Two-Dollar Bills are Still Special

"Money" Cedar Park, 2019
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/4, 1/105 sec, ISO6400
“Money” Cedar Park, 2019

こんばんは。How’s it going?

At Saturday’s Lunar New Year celebration, our kids each received a stack of red envelopes from the married people at the party. It’s a tradition that those who are married give red envelopes, which contain money, to the single people, and so our kids, who are still in their teens, still have several years of red envelopes coming up (we hope)!

Anyway, these days our kids prefer to use their debit cards, so they’ll give me all the cash that they collect at the party and I will transfer that amount to their cards. And usually, a couple two-dollar bills are in the stack of cash for exchanging.

So, this is the time of year that I see the two-dollar bill more often, which is cool because these bills are special to me. The two-dollar bill went out of print in 1966, but was re-issued in 1976 which was the bi-centennial year of the United States. According to Wikipedia, the bill reissue wasn’t specifically to celebrate the bi-centennial, but with all the hoopla surrounding the year, it sure seemed like it was part the celebration. Since I was a little kid at the time, it made a big impression on me!

Even today, I still get a small thrill when I see a two-dollar bill out in the wild. Not only that, but I feel a little bad about spending them or depositing them at the bank –.it seems like I should be collecting them, just like when I was a kid! But I realize that one nice, crisp two-dollar bill safe and sound in the drawer is enough. 😊

I hope you had a great day!


Just Realizing that Lots of Changes are Coming

"Cluttered Corner" Cedar Park, 2019
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/3.2, 1/125 sec, ISO3200
“Cluttered Corner” Cedar Park, 2019

こんばんは。How’s it going?

As my oldest son gets closer to graduation, it’s finally dawning on me that he’ll be leaving the house in just five or six months. So that means a lot of things that I’ve done each day for many years will come to an end. For instance, I won’t be making tamago-gohan for him for breakfast anymore. I also won’t be picking him up from school. And the dinner table will have an empty chair. All of these make me a little sad. 😢

But of course I am also excited to see what the future has in store for all of us so I will keep looking ahead with a positive attitude. がんばれ❗️

I hope you had a nice day!


Things That Spark Joy in Me

"Things That Spark Joy" Cedar Park, 2019
Photo info: FUJIFILM X-T10, 18mm, f/2.8, 1/60 sec, ISO400
“Things That Spark Joy” Cedar Park, 2019

こんばんは。How’s it going?

It seems that everyone is talking about Marie Kondo lately because of her show on Netflix. I’ve seen a couple episodes and read her book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, which I enjoyed, and like a lot of other people, I’ve been re-examining the things that I buy and keep. I’ve put together a list of items that not only “spark joy”, but also are things that I use often and if I lost the item, I’d buy it again.

Instead of listing them here, I created a page so I can update as needed. If you have a few minutes free, why don’t you check out my list? (And if you buy anything via the links, I’ll get a small kick-back from Amazon 🤗)


A Rare Television Time

When I stay at my parents’ house for the holidays it’s always interesting to see what’s on tv because I don’t watch American television shows very much. So it’s eye-opening to see what ads are being shown to the Southern Californian tv-viewing audience.

As far as ads are concerned, it’s all about new cars and new drugs. I can’t believe how many there are! Ford Sellathon, Toyatathon, Happy Honda Days, Mercedes Benz Winter Event, Chevy Families, etc. And the drug commercials – I can’t keep up with all the creative names, but the trend seems to be skincare/psoriasis this year, and diabetes is always high on the playlist.

I just finished the book A Thousand Miles to Freedom: My Escape from North Korea, and the author describes life in the totalitarian state and the brainwashing they North Korean regime inflicts on its people with its strict control of access to information. I keep thinking of the tv (which seems to be constantly on) here at my parents’ house and the words and images always streaming out of it. It’s a different kind of brainwashing, but easy to see the similarities.

Christmas Eve Morning Run

"Running Shoes" Torrance, 2018
Photo info: motorola moto g(6), 3.95mm, f/1.8, 1/30 sec, ISO361
“Running Shoes” Torrance, 2018

Went for a 2-mile run/walk around my the neighborhood where I grew up. There have been a few changes over the years, such as stop signs replacing yield sign, but for the most part, the neighborhood is still the same. I ran around my old elementary school as well, and it still looks the same. The original buildings are there, and of course, there are the newer “temporary” classrooms that have been there for so long, they seem permanent.

Every year, I am happy to see that the rocket ship in the playground still survives. It has seen several modernization/safety upgrades over the years but it’s essentially the same. I hope they never get rid of it!

"Rocket" Torrance, 2018
Photo info: motorola moto g(6), 3.95mm, f/1.8, 1/120 sec, ISO177
“Rocket” Torrance, 2018