Archive for the ':: mom ::' Category

Real conversation with Mom today…

Mom: What did that email that you sent me mean?

Me: Which email are you talking about?

Mom: It was a Gmail. [Mom and I both use Gmail]

Me: Um. What email are you talking about? Let’s open up your Gmail and you can show me which one. [I go to open her Gmail.]

Mom: Oh you won’t be able to find it in my Gmail.

Me: Why not?

Mom: I deleted it because I didn’t know what it meant.

Me:

Originally posted on Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/jozwang/posts/10152729442805672

My Mother, My Heart

Mom & Dad

Someday, I may be able to look back on today and remember the intense roller coaster that this morning has already been. But for now, I will take a few quiet moments on the occasion of Mother’s Day to write a short but rare blog post (yes! an actual blog post!) in honor of my beautiful mother.

In the 13+ years that I have been blogging, I have made reference to my Mom and even posted funny stories about her, but I have never written a tribute to her, nor have I posted a photo where you could clearly see her face. Not only am I protective of her privacy, I also think it’s overwhelming to me to honor my Mom in writing because simply I don’t have the words to express how grateful I am of her sacrifices and how much I love her.

When my Dad passed away in 2006, so many people commented on how much like my father I am. But in all honesty, I have always been a perfect blend of the best of my two parents.

If I’m anything like my father, it’s because he and I shared the same kind of mind– full of curiosity and unending desire to read and learn.

If I’m anything like my mother, it’s because she and I share the same loving spirit and compassion for the world around us– we care and love deeply, and are concerned for those around us more than we are for ourselves. Many times, when I know that I have given too much, I think that this is my biggest flaw. Deep down, however, I know this is actually one of my biggest strengths.

My Dad didn’t always communicate his emotions in words, so there were times when I felt like I didn’t know what he was feeling. But I always felt like knew what my Mom was feeling because I didn’t need words to know– I just had to listen to my own heart, because our hearts are so alike.

If my father shaped my head, then my mother shaped my heart.

If you have ever known my warmth, my enthusiasm, indeed, my love… then you have known my mother… because all these essential parts of my spirit are just a fraction of what I received from her.

