Archive for the ‘Family’ Category

Lawfully Wedded

May 12, 2010

Travis County District Judge Charlie Baird wedged our legal marriage proceedings after four folks on the criminal docket and before jury selection on some aggravated assault trial. Our closest friends in Austin, many who have small babies or large mortgages and cannot make it to Amsterdam, squeezed into the judge’s chambers with us for a quickie legal ceremony on Monday morning. I vaguely remember some sort of vows we had to repeat. But it felt like a strangely out of body experience once things got rolling. Stiles felt his knees locking so he obviously wasn’t more lucid than I was.

One of the women I asked to be a bridesmaid, Virginia, found out she was having a baby that would arrive one month before the wedding in Amsterdam (and boy is baby girl Cass a cutie). She won’t be coming overseas, but is a fantastic bridesmaid anyway. She hosted a classy, gorgeous engagement party at her house for us and guided me along on all things girly. (She also made a makeshift floral arrangement for me for the legal ceremony on Monday with the random fresh flowers she had around her house. Like I said, Virginia rocks.) So we picked her to be our witness, and she got all teary-eyed upon getting the assignment.

Afterwards, the group celebrated with chili cheese dogs (my favorite food). Matrimony Monday couldn’t have gone any better.

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Fitz Happens

May 2, 2010

You may recall my cat Fitz from my earlier blogs. Friggin’ Fitz. He’s my orange tabby who likes living on the edge. Most cats live one of two ways: domestically, in which they stay inside or occassionally go outside and stay in the general home area. Or they’re feral, in which nature is their home. My cat Fitz lives in the area in between. He “runs away” for a year or so, and then surprises us by wandering back into the house through the dog door.

He’s back, for now. Last time he was home was spring 2009, if you don’t count the time he popped into the backyard to say hi real quick on Thanksgiving day.

Friggin' Fitz.

In 2008, he came home on Iowa caucus night bleeding from his neck. It sounds bad, but since I was too busy watching the Iowa caucuses and Fitz is perpetually getting into trouble, I just locked him in my room until all the precincts came in. Fitz has almost died numerous times. He’s on his 18th life or so. The last time I did a count of the numerous times he almost died was early ’08, and since then I’ve stopped counting.

9th life: Being born onto the streets of South Dallas. We’re talking the Oak Cliff area. Somehow finding his way to “safety” on the infamous grassy knoll, which happens to be at the mouth of a major interstate. (Hence the name “Fitz”, short for John Fitzgerald Kennedy Hu-St!les)

8th life: Getting taken into the Spartanburg Humane Society, which has one of the highest animal euthanasia rates in the country. He was miraculously rescued because the same day he was brought in, my friend Myra was outside doing a live report. She saw him and had to take him home with her… which is how I wound up with him.

7th life: Accidentally eating ibuprofen. It looks like he took in at least two Advil liquigels, which is toxic to cats. Almost died, stayed in the Emergency Clinic overnight with an IV in his little arm. Had to shoot him with some sort of subcutaneous fluids for two weeks.

6th life: Running away for two weeks. To this day we don’t know where Fitz was during the last half of September, 2007. We thought he was a goner, fer sho. But then he just came strolling back in when October came around.

5th life: Dog bite. How he got away after a dog got him by the neck is still a mystery to me.

I stopped counting, but I can say without question that the vet fees have cost more than my own healthcare.

Back in the USA

September 15, 2009
With mom in Budapest.

With mom in Budapest.

We lost constant internet connectedness for the last week as we traveled Germany, Austria, Slovakia and Hungary by cruising down the Danube River. While we managed to check our emails once a day, not being tethered to the iPhone and other communications devices was a welcome break. I instead relished human connectedness – the kind with my family, the kind all too rare now that my mom, dad and brother are spread out across the globe.

The flights proved exhausting and frustrating as usual (but at least I didn’t have to spend the night in a baggage claim like that one night on the way back from China in 2007). Loved the Hungarians. One of our guides explained that being on the losing side of every war since the 17th century makes the people quite authentic and realistic — something that made us want to go back to Budapest, or as the locals say, Budapescht, quite soon.

Travel log:
Passau, Germany
Wachau Valley, Austria (includes cities of Melk and Dunstein)
Vienna, Austria
Budapest, Hungary
Esztergom, Hungary
Sturovo, Slovak Republic (just across the border from Esztergom)
Bratislava, Slovak Republic
Grein, Austria
Linz, Austria

And without further delay… the PHOTOS!!!

Europe Sept 09

Donau-ing It

September 8, 2009

This may be the only blogpost I get up this week, since we’re slowing floating down the Danube River in a skinny boat full of German senior citizens. Mom/Dad/brother Roger/Roger’s girlfriend and Mr. Stiles are all here; today we’re in Vienna, yesterday we were in the vinyeards of the Wachau Valley.

Internet access from the boat costs 40 euro an hour so we decided to live without it this week, with the exception of this current sojourn into a Viennese coffee shop to get amped up on caffeine and get a wifi fix.

Vienna’s shockingly beautiful — much like Paris but a totally different feel. Went on a long run along the Danube this morning and things were going well until my brother Roger joined and I suddenly tripped over a metal hook thing jutting out of the concrete. Bit it. Hard. But managed to not-seriously injure myself.

Should mention that the best part of this place, for me. Hot dog stands. Everywhere.

Family Ties

August 8, 2009

We’re near Washington, DC, for a massive family reunion. My maternal grandma flew all the way in from Taiwan to take part, so our one layover in Houston really doesn’t count as much travel. Grandma has five brothers and sisters and she’s the oldest surviving one. The fact there are six siblings in that generation mean that by the time you get to my generation, there are about 68 cousins and second cousins and cousins-in-law-once-removed. Or something. I still don’t know them all.

The family reunion agenda

The family reunion agenda

We’ve shared some moving moments – like the survival stories grandma told about triumphing over war (WWII), revolution (the Cultural one) and separation (time and distance).

But mostly this gathering has been about the lighter moments — eating way too much food in order to please our elders (a Chinese thing that feels like being slowly fed to death), joking about perhaps incorporating our family into some sort of LLC, and cousins connecting over which ‘realm’ or ‘guild’ they are in in the addictive computer game, World of Warcraft.

Which reminds me: Cousins Calvin and Cary, both grown-ups with families of their own, decided a few years ago to go out into the woods and fully embrace who they are as men. They choreographed an extensive Star Wars-themed kung fu light saber battle that my other cousin, Clarence, caught on tape. See below.