Posts Tagged ‘traditions’

All Things Asian

December 25, 2016

In other words.

Merry Christmas Eve to the person who had to cancel two different sets of plans.

The first, you all have heard me talk about, no Christmas in Wisconsin, didn’t work out had to cancel.

The second set was to go help a friend move today.

But after yesterday’s challenge, and let’s be frank, the whole week has been a challenge, and a lingering cold that just won’t get the fuck out of my body, I cancelled.

I don’t like canceling.

I cried on the phone to my friend.

But.

That’s the way the cookie crumbles.

I did rally though and get out of my house.

The thought of being at home alone the whole day was too much to bear, so I just thought, easy does it, you know where to go and who to see and it can be nice and slow and just take things one moment at a time.

I had a nice breakfast, courtesy of the persimmons Santa left for me, some nice coffee and a lot of writing.

I decided I would venture out to the Inner Sunset, I knew people would be there and that I needed to check in with my people.

But before that.

Yes.

My nail salon was open.

Merry Christmas Eve day manicure and eyebrow waxing courtesy of the sweet mother daughter team at the Korean nail salon I go to.

I popped in next door to Tart to Tart and treated myself to a large cafe au lait, then came back and got all pretty.

For whom?

Why, me, of course.

I may not have a significant other this year, but I can damn well treat myself like I am one.

Because, well, I fucking am.

After the nails I popped over to 7th and Irving and did the deal with a bunch of folks.

It was really good.

I mean.

REALLY.

Heard everything I needed to hear and got my heart warmed up, it’s been aching, although it may just be the tightness in my chest from the cold, I suspect it’s a mixture of both.

Afterward it was definitely time for lunch.

Thai food it is!

I was rather smitten with the red curry duck with plantains I had the other day at Marnee Thai, so I went back to see if they were open, and yes!

They were.

I even was sat in the exact same spot.

Sort of cozy and sweet and one of the servers remembered me and when I had sipped, quite quickly, I was trying to warm up, my cup of tea, she flagged over my server whispered something to her in Thai and the next thing you know my server comes back with a huge glass of tea.

Apparently they know me well after just two visits.

I was doing ok and also not feeling like quite calling it a day, though I did think about it when I stepped back outside, the weather today, for San Francisco, was quite cold.

Is quite cold.

But I decided that I could scooter over to Japan town and catch a movie at the Kabuki Sundance Theaters.

I had worn a lot of layers, in fact I was a polar bear on my scooter, but even in the theater I was a little chilled.

Slight fever.

Which sometimes is actually kind of nice, and sometimes makes everything feel a little chillier.

But the movie was sweet and I was also warmed by the brief, but happy phone call I had with my sister and my mom!

It was such a lovely surprise to see my sister’s name pop up on my phone.

She called to thank me for the gifts I had sent and I spoke briefly with her and then with my mom before going into the movie.

I almost missed the previews, and I like previews.

I went and saw La La Land.

It was the perfect Christmas Eve movie to see, lots of singing, a tender, somewhat bittersweet romantic plot line, and good acting.

I was quite taken.

And yes, I did tear up a bit at the ending.

It was well done and I’m glad I went.

Speaking of glad I went, I decided to double down and go catch some fellows over at Turk and Divisadero and just sit for another hour and absorb the good stuff with a small cast of merry friends who were staying in town as well for the holiday.

It was chilly, but cheerful.

I am definitely glad I went.

And to round out all things Asian for my merry Christmas Eve.

I took myself out to a sushi dinner at my favorite sushi restaurant in my hood–Sushi Raw–over on 19th and Taraval.

Christmas bonus never tasted so good.

I do not eat out very often and I’ve eaten out a lot over the last few days, it’s been lovely, but it will be settling down.

That being said, fuck it’s Christmas Eve and I didn’t feel like cooking, I will tomorrow, I don’t know that I will be zooming around at all, I did push myself a bit more than I thought I would in the name of keeping myself busy and out of my head, so I let myself splurge on sushi.

I had scallops wrapped in bacon.

BACON.

MmmMmmm good.

Miso soup, edamame, and my favorite roll–Caterpillar Roll, which is unagi with avocado.

