I wonder if I should cancel my cable.

I do love TV, but I might do other things if I didn’t have it. Maybe I should just cut back to the network channels. I live in a neighborhood where we can’t get TV without cable and when I was a kid we just had the local networks on our cable TV. I suppose there are worse things I could do with my time and I’d rather not find out what those things are. For example, there’s a new ham radio I want, but the last time I was on the radio trying to talk any distance was 2003? It’s been so long that I’ve forgotten most of my Morse code.

I keep thinking of all the junk my dad has and some people tell me I should keep it to remember him by. But do I really need a thousand keychains to remember my dad by? I think I’m going to put a bunch of them on ebay or something. Better than just trying to melt them to create one giant key chain.

A beautiful spring day.

It was a beautiful spring day in Portland. Couples were walking in the sunshine, eating at outdoor cafés. Every time I saw my next-door-neighbor, he was taking his kids to the park. So what was I doing? Reading comic books? Watching The Bourne Identity? Watching people burn their houses down? Drinking moonshine and shooting guns? You can probably guess.

I probably should have seen The Bourne Supremacy sooner. I read all the Bourne-this, and the Bourne-that books by Robert Ludlum when I was in Japan. Either way, I kind of liked how the movie wasn’t as grim as the book. I also watched the orginal version of The Man Who Knew Too Much and I didn’t like it as much as the remake. Even with Doris Day, I liked the newer one better.

So last night I was at the Lucky Lab brewpub for the second night in a row. The first night was a going-away party for a friend who has a 3-year job in Germany. The second night was to hear a neighbor’s band play. He’s in all sorts of bands and I never saw this group, but he’s been playing with them for 25 years! I feel kind of bad about it, since I’m on his email list for his shows and I haven’t gone for a long time. Don’t people know I’m boring and like watching TV?

I’m going to have no vacation left.

Today I was going to either get to work late, or maybe just work from home. My mom had a call from SSA and I had to be around to translate. Unfortunately, that led to some questions about her green card and we had to go see la migra. It’s always a nice way to spend a day, panicked about having to go see INS. Even better, we also had to go through a metal detector and have our bags put through an x-ray machine. Twice, since we also had to go to the Social Security office.

The federales also have a new way of scheduling appointments. Instead of just having the numbered pull tabs and a sign that says, “Now serving number 78,” they have weird computerized gizmos I couldn’t understand. My degree is in Computer Science, not the oddities of bureaucracies.

Oh, and Bank of America gets thumbs up for letting us do our banking the way we wanted to do it. Wells Fargo, not so much. When the primary account holder of a Wells Fargo bank account dies, he can’t be taken off the account. You just have to close the account and start a new one. It wouldn’t sound so bad if the other bank had the same policy, but Bank of America was much easier to deal with (even though they took so long to fix the account).

My teeth hurt.

So I went to the dentist today with my teeth feeling fine. Of course they didn’t like that and they started picking at my teeth with a metal pick until I started feeling a pain that’s so odd that that I can still feel it. Ow ow ow ow ow. For some reason I also keep signing up for these 7AM appointments so I can get to work at a decent time and I’m not even sure I want to be there.

We have yet another person bailing out of the group. Hooray. I really hope I’m not the last one left.

Oh, and I think I have one month left to use my free United ticket. Who’s taking bets on whether I let it lapse or not?

Where was everyone?

Traffic was kind of heavy on the way to work, and oddly quiet on the way home. The way to work can be explained by my own tardiness in leaving but I’m not sure how to explain the trip home. The gym was oddly empty as well.

So I’m thinking of attending the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference in June. I want to pretend that I’m still a programmer or something even though at work I’m a glorified tech writer. I take that back. Tech writing would be better than this. Anyway, I’m also thinking of taking a beginner’s golf class. It’s $525, but you get clubs. My mom thinks it’ll just be more junk I have laying around, and she’s probably right. Oh, well.

Somehow I was bright enough to schedule a 7AM dentist appointment so I better get to sleep.

Back to work.

