July 7, 2003

Last night my family and I drove over to my aunt’s place in LA for a post-4th of July barbecue. Prep time adopted a mood of chaos as is the custom in my family: my aunt grilling on the patio while simultaneously watching a Food Channel special on San Francisco; my cousin Adam bouncing from room to room with his walkie-talkie in hand, trying to pick up random frequencies; my mom stirring up a satay sauce in the kitchen; my dad conducting business on his cell phone in the living room and my brother engrossed in a Xbox game in my cousin’s room. Multiple conversations took place in the same room and sometimes they traversed walls, with sentences beginning in Filipino and ending in English. My aunt burst out at one point, I want baklava for my birthday cake! [Her birthday is at the end of the month.] And me, I was just soaking it all in. Okay, I’ll admit I was glued to the Food Channel for a good portion of that San Francisco special. They talked about a bakery in the Sunset district that makes fresh phyllo dough every day! I am seriously getting me some of that when I get back to Fog City.

When it came time for Adam to set the table, he put exactly two ice cubes in everyone’s glass or mug. He then proceeded to turn everyone’s mug so that all the handles faced the same direction. Gotta love his exactitude and attention to detail. He reminds me of how I was as a kid.

I predicted that we wouldn’t get to eat until 8 p.m. I was right. When my Aunt Julie’s bird clock chirped 8 o’clock, we sat down to quite a spread: barbecue chicken and sweet, smoky baked beans, salad a la Michelle, grilled red onions and asparagus, pad thai, shrimp fried rice and more bird. It was a pretty chill time around the dinner table for my family; no-one got too riled up and generally, we laughed quite a bit. There was a lot of lizard talk for some reason. Heh heh Times to be thankful for: breaking bread with loved ones. Really, a good night.

Have a great week, everyone.

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