Grandmother

This painting was done from a photo taken during my time with my grandmother.

I’m sitting in a cafe, thinking about why I don’t feel worse. Ten minutes ago, during the World Cup 2010 match of Korea versus Uruguay, my mother called to tell me she’s on her way to Taiwan. “There is no hope for grandmother” is what she mumbled in Taiwanese.
My grandmother took care of me when I was very young. I have some spotted memories of that time, but since the age of 8 when my family immigrated to the US, I’ve only seen her a handful of times. What I remember about my grandmother always involved food in some way. When I lived with my grandparents in Tainan, she would often take me to the market on her black bicycle. We would load up with groceries, and I would hold on to her tightly.
I also remember every morning begging her for a couple of dollars ( at $30NT to $1USD, that was probably about 1 nickel ) for breakfast at the street vendor. I loved the steamed rice cups with peanut powder and cilantro. They also included a delicious clear soup.
My grandmother spent hours everyday cooking. My grandfather and my uncles would eat both lunch and dinner at home, and everyday the meals where freshly cooked. We kept chickens in the yard, which was my job to feed them. When we have company, I would watch her grab a chicken, slice its neck and drip the blood in a cup. She would make a sort of rice cake with the blood and butcher the chicken for stew.
Back in those days we had a wood burning boiler. Grandmother would split some wood in the yard and light the boiler with some old newspaper. When the water was hot, she would bathe me using a ladle.
I don’t have any memories of doing fun things with my grandmother. She was a homemaker, 24/7. All of my memories are of her taking care of her family. She liked to complain but she also liked to laugh.
I hope I will remember her laughter for a long time.

Today I thank my grandmother

Tell me a joke Chuck

Anthony sent me a message today, “Tell me a joke Chuck”. I drew a blank. I used to know lots of jokes. I’ve memorized every punch line. It started when I read a book of jokes collected by a NYC taxi driver. There are all sorts of jokes, from childish, to racist to dirty. Here is one told to me by Andrew C in 7th grade:

A bear and rabbit were squatting next to each other in the woods. The bear asked the rabbit, “Does shit stick to your fur?” The rabbit answered “No.” So the bear pick up the rabbit and….

At this point in the joke, Andrew pretended to wipe his ass with an invisible bunny. Andrew was great at telling these particular types of jokes. He had another favorite about a dead cat but I wont go into details. You’ll have to ask me or Andrew in person.

I love telling stories, unfortunately mine just aren’t funny. I think I’m a funny person and I can usually make my friends laugh. For some strange reason, sitting alone at my computer, I cannot write anything humorous.

Adam Wade, now that’s a funny guy. He won Moth Story Slam 15 times! So enjoy this story by Adam, and I’ll try to think of a funny story.

Today I thank: Anthony, Alita, Adam Wade, Dad, LB, Andrew

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5xF75rJOdQU

Silent Bob spoke

A good night for Kevin and me.
A very good evening for Kevin and me.

Went to see Kevin Smith exactly 1 year ago at Carnegie Hall. Time passes so quickly.

So much has happened in the past year, and yet so little has changed.

As I’m sitting here at a cafe on Clinton Street, the stereo system is playing “Our Love is Here to Stay”, a jazz standard by George Gershwin.

It’s very clear
Our love is here to stay ;
Not for a year
But ever and a day.

The radio and the telephone
And the movies that we know
May just be passing fancies,
And in time may go !

Time heals all wounds and but sometimes it does seem to take ever and a day.

Today I thank: Bomee, LB, Hadar, Jack

Get busy living or get busy dying

Goodbye Cynthia

Once in a while I see these posts from Manny. I’ve never met Cynthia (mgobluecrk), but I might have read some of her posts and she might have read mine. We share a thread that runs through our lives, a thin connection that is as strong as any bond shared by family. Diabetes connected me to so many wonderful people. A community that watches out for one another. We are each others biggest cheerleaders, the shoulder to cry on and the ones who are always willing to listen.

I don’t know how Manny is able to do this. The community he has built has grown tremendously over the years and it has seen its fair share of losses. Of course I’m saddened each time I see postings of this type, but its important to acknowledge the reality of the situation. Certainly we all have the chance to live a long healthy life, but events like this reminds us to be vigilant.

I’ve never been shy about having diabetes. However, disclosing that fact is always painful. Every time I meet new people I need to make a choice on when/where/how to tell them. Dating is even more difficult. How do you tell someone that despite your healthy appearance, they would have to make major sacrifices to be with you? Sometimes I wonder if I rather be physically handicapped. At least with a visible handicap, there would not be a secret lurking in the corner.