Thank you for everything, Mom! I love you!

~~~
I don’t know the context of the photo above, but this picture of my parents was taken about two years before I was born. If I were to guess where this was taken, it would be Syracuse, New York, around the time that my Dad would have finished grad school and started working for his professor’s architectural firm. Mom joined Dad in Syracuse after she finished studying public health at a medical school in Japan, but was so miserable because of the brutal winters there that they soon moved to sunny Southern California and never looked back.

Pix from Mom: Pretty butterflies… doing it?!

I’ve officially decided (without her permission) to start a new series of
photos of the random photos my Mom takes/sends me… Here’s the first!

Sent to me 7/9/2014.

Happy twenty-seexth* birthday to me!

PBS-Birthday-pb090215cmyk_ts

Hey, what do you know? Another year has passed and I’m still twenty-seex… how’d that happen?*

Unlike previous years, when I celebrated my birthday for the entire month of November, this year, I started late and only began a few days ago.

My “birthday celebration preview” event was Indian food on Friday night, followed by a visit to the bakery to pick up a sweet treat… I chose a birthday cake cookie, but I haven’t had it yet. You see, I’m avoiding birthday cakes like the Croc above, so I don’t get a year older, despite the seven white hairs that were pulled from my head in the last 48 hours. (I blame that on stress, not on age!)

Over the weekend, my family took me out to have vegetarian food at Happy Family Restaurant in Monterey Park (see my Yelp review here), then dinner at Mccormick & Schmick’s (see my Yelp review here). On Sunday, after we both had to work during the day, EB took me to a Michael Buble concert in Anaheim, at The Pond/Honda Center (aka “The Honda Ponda”).

Today was my actual birthday and I got lots of birthday phone calls, emails, IMs, text messages, tweets and Facebook messages… did I get all the different ways people reached out? It made my day to hear from people I haven’t heard from in a while (that is, since my last birthday, when Facebook reminded them all I am still alive and still on their friends lists).

This morning started out super-early for an appointment and then a big surprise: Taiwanese breakfast! Yoshi can’t stand having Taiwanese breakfast, so since I pretty much get whatever I want on my birthday, I asked for Taiwanese breakfast and Yoshi didn’t refuse! I was so excited that I ordered too much and I had to have Taiwanese breakfast for lunch, too.

Oh right, today, President Obama came to Los Angeles for a fundraiser at Magic Johnson’s house. It was really nice of Obama to visit LA for my birthday, but alas, my birthday schedule was already booked so I couldn’t visit with our dear Commander in Chief. Next time, his people will have to request time with my people sooner.

However, as a result of the President visiting, traffic was really messed up, EB asked if he should order the helicopter. I said, “No, it’s my birthday. I want to go via flying unicorn.” EB and Yoshi’s combined response was all, “THERE’S NO SUCH THING AS A FLYING UNICORN! jeez. it’s either a unicorn or a pegasus.” Duh, I know the difference between a unicorn and a pegasus and I WANT THEM BOTH! Rather than being wasteful by asking for both a unicorn and a pegasus, all I asked for is a flying unicorn to fly me around for my birthday. Instead, they took me out for AYCE KBBQ, which was almost as good as rides on a flying unicorn. Almost.

Since I started celebrating my birthday late, I’ve decided to celebrate my birthday through Christmas this year, which is a month from today. EB says I’m doing it wrong because I’m only celebrating my birthday for a month, when I should really just be celebrating THE YEAR OF JOZ until this day next year. Maybe I’ll try that. And then when I get bored of that, I’ll start celebrating the THE DECADE OF JOZ after that. Not sure if that’s going overboard, but I should probably try it to find out. Regardless, of how long I’m celebrating, I’m pretty sure I will stay twenty-seex for a long, long time to come.

In other creepy news, Google knew it was my birthday today:

2013-11-25-GoogleBirthday

Actually, I don’t know why I’m the one over-celebrating my birthday, when it was my Mom that did all the work 26* years ago. Thanks, Mom!!!

*It’s called denial. But for the record, I am definitely not forty.

“Trick-or-Treat Goodies (our way)” – Year Eight (is Great!)

Long time readers of this blog will remember the original version of “Trick-or-Treat Goodies (our way)” post made in 2004. This story received an update in 2008, but it remains the unedited (save for some formatting corrections) for Year Eight (2011).

This has been such a crazy busy year, that I can’t remember what I did for a costume in 2010 (did I even get dressed up last year?!). This year, I recycled that ugly red dress I originally wore to the first Blogger Prom and added a few more red pieces to be Jozzy Red Riding Hood. (Or in Ernie’s words “Jozzy Joz Riding Joz.”) I wore this redtastic getup to work even though I had a in-person/video conference presentation at 9am.

At lunchtime, a group of us took a trip to the Disney Studio Lot to check out costumes and watch a bit of the Halloween Costume Contest (judged by Bob Iger, Anne Sweeney and other big time Disney execs.) Before getting to the fun and games, however, my passengers and I had a small adventure in the parking structure where we had to squeeze into a teeny tiny parking spot because other people don’t know how to park. The short version is that with the help of @unpoete, I was able to get my car into a parking spot where the car was literally TOUCHING a concrete post (but not scraping). Even more amazing, we were able to dislodge the car without any damage… it was magic via teamwork! (Unfortunately, this entire situation apparently caused a bit of stress during lunch for @microhan who, along with @unpoete and S, seemed way more concerned about my car than I was.)

What else? Since another Blogger Prom hasn’t happened yet, I’m still the reigning Blogger Prom Queen. On the homefront, we have decidedly less annoying neighbors– so less #neighborhooddrama or #neighborhooddorama to report. On the downside, we continue to live out of boxes and I still have no idea where the vast majority of my stuff is.

2011 has been NON-STOP for me… off the top of my head, major extracurricular activities I helped organize/produce included: Banana2 Conference, IWMF International Conference of Women Media Leaders in DC, Passport DC’s Around the World Embassy Tour, AAJA LA’s 30th Anniversary Trivia Bowl, IWMF’s Courage in Journalism Awards show in Beverly Hills… all this in addition to my responsibilities as Co-Editor of 8Asians, Secretary of the Boards of East West Players and the Asian American Journalists Association (Los Angeles Chapter)… and oh yeah, a day job that actually pays the bills.

Ack, I’m tired just thinking about it. Anyway, here’s my annual Halloween story posted in honor my Mom, who is in Taiwan (again) this fall. I hope you enjoy it (again or for the first time).

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)” – Year Eight (is Great!)’

Google Voice sucks at transcribing voicemails from my Mom #4

