on mom and my amazing aunties…

This is my mom (in the wheelchair) and three of my amazing aunties. We are not related by blood (In Hawaii, any woman older than you can be referred to as your “aunty” whether you are related by blood or not so these have been my “O.T. Aunties” for as long as I can remember), but they may as well be…

Clockwise from bottom right: Mom, Aunty Mabel (the 93rd birthday girl), Aunty Jean, and Aunty Bernadette.

You know what’s pretty amazing about these women? They are Chinese-American women who went to college on the Mainland, earned college degrees, and became occupational therapists in the 1940s.

You know what’s even more amazing about these women? Three of the four are in their 90s. Aunty Jean is the baby as she’s only in her 80s. These women, though, went to school together, raised families together, and they have stuck together like sisters for decades. A few years ago when my mom fell and wasn’t doing very well in the hospital before rallying, my Aunty Bern came to visit and told me wistfully as she held my mom’s hand, “We’ve been best friends for over 80 years…” Think about that. To have a best friend for over 80 years… What a blessing!

Thankfully, mom made a comeback and last night, I was fortunate enough to be there as they celebrated Aunty Mabel’s 93rd birthday along with other friends and family. I was invited along for chauffeur duty, but I must say, chauffeuring these ladies around is a guarantee of a fun time! When you are driving, Aunties will regale you with random never-before-revealed stories like,

“…There was this time when we were going to summer school at Berkeley and the boys from Hawaii [many of whom went on to become prominent Chinese-American businessmen, physicians, dentists, etc.] who were stationed at the military base in San Francisco would come pick us up. Gracie … do you remember when [insert random Chinese Nickname of person, who is now a person you know as Dr. So-and-So and is your friend from high school’s dad’s brother…] was showing off drinking those Zombies and he got so drunk he kept falling off the stool…”

These opportunities to, even now, get to know a little bit more about the woman my mom was as an adventurous 25 year old Asian girl in the city, are opportunities I will treasure forever.

Mom is in a nursing facilities these days, but Aunty Bern and Aunty Jean show up at the facility for “lunch with the girls” every Wednesday like clockwork (along with Aunty Mabel on every 3rd Wednesday of the month).

How awesome is that?!?!?

That, in my book, is how lives should be lived…

Thank you, Aunties! You’re the best!!!

on taking action…

So… I voted in the election. My side lost. I can spend the next 4 years being mad on social media or I can get off my ass and do stuff.

I used to joke about my:


Yet, clearly, the outcome of my efforts were not desirable–not good for my wellbeing…

Therefore, I am turning over a new leaf. Here’s the playbook I am following and YOU can, too!


If you aren’t “good with words” there is a two sentence script to use when you call your City Council rep, your School Board rep, your Congress person, your Senator, your Governor, your mayor, or your elected dog catcher…


Want to learn more? There is more information about finding your government representatives’ contact information, what to say, etc. here: 100 Calls 100, Days Campaign.

I’m going to participate in my governance! I hope you will too!

i miss barney…

I miss Barney…

Barney Frank Looks for the Bright Side of Trump’s Win – The New Yorker

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Barney Frank, long known as America’s crankiest liberal, is actually not feeling too badly. Frank retired from Congress in 2012, after three decades of representing Massachusetts’s Fourth District, then wrote a memoir, became a director of the Signature Bank, and took his curmudgeon act on the road as a lecturer. But the election of Donald Trump has not shattered his confidence about the nation’s political future. “This was not a wipeout. People will tend to overinterpret it. Remember, we got more votes than they did,” he said, in an interview this week. “And there is one silver living for us. They have succeeded in blaming us for everything that goes wrong in the world. From now on, anything bad that happens is on them. They control the whole government—White House, Senate, House, Supreme Court. Some people think that maybe Trump can somehow evade that responsibility, but I think it will be hard to blame it on some Mexicans when something goes wrong.”…

what do you do when all of your tools are broken?

I’ve been trying to make some sense of the election in terms the the work that I do. I’m stuck. It feels like all of our tools are broken.

How do you begin to teach kids about media literacy when the PEOTUS is the source of the lie? The fact that the PEOTUS is tweeting lies is, in fact, news of quite some significance so it should be reported. Which further spreads the lie.

  • Don’t get your news via Facebook, kids. It’ll leave you in a filter bubble with walls so thick you won’t know that Donald Trump is going to win.
  • Don’t rely on Twitter, kids. An automated army of bots is out there doing their masters’ bidding–very, very well, apparently.
  • Rely on the the traditional press, kid, no wait, they’re getting it wrong, too…

Here is a thread that came my way via Clive Thompson from Wired.

