A Fast-Food Junkie

It had taken, a woman with the STRONG hands, to finally, slowly, put an end to this junk food junkie’s “addictions”, but, every now and then, he’s still, allowed, to have his favorite sorts of foods, of course, she’d needed to, “sign off” on it first! Translated…

My younger brother, he’s amazing in everything, only that his food choice. For others, they’d have stringed pork with their bowls of rice, and he’d paired his bowl of rice with chocolates—this combination, sends chills into my taste buds just by thinking about it, but, he’d, enjoyed his choices of food paired together, based off of his taste, in our home, where healthy eating style was a focus, he’d, made a passage, paved with junk foods for himself.

Every now and then, he’d told me mysteriously, “hey, sis, how ‘bout let’s go visit the elders today?”, then, the elders he’d visited are either, Colonel Sanders, or Mr. Duroyale Ice Cream, and, as he’d had his chow-down, he’d said, “These elders are, very lonely, we’d not just had to visit every now and then, but also, throw in some cash to help them live better too, that’ll surely make them very happy.” His methods of talking of junk food, made my way of food, less salt, less sugar, less fried, less oil, sounded sinful.

查看來源圖片the man’s selections from before, image from online…

Several years ago, we’d gone to Japan as a whole family, and, after having several meals of ramen, dumplings, and sushi, my younger brother suggested, “Let’s have some tastes from home tonight!”, and, we couldn’t understand it, we were just about to, ask him if we’re headed over to China Street for some stewed meats over rice, or noodle soups?, then, he’d, added, “That familiar and homey place—Mc~~Donald’s”, I’d become, so totally, dumbfounded, thought, that this dude’s scent of home, was way too CHEAP, and yet, McDonald’s everywhere, so, everywhere is, his home.

My younger brother’s life with junk foods, got terminated by my sister-in-law. It’s just, that every now and then, they’d, gotten at it, on how he’d, snuck out for it again. But, I suppose, that’s how they kept their love going! Her husband went from a “fast food junkie”, and got turned into a “recycled junkie”; and, although his wife knew it wasn’t, healthy, but was still, willing to, compromise a bit, for his happiness. And, their days passed, between the war of chaos between a small bag of French fries and a plate of broiled veggies, they’d loved, and gone to war, and continued their lives together.

and now, after he’s, married…such, a HUGE difference, isn’t it???  Photo from online…

So, nobody was able to, reform this fast food junkie, until HIS own wife came along, and now, although, his mouth still watered as he thought of the junk food he’d once had his hands on, but, he was, willing, to compromise and eat less of it, for the sake of pleasing his own wife. How a woman, can reform a man!


What Flower Taught Me

Lesson learned, from an animal, translated…

About a month ago, the poodle that was owned by Aunty Chang downstairs, had “unknowingly” given birth to a puppy who’s coat color was darker, “Flower”. Reason why it was weird, was that Aunty Chang stated that Flower had been spayed, so how can she have an offspring? Could it be that she was, mistaken, that Flower never, got spayed?

And, because flower junior was born, they’d needed to look after her well, but, her mother-in-law was hospitalized, and her husband, ill, she couldn’t have the energy to care for Flower Jr., so she’d asked me to help, that she will come and pick up Flower Jr. after her mother-in-law was discharged from the hospital. I’d never owned a dog before, and, my impressions of dogs stayed at the cute puppies printed on the calendars. But, think on it, I’d only needed to feed it, take it outside, it shouldn’t, take up too much of my time, and, I can help my neighbor, and have the company of Flower Jr., so, why not?

from this…not my photo…查看來源圖片

As Aunty Chang wrapped up Flower Jr. in a towel to hand her over to me, I was stunned, by that small puppy, the size of a banana, with her eyes still closed. She wasn’t anything like those puppies I’d imagined, the ones that run and played, seeing the young Flower, I’d started regretting agreeing to care for the puppy, without getting the handle on the situation first.