Lots of hot tea, I was super cold after my riding.

And it was really sweet to sit by myself and people watch.

I was the only person there who wasn’t Japanese.

I am so grateful to live in a community with so many ethnicities and cultures.

And grateful that not everybody celebrates Christmas the ways that “my” culture does.

Or I would have been a little out of luck with all the activities and places and food I had today.

It’s certainly not the Christmas I envisioned, but that’s ok.

It’s the Christmas I’m supposed to be having.

How do I know this?

Because it’s what’s happening.

Reality.

Better than fantasy any old day, even when I think otherwise, even when I had tried to wrest Christmas and it’s traditions into my own idea of what it’s supposed to look like.

I didn’t plan on being sick, I didn’t plan on canceling my travel plans, I didn’t plan on being alone.

But overall.

I never felt lonely today.

Even though I spent much of it alone.

Rather.

I felt held, special, and very privileged to have the life I have today.

I’ve come a very, very, very long way.

Baby.

So very long.

And so grateful for every step along the way.

Seriously.

Chili In A Pot

November 26, 2016

Naps on the bed.

You read that right.

This lady took a nap today.

Once a year sort of thing.

I cuddled under my grandmother’s afghan and said, screw reading any more for school, I need to rest my eyes.

It was divine.

Delicious.

Sublime.

I had chili simmering on the stove.

I really like cooking and it’s nice to have a little something simmering all day long and tis the season for the comforting smells and snuggling in blankets.

Oh.

And in case you’re wondering.

The day AFTER Thanksgiving is the best time in the entire year to go shopping at SafeWay.

My God.

It was a ghost town.

I wasn’t planning on doing any shopping today except for groceries and it was a very pleasant surprise to have nary a soul in the store with me, to get in line, to not wait, to get out the door fast and efficient.

Lovely.

I also went to yoga today and that class was small too.

It kicked my ass though, which I think may have accounted for the needing to rest and have a nap this afternoon.

Aside from that I didn’t do a whole lot.

I made some phone calls.

I did my morning writing.

The aforementioned yoga.

Groceries.

Cooking.

And.

Yes.

Lots of reading for school.

I started in on my Psychopathology class and that might have been what put me to sleep.

Heh.

It’s dense material.

Really dense.

And I’m pretty damn grateful that I have had so much time to do the reading, it will facilitate me being ready to write my final papers and concentrate on my last projects for school semester.

It has been a gift.

That and to continue to address the laundry that I need to stay on top of.

I have my second treatment at Hair Fairies tomorrow at 9:30 a.m.

I’m ready for this.

I want to take care of it and move the fuck on.

It’s supposed to rain, which precludes me taking my scooter, but I’ll hop in a car and get over there first thing in the morning and get it dealt with and out of the way.

I may do a little wander around the Fillmore area and window shop, it’s a fun neighborhood to do that.

I’ll bring my umbrella and go for a nice long saunter in the rain.

Maybe buy some Christmas lights and a tree ornament or two.

I actually got one tonight when I went up to the Inner Sunset to do the deal this evening.

Wishbone was still open and also pretty desolate.

You got to love San Francisco during the holidays, the city just empties out.

I got the cutest little glass fox in frosted blue with glitter and a little furry tail

Adorable.

I’m thinking about getting my tree on Sunday.

Which may be the earliest I have ever gotten a tree.

I may hold off until next weekend, when it’s officially December, but the temptation is strong.

There is a tree lot two blocks away!

They were unfurling the trees today.

I was happy to see a number of them that will fit well into my little studio.

I will be continuing my Elvis themed “Blue Christmas” with my blue lights for the tree.

In fact.

I am going to re-invest in the large blue ceramic glass bulbs that I had two Christmas’s ago.

They broke when I was monkeying around trying to add some mood lighting to my house after Christmas had passed.

I want to get them again.

I really like the old fashioned bulb shape.

They make me happy.

Christmas is a happy time for me.

Busy as fuck.

Yes.

But happy as well.

Joyful.

I love sending out Christmas cards.

I have my boxed sets, one from my co-op, one from Rainbow Co-op, the collection I got from the Tuileries last Christmas; I have my holiday stamps.

