August 17, 2016


We spent several summers in Taiwan while growing up, splitting time between Taipei, where Mom’s sister worked, and Yuanlin, where Mom’s parents lived in a typical multi-story apartment with balconies for dangling laundry, courtyards for storing useful-ish junk, and a kitchen for housing mini lemon ice creams, which I swiped pretty often.

Some days, we’d visit tourist spots like Taroko National Park, Xitou Nature Education Area, or the Aboriginal Culture Village.  Xitou was my favorite, with cool, shady paths leading through bamboo, ginkgos and green ponds.  At the forest’s exit, peddlers sold carved wooden animals with toothpick-holding pockets - useful for the nightly de-vegetableing of your teeth.

Ginkgo leaves remind me of Xitou, Mom, and summers in Taiwan.

Also in Blog

Planning Ahead
Planning Ahead

June 11, 2017

“If you die, I get your Vitamix,” Piper said.

“I get your All-Clad skillets,” Akela replied.

“Doesn’t anyone want any of my stuff?” I asked.


“I’ll take your trash cans,” Piper said after a while.

I own a bunch of attractive Japanese trash cans made from ayous wood.  One of them cost me $70.

“What about my laptop?”

“I’d prefer your trash cans.”


“Uh . . . I’ll . . . "  She couldn’t think of anything.


April 30, 2017

For Christmas, I gave Mom several presents, including a set of artisan felted wool coasters.  The set consisted of two mustard yellow coasters and two royal blue coasters, with an artsy silkscreened design on the top of each coaster.  

After a few months, I noticed that Mom consistently used the blue coasters on the correct side and the yellow coasters turned over to wrong side.

"You don’t like the yellow coasters?" I asked her one day.

"It’s fine."

[click image for more]


April 24, 2017

I feel especially Asian when I drink jasmine tea and dine on heroin-sprinkled, crispy lotus slices.