A Surprising Piece Of News

Image by Автошкола ТЕХНИКА from Pixabay It's a beautiful day today. When I was taking a break and driving past Mahul Auto, I thought I just drop by to get my windshield wiper replaced. Last weekend, in the misty rain, I realized that my wipers were not working--the wiper blades almost fell off. How did … Continue reading A Surprising Piece Of News

The Lunar New Year Party (Flash Fiction #102)

Image by k-e-k-u-l-é from Pixabay Armei has had relatively good relationship with her mother-in-law Nana, who has been living with them in New Jersey for seven months for the purpose of taking care of the grandson. However Nana is about to leave, flying across the Pacific and going back home, where her other son and … Continue reading The Lunar New Year Party (Flash Fiction #102)

That’s Fate (Flash Fiction #99)

Image by Jill Wellington from Pixabay "Where are you going? You are going to the tournament, right? How much I wish I can stop such an event. No participation. Just observe. You promised." Maylan says to her husband Jay Lai. "Of course. The tournament is half way through already. How can I participate now?" Jay … Continue reading That’s Fate (Flash Fiction #99)

Dreams And Miracles (Flash Fiction #97)

Image by Leandro De Carvalho from Pixabay Rida has been battling her husband Mung for years, but today's battle is more severe than any of the previous ones. Mung took out a loan of $5,000 from their insurance policy without telling her and then sent the money to his hometown in Southeast Asia to buy … Continue reading Dreams And Miracles (Flash Fiction #97)

A Night To Forget (Flash Fiction #90)

Image by NickyPe from Pixabay It takes Nali the whole Saturday to troubleshoot the database, pinpoint the reason why it is slowing down, rewrite queries, and reconfigure essential tables. When it's all over, it's seven o'clock at night. She drove from Edison, New Jersey that morning, up the Garden State Parkway and the I-87 Highway. … Continue reading A Night To Forget (Flash Fiction #90)

Pursuit Of Happiness Part 3

Image by inno kurnia from Pixabay This is the last part of the story. The first two parts are here and here. Taimu starts his long soliloquy about this party, this award, the culmination of twenty years of tireless research. Lulan listens to him and wonders why he wants to talk about his work on … Continue reading Pursuit Of Happiness Part 3

Thanksgiving Family Stories

Image by Karolina Grabowska from Pixabay There are several Thanksgiving stories I can write. I haven't formed them in completion yet, but the contents are already there, except an interesting ending. Often there are so much time spent on ending while other parts of a story are not getting enough attention. A Thanksgiving Wedding Chef … Continue reading Thanksgiving Family Stories

The Alternative Life

Image by John Hain from Pixabay I read a post about two days ago concerning the alternative life. If we had made different choices in those crucial moments of our life, what would have become of us and what kind of better outcome can we expect? Actually I should link back to that post here, … Continue reading The Alternative Life

Thanksgiving Options

Image by Ylanite Koppens from Pixabay I've never attempted to roast a turkey. And there are several reasons for that. Reason number one: The oven has always been an extra storage space for pots and pans for me. No other functionalities. So my skill in managing the process of roasting or baking is non-existent. Reason … Continue reading Thanksgiving Options

Sugarcoating (Flash Fiction #83)

Image by Steve Buissinne from Pixabay "I want to stop all the lies. From now on, no sugarcoating, no spinning, no prevarication. I will be honest, straightforward, open." Pammy says to her friends Armei and Lulan. It's Sunday morning. The three women are sitting at one of the outdoor tables of the Korean bakery Paris … Continue reading Sugarcoating (Flash Fiction #83)

Ivy And Tom (Flash Fiction #79)

Image by Kiều Trường from Pixabay "You know Tom just repeats himself so often. I really want to ask him to stop, but I just can't do it." Ivy says. She's talking about her husband Tom Tsai. They've been married for twenty years now and have a good manageable relationship. Ivy's idea of a good … Continue reading Ivy And Tom (Flash Fiction #79)

I Want To Be Liked (Flash Fiction #78)

