One of the hardest parts of losing Dad is not having him around for the celebrations, big and small. I miss him daily.

From last year (2011):
From two years (2010):…
From three years ago (2009):…

Due to popular request, this is my signature: (-_-) Did someone blink?

Six years ago today…

…my life changed forever.

I still miss my Dad everyday.

Today Yoshi and I had to run some errands and get my car brakes taken care of. We went to visit with our friend Todd and grab dinner with him. Todd and I met online around six years ago and although we didn’t know each other well, his compassion during that time of my life helped our friendship grow. I’m grateful for all the good people I have in my life.

Five years ago today…

…my life changed forever.

Because I was running errands a few weeks ago near the resting place of my father’s ashes, I stopped by and visited. I thanked my Dad for everything that he sacrificed so that I could have the life that I do.

I still miss him everyday.

Belated but not forgotten Ba-Ba Day (2010)

Originally written 8/8/07 and accidentally posted to 8Asians:

8/8 (Eight-Eight in Mandarin is pronounced “ba-ba.” Father in Mandarin is also pronounced “ba-ba”) is Father’s Day in Taiwan. Even though we refer to him as “Dad” in English, 95% of the time, we called him “Ba-Ba.” Usually, my Dad would be in Taiwan at this time of year, so I would have to remember to call him on 8/7 so I could wish him a happy Ba-Ba Day on the right day.

Happy Ba-Ba Day, Dad.

We miss you.

Dad & Joz - 10-04-2007

I originally couldn’t remember where this picture was taken. I knew that it was taken on October 7, 2004, and thanks to my blog, I was able to go back figure out the context of this photo. I think this was taken in Rowland Heights, just before my Dad was going to get on to a shuttle bus that would have taken him to LAX to board a flight back to Taiwan.

Thinking of Dad… 4 years after his passing…

Sometimes I get really sad when I look at old pictures of my Dad because I
love him and still miss him so much. I scanned this photo years ago and
have no idea when it was taken or what the occasion was. Store-bought cake
probably meant that it was someone’s birthday and my Dad is cutting an
Italian Rum cake with Baby Joz on his lap.

I love how young and happy my Dad looks in this picture. At this time in
his life, he would have been done with graduate school a few years prior,
moved from New York to Los Angeles after school, started working for a large
architectural firm, gotten married to my Mom, and had become a new Dad to
boot. The world and was still opening up to him– and I believe my
Grandparents (his parents) had also immigrated to the U.S. from Taiwan,
bringing the people he most loved together in the United States– a land of
freedom, independence, and opportunity. I imagine that all areas of his
life were coming together at this time and I hope he got to enjoy it a bit,
seeing as he was the type of person who never took the time to "enjoy

I’m realizing that he was probably about my age (or maybe even younger than
I am now) when this picture was taken. We still have that table somewhere
in storage, I think. Some of that stemware is still around, too.

Oh and see how fascinated with the cake I am in the photo? I guess some
things never change.

From last year (2009): Thinking of Dad… 3 years after his passing…

Due to popular request, this is my signature: (-_-) Did someone blink?

Four years passes quickly…

I miss my Daddy an extra lot today.

See: How do you start a post like this?

Happy birthday, Daddy. (Today you would have been 65…)

Dear Dad,

Today would have been your 65th birthday, which you I know you had been looking forward to because it was when you were planning on retiring– or at least thinking about it, anyway. I think if you were here today, I would have called you to wish you a happy birthday and then planned on celebrating you and Bro’s birthdays over the weekend. You would have asked why I’m not married yet and hinted for grandchildren. I would have avoided your line of questioning, gotten annoyed at you for being so nosy about my life, and changed the subject. And then we would have had a large family meal together over the weekend and had one of our wonderfully animated “family debates” about Taiwan, politics, and things going on in the news before having cake and taking pictures. Maybe you would tell us silly jokes and funny stories. Maybe we’d even go into the garage and go through old photo albums while you told us stories about our family history and I would get mad at you for telling me the stories instead of writing them down. I miss you very much and sometimes I dream about you still being with us to do all these things together.