I love Google Voice but it sucks at speech-to-text translation from my Mom. Of course this is not GV’s fault because most of the time, my Mom is speaking Chinese or maybe Chinglish at best. I really don’t expect it to translate twice! Here’s one example:

8/29/10 6:18 PM
Alright. Hello. Bye, hey hello, hello hey Yeah, Yeah, hello hello.

Note: I don’t know what my Mom was doing when she called me, but at first it sounded like she was talking to someone else. But then she did say “Hello, Jocelyn. Hello?” Google Voice has not gotten my name right yet.
What GV got right: Hello; hello (in italics)
What GV got wrong: Everything else.

Google Voice sucks at transcribing voicemails from my Mom #3

I love Google Voice but it sucks at speech-to-text translation from my Mom. Of course this is not GV’s fault because most of the time, my Mom is speaking Chinese or maybe Chinglish at best. I really don’t expect it to translate twice! Here’s one example:

8/18/10 6:57 PM
Hi thinking want to Advanta the Naperville that. Yeah on my dancing at staple, and I won’t be bugging out the out if you have a holler at you with that and Give me a call, okay bye bye and we will meet you know what way that with you. Bye bye, okay bye bye.

Note: Message left mostly in Chinese, some English words.
What GV got right: okay bye bye (in italics)
What GV got wrong: Everything else.

Google Voice sucks at transcribing voicemails from my Mom #2

I love Google Voice but it sucks at speech-to-text translation from my Mom. Of course this is not GV’s fault because most of the time, my Mom is speaking Chinese or maybe Chinglish at best. I really don’t expect it to translate twice! Here’s one example:

8/19/10 12:04 PM
Destiny. I mean the me. I will go to. I’m back. If you, the it. And we’d been saying for you okay bye bye.

Note: My Mom actually left this entire message for me in English
What GV got right: If you; for you okay bye bye (in italics)
What GV got wrong: Everything else.

Google Voice sucks at transcribing voicemails from my Mom #1

I love Google Voice but it sucks at speech-to-text translation from my Mom. Of course this is not GV’s fault because most of the time, my Mom is speaking Chinese or maybe Chinglish at best. I really don’t expect it to translate twice! Here’s one example:

8/30/10 8:44 AM
I was in my name is Anthony Now, what things can and coming out if you could please call. They had a so it’s a hump. This week or so if you Not Gonna on sell spent in so. It’s all about the Nokia nadski says if you could. All. So, listen to your home okay just now, ohh.

Note: Message mostly in Chinese
What GV got right: ohh (in italics)
What GV got wrong: Everything else.

“Trick-or-Treat Goodies (our way)” – Year Seven–even though I somehow missed Year Six

Another Halloween and in going back to copy and paste my annual Halloween post, I just realized that I somehow missed posting this last year. So it has been two years since I last posted this slightly updated version of the original “Trick-or-Treat Goodies (our way)” post made in 2004.

I think I might have forgotten to post this last year, because I actually planned to go to my friend Dave’s Halloween Bash and was worried about putting a costume together: Miss Scarlet from Clue. But in reality, the costume wasn’t that difficult to put together because, I was just trying to find another reason to wear that ugly red dress I wore to the first Blogger Prom and all I had to do was to convince Yoshi to let me buy (and carry around) a red pipe wrench all night.

This year finds me crowned as the reigning Blogger Prom Queen (Hey! Can I just wear my tiara and call that a costume?!) and living next door to annoying neighbors– #neighborhooddrama or #neighborhooddorama! I’m a little scared to be at home for Halloween because I really don’t know what this neighborhood has in store for us tonight. I may wake up and find the front of my house egged or TP’d. If only being Blogger Prom Queen meant that I could live in the Official Blogger Prom Castle, but alas, the Blogger Prom Kingdom was rocked with subprime mortgages last year before I took the throne. Last I heard, the Castle is in the midst of being foreclosed upon. Bummer.

Actually, I was supposed to meet up with EB in Vegas for Halloween, but I canceled the trip, seeing as I’ve been traveling almost every weekend since Labor Day. I also got sick last night, so it’s probably a good thing I didn’t fly to Vegas on Friday night as planned. But since I had not planned on going to any parties in L.A., it means I’ll probably be sitting inside the house, hiding in the dark from the trick-or-treaters since I didn’t even bother to buy candy this year…

Nonetheless, I am taking a couple of moments to post my annual Halloween story in honor my Mom, who is in Taiwan (again) this fall.

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)” – Year Seven–even though I somehow missed Year Six’

The obligatory blog post about the crazy woman I called the cops on.

If you follow me on Twitter, you might have noticed a bunch of rapid tweets around noon on Friday about my run-in with a crazy old woman which resulted in me calling the cops.

The story really began around 11am, as I was walking my Mom out to her car, which was parked in a guest parking space behind the building. My Mom and I were discussing our weekend plans and decided to walk to the front of the building to take a look at one of our fruit trees which is starting to bloom. (Yay, Spring!) We were taking pictures of the flowering tree while chatting.

As we were standing in front of the building, we saw an old Asian woman pushing a shopping cart full of plastic bottles down the sidewalk. She was clearly looking for stuff to recycle. Fridays are garbage days in the neighborhood, so our trash and recycle bins were lined up on the street in the front of the building, just like everyone else’s. But she didn’t look in anyone’s garbage bins on our block and instead pushed her cart directly to our property and up our driveway.

My Mom saw this and looked at me with the “Who is this?” expression and I shrugged. Mom started following the old woman up our driveway calling out “Where are you going?” in Mandarin. (Note: Chinese will be in italics)

The woman either didn’t hear, didn’t understand, or chose to ignore my Mom because she kept pushing her cart up the driveway toward the area where we usually keep the trash bins.

My Mom chased after and got a little closer and a little louder. I followed her but kept my mouth shut. This time the woman definitely heard Mom and turned around, waving her arms, babbling unintelligibly and pointing toward some (empty) trash bins in back. I didn’t understand what she was saying– it sounded like Chinese but I figured her accent was hard for me to decipher. But from the body language and the context of the whole scenario, we both knew what was she was trying to tell us– she wanted to go through the trash.

My Mom said, “The trash is all outside in front; those bins are empty. There is nothing there.”

The woman seemed to understand for a moment, but then decided to keep going.

Mom repeated very nicely, “There is nothing there. You can go somewhere else now.” But then the woman started waving her arms at us like “Go away” or “Leave me alone” while babbling at us unintelligibly. Then my Mom said, “I don’t understand you!” and turned to me to say that the woman was from China and she wasn’t speaking any of the dialects my Mom knew.