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay Kung is about to attend a conference on mathematics in Boston, where he's going to give a presentation. It's not just a simple talk to present one's research data, but rather it's like an unofficial interview. People who appreciate what he says will likely to hire him and offer him … Continue reading I Want To Be Liked (Flash Fiction #78)

I Can’t Believe It’s Him (Flash Fiction #73)

Image by Pete Linforth from Pixabay This is a sequel to the previous story "Who's More Suitable" here. However there's no need to go to the link if you review the following background. It is based on a true story. Every fall, Ivy and her husband Tom Tsai, the owners of Ivy Training Center in … Continue reading I Can’t Believe It’s Him (Flash Fiction #73)

Who’s More Suitable (Flash Fiction #70)

Image by MarieXMartin from Pixabay "Lil is a wonderful lady, but she's not suitable to be a speaker at our event." Lulan says. Jil shows up in the previous story "The Harvest" here. "Well, she's good looking, wealthy, with a perfect husband and a brilliant kid. She's everything that we are not. We are just … Continue reading Who’s More Suitable (Flash Fiction #70)

A Habit Outliving Its Usefulness

Image by naoamano from Pixabay My grandmother on my mother's side spent the first thirty years of her life in a fishing village, where the only livelihood was fishing or fishing related trades. That was before the arrival of modern boats and other modern equipment. Needless to say, unexpected weather conditions or ocean waves could … Continue reading A Habit Outliving Its Usefulness

The Harvest (Flash Fiction #69)

Image by Jerzy Górecki from Pixabay Lulan sees Lil in the grocery store from afar and she immediately turns around for the purpose of avoiding her. Lil is one of those forever positive people that Lulan can't understand and can't communicate with. When all the women are whining about the lack of attention from their … Continue reading The Harvest (Flash Fiction #69)

A Little Disturbance (Flash Fiction #68)

Image by Maciej Cieslak from Pixabay This is a sequel to the previous story "Ida And Superstition" here. However there's no need to read the previous story to follow the little plot here. Yik opens a new takeout restaurant in Edison, New Jersey. Expecting a slow start, he is prepared to struggle for several months … Continue reading A Little Disturbance (Flash Fiction #68)

I Am Not Negative (Flash Fiction #66)

Image by cocoparisienne from Pixabay Whenever Ivy meets Dan, she feels a pang of regret. Dan is a distant relative of Ivy on Ivy's father's side. If this were in Ivy's hometown in Southeast Asia, Ivy wouldn't even think about Dan since Ivy has dozens of relatives who are closer to her. However this is … Continue reading I Am Not Negative (Flash Fiction #66)

Ida And Superstition (Flash Fiction #65)

Yip and Yik are two brothers who used to run a restaurant together on Old Post Road in Edison Township, New Jersey. However after their father died, the two brothers split. Their wives didn't get along for years and everybody said it was inevitable that the two owners would go their separate ways. Yip is … Continue reading Ida And Superstition (Flash Fiction #65)

The Royal Garden (Flash Fiction #62)

Image by Manuel Alejandro Leon from Pixabay Let's just suppose, for the sake of the story, the name of the Asian restaurant is "The Royal Garden" and the name of its owner is Jinmu, who is of indeterminable age, average height, slim, quick of steps, keen of mind. It's a popular restaurant. The interior is … Continue reading The Royal Garden (Flash Fiction #62)

Father And Son (Flash Fiction #54)

Image by Pexels from Pixabay "Can you talk with your son Jack? He's really not study very hard at all. His grades are falling and he's more interested in playing video games than anything else." Armei says to her husband Arhu one day. Whenever Armei says "your son", Arhu knows that Jack has been doing … Continue reading Father And Son (Flash Fiction #54)

Sunday’s Story

Image by justraveling from Pixabay I went to the grocery store this morning. As I was pulling in the parking lot, I saw a woman sitting in the car next to me--she is crying while talking on the phone. I felt the urge to go comfort her, but I knew this couldn't be done since … Continue reading Sunday’s Story

A Happy Accident (Flash Fiction #33)

