Posts Tagged ‘daddy’


laelene Posted in general blog, relationships,Tags: , , ,

Monday night I was chatting with my dad about how grandpa was going to be visiting him in Beijing in a few months. He mentioned that grandpa had given me a ton of money for my wedding and that he’s so happy I’ll be married. That was so sweet of him. In my family, money is not really important – it exchanges hands rather freely and nobody hoards it all selfishly. Everyone earns their keep and family members help each other out as needed. The giving of money is really more symbolic than anything. It’s such a touching thing for my grandpa to give me money because he wants to celebrate. It’s completely unnecessary but a really nice gesture. I don’t know why it affects me so much, but it had me gushing tears.

For some reason, whenever I talk to my dad about my grandpa, I get all teary. It’s this crazy weird emotional thing where all the joy of unspoken love is just too much to keep inside.

My grandpa is undoubtedly the patriarch of our family. He is the father to four grown children, each with 2 kids of their own (well, except my father, with just me). We grew up having family gatherings each summer to celebrate his birthday. It was always a big deal, and we’d so some of the traditional Chinese things, like offer a peach bun. My cousins and I would sit at the children’s table as the adults marveled at the years gone by (and how big we were all getting). I always was meeting new relatives at these things (someone from each family including his nieces and nephews had to send a representative to be respectful to my grandfather, after all).

As a child, I would only spend a few months in China before returning to my American life. Most of my time I did not get to spend with family. What precious time I did have I wanted to hang out with my cousins (they were more fun, you see). I never sat with grandpa and had long chats or got to know what was in his mind or heart. We just aren’t that type of family. I have a deep respect and love for him that doesn’t require me to spend tons of time with him or say certain things just to feel or express it. He sits in the tenderest part of my heart.

One year when I went back to China, I was presented with an essay he’d written. In his 80s, he decided to put together a little summary of our family history. He outlined his family lineage all the way through to my cousins and their children. It was such a precious thing. My aunt sat with me and patiently helped me read through it (my Chinese isn’t great, but manageable). Maybe I get my sentimentality from him. That’s exactly the sort of thing I like, knowing some of our past. Now I have a full account of his parents, siblings, children, and grandchildren. It was then that I learned that I would have had another uncle, but he drowned as a child. Wow – the quietest bombshell ever.

Sometimes I do ache for the time that we could have spent together. What would it have been like to grow up being able to visit all the time? What I do know of him is that he loved raising birds. Whenever I was there, he was always checking on his birds, making sure they were doing well. He was enterprising too – in retirement, he found activities to keep his mind sharp even as his body started to weaken. He’s a bit deaf and his eyes are getting droopy, but he’s still got his mind and that’s a blessing.

I see him clearly in my dad and uncle, and maybe that’s why I have similar feelings about my dad. As the only male I grew up with, he was somewhat intimidating but a strong figure I respected. We are not much into expressing ourselves, but in adulthood we’ve started to explore ways to be more affectionate. Funny enough, digital interaction has allowed us to open up more. When I see him I see all the sacrifice, the hard work that he has given. It’s so touching how much he has done to make my life far less difficult. I don’t see him much, but he’s certainly in my heart too.

My father and grandfather’s actions are so subtle in their love that many may miss or dismiss it. But for me, they speak volumes. Ours are not relationships of hugs, praise, and hoopla. It is a quiet, joyous love that touches the heart deeply. And sometimes that’s a little overwhelming.

365great Day 260: parents

laelene Posted in 365great,Tags: , , , , , , ,

365great challenge day 260: parentsHappy birthday to my mom! I’ve written about how stupendous she is before, so I won’t go into detail again, but she’s really somebody to be admired. I mean really parents in general are pretty amazing (particularly mine :-D). They’ve worked so hard to bring me to this country and provide me with a comfortable upbringing. I’ve never had to worry about anything serious because they’ve set me up for a path of success. I can hardly believe how fortunate I am with everything I get – parents who aren’t overbearing, who teach me enough but let me learn on my own too, who show their love for me in all sorts of ways, who are always there if I need them, who allowed me to grow up in this country, who set fantastic examples of what it is to work hard and be a good person… they’re great in every way.

365great Day 250: parasailing

laelene Posted in 365great,Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

365great challenge day 250: parasailingWhen my parents and I were in Cancun, my dad and I went parasailing. It was so amazing to be up in the air like that, floating above the ocean with insane views of the gorgeous waters and coastline. It was very serene, since there wasn’t much to hear except the rustle of the gentle breeze. I hardly felt like we were moving at all and it really just seemed like we were sitting in midair. Everything was so picturesque and perfect that I wouldn’t have wanted to come down were it not for the fact that my feet were getting cold after being still for so long in that harness. It was a lovely experience to share with my dad, whose love of adventure and fun like this shone on his face. I must have gotten that from him, because we were both grinning ear to ear during and after the ride. Not only was it fantastic to try that activity, it was great to share it with my dad.

