Dim Sum Diaries
I honestly have been spending the last few days trying to write something, anything...but its all crap. I wrote a three parter short story back in 2003 (god I almost typed in 1993) back when the Iraq war started. Its a love story and I really enjoyed writing it, and some people said they enjoyed reading it. I've been looking over it again to get some inspiration, and I thought some new people might get a kick out of it. So here it is, this first piece is simply entitled, "He..."

He carried a picture of her wherever he went. During the day, while on
duty as a soldier and enduring the extreme heat of the Iraqi desert,
the picture was safely tucked in his pocket. Every so often, he would
absently pat that pocket to ensure it was still there. Sometimes it
earned him strange glances from the men in his unit. Dan quickly
learned to do it when no one was around.

At night, lying in his cot, he would take the picture out and stare at
it intently while his tent-mates snored loudly. By now, he had
memorized every aspect of her face: the aristocratic arch of her brow;
the glossy black texture of her hair; her rich, dark-chocolate eyes
which revealed her intelligence and wry humor.

The picture was of his best friend, Kate. It was a portrait from one
of those photography studios in the mall. She had taken the time to
apply make-up and worn an elegant, but simple black dress that
accentuated the graceful curve of her neck. She seemed to be smiling
directly at him. Just for him, he liked to think.

Yet it had been nine months, six days, thirteen hours and six minutes
since First Lieutenant Daniel Huffman last saw a live glimpse of her
face. That time had been spent on active duty since the conflict
started. He completed his duties with the excellence and precision
that was second nature to him. Life during deployment often meant
enduring long work shifts, always wondering if the unknown person
approaching you was friend or foe. He endured because he had little
choice in the matter. His love for her only deepened as time passed.
Yet he still hadn't dared to tell her of his feelings, fearing
rejection. However, as time passed he realized he would have to, lest
he lose her to someone else. He swore to himself that if...when...he
got back to the States, he would.

They wrote each other frequently via snail mail. Sometimes through
email if he could sneak onto a computer. Kate included the picture of
her in one of the many care packages she sent him. This particular
package included beef jerky, Good 'N Plenty (his favorite), wet naps
(for quick on-the-spot bath), toilet paper (one could never have
enough of this) and a videotape of recent episodes of The Daily Show
(good place to get the news).

Dan had never considered himself a writer, but the letter-writing
provided an outlet for his emotions. It helped to cope with the
monotony of the daily routine as well as the relentless onslaught of
the heat. It helped him to endure the terrifying moments when live
rounds exploded or there was live weapons fire around the compound.
She would never truly understand what he was going through. She was a
civilian and safe on the other side of the world. But her willingness
to listen and the unflagging emotional support in her letters kept him
sane. He tried to express how he felt once in a letter:

Kate...for all the crap I keep telling you about...I'm glad that you
are there to listen. It helps me get through each day. Sort of like I
am load of dirty laundry...all the colors, whites and darks are mixed
together. Somehow you manage to get everything clean, get them all
separated and folded nicely...how lame a metaphor is that? You mean a
lot to me, I hope you know that.

It was as close as he dared to declare his feelings for her. He
wondered if she realized the subtext of his message.

The only time he really went out of his mind was when he recieved an
urgent call from his mother. Kate was in the hospital. He went crazy
with worry until Kate herself called him directly from the hospital.
There were only two things that were broken, she said. One was her
arm. The other was her relationship with Brad, whom she had kicked to
the curb. He sighed in relief on both counts.

After what seemed an eternity, the order to come home had finally come
through. He wanted to be home. He wanted to have the satisfaction of
being in his own place. He wanted to drink a beer while lounging on
his sofa, watching a game on television. He wanted to sleep in his own
bed. How long had it been since he had done those things? Most of all,
he wanted to be in the comfort of her arms, because that above all
symbolized home to him. Everything had been packed up and all the
soldiers were loaded on a commercial flight back to the United States.
On the long flight home, he thought of the last time he saw her...

