Tuesday, June 12, 2012
Thank you so much for the wonderful stories and your participation in my project Knitting...I need you
that took place as part of the Figment Art Event on Governors Island.
I offered visitors some basic knitting lessons… Together we knitted and exchanged stories.
|Sunday morning on the Ferry to Governors Island|
|Photo by Alisa J Liu|
|Friends knitting together|
Monday, May 14, 2012
Monday, November 7, 2011
At the end of Let's take a walk #24, a friend who happen to be very familiar with Zuccotti Park, led me to
Saturday, September 17, 2011
I told the children one of the many stories of my grand mother, then I invited the children to draw and write a story about or from their grand mother. Some were very eager to share and perform the tale they had written and so an impromptu show and tell took place. Some children chose to give me their drawings as a thank you gift.
Some children worked on their stories...
.... others took a break
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
the second she's in casual wear, good for the tropics, sitting next to her father, who is center front. He scared me! very strict lines, I had to take his hand and put it to my forehead whenever greeting him, oh my god that white hair and cane, never a smile .. anyway, she's fourth from right, front row, and my grandfather is far right, in front - you can see all his Chinese heritage, he's a Limjoco. The Lejano had more of the Spanish in them. (my great-grandfather, by the way, was addressed by the honorific, "Lolo To`od", accent on the first syllable).
The third is a portrait pic of my mom's family, again Lola in terno ~ and my mom's standing by my grandfather, second from right, sitting in back row.
Lastly, a photo taken on the grounds of their compound where we spent our early years (as is the second photo) - Jean's on my dad's lap, left front, I'm by my grandfather who I think is trying to amuse me, he's got his hand over my face. Some of the extended family we grew up with, my grandmother is in front by Lolo, again in that type of informal dress that kept the women cool.They were really grand, sort of an inlaid-mosaic tile .. my mom and dad are on the bottom far right, Jean and I are front center, my grandfather far left in front holding the first boy born after Jean (we had 4 brothers born after us, then a last girl born here in the US), Richard. Lolo To`od is of course approximately in the center, with Lola standing beside him, smiling broadly.
June is on of the member of The Fanny and the co founder of IMA
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Ma grand-mère me disait de prendre du citron et du miel dans du thé bien chaud...
Chicken soup, tea with lemon and honey & love.
One Grandmother wisdom’ trick I know is to start your day hydrated. Give your body enough water...
For a cold, a steam shower or a turkish bath.
Stay in bed with your lover...
Watching a movie, something light and very funny.
Gargling with sea salt.
Dress up well and go for a walk in the park.
Saturday, November 13, 2010
share them, so many of us need it right now...
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Friday, October 8, 2010
cannabis has turned my darling son into a despicable thief who steals from his granny: Mother tells how 'harmless' drug tore family apart
Ayaan Hirsi Ali took her ''Dutch mother'' -- the woman who taught her the language and cared for her after she arrived in the Netherlands as a refugee in 1992 -- to lunch at the Dudok brasserie, near the Parliament in The Hague. As always, Hirsi Ali's armed security detail was there. They have been her companions since she started receiving death threats in September 2002. Hirsi Ali, who was born in Somalia and has been a member of the Dutch Parliament since January 2003
Hirsi Ali's mother -- the second of the two wives Hirsi Magan had at the time -- was illiterate but wielded domestic clout. Women had certain narrowly defined areas of power. It was Hirsi Ali's grandmother who managed, following regional custom, to have Hirsi Ali and her sister ritually ''circumcised'' at age 5, against the wishes (and without the knowledge) of Hirsi Magan. From age 6, Hirsi Ali and her siblings shared their father's political exile, in Saudi Arabia and Ethiopia and then, for 10 years, in Kenya. In the course of her travels, Hirsi Ali learned five languages: Somali, Arabic, Amharic, Swahili and English, which she speaks in a lilting accent picked up from the Indian teachers who taught her at the Muslim Girls' Secondary School on Park Road in Nairobi.