Actually, you know what, kid? I don’t know what the hell to tell you. All your tools are broken. I’m so sorry that my generation has left you with this steaming pile of crap…

worth reading… 


Taking Democracy for Granted | Duck of Minerva

… How might American democracy end? The United States would not be the first long-lasting government to collapse. Whether they supported communism or not, those who lived under it assumed, in Alexei Yurchak’s words, that communism was forever—until it was no more.   Developments in the United States bear an uncomfortable resemblance to those that fore-shadowed the decline of democracy elsewhere in the world (Poland, Hungary, and Russia, and earlier, Latin America in the 1960s and interwar Europe).

There are three pieces to the puzzle of why and how democracies fail. The first involves public opinion…

Source: Taking Democracy for Granted | Duck of Minerva

the week in review…

This is my personal blog. Don’t read any more if you don’t like the F-word.. In this space, I’m gonna just say what I want to say.

I quit Facebook (for now at least).

I found out that quitting Facebook is a whole thing these days because elections happen and people who think we are smart and well informed were like. WTF? What the fuck just happened? At least half of the country is WAY different that I had thought and I had NO FUCKING IDEA…

I changed the windshield wipers on my car so I thought I was all way good at repairing stuff so I made a fucking hole in my kitchen that I don’t know how to fix.

Yep. Just fucking great…

I got a hair cut because I was really looking bad.

I got sick with some kind of new fucked-up version of the same cold I had two weeks ago.

A new Windows 10 update came through on my 6 year old Lenovo laptop and now I can get to my Windows desktop, but can’t open any web browsers. Thanks, assholes at Microsoft. I was recently all… “They’re not the evil empire anymore…” Yeah, fuck you guys. You’re assholes for breaking my stuff without asking (yeah and don’t fucking tell me that I should have read your 119 page terms of use window at 4pt font–Fuckers…).

My mom was sick and wasn’t eating so I had a really hard time sleeping which probably had a lot to do with getting sick.

My niece and her husband who were living in Hawaii decided to move back to Columbus, OH where they can both make more money and can buy houses in the nicest neighborhoods in Columbus for less than a condo or starter home in Honolulu. I’m happy for them, but my heart also broke a little… I changed that girl’s diapers. It is hard to see her move away…

I’m still depressed by the election. I kinda feel like the sentiment expressed in this Salon piece…

“Sore Winner” Syndrome: Why are Donald Trump’s Supporters Still so Angry? Abraham Lincoln Understood

(Credit: Reuters/Mike Segar/Salon)

They won the battle, but the war’s not over — and in their hearts they know they’ve surrendered to ugliness

It’s not surprising that the election of Donald Trump would cause an upheaval in civil society. The differences between the two visions of America that were presented in this campaign couldn’t be more stark, and it’s inevitable that they would play out beyond the political system.

Much of the unrest on the left has taken the form of protest marches and school walkouts, while the right is more inclined to drunken hooliganism, flying the Confederate flag and the like. This is America. We have free speech and a right to assemble, and regardless of how we feel about the “message” being sent by people on the other side, they have a right to say it.

But there also have been many reports of anonymous defacing of property with white power slogans and other racist, xenophobic and anti-Semitic phrases. And there are now hundreds of stories of individual acts of bullying and even hate crimes coming from people who call themselves Trump supporters, aimed at fellow Americans they see as their enemies.

We could see this in the Trump rallies, of course. They bristled with resentment and barely repressed violence. And no one can possibly argue that the candidate didn’t use those dark emotions to motivate his followers. In a “60 Minutes” interview with Lesley Stahl, Trump admitted that he did that consciously. When Stahl pointed out that people are scared, Trump had to be coaxed to say this:

Don’t be afraid. We are going to bring our country back. But certainly, don’t be afraid…

Source: “Sore winner” syndrome: Why are Donald Trump’s supporters still so angry? Abraham Lincoln understood – Salon.com


Anna Clark’s: How To Support Good Journalism

A few days ago, I decided that I was going to leave Facebook for a while. Now, I don’t know if my hiatus will be a brief respite from the filter bubbled world of my pre-Clinton-Trump naivete or if it will be permanent, but I know for sure that I need to step back and take a breath.

I knew well that I as living in in my algorithm-built filter bubble, but I think what has given me so much to think about is just how thick the walls of that bubble turned out to be.

I don’t think that my leaving Facebook will change the world or put Facebook out of business. I just need to figure out how subservient I, personally, want to be and whether I want to support Facebook’s business model by giving them my eyeballs to sell.

I don’t know what the solution will be, but I know that in an information ecosystem where half of the people of the United States of America, know SO LITTLE about the other half that the outcome of the election is such a shocking surprise means that something is sorely broken and needs to be changed.