I didn’t always understand this when I was younger, but now that you’ve been gone for almost 4 years, I realize and appreciate that you sacrificed your entire adult life for the well-being of the people you loved. Through your example, we learned how important it was to respect and care for our parents as they got older. You weren’t just the picture of a perfect son to Grandpa & Grandma; you truly embodied the spirit of 孝 (filial piety) in every decision you made.

When I was younger and more arrogant, I thought I knew better than you did — I didn’t always understand your “old-fashioned” and “Taiwanese” points of views. I got angry at some of your decisions. I was stubborn and sometimes disrespectful. But through it all, I felt very much a sense of 孝 toward you and Mom and it only deepened when you left this world. I hope you realize that this was one of your enduring legacies.

No matter what, you always respected my thoughts and opinions, letting me express myself even if we actually disagreed, even if I had been rude, and even if I was arguing with you just to argue. I like to think that I grew out of this ugly stage of my life after I was done being a teenager, but that didn’t really happen until I was done with college. I guess it took a while for me to mellow out, to learn to be more compassionate, and to stop lashing out at you for things you couldn’t control. But I’m glad it did happen in time for us to have several years together where I didn’t constantly feel at odds with you.

I can’t say I regret my behavior because clashing with you made me a stronger person. You were so stubborn in your thoughts that you made me fight to try to even sway you a little bit. You made me realize that even if we disagreed with each other, we could both still stand strong and both be a little right or a little wrong. You rarely raised your voice at me and amazed me with the calmness in which you approached everything. Rarely shaken, it made me angry that when I screamed at you, you’d just look at me sternly and respond to me as if I hadn’t been behaving like a madwoman. I’m glad it didn’t happen that often, but thank you for letting me scream at you, even though it wasn’t very 孝順 of me.

I’m talking a lot about our disagreements because those are the vivid memories, but really, we didn’t disagree so much as we liked to talk about the world and debate about everything. I know that I became more opinionated because you challenged me to think and analyze things thoroughly. Sometimes I would take a position just to be on the opposite side as you– but I had to learn how to defend it! I couldn’t come to the dinner table and be unaware of the world’s events. I constantly had to enrich myself with books, magazines, newspapers, and later, the Internet so that I could be ready for you. I learned to love learning because of you. I still win at “homework” and research because it wasn’t good enough to know things on a surface level– I had to know things through and through or you’d pick my arguments apart in an instant.

If there is something that I learned from the way we lost you, it is that life doesn’t always turn out the way you think it will. But the other thing that I learned after you passed away is what a truly honest and respectable man you were in the way you lived your everyday life. In taking over your responsibilities, Bro and I learned how much we took you for granted and how much you did for our futures. You never took any time to enjoy yourself because you gave everything you had to the rest of us– that is why it hurts so much to realize that you never made it to retirement age– the age that you were planning to start “enjoying life more.”

I always thought that Mom was the one who sacrificed herself and her dreams for other people, but I didn’t realize until you were gone that you had done so as well. I wonder how much more you might have achieved if you had stayed in Taiwan instead of coming here and starting up everything from scratch? I cannot imagine picking up my entire life to move to another country and having to learn a new language, new laws, and new culture as you did. I know now that you struggled to raise a family in America so that we could have freedom, democracy, and opportunities you never had. I know that I was always grateful, but it wasn’t until the past 4 years that I began to understand the depths of your sacrifices for us. I probably didn’t say it enough when you were around, but thank you, Daddy.

Today is your birthday, Dad. And I wish you were still here to enjoy your 65th birthday, as you deserved to.

I love you and miss you everyday.

Dad & Joz

The above photo was taken on April 2, 2006, on my Dad’s 61st birthday.

Belated but not forgotten Ba-Ba Day

Originally written 8/8/07 and accidentally posted to 8Asians:

8/8 (Eight-Eight in Mandarin is pronounced “ba-ba.” Father in Mandarin is also pronounced “ba-ba”) is Father’s Day in Taiwan. Even though we refer to him as “Dad” in English, 95% of the time, we called him “Ba-Ba.” Usually, my Dad would be in Taiwan at this time of year, so I would have to remember to call him on 8/7 so I could wish him a happy Ba-Ba Day on the right day.

Happy Ba-Ba Day, Dad.