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
From Joe Bastianich' grandmother
We have three hives. My son, Miles, had severe allergies, and my grandmother said if you eat local honey, it will make you immune to local allergies. It kind of works.
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Mon grand père Galli Siro me disait que si j’avais faim je pouvais prendre une pomme du jardin des riches, mais jamais du jardin des pauvres; car une personne riche ne seras pas deprivée si il lui manque une pomme, par contre le pauvre, lui, il la manqueras sa pomme volée.
Monday, July 12, 2010
My grandmother, who we called, Nani, was a major influence in my childhood. My Nani lived with us, and with my working professional parents away all day, she directed our household - menu, staff, and us kids like a master conductor. Nani always had the perfect remedy for all my ailments. Warm oatmeal porridge with butter salt and pepper (bhat) for a fever, and hot brandy and a spoonful of honey before bedtime for a bad cold and sore throat.
Now, decades later, I think of her lovingly stirring her concoction on the stovetop whenever I have a cold and zap my mixture in the microwave.
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
En 1939, j’avais 5 ans, mes parents devaient partir en ville pour trouver du travail. Un jour, ma mère me dit : ‘’ on va rencontrer ta grand maman ’’. Je ne la connaissais pas. Nous avons marché jusqu’à la gare, nous sommes arrivées juste au moment où un train sifflait son arrivée. Une grande dame (elle me paraissait grande à ce moment là),toute vêtue de noir apparu à la porte, elle nous invita à monter, une fois dans le train, ma mère me dit : ‘’attends un moment avec ta grand-maman, je vais vite te chercher la poupée que tu voulais tellement et je reviens…’’ Quelques instants et de gros soupirs passent. Le train s’ébranle, il commence à partir. Je crie “MAMAN”, mais elle ne vient pas. Alors ma grand mère Elisabeth m’explique qu’elle va m’emmener chez elle, que j’allais aimer, que nous serons dans une ferme, il y aura des animaux… Je n’entends plus rien et je pleure, je pleure pendant des heures.
Arrivées à Madiswil, après une longue marche nous arrivons à la ferme, je suis inconsolable, Elisabeth me nourrit, je repousse l’assiette encore en pleurs. Plus tard lorsque je suis au lit ma grand-maman dépose un petit panier a mes côtés, un panier plein de petits poussins, j’esquisse un premier sourire, quelques larmes encore, mais un sourire.
Je suis restée avec celle qui est devenue ma grand-mère préférée pendant presque six ans.
Monday, June 21, 2010
I grew up in Michigan and after graduation we relocated to Pennsylvania where my grandparents, Georgie and Bill Schaff, lived. We called them Granny and Pie. Soon after the move, they took me to see their childhood homes.We drove to Virginia in their powder blue Cadillac – the only car that would do big enough to house my grandfather’s 6’3” frame, and strong enough to protect his precious cargo: my 5 foot tall grandmother.
On the way back, we stopped at a restaurant for REAL Virginia ham, evidently, also part of my heritage. While sitting at the table, casually chatting, suddenly my grandfather stood up and walked around the table to my grandmother. He leaned his towering frame over her, cradled her face in his hands, and planted a big ole kiss on her face. “You are so beautiful, I just couldn’t sit across from you one more minute!”
On the way home it started to rain and my grandfather asked me to drive. I was so honored to be trusted and given the care of his most priced item, my grandmother.
Saturday, June 19, 2010
Augusta Johnson by Wayne R. Johnson This story was introduced to me by Augusta’s grand son Robb Johnson
It happened in late summer, probably in 1886, her first year on the plains.
It was midafternoon. Augusta was baking bread. Her husband, John, had hitched the team to the wagon and gone into town. Augusta's two youngest babies were napping. The eldest, Aaron, was somewhere in the sod house, toddling about. Suddenly Augusta's scalp prickled. Her stomach knotted. Aaron! Where was Aaron? She looked for him. He was right there, behind her. He was looking at the doorway.
