Today I share the review I wrote at Goodreads.com this afternoon about The Kitchen God's Wife by Amy Tan. See you tomorrow.
The Kitchen God's Wife by Amy Tan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
true what people say about Amy Tan: She's one grand storyteller! This
is the second novel that I've read of hers. I admit it has been sitting
on my shelf for several years. When I first bought it, I read several
pages and put it down because the conflicting relationship between the
daughter and mother was so relatable. I didn't think I could handle the
So years later, nearly 2 years after my mom's
spirit soared into the universe, I picked up the novel. When I finally
went beyond the first few chapters, I was surprised to see that the main
story was about Winnie's (the mother) life in China during WWII. She is
telling her story of heartbreaking secrets to her daughter because
Winnie's best friend, Helen, who lived through much of the past with
Winnie, has stated that she, Helen, is dying and can no longer keep
Winnie's secrets. If Winnie does not tell her daughter, she Helen will.
story of Winnie is as I said heartbreaking, but it is also one of
strength, perseverance, hope, and being brave to take opportunities when
they come. She reminded me of my mom.
Friday, January 19, 2018
Thursday, January 18, 2018
It's a good thing a doughnut costs 75 cents or more in this town and nobody makes a good one enough for me to want to buy one anymore. If I want the taste of a delicious doughnut, I'll drive about 10 miles to the next town and pay the extravagant cost of 50 cents for a raised sugar doughnut hole or 75 cents for a cinnamon doughnut hole, a chocolate dipped doughnut hole, an apple fritter doughnut hole, or a cream-filled doughnut hole.
I digress. Back to my topic. You've no doubt come across recipes for microwaving a cake recipe in a cup. Maybe you've even tried one. If you haven't, a microwaved "cup cake" does the trick when you want a sweet taste of something "baked" and don't want the hassle of making it or going to the store. I like that my recipe is quick, easy, and very adaptable. I use a mug instead of a cup because mugs are what we have.
Here's my basic recipe (I use a regular spoon that's about equivalent to a tablespoon measurement):
Mix 2 tablespoons flour, 2 tablespoons sugar, 1 tablespoon of cocoa powder, and a quarter teaspoon of baking powder in a mug. Then add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 2 tablespoons of milk. Combine well. Optional: Add a few chocolate chips. Microwave for one minute. If it doesn't look done, microwave for 10 more seconds. The finished product fills about half of the mug.
Last night, I modified my recipe by stirring in 1 tablespoon of shredded coconut to the dry mixture. I didn't have milk so I substituted 1 tablespoon of my homemade limoncello and 1 tablespoon of water. I topped the batter with about 1 tablespoon of cream cheese before putting the mug in the microwave. Yummmm.
Wednesday, January 17, 2018
"Bubba boy! Did you see me bear down over Broadway? I'm a natural barnstormer," boasted Bingo to her brother.
Bubba, big-eyed and off-balanced, burped. Thank goodness for the sidewalk, no matter how bumpy his landing. Maybe he should've gone hiking with Agathe the Aardvark instead of buzzing around with Bingo.
B is the theme for week two of Round 22 of ABC Wednesday. Check it out here. Thank you much, ABCW team!
Tuesday, January 16, 2018
"I beg on ya to make sure I have a nice protected spot come summer," said the begonia, which has been doing quite well on its own.
Just when I think this begonia's no more, it shows itself to be a survivor out in the elements. Maybe it would like hanging out on the north side of the yard. We shall see.
Monday, January 15, 2018
Tulips. Coveted, desired. Fancy-pants flowers.
For the longest time, I thought of tulips as extravagant, more money than they were worth. Fragile wings. Closed-mouthed. Cold-hearted.
Once upon a time I worked part-time in an office where one spring a co-worker kept a vase of tulips on her desk. Boringness. Then one day I happened to see a petal drop and noticed how vibrant and rich-colored the inside of the petal was. So amazingly different from its bland outer coat. I became a fan instantly. Everyday I watched the tulips unfold their true exotic and exciting depth of beauty.
