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ramen house



leave your flip-flops at the door and humor me for a minute or two...



Updated: 2017-12-14T20:32:37.945-08:00

 



This Is What Is

2017-10-28T10:17:23.032-07:00

Spending a few days at the house in San Diego attempting to do some cleaning, although even at the outset I knew I would not be able to do even a quarter of what I had planned.

Visited some former coworkers at the lab and had lunch at my favorite place, Urbane Cafe, and left with a lead on potential renters for the house and a possible filler job as a cytotechnologist on some weekends.  If the latter pans out, it would be an excellent reason to visit San Diego more frequently than I have been doing.

Visited with some old friends for dinner and had my dose of dog-loving.  Grammar is smart and always smiling, he is like a big version of my baby Elijah.

A friend and neighbor who watches the house for us came over to let me know that he has been diagnosed with cancer a couple of weeks ago.  True to his funny, joking nature, he said that it's not the bad kind of cancer.  And that his chemotherapy would be a good opportunity to lose some weight.  I will not ask why bad things happen to good people.  Things just happen to everyone.

Spent some minutes reacquainting myself with the piano, warming up the dormant finger muscles, revisiting some old music, scanning some old sheets just in case I manage to get an acceptable substitute instrument where I live now.

And before I even know it, I'm winding down the visit and getting ready to fly back to the Bay Area.  Just as I am starting to enjoy the memory foam mattress.

#ThingsJustHappen #ThisIsWhatIs



I Marvel

2017-10-25T23:57:41.662-07:00

Cruising above 30,000 feet, I marvel at how we humans have conquered our natural environment, at the same time at how insignificant we are in the bigger scheme of things. 



Happy Birthday, Elijah T. Doolittle

2017-10-26T00:08:12.530-07:00

Happy birthday, Elijah T. Doolittle.  This is the only way I know how to bring you back and keep you with us forever.



A Presidential Wish List

2017-10-02T07:16:29.419-07:00

I want a president who understands protocol, diplomacy, and statesmanship.I want a president who unites and does not divide.I want a president who does not blame, rationalize, distracts, or rants when something goes wrong, or doesn’t go as planned.I want a president who knows the difference between politeness and political correctness.I want a president who works to benefit the whole country, not his/her support base, party, or self.I want a president who distinguishes real problems from political issues.I want a president who is thorough, nuanced, and deliberate.I want a president who advocates for everyone, not only in words but also in action.I want a president who is open to advise, opinion, and criticism.I want a president who accepts that he/she does not know everything.I want a president who supports his/her own administration instead of undermining it.I want a president who believes in true negotiation and compromise.I want a president who understands that a nation cannot fail like a business.I want a president whose ego does not supercede duty.I want a president who comprehends that public service is not ruling.I want a president who inspires and does not dictate.Original post at www.ramenhouse.blogspot.com/view/mosaic[...]



Mayor of South First Street

2017-10-02T07:13:57.592-07:00


I spent the afternoon sitting outside watching people and chatting about nothing with Scott and Jeff, two South First Street regulars.  Scott says he is the Mayor of South First Street, and Jeff says he is the mayor.  I always tell them Miss Sunny is the the true MOSFS.  I sat with them around 12:30, and it was 4 pm before I knew it.  I guess the talk about break-ups, interventions, and pie-in-the-sky business ideas were that engrossing.



Cafe Stories: The Pianist

2017-09-26T19:25:52.388-07:00

He wore a scruffy red polyester gym jacket that made his Einstein-ish gray hare stand out all the more.  Skinny and leather-skinned, he walked with a slight hunch and a gait that hinted on painful hip joints.  He placed his duffel bag on the steel bench outside the cafe and shuffled in.

"Could I have a glass of water, please?" he asked.

The barista, who looked like he initially wanted to show the man out, decided to be nice and said, "Sure.  With ice?"

"Yes please," the old man replied.

He stood by the bar while he finished the drink.  Then he asked, "Could I play the piano?"

The barista, still feeling agreeable, said "Sure.  Just no Fur Elise.  It's banned here."

The old man walked over to the piano, smiled at the woman sitting at a nearby table, and settled on the bench.  He struck one key with his right index finger.  The loud ringing note cut through the cafe like a clap of thunder.

Then he proceeded to play -- really play -- a classical piece.  Could have been a Rachmaninoff.  Everyone stopped and looked, surprised.  Pleasantly.

When he was done, he gave the woman a small nod and a smile, walked out, picked up his bag, and left.



Just Be

2017-09-22T19:17:15.308-07:00


Summer went out with a bang.  We had several waves of 3-digit temperatures.  I wouldn't be surprised if it was for self-preservation that our air conditioning system quit for several hours at the hottest part of the hottest day.