Arjian is a local hairdresser and a regular gambler at Atlantic City--a casino town at the southern end of New Jersey. There's a previous story about him here. On Saturday morning, when Arjian's wife Mei goes to the drive-by ATM machine, she finds that the balance is increased by about $10,000. She doesn't know where … Continue reading A Happy Accident (Flash Fiction #33)

How To Talk (Flash Fiction #31)

Image by Stefan Keller from Pixabay "I love this house when it's in my dream and it's being built. Once I live here, it’s a very different story." Armei says at the dinner table. Armei and Pammy and Lulu are good friends and also their husbands get along with each other. For this Saturday, the … Continue reading How To Talk (Flash Fiction #31)

A Book Of Ancient Tales (Flash Fiction #29)

Photo by Jeremy Bishop on Unsplash "You know Armei tells me that her daughter Lily says she wants to be a YouTube star. Armei is furious. All those tuition fees Armei has to pay, only to see her wasting her time..." Pammy says as the whole family sits down to dinner. Armei's husband Pan just … Continue reading A Book Of Ancient Tales (Flash Fiction #29)

Energy (Flash Fiction #28)

Photo by Susanna Marsiglia on Unsplash "I am so bored." I hear myself saying. Nalan and I have evolved from talking on phone to talking on Zoom. "I am more bored than you are." Nalan says. That's just typical of Nalan. Whenever I say something, she will say she is more than me. If I … Continue reading Energy (Flash Fiction #28)

New Word #14: Is There A Word For This?

I encountered the word “Tsundoku” in heterodoxbuddhism’s post here. Tsundoku is a Japanese term that means one who buys books but don’t read them. And this inspires me to think of other words that should have existed but for one reason or another don’t exist in English. Conversationer. This is not a word, but I … Continue reading New Word #14: Is There A Word For This?

The Acupuncturist (Flash Fiction #16)

For some reason, New Jersey has a higher rate of spring allergy than other places, which is puzzling since there aren't more flowers or trees here than other states. People will tell you when you first come that you won't have allergy for several years, and then gradually you will develop itchy eyes and running … Continue reading The Acupuncturist (Flash Fiction #16)

A Message From LinkedIn

I can't believe I am still following him. LinkedIn sent me a message last night telling me that he posts one new year message and he hasn't been posting any message for a while. He is not into social media; he doesn't post messages or write blogs. Actually we have no contact in the last … Continue reading A Message From LinkedIn

Jack Of All Trade

Susan the director: "Nora Dickinson, you look exactly like Jane Millay I interviewed yesterday." Lan the actress: "My name is actually Lanlan Wong, but I have to change it. Otherwise I can't get any interview for any part in Hollywood. You know Nora Ephron, Emily Dickinson, Jane Austen and Edna St. Vincent Millay are my … Continue reading Jack Of All Trade

New Year’s Resolutions

Avoid carbohydrate as much as possible. I know this is impossible to achieve. I've been trying to do this for years, only succeeding in making carbohydrate more appealing to me. It's with great self restraint that rivals the most lauded stoic figure in history that I stopped myself today from buying sticky rice snacks at … Continue reading New Year’s Resolutions

November Reading Wrap-up 2

Click Here For Wrap Up 1 What's the point of making a to-be-read plan, but leaving most of the list unread in the end. I knew I was not going to follow the list anyway. When it turned out just as I predicted, I felt vindicated of my own wisdom. "Knowing yourself, that's knowledge." An … Continue reading November Reading Wrap-up 2

Dreary Topic And Dreary Day

I really don't want to write this since I have no interest in politics. I uphold the long Asian tradition--staying away from politics and governments as much as we can, even to our own disadvantage. However I have to write this to get it off my chest. There's no better time of doing this than … Continue reading Dreary Topic And Dreary Day

Mini Story: The Bamboo Palace

The Bamboo Palace is owned by Victor and his wife Mai. Victor is the owner's English nickname, which was chosen when he first arrived in America more than thirty years ago, obviously for its victorious meaning. Since then, people have gradually started to call him Brother Vi due to his rising reputation in the immigrant … Continue reading Mini Story: The Bamboo Palace