The woman took this opportunity to begin emptying her cart of plastic bottles, bags and other miscellaneous items on to the driveway, so my Mom started to get upset. Even if the woman was going to try to take trash out of our bins, there was no reason for her to throw her stuff all over the place and make a mess in the middle of our driveway.

That’s when things began to escalate. Mom starts repeating herself “Move your stuff, I am trying to leave and I need to drive here,” while gesturing to her car and pointing down the driveway.

I understood enough of what was coming out of her mouth that she was saying “don’t bother me” or “don’t tell me what to do.” The old woman was still babbling loudly but now clearly, “I am not in the way! Drive around!” and stopped making a mess long enough to shake her head and gesture “Go around.”

My Mom kept saying “I can’t drive around. There is only one driveway, please pick up your things and move your cart.” My Mom was starting to raise her voice, but she was still being overly polite and trying to reason with a crazy woman.

But the woman started getting louder and meaner at my Mom, acting like she could tell us what to do on our own property. She was trying to shoo US away! She kept pointing at my Mom’s car and and gesturing like Mom should somehow be able to shrink the car to fit down the driveway even though a crazy woman, her shopping cart, and a bunch of garbage was all in the way.

My Mom was going to be late to her appointment to meet her sister, so I told her to get in the car and I tried my luck with the old woman. As my Mom was getting in the car, I just nicely (but firmly) repeated everything Mom had already said. If the woman wasn’t going to pay attention to my Mom, she certainly wasn’t going to listen to me.

She ignored what I was saying and headed toward our neighbor’s garbage area and picked up some glass beer bottles that were sitting in a small box. She set down the glass bottles in the driveway to get in my face and scream at me in Chinese. She seemed really mad that I was in her business. She had her recycling now, but I couldn’t figure out why she had to make a mess everywhere.

I was getting really pissed because my Mom had backed out of the parking spot and waiting for the driveway to clear and I was getting screamed at by a mean old Chinese woman who was trespassing on my property and making a fucking mess with her garbage all over my driveway.

The whole time this was going on the woman was yelling and screaming and not listening even though she could understand us, so I just started screaming back at her in Chinese. “GO AWAY! MOVE YOUR STUFF! LEAVE NOW! DON’T COME BACK!” I pointed down the driveway.

Well the woman understood enough to start screaming back at me very clearly, “YOU LEAVE! I AM NOT LEAVING!” and she started pointing at me and pointing down the driveway.

I screamed at her, “I LIVE HERE! YOU DO NOT! GO AWAY! I WILL CALL THE POLICE IF YOU DON’T LEAVE RIGHT NOW!”

She kept screaming “YOU LEAVE! YOU LEAVE! YOU LEAVE!” and she kept pointing at me to go down the driveway.

My Mom was in the car and started honking her horn. She rolled down the window and screamed, “GET OUT OF THE WAY!”

I stood my ground and put my hands on my hips. “I AM TELLING YOU ONCE MORE! LEAVE!” The woman took a step toward me and put her hands on HER hips, mocking me and giving me a defiant look. “I AM NOT LEAVING! YOU LEAVE!” she screamed at me. My Mom kept honking her horn and screaming from the car, “GET YOUR STUFF OUT OF THE WAY! GET OUT OF HERE!”

Behind her, I saw a (non-Asian) neighbor walking on his driveway two doors down. He was watching us as he was walking to his front door, shaking his head, but staring intently at the commotion.

My Mom kept honking her horn. And I screamed again, “LEAVE RIGHT NOW OR I WILL CALL THE POLICE!”

She looked at me and scoffed as if to say that she didn’t believe I would and she started heading back toward her shopping cart. She reached in and pulled out the broomstick she uses to poke around in the trash and she held it high above her head and screamed, “I WILL HIT YOU!”

I screamed back at her “GO AHEAD AND HIT ME!”

My Mom saw the woman wielding the broomstick and started honking some more. If don’t know how it’s possible, but I think she got that car horn to honk even louder.

“I WILL HIT YOU! AND I WILL NOT LEAVE!” screamed the woman as she started to swing the broomstick at me. I stood my ground.

Mom’s hands were down on the horn.

“GO AHEAD!” I yelled. “HIT ME SO THE COPS WILL THROW YOU IN JAIL FOR THAT WHEN THEY GET HERE. YOU BETTER LEAVE NOW BECAUSE I AM CALLING!”

I picked up my cell phone and started dialing. She realized that I was serious because she stopped swinging the broomstick and put it back into her cart.

I called GOOG-411 because I wanted her to hear exactly who I was getting connected to. I got through to the police department and asked the dispatcher to send a car to my property because a trespasser was on site, threatening to hit me with a broomstick, and refusing to leave.

The woman was screaming insults at me in Chinese but realized I wasn’t bluffing and was really calling the cops. Mom had stopped honking when the broomstick came down and she saw me dialing my phone. I stopped giving my report to the police long enough to scream at her, “I AM ON THE PHONE WITH THE POLICE. YOU WANT TO BE HERE WHEN THEY GET HERE? TAKE YOUR THINGS AND LEAVE!” The woman started grabbing her garbage and throwing it back in her cart, all the while screaming at me in Chinese. She kept screaming at me and waved a glass bottle in my direction. I gave her a look and she dropped it while trying to throw it and it shattered all over my driveway. Her aim with the glass bottles was worse than that with her broomstick.

“PICK IT UP! DON’T LEAVE YOUR TRASH HERE!” I yelled between the English answers I was giving to the dispatcher on the phone.

I hung up with the dispatcher after a quick report and saw that she was trying to pick up the pieces of broken glass from the driveway and had cut her right thumb deeply on the glass. She was bleeding everywhere and waving her thumb at me as if I was supposed to feel sympathy for her.

“I DON’T CARE! GET YOUR STUFF OUT OF THE WAY! GO NOW! THE COPS ARE COMING! LEAVE NOW! DON’T COME BACK!”

Most of the stuff was in the cart now and the last big pieces of glass had been picked up. My Mom inched down the driveway in her car, herding us out toward the street.

The woman was trying to hold her bleeding thumb and push the cart out at the same time. She continued screaming at me and only stopped when she put her thumb in her mouth to suck away the blood.

“GO AWAY AND DO NOT COME BACK HERE!” I screamed at her. She kept pushing her cart down the driveway with Mom following in the car behind us. I kept screaming, “DO NOT COME BACK HERE! I WILL CALL THE COPS IF I EVER SEE YOU ON MY PROPERTY AGAIN! DO NOT TOUCH MY TRASH AGAIN! DO NOT COME HERE!”

We got to the end of the driveway and she stopped the cart to show me her thumb, which was now bright purple from the blood oozing out from the cut.

What did she expect? For me to offer her a Band-Aid?! “YOU ARE STILL IN THE WAY!” No sympathy from me. “GET OUT OF HERE! DO NOT COME HERE AGAIN!”