We miss you.

Dad & Joz - 10-04-2007

I originally couldn’t remember where this picture was taken. I knew that it was taken on October 7, 2004, and thanks to my blog, I was able to go back figure out the context of this photo. I think this was taken in Rowland Heights, just before my Dad was going to get on to a shuttle bus that would have taken him to LAX to board a flight back to Taiwan.

Judith Hill: The woman who sang “We Are The World” and “Heal the World” at the Michael Jackson Memorial

judithhillThough many of my friends were lucky enough to receive tickets for Michael Jackson’s Memorial at Staples Center, I was just grateful to have a job where I could work from home and avoid getting on any roads until it was all over. I brought my laptop into my TV room and worked with the Memorial playing in the background.

While there were many heartfelt speeches and performances, my attention was piqued three distinct times:

1) Al Sharpton mentions Asians!
Al said, “It was Michael Jackson who brought Blacks & Whites & Asians & Latinos together. It was Michael Jackson that made us sing We are the World.” Whoo! It’s not just about being black or white… there are other colors, too!

2) Asian-looking woman singing “We Are The World” and “Heal the World.”
Because the performers for “We Are the World” and “Heal the World” were not identified in the handouts at the Staples Center, a lot of people were wondering who this mystery singer was. Rolling Stone later revealed her identity as Judith Hill, a Pasadena, California-based vocalist who was to be one of the backup singers for Jackson’s This Is It! concerts at London’s O2 Arena. And, yes, it turns out this woman is indeed partly-Asian, her bio says: “Judith was born in Los Angeles and raised in a family of musicians. Her mother is an immigrant from Japan who met her father in a funk band in the 1970s.” (Check her myspace!) I thought she did an amazing job, especially considering that she and many of the other performers on stage were actually rehearsing with Michael just two weeks ago for the shows in London. This must have been a very emotional time for them, as well.

3) Paris Jackson’s heartfelt words of love for her Dad
Ok, so this one had no Asian connection, but having lost my father three years ago, I know how painful it is to lose someone you love like that. There is nothing quite like being Daddy’s Little Girl. And little Paris, who had the eyes of the world on her, was so very brave to speak from the heart in front of all those people like that.

Photo of Judith Hill from her website:

Thinking of Dad… 3 years after his passing…

Today was the three year anniversary of my Dad’s death and so I tried not to let myself get down too much. I’ll admit it; I still have a lot of tough days, and I am so grateful to my family and friends for being there for me when I have them. But whoever told me that time would mend my broken heart was right. My heart will never be quite the same, but I don’t feel so brokenhearted on a daily basis. I still miss my Daddy a ton, but I’m able to get up every morning without feeling like a complete and utter wreck anymore… well, not all the time, anyway.

I don’t think I’ll ever get over losing my Dad, but I guess that’s the sort of thing some people never “get over,” and I’m ok with that. I still hurt when I see pictures from my Dad taken just days before he had his aneurysm (I can’t believe I know how to spell that now), because none of us knew what was coming and how everything was about to change. But now I can look at other pictures and really remember and the good times we had. Like in this picture below when we were at a wedding reception held on a chartered boat in Newport Harbor. The bride and groom were relatives (Dad’s side) and this picture was just me and my Dad. (Photo taken 9/14/2003) Look how much fun we’re both having. Can’t you see it in our faces? That was a great night.

Joz & her Dad

Pictures like this used to make me really sad because I’d think about all the family weddings we’d attend and how I know he was looking forward to walking me down the aisle if I ever got married. I guess it was thinking about all the things that we never will have a chance to do that has been the hardest. I thought that he was missing out on all these life events, and it’s true, he wasn’t there to physically cheer me on when I got my MBA last year. But the truth is, he WAS there with me and not just for the big “life events,” but also the really small things, too. He was always in my heart and in my mind when I was going to my classes and working on my projects and taking my tests and when I received high honors from the Dean for my grades. I feel like I now really understand how he’s always with me all the time; it’s because he’s such a huge part of who I am.

