Minty Musings: Remembering My Dad
My father passed away almost ten years ago. There is not a day I don’t think of him. Today, I thought “I’m turning into my dad.”
I’ve had this thought before. Usually it’s related to restaurant service. My father emigrated to the United States in the early 70s. He was a not like his studious siblings who went to universities. My father fell into the restaurant business, an industry he probably never thought about. It was just a job back then, something to do while he dreamed of a better life. Somewhere along the way he never left the industry.
We went out to eat many times a week. We had our favorites but my dad loved checking out new restaurants. Sounds familiar? My mother and brother aren’t very adventurous eaters and so my dad and I naturally were always on the same team. We liked trying new cuisines and new restaurants. If the restaurant was a Chinese restaurant, we generally had a table within minutes, even when it was packed. Everyone knew my father.
When I was 14 or 15, my mother suggested I go work at my dad’s restaurant. He was horrified. No daughter of his was going to work in a restaurant. Even at home, if he caught me in the kitchen, he busted in and started cooking for me. It’s strange now to think how I ever learned to cook since I wasn’t really allowed to do more than make a sandwich or heat up leftovers.
Today I thought about my dad because I wondered how he would react to the blog. I’ve always been artistic and a writer, just like my father. He was a talented artist and wrote for a newspaper back in Hong Kong. But it was difficult to make money from writing and I know he had many odd jobs including working for the phone company repairing downed lines.
I have never thought about how much I am like my father until today. I once thrived as a near professional artist. Just when I was getting to be well-known in my area of interest, I realized I couldn’t actually make a living from it. I still love art and I know I can easily pick up where I left off. I still “art it up” and it’s fun again. Perhaps this is what my dad had to give up. His love of illustration and painting was set aside when he married and had a family.
He worked long hours but on his days off, he was very social. He is the one who taught me how to grocery shop. Sadly, I think of the day he died. He had just finished grocery shopping, put the groceries away in the trunk of his car and then had a heart attack in the car. People walking by saw the car jerk forward and called 911. He died a few hours later. My mother had the car towed home the next day and solemnly told me I should cook a meal with the groceries that hadn’t gone bad. It would have been what my father wanted.
The next few years were hard. I learned to cook then. At first, I made the things I grew up eating like pork chops and Chinese greens. But I never mastered pork chops. Oh, I cook them well enough but they aren’t the same– they weren’t my dad’s pork chops. I developed my own style.
I think my father would have liked the blog. We spent many hours talking about food, restaurants and other things (my father loved fashion and he was the one I’d go shopping with). He probably wouldn’t like all the drinking though. He didn’t drink, not that he didn’t have his vices. Booze just wasn’t one of them.
A few years ago, I got scared I was going to get sick and die young like my father. He had his first stroke when he wasn’t even 40 yet. The doctors told him it was his lifestyle. He was a heavy smoker, ate rich foods and didn’t exercise. He used to play soccer at the local park with his restaurant buddies but that wasn’t regular enough exercise. After he recovered, he lost use of his left arm and never worked in a restaurant again. He never quit smoking and although we cut out sodium as much as possible, our meals weren’t really that different.
Five years ago, I went on a health spree and lost a lot of weight. Then I started this blog a year and half ago and much to my dismay,
some a lot of weight has crept back on. I’m bit afraid to go to the doctor. I’ve always had low cholesterol but I’m almost certain eating foie gras has changed those numbers. I’ve been saying for about six months now I really need to go back to the gym and try to find a balance. I love my lifestyle but I think I love life more.
Live to eat or eat to live?
I didn’t write this post for Father’s day though it is this weekend, nor my dad’s birthday or even the anniversary of his death. I wrote this because I think of him every day and I miss him.
My dad was a stubborn man who raised a stubborn daughter who didn’t give up so easily. We both did things well because that’s the only way to do it. I’m pretty much tired of hearing myself talk about all the things I want to do. It’s time to be accountable. I’m hoping that by writing down some of goals and fears, I actually will do the things I’ve been saying I need to do.