The worrisome type (& a story about a golf club)

laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

I grew up rather carefree, with just a normal amount of teenage angst and self-doubt. My personality has always been the type to “smile first, figure it out later” – or sometimes I just laugh it off. While I am stubborn and can have a temper, I’m usually grinning or chuckling at something. I guess I take after my dad, who may not smile as much, but is pretty easygoing about things and not really one to worry too much. Meanwhile, my mother and boyfriend are completely different!

taylormade 7 iron golf club head with background of grass

The golf club.

Let me give you an example: recently, I found an offer for a free “Boccieri Secret Grip” for a golf club. I had no idea what that means, but my dad’s really into golf so I thought he might want it. Since he was busy, my mom and I went to Dick’s to redeem the offer. The coupon instructed us to bring a 7 Iron or driver in tow – we grabbed the 7 Iron because it’s lighter :-P. So we get into the store and are sent to the guy in the golf section, who takes the club behind the counter. My mom and I check out the two giant spaces they have for testing golf clubs, one which includes a projection of a videogame-like golf course.

Then we look back at the guy.

My dad’s golf club had been stripped into a sad-looking pole! Gone was the TaylorMade grip. The handle was exposed and he vigorously tore off some leftover tape still sticking to it. At this point, my mother and I are in shock. Ok, so call us clueless, but we had no idea that a free grip meant removing the one we had! We watched as he stuck this double-sided sticky paper to the pole, then wet the exposed surface and the interior of the new grip. This allowed the grip to slide on.

taylormade grip with cut splitting it down middle

RIP, old grip.

He handed it back to us as we stared, dazed. What just happened?? In a trash bin, on top of a pile of papers, lay the original grip. Sad, forlorn, floppy. We asked for it back. We were surprised to find that it had been sliced straight down the middle, but I guess that’s how you remove them. The guy explained to us that the Boccieri Secret Grip has a metal weight in it so the relative weight of the club head is lighter. Apparently that’s supposed to help with your golf game. He also showed us the TaylorMade grips they had in store, which we could always re-grip the club with. The patterning wasn’t the same as ours, but it was the same brand.

new boccieri secret grip on golf clubAnd so we left the store, my mom clinging to the ruined grip. We had some grocery shopping to do and throughout the entire time, she kept sighing and sort of melodramatically “wailing” in despair. She was sad, upset, even angry that the guy had so heartlessly cut up the old grip. To her, TaylorMade was a brand name and Boccieri was… not. And so she felt like the club had been downgraded. Plus, she wasn’t happy that the set no longer matched.

new boccieri secret grip on gold club with old taylormade grip laying on groundI, on the other hand, while certainly shocked at first, quickly recovered. Maybe it really is better and maybe it will help my dad’s golf swing or precision or something. Also, just because we hadn’t heard of the name didn’t mean that it wasn’t a brand name in itself. Who knows. But more important than the brand is the performance! And that’s pretty much exactly what my dad said when we got home. I don’t think he was thrilled that the grip was replaced, but he was open-minded and willing to give it a try. He also wasn’t so concerned about a perfectly matching set or any brand name.

Even then, my mom had a hard time letting it go. It was still a big deal to her! That’s just the type of person she is. I guess some people just get much more worked up over things. To me, they cause themselves a whole lot of unnecessary stress. But hey, that’s their prerogative! Are you the worrisome type too?

Accessories galore

laelene Posted in photo blog,Tags: , , , , , , ,

My dad recently brought me some sweet items my mom got for me to sell! Soon to be listed on and eBay. Check out a sampling of some of my favorites.

shiny yellow gem metal phone jack dust plug

Simple, elegant dust plug for any device with a headphone jack!

shiny metal ballerina dust plug with red gems

Dangling, swinging ballerina dust plug.

giant metal panda face ring with gem eyes

Big, bold, and adorable ring.

plastic brown bear head dust plug

Cute little bear head topper.

plastic grey wolf dust plug

Little wolf perched up top.

metal fox wraparound ring with red gems

Sweet little fox curled up around your finger!

metal turtle ring with blue gems and red eyes

What a fun turtle ring, complete with moving limbs!

fuzzy black fox ring with gems

Hahaha, fancy fox. 😉

Speed trap

laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , , , ,

Today on my drive home, I saw a car get pulled over about a mile behind me.  It made me think about how often I see cars pulled over at the Magic Mountain exit of the 5 North.  From the moment you get over the hump into the Santa Clarita Valley, the 5 becomes a fast ride.  It’s hard not to get carried away with all the speeding cars around you and I always have to be extra careful that I don’t drive too fast.  I wonder if I passed that very same highway patrol who caught that car I saw in my rearview mirror.  I assume that I had, and of course didn’t even notice.  Good thing I was driving the speed limit, unlike a lot of my neighbors on the road.

