Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Oh no, Papa, not the oven mitts.

On Saturday, Papa and I had taken a walk to the grocery store so I could make an appetizer for Judy’s party.

In my excitement over trying a new recipe — restaurant-style artichoke and spinach dip — I forgot to buy an 8 x 8 baking pan. So I drove back to the grocery store.

When I got home, Papa had put one of the oven mitts on the living room floor. And knocked my Tennis magazine and silicone oven grip on the kitchen floor.

Also, she removed the label from the can of artichokes (from the garbage, not the can).

Oh no, Papa.

Why you gotta be so naughty? I was only gone 15 minutes!

Maybe the smell of roasted garlic made her nuts. She looks possessed in the second photo, yes?

Minus the donut incident, Papa had recently been sort of respectful of our things.

Though, come to think of it, she went after a loaf of bread while my mother was in the restroom. That was yesterday.

Her crimes are getting bolder.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Judy's pumpkin party

Though I am apparently forgoing most Halloween activities this year (not my favorite holiday), I did make the rounds at Judy’s pumpkin-carving party.

Here are Judy, Amy, and Tara posing with their works. Amy thought Tara's pumpkin was like her — something about perfect hair. As you can tell, this was a group of hardcore carvers.

I did not carve, as Linda and Luke and I arrived just before dark and I only have enough strength for the faux Michael’s pumpkins. So I sipped hot cider while catching up with my tennis pals.

Staying inside also meant I could keep an eye on the food spread (grilled burgers and brats — a real treat on a cold October night). Linda brought roasted veggies and Donna made peanut butter fingers with red almond fingernails. Tres ghoul.

After dinner, we huddled around a bonfire and made s'mores. It was a good night.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Pricey ping pong paddles

In my previous post, I shared my ambivalence about replacing the old with the new.

Even though I’m no early adopter, I have to admit that this new development in the ping pong world fascinated me:

Brodmann Blades. Fancy schmancy ping pong paddles.

I wonder how well these mitts work. (If you aren't coordinated enough to play ping pong, is the equipment really the problem?)

If these blades (blades!) don't suit you, you could also spend a couple hundred bucks on a Butterfly paddle that offers springiness and shock absorption.

At that point, though, they are no longer paddles. They are table tennis racquets. Why does everything need to be so complicated?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Endurance: old cameras, Rick Springfield, and haircuts

I just got a new digital camera, so I’m in the process of learning how to use it. The good news is that I was able to start shooting photos right away — without reading the manual.

I accidentally broke my old camera about two years ago, and my parents gave me their old one. It’s not very high res (or "hi res," if you're in the industry), but it worked just fine.

Still does, as a matter of fact. My trusty friend even helped me capture shots of a still-spry Rick Springfield.

Speaking of staying power, Mary just blogged about her TV that still works after 20 years. Some things just stay with you, utterly competent.

I feel a bit guilty about upgrading when there's nothing wrong with the old camera. (Okay, so my new one does have much better resolution. Maybe if I had any skill at photography, that might be valuable.)

While reviewing photos from an old memory card, I came across this photo of Michelle and me. It was taken May 12, 2006 — over three years ago. Look at how short my hair was. I love Michelle’s haircut, too. Don't we both look shiny and happy, with glossy (and yet not overdone) hair?

No deep thoughts here. I'm just sayin' — repeating, actually — that I'm getting more and more distracted by the anticipation of a real haircut.

I miss the days when hair and cameras were both manageable.

Now I feel like I have to work hard to make things look effortless. I own curling irons, curlers, flattening irons, diffusers, two hair dryers, brushes, combs, hybrid brush/combs, gels, waxes, and styling lotions. I don't know how to use most of them. So the task of hair care is wearing on me. I'm looking forward to being unburdened of my long hair. Soon.

Regarding my old camera: It will resume its rightful place with my dad. It's staying in the family, to be respected and not taken for granted. Goodbye, old friend!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Feature story: Show me the love

I love talking about relationships. If you and I have ever talked about your relationship, I've probably asked you how you met, how long you've been together, what makes your relationship tick, what ticks you off.

So I jumped at the chance to write an article about how Asian Americans say "I love you" in their romantic relationships.