Like today when I had pizza for lunch, I thought of the time my Mom wasn’t around to make dinner so my Dad took me, my Bro and one of Bro’s friends to the local Pizza Hut for dinner one night. I think I must have been in junior high or so when this happened. I had gotten up from the table to get something and when I got back, the three of them were staring at me, waiting for me to do something. I wasn’t sure what was happening and I got really suspicious, but none of them said a peep. So I took a bite of my pizza and all three of them (my Dad included!) started giggling. I was SURE someone had done something like snot on my pizza, but my Dad said, “I wouldn’t let them do anything to your pizza.”

Only partially appeased, and trusting my Dad wouldn’t let me eat a booger pizza, I said something like, “Well, did you guys do something to something else other than my pizza?”

Dad said, authoratively, “Why would we do something like that?”

I was still suspicious, but I didn’t really know how to counter my Dad. He’s a pretty straight-forward guy when it comes to things, so I took another bite of my pizza and then my brother and his friend started busting up. I was pretty sure I had eaten noogie pizza at that point.

I threw my pizza down on the plate and spit out the bite I had eaten on to the empty spot next to that. “Bleh! What did you do to my pizza?!”

I reached over for my soda to wash out whatever disgustingness I’d just taken a bite of and took a giant swig of Dr. Pepper pepper soda. That’s right: pepper soda. There was a ton of PEPPER in my Dr. Pepper! Aaarrgh! I spit the Dr. Pepper and pepper out on top of my half-masticated pizza bite and reached for the napkins. My Dad handed me a giant stack as I started wiping my tongue off.

He was laughing maniacally, as were the two boys sitting across from me. I was ready to punch my brother.

“Bro!” I shrieked his name as loudly and shrilly as I could. “Why did you do that to my soda!?”

“Joz, I swear it wasn’t me!” said Bro.

I turned to his friend, who would about to get pounded because he was still laughing, too. “I thought you knew better than to mess with me,” I started to threaten. He was laughing, but shaking his head and pointing at my Dad. And Bro’s finger was pointed in the same direction.

There was Dad, snickering to himself at the entire scene that he’d caused. And he was totally busted by his cohorts.

Dad had pranked me! I didn’t immediately think this was very funny, so I very crossly went to get myself a new cup of soda, but when I got back my Dad (still laughing) apologized very quickly.

And then he asked me, “Did you get some more Dr. Pepper?” I looked over at him and he was holding out the almost-empty pepper shaker in my direction with a twinkle in his eyes, and the smirk of a naughty school boy plastered across his face.

I so wasn’t cross after that.

Anyway, I love you, Daddy. And miss you so much. Even the silly Dr. Pepper jokes. Or maybe especially the silly Dr. Pepper jokes.

Three years passes quickly…

I miss my Daddy an extra lot today.

See: How do you start a post like this?

Thinking of my Daddy

Chinese fan at the Brooklyn Museum.

Brooklyn, NY

Pecked out on my iPhone. Sorry for any typos.

Uploaded by !!! :: jozjozjoz :: !!! on 25 Apr 09, 12.20PM PDT.

Happy birthday, Dad. I miss you.

Dad & Joz

The above photo was taken on April 2, 2006, on my Dad’s 61st birthday.

Thoughts of Grandma, Grandpa & Dad

Tuesday would have been my Grandma’s 86th birthday. When I think back to when she passed away last August, it seems like it was so long ago, even though the time keeps flying by so quickly. Such a strange paradox, because even though my Dad passed away almost 3 years ago, that seems like that happened more recently.

Anyway, on Tuesday morning, I was awakened by a phone call from my Mom. I don’t know if she realized that it was my Grandma’s birthday (both my grandmothers had the habit of celebrating their lunar birthdays, so that day varies from year to year).

My Mom called to tell me that she had just gotten a phone call informing her that one of my father’s best friends, Mr W and his wife L, who now live in Japan, are coming to Los Angeles for a couple of weeks and he requested to visit the place where my Dad’s ashes are interred. When my Dad passed away, Mr. W was stuck in Japan and couldn’t make it to my father’s service, so he asked my Mom if he could meet her to pay respects to my father.

I think it was this news that shook a bunch of memories about my loved ones out of the nooks and crannies of my head. I’d been sick for most of the week with flu-like symptoms and though I felt “foggy headed” all week, I found myself being stricken with fleeting memories of my Grandma, Dad, and Grandpa all week.

