Wednesday, April 25, 2007



Kai and Tisha arrived on time as usual. I was kidding Kai because he had his head sideways and asked him it his neck is broken. This was just him acting a bit silly. He then started to go to the bedroom to see Umma. I put my projects on hold today...I have been re-tiling the breakfast room area for the last three days, it is almost done except some little touches here and there. We asked him if he saw his picture in the paper. He knows that his picture was in the Sunday edition. Asked him who is that boy...he answered; "Kai-Kai." I think that as the time goes by and I will be doing his exposures in the papers, he will be jaded about it and will consider his appearances as the usual thing.

Nothing unusual happen the early morning. He and Umma went to the park and came back just in time for lunch. We had dungenees crabs, I made some shoestring potatoes and fried three rashers of bacon just in case. He ate all the bacon and of course he ate some crabs too. It takes time for him to chew his food. He is like a chipmunk that hoard its food in the make him eat a bit faster, I told him that I am going shopping and asked him if he would like to with me. He said, "Yes!" I had to tell him again to hurry and finish his food so he can go with me. I left the dinning table and sort of waited for him. Later I found out the he did put the remaining bacon in his mouth and told Umma..."I am finished!"

Went to bathroom to pee...and got a small "treasure"a lollipop whistle. He likes it but had to wipe his hands many times because..."it is sticky!" While we were getting out from the car, again, "my hands is sticky!" I told him to lick his hands because we don't have any wet towel and he answered, "No! we have to use WIPES." I just found out that whenever his hand got dirty in the park, Umma uses "WIPES." When he was able to figure out how the whistle works, we told him to use it to wake his Mommy...He said, "No! if I wake her, she will be cranky!" I think the remark is so funny.

He really likes shopping! We went to Henry's to buy some honeydew melons and his favorite macadamia nuts which are on the last day of sales today. After that we went to Vien Dong supermarket. He really got excited seeing all the live crabs, swimming tilapias, and the live frogs plus all the other dead fish on the shelves. I showed him some baby octopus and big ones too. He also looked at the different shrimps. At the meat section, I showed him the chicken and duck's feet. He made a comment when he saw a dressed duck..."that is a dead duck." This gives me a shock! I am not sure how he was able to tell that it was a dead duck. He really knows his fruits and vegetables. As we pass by, I will ask him what it is and he can tell if it is an apple, banana, avocado, celery and potatoes etc. I bought some blue crabs, a catfish, some mackerel for "tinapa" (will cure it by smoking). I had the butcher quartered me some pork spareribs and artichokes for the weekend.

He was really very vocal in both of the stores...and loud too! I had to tell him that the china man would not like him to talk loud. We were able to deter him from going back to see the live frogs. While on the way to the cashier, we passed by the cookie section. I showed him some packages, he looked at one and dumped it with the rest of our purchases. I had to retrieve it and put it back on the shelf. I got him some small individual fruit flavored pudding. He ate five of the when we arrived home. He carried the rest home with him (it must have suited his taste).

When we reached home he stayed close to me while I was preparing to season the fish, and I started boiling some water for the crabs. Naturally he would like to help me cook! I washed the crabs and told him that he can help me cook it but he would have to wait for the water to boil. He positioned himself on the highchair next to the stove. When the water was boiling, I had a tong for him to grab the crab and let him dump it in the water. While the crab is cooking and turning red...he noticed that and asked me why is it getting red. I had to explain to him that it is cooking..."Oh!" I seasoned the rest of the fish and placed them in plastic bags for later. I had to explain to him that that will be for later...he wants to help cook the fish too.

They were outside looking for some bugs and snails when Tisha came. I was on the computer when they were ready to go home. He came to me and told me; "I have to kiss and hug you, I am going home...carry me please." He always has a long face when it is time to go home...We must be doing something pleasant for him! Till next Wednesday Kai-Kai.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007


The weather predicted that there will be sun but chilly...true! The temperature was 58 but windy.They did not go to the park. Instead we blew some bubbles just outside the house. It seems that he really enjoyed that activity. As he was running around trying the catch the bubbles with his wand.

He decided that he would like some shrimp crackers. He asked me to cook some. I let him drop the chips into the oil and this really made him happy..."watch Umpha they are growing up!" I expect that this was just a whim that I did not let him cook a lot. Of course, I was right and there were some leftover in a plastic bag for me to finish.

I prepared some French fries and Umma heated one of those bread turnover with Swiss cheese and ham. He likes it, gobbling with a big bites of the ozzing cheese and hamc and the soft bread casing. He was able to finish half of the turnover and the French fries and half of asian pear which he calls "white apple" with his leftover chocolate milk from breakfast.