First day back to work and my stomach hurt. I was also tired because it’s the first time I got up that early in a week. But like my neighbor says, go to work, go home, go to work, go home. She thinks her Indian name should be, “Goes to work.”

Other than work sucking, not much new today.

Normal Sunday.

I drank some sort of weird energy drink yesterday but I’m not sure if that’s what kept me from sleeping well last night. I kept hearing how great it was, how it didn’t have any caffeine, and how awful it tasted, so I just had to try it. It had guarana, though, and that has caffeine in it.

So today was a Sunday. Took some stuff to the post office, got my brother-in-law to haul my dad’s old Lay-Z-Boy to the dump (it was falling apart) and mowed the lawn. It’s finally nice enough that the neighbors are walking around and the lawn mowing took a lot longer than it should have. I was busy talking.

I also had a bit of an ordeal recycling an old metal closet that we were holding on to so my brother-in-law could see if he wanted it. My sister said they had no space for it and I was hoping my brother-in-law could take it to the dump. I had to dismantle it and take it myself. The local recycling center was closed, but the dump still took it for free, since it was metal for recycling. Thank goodness for recycling.

Not much excitement today, thank goodness. It’s about time for some quiet.

What I read at my father’s funeral.

I was asked to say something at my father’s funeral and I came up with this as a first draft. I just went with it and the only bad thing is that people thought my sister wrote it. Harrumph.

Thank you for coming to the memorial service of my father, Tatsuo George Fujinaka. We appreciate that you took time to come remember him.

My father was a complicated man. He hated gatherings, but would have fun after he arrived. He was a bit shy in that respect. He would have hated having too many people here tonight, but would have been mad if no one showed up.

He loved plants. But I just found his college transcript and he got a C in Botany. I’m sure it wasn’t because he was a bad student because he also got an “A” in Organic Chemistry, and that’s one of the hardest classes that pre-meds have to pass to get into medical school. Like I said, he was a complicated man. He planted all sorts of trees and shrubs in our yard and refused to let anyone cut them. I had to sneak around and trim things back when he wasn’t paying attention and then get yelled at afterwards. He told me, “I have to live here you know. The way that rhododendron looks is embarrassing.”

I’m going to have to sort through thousands of slides of trees and flowers because he liked photography as well. I can tell you a story about his hobby of taking plant pictures. We were in a garden before my sister’s wedding and everyone was watching my sister and my brother-in-law. My dad had wandered off and was squatting down taking pictures of some spring flowers.

My dad also liked all sorts of artsy-craftsy things as well. I saw some practice sumi-e (charcoal-ink) paintings he was making on a whim. I tried making the same sorts of images and I just ended up with black-and-white pictures of marshmallows.

Even when my dad slowed down, he liked wandering up and down the block, giving gardening advice. I hope he was able to help you all so you don’t have to live with embarrassing rhododendrons.

The funeral went quite well. Reverend Gibbs explained all of the parts of the Buddhist service as he performed them and he’s an easy-going guy from Fresno. My father’s Buddhist name is “Shaku Gou Gi” which means “Child of the Buddha, Strength and Integrity.” In Korean it probably sounds like, “Child of the Buddha: Meat.” Fortunately we’re not Korean.

What have I gotten myself into?

Who knew that Kinko’s wasn’t open all night and closed at 9PM? They sent the proofs for the memorial service and they couldn’t even spell Friday right. I forwarded it to my sister and kept badgering her, but she was out with some silly knit blogger and by the time I called Kinko’s, they were closed. I thought they were all open until at least midnight, but all the ones on the list I saw closed at 9PM. So, maybe we’re going to make the programs with crayon or a ‘ditto’ machine. Ah, well.

I’m also supposed to say something about my father. I had lots of ideas, but as soon as I said I’d do it, I forgot them all. I can say something about how he would have wanted everyone to leave him alone at a time like this, but that he’d also have been mad if no one had shown up. I can say something about his artsy-craftsy side and how I’m going to have to sort through a thousand slides of trees after I dig through all the candy and toys he liked to buy. (When they were taking pictures before my sister’s wedding, he was busy trying to take pictures of some flowers in the garden.) As his son, he infuriated me often, but just by doing odd things. He was never mean, just a little passive-aggressive and a whole lot of goofy.