Flower was very light, and yet, as I’d held my hands open to take her in, she’d felt, so heavy to me. And, Aunty Chang started telling me what I’d needed to watch out for feeding her, cleaning up her poop, and to keep her warm, along with the likes, I’d nodded my head, and told myself, that I will NOT, let Mrs. Chang down, entrusting me with Flower Jr.

The first few days, she’d stayed put inside that small quilt that covered her, and other than feeding, it’s, sleeping, there wasn’t, that much trouble. About two weeks later, her eyes became, twice their original sizes, and, every time I’d called out her name lightly, she’d, extended her neck, to see where my voice was coming from, and started, showing signs of wanting to move, moving her front legs, attempted, to, lift up her body. By the third week, she could already, stand up on her own, but still, wobbled as she walked around and about.

And, although the way she looked was very foolish and cute, every time I took her diapers off, she’d, peed and pooped all over, again, and again, and again, I’d just wiped my hands, and needed to, go wash up again, I’d felt, very annoyed by this. There were, a couple of times, that I was, impulsive, in wanting, to bring her back to Aunty Chang, but I’d, put that thought out of my mind.

to this…not my photo…letting the owner know that s/he needs to go outside to potty!

In order to train her to pee and poop in the bathrooms, I’d layered the newspapers in, then, closed the doors, thought, that it would go my way. But, I’d waited for her, and waited, and waited, nothing happened. But, as I’d, let her out, she’d, immediately, peed in the living room floors.

Once, she’d pooped at the entry of the kitchen, I’d let out a loud yelp. She’d, immediately, run and duck for cover underneath the couch. Seeing how fearful Flower became, I’d, blamed myself for being too hard on her, and thought, that I’d, hurried her too much, a dog that’s not yet a month old, how can she know what was expected of her? I’d needed to, hold my horses, and teach the ways slowly.

With this new mindset, I’d, trained her more times during the day, and, in the process of waiting for her to go use the toilet, I’d read or listen to music. And, maybe it was that I’d felt, more relaxed, or maybe, Flower had, grown, one day, she’d, peed on the newspapers. And, seeing how she’d, rubbed up against my heel with her muzzle after she’d peed, I was so happy, and so moved too.

With my careful taking care, Flower grew by the day, her curly brown coat was, soft and shiny, her eyes, bright and shiny, very cute. In a couple of days, Flower will go home with Mrs. Chang, I’m truly grateful, that during this period of time, she’d shown me the joys of watching something mature, along with, training me to be more patient as well.

So, this is what keeping a pet does for us, it trains our patience, makes us, more understanding, of the needs of others, because a puppy that young, needs a ton of care, and love, and attentive, and, if you don’t watch it closely, it will do things that will make you mad, and, when you do get mad over the things that happen when the animal was in your care, you’re actually, ANGRY at yourselves, because it’s YOUR fault, for NOT noticing what the animal needs.

Tai-Chi on My Tongue

What this mother learned about herself, from that tongue-twister her son gave to her to work with, translated…

As my son entered in to the house, he’d told me to say these words quickly, “Gundam on the monkey bars”, how hard can that be?

And yet, I got, tongue-tied, where did my bad pronunciation come from?

And I’d, stated the characters, slowly, word-for-word this time, “Gun Dam on the Monkey Bars”, and, my son was already laughing too hard, that he’d, started, rolling around on the floors.

illustration from the papers online…文‧圖/朱靜容

Was it me? Normally, as I was, scolding him, my tongue was so sharpened it’d never get tied up like this, and how can I, be defeated by these, five stupid characters? As I’d cooked, I’d, practiced it in my mind, and, I’d felt, that my brain cells were, on fire, and, there was, that “SNAP” of the muscle that connected my tongue.

Slurred speech, was a sign of aging or degeneration of the brains! Take a deep breath, start slowly, and speed it up, plus, I’m no tongue-twister expert, so I’ll, use the slower, tai-chi method, to start training my tongue! “Gundam on a Monkey Bar”, hmmmmmmmmmmmmm, getting better, I’d, found my spoof back again.

