Tag Archives: family

Happy Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month

Last night as I was poking around HBO looking for something to watch, I stumbled upon a 22-minute short documentary titled, East of Main Street – Small Talk, which features interviews with Asian American kids talking about their culture, heritage and feelings on living in America as child of Asian decent. The piece originally aired in May 2012 to coincide with Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month and it appears as if they made it available to celebrate again this year.

The interviews with the kids are candid, adorable and entertaining. I loved hearing them talk about their families and friends, and gaining insight into their awareness and understanding of diversity, race and culture in America.

Here’s the trailer to get a flavor of the special:

Of course watching it made me think of my own heritage and my (maternal) grandma, Sueko, who moved from Japan to the U.S. in the early 1950s, after she met my grandpa in the Korean War. She was one of the funniest women I ever met and was one of my best friends growing up as a young boy.

Derek and Grandma, circa 1990?

Derek and Grandma, circa 1990?

She introduced me to weird foods like octopus and ginger, forced me into loving the Detroit Tigers, and most importantly, exposed me to a world outside our homogeneous Midwestern town of 7,000. She made me realize how big of a world this really is and introduced me to diversity. Her influence led me to look beyond Michigan for my future and ultimately what led me to having dreams of moving to San Francisco.

While we lost her far too early (when I was in college), there aren’t many days that go by that I don’t think of her. She was one of my favorite people ever and I am grateful for having been part of her life, and for her being part of mine.

RIP Abbey

Abbey, December 2011

This weekend my family lost its fifth member for the last thirteen and a half years, Abbey.

We got Abbey when she was just a puppy. (After a several month long we-need-a-dog campaign led by yours truly, at the age of 15.) She came into our lives at a time when change was all around us. We had recently moved out of the house I grew up in, my sister was navigating her way in and out of college, and I was beginning to peer out of the closet. For the following four or so years, Abbey served as the glue that kept our family close and together.

Eventually, I left for college, my sister moved out for good and Mom departed and went her own way, leaving Abbey and Dad to share that big house together.

For the last eight years, Abbey stood by Dad’s side through rain, sleet and snow. The two became inseparable pals and they developed a friendship like only dog and man find together. Mom and Jaime got to see Abbey a lot more than I did over the last six and a half years, but every time I made it home for a visit, including my trip just two months ago, my heart always melted at the attention Abbey still gave me. Seeing her little tail nub wiggling with joy, reaffirming that even after a year without seeing me, that she still remembered her big brother.

Abbey was the sweetest dog I’ve ever met and I will never forget the love she shared with my family for almost fourteen years.

Rest in peace Abbey. xoxo.

let’s have a wedding!

Important background information that not everyone reading this may have: my sister, who I love dearly got engaged on January 21.

I got home from seeing Pina tonight and as I was walking in the door I noticed a little padded envelope in the pile of incoming mail. I set the mail aside and came into the apartment quickly before heading back out the door to run to Andronico’s before it closed. After a few minutes, as I stepped out to go to the grocery store I decided to pick up the package and see if it was for me. It was so I decided to pause and open it up. I almost always remember when I’m expecting packages and I rarely send things to my home address. (We all have stuffed delivered to work, right?) I didn’t recognize the return address so this seemed like a surprise. And who doesn’t like surprise packages?

Inside the package I found a little gold bag.


Inside the little gold bag I pulled out a pair of washers on a key ring. There was a message etched on to each washer.

I read one washer and realized it was a familiar saying!


I read the other washer and my face lit up with a huge smile.


Of course when I opened the package it was 9:30 PM on a Thursday night (after midnight in the ET) so my bride-to-be sister is already in bed. I can’t call her and squeal with excitement, glee and love.

I skipped off to the grocery store with the special gift in my hand and thought since I couldn’t call my sister, I’d burn off some joy by chronicling this moment with a blog post. And then I thought, this may be the first of several best man posts leading up to the big day on August 11, 2012!