I thought about my Grandma’s birthday and the year we gave her a small lemon tree which is now a big lemon tree behind the place she lived.

I thought about my Dad’s cherished hat which was especially autographed by Taiwanese President Lee Tung-Hui for him on his 60th birthday.

I thought about my Grandpa and his jovial smile and how he used to make chao mi fen/炒米粉 (fried vermicelli) using two pairs of giant cooking chopsticks to mix all the ingredients over the stove. For special occasions, we would often have hot pot at the big glass table and he would always sit at the head of the table that was the opposite of where us kids sat.

I think about all of them all the time, but I try not to spend too much time being sad over how much I miss them all, but I guess once in a while it has to happen.

So as I was thinking about them this week, I didn’t cry. I just… missed them very much.

One of the traditions my grandparents began was having a formal family portrait taken around their anniversary, December 26. Usually we took the pictures at home via tripod & self-timer, but the picture above is a section from our family portrait done in a professional photo studio one year. I think I’m about 4 years old in this picture and I’m in my Dad’s lap, sitting next to my Grandma & Grandpa. I still remember that night vividly. I especially remember how fascinated I was when the photographer came around with the light meter and I kept asking what he was doing with it. I can’t believe the three people in this picture with me have all passed away.

“Trick-or-Treat Goodies (our way)” – A slight revision for year five

One year ago today, I was still in school, working at a different job, and worrying about the health of my then-ailing Grandma.

Today, I am graduated and staring down student loans, working a new-ish job, and still mourning the loss of my last grandparent 3 months ago. I was able to work from home today so I haven’t left the house, haven’t seen anyone in costumes, nor have I handed out any candy.

But all that is fine by me. Yoshi and I enjoyed a quiet night in and I have my own Halloween tradition here on my blog and that is to recycle this Halloween story… but this year, with some revisions.

Earlier this year, I took part in a special Mother’s Day performance at the Pacific Asia Museum called “Chinese American Stories: My Mother” and read this story on-stage. Since it was for Mother’s Day, I re-wrote some of the story to focus a little bit more about my mother and less on Halloween.

So though it’s the same story as always, it’s a “new and improved version,” dedicated to my Mom.

To anyone who has read it in previous years, I hope you’ll read it again with fresh eyes. To any first timers, I hope you enjoy.

Happy Halloween.

Joz at the pumpkin patch in 1984.  I like how my eyes are closed in this shot.  (How did 20 years go by so quickly?!)When my brother and I were kids, we learned about most American traditions for the first time either on television or in school. Since our parents had come from Taiwan to the United States only a couple of years before I was born, they pretty much learned about American holidays at the same time my brother and I did… and that was usually when I came home from school talking about something I’d learned in class.

Of all the various American holidays we’d learned about, Halloween was especially exciting because my Mom had fun with “dressing us up.” Although she claimed that she didn’t know how to sew, she always came up with costumes for us… like the year my brother was a cowboy with a little red cowboy hat and matching vest, and I was an Indian squaw complete with feathers in my hair. Having costumes meant that we were sufficiently prepared to go trick-or-treating and to come home with a bag full of candy that we weren’t actually allowed to eat, since it would “rot our teeth out of our mouths.”

My mother has a background in medicine, having gone to medical school in Japan and then becoming a pharmacist in Taiwan. Although she liked getting us in costumes and taking us trick-or-treating, she never allowed us to eat the candy we brought home because it was full of sugar and artificial flavors and colors. Since we weren’t allowed to eat the candy, the strategy was to take us out early & to give away the candy that we had received earlier in the evening. We didn’t mind having our candy passed back out again; Mom had scared us about the dangers of sugary treats and really, the candy wasn’t important to us… we just loved the costumes and going door-to-door.

One year, my Mom informed us that our cousins were planning to come to our neighborhood so we could all go trick-or-treating together. We would be going at later time than our usual “early shift.” Since our cousins actually kept their candy, Mom decided that rather than re-distributing the candy my brother and I got via our front door, instead, our lucky cousins would go home with a double-bounty of candy, theirs AND ours! That also meant that Mom would actually have to prepare treats in advance for Dad to pass out while we were trick-or-treating.