Clearly, my time on Facebook felt like discourse. It felt like engagement. It felt like political dialogue. The problem that I had was that it turned out that my dialogue was actually nothing more than a soliloquy…

Read more here from Anna Clark on: How To Support Good Journalism

At least that’s a start…

on the Easter jailbreak of 2015…

Mom and Mr. Lum. Easter 2015.

My mom, who now lives in a nursing home, wanted to go to church for Easter services so we planned for me to pick her up to go to the service which started at 9:00AM. When I pulled up to the facility, 15 Craigside, the parking lot was bustling and one of the parking lot attendants said, “Your mom is down here looking for you.” They wheeled mom out and she got in my car. The thing is that we usually park, sign in at the front desk in the lobby, go upstairs to the nursing floor, sign in as a visitor, sign my mom out for the trip, then reverse all of it before doing the transfer into the car. Mom being downstairs, therefore, was a bit unusual…

Mom, though, said, “I told them I was meeting you and I took my meds so we can go.” Hint: If you have a parent 89 years or older, when they tell you stuff that seems a little out of the ordinary, you should employ #Side-Eye.

We got to the church and mom was the belle of the ball. People greeted her warmly and the service was beautiful. After the service, we gathered in the meeting room for hospitality hour during which I got a text from my sister:

Yep, my mom broke herself out of the nursing home!

Long story short, we had a really great morning. Mom had a really good time seeing old friends. When we got back to 15 Craigside, every staff member greeted her jokingly as, “Holoholo Lady” and I had to apologize profusely and hang my head in shame a little. I’ll never really know for sure whether mom just got a little confused or whether she just wanted to assert some independence. I am a little suspicious that Holoholo Lady knew exactly what she was doing because when we returned, she was wearing her slightly sly smile. In fact, the more that I think about it, I’m convinced that she saw that there was a lot of activity in the facility, lots of residents and guest we’re going in and out of the nursing floor. There was an opportunity so she took it–Home Alone, style!!! LOL!

In the end, it was all worth it. Every day is an adventure to be lived!!!

Wishing you all a very Happy Easter!

on ribbon jello awe…

Ribbon Jello!

I have recently been inspired to attempt to recreate the joys of 1970s era jello desserts. I’m talking orange jello with mandarin oranges stirred in. Nothing remotely close to the ultra-advanced ribbon jello dessert of our youth because I am paying homage, not engaging in an act of hubris.

I worked with a wonderful woman, Mrs. Ruth Chock, who was the music teacher at the elementary school where I worked. Ruth was famous for her ribbon jello. Always even. Always perfect. The thing is, that Ruth was one of the most precise and exacting people I’ve ever met. A friend and I once got the keys to her room and as a practical joke, went in and changed a handful of the files in her filing cabinet around. She BUSTED us within a day! She was exacting, but also a really good sport.

Anyway, Ruth once told me that to get her ribbon jello perfect, she counted the number of spaces in on the metal rack of her refrigerator because she knew the precise spot was where her refrigerator was exactly level so that each layer of jello and cream came out EXACTLY even.

Ruth has since passed, but I will always remember her and her ribbon jello with fondness and gratitude.

Here’s to you, Ruth!

Addendum: So, the instructions on the box of orange jello indicate that putting canned pineapple, kiwis, or other fruit into the jello is fine. Fresh pineapple or kiwis, however, will prevent the jello from setting. What’s up with that? Anyone know?

on toes and food…

It’s not much of a secret among people that I know, that one of my absolute favorite shows over the past few years has been The Middle.  One of The Middle’s most memorable plots was an episode that involved the mom’s consumption of toenails. LOL! That’s right! Toenails…

Well, while I didn’t eat toenails I have eaten toe spacer butter. See, my mom, like many Chinese mom’s wasn’t exactly a touchy, feely, huggy, “Oh I love you so much because you are my golden child” kind of mom. My mom showed her love for others and us through food. Food is love.

Now, even though my mom now lives in a nursing facility, she still finds ways to send her love through food. With every meal, mom gets foil wrapped pats of butter. She dutifully collects her pats of butter and compiles them in Ziploc baggies that she gifts to us regularly. “We paid for it so take this home…” Well, my husband, who now does all of the cooking graciously unwraps the pats of butter and cooks with it. This week, we got to the bottom of the baggie and this is what I found…

Hard to see, but yeah, those are toe spacers and a nail clipper...LOL!
Hard to see, but yeah, those are toe spacers and a nail clipper imparting extra flavor to my butter…LOL!

It’s a little hard to see, but we’ve been eating toe spacer and toenail clipper enhanced butter for the last three weeks or so! Don’t get me wrong everything was still delicious, but I just might check the baggies before I bring them home from 15 Craigside from now on!

I have to admit, it is still is nice to be able to get just a little bit of food that is love from my mom…