And now, before I lecture, I’d, started practicing the tongue twisters, “the Gundams on a Monkey Bar”, “The Chemistry Dissolved”, “The Performers Swim Well”…………

tongue-tied here, illustration from online…查看來源圖片

And, this mother learned, that she shouldn’t, speak so fast, and that sometimes, her mind moved, a lot faster than her tongue can, and so, she’d, started, training her tongue’s speed, until it’d moved in syncopation with her mind too.


The Bond of Siblings, on Filial Relations

How close they’d become, after they’re, older, and they’d still, fought hard as children, translated…

My younger brother called me, to get me to visit my mother’s home, to pick up the month-old celebratory pastries for his granddaughter’s birth, I’d gladly agreed. Thinking of how from before, after he’d gladly, married his daughter off, the very next week, he was diagnosed with cancer, and after the chemotherapy and operations, he’s now, a happy grandfather, his life was like taking a bath in the sauna, hot and cold, all, mixed in together.

Come to think of it, I wasn’t, a fitting eldest sister to him. I’d taken him to act up when we were young children. As I’m already, going to elderly, every time around Mid-Autumn Festival, my mother still repeatedly, mentioned my most embarrassing moments t—every year, my house would make a keg of grape wine, to share it with everybody in the neighborhood around Mid-Autumn Festival the following year. It was the year I was in the fifth grade, my younger brother, the third, on the day when my mother went shopping at the marketplaces, seeing how there are, no adults around, I’d told him to open up the closet, to get the wine kegs out, with the name of “wine-tasting”, but it was, because I was, gluttonous and didn’t care of the consequences. The two of us only thought, that this drink was so aromatic, and so sweet, we’d, drunk it all up, as my mother finished making lunch, she’d found, that we weren’t, quite right, that there was, half a keg of her brewed wine missing. And, the two of us had a serious hangover the entire afternoon, after my father got off work and learned about this, he’d gotten, so furious with us, and, we’d, gotten punished, and, sent to the doorways, to kneel, so the whole neighborhood could see what we’d done. And on the Mid-Autumn Festival, my parents’ dreams of drinking the good wines, all went bust, because of us.

illustration from the papers…圖/蔡侑玲

There was one more time, after the return to the school after the summers, the two of us rode on our bicycles, not wanted to head home yet, we’d ridden past the Tainan Park, and decided to go fishing in the pond. But, what do we have to use as a net? My brother was witty enough, he’d taken out the assignment books and the texts from his back, used his backpack as a net, we’d, had a good day of “fishing together”, and, at the end, we’d still, wanted to take a few fish home with us. As the two of us, fools returned home, the water already, dripped out of the backpack, the fish, almost dead, what was worse, was we’d, forgotten all our assignment books in the park, as my mother went back to the park to search, it was, already gone. Such an awful thing, we’d not had any lunch that day, and, gotten ourselves, a real hard beat down again.

Don’t think that my brother and I are best friends because we never spent time apart, as we got into an argument, we’d, thrown the punches and kicked one another real hard, neither one of us wanted to lose. I’m not as strong as he, couldn’t win in our fights, so, I’d, come up with, alternative ways, to screw him over. Once, it was January, I’d lost the fight, and I got, so angry, I’d gotten a bucket of ice, and while he wasn’t watching, I’d, pour it all into his shirt, he’d hollered out in pain because of the coldness, that taught him, to TRY and mess with me again!

After he married, he’d started in business, but was, never good at it. After he’d, declared bankruptcy in business, he’d started working odds and ends, and, spent all the money he’d earned on the betel nuts and the cigarettes and the wines, making my parents worry over him. In recent years, his children are all grown and started their families and work, his household economics got better, and, time flew by, he’d gotten to the age of being a grandfather now.

Seeing how he’d, shaved his head because of chemo, and how round his body became, with that smile on his face, looking more and more like a cute version of the smiling Buddha, I’d felt glad, that the cancer he had, was gone, and I’d, started, cherishing the times we shared, and, the past when we’d, made trouble for each other and our mother will be saved in my memory forever.