Mini Story: Three Women (Part 2)

Click Here For Part 1 "I don't understand why Democrats are so happy? I mean the election is so close even if there's a pandemic and there's a big unemployment number. Four years later, I bet it's going to be Republican again. Probably somebody more extreme." Lu said. Armei and Pammy paused their conversation and … Continue reading Mini Story: Three Women (Part 2)

November Reading Wrap-up 1

"Pangs of Love" by David Wong LouieI suffered a lot while reading "The Barbarians Are Coming", but as soon as I finish it, I take on this book. Do I ever learn? Am I an incorrigible self torturer? The first story "Birthday" is like "The Barbarians Are Coming" (BAC), deja vu all over again. The … Continue reading November Reading Wrap-up 1

Mini Story: Three Women (Part 1)

It's Nov. 9, 2020, a Monday. Every Monday afternoon, Lu, Pammy, and Armei met at Armei's little cosmetic store, specializing in Asian cosmetic brands. It's not really Armei's store. She's just a shop assistant. Monday is slow and a perfect time to meet her friends. If the owner of the store happened to come in, … Continue reading Mini Story: Three Women (Part 1)

Blocked And Unblocked

I am completely and probably irreversibly blocked right now after reading a book about blogging, which says what one wants to write is not what others want to read. It sounds really true. Just think about our own life experiences--what we really want to say is often not what other people want to hear. The … Continue reading Blocked And Unblocked

Feeling Today’s Right Yesterday’s Wrong

I often feel today's right yesterday's wrong. I don't know why. It's strange that it is rarely the other way around, although let's be fair each has equal claim to be correct. Well, how about I grow wiser as time passes by, which obviously benefits today more than yesterday? That's possible only to a certain … Continue reading Feeling Today’s Right Yesterday’s Wrong

I Know I Won’t Finish These In November

"Nine Horses" by Billy CollinsEven his complaints are delightful to read. I wonder why? "Forgotten Wars: Freedom and Revolution in Southeast Asia" by C.A. Bayly, Tim HarperThe end of WWII is just an opening for new battles. It's as thick as two books, but I hate speed reading, which takes all the fun away. "Where … Continue reading I Know I Won’t Finish These In November

Unfinished October Reading

It's different from what I planned a month ago, but several lovable books have made it all worthwhile. "If I Had Your Face" by Frances Cha-- This is the first book I read about South Korea. Isn't it strange that I used to watch many South Korean movies, but never think of reading a book … Continue reading Unfinished October Reading

Mini Story: Chul And Jool

My friend H told me this story and H heard this story from her colleague Chung, who grew up in a town in the Midwest, somewhere within 200 mile radius of Chicago. Chung's parents run the only Asian restaurant in town, which serves a range of items from Vietnamese rice roll, Mongolian BBQ, to General … Continue reading Mini Story: Chul And Jool

When You Don’t Have An Appetite

I don't have an appetite today and I don't know why. Is it because of the melatonin pills I've taken these past two weeks for my insomnia? It could be. It is said online that melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone in our body and taking a little won't have any side effect on the … Continue reading When You Don’t Have An Appetite

A Mini Love Story

G is my distant cousin and he is always considered, by my parents and my relatives, to be the most intelligent and most unfortunate among all my cousins. His life started well--a cute kid, indulged by his parents, growing up to be a handsome teenager. He's half Mongolian, just like me, but he looks more … Continue reading A Mini Love Story

Ghost Arriving Before Halloween

I am talking with two friends in a cafe. One of them asks me to look at a picture on his laptop. I lean over and stare at the screen. Minutes later, when our attentions come back to the hot tea arriving at our table, we notice the other friend's absence. At first we think … Continue reading Ghost Arriving Before Halloween

The Thrill And Peril Of Imitation

Living in the Asian community in New Jersey, one can't help learning stories about engineers and scientists. One of these widely circulated stories is this: A newcomer in one of the research institutions, where people are madly nerdy and competitive, finds that everybody in the department is sharpening their pencils with a knife. Everybody has … Continue reading The Thrill And Peril Of Imitation