The whole time we are watching "Tom and Jerry," he was noshing. He still loves that cartoon! Between commercial he will go and look for something else to eat. He found chocolate pudding and had me open it. He ate the whole cup. He found my cherry hard candies and started to eat them too. I think he ate three of them. We shared...he will open it and give it to me. What I noticed is that he was able to tell what flavor it is..."Umpha it is cherry."

I discourage him not to paint today. He decided late...almost about the time Tisha will come and pick him up. So he was on and off on my lap in front of the computer and I let him work on the games. I had been teaching him where to aim, where is "start" and other words associated with the game.

As usual, I carried him to the car, put his seat belt and said good-bye. I kissed him but he wanted to be hugged and more kisses, puckering his lips and said "I will mss you Umpha." That is our Kai-Kai!

Sunday, April 15, 2007


I am not inspired to write more about "MEMORIES after WWI." I will resume that sometimes, but for the meantime I will write my memories about Naples. We lived there for three wonderful years and thought I had to write something about it.

Little did I know when I was a little boy that my life would become so linked with the Neapolitans. That I would return not only once to see the chestnut trees shimmering in the terraces of vineyards in Capri and Ischia, the ruins of Pompeii, but several times, and that my first born son will see his first daylight near the bays of Naples.

When I was young I fell in love with the spiritual traditions of the Italian primitive painters. My love was the undulating landscapes of Tuscany and Umbria, for places like Sienna and Assisi. Of course we always think things were better when we are young and artlessly in love. The love turns into sort of a marriage. This is what happened to me in regard to Naples over the years. With marriage, the established and permanent relationship which is a bond to go on, the love is still there, probably more solid, but it goes with knowledge and spirit of criticism.

Living in Naples presented a veritable crescendo of beauty, of the picturesque, up-to date spirit required in a foreigner. Then, too the Northern Italians differ greatly from their Southern brothers; the change from former habits are less profound, less adaptability, and in consequence, there is less grumbling, fault finding and dissatisfaction. When I felt the charm of Naples, I knew that I had learned to love it for itself. It does not matter from what point of view, unpleasant feature are overlooked, and being an enthusiast, it no longer existed.

The Neapolitans are among the most colorful people of Italy. The term Neapolitan usually included the people from the neighboring towns of Naples. Although each little town has a varied dialect for the born Italians of the region to know instantly from which speaker comes--are object of continual abuse from the Northern Italians. According to the latter they are lazy, treacherous, deceitful, violent, cheats and illiterates. That frequently declare that if all that portion of Italy's south of Rome could be wiped out, it could be an excellent thing for Italy.

The Neapolitan, shrugs his shoulders and smiles at this abuse, he is willing to admit that he is lazy, but insist that he is brighter, and certainly they are wonderfully quick. The Northern Italian declares that the Neapolitan are idle, shiftless and unwilling to work. Speaking of their evident poverty, one is told that this is largely their fault, that they will not work continuously, but merely a few days, and then live idleness until the money they earned is gone.

But they are happy go lucky people. They eat little, and that little is cheaply procured, they are usually warm enough without fires, the bright sunshine is sufficient, and they lounge about happy and contented. They can lead to prayers and curses even upon objects of their veneration. Yet Neapolitans, especially the lower classes, are undoubtedly religious, and far more reverent than their northern brothers. They frequent the opera, even the poorest find means for this, and they cheat the foreigners because fate sent them to their path.

Dinning is an adventure experience for foreigners in Naples. If one wishes to dine on fish fresh from the water, clams, mussels, oysters, and other shell fish are plentiful, along with the calamari, considered such a delicacy, but which foreigners art apt to find rubbery and tasteless. Spaghetti cooked with vongole (clams) is delicious. Along the waterfront are restaurants where it is delightful to dine or lunch, for all have exquisite views of the bay and islands. Many of these restaurants are directly over the water, but above it. In the old portion of Naples, all kinds of cooked food are on sale. Laid out on trays or cooking in great kettles; cakes, and heaps of macaroni or spaghetti, it must be confessed that it is often appetizing looking, although only the brave, thinking how it must be prepared, in the manner of which it is offered for sale, would care to taste it. The Neapolitans patronize these cooked food largely, it saves them so much trouble, they are so picturesque, but also so dirty.