In the doorway stood an Indian. He was rather tall, lean, and almost naked. His hair was long, loose, blowing in the wind, sweeping his shoulders. It was stringy hair, matted with dirt and dried blood. There was dirt and dried blood allover his arms, chest, ribs and legs. Scrapes and deep scratches were clotted, starting to scab.
The Indian stepped through the doorway. He indicated, without speaking, that he was hungry. His squinting black eyes were hot with little fires.A savage. He had to be pacified.
Struggling to control her paralyzing fear, Augusta turned to the table, where loaves of bread were cooling. She tried to cut a slice of bread. The knife would not work. She was trembling too much. And the bread was too fresh to cut. She tore off a chunk, started to hand it to the Indian, then threw it. The Indian caught it, crammed it into his mouth, and gestured for more. While chewing the bread, some of the nervous tension seemed to leave him. He squatted on his heels, near the doorway, with his back to the wall, waiting for more bread.
The familiar domestic act of wielding the knife against the bread had helped Augusta. Her mind began to work again. Here was a hungry man. Nothing but a hungry man, she told herself. What did she have on hand, to fix quickly for a hungr man? Eggs. She put the skillet on the hot stove and fried three eggs.
As she worked, she kept glancing at the Indian. His eyes were fixed on Aaron, who was clinging to her skirt. Did the Indian want Aaron? Her fear rose again. She picked up the baby and propped him on her hip while she worked. She would be dead before the Indian·got his hands on Aaron. But maybe if she fed the Indian well, he would be happy, maybe he would not take Aaron.
Augusta dumped the eggs on a plate, added a chunk of fresh bread, and gave the plate with a fork to the Indian. Disdaining the fork, the Indian disposed of the eggs and the bread in a few gulps and wanted more. He ate all the eggs she had in the house, and also a loaf of bread.
Hunger appeased, the Indian came out of his squat. He stretched, stood tall and straight. He stepped toward Augusta and slowly extended his right hand. Paralysis again gripped her. This was it. Now the Indian was going to take Aaron. She watched the Indian's hand coming. It was a filthy hand, stained with grease and egg yolk as well as with soil and old blood.
Aaron's hair was baby-fair and typically Scandanavian, softly shining. The Indian put his hand on the hair. Then he turned quickly and was gone.
By the time Augusta recovered and went to the doorway to look, the Indian was passing out of sight, over the low rise west of the house. He was running northwestward, in a beeline toward plum Creek canyon.
When John came home and was told about the Indian, he stripped the harness from one of his horses, mounted bare-back and went galloping to alert the neighbors. A posse was assembled immediately, but the fall of night soon ended the search.
For several days afterward, the men carried guns as they worked in the fields, and there was a lot of talk about Indians. Augusta thought her guest had been in a fight, but no one had heard of any Indian fights anywhere in the region, and all of the Indians were supposed to be safely policed on reservations. It was decided that Augusta's Indian had strayed from a reservation and had become the victim of an accident of some kind. Perhaps he had been riding in the canyons. Perhaps his horse had fallen with him, down a canyon bank. Such a thing might account for all the bloody scrapes and scratches. Thus the men talked themselves back into complacency. They soon stopped carrying guns.
Sometime during the following year, John looked up from his plowing one day and saw a strange procession on the trail: Three horses, evenly spaced, coming in file, from the west, from the direction of Plum Creek canyon. Three horses, five riders. Indians.
John unhitched, took his team to the house and unharnessed, all the while gauging the slow approach of the Indians. What were they up to? vJherewere they headed? They reached the corner and turned south, on the road that led to John's driveway. Should he get a gun? No, one Indian brave, accompanied by two squaws and two small children, could not be very hostile.
The brave rode in the lead. Trailing him were the squaws, one young, the other rather old. Behind each squaw, a child rode. It looked like a family outing, Ma, Pa, Grandma and the two kids.
