Lamott’s Number Two

In her inspiring and musing TED talk, “12 truths I learned from life and writing,” Anne Lamott shares her number two:

[A]lmost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes—including you.

Ill Something

Đán: Daddy, you are illustrated.
Dad: What is illustrated mean.
Đán: It means you don’t know anything.
Dad: I think the word is illiterate.
Đán: I don’t like that word so you are illustrated.

The B-Word

In eighth grade, I graduated from ESL (English as a Second Language). My wonderful ESL teacher proudly sent me off to a real English class. It felt like an accomplishment to be able to sit in with the rest of my classmates instead of going off to my ESL all by myself.

My new English teacher was a middle-age white male. He was a very nice guy. Being new and proud, I wanted to participate into the class discussion. One day he asked the class a question about what we do at home or on the weekend. I can not recall the exact question, but my classmates’s hands went up and provided all sort of answers. I raised my hand as well. When he called on me, I replied, “Teach a bitch a new trick.” Everyone looked at me shocked and puzzled. The teacher asked, “What?” I replied, “You know, teach a female dog a new trick.” He shook his head and moved on.

Although I knew I had looked up this word in the past, I still felt embarrassed. It had an effect on my ability to participate in class discussions from then on. I felt like I would saying something stupid. As I am reading Kory Stamper’s Word by Word, her explanation of the bitch brought back the good old memory. I was not wrong since I did not use it in a derogatory way.


Dad: Đạo, give your brother a hug and kiss goodbye.
Đạo: Bye Đán.
Đán: Bye Đạo.
Dad: You guys are so nice to each other [after Đạo left].
Đán: I still don’t like his ketchup breath.

The Art of Manipulation

Dad: What were you doing?
Đán: I was reading a book.
Dad: Really? I heard someone played video game on the iPad.
Đán: I read a book last night. Bà ngoại let me played on the iPad this morning.

Đán: Can I watch TV?
Mom: After you eat your breakfast.
Đán: That what I meant.


Đạo: Daddy, Đán’s being mean to me.
Đán: Daddy, Đạo xạo. Phạt him.
Đạo: No, Đán xạo. Phạt him.
Dad: I am going to phạt both of you.
Đán: No, I don’t want you to phạt me. Just phạt Đạo.
Đạo: No, I don’t want to be phạt. Can you un-phạt me?

Summer Reading List

Books I want to read this summer:

  1. To Pixar and Beyond by Lawrence Levy (reading)
  2. Theft by Finding by David Sedaris
  3. Careful by Steve Casner
  4. Pretend I’m Not Here by Barbara Feinman Todd
  5. The Word Detective by John Simpson
  6. Twitter and Tear Gas by Zeynep Tufekci
  7. My Life with Bob by Pamela Paul
  8. Daring to Drive by Manal al-Sharif
  9. Al Franken, Giant of the Senate by Al Franken
  10. Fierce Pajamas edited by David Remnick and Henry Finder

Books I have read.

Popeyes Customer Service Sucks

I went to Popeyes located at 9661 Fairfax Boulevard to pick some mash potatoes for my kids. I ordered two large sizes with gravy on the side. I received two large containers for the mash potatoes and a tiny container for the gravy. I asked for extra gravy and the cashier would not give it to me. I was willing to pay for it, but he rang up almost $3. A regular side of mashed potatoes cost $1.79, and yet an extra gravy cost $3. I cancelled my order and the manager didn’t look happy. He tossed the entire bag in the trash right in front of me before provided me my refund. I went to 29 Diner and ordered 4 portions. They gave me plenty of gravy too. I love Popeyes chicken, but I won’t go back to this location until the manager gets retrained in customer service.


I went to Boston Market and ordered a large size mash potatoes. They gave me generous gravy with no extra charge.

The Pretty Girl

As we headed into the elevator, I told the boys, “Let’s leave her here.” Đạo protested, “No. You’re being mean to mommy.” Đán chimed in, “You can’t leave the pretty girl here.”

Thượng Thọ 80

Chín năm trước tổ chức một buổi sinh nhật mừng mẹ 71 tuổi. Thế mà bây giờ mẹ đã bước sang 80. Năm nay sẽ mừng tuổi mẹ cùng đại gia đình và một vài bạn thân của mẹ.

So với chín năm trước mẹ đã yếu đi nhiều. Tay chân bây giờ bị đau nên đi đứng khó khăn hơn xưa. Tuy yếu đi nhưng mẹ vẫn phấn đấu. Vẫn lo miếng ăn cho con cháu. Vẫn vui vẽ và vẫn giận hờn. Cái quan trọng là cố gắng đừng làm cho mẹ buồn. Bây giờ tôi đã thấu hiểu được tính tình của mẹ. 80 năm vẫn không thay đổi. Thôi thì chỉ mong mẹ được sống yên ổn nhẹ nhàng. Ngày nào còn có mẹ ngày đó còn hạnh phúc.

Tuy không kề cận bên mẹ mỗi ngày nhưng tôi vẫn luôn nghĩ đến mẹ. Trong tim tôi luôn có mẹ cho dù mẹ ở bất cứ nơi nào. Trần gian chỉ là nơi ở trọ còn trong lòng là nơi vĩnh cửu. Tuy nhiên tôi vẫn muốn mẹ được ở trọ trần gian càng lâu càng tốt.

Xin chúc mẹ thượng thọ 80.