Saturday, March 26, 2016

To the Victims of Terrorism in Brussels

My dad shared this drawing and story on Facebook.

I grew up in the 60s & 70s with Belgian comics such as Tintin (by Herge), Lucky Luke (by Morris & Rene Goscinny), Johan & Pirlouit (by Peyo), Les Stroumph (by Peyo), Sprirou & Fantasio (by Andre Franquin) which I loved so much. I remember saving money just to buy those comic books. And each time when I had enough money, I went straight to the book store to get one and took it home. But before reading it, I opened it and sniffed the pages first. How sweet the smell of those pages were! I still admire the writers and the creators of those comics who really wrote great stories and designed such fantastic characters.

I want to take this opportunity to share a sketch that I just did to dedicate to the artists and writers of Belgium and whoever that used to read those comic books and loved them.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Something for Mom

My mom wears simple things.  Her purse is more like a travel satchel.  Her outfits are off the discount rack.  Though, during Christmas she would joke about wanting a diamond.  When she opened her actual present from me and discovered a scarf she was thrilled as if it was the most precious stone on the planet.

The past year has been rough for her.  My grandpa was finally placed in a nursing home and being the only child she has taken all responsibility - visiting him everyday.  Washing his soiled clothes everyday even though there was a staff paid to do it.  She told me she was strong when my grandma passed away, but this time around she doesn't feel too strong.  She is saddened watching her father age.  "...this is what's going to happen to me" she says to me.  Slowly his mind and body is falling a part.

The vacations from reality that she's tried to take have been stressful.  It rained during her entire 4 day stay in Hawaii and my dad caught the flu.  My mom went to the beach by herself...thinking about my grandfather and having to take care of another person: my dad who had a fever in the hotel room.  She couldn't catch a break.

For her birthday this year, I decided to get her a simple diamond necklace.  Something she joked about wanting, but something I can provide to her to make her happy. I gave myself 3 months.  I was stressing out about it.  It was like buying a car.  I didn't know the value and I didn't know how to shop.

I decided to check online and stumbled upon this necklace from Macy's - "Elegant and eye-catching. Sirena's exquisite pendant features a round-cut diamond (1/4 ct. t.w.) crafted in a beautiful 14k white gold setting."  There were 29 positive reviews and there was a one-day sale.  I consulted my dad and he gave a big thumbs up.  I had it shipped to my parent's place a few weeks early.  My dad wrapped it and I called to video conference her on her actual birthday.

Here's a video of her opening it.  She was wearing the scarf I gave her for Christmas.

Since my dad left the tag on the gift, my mom was worried about how much I had spent on her, but I reassured her that I got a great deal.

She told me that a long time ago, I gave her my tax return.  She told me that she used the money to buy another necklace so that should could wear it and think of me.  I completely forgot that I did that.

It's probably one of the best feelings you can have - to do something nice for your parents, at any capacity. To show them that you appreciate everything that they've done for you.

Happy 55th Birthday Mom.  You're the best.