Coho salmon

Wild coho salmon was on sale at Whole Foods this weekend, so I went to buy two pounds for dinner this week. Little did I know that coho has a much lower fat content than I am used to experiencing (my favorite, king salmon, is the fattiest of the fatty salmons, and also sadly the most expensive, especially when wild and fresh caught), which means that it will cook faster than other salmon types. I broiled the salmon fillets after marinating them in an Indian-yogurt spice mixture all day. After pulling them out of the oven and letting them rest, I realized I had overcooked the center fillets at just six minutes under the broiler. I was not happy. In a city where buying fresh fish is expensive, even on sale, it is deeply disappointing to know when you’ve messed up a really good piece of fish. Because then for the rest of the week, every single time you reheat that fish, it will become more and more overcooked.

At least the marinade was tasty.


I spent a couple hours this afternoon finally working on an 8×8 photo book to compile all of our wedding photo booth pictures. I’m working on researching formal photo albums and photo books to compile our wedding photos, and so I thought it would be a good idea to make use of all the silly photo booth pictures all of our guests took at the wedding (that apparently not everyone was aware that we get every single copy of every single photo taken in that booth). During the course of planning our wedding, I read about all the lazy brides and grooms who never really do much with their wedding photos other than frame a few in their house (it’s amazing how many wedding boards exist out there on the web), and it made me sad to think that so many great photos would then ultimately get wasted and never have the chance to be appreciated. The same can be said of our photo booth pictures. They need their own place to shine.

It’s also convenient when your cousin works at Shutterfly and can get you discount codes for freebies. Things always feel even better when they are free or discounted.


Tonight, Chris and I went to see the off-off Broadway show Engagements on the Upper West Side. The show is about a woman who is constantly being invited to engagement parties seemingly every weekend in New England. Finally, her best friend gets engaged, and at their engagement party, she ends up sleeping with the best friend’s fiance in an attempt to end the engagement. A lot of chaos ensues after that, but the show conjures up a lot of marriage and engagement hoopla that I’ve either encountered or heard about through friends and colleagues.

What makes me sad when I think about weddings and marriage is the general stereotype that people who aren’t married by 30 or 35 are somehow inadequate in society. This idea was pretty much the premise of Sex and the City, and it obviously resonated with a lot of women. What if you spend your twenties 120 percent career driven or traveling the world to save lives — what time will you have to be in a committed relationship that has the promise of marriage at the end of it? Or what if you’ve just encountered a lot of bad luck and dated all the wrong guys or girls? Or what if you’ve just been in the wrong place at the wrong time? Or what if you “invested” five or ten years in a relationship and realized at the end that this guy was never really interested in marrying you, or equally bad, you’ve realized you don’t want to be with this guy “forever”?

We found out Chris’s cousin got engaged last week, and we jokingly said that we didn’t expect her now-fiance to have stuck around. Her reply, half-joke, half-real, was that she hadn’t thought of ever dating again and that she had no plan B if this 10-year-long relationship did not work out. I don’t hear about that many relationships that span from high school to late twenties. And even when I do, hearing about them ending happily in marriage is even rarer. So the “no plan B” comment she made — that’s a reality that ends up poorly for most people in this small segment of the population.


I’m sitting at home watching the Democratic National Convention tonight, listening to Hillary’s acceptance speech while trying to anticipate all the things she’s going to get criticized for. The very first thing that comes to mind: that she’s not smiling enough.

It’s a woman’s traditional role, right, to be pleasant and agreeable, and therefore we’re expected to smile and to serve. She certainly has served the American people quite well in her lifetime, but I know for a fact that tomorrow, when I start reading articles or scroll my Twitter feed to see comments on her speech, her lack of smiling (except at the end) will be commented on negatively by a bunch of idiot men out there. While it’s exciting to have the glass ceiling broken in having the first woman being nominated for a major political party in this country, it makes me want to grind my teeth thinking about how even more intensely scrutinized she will be for being the first.

Car accident

After watching President Obama address the Democratic National Convention tonight, we received the sad news that my mother-in-law’s cousin’s son had suddenly died in a car accident in Nashville. It’s hard to imagine the shock and anguish that his family must be going through right now.

When my brother died, I used to wonder what could make me feel worse about his death, if there were any other cause that would have made me feel more useless. The only thing that came to mind was if he were murdered by someone or killed in some reckless accident that someone else caused. But it’s hard to imagine how I would have reacted if he died in this way. Grief is grief at the end of the day, but some things have the capacity to haunt you for far longer, if not forever.

Changing gyms

After doing some fruitless haggling on the phone with the general manager of the Crunch 38th street location gym, I decided to change locations and go to the location closer to work for the next year. It’s always sad when loyalty isn’t rewarded, and all they do is tell you that you are getting a great deal even when they’ve been raising your rates consistently over the last three years.

How many people do you think actually pay an entire year’s worth of gym membership up front? If I’m going to pay a higher rate and also pay up front, it better be the most glamorous gym I’ve ever stepped foot into. In this city, gym memberships are typically $90-200/month, excluding any ridiculous enrollment fees they make you pay. To get better deals, you can pay up front, but that also means bigger commissions up front to the sales person.