She finally started pushing her cart away from our driveway. She was still screaming at me, but her voice was drifting further and further away as she walked away with her cart, broomstick, plastic bottles, and shattered glass bottles. Mom pulled up and blocked her from getting back in the driveway just in case she was dumb or crazy enough to turn around.

My Mom rolled down the passenger side window. “Are you okay? She scared me when I thought she was going to hit you.” I told her I was fine and I could see a patrolcar coming down the street.

A young lady had been walking down the block and was watching the tail-end of the scene in horror. She kept walking after the crazy woman left.

The cop pulled up and rolled down his window and wanted to know where the woman was. I saw the unattended shopping cart 3 buildings down. I couldn’t see her. I guess she tried to get a bandage for her thumb. The policeman asked if I was ok and I said I was fine but that the woman wouldn’t leave until I called the cops– I was sorry to bother them about a call like this. He said that he was going to ticket her based on what I told him.

From the other direction, a second patrolcar swung by. The old woman was now back at her cart, looking in my direction. She saw the two policecars in the street and me leaning into the window of one of them. She stood there and stared at us in disbelief and panic.

My guess is that this woman goes around and takes trash out people’s bins all the time and no one ever bothers her about it. Frankly, if she had been digging through the bins in the front of the building, I would have been annoyed, but I wouldn’t have stopped her from doing it. Even though I’m sure it never happens, people can still get ticketed for going through the trash. But it’s certainly not the sort of thing I would have called the cops about. Then again, digging through the trash bins on the street is not the same as trespassing or threatening to hit someone with a broomstick. Once she was on my property, making a mess and getting belligerent with my Mom, what was I supposed to do?

Both cops pulled over with flashing lights and tried to talk to the old woman. For as little Mandarin the woman knew, I’m guessing she knew even less English. She kept waving her arms around and screaming at them. I really felt bad for the cops at that moment. Cops have to deal with the craziest things and people. My Mom left when she saw that the police were there and that everything was calming down. The neighbor who saw everything happen was now pulling out of his driveway and saw the cops on the street next door to his place. He looked over at me and waved. I ran over to his car and apologized for the ruckus and all the screaming and he said, “My mother was watching from inside and she couldn’t believe that woman tried to hit you with that big stick!” I told him I was sorry to make a commotion back there and he said, “No, it’s ok. I saw what was going on and you had no choice.” He left and I walked back in front of my building and called Yoshi. No answer.

The young woman who had walked by earlier was now coming back. I think she lives on the other end of the block. She saw the police and flashing lights and ran up to me and asked, “WHAT HAPPEN?” I started explaining in Chinese and she said, “I Vietnamese. Not Chinese. Only a little bit English.”

So tried to slow down and said the woman was throwing trash and said she was going to hit me. Her eyes widened. “Did she hit???” I said, “No, but she tried.” The woman shook her head in disbelief. I apologized to her for scaring her.

After 20 minutes, one of the cops walked up to me and asked “What do you want us to do? We can take her to jail. Is that what you want?”

For a split second, I was very tempted to say “yes.” I was still angry and the adrenaline was still flowing. But I said, “No, I just don’t want her on my property.”

He asked, “Did you tell her that?”

I said, “Yes, and then I screamed it at her when she wouldn’t leave.”

He asked me why she was bleeding and I said, “She cut her hand on broken glass after she tried to throw a beer bottle at me.”

And he said, “Ok. Well, if she comes again, we will take her to jail.”

I thanked him for his help and said that I hoped it wouldn’t come to that. I went back inside after that.

The best part of the story actually happened near the end when the old woman was already starting to leave and my Mom was inching down the driveway behind us when Mom started screaming from her car “TAKE HER PICTURE! POST IT ONLINE!” I had forgotten that my camera had been hanging from my wrist the whole time. Now that Mom understands the power of a good photo + internet (thank you, Racist Camera— the picture that keeps on giving), she wanted to publicly shame the woman, too! My Mom rules.

As great of an idea as that was, I didn’t feel like getting the woman angrier at me by trying to stick a camera in her face. I imagine she probably would have tried whack my camera with that damn broomstick if she’d seen me taking her photo. Later on, I did end up taking a few pictures (from far away) when the cops were talking to the old woman, but rather than posting those photos, I think I’ll harness the power of the intarwebs for good– instead of for public shaming.

This time, anyway.

Chorus of grandmas and grandpas did a costume change!

They’re getting hoots and hollers from the audience!

Someone yelled "grandpa is so handsome!" in Taiwanese.

Hilarious.

(Lest there is any confusion… my Mom is NOT in the chorus with the grandpas and grandmas… there were actually 3 choral groups performing in one concert!)

-J
Pecked out on my iPhone. Sorry for any typos.

“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’

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?

The Rice Fairy came and I didn’t even notice

This morning Yoshi woke up and went out the back door to put something on the back porch.

“Why is there rice outside?”

???

I went outside to look and sure enough, there was a 20 lb. bag of rice sitting on our back porch!

A gift from the Rice Fairy!

How did that get there!?

Then I remembered that this past Sunday, my Mom had stopped by to leave me a bunch of stuff while I was working and left some things back there for me… but because the bag of rice was not in the same area where the other stuff was, I somehow missed it.

Anyway, thanks Rice Fairy… er, I mean MOM!

(And thanks to Yoshi for finding it!)

More Mom time

My Mom had an appointment nearby this afternoon and I invited her over when she finished up. I was working from home, and I was still working when she got here, so I told her she needed to leave me alone (not talk to me while I was on the computer) until I was done with what I was working on.

She went outside to water the lawn and the neighbor’s garden instead. When she came back inside, I was just about wrapping up work for the day and she had something round and dirty in her hand.

“I found a quarter!” she exclaimed. “Your neighbor came home and thanked me for watering the garden because she hadn’t done it in so long… and then I found a quarter!”*

Then she looked at the muddy thing in her hand and she handed it over to Yoshi asking, “Is this a quarter?”

Hilarious.

(Yes, it was a quarter… Mom is up 25 cents!)

