Between madly finishing NaNoWriMo and traveling back from L.A., here finally is my Thanksgiving recap.
While my brother, Greg, was at work, MB and I had lunch at El Pollo Loco, my first time. It wasn’t too bad. I got these grilled chicken burrito thingies. Afterwards we attempted to walk around, but it was too sunny for me so we ducked into a Starbuck’s till Greg got back.
That afternoon Greg did some prep work for Thanksgiving dinner. That’s right: he was cooking everything. A brined turkey, homemade cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, and stuffing. Yum!
That night we saw Ninja Assassin. The action sequences were cool, but it took forever to get started. Plus I was hungry the whole time. Luckily afterwards Greg brought us to a great Korean place, where we all had variations of sun dubu chigae, or spicy tofu stew.
We were out early to head over to my uncle’s. While he and his family were out of town, my parents and younger aunt came to stay with my grandmother, Puo-puo. My older aunt was supposed to come down too, but she changed her mind at the last minute. This is the aunt who although she lives in California sees her mother the least. She’s also the one who made a stink about getting her “share” when my grandmother’s house in Berkeley was sold, although all the siblings had agreed that the money would go to paying for the nurse who cares for Puo-puo 24/7.
Right before we went down to L.A., I got an email from this aunt saying happy Thanksgiving. Being the polite niece that I am, I wrote back saying I was sorry we wouldn’t be able to see her, I was looking forward to seeing the family, and to have a nice holiday herself. She wrote back two messages within hours of each other.
The first said she talked to my mom and felt left out about missing Turkey Day with us, and that she was a bad daughter for not seeing her mother in over a year. (Well, then go see her.) The second one said simply that while she felt left out, thinking about how much space there was at my uncle’s house, it was just impossible for her to go. Did she not think she sent the first one? Did she forget? Weird.
Then my younger aunt told me how last Thanksgiving, this older aunt came down Tuesday night with plans to stay for a week or so, and by Thanksgiving Day was rescheduling her flight to go home earlier.
As I’ve said before, I don’t really get why she’s like this. It’s not like she has to do much to take care of Puo-puo. The nurse does everything, and my younger aunt or mother took over only when the nurse ate her lunch or dinner.
Speaking of lunch, we had delicious Chinese food my mom and aunt cooked:
MB who doesn’t even eat pork gobbled up those dumplings like there was no tomorrow.
Then while my dad, MB, and I lazed around the living room, and my mom and aunt hovered around giving unsolicited advice, my brother cooked. The turkey, before:
And the turkey after:
Delicious as always! This was the first time my father had my brother’s cooking, and he was extremely surprised. He kept saying over and over, “The turkey’s so good, the stuffing’s so good.” Even my grandmother, who hardly eats anything now, scarfed down some mashed potatoes and stuffing.
Puo-puo has changed immensely in the past few years. My chubby laughing grandmother has become an emaciated old woman I barely recognize. She can’t talk now or even make facial expressions. I have no idea if she knew who I was. She’s also lost some teeth and her hair, once black and permed, is now white and gray and lays flat on her head. When I first saw her, she did reach for my hand several times, but I’m still not sure if she knew me. My cousin Huang Lei was sad too when she saw Puo-puo. Tearfully she held her hands and spoke to her in Chinese.
Puo-puo seemed to see people though. For instance, throughout the evening she kept staring at MB. I had tried introducing him, but I don’t know if it registered. She kept eyeing him like, “Who’s this white guy in my house?” She also watched Mia, Huang Lei and Shane’s three-year old daughter, with great interest.
Mia was hilarious. After she got comfortable, she kept trying to get MB and my brother to play hide ‘n seek with her. They did for a while then got tired. At one point she decided she was mad. She kept crossing her arms (or trying to) and standing near us with a pout. A few minutes later, she came back and said, “I’m not mad anymore. I’m happy. Let’s play hide ‘n seek,” then grabbed MB’s hand and tried to pull him up.
After the meal, we hung out watching some silly Chinese variety show before finally getting ready to leave. I knew my parents were sad to see us go. I encouraged them to visit us in the spring, after we moved into a new, bigger place.
After a relaxing morning, we headed out to lunch at the Curry House. As though we hadn’t enough food already, we had no problem scarfing down our delicious curry dishes. I got the curry katsu:
Afterwards we drove out to Venice, walked on the boardwalk, and down Abbot-Kinney Street. Along the way we saw some cool graffiti:
The Venice Canals:
And some crazy Barbies:
In the afternoon we headed out to Huang Lei and Shane’s. It was fun chatting with them and playing with Mia again, who kept taking pictures as we took pictures:
Most of her pictures were of her finger.
Our flight wasn’t till after 8 PM so we had the whole morning to relax. We had brunch at Hugo’s, then took the Metro out to Hollywood. The L.A. mass transit system is weird. There are turnstiles set up but you can walk around them. Then the tickets are checked only sporadically.
Hollywood was pretty crowded. We walked around a bit, had some Beard Papa’s, then headed back to my brother’s to chill before our flight. As we packed MB found a letter opener I forgot about in the black suitcase I had been using for months. Who knows how many times that got through security.
Check in at Burbank was so easy. There was almost no one there though our flight was full.
By ten we were home. Yay!
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I’m glad to be back in the routine of writing, but I also need to get my butt to the gym more often. I know I’ve gained eight to ten pounds in the last couple of years. I’d love to get that weight off.