Things I Want To Do But Can’t

Such a beautiful day today that one just wants to go out and walk about, but instead one's stuck here staring at the computer screen. Sunny, a few clouds floating decoratively, 72 degrees, humidity not too high to mess up the hair and not too low to dry up the skin. There are only ten … Continue reading Things I Want To Do But Can’t

Mini Story: An Awkward Picture

This awkward picture is an oil painting of me when I was about 11 years old. Every painting has a story behind it, and here it is. I remember this today only because that's the first time I felt a strong sympathy towards a man--the artist painting this--who totally despised me and detested his job … Continue reading Mini Story: An Awkward Picture

Mini Story: The Sales Training

Pammy is a fictional character but the event is something that really happens, not as infrequently as we tend to imagine. The idea of this story is based on my talk with my friends on the sales training they had been to. It goes like this: Pammy lives with her husband Pan and their son … Continue reading Mini Story: The Sales Training

Can’t Live With Or Without Impulse

I hate impulses, especially impulse purchase. I went to Trader Joe's today and bought a big bunch of things. Completely over my budget. Do I really need the "Tomato Basil Hummus"? No, but it is so good that I can finish the whole thing before I start my dinner. Do I really need the one … Continue reading Can’t Live With Or Without Impulse

Mini Story: The Driving Lesson

There's a stereotype in America that Asians don't know how to drive and I have no wish to add another piece on that pile of cliche here. However I've witnessed more than a handful of couples who squabble incessantly about driving--how to drive, how to drive better, road signs to watch for, how many miles … Continue reading Mini Story: The Driving Lesson

Courage Misunderstood

My friend Y once told me that he had traveled to Russia and Ukraine to run his small business of selling household goods. That in itself is not terribly uncommon since I heard of Asians businessmen carrying goods to Russia to sell and carrying Russian specialties back. So I asked him if he's afraid since … Continue reading Courage Misunderstood

Different Body

I've heard similar incidents happen again and again here in the Asian community in New Jersey. This is one story I heard about five years ago. One manager in a big drug company suddenly fainted. He is middle-aged and held a lower level management position, which is reachable by Asians before hitting the usual bamboo … Continue reading Different Body

Short Story: A Cat And A Train Ride (Part 2)

Click Here For Part 1 After a while my mother and I dozed off again, and my mother's tight hold on the cat was loosened. So Armi jumped off once again. This time, he attacked a person sitting right behind us, who is young and tall. He must have sausage or beef jerky or boiled … Continue reading Short Story: A Cat And A Train Ride (Part 2)

The Peril Of Persistence

It's the peril of persistence. I was brought up on the principle of finishing what you started and now I am suffering the consequence. I can't go on with this book, but my habit of persistence doesn't allow me to give up in the middle. What to do? I can't stand "The Barbarians Are Coming" … Continue reading The Peril Of Persistence

Short Story: Trouble With Language (Part 2)

Click Here For Part 1 One week later, they met again. Pammy looked haggard, her under eye circles darkened, her eyes more guileless and fierce than usual. "My old man (her term of endearment for her husband which sounds more of a term of respect in her native tongue than in English) and my father-in-law … Continue reading Short Story: Trouble With Language (Part 2)

Short Story: Trouble With Language (Part 1)

Lu, Pammy, and Armei met at Armei's little cosmetic store, specializing in Asian cosmetic brands, every Monday afternoon. It's not really Armei's store. She's just a shop assistant. Monday is slow and a perfect time to meet her friends. If the owner of the store happened to come in, which she never did on a … Continue reading Short Story: Trouble With Language (Part 1)

Lost In Translation

No matter how I explained, he just wouldn't understand. Or probably it's just his pretensions which offer him his rights to insist on his own idea. Show your stubbornness long enough and other people would mistake that for your strength. What a wish. Go your own way; enjoy your freedom of making your own mistakes … Continue reading Lost In Translation