Tulip Fever (2017)The other day, the Husband and I watched Tulip Fever, a movie set in the 1600s in Amsterdam during the maniacal period of selling and buying tulips as a commodity. With one much-sought after tulip, a poor man could suddenly become rich and marry the love of his life, or at least run away with her should she happen to be married. Being too greedy, pushing the value of that same much-sought tulip to an absurdly high value, the rich may crash into poverty.
This movie is about two love stories: a wealthy man's wife and the artist who painted their portrait and the couple's servant and a fishmonger. As Molly the Cat would ask if she were reviewing the movie: How was the tulip mania of this time a metaphor for the love stories? Why was it important for the mistress and the servant to work together to deceive the master? Is it still possible to have a happy ending when the bottom falls out?
When the deception and greed in the story got too intense for me, I pulled out my art journal to distract myself as I watched. What else to draw, but tulips.
Sunday, January 14, 2018
When I looked up big bang theory on Google, most of the links on the first page went to articles about the TV show. After 11 years of the popular comedy, of course. I wonder how well-known is the theory of the universe starting from a huge KA-POW! of indescribable somethingness.
My picture of Big Bang Daisies began as the photo below, which was taken a few days ago in the backyard. Photoshop froze at one point as I manipulated the art filters and I grumbled a sort of ka-pow!
I'm linking up with All Seasons, a weekly meme hosted by Jesh at Artworks from Jesh St.G. Click here to check out Jesh and her meme. For the participants list, click here. Thanks, Jesh!
Saturday, January 13, 2018
Rest in peace.
I met Mike in 1985 when I married his father. I got to know Mike as the son of his parents. Later after the First and Last Husband's death, I got to know Mike as a friend and peer. It was Mike who introduced me to the Husband. For that I shall forever be thankful. In the last two years or so, except for a couple of phone calls, there hadn't been any contact with Mike. Just call it a difference of opinions. Mike is one of those people who has a way of lingering in your mind and conversation. And, he has been on my mind lately. Mike passed away recently.
Michael Jeffrey Yoon, son of Frank Yoon and Jean Wong Yoon, and brother of James Yoon, was born in the year of the Tiger on the cusp of Gemini and Cancer. June 21, 1950, to be precise, in San Francisco, California. He passed away on December 22, 2017 in Livermore, California.
"My friends call me Mike," he said sometimes, after introducing himself to strangers.
|MIke (lower left hand corner) with his Yoon cousins in the 1960s.|
As a child and young man, Mike and his family lived in San Francisco, Sacramento, El Cerrito, San Francisco, and Berkeley. On his own path, Mike made his bed in San Diego, Cleveland, Benicia, Thousand Oaks, Fremont, and Livermore. For about four decades, Mike shared his life with his wife Debbie Wingerd Yoon. Together they had two sons, Jonathan and Andrew.
Mike graduated from University of Pacific in 1974 with a BS in biology and biochemistry. He was on the ground floor of biotechnology research in San Diego and at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. During the 1980s, he decided to change gears and got into human resources, graduating with an MBA in Human Resources and Labor Law from Case Western Reserve University in 1988. In 2000, Mike obtained an MS in Human Resources and Organization Development.
In the late 1980s, Mike moved back to California to begin an accomplished and successful career in human resources in the biotechnology, pharmaceutical, and medical device industries, working both in the San Francisco Bay Area and Southern California. Mike held various management HR positions in such companies as Bio-Rad, Amgen, Bayer, Abbott/TheraSense, and BioIntegra.
Mike's colleagues' recommendations at Mike's Linked-in profile described a highly respected professional. Repeatedly, Mike was cited as being intelligent, insightful, caring, honest, fair-minded, positive, diligent, methodical, and diplomatic. He was approachable, quick-witted, accessible, a team player, and a strong communicator. Many of his colleagues were impressed with Mike's ability to relay complex technical concepts into easy to understand terms. Definitely not an easy thing to do.