She and a group of their mutual friends had gone to some dive to
celebrate his last night of freedom. Kate volunteered to be the
designated driver, and after a long night of carousing, she had
dutifully driven each of the others home. Only Dan and she were left
in the car and they shared a comfortable banter on the way to his
apartment. When Kate reached in front of his building, she slid into
an available parking space and turned off the ignition. Dan glanced at
her in surprise. He thought she would merely drop him off and leave.

"Brad is going to get jealous when he hears we've been alone," he
joked to break the increasing tension. Their friendship over the last
three years had evolved from friendly teasing to a rock solid
friendship, each unhesitatingly being there for the other through
various crises.

"He'll get over it," Kate replied. "I'll miss you. I wish you didn't
have to go."

"I know," he replied. "But I'll be back."

"Well, this may sound lame, but I wanted you to write me, if you
could. If you need someone to talk to, I'm here."

"I will," he promised. He had been planning on doing that anyways.

"I care for you, you know," she said.

"Same here," he said casually. He ruffled her hair as one might
towards another guy. "Hey, why are you so serious now? I'll come back
and then we can resume annoying the hell out of each other, as

She slid him an unfathomable gaze. "Fine," she said. "Well, I guess
this is it then."

Kate leaned towards him, intending to kiss his cheek in farewell. At
the last second he turned so that his lips softly met hers. Time
stilled for a moment before she pulled away. His green eyes met her
wide-eyed brown ones, and his world suddenly shifted from beneath his
feet. He stiffened as a sudden realization hit him. He loved her.

"Kate..." he murmured, his voice suddenly husky. "I..." Yet the words
crammed in his throat as he tried to express the depth of his emotions
to her.

Awkwardly, she cleared her throat and shifted away, as if to put some
distance between them. The moment was gone. Dan shook his head,
mortified at what he had been about to reveal. She had a boyfriend,
for god's sake. She probably didn't feel the same way. To her they
were still the best of friends, platonically. He was going away
tomorrow. His earth-shattering declaration would have to wait.

"I should go," she mumbled. Not sure of what he was feeling himself,
he opened the car door.

"Goodbye, Kate," he said quietly and was gone...

Dan shook himself out of his reverie when the plane landed. He got his
gear together and waited patiently while others filed out before him.
Everyone was called to formation. The soldiers who were almost home
and could certainly hear the cheers of their waiting families expertly
lined up in three rows and stood at attention. It was an impressive
sight to behold. "Great job!" the Commanding Officer barked. While the
senior officers made the usual rousing speeches of "Well done!", Dan
tried unsuccessfully to scan for a glimpse of Kate out of the corner
of his eye. The speeches lasted another ten minutes.

Finally, the command all had been waiting for: "Dismissed!"

Families and soldiers surged towards each other. Dan walked quickly
towards the waiting area. Suddenly he spotted her, standing beside his
mom, dad and brother. Kate waved.

"Son!" his mom cried joyously as she ran forward to greet him. He
dropped his gear and ran forward as well, embracing his mother in a
fierce hug. He could see his dad heartily clap his younger brother on
the shoulder, his face all smiles.

He took in the sight of her. She was smiling too, but stood a slight
distance from his family as he walked towards his father and brother,
one arm around his mother. As if she didn't want to intrude on the
family privacy. Was she glad to see him? Did she have any idea of how
he felt? Did she feel the same way?

The jubilation he felt at finally reaching home and seeing his loved
ones turned to nervousness as he finally stood before her, face to
face. She smiled he stepped towards her.

"Hi," he said, his heart full of emotion as he swept her, weightless,
into his arms...

to be continued...

How To Charm Me & And Scare Me Simultaneously

Fer sure this is a dooce-esque entry:

Be my 4 year old son, put your Hanes underwear on your head and run around the room yelling, "I'M A HOOTERS BOY I'M A HOOTERS BOY!!!!!!"
For a brief glorious moment in time I thought I would be reading about the world's largest orgasm.

Ah, nothing like just dropping my eldest off at school in the morning, wearing my big pink fluffy robe (that was sexy back in 1993) and wearing like two or three hair clippys to keep my hair out of my face. I'd also be enjoying a cup of coffee, except that I ran out of coffee beans, and I'm going to need to forage something for breakfast.

