Out of the Gate

Hot, hot June. Already lots of summertime going on.

Friday: School and church rummage sales, and then some. I got an automatic trash can, HK steering wheel cover identical to one I own, and Israeli shoes. Shirts too. Dah got stereo stuff and another digital camera. Shirts also. Posed with Diet Dr. Pete. We ate at the phenomenal gyro place by the mall. It was Gallery Night, but I drove my mom to the Kaikan instead.

Saturday: Roberto Harrison’s induction as Poet Laureate of Milwaukee. Kristen Peterson’s power outage monologues. Bonk! 105 at the Hospitality Center. The Barn. And VV just minutes before they closed. KT.  50 cent I’ve cream sandwiches. My SD card is no good. Thunderstorms!

Sunday: The dream of the dead anoles, Ken Howard, Feline Pine and giant snails. Shared a frozen burrito driving up 38. Antique radio swap meet at The Terminal. The Domes w/ikebana, where Roger was nice to us, we saw Rosie Hartman, and Alexander mentioned giant snails! LO buffet. Mystery Marvel Oil. Stick shift driving lesson. The passenger side passive restraint started working again. I cleaned out the kitchen junk drawers. Tom came over for dinner. Vigo saffron yellow rice and Cacique chorizo. He will work on Gayle’s the tree-bent trunk hinge later. Might know a Saturn guy too.

Tomorrow: Helping Jade/Ginger move a bed, dresser, etc. downstairs so they can get their floors refinished. Meeting Tammy at the Domes about designing her cards.

Last week of school. Early release exams schedule coming up.

– Dit


Driving Lessons

I knew the way I would learn to drive a stick would be to buy one. So I did.

I could tell the whole long story, but I’ll get to the core of it. I wouldn’t have found the courage to do this without Dah’s patience and support.

The car’s being looked at today because of some acceleration issues. But Tuesday Dah came along with me to the DMV then gave me my first driving lesson. 

I made it all the way around the block, and into third gear. Into and out of first gear at least ten times, but that’s a start.

I was nervous and excited. He was good-natured. This is good.

– Dit

Rain or Shine

I’ve heard it said that you should find people who share your same kind of crazy. We’ve done that.

After seeing Ray Chi talk about Serendipity at Creative Mornings Milwaukee, we took a friend’s car for an oil change, so our friend wouldn’t have to take off work. 

After two days of summery weather, today it was overcast and rainy. Saw that they had big umbrellas in a stand by the door at the car dealership, so we made use of them and walked a few blocks up one of the busiest highways to go get lunch. 

Look how cute we are. He’s of my tribe. 



It is axiomatic that relationships are built on long walks in the rain. So there.

Well that, and sitting in a car dealer’s waiting room for a car to be repaired.

In reflecting on the passing of Susan Wirth, and my meeting her for the first time the day before, I have said that I’m glad I met her. Every time something like this happens, one can’t help thinking about the unpredictability of things. I think this is a demonstration of why many philosophers have told us to live in the moment, for ultimately that is all we have.


Tunnels, grief, sunshine, chocolate.

Sad news. Just days after speaking with her at length at the Chicago Pen Show, Susan Wirth died.


I had first met Susan over a decade ago when I was working at Kinko’s as the person who ordered out business cards. Her cards had an elaborate hand lettered logo that I admired. She explained that there’s a pen for every hand. That was her thing.

She invited me to get in touch with her about finding the right pen for my hand. I was working long hours while caring for an infant in my off hours. I didn’t have the money or the time.

Again, when I spoke with her at the pen show, I didn’t want to trouble her with too lengthy aconsultation because I knew I couldn’t afford that tier of pen. Again, I regret not taking her up on the offer.

Nevertheless, she spoke with us in depth about the functionality of various nib types. Dah had several questions that she answered with patience, expertise, and charm.

Her voice was rough. That’s the only indication that maybe she was under the weather. Speaking to her Sunday, we never would have guessed that by Tuesday she’d be gone.

I admired this woman. I took it hard.