There are mainly two things; getting healthy again and dating. I actually don’t think it’s hard to meet people. It’s just hard to keep dating. When was the last time I had a second date? I think it’s hard to date in LA because we have a lot of choices. There could be someone “better” around the corner. I rather be going out with friends instead of those painful interrogations aka first dates.
So, what is this post really about?
Welcome to the next Minty chapter. You’ll see a post creep up now and then about dating. Who knew I had so many followers who really want to know why dating in LA sucks– or doesn’t. Tomorrow, I eat oatmeal for breakfast instead of leftovers. Tomorrow, I’ll go to the gym (yes, really!). And maybe I’ll start dating again…next week (oh god, why did I sign up for speed dating?). Balance.
Happy Father’s Day, everyone. For those who still have their dad, I envy you. And for those who don’t, I’ll be thinking of you on Sunday.
Oh Minty – I love this post – brought a tear to my eye and I’ve only met you once…thank you for writing it…I’m just writing something about my own kids growing up, and I hope at least one of them will think fondly of me like you did of your father…
And dating? In the same boat sistah. Let’s go on a double….
Hi there, I’m sorry I didn’t reply sooner but yes, was reeling from the overwhelming response to this post. I think your kids love you and will always be grateful for all you do for them.
Ah, dating. Yes, let’s go on a double…
I’ll be thinking of you on Sunday as well. Thank you for sharing this story about you and your father. I think about my father every day as well, and with all of the tweets and PR emails, this might be the first time in years that I’ve found father’s day difficult.
Looking forward to hearing more about your dating (I’ll keep my brilliant suggestions and tips coming), and wouldn’t mind seeing some of your art pop-up around here.
Also, I’ve had overnight oatmeal twice this week from my slow cooker. So good.
Oh the art…yes, well, I need to make time for that too. Thanks for the note.
Great post, Minty. Brought tears to my eyes, too.
Nice post Shauna. I lost my dad a few years ago and like Nick said, with all the emails, tweets, etc about Father’s Day this year, it feels more difficult than ever. Thinking of you on Sunday
A truly hearltfelt post. Good luck, Minty. I wish you the best of luck!!
That’s a really moving tribute to your father. Having lost my mother last year just months after relocating from US, I know and understand your feelings about following him and being stubborn about your choices. For me, not a day goes by without reliving mom’s last moments and then going getting something done because that’s what she would’ve wanted me to do.
Take care & Good Luck with the Cupid 🙂
Beautiful post Minty. Your dad would be proud.
Your dad would definitely be proud Shauna because you’re following your passion. Whenever you want to go workout, let me know as I’m always looking for workout partners. As for dating, that right guy will come along and have fun with the speed dating! 🙂
Minty, this is a great post. Yes, I think your father would be very proud of you. I always look forward to both your words and your pictures. You know how to tell a great story.
One suggestion. Join a club that has classes. My local Y has a Sunday morning Pilates class that I look forward to as much for the socializing as for the workout. It’s much easier to go when you look forward to meeting friends for a workout.
I do actually love classes. I never thought I would (flashback to my struggles in PE) but yes, classes have fallen by the wayside as well. Thanks for the note!
I really love this post. I hope you find the balance you’re craving. Maybe just cut out a few restaurant meals (for cholesterol purposes) and find some activity you love.
Btw, I love reading your dating posts, so a few more of those are totally welcome.
I just wanted to say how your article about Father’s day really moved me and I love your website. People who think LA is a food waste land should read your website because I think it really showcases what LA food is all about and your pics are awesome.
And as to dating from a guy’s perspective – gals put way too much pressure on us dudes! We too just want to have a great conversation over a beer/interesting cocktail. Hang in there.
Thanks! Yes, I think LA has a lot to offer in terms of diversity of cuisines. There’s plenty of awesome food and sometimes you don’t even have to look very hard.
As for the dating, it goes both ways. As I get older, I start to date younger and younger. The guys my age and older want too much! Too much pressure. But I agree sometimes it’s just about getting to know someone.