Family and friends were important to Mike. As sometimes happens with persons of high intelligence, and ambition, along with being strongly focused on work, he could be clueless to the feelings of those close to him. Most often, you let it go. Mike was friendly to a fault, and innocently charming at times. He was a know-it-all because he wanted to know it all. Nothing wrong with that. And, he had a great sense of humor when he wasn't so serious.
There's no greater testament to a person than the unconditional love of his parents. Frank and his mother Jean would've jumped to the moon and back for Mike.
During his last several years, Mike battled Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS), leukemia, and other illnesses with resoluteness in the same fashion he tackled any problem. Mike may have moved into the business world of human resources, but he always had the mind and soul of a scientist.
I like to think that when Mike's body hit the wall with his last breath, his spirit was welcomed into the universe of amazing love and light by Frank and Jean and his brother James.
Soar freely and joyfully, Mike.
I've created an album of Mike on Facebook. Here's the public link.
Friday, January 12, 2018
The Husband is way up on the ladder of recuperation from that crazy virus that he came down with a couple days after Christmas. It seems this flu virus has been going on since October, but truly got worse in terms of spreading the past several weeks. In our county, health officials declared a "flu outbreak" during the last week in December, meaning a whole lot people in our area have it. The other day, the local news reported a second death in our county due to the flu. What's going on?
Simply, people get sick and don't stay home and take care of themselves, because they have to do what they need to get done. They go to work, go to school, go to stores, go to wherever. They cough. they sneeze, they blow their noses. They handle stuff and touch surfaces that others will handle and touch. Shudder.
The media has reported that the emergency department at our hospital has seen over two dozen people with the flu. No doubt they were miserable and probably thought they were on their last legs. I wonder how many got furious because they had to wait for a doctor to tell them to go home, get plenty of rest and drink lots of fluids. Antibiotics can't cure the flu.
Fortunately for the Husband and me, I didn't get sick, although he did experience a couple days of me being unreasonably bitchy, which probably was me combating slight symptoms of the flu—headache, muscle aches, chills, itchy throat, and a runny nose. To ensure I stayed healthy I consumed the same stuff that I gave the Husband: cups of straight lemon juice and honey, herbal tea concoctions for flu, soups (chicken, tomato, and hot & sour), juices, extra doses of Vitamin C supplement, and lots and lots of glasses of water. No cheeses or any kind of milk product to keep the phlegm level at minimum. Until he no longer felt a fever, the Husband took the allowed dosage of extra-strength acetaminophen around the clock.
Essentially, once the flu has been caught, all you can do is let it run its course. At home, if at all possible, especially during the worse of it. Please!
Thursday, January 11, 2018
Wednesday, January 10, 2018
After Agathe the Aardvark sipped her apple cider, she ascended the Alpine foothills, aka the Prealps.
"Adieu, Antone," Agathe said to the apple cider bar attendant as she aimlessly walked away in her red boots and red pillbox hat.
Adorable is she, Agathe the Aardvark.
So begins the first week of Round 22 of ABC Wednesday. Check it out here. Thank you much, ABCW team!
Update: Agathe and I are also participating in the Weekend Journal Page, hosted by Jesh at Artworks from Jesh StG. Check it out here.
Tuesday, January 9, 2018
"Why can't I go outside?" asked Molly the Cat.
We've had two days of steady rain, the most since the beginning of last year. The weather reports say that it'll stop raining tonight, but there may be more on the way in a few days. Hurrah!
Monday, January 8, 2018
"We have a new home," said Bubba, the tiny bear with one ear. "Yee-hawwww!"
"I love the fresh air," Shirley the Swan said. "No more being cooped up in a box labeled Christmas 48 weeks out of the year. Delightful!"