I interviewed two couples in Milwaukee: Seng and Andrew (photographed with their son, Zach) and Young and Suzelle (with their daughter, Grace). Bill Zuback shot the beautiful portraits. Thanks, Bill!

And I visited L.A. in July so I could meet Lydia and Rohan (and their dogs, Ichabod and Lola) and Diane and Todd. My sister, Yukie Fujimoto, came with me to shoot photos. Thanks, Yukie!

The couples shared their stories — and there was so much more than I could fit on the page.

I think love is in the details, in the tiniest acts in everyday life. Like Seng's memory of her mom holding her hand at the dentist.

The way Todd touched Diane to fix her lipstick.

Listening to Young and Suzelle talk about their favorite fairy tales.

And in a story about a big moment: Rohan's description of his proposal at Staples Center — not on the Jumbotron, which was the plan — but near the downstairs elevator. (And Lydia's response: "What?" Over and over.)

I wanted to weave all of this great stuff — the personal details that make each story unique — into my article. It was a challenge to tell the story of each couple, maybe because there are so many different stories. And it felt like a responsibility, in a way that essay writing isn't.

Luckily, I had a lot of help along the way — especially from Allison, who had the guts to tell me that my first draft was awful, and Hal, who reassured me that my final draft wouldn't be.

But I digress.

Thank you for staying with me through this post and through the past months of writing and revision. If you'd like to read "Show me the love," you can buy a copy of East West magazine on the newsstand or order one online.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

A three-sport night

In my ping pong class on Thursday, I learned something new: Michael helped me with my forehand and let me hit lots of awful shots. And last week, Stan showed me the penhold grip. It helped me put more spin on the ball, but my wrist kept twisting at an odd angle. Ouch!

After ping pong, I went to the other half of the gym to play badminton. Badminton reminds me of summer; it's a bright spot in the cold, dreary weather we've been having. Though I'm not so good at it, I learned how to keep score. It's a start.

After the gymnasium fun, I played tennis. (No story there.) From this evening of racquet sports, I learned two lessons.

One: I can’t skip exercise throughout the week and then try to make it up in one day. Moderation is a wonderful thing. (My shoulder was really sore on Friday.)

Two: It hurts to swing and miss (especially in badminton). But better to have swung and missed than to not have made the effort. It takes a lot of momentum for the birdie to fly out, and sometimes just reaching a little farther can get me a shot that keeps the game in play.

I think this may be a metaphor for life, too.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

More hair

On Monday, Erin and I (along with Cathy and Kelsey) met up at Stir Crazy for dinner. Here we are with a copy of the November issue, our regular BeadStyle prop.

We first started noting our progress in July, so this seems like a natural place to keep track of our trials and tribulations (or mine, at least).

Watching hair grow might be about as interesting as watching paint dry. Still, we could use the encouragement. I'm not as good-natured about this as Erin is.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Denise and Jeremy's wedding

Last winter, Denise and a few of us huddled in her parents’ minivan, enduring a blizzard to go wedding dress shopping. (Really, it was a blizzard — Denise had trouble steering us past her driveway.)

I’m not sure whether our opinionated group was any help — “traditional” means different things to different people — but she kept her choice a secret until yesterday. And look at her! Of course I got a little misty-eyed when I saw her.

The “baby priest” (his nickname, not mine) said he would always remember this wedding: it was his first. And after the ceremony, he nodded to us and said, “See ya at the reception.” Friendly.

At the reception, Ben and I had cocktails and too much bread with Matt and Christine. Christine mocked my tears — I also cried during Barb’s toast, when she talked about what a great sister Denise is.

Barb also noted Denise's “militaristic” travel style. While traveling in France, Denise wouldn’t let them stop to eat because it took too much effort. Reminds me of the time Denise and I were at a Halloween party and I said I was hungry and maybe we could go get some food?

“No, you’re not,” she had said. “Just eat more taco dip.” I think we wrung every fun moment we could out of that party.

But there was plenty of food and good times to be had at the reception. Here’s Barb with Hunter, Jeremy’s six-year-old cousin. Hunter enjoyed taking photos and being photographed in his mullet wig. It was a truly joyful occasion.

The one person I didn’t get a chance to congratulate was Jeremy. But I’m hoping that after they get back from their honeymoon, we can all get together for a board game and some meatloaf. If Denise allows us time to eat. (Just kidding!)