Sunday, October 10, 2010

100 (Some Odd) Days

September 20 marked 100 days since my dad died. I'm not sure where this tradition of marking 100 days came from, but I think the Asians got something figured out. As 100 days approached, I seemed to feel sadder for no reason at all. Nothing sparked the sadness, I just felt extra sad. Maybe it had to do with facing up to the reality of having to go back home, but my mom said she was felt the same way, a compounded sadness. Up until 100 days, I, on average, had been coping and functioning pretty well. But as day 100 approached, I felt more melancholy. Things reminded me more of him. I thought more about him. I was frozen with sadness more frequently through the day.

I believe in God, Jesus, heaven, judgment day, all of it. I also believe in ghosts and spirits, but I don't know, like, the mechanics of it all. I heard one theory that, based upon a reading of the bible, everyone just goes to a sort of nothing place until judgment day, and everyone who has lived and died since the start of time rises at the same time. That's a lot of people. But anyway, that's one theory. But there doesn't seem to be room for ghosts of dead relatives in that theory.

The strangest thing happened to me a few weeks after my dad died. I was so torn up because I hadn't talked to him in so long. And the last time I was home, he was not. He was in China. I tried to call him, but I just couldn't get through. I tried and tried and tried for 30 minutes. I knew he was sick, and I wanted to talk to him, but I just couldn't reach him. I remember thinking to myself, well, it's Dad. He'll be ok. But he wasn't. He died about 24 hours after he landed back in the US. And I hadn't spoken to him, much less seen him, in far too many months. Yes, that's right. Months.

Guilt gnawed at me. I was inconsolable. Then, one night, I had this dream. I dreamed that my dad came back for one last day, to say things he needed to say, and to sort out things that needed sorted. Whatever they were, they were not known to me in my dream. But in my dream, I ran up to him like a guilty child running up to confess that she did something bad, and blurted out, in Mandarin, that I was so sorry I didn't call him more. And he said, it's ok. And then I woke up sobbing. It was so real. And I think it was. I woke up that morning feeling more ok than I had been since I first heard the news.

I spent a week at home after my dad died. It was a hard week, but it was where I needed to be. While I was home, I took care of a lot of business. One of the things I had to do was cancel my dad's health insurance. My parents pay/paid a lot of money for insurance. And my dad used a lot of it. I told my mom that in order to cancel the insurance, I needed to see the insurance cards. She couldn't find them, and had no idea where they were. Then one morning, she showed up with them. She told me that she was laying in bed that morning and was talking to my father and asked him to show her where they were. As she was laying there, she heard something fall off of the tv. (Aside: this tv is straight out of 1978, and essentially is a huge wooden box with wheels. It stopped working long ago and my parents have used it as a shelf for at least 20 years.) She went over to inspect, and my dad's insurance cards had fallen off onto the floor. Just the insurance cards.

Maybe it was my dad. Maybe it was God comforting my mom. I don't know, but it was powerful.

I still get sad every now and then. I'm sad right now just writing about this and thinking about him. I'll be sad if I ever have a wedding day. I was really sad watching that episode of Friday Night Lights when Matt Saracen had to deal with his father dying in Iraq. But, the things I'm feeling and will feel are the same feelings millions of other people have felt all through history and for years to come. Maybe this should make me feel pathetic, but, really, it makes me feel...human.

Stopping and writing about my feelings just overwhelms me with emotion, and that's probably one of the reasons why I don't blog much anymore. That, and the fact that I'm at work like 14 hours a day and don't even come close to daring to post from work. But, I miss it, and I'm going to try to do it more.

Monday, June 14, 2010

My Father

My father is, by many standards, a complete jerk. He is distant, cold, sets incredibly high expectations, expects you to live by certain conservative "old world" values, yet excel in modern worldly ways. If you could get past all that, you would see that he is incredibly generous, damaged, hard working and entrepreneurial. He came to this country with little money and eventually made enough to buy a small plot of Manhattan real estate. At the time, that plot of real estate was in a high crime part of the city, but he had foresight, and now that land should provide for our family for a few generations, at least. He valued education, and worked hard so his kids could go to school. Yes, he is distant and cold, and yes, he shows his love through material things, but he worked damn hard to provide us with those material things. And when his kidney failed after years of diabetes and alcohol abuse, he didn't even think to ask his kids for a kidney, because he said it was his burden and his mistake and he didn't want to make us pay for it. He bore that burden, and even in illness, he seemed invincible. So it is with incredible sadness and surprise I report that he passed away yesterday.