Sunday, January 7, 2018
Now I understand the Mama's impatience about planting her vegetable garden. During her last several years, she was sowing seeds into the ground earlier each year. April, March, even February.
Some years, the Husband and I didn't even get the chance to turn over the ground and work in compost and bags of top soil, which meant she got less yield. On one hand that was okay because how much bittermelon can I eat, as no one else would. On the other hand, we had less squash, tomatoes, beans, and her Filipino vegetables to eat, requiring us to head over to the Marina farmer's market every so Sunday. Except for the traffic that was a fun outing for the three of us.
Supposedly I must wait until after the last frost to sow the flower seeds I gathered last year, along with that big packet of wildflower seeds I bought last Spring. Part of me says to put some in the ground now so that they can benefit from the rain the Farmer's Almanac says we'll be getting this month.
I've already begun to propagate rosemary and Marguerite daisy branches. The experts say this is not the time, but I've put some in a glass of water with half an aspirin anyway. Maybe roots will grow. I hope so. The rosemary bushes are about 20 years old and the daisies are probably 12 to 15 years old. They're getting sparse. I can simply purchase new plants, I know, but, it turns out I've inherited the mad horticulturist genes of the Mama.
I'm linking up with All Seasons, a weekly meme hosted by Jesh at Artworks from Jesh St.G. Click here to check out Jesh and her meme. For the participants list, click here. Thanks, Jesh!
Saturday, January 6, 2018
Friday, January 5, 2018
It's winter but the ornamental pear tree on the front yard doesn't think so. For the past few weeks, it has been slowly shedding its colorful autumn leaves. I love the warm yellow and red colors on the ground. I've already raked twice. Maybe I'll rake once more just so they won't be flying over to the neighbors' yards or into the gutter and clog up the storm drain. Not thoroughly though. I think the leaves make a warm cover for the bulbs, tubers, and seeds that are in the soil beneath them. Not to say, the dried leaves will turn into lovely mulch and soil come Spring.
Thursday, January 4, 2018
I got my first piece of advertisement for a Medicare advantage plan in the mail yesterday. It wished me Happy Birthday! That was last month.
It stated that it is time for me to think about Medicare, even though I won't be eligible until the end of the year. The mailer did give one two piece of valuable information. Namely, I can enroll for Medicare three months before I turn 65, nine months from now. Unless things change between now and then, the only reasonable and, thankfully, affordable option for me is the Medicare advantage plan that the Husband is already on.
Five Facts about Medicare
- Medicare, established under Title XVIII of the Social Security Act, was signed into law by President Johnson in 1965.
- President Truman and Mrs. Truman were the first Medicare beneficiaries, receiving the first Medicare cards.
- In 1972, President Nixon signed a bill to expand coverage to persons under 65 who have long-term disabilities.
- In 1982, hospice services was added as a Medicare benefit.
- The official Medicare website is Medicare.gov.
Thank goodness for Medicare. We really ought to have Medicare for everyone. We all deserve affordable health care.
Wednesday, January 3, 2018
This post ends my time writing movie reviews on the Missus Lady's blog. At least for now. Maybe I'll do more reviews, now and then. The Missus Lady would like me to do book reviews for some future ABC Wednesday round. I'll think about it.
It has been fun being part of this round of ABCW. Purrrrrrrrrrr.
The Zookeeper's Wife (2017)
Setting: Warsaw, Poland during WWII, 1939 to 1945
This movie is based on the real-life story of the husband and wife caretakers of the Warsaw Zoo, Dr. Jan Zabinski and Antonina Zabinska, during World War II. The couple defied the nasty Nazis by hiding over 300 Jews in the zoo during the war. It is a sad and horrible, yet uplifting, tale.