Those were, your, wilder days, and, the two of you, although fought like siblings had, still loved one another deeply, and it didn’t matter how hard you two had fought as young children, the important thing is that you two are, supportive of one another, and very close as aging adults.


Finally, Understanding Why Her Own Mother Had Been So Superstitious

The changes in this woman’s belief systems, because of her family, translated…

When I was younger, I’d gone to the temples with my mother often, being young, from the way my mother looked, so sincere, offering the incenses, I’d understood, that this, was something that was, very important to her. As I grew older, after I’d become, better educated, I’d thought, that offering to the Gods on the first and the fifteenth of the Chinese calendar months was superstitious, and burning the offering paper money is also polluting the air, and I couldn’t understand, why she was, so stubborn in doing what she does. The number of times I’d gone to the temples with her, became reduced, with the increases in my academic studies, and the increases in my social activities. Before I married, I’d, rarely gone to offer the incenses on my own, so naturally, after I’d wed, I’d not done that too, other than moving in to a new home, along with the major things in our lives, and we’d, considered our elders’ feelings, that, would be when we actually, offered the incenses.

from this…walking past a temple in China 的圖片結果photo from online…

Until that autumn, shortly after my child entered into school, he’d fallen ill, he’d run a high fever. I’d not paid it much heed first, after all, which child grows up without any sickness? But, after we took him to the doctors, and, gave him his meds, his conditions didn’t get better, and, other than his fever, there were, no other symptoms, and what worried us the most was, early in the morn, when my son woke from his nightmares, and, kept telling us how scared he was, of the shadows on the walls.

Where, are the shadows? When I was all alone, I can be fearless, and, at this very moment, I’d, felt, all alone, panicky, how do I, protect my own child? And, my huge ego became, very humorous, it appeared. I’d talked to people all around, to help with solving cases like this, and, with my heart true, I’d, kneeled before the statues of Buddhas, to beg, and, I’d become, the mom who’s, superstitious and stubborn that I’d always, despised. At that very moment, it’d finally, dawned on me, that as I was younger, when my mother offered the incenses, she was only, asking for family to be safe and sound.

to this…photo also from online…進廟裡參拜 的圖片結果

Although I’d have a set religion, but now, I’m carrying that attitude of respect, and fearfulness, toward the ritualistic behaviors of all religions. Every now and then, I’d taken the fresh fruits to temple, to offer the incenses, to let the majestic chants to, soothe my angst; and as I’d passed through the churches, I’d gone inside, to feel that peaceful atmosphere, and allowed the sunlight that shone through the glass, to chase away the darkness inside of me. The world is so full of colors, nobody can predict, what happens next. I’m truly grateful, for everything I’d been, given, and, greedily, I’d, prayed, that there’s, enough good luck and good fortunes, to bless everybody that I loved. It’s quite ordinary, but it’s, my one and only wish, passed down, from the love of my own mother.

And so, this woman finally understood why her own mother was so “superstitious”, that it wasn’t because she believed in God, but because she wanted her loved ones to be safe and sound, and as she’d become a mother herself, she’d wanted the same things for her own family too, and that, was why she’d become, a “believer” too…


First Time I’d Gone Shopping

How driven this child was, once she’d, set her mind to something she wanted to get! A memorable childhood memory that’s for certain, translated…

You probably don’t recall when you went shopping for the very first time, and what you’d bought back then, right? Well, I do, amazing, right?

Your mom must’ve told you about that time. I know that’s, what you’re, thinking.

But, nope.

Before I give you the answer, to this, ultra boring question of my life, perhaps, you’d still recalled that illustrated book. Written by Ryuko Tsutsuji, illustrated by Akiko Hayashi’s “First Time I’d Gone Shopping Alone”. Keiko, who was only five, first gone shopping for her mother to buy milk, it was, such an adult task, also, a grand adventure. There were the bicycle that rammed all around, she’d, tripped and fallen, with the loose changes, rolling all over the streets…………I’d recalled how as I’d read it to my daughter, she’d, clenched her fists. After all, crossing the streets, shopping on one’s own, it’s such, a grand adventure for a young child.