The procession came straight to the house and stopped. John stood his ground. The brave looked at him but said nothing. Augusta stood in the doorway of the house, with Aaron on her hip.
The rave was clad in white man's clothing: trousers, a suit coat and a felt hat. The squaws, wrapped in blankets, grinned. The little Indians were somber.
The brave dismounted, untied the saddle strings that had been holding a dead antelope, and dropped the gutted carcass at the doorway, at Augusta's feet.
Augusta was astounded. A dead animal? He was dumping dead things on her doorstep? Ish!
Then the Indian raised his right hand and laid it lightly on Aaron's hair. It was like a blessing: a dirty red hand upon light, sunny hair, a blessing upon the new American, upon
this small, white inheritor of the Plains.
Then Augusta recognized the Indian. This was her Indian, the one who had eaten all of her eggs.
NOw, evidently, he was paying for the lunch, by bringing meat to her lodging.
The brave climbed back on his horse. The procession moved away, going north, toward the Platte River.
No one ever knew where the Indian had come from, or where he had gone. And he never returned.
He was a ferryboat captain in Puget Sound. We lived in California. From the time I was 5 years old, when we came to visit in the summer, he would let me take the wheel of the ferryboat in the middle of the run.
He and my grandmother lived on Whidbey Island. Their house was on the beach not far from the ferry dock. The ferry was “parked” overnight almost in front of the house.
When he was not working, he liked to sit on the logs that washed up on the beach and whittle the driftwood. At the 1962 World Fair, we bought him a small wooden Siamese cat from the Thailand expo. For the next 10 years, he carved thousands of copies of that cat—big ones and small ones, with markings that the wood suggested. He also made small tables and a set of wooden chairs without nails.
My grandmother was a difficult woman, but a great cook. The smallest meal she ever made would feed the Russian army: beef, ham, and turkey, plus seven or eight salads or vegetable dishes and four or five desserts.
My favorite dessert is fruit pie, probably because she made dozens of them in individual Pyrex dishes from the wild blackberries that grew behind the house. She picked a bucketful of berries every other day.
My mother did not like to cook, so when we visited my grandparents, I raided the refrigerator several times a day between meals. It was just heaven, at least for a kid. My dad, their only child, became a kid in some ways while he was there, so I understand why my mother dreaded those visits.
My mother’s parents lived in Arizona, but we didn’t see them very much. She was not very comfortable around them, either. And they didn’t spoil me as much as my father’s parents did.
The first time he went on a plane he wanted to give his Daughter a gift and he brought her back the little bag he found in the plane seat pocket, the “barf” bag. Because he could not read, he did not know it’s purpose and thought it would make a nice present.
Thursday, June 17, 2010
I had a very eccentric, strong grandmother who walked from Antwerp to Lisbon with her entire family. They took the first boat
they could get on and went to Brazil, they made a life there.
Once I visited her there. I remembered her as an opinionated slightly harsh woman, my cousin was a lawyer, she took care of her. They had a nice life, at some point my grandmother was placed into an assisted living situation; her best friend had just died. When I arrived, first she looked at me, asked me what I do, teach I reply “ah teach… you are not wearing rings why not wear many rings, this is foolish… Instead of replying I asked her to tell me about her friend.
What else can you expect she was polish; she took care of her children, that was the shape of her life. Her husband was a thinker,
They had 8 children, each stupider to the other, except for your father, he helped me. My husband was wise and handsome she would say..
A little while ago I met the American consul in Rio, “I’ tell you a story” he said, “about an old woman who refused to live in a country whose poetry she did not know, so she studied Portuguese to be able to read Brazilian poems.It was of course my grandmother.
Friday, May 21, 2010
My Favorite Grandmother will be performed at Figment 2010 Boston
June 5th from noon to 6pm
I am looking forward to gather and exchange more stories.
Do you want to add any of your stories? if so please e mail them to me.
Hoping to see you in Boston.