And since I was starting to have neighbor kids in the same classes with me, I started becoming concerned about exactly what candy was being given away at our front door. I still remember the day Mom returned from the supermarket, proudly announcing that she had purchased “the BEST trick-or-treat goodies” for the neighborhood kids. My brother and I excitedly went through the grocery bags but we didn’t find any Smarties, M&Ms, little Snickers bars, or even candy corn.
“Mom?” I asked, combing through the groceries. “Where are the treats?”
Continue reading ‘“Trick-or-Treat Goodies (our way)” – A slight revision for year five’

Oh right. I have a thing called a blog and I’m supposed to update it once in a while…

Last week, all week during the day: Working at New Business Client ,U guess the company.

Last week, Tuesday, 9/16: Dinner in California Roll & Sushi with GP

Last week, Wednesday, 9/17: Dinner at Surya with my cousin TJ2. He gave me a belated graduation present! A limited edition 8GB 4th generation iPod nano! Whoo!

Last week, Thursday, 9/18: Dinner at Larchmont Grill with Yoshi, Sharky & Doetzi. Dessert at Crumbs and Pinkberry on Larchmont. (Bittersweet news… Sharky & Doetzi are moving to Baltimore… but Doetzi has a new kick ass position waiting for her out there)

Last week, Friday, 9/19: Supposed to go to our friend Liz’s going away party at her place in Hollywood. Liz is moving to NYC. But Yoshi was having a major allergy attack, we stayed home instead

Last weekend, Saturday, 9/20: Family stuff most of the day. Final chanting service for my Grandma. Also was the 8th anniversary of the passing of my Grandpa’s sister. Visited the resting places for both Grandmas, Grandpa, Dad and other family members, including my cousin LL’s Grandma.

Last weekend, Sunday, 9/21: Worked at the auction house for their Natural History Sale. Sunday night: I can’t remember. Oh I remember now… date night with Yoshi! Shopping, dinner, and a movie at the Century City Mall. Movie seen: Burn After Reading. George Clooney is the yum, but Brad Pitt steals the show.

Monday, 9/22: “Food, fun, ‘fros, and farewell to Liz!” party at our place. Since we didn’t get to see Lizzy off on Friday, we had some folks over for a smaller get together. And since Liz is the lovely lady who keeps my locks in check, she gave me and teebubble haircuts after dinner and while the rest of the group was Rockbanding. (Hence, the “‘fros” part of the event title… I tried to find a more appropriate “F” word for hair… but came up empty. But I win at the alliteration!)

What do you think of my new haircut?
Attempting to take a better picture of my new haircut

I took a different picture last night, but I didn’t like it that much.

Today, 9/23: Speakeasy Night at the Edison in Downtown LA. Organized by the fabulous Caroline on Crack, and accompanied by the effervescent Moye of Chopstix, 8Asians and fame. Also in attendance, the ever-awesome Tony Pierce, the lovely Travis Koplow, the ecofriendly Siel, DigLounge, Marni, Tobi, Fiona, Sam, Sarah, Esther, and a bunch of other people I’m going to have to look up when I get a moment. Vintage cocktail: English Afterthought ($14!). And tonight was a special night… cabaret something or other was happening.

Whew! There’s a round up of as many blogworthy things I can remember.

See? I’ve been busy! That’s why my blog has been neglected for so long…

Shake shake shake!

Shake Shake Shake!
Shake your booty!

(Is that song stuck in your head now?! You’re welcome!)

I was working from home when today’s 5.4 Chino Hills earthquake struck. The building shook suddenly and I thought the earthquake was over, until a rolling motion followed shortly thereafter. When the shaking started, I looked over at Yoshi (we were both in the office) to see if I was just imagining it or not. Once I got confirmation it was an earthquake (and things weren’t toppling down on us), I was like “I’m going to blog this before anyone else does!” And so I made this post at LA Metblogs WHILE THE ROOM WAS STILL SHAKING. Damn, I’m hardcore. Either that, or my survival instinct loses to my blogging instinct.

