Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving!

In honor of the holiday,my parents drove down from Upstate NY to celebrate with us. This is the first time I've been the "host" of Thanksgiving, but as Robert had treatment the next day all had to flock to us.

Unfortunately, Thanksgiving came the day after we returned from LA. Not only were my parents coming, but Ki-Ki, my cousin Austin and his girlfriend were as well. To alleviate cooking stress, I ordered the "Whole Foods Dinner For Eight." This caused quite an uproar in the family. No, not because it was boughten, prepared food. Because it was a turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, and mashed potatoes. As my Dad said in confusion, "It's American food!"

Ah, yes, I've destroyed the time honored Lin tradition of stir-fried shrimp, rice noodles, spare ribs, fried dumplings and steamed fish for Thanksgiving. And what is Thanksgiving without the sushi? And the sliced oranges for dessert?

However, all condescended to eat and, if the groans of fullness were any indication, all were quite satisfied. My mom did insist on slicing oranges for dessert (even though there was pumpkin pie). Some things are sacred.

back on the west coast

As soon as I returned from my trip from Philadelphia, I raced though the week of a TV interview, 3 school visits, and one speech to get to a Friday 8 AM flight to visit sunny LA. This trip had been the target of the month for me, as it's a trip Robert is accompanying me on. It's his first airplane trip since relapsing a 3rd time, his first trip out of the northeast for a year. He's been eager and excited to see the west coast, get a change of scenery and out of the cold.

But I have had my hesitations. Los Angeles, Santa Monica--it's a place of bittersweet memories...perhaps more bitter than sweet. We had lived there once upon a time for a short span of 4 months, right after our marriage. We had our future mapped out in the sand. Robert was going to work for Frank Gehry, we'd bike on the beach, live in our white shiny apartment and dream of a future full of palm trees and sunny skies.

However, our move there was a disaster. It was there our wedding gifts were destroyed by the movers, Robert was layed off and then diagnosed with cancer. When I packed up our apartment without him, the bright sun seemed to mock me.

So it was with some misgivings, that we returned. But our return became a watershed moment. Somehow, we let go of the old baggage. Even though our days had events (snowflake showing at Storyopolis, book reading at FCC-SoCal) we were able to snatch enough time away to do the things we didn't have a chance to before. And enjoy it.

I don't know what our future holds. At times, I look at the past years and feel like it is an ocean wave trying to drown us. But we're still swimming. And who knows, maybe we'll make it to the beach yet. Sometimes, like these past couple of days, I can almost see the pina coladas waiting for us.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

good fortune

Some time ago a couple of friends and I made a list of the ten things we wanted accomplish in our lifetime. In an attempt to free ourselves from guilt, we nixed goals such as "fight cancer" and made the list be a personal achievement list. In other words, we were writing down our most personal and most ego-gratifying wishes.

One of the things that I listed was "have one of my books made into a theatrical performance." Well, since then I have had that privilege happen to me not once, but twice. The first time was in Portland, Maine when a group put on the play performance of The Ugly Vegetables. And the second time is most recently in Philadelphia where a dance preformance of Fortune Cookie Fortunes was produced.

The Union of Hearts and Cultures is an annual event put on by the FCC-DV. It's an event that promotes diversity, mixed heritages and races. The performance of Fortune Cookie Fortunes was going to be the highlight event and I the guest of honor. I couldn't wait to see what they created.

And it was wonderful. Truly gratifying. Yes, the performers were kids and teenagers, but they danced and held themselves like professional adults. In front of a packed auditorium, waiters danced and tossed trays and fortunes came to life. The ending joyful dance was completed with the cast throwing fortune cookies out to the crowd. I could see the hours of work behind the dancing, the costumes, and the sets which emulated my work so much that there were swirls in the sky. It really was delightful and I was honored they performed my book.

Sometimes when you get things that you want, they fall hollow or the satisfaction is fleeting. It seems like it's human nature to move onto the next wish, the next goal. As I cross "have one of my books made into a theatrical performance" off my list, I catch myself doing that. Almost immediately, my next thought was to look over the other unfulfilled wishes...and I stop myself. It's so easy to lose the good stuff, so easy to lose the pride and self confidence. And it's even easier to take it for granted. So, maybe, instead of rushing onto the the next ambition, I'll just savor my good fortune and try to hold onto it for a while.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

the value of snow

The Robert's Snow Kick off event was a huge success! It actually surpassed my expectations. The snowflakes got hung (10 hour marathon), people came (so many that the gallery owner had to put on the air conditioning), food and wine sufficed (without breaking the bank thanks to my tireless food volunteers) and everyone had a grand time--including me and Robert! I was truly amazed it came together.

The auctions have started and I'm curious about the bidding. At the gallery, I heard an offhand comment after Ki-Ki mentioned how unique the snowflakes were. "I guess that's why they're worth so much," someone said.

But their worth really does go beyond the pretty pictures. In all the press, I emphasize the famous names, the exclusivity, the collectability of these snowflakes. Because that's good marketing. No one wants to hear the depressing stuff. But, the sad stuff is what gives these snowflakes a value beyond their starting price.

Bid for everything cancer touches. Bid for the nurses and the doctors who know their words are cold comfort. Bid for the spouses that suddenly realize that "in sickness" and "death do us part" is for real. Bid for the kids who have no hair and are pulled to treatment in a wagon. Bid for the parents who age 10 years in 10 minutes. Bid for the friendships that fade away because people just don't understand or know what to do. Bid for Chad, the boy who lost his father to cancer and flew in from Virginia just to see the snowflakes. Bid for David, an artist that dedicated his snowflake to his brother who died of cancer. Bid for Steve, the volunteer who hand cut all 200 snowflakes with his scroll saw in his garage. Bid for Jon, the computer programmer, who stayed up past 2 AM night after night working on the website. Bid for Robert who sat alone in the infusion center while all the other patients were surrounded by friends and family. Bid for yourself and all the days you'll remember and wish you didn't.

Bid for all of these reasons. Or bid for some them. Or bid for none of them at all. Just bid and know that no matter what you pay, that snowflake is worth so much more.