And then, after that horrid weekend, the temperature started dropping.  I actually found myself putting on my sweatshirt and jeans more often than plain T-shirts and shorts.  Pho now catches my eye more than popsicles.

Autumn is my favorite part of the year.  It turns sunsets into brilliant events, coaxing trees to turn summer's green into gold.  It tells us to be in awe of how each day can end in perfect beauty.  It commands us to slow down, relax, and just be.  Just be.



Earthquakes

2017-09-14T18:51:08.701-07:00


I just felt the third earthquake we had today in San Jose -- a 3.4 centered a few miles north of East San Jose foothills.  Very close.

Funny how just a couple of days ago people were saying that we were having earthquake weather, meaning it was weird -- cold, hot, humid, sudden quick downpours, pockets of strong, gusty wind.





The San Jose South First Street Clock

2017-09-07T18:18:46.999-07:00


Cooking our meals has always been our goal, but most of the time we're either too lazy or too tired to even think of what to get from the market that we can put on the stove.  So tonight we went to Ipoh Garden, a Malaysian restaurant one block away from the apartment.  Right outside is a clock tower that seems to have been placed in a location that didn't make sense to me: the middle of a block halfway between two streets, between the trolley tracks and a one-way road, in front of the backdoor of a hotel.  It is away from Paseo de San Antonio and the trolley stop, the spot where it would have made the most sense to install it.  Sometimes one wonders what drives city planners' decisions.



To Michael

2017-09-04T07:34:44.659-07:00



"We are not the same this year as last, nor are those we love. It is a happy chance that we, changing, continue to love a changed person." - W. Somerset Maugham



Maybe the man has got it all planned out: he makes preposterous comments so we're too outraged to pay attention to ruinous policies that he is quietly slipping behind our backs.

2017-08-16T21:29:00.889-07:00

http://www.npr.org/2017/08/16/543712263/trump-rolls-back-obama-era-flood-standards-for-infrastructure-projects



Random Sketch

2017-12-14T20:32:38.121-08:00






Bisita Iglesia 2017

2017-09-15T18:41:53.794-07:00

width="320" height="266" class="YOUTUBE-iframe-video" data-thumbnail-src="https://i.ytimg.com/vi/UicKa2CHhnw/0.jpg" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/UicKa2CHhnw?feature=player_embedded" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen>

After flying for 13 hours, I landed in Manila on April 13, drove home and threw my luggage in the library, and went out with the family on a day-long jaunt all over the province to visit 14 churches -- a scaled out version of the 14 stations of the cross normally done within one church -- thanks to better roads (but worse traffic), and a more vibrant local tourism.  I only lasted 11 churches before jet lag got the better of me.  Good thing the 11th church was just a couple of miles from the house.



Herb Republic

2017-08-20T19:20:39.213-07:00



My cousin Helen and I ate at this place during our day trip to Los Banos.  It's nice to know that there are now restaurants in the Philippines that try to serve healthy locally-sourced food that taste great.  To top it off, the place is in a converted old home with capiz windows and hardwood floors.



Ice cream time

2017-08-20T10:37:59.835-07:00



It never ceases to amaze me how time flies.  And how fast kids grow up.



Another Visit Home

2017-08-15T19:11:33.954-07:00


Waiting for my flight to the Philippines, wondering if this will be the last time for me to travel this time of the year.  April is a hot and humid month, but it is when the kids are out of school.  Last year was very hot, not horribly hot, but enough to make me have second thoughts about coming this late into the year.  We'll see how this trip turns out.



Moving in to our new apartment

2017-08-20T17:06:40.205-07:00


After a a couple days of excitedly waiting whether or not we got it, we finally got the key and moved into our new apartment. This move is particularly good for us since the previous place had a lot of memories of Eli, our dog, to whom we had to say goodbye a few months ago.  It is also a good reason for us to get rid of some stuff that we had accumulated, having been in a two-bedroom unit with a lot of extra space which, in reality, is not much space if you live in a detached house.  There really is no reason to acquire anything since our real house in San Diego is still sitting there full of more stuff.

The building was built in 1924, has served different purposes through the years, the most recent one being a professional building for several dental practices.  Then about five or six years ago the owners decided to turn it into apartments, keeping the marble floors, reusing the glass-panel office doors, and other unique fixtures like the old postal mail chutes, stairwell railing, and interior architectural ornamentation. The floors in the main apartment spaces are cork tiles, plumbing fixtures are higher grade, and the kitchen feature solid wood cabinetry and quartz counter tops.

The building place makes me feel like I live in a city - exposed bricks and concrete, exposed electrical ductwork, a cafe and several decent restaurants downstairs or within walking distance.  Everything is walkable -- market, pharmacy, post office, city hall, park, museums.  There are two trolley stops within a 2-minute walk, the train station is a mile away -- a quick 20-minute walk or a 5-minute ride on the free downtown shuttle.