Thirty six hours from now I will be taking my nuclear stress test. I abhor it. Not the procedure itself but for what could result from it. It’s the crystal ball that could tell me when I’ll die. I don’t fear death at all, but I don’t want to hear the ticking of the clock. I want to enjoy all the time I have remaining. Last year I skipped the test, this year my cardiologist is much more insistent.

Tonight I went to The Moth at Nuyorican Poets Cafe with Hannah, LB and Margaux. The topic was about scars. I enjoyed every storyteller who’s stories vary from physical to emotional scars. We sat at the front of the room and the hosts of the show recognized me from when I stood in front of this audience and told my story. They even took time out to introduce me to the audience and the people applauded. I too have a scar. It’s visible on a scan of my heart where a small piece of my heart muscle died. But that’s nothing compared to the scar in my heart that wont show up on any scan.

One day there will be a notice about me. I want to thank Manny for his kind words.

Today I thank: Hannah, LB, Margaux, Manny, Cynthia

Cynthia Khan

SMILE

There is a BIG smile under that mask. Photo stolen from her blog

4630 photos in my photo library and I cannot find the picture that best represent my good friend Laura. She came up to visit with her boyfriend Read last year and unfortunately I lost the memory card from the camera before I could import the photos.

Laura is a beautiful girl with a tremendous smile. Whenever I think of her, I see the smile in my mind’s eye. Laura is a fellow adventure traveler. She just got back from a trip to Costa Rica. I love hearing her travel stories. She reminds me that I need to travel more.

I met Laura a couple of years ago while staying at the JR Ranch in New Mexico. Laura introduced me to her wonderful friends in Arroyo Seco and took me on  a tour to see her art studio. She also has a wood kiln and one day I will go back and make some pottery with her.

I was trying my best to help a friend Mike with taking care of some horses but my inexperience with physical labor resulted in pulling my back on the second day. It was winter and the snow and ice combined with my injured back made walking very difficult. Laura came to the rescue and took me to a woman who could fix my back.

There was a huge snowstorm the previous day and the roads were deep with snow. But undaunted, Laura put me in her car and drove me to her friend’s house.

I was upstairs on a massage table with Laura’s friend who worked to relieve my swollen back, all the while looking out the window. I watched for an hour of the scene that took place at Laura’s car. After we pulled into the driveway, Laura’s car was stuck in the snow.

I watched Laura try to dig the car out through what seemed to be insurmountable odds. I was sure that we’d would be stuck there until spring thaw. I felt terrible, not about my back, but for what that situation must be doing to her back. But Laura is tougher than I am. With some ingenuity, a chain and another car, she was able to get the car unstuck.

I emerged from the house, my back felt 1000 times better and Laura came to help me into the car. As we pulled away, Laura said in the most understated manner, “We had a little car trouble”.

I know. I saw.

Today I thank: Laura, Danielle, Karsten, Sam, Corey and Yvie.

Welcome to my world

Ghost of Christmas Past

Last night I read someone’s anonymous blog.

I tried to piece together this woman’s life. The only thing I know for sure is that the last entry was in May of 2007. What happened to her? Her last entry was full of misery. I hoped that she got the help she needed, but what happened that so abruptly ended her journal?

Why do I write? Unlike the mystery writer, I don’t attempt to veil my identity. This blog is a challenge for myself to push the envelope of honesty. Can I be honest with my thoughts in public? Do I truly have nothing to hide? Can I live with my actions and not be ashamed of the things I say and do?

Sitting here in the dark I feel as if my only audience is this computer. The cursor blinks and wait for the words to appear. Occasionally I go back and fix a typo, or a grammar mistake. But mostly I let them go. The mistakes are just as important. They are me, I am them. I know that a few friends and family will read this and of course there are the occasional strangers that happen upon my blog just as I do theirs. And that’s fine by me.

I write these memories down because I lost my journal last year. I’m trying to recreate the journal with all that I can remember, blurring the lines between fact and perspective. I’m also writing these thoughts as a way to honor the people who have enriched my life and to remind myself to thank them for being a part of my story.

Last night I was a voyeur. I accompanied this mystery writer from June 2006 to May 2007. I was the Ghost of Christmas Past. I could see how much pain she was in, and how she was responsible for much of it. She pushed away her friends until she was alone, seeking the comfort from strangers on the internet.

I hope she abandoned her blog because she no longer had need for it. Maybe she removed her shackles and decided to live again. Good luck to you Micki.

Mr Brainwash

I’ve been wanting to see Mr. Brainwash’s exhibit since going to see “Exit Through the Giftshop” with LB. After work I went to visit Danielle and see her new apartment. By luck, it was only a few blocks from the exhibit.

Too tired to really write tonight.

Today I thank: Danielle, LB, Banksy, Mr. Brainwash