I'm not quite sure what to do with myself. I found out late this evening and am getting on a train in the morning to go home. I know I made certain choices in my relationship with my father. I intentionally set distance between us because he had a way of driving me crazy in a completely irrational and unacceptable manner. I have to live with those choices, and that's ok. He was my father. I loved him. I will miss him.

Monday, March 08, 2010

2010, The First

I'm still here. I've mostly stopped blogging because I dare not do it from work, and when I'm not at work, I try damn hard not to be on the computer. I usually fail. But I'm home sick today, and I had to log in to turn on comment verification (No, I don't want your marijuana / blue cheese / web hosting, thank you) so I thought I'd pop in here and say hi.

A few quick updates? I'm still working, although every day I think about quitting, some co-workers and I are playing the lottery, the bf did indeed move in despite the bike incident, and it's been rough at times, but also nice at times. There's been trips to NC, to SF and LA and Napa and Sonoma, and several trips to NH. The bf is in school, now. I've taken up knitting and sewing, and our garden last year was a disaster. I've put on 20 pounds because working out just became so tiresome, although now I'm trying to get back in shape, which is hard, harder than it should be. I'm turning 33 in a month. Whoa.

I think I will try to blog more. I sort of miss it, and there's plenty to talk about. Hopefully I won't be violating any confidentialities that will get me disbarred. Although ...

A gratuitous shot from a peak in the White Mountains, circa October 2009.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

These foreheads are just a wee larger than normal...

The Boston Globe (worst newspaper ever) website has a continuous link to "Bill Brett's Party Photos" - photos that good ole Bill has taken around town at social events large and small. Clicking through them, you'd think that Boston was full of white people who are direct descendants of the Pilgrims on the Mayflower and have bred closely with other such descendants. Like, their eyes are just a bit too close-set, and their foreheads are just a bit too large. Like, one more iteration, and they're going to have forked tongues.

See for yourself.

Monday, May 18, 2009

My Belated Birthday Present

As I mentioned in my last post, instead of jewelry or a sewing machine, the boy gave me a choice between a weekend in nyc or portland, me, and a homemade greenhouse. Since I've been feeling particularly homey (?), I chose the homemade greenhouse. Here he is making it:

Here it is completed, awaiting the grow lights and plants to move in.

Can't wait.
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Also, the repair guy came, and it turns out that repairs to my washer / dryer combo will cost about $1165. A new machine is about $1250. Argh. I REALLY don't want to spend the money, but I REALLY enjoy having a washer / dryer in my condo.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


I'm working from home today, thus the blogging.

The Boy, for my birthday, is constructing me a mini-garden - essentially a homemade shelving unit with grow-lights, etc.  The herbs and veggies have all been purchased and are doing their best to survive while their home is being constructed.  It should be done today.  Here are some of the materials taking up space in my home.  

I think it's very lovely that the boy is doing this for my birthday.  Sure, my birthday was a month ago, and in the end, I had to pick my present, but still, very nice.  Of course, we are planning on him moving in with me in September, so also slightly self-serving, but let's try to keep this post upbeat. 

Second, I'm working from home today because I was waiting for the repair person to look at my Asko WCAM combo washer dryer that has been acting funny.  It's been emitting this awful burnt rubber smell, and when I googled it, one guy was like, oh yeah, mine caught on fire.  So I immediately stopped using it, and called the repair person.  He looked in it today and found this in the drying vent: 

I couldn't get the camera to focus on the lint.  But anyways, the lint is charred, and repairdude suspects that there's A LOT more in there.  Also, the circuit board was blown out.  This repair is probably going to cost a lot, as one of the three parts needed alone is $200.  I'd rather repair it than buy a new one, though, cuz this one would probably just go in the dump or something.  Also, I'm probably lucky that nothing caught on fire.  Yeesh. 

That is all.  

Monday, May 04, 2009

Things That Make You Go Blog

The bf's family is really into cycling, and this past weekend, we headed down to NY to do the annual 5-borough tour.  Basically, 30,000 and their bikes descend upon the city, and highways and streets are shut down for a 42-mile bike ride.  Last year was super fun, but super super hot as it was 80+ degrees and sunny.  Yesterday, it was 50-something degrees and rainy.  Also, the bf and I invited two friends from Boston, and a friend of mine from my B-maw days came up for a mini-reunion and bike ride. 