Thursday, January 14, 2010
Tuesday, January 5, 2010
Saturday, December 26, 2009
I already said goodnight a little while ago when I brought our two ice cream bowls back down to the kitchen. But now I’m in the doorway of Bebe’s bedroom to tell her something.
Bebe is, as always, on her side of the bed, which sags a bit extra from the sad habit of widowhood. She is in her sleeveless, flowered synthetic nightgown, the kind that just hangs from the shoulders, with two seams, one up each side and no shape at all around the middle. I can see a crescent of breast on her side when she lifts her arms to lotion up her pink-nailed hands.
Maybe I have come back in to remind Bebe that I might go for a run in Cherokee Park in the morning and so not to panic if I’m not there not there when she awakes. More likely I’m there to apologize for something I said earlier in impatience or frustration, probably digging in a bit more while I do – no apology at all really – but that’s how these visits are with the two of us. It’s a lot of guilt on my part, lots of it for good reason, and then recidivism.
When my grandmother turns now to speak to me, I see that she suddenly has no teeth in her mouth. Her lips have sunken in, like the little knot of someone’s navel, around a maw.
With no teeth, I can clearly make out the skull under Bebe’s soft, wrinkly, beloved cheeks. I envision the bones that make up her face and the place where her eyes rest in them. I see that that is, in fact, all the eyes really do there: they rest on top.
The phrase “soft tissue” comes to mind and I understand that phrase now as never before.
I glance at the top nightstand, expecting a set of teeth in a glass, perhaps dancing and yammering in cartoons or commercials, but she must have secreted them away somewhere. When my ears tune in finally, I have to strain to hear the consonants. She sees me strain, hears herself and is ashamed to be seen this way.
I close the door behind me. We will not speak of what I saw the next morning, or ever. When I’m back from my run, I will watch her smooth a marbled green cylinder of Revlon red across her mouth. She will mug for the mirror, jutting her jaw and stretching her lips wide across the teeth behind them to get her lips taut enough to absorb the pigment, just as I do.
My grandmother and the big sinking house on Village Drive are the most permanent touchstones of my life. But I know that someday Bebe will die. This will happen after many months where all we have of her is the shell of her former self, but sooner than we am truly prepared.
The day before that happens, I will bitch out my uncle and my little brother, who seem not to care that the caregivers have left Bebe’s nails witchy long, with bits of construction-site orange nail polish inched way up past the tips of her fingers.
While I work on my grandmother’s hands, suffering the stink of acetone as if it were smelling salt, I will raise my voice over her to proclaim that I am the only one who cares about Bebe dying with dignity.
I will be wrong. I will apologize. And I will be forgiven.
Friday, November 20, 2009
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Friday, November 13, 2009
helping people find healthy alternatives to sweets and candies.
Raffaella was my favorite person in the whole world.
She passed away in the later 1970’s. Her husband Michael Darelli was an Italian born Downtown NYC bootlegger who died in the 1930’s. Michael Darelli had a gold and diamond ring with the initials MD that was gifted to me by Raffaella before her death, as I was her very dear pet nephew. Coincidentally Michael Darelli and I had the same initials.
In the very early eighties I lost the ring and then moved to a different state and residence. In the early 90’s
a woman called me to ask if I had lost a ring and that I please describe it to her. This angel of a person also happened to have the initials of MD as well!
She was living in my former house and was in the midst of having work done there.
While workmen were digging around the front entrance patio they found the ring that I had lost buried in 6 inches of soil for more than twenty years and gave it to her. She then tracked me down through former neighbors of ours from this old neighborhood. As they say, the rest is now history.
I have been wearing this ring ever since and will never ever remove it again.
Thursday, November 12, 2009
He was named Rufus because he liked being on a roof.Going up the stairs, the steps synchronized with the clock.
There was a boy who spent time in that house, he heard the sounds of the money jingling in the old man pocket with each steps.
One night their was no sound, simply because the old man had no money to go out any longer. So the boy sang a click clack song.
Much later he understood that sometimes the stupidest things could be the nicest.