Mom and I hit the road to run a couple of errands… one in K-Town and then I convinced to come with me to check out the (somewhat) new Fresh & Easy neighborhood market in Hollywood with me. I had a $5 off a $20 purchase coupon that was expiring, so I thought I should go and check it out. The store is located just down the street from Hollywood & Highland and at 7pm, there was still a ton of traffic on the roads and it was a pain to get there.

The store itself was certainly clean: items were fresh and it was easy. But everything seemed pricey; I couldn’t bring myself to spend more than $1 on a small bunch of green onions when I am used to paying a dime or a quarter for a bunch at the Asian supermarket. My Mom said she didn’t need anything, so I said, “Let’s spend $20 on junk food!” which she agreed with surprisingly quickly.

We ended up buying boysenberry granola (mine… shut up, Efren! I haven’t had granola in ages!), blue tortilla chips (mom’s), peach flavored gummy candy (mine), white tortilla chips (mom’s), chocolate covered espresso beans (mine), a loaf of bread (mom’s), and a can of chili (mine, for yoshi). As I scanned the items (self-check out — which scared my Mom because she’d never done self check-out before), I realized the total was shy of $20… we needed to spend two more dollars to use the $5 coupon! I sent my Mom off to spend $2 more… she came back with ANOTHER bag of white tortilla chips for me.

Bingo! Total before coupon: $20.56! Final total: $15.56!

As we were leaving the store, I went to go validate the parking ticket. Except I accidentally stuck the ticket in twice (punched twice) so the validation wasn’t going to scan properly. The Fresh & Easy guy I talked to (boy, that makes him sound really slutty) said, “Oh don’t worry about that. Just show the parking attendant on your way out.” So we headed to the elevator to go down to the parking level our car was parked. My Mom was pushing the cart of junk food and as the elevator doors opened, she started pushing the cart into the elevator ahead of me but stopped abruptly when the girl inside started screaming. My Mom shrieked and jumped backwards into me.

“What happened?” I asked.

My Mom looked back into the elevator where a really loud-talking oblivious girl was yelling into her cell phone. “The girl startled me. I thought she was yelling AT ME.”

We got into the elevator when we realized the girl was just having an incredibly loud and obnoxious conversation on her cell phone. (I wonder if it occurred to her that the reason the person on the other line couldn’t hear her was because SHE WAS IN AN ELEVATOR AND GOING DOWN 3 STORIES TO UNDERGROUND PARKING?!) The girl continued her conversation (loudly and obliviously) until she walked out of the elevator on the same level we were parked.

“My heart is still beating so fast. That girl scared me!” Mom repeated.

I started insulting the girl in Chinese under my breath until my Mom gave me a look to stop it.

At the parking lot entrance, my f-ed up parking ticket wasn’t scanning properly (as predicted). The parking attendant was not amused and threatened to make me pay $6 for parking (we are supposed to get 1 hour of parking validated). No! That would negate my $5 coupon! So I asked him nicely if he could let me out since you could see the validation stamp. He debated for a second and saw the line of cars getting longer behind mine and said, “OK,” as he filled out a sheet of paper and used his super-secret letting people out card to lift the gate. Whoo hoo!

Anyway, we went back to my place after that and Yoshi was home visiting with our friend T. Mom had to hit the road, so after walking her out, I had a quick dinner and hung out with Yoshi and T for the rest of the evening.

A couple of days ago, Bossdude had said that he couldn’t write about his life in such detail (in reference to my Memorial Day post). I’m pretty sure the implication was, “OMG, Joz, how can you write about your inane life in such mind-numbingly boring detail?!”

Maybe because my life is so damn boring now that this is as exciting as it gets?

*Mandarin is in italics

Memorial Day Weekend 2008

Since December of last year, I’ve gone on an out of town trip an average of twice a month. You would think that for a long weekend, I would want to go on a trip, but that would be wrong. I hate traveling during holiday weekends, when everyone else is traveling.

I had a lot to catch up with around the house; general chores and stuff. Yoshi is usually the one who cleans and stuff around the house (since I am so horribly bad at it), but I figured that I should pitch in so long as I had some “extra time.” Also, I made a mess of the kitchen, so cleaning some of the more awful messes (especially ones I cause) are really my responsibility. I should have made an appearance at Darleene’s birthday party on Saturday, but I since I am almost always using the excuse that “I’m never home” so I don’t have to clean, I figured leaving for a party on cleaning day wasn’t a good idea.

By the end of the evening, I was tired of being home all day, and I whined my way into having Yoshi go to the movies with me. We ended up stopping by the drugstore to buy a stash of candy, grabbing a quick bite of pizza, and then watching “The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian” at the Century City AMC*. Boy, that is a long movie! It’s a good thing I looked at the running time (2 hours, 20 minutes!) before the movie started. I decided not to drink anything until the movie was almost over so I wouldn’t have to run from the film doing the pee-pee dance.

On Sunday, I made a quick visit to see Grandma and to run a quick errand near her place before driving back to OC to spend time with my Mom. Mom had been at a friend’s funeral service in the morning and decided to get gas and groceries on the way home. I had intended to extend my cleaning streak to help my Mom around her house, but instead, she asked me for help in making potstickers. From hand chopping the nappa cabbage to folding the potstickers, my Mom let me sit on the living room floor in front of the TV (as I did when I was growing up) and fold a couple of hundred potstickers. (I watched the movie “Clueless” on TBS and then kept flipping back to CNN as they were doing live coverage of the Phoenix Mars lander.) My Mom was taking potstickers as fast as I was making them, and throwing them on to the stove as she was pan-frying them. Yum!

Joz-made potstickers

I brought a couple of batches home, foolishly thinking that I’d freeze them and save them for another day but I ended up pan-frying them myself so Yoshi and I could pig out on almost all of them for dinner on Monday night. Yum! Gyoza!

But I skipped something.

After dinner on Sunday, I took my Mom to The Block in Orange to run a quick errand and do a quick walk-through of half the mall. We stopped into Bath & Body Works and tried a bunch of fragrant lotions and stuff. My Mom had the most fun trying on the flavored lip glosses. I tried pink grapefruit. She had fruit punch, which made her lips a bright pink. With glitter. Hilarious and so much fun.

Then we stopped by the house to drop something off and headed off to catch a movie. My Mom wanted to watch “Made of Honor” (since I had described it as a romantic comedy), so that’s what we watched. It wasn’t that great of a movie, but it had its charming moments and Mom was having fun, so I had a good time. It was about 11pm when Made of Honor ended, but Mom wasn’t done yet! We walked out of the theater and she said, “Let’s see another movie!”**

