I am not an impulse buyer and I learned my lesson about a year and a half ago when I saw a vintage Polaroid camera at a thrift store that I loved, but I wanted to research it before I bought it to make sure it was a good brand and that they still sold parts for it, including film. So I decided to go home and sleep on it before making a decision. After I looked up all the information, found positive reviews and parts, I decided to buy it. I went back the next morning but unfortunately, the camera had already been sold and I was heartbroken.

I kept an eye out for vintage cameras at thrift store since but I never found any… until today! It was a complete impulse buy. I didn’t even research it and I bought it based on my previous experience, knowing it might not be there tomorrow. Also, I’m assuming that it is such an old camera that they no longer sell film or parts for it, and I think I’m okay with that. For the first time in my life, I made an impulse buy! (It also really helps that it was on sale.)

Today must have been my lucky day because I also found a record player, which I have been wanting for some time. I waited patiently and kept my eyes open at thrift stores because I really couldn’t afford to spend hundreds of dollars on a new one. It plays beautifully and I have so much fun listening to old records. My collection so far includes Johnny Cash and Elton John. Two classics!

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records lightened

I think I’m starting a collection of vintage electronics. So far, I have a typewriter, Polaroid camera, and record player! (Although I guess this specific record player is a modern take on a classic sound system.) I love old knickknacks that are no longer made or wanted by people. I find them beautiful and reminiscent of old times and memories.

Maybe one day if I ever settle down and have kids, I can pass them down. Hopefully they will enjoy them, and have love and appreciation for vintage items too.

[Snippets from Ronald Reagan’s Space Shuttle “Challenger” Tragedy Address:]

Ladies and Gentlemen, today is a day for mourning and remembering.
They had a hunger to explore the universe and discover its truths,
And they had that special grace, that special spirit that says:
“Give me a challenge, and I’ll meet it with joy.”
The crew of the Space Shuttle Challenger honored us by the manner in which they lived their lives. We will never forget them as they prepared for their journey and waved goodbye and slipped the surly bonds of earth to touch the face of God.

 

Written in honor of yesterday’s Holocaust Remembrance Day, but something I think about often.

I grew up in Skokie, Illinois (and still consider it my hometown). I did not know at the time but was informed as an adult (by my wiser older sister) that Skokie had the largest number of Holocaust survivors (at one point in time). In elementary school, I learned about Hanukkah, the miracle of the one-day supply of oil lasting for eight days, and latkes on microfilm. Holocaust survivors came to speak to our classes. (I don’t think I fully comprehended the gravity and significance of all this when I was little, but do now, looking back and am so grateful for these experiences.)

As an added bonus, we got all the Jewish holidays off of school and I got to try Jewish cuisine! My first time trying latkes (potato pancakes) was when my classmate’s mom brought them into our class. My immediate thought was ‘you can eat potatoes with apple sauce?!?!?! This is amazing!’ They are a brilliant combination indeed and are to this day, one of my favorite foods.

In third grade, my family moved to the Northwest Suburbs. I quickly learned things were different and that my experience in Skokie had been very special. The first day I walked into my class, I was the only Asian American in my classroom. (My classmates in Skokie were of diverse cultures and backgrounds, and I was definitely not the only Asian. We may even have been part of the majority.) Jewish holidays were not openly discussed or celebrated. Worse of all, we did not get the Jewish holidays off of school! I sorely missed Skokie, Illinois.

Fast-forward a few years and I got to celebrate my friend from Skokie’s bat mitzvah. Fast-forward a few more years and religion became the focus of my studies in college. I took courses like Introduction to Judaism (where I tried coconut macaroons for the first time and learned about traditions such as Kosher, Jewish burial, and I vaguely remember something about the Passover Haggadah being distributed with Folgers Coffee); Philosophy and Revelation (taught by a Jewish professor who brought in hamantasch, which are pastries shaped like Haman’s hat, for the celebration of Purim); and even tried my hand at Hebrew (one of my favorite classes, taught by a wonderful Jewish professor who also taught Hebrew school to little kids.) For some reason, I felt it important to visit the Hillel House and observe Shabbat with my classmates and professors. Many years after college, I experienced my first Passover Seder in Pasadena, California. I like to think growing up in Skokie influenced these decisions and my interest in Judaism, as did my own religious upbringing, even though I was brought up Christian.

When I went to law school in California, I was surprised to run into Skokie, Illinois in a case from the 70’s about Neo-Nazis wanting to put on a march in Skokie wearing Nazi uniforms, displaying swastikas. Again, Skokie had the largest number of Holocaust survivors. (One in six residents was a survivor or was directly related to one.)¹ Of course, being the person I am, with the morals and background that I do, I thought putting on the march was flat-out wrong—racist, offensive, and it also probably brought back horrendous memories for residents who survived the Holocaust. Basically, it went against every fiber of my being and my moral compass. The Neo-Nazis, represented by the ACLU, won and it was decided that they were able to put on their racist march. I thought this decision was wrong (but that’s probably why Con Law II – First Amendment was not my strongest subject in law school). At the end of the day though, they didn’t carry out their march in Skokie and did so in Chicago instead.

As an adult, I reflect back on all these memories and feel like I was part of something very special, albeit in a small and insignificant way, just for having lived in Skokie and having interacted with the survivors who were actually there on the front lines and lived out a very momentous part of history. I feel very proud to have had brief but very significant interactions with them. Growing up in Skokie, Illinois had a profound impact on my childhood and life and I am ever grateful for all the memorable experiences that ultimately formed and shaped who I am today. I am thankful to have a friend who lives in Skokie and get to visit from time to time. I was very excited when the Illinois Holocaust Museum in Skokie first opened and I look forward to visiting one day (hopefully soon).