I've been making a lot of lists lately, and getting a lot of satisfaction in crossing items off these lists. Makes me feel like I've accomplished something, I suppose. Even if the items are pretty mundane, like going to the store to get dental floss or some such thing.


Run a mile and write.
It was with some trepidation that I went back to the dentist for a cleaning yesterday. After a certain fiasco occured, I was going to try a new dentist, but it just seemed like too much trouble. And with my penchant for severing relationships with people that piss me off (and it'd been a year since my last cleaning and with my gums tending to be calculus factories, which is hella not good), I decided to try to stay with Dr. N. So I went back, and I did catch a glimpse of HER, but they put me in with a cheerful hygenist who was cool, so it turned out to be uneventful.

Now off to the doc on Friday for a physical. :p

Got a letter from Daughter's elementary school yesterday. Because of a dearth of 3rd graders and an overabundance of 2nd graders, they want to combine one class into 2nd/3rd grade. Daughter's piano teacher alerted me first (I hadn't yet read the letter), as I picked Daughter up from her lesson. She was adamantly against her daughter Julianna going. I then rushed home, read the letter, called my mom in a panic (who is a former grade school teacher) and asked for her opinion. Mom advised me to talk to the teacher and principal first. Daughter would be an ideal candidate academically, but depending on the logistics of the class, for example, female to male ratio (too many 3rd grade boys = bad), number of 2nd v. 3rd graders, who the teacher is, etc. etc. etc. Its like...this decision we make will AFFECT THE ENTIRE FUTURE OF YOUR CHILD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So I was a bit stressed out. Talked to teacher today, and then to principal. Prin was standing in the middle of the parking lot/street and directing traffic, so I had to wave my arms like a mad woman to get his attention then talk very loudly over the crowd of kids and cars cruising by. He was very reasurring that the kids would be handpicked for academic and social maturity, so maybe its a good thing. Have to talk it over tonight so see what happens.

I did get some writing today, finally. One whole hour. So thats not too bad. With the kids now in school, I'm hoping things will finally settle down a bit and I can have a quiet, comfortable routine. Of course you know now that I've said that, the opposite will happen. :p
I swear they are bloody teaching algebra in second grade already. I was working with Daughter on her math homework and everything was going fine when I encountered this seemingly inocuous math problem:

Find the number sentence that looks the same both ways.

What I'm thinking: What the bloody fuck is that supposed to mean??????

What I say: Okay, now let's try to figure this out, shall we?

After trying to puzzle it out for a few minutes, I tell Daughter, "I'm not sure what its asking. Let's try it later."

Daughter shoots me a look. "You want me to tell my teacher that you couldn't figure it out?"

*Hasty shuffling of paper for few minutes

So I try to figure it out. I'm thinking that the answer is 8+0=8, 0+8=8. But I'm not sure. For sure Daughter inherited smartass gene from LOGUNG'S side.
I've been doing a lot of thinking lately. In terms of writing, my best pieces of work have come when I've felt strongly emotional about the subject matter. Passionate. Moved to create something, express something that will reach out and connect with the reader on a very personal level. And I'm not just talking about pink frosted cakes either. I spent a couple of hours reading over the archives the other night. This is one of my faves. Also, the Dan & Kate chronicles, which I've since taken down and only shown to a few people.

When one finally taps into that well of passion and creativity and it surges through you, and you can't write fast enough to save your life, how does one keep that passion going? Just long enough to jot a few paragraphs down for a blog entry? Then enough to produce 100k some odd words for a book? Tapping into it always seems just a whisper away, but I'm still looking. :p
Andrew emailed me recently asking about how one should conduct themselves whilst traveling to Hong Kong in which one looks like but is not of the local population. If it was me (and the last time I was in HK was 1984), act really haughty when I speak in my Valley girl grumpy (long story) Chinese accent, and barter, barter, barter!!!

Just found this cool link about expats migrating back from China to a western country and the reverse culture shock they may feel, so this may make you feel better, dude. :)

BTW, what is up with all the angry asian urls? Theres Angry Asian Man, Angry Little Girls and now this Angry Chinese Blogger guy.