“Mom, there are no movies starting at 11pm on a Sunday night,” I reminded her.

“I don’t have to see the whole movie, let’s go see something that’s already started!” she answered!

Oh yay! I was going to be theater-hopping at midnight with Mom! She headed to “Harold & Kumar,” but not wanting to have to explain any potentially gross humor to my mom, I steered her to the Narnia movie I had already seen the previous night, especially since I knew there was at least an hour of that movie left to go. We walked into as a massive fight scene was happening and since there was no context of what what happening my Mom was confused.

“WHAT is going on here with all these animals fighting?” she asked. I had to explain that the animals were the good guys and the mean looking people were the bad guys. After that, it was all good.

Of course, by the time the movie was over, it was 12:30… way past my bedtime! Instead of going back to L.A., I spent the night in OC at my Mom’s house.

When I woke up on Monday morning, I was trying to leave early, but I had accidentally popped the trunk of the car the night before and the car battery died from the little trunk light being on all night. Ooops. Luckily, no one stole any of the Cup-O-Noodles out of the back of my car while it was open all night on the street in front of my parents’ home.

Anyway, I had to go get gas, so while I was out, I stopped by the movie theater and picked up a pair of tickets for my Mom to catch a matinee of the new Indiana Jones movie. I wanted to stay, but wanted to hit the road before the mad long weekend traffic kicked in. I made it home in 35 minutes flat. Nice!

*Through my old job, I have an Annual Pass for movies at AMC Theaters, good for me + 1 through the end of this year. Sadly, the pass I had for 2007 was practically wasted on me because I didn’t have time for movies while I was in school last year. I have resolved to make VERY good use of my pass this year now that I’m done with school and while I still have a pass. I most definitely won’t be getting a pass next year.

**As always, italics means it was in Mandarin.

I am supposed to get on stage in front my Mom on Mother’s Day and I am flipping the heck out.

So one of the crazy things I got involved with promptly after graduation is this Mother’s Day performance at the Pacific Asia Museum my friend Andrea Apuy is co-directing.

It’s called “Chinese American Stories: My Mother” and since it’s on Mother’s Day, I’ve invited my Mom to see it.

That’s right… I’m getting on stage and telling a story about my mother… with my Mom in the audience! Am I insane!? I feel as nervous as I did in second grade when I was forced to enter speech contests in Chinese School (more like pronunciation contests, because we’d recite poems and stories and stuff; not usually things we wrote ourselves) and had to speak on stage in front of my parents and all the parents of all the other students. Nerve-racking!

Except now I’m doing this supposedly willingly and of my own free will. I blame the decision on the delirium due to lost brain cells during my final semester of MBA school.

Anyway, I’ll be telling a story that has been previously told on this blog, but it’s a story that was meant to be read on the page (or screen, rather), so even though the story was already written, I’ve had to do a lot of “re-working” of this thing.

Oh yeah, there is a also great cast of Chinese Americans who will also share stories for and about their mothers, so it’s not just me who will be up there. (And Taiwanese American Joz will temporarily overlook being lumped in as a Chinese American, for this performance only.)

Here’s the cast listing:
Henry Ong
Judy Soo Hoo
Anna Gee
Marshall Wong
Linda Chong
Ann Lau
(Me)
Denesa Chan
Joyce F Liu
Ewan Chung
Andrea Apuy
Regina Cheng-Sheu
Elbert Traister
Howard Ho

If you come, it would be a great way to spend Mother’s Day afternoon. I suggest brunching in Old Town Pasadena, coming to the Museum and then wandering the Pacific Asia Museum for a bit before the 2pm performance.

Doesn’t that sound like a lovely way to spend an afternoon with Mom?

Flyer for May 11, 2008, Mother\'s Day performance

Chinese American Stories: My Mother”
Sunday, May 11, 2008 from 2-4pm
Mother’s Day Performance
A presentation of community, family and personal memories collected in a writing/oral history workshop by playwright Henry Ong.

Free with museum admission; call 626.449.2742 ext. 31 to RSVP.

Pacific Asia Museum
46 North Los Robles Avenue
Pasadena, CA 91101

Museum Admission
$7 for adults, $5 for students/seniors

Parking: Free parking is available in museum parking lot, located on corner of Los Robles and Union in Pasadena

  • Facebook Event Listing
  • Yelp Event Listing
  • Upcoming/Yahoo Event Listing
  • Image and info on Joz’s Flickr
  • Pimpage on L.A. Metblogs (formerly blogging.la) by Jason Burns
  • Pimpage on 8Asians by Ernie, who gives away the milk for free
  • 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.

    I survived Day 2 at the new gig and didn’t get fired.

    Hooray for the little things, eh?

    Last night I got hit with a horrible migraine. It actually started in the afternoon of my first day at the new gig, but I held it together pretty well until I asked Bossdude (pay attention: this is not the same person as BossMan or Bossguy, this is my newest boss: Bossdude!) if he had aspirin over dinner.

    I made it home just in time to get sick, show off my new laptop to my Bro, and then promptly pass out in bed at the late hour of 8:30pm. I did not wake up until 10 hours later: 6:30am when Bro was leaving for work and he made sure I got up to get ready for work. My Bro rules!

    It was really bad that I slept for 10 hours, not just because I wasn’t feeling well. Mostly, I was expecting to get 5 hours of (school) work done and instead, I got none done. Bad.

    I wasn’t feeling too great after getting home (well, my OC home) from work today either, so I had to take a nap before having dinner. My Mom is the bestest and made the yummiest food while I was in OC. I wish I had more of an appetite, though. I also had to apologize for treating her place like a hotel the last couple of nights. I basically just came home, ate, slept, and had maid service. Not cool of me.

    I also had to drive back to LA to get back to my real home (with Yoshi) tonight.

    Anyway, I am going to be up for a bit tonight and then I’m going to get up early so I can get to my 7:30am doctor’s appointment before work tomorrow.

    Whew! This is a nutso week!

    Sorry if I don’t check in for a bit, but obviously, I’m totally crazy busy!

    Oh yes, FYI, I will be going to Vegas to work this weekend. Not for the new Bossdude but for an old client I do bookkeeping for. As if I didn’t have anything else to worry about, right?!??!

    Random thoughts at 4am

    -I just made a post at 8Asians.com entitled: Let’s talk about sex. I wonder who all is going to check THAT post out.

    -Chatted with Bobo today. Two of her daughters are having health issues. I’m thinking of them. I also found out that one of the daughters knows me as “Aunt I Don’t Remember Her Name.” Haha, cute. At least she calls me “Aunt.”

    -It rained for much of the day. Did some rainy day reading and read something that really moved me.