Jaime, I love you. Do you realize now I am going to insist on throwing you a Napa bachelorette party? 🙂

a photo I hope to be recreating in the very near future!

Dream dance party

I have decided that if I were to ever win the lottery OR get married, I will rent out a small club, compile a list of 75 of my favorite dance songs, gather 100 friends and family that love to dance, and hire Kaskade to mix my dance list into an amazing 5 hour dance party set.

2009 in Photos

Snow shoeing in Tahoe with Nicole and Meagan

Hiking in Marin with Booger

Jared and Dave at Maggie's birthday

Giant's game for Lindsey's birthday with Katie

Backpacking Wawona area in Yosemite

Benny Benassi with Lindsey and Katie

Number one dance parter, Katie

Backpacking Smith Peak with Jack and Dave

Atop Smith Peak in Yosemite

Playa del Carmen with Jaime for Stephanie's wedding

Anne's camping birthday

Go karting for Joy's birthday

Another night at Bootie for Joy's birthday

Summer outing in Livermore Valley with Racepoint

Atop Mt. Whitney with friends

Mt. Whitney complete

Meagan and Kersti in town with Marcelo

Being very American with Kersti at a Giants game

Raymond and Marcelo

Atop Half Dome with Dave and my Dad

Pretty Lights with Katie and Lindsey

Wine tasting in the Carneros with Jaime

Katie's Black & Blue birthday with Lindsey

With Meagan ❤ at Katie's birthday

Chicago Marathoners

Dinner with friends in Chicago

Kaskade with Lindsey and Katie

Thanksgiving at Joy's with Dave and Lola

Backpacking in Point Reyes with Dave and Jonas

Point Reyes beach shot over Thanksgiving with Nick

Tourism just took an interesting turn…

My sister was in town with her friend Megan this weekend and I was tasked with playing tour guide for the 324th time since moving to San Francisco 4.3 years ago. Jaime has been to SF a half dozen times so she’s done it all. Megan had never been to San Francisco (not even Calif.), so she hadn’t done or seen anything. So of course I had to find some sort of balance. I wanted to show Jaime things she hadn’t seen before but still show Megan some memorable and worthy sites.

So instead of potentially scarring them for life with a visit to the Folsom Street Fair on Sunday, Dave and I slapped together a fun little agenda: the Point Bonita Lighthouse, the Marine Mammal Center and………. the Presidio Pet Cemetery! If I might say so myself, a unique little trio of activities. If you’ve never been to any of the above, you should definitely put them on your to-do list. (What can I say, I’m pretty good at this tour guide stuff.)

The Presidio Pet Cemetery was particularly bizarre. I don’t know how many of you loyal readers out there have been to a pet cemetery before but there is something uniquely strange, comforting and interesting about them. Unfortunately it seems like the maintenance and upkeep at the Presidio Pet Cemetery is on the decline. They’ve recently chopped down a bunch of trees and it seems like there has been a lot of damage to the plot markers. All of that aside, it’s still a place worth checking out and wandering through.

photo photo 2

photo 5 photo 3


Just a quick little note to share my excitement for the coming weekend. My dad is coming to town (from Michigan) and Dave and I are taking him 1) skydiving and 2) to our favorite place, Yosemite. I know it’s so George H. W. Bush right now to go jump out of a plane but I’m really excited that my dad wants to do it and we’re going to have the chance to do it together. Dave is a little more apprehensive but we’re dragging him anyway.

For Yosemite we’re staying at the Wawona Hotel (Dad didn’t want to rough it in a tent, he’s on vacation after all) and we’ve got a few fun hikes lined up (Mariposa Grove giant sequoias, something in Tuolomne maybe?) Dad’s never really hiked, never been to Yosemite (or any National Park that I can think of) so it too should be a unique experience. (He bought hiking boots just for the trip!) To add to the memorability factor of the trip, we’re thinking about throwing the 16-mile day hike up to Half Dome into the mix. Are we crazy?

Stay tuned.