I can’t stand slimy sales people. While I could have sent him a nasty email to his follow up message letting him know he doesn’t know a single thing about sales, I simply let him know I would not be renewing at his location. Take that, loser.


If there are themes I drew from the RNC speeches last week, they were that of division, negativity for the future, hate, anger, anti-tolerance masked as tolerance (Peter Thiel – really? Do you really think the Republican party sees you as a true equal when if you wanted, they wouldn’t even approve of your marriage because you’re gay?), and a deep desire for Hillary Clinton to be dead. The idea that grown adults could say that Hillary Clinton had a partnership with Lucifer seems pretty senseless and embarrassing to me.

Yes, there was yelling at the first night of the Democratic National Convention, and yes, there were Bernie protesters and divisiveness in the DNC crow;,yes, there was criticism of Trump, but one thing that resonated throughout is optimism for our country and the future. When Michelle Obama spoke these words, I could feel tears in my eyes welling up:

“That is the story of this country, the story that has brought me to this stage tonight, the story of generations of people who felt the lash of bondage, the shame of servitude, the sting of segregation, but who kept on striving and hoping and doing what needed to be done so that today I wake up every morning in a house that was built by slaves.

And I watch my daughters, two beautiful, intelligent, black young women playing with their dogs on the White House lawn.

And because of Hillary Clinton, my daughters and all our sons and daughters now take for granted that a woman can be president of the United States.”

The White House was built by slaves. Who ever mentions that — ever? And the idea that it’s actually a realistic possibility that the United States could have its very first female president 240 years after being founded — it’s absolutely chilling to me — in a good way. This is a potentially historic moment that awaits us. Eight years ago, we elected the first (half) black president of the United States. Eight years later, we could be electing the first female president of the United States. Progress is possible. Acceptance of progress is possible.

Michelle Obama’s speech made me feel proud to be American, and I honestly rarely feel that pride ever. I’m sure her speech made many others proud to be Americans, as well, or living in America with the privileges that many of us take for granted. How incredible it could be if one day, it was just a normal thing to see women running and getting elected for the highest office in the land right here in this country.

Morning chat

Chris has been waking up at unGodly hours the last week or so. This morning, he decided to wake up early and include a morning chat (or late evening chat in Melbourne) with his parents. I joined the conversation when Chris put the phone on speaker at some point. We discussed our apartment search and how it resulted in us staying here, my desire for potted plants, recent work related events, and my rasgulla making project. It was jovial and fun, with the much-anticipated “Tried any good reds?” question from Chris’s dad.

“Why can’t you tell (insert annoying name that Chris calls my mom) about how the rasgulla turned out?” he said jokingly. He loves to do this.

“Because she isn’t going to care!” I shot back.

My parents don’t really care about these things unless they know what the food is. And they definitely should not be told that we were looking for a new and more expensive apartment because my parents have no real knowledge when it comes to renting property; they’ve never rented in their lives and just think everything is too expensive. These are the realities of conversations with my in-laws vs. own parents.


My cousin in Sunnyvale texted me to ask what my dates home will be in September. I figured my aunt, his mom, had told him I was coming home. I don’t really proactively tell any of my cousins back in the Bay Area I’m coming home now because I don’t really care that much. This cousin’s brother and wife would probably only come to the city if it were my funeral, so why even bother making the effort?

This cousin is probably the most loyal to my aunt, though. He tells my aunt everything, all the time, and he calls her pretty much every day. I get that every family is different, but I can tell you that if I were dating someone who called his mom willingly every single day just to exchange meaningless information regarding the weather and what I ate, I’d be worried. Yes, I’m aware I used to call my mom every day. But part of me, like you, is sexist, and so I give girls the benefit of the doubt versus boys.

Oddly, I found out today that my cousin may tell my aunt everything, but my aunt certainly doesn’t tell my cousin everything. I told him via text that his mom told me she’d be back in San Francisco on September 6th. He didn’t know she’d be away, and so he asked me where she was going. Strange, I thought. She would tell me she’d be going to Oregon for over a month and not tell her own son? So I told him, and he seemed surprised.

I love finding out information before other people do. It makes them feel like they don’t have as much power.


Dear Ed,

Today marks three years since you left us. Every year when we begin approaching the anniversary of your escape, I always feel an agonizing feeling inside my stomach and wonder if you will come back for a visit. Well, this year, I am not as naive. This year, I didn’t expect you to come visit on your anniversary in my dreams. This year, I was stronger than the last two years, and I knew I could get by without seeing you again. But that doesn’t mean I don’t feel as miserable.