Things were going great for about 30 miles.  We were all happy, the rain wasn't that bad, and the cycling was keeping us warm.  We didn't have any flats, and although some were slower than others, we were staying more or less together.  

Around mile 30, the rain picked up, and we rode on a stretch of highway with no protection from trees or buildings. We just plugged along, getting drenched, literally, as puddles accumulated in our shoes, and rainwater dripped down our (my?) ass cracks.  The bf's mom and uncle went ahead; but the bf and I would stop and keep track of our/my friends.  

The very end of the ride is over a bridge - a sort of long bridge into SI that is a bit of an uphill trek.  My friends and bf and I regrouped right before the bridge and then went over, I think with the unspoken understanding that we would meet at the end on the other side of the bridge, as we had every other time.  The bf's mom and uncle finished five minutes before us, my friend from md finished five minutes after us, and we all managed to find each other with our cell phones and found refuge under the tent. 

Now at this point, I was already very very very cold, and my low blood sugar and fatigue and, as it turns out, mild hypothermia, were making me very upset.  And all I could think about towards the end of the ride was how cold I was, and how, yes, I was prepared for the weather by packing a rain jacket, but how the bf's mom had taken that rain jacket at the start of the ride and never offered to return it and had disappeared by the time the rain really picked up.   And I was pretty sure that if I had that rain jacket, I would be warmer, b/c it would both keep me dryer and keep the wind off of me. 

And as we were standing around at the end of the ride waiting for our last two friends, did she ever offer to give me the jacket back, even though I was shivering my ass off?  Nope.  And did I have the cajones to ask for it back?  No, of course not.  Her hypothermia was already worse than mine as her lips were definitely without color and turning a caribbean shade of blue. 

After several minutes, we were sure our friends had finished and should be reuniting with us so we could get out of the rain.  However, when I finally reached them on the phone, they had stopped for a hamburger and were wandering around the festival.  I immediately told them to find us, so we could leave.  they finally meandered over to us, and we headed towards the exit.  

As we were leaving, I told the bf I couldn't feel my feet.  And I was afraid of losing my toes, not being able to find the word for it, frostbite.  I asked if it was possible to lose one's toes if it wasn't freezing out, and instead of answering me, or giving me any sympathy, he says, yeah, I can't feel my hand.  Neither could I, but I was trying to keep it light, and allay some fears, as I knew we were all fucking freezing and soaking wet.  

Somehow, as we were leaving the exit, the stragglers lost track of us and fell behind, and when they finally made it out of the crowded exit (30,000 wet bikers, trying to exit through an 8-foot gap in the fence) they followed the masses and went left instead of right as we all had.  A few phone calls later, and they still couldn't find us.  We had now been standing in the rain about 15 minutes.  And the bf, his mom and uncle sought shelter under a highway overpass.  Leaving me and my friend in the rain to wait for OUR friends.  OUR friends, who the bf is so effing intent on inviting everywhere because "everything is more fun with more people."  (And yes, sometimes I want to yell, "then go out and make some effing friends.") 

When he called them one last time and wouldn't answer, he and his relations all wanted to leave them.  HELLO?  IN STATEN ISLAND?  NONE OF US ARE FUCKING FROM THERE!  I gave them one last call, seeing that they had called literally the moment before and the effing bf missed it b/c he had so callously put the phone back into his backpack, from whence all sounds could not escape.  Finally getting a hold of each other, I told them where to go and then to call again when they got to the place we were standing, b/c we obviously could not wait 10 minutes for them to bike back, b/c we would have all died of hypothermia from standing around. 

Let me pontificate here for a moment.  I realize that hypothermia is a worse condition than being lost.  No one would have died in nyc from being lost.  My friends are not dumb.  But then again, the instinct to "just leave them" is disturbing.  There are a thousand ways to solve the situation, but "just leaving them" certainly should not have been one of them.  Tell me if I'm wrong. 

When we biked the last 10 minutes to the meeting point, the bf's mom finally asked me if I was cold.  I looked at her, did my best not to attack her, and said yes.  She offered me my rain jacket back, but at that point, I just said, keep it...while fighting the animal instinct to rip her head off and crawl into her carcass.  Seriously.  As the hypothermia got worse and worse, I could see myself getting angrier and more ... animal.  Losing all sense of reason, except the one reason that I knew I was losing my sense of reason. 

