Thursday, July 31, 2008

my po-po always smells like szechuan peppercorns

For the last few months, I’ve been working on a manuscript for a book I hope will be finished by the end of this year. While I can’t get into specifics, what I can say is, the book will be a little collaboration between my grandmother and me. With the first phase almost complete comes the second phase which is much more difficult and requires plenty of time in the kitchen. Care to guess what kind of book it is we’re working on?

While doing research online, I came across two relevant sites that I HAVE to share with you- especially with those of you who have cute (and sometimes NOT-SO-CUTE) Asian grandmothers.

Lau Lau’s Recipes
Excerpt from the About page:
“Our grandmother passed away on June 11, 2006. She was an amazing cook. These are her recipes as we have done our best to reconstruct them.”

The Asian Grandmother’s Cookbook
Excerpt from the About page:
“The Asian Grandmothers Cookbook will be a compilation of family and homecooking recipes from across the Asian smorgasbord, the idea being that grandmothers are the closest link we have to our cultures and traditions. It’ll also contain anecdotes and stories about family, food traditions, grandmothers, mothers and aunts. I envision it as a way to preserve traditional recipes for future generations.”

Monday, July 28, 2008

Bowled Over

When he told me he was leaving which meant not coming back, I was floored. I thought I was reason enough for frequent visits, drop-ins, and I would just go catatonic on purpose to exaggerate my shock and surprise that he was around. But at that moment, I felt only a tingle in my toes from kicking the carpet barefooted and an incessant blinking to precede the incessant sobbing.

He never did come home much. In my mind, he was always lurking in the darkness somewhere. To my friends, he was a businessman abroad or member of a traveling circus. He used to answer the phone a lot, they’d mention, but why not so much anymore? Queue in the blinking.

When I found out he had taken someone else bowling, I threw up. Maybe on purpose. He never took me bowling. In fact, I never knew he bowled. I thought that all this time, he was performing with his traveling circus somewhere in the Appalachians. Did I kick him or scream at him or throw things around my room? No. I should have because maybe he would have stayed longer because he owed me that much. I should have because he deserved it. Why didn’t you teach me how to bowl because I really suck at bowling?

Recently, I saw my dad and he’s still standing upright (thank God) and his skin’s sagging prematurely in all the right places. He’s visibly missing a tooth. He’s a lot shorter than the businessman in my memories, but still handsome in his own right. He must hate looking at old photographs because he was really handsome then. Mom, I know why you did it! I am young and foolish sometimes too!

Father-daughter-speak between us is often contrived. You want me to be 10 again, don’t you? And I indulge him. We pretend that no time has lapsed, that he was at my first dance, at my graduation, my birthday parties. You’ve always been a horrible driver. It’s like he’s been in my car more than a handful of times. I heard about your tattoo and I’m going to get over it. Like he actually was upset. It felt so much more non-fiction when my mom said it.

We parted ways with hugs and idealistic aspirations to hang out more. I think I really wanted to at the time. I really believed that we would.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

It's 2008?

“Do you want to have kids?”

“Not really, not with you, I don’t think?”

“Then with who?”

“No one really. Wait, let’s backspace that. I don’t think I want kids ever.”


“Yeah, I know. Weird right?”

“Not really.”

“Well, I don’t want my life to end. I want to travel, you know, see the world.”

“You don’t want stretch marks. That’s the real reason.”

”Well, yeah.—

But you’d make a really good dad though.”

“I know. I would. I will.”

“But if it’s a girl, she better not have your skin but she should definitely get metabolized like you.”

“Yeah your skin is better.”

4 am Superhuman Prowess

I want to be this extra-fertile, empowered female slash superhuman. Not just a superhuman half-assing it but an iconic figure with a Statue of Liberty-aura, a Meryl Streep sex appeal, and a Sandra Day O’Connor type of shrewdness. I want my cackle to be alluring, my brow-raises to veto bills, and my applause to be worth a million euros.

And as I lay in my bed, the words “I want” seem to drift in and out of mental view. Because yesterday, I wanted really great hair and today, I want to change the world.

Last week while sitting at my potter’s wheel, I threw for the first time. My hands are small, sure, but my “clay-coach” tells me that it’s not the size of the ship but the motion of the ocean. I guess the motion of my ocean made me a little seasick that day. All my bowls (if those deformed, gray blobs even count as bowls) remained indistinguishable gray blobs. Onward ho!

A year and a half ago, I found a knitter’s heaven in San Francisco. That day I decided I’d become an advance scarf-maker, a yarn-blower, and so I bought luxurious skeins of yarn and bamboo needles. Then I made quite possibly the most mathematically disturbing scarf ever that started from being 5-inches wide to about 15. Boyfriend, are you deliberately trying to taunt me by avoiding frosty winters in Seattle, thus not having to wear my scarf?

I’m the worst judge of people. Sometimes I thought you were real, and other times I found out you weren’t. And then I let the lies pull me in like wafts of waffle smell and realize that A. waffles are way too carb heavy for me right now and B. I really only like the syrup anyway.

And then the future seems more promising each day I dream and want. Because something about writing this episode of my life at 4 am in the morning already seems pretty darn superhuman of me.