This year has been an emotional year for me. Chris and I had our wedding in March; in fact, I saw you when I walked down the steps to the aisle. You were there. No one else saw you. But I did; you were staring right at me and smiling, just like I thought you’d be. We did all these things to get you to come: we named the tables after your favorite foods, we had photos of us together around the venue; we put your name on our wedding program. Chris even gave a speech and talked about how important you were to me, to us, and how much we missed you that day. It brought tears to my eyes and to all three of my bridesmaids’, my childhood friends that you saw all the time when we were growing up together. There was some surprise regarding how much you were in the wedding, but I didn’t really want it to be a surprise. I wanted every single person to know that I’m painfully aware that you’re no longer part of this life physically, but you will always be in my life — in my head and in my heart. I miss you more than anyone could possibly imagine, and I don’t want you to think that on what is supposed to be the biggest day of my life that I had forgotten about you for even a second.

This year is an election year, and a scary one at that. Donald Trump could end up being our president, and that is absolutely terrifying to me. Sometimes, I slip back into my cynical thinking and I think that the world is going to be a worse place, especially if he ends up getting elected. But then I am quickly reminded that if I keep thinking negatively, I will do you and your memory a disservice. I need to be strong, even when it’s hard, for you. I need to work my hardest to prove to you that life is worth living, that the world is going to be better place in the future for the future children of the world. You know what I want? I want the world to become a better place so that you can look down on us and think, “Man, I wanted out on that? What was I thinking?!” We have a lot of work to do to get there, though.

I don’t want to upset you, but our dad didn’t say anything about the anniversary of your passing as I expected; he never has, and he probably never will. He’s too out of touch with human emotion to be able to do that with me or anyone. Some people and things will never change, sadly. Our mom is picking fights with me about Chris and his family since the wedding, but you probably already predicted yourself that would happen; you probably know our mother better than I do.

When I look back at our time together, I have many regrets… as useless as they are. But one regret I have that I always get reminded of every year is that we didn’t spend your last Christmas together. Under my bed in our tiny apartment here in Manhattan, I still have the collection of ornaments that you and I collected, and many that you so generously bought for me (70-80 percent off at Macy’s after Christmas, no less!). What I want to do is to have our own Christmas tree to hang up all these ornaments, and it would be an ode to you and how much you loved Christmas and everything about it. That home we shared never truly embraced Christmas, but you always looked forward to that time of year anyway. It would be amazing for us to have one more Christmas together, just us, away from the dysfunctional and maddening family we share. You would no doubt drive me crazy with your obsessive compulsive ways and your lack of desire to wash dishes or clean, but I’d suck it up since I haven’t seen you in too long.

There have been a lot of times in the last three years when I wanted to take a break from reality, pause it all, and just come hang out with you. That sounds ridiculous and is clearly impossible, but it doesn’t mean I don’t wish it could happen. I promise I wouldn’t complain about our mother to you, and I also promise that I wouldn’t try to beg you to come back. I just wish I could see you again. I know it’s selfish, but I occasionally find myself envious when I hear about my friends or my colleagues spending time with their siblings like it’s no big deal. I feel even more hurt when they express how close they are to their brother or sister. It shouldn’t be a big deal, but it is to me because I no longer have that option anymore.

A number of colleagues and friends, after learning about your passing and how it happened, tell me they’d like to chat with me about it sometime. For the most part, it doesn’t happen. In the beginning, because it was so new and still raw for me, I didn’t always answer the question of “how” directly, either. It was too much at the time. But as time has gone on, I’m more comfortable talking about it to reduce the stigma around it and to help other people understand what they may not want to or be able to understand. Now, I’ve realized that I’m not really creating the problem; the people who want to know but fear knowing are adding to the problem. I would love to openly tell anyone about this in an effort to potentially help someone else’s life, but so many people are scared. They are scared of my getting hurt (I’m not), they are scared of understanding, and they are probably scared of how they will react. I would love for the day when people would cut the bullshit and just ask what they want to ask and listen — truly listen and not just listen for the moment and move on to the next idea. I’d love for them to listen, digest what they’ve heard, and see how they could apply this knowledge to their lives potentially in the future. I’m sitting here waiting for that to happen.

Well, I decided to do a few things for you to remember you this weekend. I’m making one of your favorite soups — West Lake beef soup. I even made my own stock, used the egg whites, and everything. I’m also making Chinese sticky rice, and contrary to what our grandma used to do, I’m stuffing it like crazy with meat and seafood filling, so the ratio of filling to sticky rice is almost 1:1. I’m sure you would have enjoyed this. If you were here, I also wouldn’t have made you wash the dishes since I know you hate that.

It’s time for me to say goodbye for now. I’ve never really said goodbye to you because it’s too hard for me to say. I couldn’t even say it to you when they closed your casket, and I couldn’t see your face in the flesh again. I couldn’t even be there when they closed it because it was too hard for me that day. I hope you aren’t upset by that.

Each night, I still wait for you to visit. You only really come about once a month now, but that’s okay. You can do whatever you want now since you’re free. You’ve escaped. I won’t see you again here, but just like that Puff Daddy (or P. Diddy now as he’s known) song, “On that morning / When this life is over / I know / I’ll see your face.”

Hope you will be patient with me for that moment because there’s a lot of things I need to do in this life before it’s over. Until then, I’ll see you in my dreams… because that’s all I can really hope for. Love you.


your hopeful sister Yvonne