Just as I was thinking about all the cops I’d seen along Magic Mountain Parkway or Tourney road, I turned off the exit to that very spot and lo and behold, there were two cop cars there.  This time it was just because of an SUV that had to be towed, but usually it’s because someone got caught along the speed trap the 5 becomes at that point.  From Stevenson Ranch all the way up to Castaic, it’s a huge stretch of light traffic (most of the time) and motorists get too reckless.

I remember my dad telling me about another small speed trap area – that part of Magic Mountain Pkwy leading into Valencia.  The road is wide, there isn’t much around you, and you got used to freeway speeds, so when you get there, it’s easy to get back up to 60 or more.  There’s plenty of space on the shoulder to allow a cop to lie in wait and while I haven’t seen anyone pulled over, I do catch myself going over the 50 MPH sometimes.  It’s harder to recognize how fast you’re going when the road is so wide and empty.  You don’t have that much around you to gauge your speed either.  It definitely takes some vigilance to stay within the limit.

Traffic stopper

laelene Posted in video blog,Tags: , , , ,

I’ve always wanted to be in a cop car when they slow down traffic like that. Too bad this time I got caught behind him and my dad was just in front of him, in the Budget truck! Almost lost track of him on moving day to my new apt last month.

weaving popo from Mary Qin on Vimeo.

Inclement weather

laelene Posted in photo blog,Tags: , , , , , , ,

December 29th, 10 PM. My dad and have been waiting at JFK for two hours, wondering if we can get on the last flight to LA that night. The recent blizzard that swept through the area left many passengers stuck in the airport for days. Thankfully, we were lucky enough to get seats so I wouldn’t have to spend my birthday in the airport!

stations in jfk airport equipped with ipads to play games on

JFK has a lounge sort of area with lots of iPads for people to play games on. Pretty nifty.

cot sits on ground in jfk for travelers who need a place to sleep

With tons of people stranded in the airport, there were some cots laid out for people to use.

a huge snow bank at jfk airport after a huge blizzard

The snow was piling a good 10 feet high as they cleared the runways!

snow piling up outside window at jfk airport

It snowed at least two feet right there. I sort of miss this weather.

Daddy’s birthday

laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , , ,

Today was my dad’s birthday and the first one where my parents and I have been united in awhile.  To celebrate, we went out to an Asian buffet, which we discovered actually offers you a free meal for your birthday!  Even better.  🙂  It was nice to spend a quiet weekend with them and spend some time just hanging out at home.  Days like that are few and far between now.  Though we don’t really do much, it’s comforting just to have them sitting in the next room.  And there’s something about being in the house that makes me want to move around, which is great for my health!

The early years

laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , , , , , , ,

Branching off from my description of generational gaps in my family

For my parents in particular, my maternal grandmother heard of my dad through the wife of a professor at the local university, which is where my parents both went to school.  My maternal grandfather was also a professor at the school and his professor buddy had my dad as a student.  Through the women talking, my grandmother learned that this young man was the professor’s star student and first in his class.  My parents were introduced to each other and my grandfather approved without ever meeting the young man.  All he had to know was that he was a hard worker and an excellent student.  My grandmother, on the other hand, wanted to meet and get to know this potential suitor.  As the legend goes, she sat him down for an interview (probably mostly asking about academics and his professional future) and liked him as well.  My mom decided that of the guys she’d been introduced to, she liked this one the most, and so they were married.  Or something like that.

It turned out to be a great decision, since my dad was smart enough to be allowed to leave China, which was a bit of a mess back in those years.  The country had been in lock down and it was extremely hard to get out.  My dad got into a PhD program at Penn State, which is what took him abroad.  About six months before I was born, he left for the land of the free and began his studies.  A year later, when I was a few months old, my mom followed suit, going to Penn State for her Master’s.  I was left with relatives in China and I believe my paternal grandmother was mostly in charge of raising me those years.  By the time I was three and a half, my parents had saved up enough money to fly me over.

I don’t remember much from those years, but I did have one strong memory from the plane ride, about the lady who escorted me from my family in China to my parents in America.  I have also been told by my mother that when I first arrived, I refused to let my dad sleep in the bed.  After all, it really was like meeting them for the first time – my dad had never seen me before and my mom had only been with me for about half a year.  My mom attributes this behavior to a child’s need to cling to one adult they trust.  Apparently between my parents, I chose my mother.  So I clung to her and slept with her, but initially wouldn’t allow my dad to share the space.  Poor guy must have had a couple of rough nights camping out on the couch or something.

And so that is how I spent the first couple of years of my life.  Most of it’s a blur and photography was too expensive back then to have many pictures capturing my toddler years.  The few I do have are quite amusing, with me all bundled up in winter clothes with a red dot on my forehead, or hanging out in a crib with my cousins standing around me.  Perhaps I’ll dig those up someday and share them too.

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