Dah invited me to come spend time with him, and I thought that would be a great idea, even though – or, especially because – I was shook. Taking it hard.

I could have just hid in his bed, but the weather was too nice, and I didn’t want to waste a bit of the time we had together (not that a nap would be a waste of time) so I suggested an adventure.

We drove out about a half hour west in search of different thrift stores. Got a great lunch at a local dive. (Dah had Italian beef, I had a hamburger and buffalo wings.) Saw someone there that Dit knows through Ham radio clubs. Didn’t buy much, but had a great time.

It’s been sunny and unseasonably hot, and we were exploring a town known as a mecca for chocolate production. The air smelled like baking brownies.

On the way back, we got to talking about my daughter and that led to my sharing my own experience with family troubles and experiences with counseling during my high school years. Dah’s a great listener.

Better than I’ve ever had.

I got another invitation to join him for a Hmong storyteller/hip hop artist appearing at an Asian Appreication event at a college the following day. I accepted.

The presentation was energetic and powerful. Afterwards, we explored the interconnect tunnels of the campus, finding the bookstore with some help.

Then we took a chance on a Chinese restaurant we’d never tried before, sitting side by side in the window counter. I got spicy garlic chicken with pork friend rice. Dah had vegetable mei fun. Excellent food,and even better company.

We exchanged our own families’ immigration stories, mostly Dah talking about his parents. Through forged passports, foraged food, bribery, seasickness, hurdles with language and bureaucracy, and detours that took them throughout the world, they ended up together.

I knew less about my mom’s journey, so didn’t say much. Loved listening to Dah’s stories, even though some of he’d told me earlier. I feel bad that he’s shared with me and some of it I’ve forgotten. That’s why it’s good to write things down.

I found a Totoro mug for sale on the way out of the restaurant and bought it on a whim. I tend to have bad luck with buying things new, but thought I’d take a chance. 

I feel so much better after spending time with Dah. I feel like in the past couple days we’ve grown a deeper intimacy too, without really trying. 

With every affective, we still grow closer. I’m very lucky to have him in my life.
Feeling lucky is a good feeling.

– Dit



Ink and Pancakes

We’re on a fountain pen jag, after attending the Chicago Pen Show last Sunday. 

Yesterday Dah mentioned to me that he needed an ink bottle. I thought I had something at home that might suffice. 

My mom had just finished a tiny jar of kombu her friend Kyoko-san had brought her from Japan. I remember seeing the empty jar and thinking I’d repurpose it. I just had to find it.

Before I had a chance to track it down, he came up with another solution, announcing that he planned to have pancakes, because the syrup sample bottle would work well for ink. 

Dah and I don’t live together. This morning, as I ate my breakfast of a boiled egg and honey-dripped apple, I thought of him waking in his own house to execute his pancake agenda, and thought: bravo, ingenuity! 

Later, I found myself with time to kill on a beautiful day. I was feeling well enough, which I’m sometimes not, so I took a long walk through Three Bridges Park, the section of the Hank Aaron Trail that runs from the Mitchell Park Domes to the Menominee Valley branch of the Urban Ecology Center, near Miller Park. 

Alone but not alone.  There’s ghosts and wildlife, occasionally other park patrons, and of course my thoughts. I feel Dah with me even when we apart. I imagine him walking with me, wishing he could share the slow, myopic trail. 

By the UEC side, there’s a mural that includes quotes from Frank Lloyd Wright add Malcolm Forbes. 

FLW said, “The present is the ever moving shadow that divides yesterday from tomorrow. In that lies hope.”

Forbes, “Diversity is the art of living independently together.”

What Forbes says about Diversity, I think, also applies to Love.

It makes me think of Dah and how much I value his friendship, and the balance we’ve found between being together and being ourselves. 

This diversity of experience is key to keeping interested in each other’s lives. That we do things on our own, learn things, then share with each other. I feel like I’m his biggest fan, and vice versa. It keeps me excited about doing things, and reporting back.

It’s fun and fulfilling. Makes the shadow of the day seem much more hopeful too.

– Dit