Anyways, funny story, someone asked me to say something in Chinese recently, I don't remember who, and when I did, they remarked that I seemed to speak Chinese in a grumpy, terse tone. Then I realized that my accent is exactly like my mother's.

Love you ma!

Was walking daughter to school today and saw this junior morning dove in the middle of the street, didn't think too much about it. But on the way home, poor thing was being picked apart by two crows. Mothering instinct kicked in...shooed the crows away and was able to pick it up w/o too much trouble. Put in comfy box lined w/ cloth...called animal hospital to get name of agency who could take bird in. Got name of volunteer, sped over to her house. Her name was Stephanie, who said the wounds didn't look too bad, and the bird didn't appear too stressed. So will probably make a nice recovery.

Then got a call from a recruiter about a possible job. I need to update my resume and send it to him if I want to follow up on this. I don't know how I feel about it...

It's been a very strange morning.

Its Like EZ Bake Oven-Esque, But Way More Elegant

I'd been informed that today was Mother-in-Law's (MIL) birthday. Since she'd just gotten out of the hospital, thought it would be nice to fuss over her a bit. Called MIL and FIL (father-in-law), arranged for them to come over for dinner. Decided to bake a Splenda yellow cake (they can't ingest too much sugar) in a pan similar to this. I halved the mix then it turns out I baked it a bit too long. So here are the results...a gigantic rectangular cookie with Cool Whip strawberry frosting on it (hides all the defects and the cookie-ishness of the whole thing). Tasted pretty damn good. Note the 24, even though MIL is obviously not 24, but I think it made her feel a little bit better about herself (she's been kind of depressed).


This is what the cake was supposed to look like...mine was similar in color, only not so pretty, so it was just easier to frost the top w/ Cool Whip. :p
Thanks to the wonders of modern technology, aka the latest version of Y! Messenger, which has some really nice features, I'm here on the compy (not writing), contemplating the state of the blogosphere, when all of a sudden, the following message pops up:

Deb would like to add you as her friend...etc etc etc...

Its an old friend from college (I graduated in 1994, how sad is that), whom I haven't talked to in probably that long, other then the occasional family newsletter email from her. And of course, since I'm horrible at keeping in touch...well you know. I immediately immed her and we started chatting. If we were there in real person, I'd like to think we would greet each other in a dignified manner, but who am I kidding, we'd probably be like the two teenage girls seeing each other after a long absence, hugging and screaming and yelling omigod omigod omigod!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

We exchanged numbers and of course I insisted on calling her (it was after midnight for already) and we chatted about how we both were doing. How the hubs were doing, and about being a mom and the kids. She's a stay at home mom now and homeschools her kids. She seems really happy. We filled each other in on gossip from the group of girls we used to hang out with. I told her about this blog, she's thinking about starting one.

All in all, a very cool convo. It makes me pensive about the different paths we all took after college graduation. Then through the power of technology...cell phones and the internets (honestly why didn't have this shit back in the day)...we are able to reconnect...

Trying to find something clever and witty to write about. But after reading Wil Wheaton's somewhat depressing post on why he's not blogging as much, I'm kind of like, hmmmmm...

I've tried to avoid talking about Katrina and its aftermath, mainly because its too damn depressing.

So I'll just link a cool West Wing News Blog that I found instead. And post a delicious pic of Rob Lowe performing the stage version of A Few Good Men in London.
Update on my mother-in-law, she was released from the hospital on Friday. They couldn't find anything wrong with her, so no surgery was needed. But she needs rest, so she's at home and everything is calming down a bit. Lo-Gung is sternly warning me to take my blood pressure meds (I seem to have forgotten to take it lately) so I don't have to endure the same thing in like 40 years (bit of eye rolling on my part, but oh well).

This morning was misty and gray, and a bit on the chilly side. I woke up pretty early, and decided to bake Irish soda bread for breaksfast. Yay for prepackaged mixes, cuz all I had to do was dump it into a bowl, add a cup of water and mix and bake. The smell of fresh bread baking in the oven permeated the house with a nice smell. After it was done, took it out, let it cool on the rack for a bit. Cut a generous slice and had it for breakfast with coffee.

Sometimes its the simple things in life that make us happy.