And the bf?  I realized that he is even MORE of a momma's boy than I had ever thought.  He stood there, rubbing his mom, trying to warm her up.  Later, he said, yeah, i was really worried for my mom.  And me.  And I was like, umm, hello?  He was like, you were cold?  I'm like, didn't I tell you my feet were numb?  He said, oh, you didn't tell me that until later.  Yeah, but certainly I told you before you told me about your hand.*  

*(But no, whenever I say something, he has to counter with his own ill, forgetting mine.  It's like, he doesn't think to say it until I do, but really, at that moment, why can't it just be about me?  I mean, it wasn't like I didn't ask him about his hand and not care about his hand, but sometimes, when I say something, I wish he would just focus on what I was saying, and not try to steal the spotlight, b/c obviously, whatever he was thinking or feeling wasn't significant enough to mention until I mention it first.  God, it's so annoying. 

Finally, help arrived, with dry towels, and the bf's mom crawled into the car.  The stragglers found us, all was fine.  We had pizza.  

The night before the ride, HOWEVER, b/c there's always a however, we all got sauced.  Sangria, Celtics game, beer.  And at one point, the bf's mom was like, I'm sleeping in this bed, and I don't care about anyone else.  I was so mad.  I couldn't believe it.  I mean, sure, this woman had always been nice to me, but then her true colors come out when people who her son isn't shtupping come around?  It wasn't even her house!  No one was ASKING her for anything.  And if she's so good at taking care of herself, how come a fucking grown woman with three grown kids who's A NURSE didn't know that if she was getting cold, maybe she should stop standing still and do some fucking jumping jacks?  Or did she like it when her son and the universe stopped to take care of her? And the next time she tells me she can't wait for grandkids, I'm going to ... well, I need some help on this one.  Submissive Asian girl over here would probably bow her head and open up her legs and hand someone a turkey baster. 

In summary, what's bothering me is that I'm potentially getting into a family that is, at its core and in emergencies, incredibly selfish and self-preservationist.  Why was it ME who had to stand between the family and the friends, keeping facts (like the hamburger) from the family and the one who had to navigate a foreign island so the friends wouldn't be stranded by the family?  The bf, too, is selfish, self-preservationist, and a freaking momma's boy.  VOMIT.  

I, by no means, was perfect.  I was snappy, wanted to kill people, and break up with people, etc.  But I like to think my girl scout training kicked in and helped me be effing proactive about the situation AND manage the situation without anyone dying or being stranded.  PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE tell me if I'm wrong.  Because I'm having serious doubts here, and the bf is supposed to be moving in this summer. 

Thursday, March 19, 2009


It's the oddest thing, really.  Every time I take echinacea, I get sick.  I have this bottle of echinacea that is several years old.  I know, not the best.  But I bought it back before law school when I was teaching taekwondo and living with my parents.  And I started taking it back then on the advice of a co-worker.  See, working with kids, kids who weren't mine, made me sick all the time.  They showed up from various corners of the community covered in snot, both theirs and their classmates, and then rubbed that snot all over themselves and over me.  And teaching taekwondo to kids is a very hands-on job.  Kids just aren't going to figure out how to do a proper roundhouse kick without hands on legs showing them how to do it.  And giving a little support.  And the kids never came in with their belts tied properly, so you had to stand in front of them and tie it.  And then, of course, kids would sneeze in your face. 

So, the echinacea, b/c I was told, guaranteed, that it would work.  And yet, whenever I took it, I got sick.  So I stopped taking it.  It was hard to be sure if the echinacea was making me sick, or if I was just getting sick because of all the germs, but I stopped taking it, just to be safe. 

And here I am, four, five years later, with that same bottle of echinacea.  Not one to throw things out, I decided to finish the bottle.  And yet, yesterday, the day after I took the echinacea, I was sick.  Sick as a dog with an unidentifiable illness.  Part cold, part food-poisoning.  But all sick. 

I threw that fucking bottle of echinacea in the trash.  And may I never use that word on this blog again because i've used it like 1000 times already.  Damn that stuff to hell. 

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Something New

I, like many Americans, have have countless hopes and wishes and wants that I want to see accomplished during Obama's presidency.  But there is nothing more I want than to see Native Americans given their legal rights and recognition that they have been denied since this nation was formed.  You might think that their abuse ended after we took their land, and made them march to their deaths across the South, but to this day, they are being denied their legal rights, promises made in signed treaties by leaders of this country.  It is appalling.  Here is an article that I liked. 

Monday, January 19, 2009

I Am Sick

And there you have it.  Laid up on my couch with the chills and aches.  I've also got some nasty gas, and am worried that I have a stomach thing again.  Ugh, that was the worst.