    -Chatted with JJ for a while and kept him up way past his bedtime. He’s known me for so long and can see right through when I’m putting up a front. He’s such a good friend and I love him to bits.

    -There is some strange beeping outside that hasn’t stopped for at least 15 minutes. I wonder if it’ll stop before I finish this post.

    -I went to the post office today in Hollywood and my crowd gathering disease kicked in. My Mom and I have this weird power where we can walk into a room/store/whatever that is basically empty except for us and then be totally and completely crowded when we leave. I showed up at the post office and there was only one person ahead of me. When I left, there were at least 20 people in line. (Yoshi can vouch for the existence of this power. Unfortunately, I have not figured out how to control this power and use it to fight evil yet.)

    -Spontaneously decided to go get a mani/pedi as a treat for starting the new gig. My fingers have been frenched. My toes are hot-pinkified.

    -Yoshi was gone all day and I was home alone for most of the day. Yoshi had to drive back in the rain and had a migraine after getting home. We got into bed and snuggled. And so that we could be in bed together, I turned on my laptop to work in bed instead of at my desktop in the other room.

    -I love chatting with Akrypti. She’s the bestest.

    -Tons to do this weekend. Tomorrow I’m off to OC for a few days. Yes, a few days. I’ll be staying with Mom and Bro.

    -OMG the beeping has not stopped. But the heater has turned on so I can’t hear the beeping as much.

    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.

    Crazy busy weekend

    My weekends always seem to be jam-packed these days.

    I honestly can’t even remember as far back as Friday. What did I do Friday night? I have no recollection! Oh wait… I do remember one thing.

    Earlier in the week, Mom & I had talked on the phone about my plans for the weekend. Since I hadn’t been back to OC since Thanksgiving, she said she needed me to come visit and help her with a few things. I mentioned that I might have to work on Sunday (she had something written down that reminded us both that I was indeed supposed to be working on Sunday) so I told her I would plan to be there on Saturday.

    Well late Friday night, my Mom called me to say that she was looking forward to seeing me on Sunday. WHAT?!?!? I was like, “Mom, weren’t YOU the one who reminded ME that I needed to work on Sunday?” She was like, “Are you sure? I just made plans for Saturday afternoon with some friends and can’t cancel them now.” !!!

    I told her that I would still go back on Saturday, even if she wouldn’t be around as long as my Bro was around (so he and I could do stuff). Then she started trying to talk me into not going back at all. I told her we could talk about in the morning.

    The next morning, my Mom called me up at 7:30am (on a SATURDAY!?!) to wake me up because she wanted me to go back to OC early so we could maximize our time together. While this was a wonderful idea, I WAS TIRED! + I WAS STILL SLEEPING! = GRUMPY JOZ! And I was not going to pay attention to anything she said to me at that hour. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get back to sleep after the call, so I futzed around the house and was looking for a few things I needed to take back to OC, including several years worth of recycling (aluminum cans, plastic bottles, and glass).

    Lucky for me, Yoshi didn’t mind spending the day with me in OC and tagged along. It was a good thing, too, because I was so focused on driving that I wasn’t listening to the traffic report on the radio. There was a big fire on the 5 and thanks to Yoshi’s attentive listening skills, we were able to take a detour and avoid this scene.

    Bro and I took all the recycling to the recycle yard and got $139.71 back in cash for it! We also ran errands which involved going to get gas from Costco, picking up movie tickets from the AMC next door, as well as swinging by the PO Box to get my ABSENTEE BALLOT for the February 5 primary. Whoo! The rest of the day Saturday was spent at the house: eating, doing paperwork, napping, and trying to keep warm.

    Late that night, all 3 of us we headed back to LA where we continued to stay up even later, doing stuff at my place. Sheesh.

    Sunday morning, I could not wake myself up early enough to do the remaining paperwork I still had left to do. I did drop Bro off at his gf’s place and then went off to work, as planned.

    Around noonish, my Mom called my cell phone: “Are you awake? Did I wake you up?”

    “Actually, Mom,” I said in Chinese, “I’ve been up for several hours now and am already at work. Did you forget that I have to work today?!” We talked about a few more things and I got off the phone.

    Unfortunately, several clients overhead me speaking to my Mom and they cornered me. “I didn’t know you could speak Chinese! I didn’t know you could speak it so well! If I had known, I would have asked you about _____!”

    ARRRRGH! This is why I pretend not to speak Chinese there! I don’t get paid enough to do to client service and hand-holding for the Chinese-speaking people there! I am supposed to go there, push a bunch of buttons, yell a little, and go off on my merry way! Anyway, it was nice to get some validation that my Chinese skills haven’t totally eluded me, but still.

    I got home from work a little earlier than expected, but then had to finish the paperwork that I had put off from earlier in the day.

    I was also distracted by the NEW COMPUTER that my brother had given me for my birthday (several months ago) and that he set up for me the previous night. Of course, I was so frustrated by not having everything on the new computer the way I wanted it that I started throwing things and grumbling like crazy.

    It was late and I totally needed to go to sleep.

    Can I have another weekend to recover from my weekend?

    In a funk, but that changed

    I woke up in a funk this morning. I don’t know how to explain it.

    I worked from home all morning until I got a mini-migraine and had to stop. Consequently, I took a nap and ended up going to the office in the evening, staying really late working on a bunch of things that have been hanging over my head.

    I talked to both Bro and Mom today and they reminded me that we had a bunch of things that needed to be taken care of in really short order. Yikes! Vacation is DEFINITELY over!

    Mom also reminded me that she has to go back to Taiwan this year, before March to vote in the Taiwanese presidential elections. I have a feeling she’ll stay in Taiwan for a while after that. Doh. I like having her here.

    On the bright side, I got some really good news today. Getting that news got me out of the funk I was in this morning. For those of you I’m closest with, you already know this news. The rest of you will have to wait.

    I’ll give you a hint of what the news is NOT (since every time I mention good news this seems to be the guess)… I am

      NOT

    expecting a baby!

    NOTE TO SHARKY: I cannot believe this is the first thing you guessed when I said I had “good news” share! I still think you and Doetzi should “split” the responsibilities, though.




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