The movie begins with the bombing of Warsaw in September 1939, the start of the war, during which many of the animals died. Dr. Lutz Heck, an actual Nazi commander and a big-time zoologist for Hitler, transfers the best of the surviving animals to German zoos, after convincing the couple that it is better for the animals since they can not really feed and care for the animals. Throughout the story, it's Antonina's role to keep Heck at bay by letting him think she is interested in him even though he disgusts her.
The couple manage to convince Heck to let them turn the zoo into a pig farm for food for the Nazi forces. To feed the pigs, they gather food scraps from the Jewish ghetto. Over time, they use this as a means to move people out of the ghetto and into the zoo. In 1944, Jan takes part in the Warsaw uprising, in which he is injured and captured.
How do Jan and Antonina manage to hide the Jews and help them leave the zoo to safer locations? How successful were they? Does Heck get his way with Antonina? Do Antonina and Jan reunite after the war is over?
Hopefully, the world won't experience another World War II again. Mewwrrrrrr.
A note from Su-sieee! Mac: The letter Z is the theme for this week's ABC Wednesday. Click here to check out what bloggers from around the world have written with the letter. Thank you, ABCW team. Onto Round 22!
Mmmmm. I'm sipping a mocha with a big splash of Kahlua as I tippy tap my thoughts on the keyboard. Mmmmmm.
Today's adventure was a solo trip in the rain to Freedom for food for Molly the Cat. She ate the last acceptable can of victuals yesterday morning and the final crumbs of the dried food that she deems edible. Hence it was necessary to take the 90-minute round trip drive over the hill and through the pass today. Although the Husband is feeling better, he still felt spaced out with the virus to ride shotgun.
I can't recall the last time I drove by myself a far distance. Definitely years. What can I say? A long time ago, a bicycle repair guy who tuned up our beach cruisers asked us, "Do you do everything together?" After which he told us that each of our rear wheels had a bent spoke in the same spot.
I was in a solitary frame of mind this morning so I didn't feel at all anxious, even when it began to rain and the windshield wipers did more smudging at first. I had planned to go further north to a market in Santa Cruz where I can buy organic spices, herbs, teas, and such from the bulk bins but I didn't want the stress of driving through the rain on the freeway. That can wait another two weeks or so when Molly's food cupboard needs replenishing.
Tuesday, January 2, 2018
I made some yumminess for breakfast this morning—cinnamon blueberry biscuits and apple-persimmon compote. Both were made with what was on hand and because I didn't measure precise amounts, we shall not ever taste this exact delightfulness again.
The biscuits were made by crumbling three tablespoons butter in three big spoonfuls of unbleached white flour, a good enough shake from the baking powder tin, and a nice dose of cinnamon. To that, I added honey yogurt (almost two weeks beyond the purchase date) and probably half-a-cup of dried blueberries. I squirted icy water from the dispenser on the fridge door to get the dough to combine, which yielded seven big drop biscuits. They baked for about 15 minutes at 400 degrees.
The compote may not really be a compote because I didn't make it with some kind of syrup. If I wanted to make a pie, which I might, the concoction would be a delicious filling. Five small somewhat shriveled apples and six small slightly mushy persimmons got chopped into a pot, to which I added a pat of butter, juice from half a lemon, and what was left in the bottle of pear juice, maybe two to three ounces. Everything got cooked for about as long as it took me to go outside and harvest a few lemons, a couple of avocados, and the last of the cherry tomatoes. Also to bring in Molly who was just starting to snooze on her favorite pillow on the bench. She didn't like me doing that. Altogether, about 20 minutes for the compote that may not be a compote.
There are leftovers for another breakfast or maybe a dessert treat later this week. Hurrah!
Monday, January 1, 2018
This first day of 2018, I'm taking Molly the Cat's cue and making like it's a holiday. Of course every day is a holiday for Molly.
"Hey!" says Molly. Purrrrrrrrrrrr.
Being retired, every day is essentially a holiday. For that matter, every day is the start of a new year. Hmmmm.
"There you go," says Molly. Purrrrrrrrrrr.