Well, I’ll have to figure out what I’m saying tomorrow. Today I just filled up two 45-gallon shopping bags by shredding old bank records from 1990-2003. Man that’s a lot of old checks and credit card receipts.

So many things to do.

Today we were out running errands half of the day and I even went through an ordeal trying to get acupuncture. While we were gone, people had left food and flowers. I feel kind of guilty for being gone, but most of the things (besides the acupuncture and dinner) were related to funeral arrangements.

I made an appointment with my usual acupuncturist at the Clown CollegeOregon College of Oriental Medicine because of pains in my lower back. After sitting in their waiting room for half-an-hour, they finally told me that the guy had already missed one appointment and his phone was disconnected. Fortunately they got ahold of him and I saw him at another office about an hour after when my appointment should have been. None of his weird contortions were hurting my lower back, but just moving wrong can trigger a sharp pain. His treatment didn’t seem to have as much effect as it usually does. He thinks it’s probably a back strain. Dave the trainer thinks it’s god’s punishment for my jokes about my father. Megan thinks it’s stress. I think it’s annoying.

I don’t know what we’re supposed to do with all the food that’s around. I just measured my waist and it’s 3″ larger than I thought it was.

Back to back problems.

I made it to the gym today but as soon as I got there my back started to hurt. It has been getting a bit worse since then. I felt a twinge as I performed my pallbearer duties yesterday, but I thought it would go away. I guess lifting a weight with one hand while trying to maintain footing down a wet grassy slope isn’t the way to help your back. I think I’ll call the acupuncturist tomorrow.

I started clearing out some of the junk in my dad’s room today to try to get a path to his closet. We haven’t seen the inside of the closet in years. The shredder is already making horrible noises and I have a long ways to go. I’ve found some odd things in there, including a Japanese jigsaw puzzle for kids and a lot of candy we’ll have to throw out. My dad loved buying candy but stopped eating it a few years back.

We also had several visitors today, including a couple I hadn’t seen in years who are in their mid-nineties! My mom finds all the visits tiring, but so far they haven’t been so bad.

Well, I better get some sleep and start a list for the things I need to do tomorrow. Today, for example, I spent some time just lying around reading a book. Maybe tomorrow I can take a nap instead.

Rest in Peace, Mrs. Oh

The first major thing I did today was to be a pallbearer at my friend’s mom’s funeral. I hate seeing sad people, and funerals are not a place to be if you don’t want to see sad people. I did like meeting my buddy’s relatives and finally seeing his nieces and nephews.

But then I had to go with my mom and sister to the funeral home to arrange my father’s disposition. It was more tiring than I was expecting, even though everything went quite quickly and we had no major disagreements. An example of a disagreement: my mom wanted me to tell my 90-something Uncle Leo to not come from Spokane, and I wanted to suggest to him that he didn’t need to come. (I suggested he not do anything unsafe when I called, and I’m sure he understood what I meant. He’s the smart ex-pharmacist, after all.)

In any case, we’re doing fine, and tomorrow I may tackle cleaning some of my dad’s desk. My ex-girlfriend had some suggestions because she had to clean up her dad’s office as well. (If you’re wondering if we’re still friends, she came by to check on us and see how we were doing today.)

Pa’s room.

Like my sister said, he went mostly the way she would want to go, fairly peacefully in his sleep, not knowing the worst. I added he went out the way he would want to go, the big drama queen, rolling down the stairs with no pants on. One of the last family images: after I called 911, my mom was cutting my dad’s toenails (that were almost half-an-inch long) as he lay on the living room floor before the paramedics came to take him to the hospital. Don’t worry, we made sure he was comfortable (even using the doll from yesterday’s posting as a pillow) before we started doing nutty things.

And on an official note, the memorial service is on Friday the 20th, at 7PM, at the Oregon Buddhist Temple, 3720 SE 34th Avenue Portland, OR 97202 (just south of Powell Blvd.)