I’m just glad I wasn’t on-site at my client’s location at the moment (like I was supposed to be). I’d have been up on the 18th floor of a high-rise building. Having been through more minor quakes on the 20th floor at my old job, I know that I don’t like the swaying of tall buildings, and I especially dislike the creaking noises the building makes during and after a quake.

Anyway, right after I posted and checked the USGS website for info, I tried to call my Mom because she was much closer to the epicenter than I was (her house is approx 15 miles away). I have 3 different cell phones with 3 different carriers and none of them were working. So I picked up my land line and called Mom’s land line. It was just a relief when she answered the phone and I heard her voice.

I asked if everything was ok, and she said, “I tried to call you and your brother but the cell phones aren’t working. I was drinking coffee and it spilled all over the place and something fell on the piano and dented it, but I’m ok.” Then she described what she heard and felt: a loud boom followed by an intense shaking and then some rolling. She said that she was trying to wipe up the coffee but then when the shaking continued, she decided to grab her purse and run for the door (she was already near the front door). But as she got there, the shaking stopped.

I was just glad to hear that she was fine and she said, “The only thing that happened here is that the piano got dented, but it’s ok. It was already dented.”

Yes, our piano was already dented? Yes. It was caused by a JozQuakeâ„¢ several years ago.

The joke is that it first got dented by my fat ass. If only it got dented because I had buns of steel. But no. Here’s how it really went down…

One day I was backing up around the piano (beep! beep! beep!) and I misjudged where the piano was behind me (also, I misjudged how big my butt was). I backed right into the upright piano. BOOM!

There was a big scholar’s rock being displayed on top of the piano which began to teeter and totter precariously when I hit the piano with my ass and started the JozQuakeâ„¢.

My Dad was behind me and saw the toppling the scholar’s rock begin its journey in the general direction toward my oblivious backside. Dad tried to catch it but it was a pretty big rock and it wasn’t quite close enough to me to actually hit me so he thought better of it and let it crash onto the piano, rather than potentially hurt himself in the process. (I know you’re thinking, “It’s just a rock.” But let me just say, my Dad collected only the most beautiful, high quality, and expensive scholar’s rocks so this rock was undoubtedly worth well over several hundred dollars. Let’s not mention how much the piano cost.)

My Mom saw all this happen from across the room at yelled at me not to get hit by the rock while simultaneously yelling at my Dad for even thinking about catching it. (How my Mom can yell so many things at so many people at the same time still amazes me.)

Lucky for me, the rock did not hit me and ended up on the ground. Also lucky for me, the rock was undamaged, too. But the same couldn’t be said about the piano, seeing as it just got hit by a giant rock. DOH!

I assumed my Dad was going to be mad at me and my carelessness… for almost breaking his rock (he LOVED his rocks) and possibly my back, and especially for denting up the piano, so I apologized to him right away.

But instead of being mad, he kind of laughed and said to me, “It’s OK; just as long as you’re OK. Now every time I see the dent, I’ll just think of you.”

My Dad is the bestest!

PS – For those who are wondering, the Bro is fine, too.

Two years ago today, my life changed forever

How do you start a post like this?

Happy birthday, Daddy.

I love you.

I miss you.

Dad & Joz

The above photo was taken on April 2, 2006, on my Dad’s 61st birthday.

Today would have been my Dad’s 63rd birthday.

Elections in Taiwan. Joz is watching.

Does that sound ominous enough for you?

Just kidding. I just made a post at 8Asians regarding the phenomenon of Taiwanese Americans traveling back to Taiwan to vote in their presidential elections.

In case you have forgotten, my Mom has been in Taiwan since the end of February and will be there through the end of this month. She did have to go back for other reasons, but she is also there to vote.

For kicks, I searched the term “Taiwan” on my own blog and was surprised at all the times I had mentioned it. Most of the references are in passing about one or both of my parents being in/calling from Taiwan.

Here are a couple of posts I had completely forgotten I had written about. Reading them takes me back to a time when my heart wasn’t broken for losing my Dad as well as how frustrated I used to get while dealing with him.

The guilt factor.
This post is interesting because I distinctly remember some of these phone calls I was getting from Dad and I remember writing this post the way I did as a way for me (secretly) remind myself of a specific “fight” I had on the phone with Dad. I am not going to get into the details of this fight, but I recently thought about this fight and was chilled about what we had argued about.

