happy blue year!

“There’s a certain time of day after sunset when people naturally seem to feel the urge to gather by a fire or a stove or a hibachi or another common source of heat and food, and hunker down together to eat and drink. Call it the blue hour.” ~ Kate Christensen

 🎵 Blue on blue, heartache on heartache . . . 🎶

Remember that song? It comes to mind whenever I think about 2017 . . .

But now it’s 2018 — Happy New Year, Friends!

We’ve turned the page, so it’s time to shift our thinking.


In fact, it’s so good, I chose to make THINK BLUE my motto for 2018. 🙂

Last year my One Little Word was TRUTH. Poor Truth was tested, dragged through the mud, disguised, distorted, ignored, disregarded. Is that any way to treat one of the bedrocks of a civilized society? I think not.

I will always champion Truth, because no matter what you do to her, she prevails. She will always find a way to make herself known.

Since Truth is having an especially tough time right now, I wanted to support her with Two Little Words. I chose THINK BLUE after reading this poem:



by Stephen Dobyns

Over the years — and Heart has had many years —
numerous objects have slipped from his possession,
some were lost, some fell apart, some got stolen.
That cowboy doll he loved as a child,
does a piece of it still remain? And the pen
he’s been looking for all week, where does it hide?
His favorite blue cup which the dog broke,
the green linen shirt that at last wore out,
the Chevy convertible that wound up in the junk yard —
Heart has come to think that all these objects are together
along with absent friends, departed family members
and pets that traveled over to the great beyond.
Somewhere, he believes, there’s a place made up
of previous houses, former gardens and furnished
with the vanished furniture his hands have touched.
There missing friends recline on once-loved chairs.
A cat gone for twenty years naps beneath a burning lamp.
Lost clothes fill the closets, lost books line the shelves.
The trees in front, cars in back: Heart would know them all.
These days Heart’s mind sometimes wanders.
He’s in a daze, he’s drifted off or gathering wool,
and he thinks at such times he, too, has disappeared,
that he’s rambling through his composite house,
sipping coffee from his blue cup, tossing a ball
for a mutt he owned when he was six or walking
arm and arm with a friend not seen for years.
You look pale, the friend says, you’ve gotten thinner.
I’ve been away, says Heart, I’ve been away.

~ from Poetry Magazine, 1999

via Nikolina Mazar


Continue reading

one more bowl of dumpling soup, but please, no octopus!

book and soup
Nothing like a bowl of homemade mandu to start off a new year!

Once upon a time, I published a picture book called Dumpling Soup, illustrated by Lillian Hsu-Flanders:

Every year on New Year’s Eve, my whole family goes to Grandma’s house for dumpling soup. My aunties and uncles and cousins come from all around Oahu. Most of them are Korean, but some are Japanese, Chinese, Hawaiian, or haole (Hawaiian for white people). Grandma calls our family ‘chop suey,’ which means ‘all mixed up’ in pidgin. I like it that way. So does Grandma. ‘More spice,’ she says.

This year, I celebrated the New Year in Hawai’i for the first time in decades. Thanks to my mom, I got to eat my favorite traditional Korean dishes, and for the first time ever, I got to hear my story read aloud on New Year’s Eve.

julia book

julia book 2

My niece Julia wasn’t yet born when the book was first published almost twenty years ago, and she never experienced those big, noisy family gatherings I so fondly recall in the story. But at least she can still eat some of the same food! It was hilarious hearing her trying to pronounce the Korean phrases — but what a wonderful, expressive reader she is, and for a few moments, I was 7 years old again, smack dab in the middle of “so many Yangs!” 🙂

Continue reading

hello, 2012!

Happy New Year, Friends!

Would you care for some Korean dumpling soup?

Whoever declared January National Soup Month was a genius. Soup is the only way to begin a new year, the only way to begin anything, really.

So, did you have a good holiday? I’m still in a cookie coma, and Cornelius is way out of control.

Mr. Hatley, our resident erudite, is very good at reading recipes aloud. Like Cornelius, he’s definitely not lacking in the confidence department.

What are you most looking forward to in 2012?

This will be my “learn new technologies” year. Quite a challenge for someone who’s still chiseling letters on stone tablets. The other day, I bit the bullet (actually the Apple), and purchased my first — *wait for it* — MacBook.

Step into the light, she said.

I’m also determined to become a better photographer. Yes, a new camera, my fourth Canon. Don’t call me to take your wedding photos just yet, but if you have a freshly baked cupcake lying around, I’d be mighty tempted to snap it!

Come Spring, I will purchase my first smart phone. (Is that applause I hear?) This will actually be my first mobile phone ever.

*pause while you pick yourself up off the floor*

I need to make it easier for Paul, George, Bob and Colin to ring me up!

Speaking of Bob, saw him recently at Madame Tussaud’s, along with a bunch of other cool people.

Forever Young

(Click here to see my Facebook album, “Fun at the Wax Museum.” )

I’m looking forward to cooking up lots more mischief many socially redeeming blog posts during 2012, and hope you’ll drop by often, bibbed and ready, to slurp, taste, nibble, nosh, chew, and drool right along with me.

Stay tuned for our first Soup of the Day celebration for 2012 featuring Dumpling Days by Grace Lin. Yes, I know. It’s the PERFECT book to kick things off.

Till next time, Happy Reading, Writing, Eating, and Playing!!

Thank you for being you, and for being here.

Love ♥,


“A #2 pencil and a dream can take you anywhere.” ~ Joyce A. Meyers


Copyright © 2012 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.