I send out at least 15 cards every year, usually more, last year I think I sent out 20 or 25.

Lost count.

I usually do.

There is just something special about taking the time to sit down and address them and think about the person I am writing to and let them know that they are in my heart, it’s a wonderful feeling.

Plus.

I love getting cards in the mail.

I can’t expect to get any if I don’t send any out.

It’s the one tradition, and the tree, that I keep up with since I don’t bake Christmas cookies anymore or make Christmas candy.

I flirt with the idea every season, but I really don’t want to have it in my house.

The best scenario would be to make everything at someone else’s house.

I don’t foresee that happening.

However, I do generally get a least one afternoon of cookie baking with the family I work for.

I am pretty sure the mom will want me to help with the Christmas cookies again this year.

Today is the official beginning of the count down.

Four weeks from today will be my last day with the family.

I’ll catch a red eye that night to Wisconsin, spend a few days in the snow at Christmas and be with my best friend in Wisconsin and her family, so happy I get to have their company.

Four weeks and I’m done.

It’s been a trip.

I’m ready for a new adventure.

There will be lots of them soon.

I still need to get my practicum stuff prepared and write a resume and put together letters of reference and apply to the 6-8 sites the school recommends.

There are more than 6-8 sites, that’s just the number they recommend one apply to, cover all the bases.  I hear it’s pretty typical to not get into your first pick.

I’m ok with the work, I know it has to be done and despite the napping today, I did do a lot of work that is going to facilitate me moving forward and having my assignments done before I got to Wisconsin.

In fact.

I’ll be done by the weekend of my birthday.

That’s the plan anyway.

If not sooner.

Sooner I’m actually hoping.

But I get a head of myself.

The next thing is to deal with my head.

Literally.

So excuse me, I have another load of laundry to wash and some chili to put up for the week.

Fingers crossed tomorrow I’ll be cleared.

Super ready for that.

Seriously.

Wash the Dishes

December 26, 2013

Wrap it up.

Bid adieu to Christmas.

Well, not quite, it’s still here, it’s still happening, the day has not quite ended, but I am back at the house sitting gig, my hands slightly softened from washing the dinner dishes at my friend’s house, the cat fed, the garbage taken out and another Christmas for me, put almost to bed.

A day of reflection and gratitude and sunshine.

Warm sunshine.

I took a walk this afternoon after doing my routine, that’s the nice thing about a routine, no matter what day of the year, I do it.

I don’t break away from it for my birthday or Christmas, or any other special occasion, I used to think that I could not afford to, but now I know that I do not want to.

My life, in great part, evolves because of the time I take in the morning to write, read, sit and be still, eat a good breakfast, and be settled in myself before going out into any day, any situation.

Christmas, then, being no exception.

Well, excepting I slept in a little.

The cat did wake me up to feed her, but I went back to bed after I did and that was luxurious and the nice hot shower after I woke up was lovely and the nice leisurely breakfast and writing and meditation.

Actually, said cat disrupted said meditation.

I was sitting in the big stuffed chair by the window in the back room, one of the only places the house gets any direct light, and there is a cat tree next to the chair.

About five, six minutes into my nice warm silent get right with God, the cat started washing it’s paws.

Yick.

Have you ever heard a cat clean it’s paws?

RASP, slurp, click, click, click (chewing it’s toenails), slurp, RASP.

Oh my god.

I stopped meditating right then and there.

But I received what I needed and I needed to get outside for a while, so I strolled up and down Dolores Street, enjoying the sunshine, the palm trees, the lack of traffic, the plethora of parking, and the occasional greeting being shouted out by other folks on their way to or from their holiday gatherings.

“Merry Christmas!”

He shouted, weaving around the sidewalk, “Merry, Merry, Merry!”

I crossed over to the other side of the street, definitely not engaging.

Although, I did find myself relaying a brisk, cheerful and bright “Merry Christmas” to a couple underneath the highway overpass who were torching up some rock.

It just sort of popped out.

And it was a better interaction than I had feared.

Which, all in all, most of my interactions are, even when awkward.

I think they are going to be awful, but they end up being fine, or good, or even great.