Dear Friends,

Happy New Year! My birthday is later this month and I was inspired by this blog to celebrate by performing random acts of kindness through the month of January, one for each year I’ve been alive.

You can celebrate with me by performing an act of kindness and sharing it with me via WordPress.

Thanks so much for making this birthday memorable,

Hannah

P.S. Here is a picture of my dog Timmy celebrating his first birthday.

Timmy Birthday

Timmy the Snowman wishes you a very Happy New Year!

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Close Up

I was on the way to visit a friend at Northwestern Memorial Hospital when I happened across this wondrous mural. It blew me away, as I thought it was an actual sculpture. I stood there in awe and was surprised not more people were. Maybe one day I will get to see the actual sculpture in Rome! One can dream! :)

Building

 

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This past Labor Day weekend, I had the chance to visit the Field of Dreams in Iowa! I grew up watching the movie and haven’t revisited it since, until recently when it was played at Millennium Park as part of its Summer Film Series.

Watching the movie piqued my interest, so I looked up Field of Dreams on IMDB and discovered that the field actually still existed and that it was in Iowa, only about a 3 ½ hour drive from where I live! So I made the trip and had a blast. I was able to attend the last Ghost Sunday of the summer.

I wasn’t sure what to expect based on the little information on their website but I’m really glad I went. Just like in the movie, the players came out of the cornfield dressed in garb from the 1910s. There were over 1,000 people and the “ghosts” invited little kids out to play ball.

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The first kid who went up to bat was hilarious because he ran all the bases even though he only legitimately made it to first base. Another kid had toilet paper stuck in the back of his shorts. The spokesperson was comical and I’m under the impression that the ghost players do a lot of great work and visit troops overseas. Some of the players were actually in the movie and were so friendly that they said they would take pictures with everyone who wanted them at the end of the game.

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We almost missed the part where the players came out of the cornfield because of timing but I was glad to get a few photos of them doing so. Even though I’m not a big sports person, I’m a big movie person, and I think it’d be cool to go back and run the bases when it’s less crowded.

Below are some photos from the event. Enjoy!

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A dog has no use for fancy cars or big homes or designer clothes. Status symbol means nothing to him. A waterlogged stick will do just fine. A dog judges others not by their color or creed or class but by who they are inside. A dog doesn’t care if you are rich or poor, educated or illiterate, clever or dull. Give him your heart and he will give you his. It was really quite simple, and yet we humans, so much wiser and more sophisticated, have always had trouble figuring out what really counts and what does not. As I wrote that farewell column to Marley, I realized it was all right there in front of us, if only we opened our eyes. Sometimes it took a dog with bad breath, worse manners, and pure intentions to help us see.

Timmy with my sock.

Timmy the sock stealer.

—John Grogan, Marley & Me

I’m surprised I’ve never written about or posted photos of my dogs. I have two Maltese: Timmy and Toby and they are the loves of my life. (I hope the feeling is mutual.) They bring so much joy into my family’s life and they have taught me so much about unconditional love, loyalty, friendship, empathy, and enjoying the simple things in life. They’ve also taught me how to remain calm in stressful situations, which is something I’m still working on.

They call dog man’s best friend and I definitely consider Timmy and Toby my best friends. They know everything about me and they love me anyway. They are always willing to lend a listening ear and are the best listeners: they never interrupt, are never judgmental, and have kept every secret I’ve ever told them, as far as I know. ;) They know when I’m sad or sick and keep me company during trying times.

I often think dogs are better than humans for all the qualities I’ve described above, which I find rare in most people. This is the reason Aristotle, in his Nicomachean Ethics, said it’s hard to make good friends; virtuous people are few and far between.

With that said, there’s so much we can learn from our four-legged friends. I know I have and continue to on a near-daily basis. The most valuable and important lessons I’ve learned from them are to love deeply, forgive quickly, and live life to its fullest.

If you enjoyed this post, you will likely get a kick out of this:

“Animal lovers are a special breed of humans, generous of spirit, full of empathy, perhaps a little prone to sentimentality, and with hearts as big as a cloudless sky.”

—John Grogan, Marley & Me

Toby in a bowtie.

Toby in his formalwear.

Happy (Belated) National Dog Day!

Kind words are free and should be liberally used.

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Hi Readers,

Sorry I haven’t updated in a while. I’ve had some major life transitions, including moving from California, where I’ve spent the past 6 years, to Chicago, where I grew up. All my childhood friends and memories are here and it’s been so great to catch up. I love the feel of the Midwest; I’ve never met a group of people so willing to help each other out. Funny thing is that I didn’t realize this about Chicago until I left. In other news, I’ve been helping my sister start her own law practice, which is focused on disability law. So far that entails Social Security and Special Education but I’m sure that’s more than you wanted to know.

Along with the move, I’m assuming the topics of this blog will change from nature and the ocean to city life and the joys of the Midwest. I’ve also been meaning to write more so hopefully, I’ll make time to do that.

In addition to an update, I also wanted to say thanks for following this blog, for your comments, and “likes.” It definitely makes my day when I see the notification on the top right of the homepage light up. I’ll leave you with a beautiful view of a sunset over the town I call home.

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P.S. It seems that I regret not always carrying around my (somewhat heavy DSLR) camera because my eyes see amazing things I want to share with you. Thankfully, I usually have my phone and in those times, I guess the grainy photos will have to do.

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