Naples is such a center of delightful excursions that limited time there is tantalizing. The Hydrofoil sail from Naples to Caori nad Ischia, stopping if one choose at Sorento, may be taken. Those who suffer from seasickness should be very sure that the sea is calm. Small ripples in the bay near Naples often means great waves when the boats arrive in Capri, and even if one does not suffer from the dreaded mal-de-mer, the Blue Grotto cannot be visited if the sea is rough. The assent to Mt. Vesuvius, when possible means a day upon the condition of the funicular, in most occasion always under repair. Pompeii takes another day. Pictures give but little ideas of the wonderful spot, the beauty of its situation, and the exquisite views on every side. Everyone should see the old portion of Naples, and best way to do this is on foot. Few foreigner would care to walk along the narrow street, for one is close to people and homes, usually without sidewalks. When the beautiful blue bay with its island lies spread out before you, in spite of all the rhapsodies, the poems have been written about the bay of Naples it is difficult to find anyone will not declare the reality surpasses the description.

I believe you will never understand Italy unless you understand the Neapolitans, Naples with its harmonious music, the soft musical dialect and its melodramas, lovesick couples preparing to throw themselves over the cliffs or shoot themselves. You become amused and later tolerate the lenghtly conversations by means of pantomime--- a shrug of the shoulder, the lifting of an eyebrow, a motion of the hands, that all have significance. You no longer object to those who are quick as a flash at discovering the foreigner, and devote themselves entirely to him. When once again, the time to leave, probably the familiar Neapolitan folk song, Santa Lucia, may be heard with soft accompaniment of guitars and mandolins. I gaze back upon the hills half encircling the bay, and finally resolve to see Naples again before dying.

Sunday, April 08, 2007



The other day on Umma's daily walk, she found a wallet between cars parked on the curve. Driver license, credit card, $40.00 cash and some personal things. She was able to trace the owner which turned out to be part owner of the Tofu House Restaurant on Convoy Street. He was a young Korean man...just 4 years resident of San Diego. He was so grateful that he invited us to their place of business. Easter Sunday and no place to go we went there and had our lunch...the fun began. My sinuses were unclogged! I am glad that I can tolerate eating spicy food since I had my gastro-intestinal line treated in the Navy Hospital...I think they call it H-pyloric, a procedure where they pump your stomach with antibiotics. That was a long time ago...I was still working then at the Museum of Man. I can eat anything and not worry about having heartburn or having to take Zantas or other medicines.
This is Mok and Cora in his restaurant, "Tofu House"

Umagi (Eels)

Korean BBQ and Kimchi

Boiling Korean Soup

I had eaten Korean dishes and liked their food. I love kimchi...but Umma does not like anything spicy hot...that I never even suggested to her eating in such place. The soup she had is not spicy.It was served to us really boiling hot. We are not big eaters to start with, but Mok brought us three main dishes and an array of Korean pickles and of course some kimchi. I ordered eels and she order some beef...and Mok brought us another dish of Korean BBQ spareribs.

We had fun just looking at the food because the boiling soups of seafood was just enough to satisfy us. Most of the food was "doggie" bagged later. This means we are going to have them at least for three days...ah! we are going Korean for a while.

Easter Sunday, 2007

Saturday, April 07, 2007


I was at the art show today to act as a docent. I had the chance to look at the other pieces there and found out that the entries this year were not just local established artists of San Diego but with an array of regional artist. Georgia, Illinois and few from different counties of California. I think my protege' made it good on his first Juried show.
This will really look good on his resume' for a four years old artist.
Kai had quite a lot of "treasures" hauled when he went home Wednesday. Umma and I went to the Navy Exchange Tuesday to check out food processors. We found one that I liked and also bought a smoothie maker. We seldom visit the Navy Exchange because The Marine Corp Exchange is closer for us. It only takes about seven minutes drive. Anyway, the Navy Exchange is a huge two story complex and they have every thing you can think of. We generally shop at the Exchange because there is no tax attached to what you buy there. Close to the household department was the "knick-knacks," things for house decors and we saw some "Finding Nemo" items that we thought would be nice for his new bedroom...we even bought a lighted pseudo-aquarium with dolphins, angel fishes, other variety of fishes in simulated swimming when lighted. Umma and I can tell that he liked it because he just couldn't put it down; inspecting both sides, probably trying to figure out how the thing works. I got him a towel with the same theme and another one with a huge SPIDER MAN on it. Early in the morning after his breakfast treat of peanut butter sandwich and his chocolate milk, he got some marshmallow "chicks" and "bunny rabbits." He also got a stuffed bunny rabbit on a pole. HAPPY EASTER KAI!


This was the painting I was doing last was delivered and it is hanging now in the happy owner's home. The whole family was satisfied and very proud of the painting, telling me that every one of them who has viewed it has been delighted and that they have had many compliments. We did not set a price but I told them that a large sized canvas usually costs $1,000.00. I have my resume' inside an envelope attached at the back...I do this now for future source of provenance for them. This way they come to know what and where my art works has gone. Initially they were planing to buy a $85.00 print. I told them that it is not worth it...get anything that is original and in the long run it will be better for investment rather than have a piece that looks like it came from Walmart.