I don’t like taking CA Bike Route 25 because of that underpass, but it’s the only way to navigate Bayshore and it was the only way to go unless I wanted to go more than a mile or two out of my way and up and over Bernal Hill, and I still would have had to be on part of the wonky anyhow.

Made my hyper grateful that I was just there “visiting” that I did not have to take that kind of bicycle commute again.

I knew the underpass from years ago when I briefly worked in the Bay View wholesale vegetable and fruit markets doing some real basic data entry at wholesale market that a room-mate worked at.

I disliked the commute then, and I didn’t fare so well this time, but I got back and forth in one piece and the middle was lovely.

The house was warm and smelled amazing, in fact, it might just be the best meal I have had at the holidays in the last nine years.  The host had made the majority of the food to all the dietary restrictions of her guests–sugar and gluten-free–for all the mains and side dishes.

I had an amazing, beautifully cooked, home cooked, abstinent meal.

Now that is a Christmas miracle.

Of course there was amazing dessert for all, but I partook of  an adorable little raw fruit plate my darling host set down at my side without even asking.

I felt sweetly spoiled and taken care of.

That’s what the holidays for me are about and what, in my opinion, I miss about them from an earlier time.  Christmas was holy, special, a day were things weren’t open and places were shut down, where Christmas Eve was about the grandparents house and you had to make plans.

That it was not instant, effort was made, and when the effort wasn’t made it was really obvious.

The effort was made tonight and I felt really honored.

I also felt like I needed to show my gratitude and help where I could.

Which meant before the meal basically lighting candles, and having catch up conversation with old friends who had moved over to the East Bay.

But after the meal, meant washing the dishes.

And I don’t know what it was and I don’t know why I had my Christmas moment there, but that’s where I had it.

Normally, I have my Christmas moment in front of my Christmas tree at night watching it with the lights off, I get swept with an overwhelming feeling of gratitude and rightness coupled with sweet nostalgia for all past Christmas trees.

This time it was over the dish pan.

Maybe it was the little kids, three of them, two boys and a girl all around three years old, being coaxed to say “Merry Christmas,” for the camera.

Maybe it was the pattern of flowers on the eggshell china.

Maybe it was the smell of the meal being wrapped up and put away for delicious left overs or the wife of a friend saying, “let me get a dish towel, I’ll dry.”

But suddenly, I was in the kitchen at my grandparents house in Lodi washing dishes over the sink, looking out the back window at the golden light falling onto the snow from the bay window in dinning area, listening to my aunts gently gossip, my hands plunged in the water, washing a plate, being quietly swept up into the adult dramas as the younger cousins sat huddled impatiently around the Christmas tree waiting to unwrap presents.

Dinner dishes always were done before the presents on Christmas Eve were opened.

And I was there, in Lodi, in Wisconsin, smelling the turkey and ham, hearing the fire crackle, listening to my uncles talk gruffly with my grandfather and wishing I hadn’t had the sticky popcorn ball my grandfather had made–dyed either bright red or bright green, wrapped in clear cellophane, made with thick, gooey heavy corn syrup, heated up, then mixed up with the popcorn that my grandfather grew–and yet, I can still taste it and am grateful to it.

Rituals.

Traditions.

Routines.

They bind me to who I am and where I came from.

I can never decide if I am more Californian, having been born here, raised my first formative years here, having spent nearly the last eleven years in here.

Or Wisconsin, having moved there at the age of 5 and staying, with a few detours, for almost 25 years.

I suppose I am a mix of both and I can be grateful for that too.

As I navigated the pee smelling streets and passed the crack couple having their holiday hits, I realized that I can perhaps make a hybrid of the two parts of me here, that I started by allowing myself a Christmas tree this year.

Maybe next year I make some traditions for me.

Or I visit Hudson, Wisconsin.

If I want a taste of that Midwestern thing.

That’s something to think about next year.

For tonight, a cup of tea, a cuddle with the cat, Downton Abbey’s Christmas Special, and I say thank you Father Christmas, it’s been a wonderful day.

Thank you, too to my friends who made sure I was included all the day long.

I feel loved and that, any day, Christmas, or otherwise, is a gift.

 

 


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