I love my Mom & Dad…. and some Taiwanese political stuff
This is one of the few times I wrote about my parents’ direct involvement in Taiwanese politics. I am still so proud of everything they fought for, everything they stand for, everything they taught me to be proud of.

Yes, I do have a lot of that. (But no comment on the other thing.)

So I was awakened not too long ago by my Mom’s friend RH (indeed, a really close family friend), who is helping us with a few things. When we talk it’s usually a frenetic conversation in Chinglish– both Chinese and English– depending on the topic.

When we were done talking shop, she asked me how I was doing because I haven’t seen her for a while and she mentioned that she saw a recent picture of me and noticed that I had gained some weight since I last saw her. (Ahhh, there’s nothing like the blunt, tactless commentary that you’ll get from a close Taiwanese/Chinese lady friend. If it wasn’t absolutely true and obvious, I probably would have been pretty mad. Besides, it “comes from a good place,” just like it does when my Mom says similar things. Although after all these years of carping about my weight, my Mom has finally stopped with the fat comments.)

The last time RH and I spent any time together was when my father was in the hospital. It has been about a year and a half since that time and I am not proud to say that I’ve gained something like 30 lbs since then.

I blame it on a combination of not eating right (my fault), not exercising (my fault) and possibly a bit of the way my body is (always had trouble with weight regulation, not my fault, but this is probably the factor I have the least control over and that I blame the least for my weight gain).

In the last two years, I have been working a full-time job + going to school full-time + lost my Dad and taken on a lot of family responsibility + learning how to deal with the grief of losing such a close loved one. Oh yeah, I don’t get a heck of a lot of sleep, either.

The first two things alone (work + school) was enough to derail me a little bit from a relatively decent (not-quite-healthy-but-not-so-bad lifestyle), but the combination of all those things above really put me in a tailspin. I have been running around for a long time, not thinking about what I am putting into my body, not doing too much exercise, and definitely not sleeping enough to give myself the rest I so desperately need all the time.

Ok, all that said, what does the title of my post mean?

So RH was asking me why I had gained so much weight so quickly. She was concerned about health issues, like did I have some sort of weird immunological disease or something. I told her I didn’t think so and just said that I wasn’t really taking care of myself or exercising, etc. She asked me a bunch more questions (Had I been to the doctor? What did they say? etc) and I answered them half-heartedly.

Then she asked me something that got my attention.

RH: “DO YOU HAVE A LOT OF SEX?” (in English)

“WHAT?!” I asked in Chinese, really shocked by the mention of the subject. (I do NOT talk to my Mom about such things, so I am not going to go talking to her close friend about stuff like this. As far as my Mom likes to believe, I don’t even know what sex is and I’m not planning on changing that perception for a while!)

RH: “I said, ‘Do you have a lot of sex?'” (she repeated in English)

Joz: …

I sat there dumbfounded in silence, which is pretty damn unusual for me. What the hell is she bringing this up for?! What the hell am I going to say?! How do I change the topic!?!?! Arrrrgh! So embarrassing!

Since I didn’t answer for a bit (maybe like 10 seconds, which is an eternity, especially for a blabbermouth like me), she asked the question again:

RH: “Did you hear what I asked?” (in Chinese)
RH: “Do you have a lot of PRESSURE on you?” (in English.)

Joz: “Pressure?” (in English)

RH: “Yes, pressure. STRESS. Do you have a lot of STRESS?” (in English)

OMG! She was asking me about STRESS, not SEX! Thank god!

Joz: “Pressure? Oh yeah, I have lots of that. You know that.”

RH: “You shouldn’t worry so much, try to relax and not to take on so much pressure. It’s not good for your body.” (in Chinese)

Joz: “Yeah, I know.” (Joz changes the subject quickly)

So to recap…

Yes, I do have a lot of that. STRESS

(But no comment on the other thing.) SEX

Oh gawd I love these Chinglish conversations.

PS – The last few days excepted, I have been eating better and have dropped 8-10 lbs since the beginning of the year. I’m working on it. Really, I am.

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