And, the very first time I’d gone shopping on my own, it was, thrilling, to say the least. But, there wasn’t, crossing any intersections required of me, I’d only needed, to walk for a short bit, then, I’m, there. I’d gone to buy a pacifier for myself, wasn’t for my younger siblings, or anybody else, not the kind that you put on a bottle, the one that I’d, sucked on for comfort all day long.

what the children’s book look like, image found online…第一次上街買東西 的圖片結果

I’d still remembered what that beloved pacifier looked like to date, made of rubber, yellow, very huge, very chewy; it wasn’t like those, smaller sorts, the ones made of plastic, for the sake of comfort that came later, there was, a round board toward the middle, that looked, too weakly. My “yellow” was, thicker, with the center hollowed, not separated by the parts, very full of force when I’d, sucked on. And because it was empty from the back, I’d even fill up the pacifier with water, freeze it in the freezer, and turned it into a pacifier popsicle for myself in the summertime, and, it’d tasted, even better.

I’d turned, very innovative in how I’d, sucked on my pacifier, I’d felt so very, proud of myself, at that young an age, I could be, a GENIUS! But, this had, impacted my father even more greatly! Because I was already five, and still sucking on my pacifier. And legend had it, that if you keep sucking on the pacifiers, your lips will turn outward, your teeth would become, crooked (the term oral stage wasn’t heard of back then), back then, there wasn’t the corrections technologies to correct the crooked teeth, and my father worked really hard, to get me off of this bad habit of sucking on my pacifier, worried that I may have crooked teeth when I’m older. He’d put chili paste, mint oils, and put an assortment of stimulants on it. But, as a five-year-old, wouldn’t I, go and wash it out? Later, my father was forced, and he’d, punched a hole on the front of my pacifier. And it can only be used, to drink milk, because if I’d, sucked on it, I am only, sucking in the air. And so, I’d, cased aside my five-year-old pride, gone shopping for a brand new one.

what the writer was trying to buy from the shop…image from online…

If you’d asked me, how much a pacifier cost back then? Ahhhh, although my memories last like a goldfish’s, but, I still recalled, that shiny, cute pacifier I’d bought for myself, for half a dollar. I was like the young Keiko, with half-a-dollar coin in hand, my heart, thumping very fast, gone shopping on my own, I’d, worked up the courage, told the shop owner, “I want a pacifier, please!”, I was about, five, back in 1972-ish???

And, maybe, you’d, questioned, “LIAR, your dad wants you off the pacifier, where did you get the money for it?”

Well, that’s, another inspirational tale, for another time………

And so, this showed, the persistence of this woman at age five, and, she’s not getting off her pacifier yet, because it offered that sense of security, that sense of safety she’d needed in her life, and, there’s no need, to hurry to wean your children off things, just allow them to develop naturally, of course I’m not saying, that it’s okay, to send your third-graders to class with a PACIFIER in her/his mouth!!!



The man in the mirror looked, changed, no longer the same, as before, but, he still, moves, as I do…

Changed, but, I don’t feel any different from before, how’s that, even possible, huh? Changed, nothing will ever be, the same again, with this, loss that’s, become, so etched, into me now!

Changed, it will, NEVER be, the same again, but I don’t, want things to change between us, I’m, comfortable the way we’d always been, but I’m not! Changed, there’s, that inevitable thing of life, that’s, NEVER stable, constantly, changing, and, nothing will, EVER be the same like it once was, or, always, had been…

Changed, but W-H-Y, what we got, was good enough, wasn’t it? So, why did it happen, the change? Why did things, have to, progress this way or that, why can’t things just, stay, JUST the way that they’d always been, to create that, stability, that’s, comforting???

Changed, nothing will, EVER be returned, nothing will ever be, the same again…………