Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Ice cream social - A giveaway

A friend had a really great idea. Why not just give away something yummy once a month? So this is a "silly" giveaway. It's frivolous, and only fiber arts related in the most tangential way. But I like the idea a lot, so here is the first of my ice cream giveaways for this summer.

a Ben and Jerry's free pint coupon on the lawn

Comment to this post by Saturday, June 19th to be included in the random drawing for a Ben & Jerry's free pint coupon. This time, I'd like people to tell me a story about their family or a family story. It can be anything, really, and please do use all sensible internet discretion.

The coupon expires March 1, 2011, and is only valid in the US, sadly. But I don't want anyone international to be left out! So comment anyway, and if you win I'll send you a small surprise instead. :) I'm giving away another coupon through my Ravelry group, and I will accept an entry here and there, but folks can only win one of the two being offered up this month, in order to spread the joy a little.

A family story of mine, learned at dinner last night, after the jump.

A Dairy Queen and a Starbucks share frontage with a dumpling shop in the Yu Gardens tourist shopping district.
Yu Gardens shopping complex, Shanghai, 2008

So we were having a conversation, as we do, about my parents going to University in Taiwan, and talking about class and race and things of that nature.  Somehow it morphed into the revelation that my maternal grandmother was in the 21st generation of the family descended from the first Ming emperor's older sister.

More surprising than that was about the property, however. Apparently her son was a prominent general serving the Emperor, and committed suicide not long after a visit from the him (a lot of convenient and/or mysterious deaths occurred around him). And the Emperor felt so strongly about this event that he gifted his nephew's family with a large parcel of land. And the family kept that land all those centuries until the upheaval of the Sino-Japanese war drastically changed their fortunes and then later the Cultural Revolution took it away entirely.

So, they kept their land longer than the Ming dynasty existed, and through a dynastic change. It took a war and a revolution to take it away. Not unlike how they got it in the first place.

What this means, of course, is that I'm descended from peasants on both sides. But one has to go digging a lot further back on one side than the other. XD

I liked the stories told about the Ming emperor, who was a peasant of Han blood, no doubt to explain/legitimize his claim as Emperor in a culture where the one who sits on the throne is supposed to be the son of Heaven.

One was that his sister, who took care of him as a child, had set his diapers out on the bushes to bleach in the sun and the thorns on the shrubs would tear the cloth. In frustration, she admonished the thorns, telling them they should grow in the other direction so as not to tear her brother's diapers.  And much to her surprise, they complied so as not to inconvenience the infant Emperor-to-be.

Another was that when he was camped outside as a young man, sleeping, and a monk happened upon him and saw him sleeping with his head pillowed on a bamboo carrying pole (扁擔 biandan). He was spread eagle, and his body and the pole created the character for "sky" or "heaven": 天 tian. Then he shifted and curled on his side, creating the character for "son" or "child": 子 zi. The monk was astonished, to say the least, to see this sleeping boy spell out "Son of Heaven" with his body.

Another was that as a young man in the monastery, one of the Emperor-to-be's tasks was to regularly take out the little statues of the gods into the courtyard and dust them. There being so many statues, one day in frustration he told them to go out and dust themselves. To his shock, they all got up, trooped into the courtyard, shook off their dust, and then trooped back in.

Pictures from the Grand Hall and the courtyard of the Jade Buddha Temple, Shanghai, May 2008

So, that's my story. Tell me something about you! :D


Jessie said...

Wow, I really loved reading this! I need a Ben and Jerry's gift certificate like I need a hole in my head though so I just want to say that I love this :)

Renee G said...

Let's see what I can tell you about my family. When my oldest was a mere 5 years old, he attended his first wedding for my husband's niece. When the flower girl and ring bearer came in, he turned to me and said "I thought you had to be older to get married."

Christa Terry said...

Once upon a time, my 13-year-old mom had to drive home because my Opa and Uncle Antonio were drunk. They'd found a cigarette machine that was just dropping boxes of cigs, so they found a shopping cart and filled it up! My Opa was leaning out the car window holding the cart with the cigarettes. And my uncle? He was on the roof of the car. In a lawn chair. No foolin'. (christa d terry at gmail)

Now enter my giveaway (which is languishing sadly):


Anonymous said...

Once, I gave my stepson a microscope set. He decided to play with it when I was there, and he looked at plants and cheese and such on the slides. The set came with a vial of shrimp eggs. Now, he speaks Spanish, and I spoke a lot of English and very little Spanish at that time. He didn't know what the "Shrimp Eggs" on the side of the vial meant, so he asked me what they were.

The Spanish word for "shrimp" is "camarones". I knew this, but accidentally came up with the word "camiones", telling my poor, gentle boy that he was holding a vial of "huevos de camiones". Yep, truck eggs. What, didn't you know that was where trucks came from?

kesten said...

On my mom's side of the family we have a crazy old house. My Grandpa Fred bought it in the forties and it was originally built (I think in the 1800's for one of Lord Byron's daughters- yep that guy that started the whole Mormon thing). Anyway - my aunt still owns it and lives there it is a huge Sandstone structure that consists of two very large floors (the main and the basement) and a side tower that is actually a two bedroom apartment. It is known about the block (and within the family) as the pink castle. It is something like driving an antique car to own - you are CONSTANTLY working on it.... But I have many fond memories of that house, like opening my china doll that my mom went just about around the world to find for me when I was 11 - and my Grandma Wyvone told me that my china doll looked just like hers had when she was a little girl - so I named the doll Clarabell after my Grandmother's doll. Also my parents were married in the grand entrance hall after the the bride had entered up the front (two flights with a landing) stairs.

Suzie said...

My grandfather spent many hours tracing our family history, including relatives such as Sam Houston (a cousin of my great grandfather, I think). Anyway, now I have a book with my family tree, but it doesn't go nearly back as far as the Ming dynasty. Your story was so interesting.

Die Drächin said...

Family story, huh? We have a new cat! His name is Bronson and he's just made of win and awesome! He's the cuddliest cat ever, I swear.

So, since the boy moved in with me, we've been talking about getting him a cat. He's a *huge* cat guy and had to leave two cats behind when he moved. He loved them to bits and was very sad to leave them. At first we were going to wait a few months, since we're moving again, but then since my cat, Wolfram, was all lonely, we decided that we had to look for a cat in earnest There were a few near hits, a very sad miss, and then we decided to try one more shelter. We almost passed Bronson up since he was sick (he has herpes conjunctivitus) but he reached his paw out of the cage and just beckoned to us to play with him. We didn't take him home that day, but went back a week later and spent some time with him, it was just instant love. :D Even Wolfram and him are getting along. The kits have their own room now and spend their time sleeping on the spare bed.

rogue1 said...

When my son was 7 (he is 23 now), I was waiting tables at a fine dining restaurant. Sometimes I would try to recreate the recipes at home. One time, we were out at a Maverick steakhouse. It was the type of steakhouse where you ordered you entree and potato, and fed yourself from the salad bar.

My son called the waitress by name, and said "Judy, there is no arugula on the salad bar."
She said, "What is arugula?" and he replied "Arugula is a small bitter green that adds a peppy flavor to your salad."