We'll be moving the rest of our things in a couple of days.  In the meantime I will be sleeping on an air mattress.  But that's fine... no, the right word is fun.  I now watch the sky grow darker through tall windows, the trolley faintly rumbling past, and the Sainte Claire hotel neon sign turns on casting a red glow onto the encroaching evening.






IPhone sketch: Tree on a cloudy day

2017-01-19T07:32:56.104-08:00




January 14 reflections

2017-01-14T10:30:47.212-08:00

These days, whenever I think about embarking on something new like snowboarding or surfing, I think of those times 20 or so years ago when my father came to visit and would do something that always freaked me out.  

Like getting on a skateboard in parking lot.  A parking lot with a slope.  That was at least 50 miles from the nearest emergency room.

Or climbing up and sweeping pine needles off the roof of our house.  A very steep roof.  With solid concrete down below.  

Or wanting to drive 300 miles to Fresno from San Diego.  By himself.  In January.  When there could be heavy fog or black ice or even snow up in Tejon Pass.  

I used to freak out thinking that this old man was insane for even wanting to do these things on his own.  What if something happened?  What would he do?  How could I be there if or when he needed help?

But now I find myself doing the same things.  Or wanting to do the same things.  And I don't even think twice about it.  i ride my bicycle all over downtown San Jose, a feat much more dangerous than a skateboard on a hill.  I drive 8 hours from San Diego to San Jose without thinking about it.  By myself.  In January.  When there is heavy fog or... OK, you get the point.

Today I am around the age Papa was when he was here and worried me senseless.  But I don't feel old.  And I don't feel insane.  Maybe when he wanted to drive, I should have gone with and made a road trip out of it. Maybe I should have picked up a second broom and climbed up the roof. Or placed an air mattress on the ground in case he fell.  Maybe I should have given him a helmet and elbow pads for his first skateboard attempt.

Instead of worrying about what could happen, I should have focused on what was happening.



First sketch on the iPhone

2016-12-29T21:44:50.918-08:00





Just a routine procedure.

2016-12-17T14:56:26.829-08:00





Two fillings on the same tooth in three weeks.

2016-12-15T20:54:15.956-08:00

The first was for a cavity, the second for a crack. I was sure they were related but the dentist showed me the picture and it looked like they were not. What is going on?



Note to self.

2016-12-12T08:15:12.409-08:00




Paw prints

2016-11-29T19:33:04.292-08:00


Picking up Eli's paw print tile wasn't as easy as I thought it was going to be.  There was a note on the door of Caring Pet Services when I got there -- "I'll be right back."  

I sat down on a bench, and it wasn't long until an older lady walked up with a ring of keys.

"Have you been waiting long?" she asked.

"I just got here a few minutes ago," I said.

She had difficulty unlocking the door, and I made a little joke about it.  When we finally got inside, she asked for my pet's name.

"Eli," I said,

She went to a shelf to search among a row of square boxes that probably contained urns with ashes.

"I'm only picking up a couple of tiles, not ashes," I said.

"Oh," she said.  She turned to another shelf and picked up a foam-wrapped package.  It looked like a wrapped peanut butter sandwich.

"Would you like to take a look at it?" she asked as she handed it to me.  She had probably done this a thousand times, and she already knew what the answer would be.

"Yes, of course," I said, unsurely.  One part of me wanted to check that they were his paw prints on the tile before I left the place.  Another part of me was saying, "If the paw prints are too small or too big to be Eli's, what are you going to do? Will it make a difference? Will you be upset?  Will you ask for a refund?  If the size is about right, how can you be sure they are actually Eli's?" These questions rapidly played in my head as she fetched a pair of scissors to cut the packing tape.

Finally the wrapping came loose.  The tile was face down.  I turned it over and immediately I knew it was Eli's paws.  I underestimated how much I knew my own dog -- the claws that were not perfectly aligned, how the middle toes were slightly teardrop-shaped, a strand of fur that always got under his foot pad.

I ran my fingers over the rough tile.  I touched the depression of each pad and toe.  They were Eli's.  I cannot help but feel the irony of his paw prints -- impressions that will let me keep him close to me as long as I live, but made by something that are no longer there.  Memories and the feeling of emptiness that go along with them.

"Would you like a bag for those?" she jolted me back to the present.  She probably saw me starting to get choked up.

"No, thank you," I managed to say and smiled as I rewrapped the tiles and turned towards the door.

"Have a nice day," she said sweetly.

"Thanks, you do that, too," I said so softly I could barely hear it myself, barely looking at her as I put on my sunglasses.  I didn't want her to see the tears that were already running down my cheeks.



Michael ordered some "lung" cookies for his new students and I'm having one for breakfast. #notsmart

2016-08-23T09:57:06.962-07:00