Monday, July 30, 2012

Chinese Mom Say

I love my mom to pieces but more often than not, I am so glad she is my mother and not my mother-in-law (good luck future brother's wife).  My own mother-in-law is also Chinese, but having come to the US when she was 18 and having married a wonderful white man, she is unaccustomed to the Chinese ways that my mother still is so peculiar and particular about.

I talk to my mother everyday, sometimes more than three times in a day, and some days I want to hit myself on the forehead repeatedly.  Other days days I actually want to scream in rebellion.   But most days, I am becoming better at accepting her love (as weird as it may seem) and learning not to talk back (because it's not filial if I do).  Here are some of the things she says to me.

The following has been translated to English for your reading pleasure.

Your child is too skinny.  Don't you feed him anything?
Your child poops too much.  What are you feeding him?

Of course you think your child is cute, he's yours!
Your child is pretty cute, if I do say so myself.

Don't feed him chips!  That stuff is unhealthy and fattening.
Don't give him that, it's too oily!
Why is your son so skinny?  What are you feeding him?

You look dark.  Yellow.  Unhealthy.
Go get a facial.  I'm sending you face masks now.  They're in the mail.

Pull his legs straight or he'll be bowl legged.
Don't let him walk too much because his bones are still underdeveloped.

He can't eat popsicles!  Too cold!
He can't eat chicken nuggets!  Too hard to chew!
He likes ice cream?  You loved ice cream too!
He likes french fries?  Don't let him eat french fries!

What did Jordan eat today?  How many times did he poop today?
Wow he poops a lot.  He never stays still!  No wonder he's so skinny.

Are you making Andy and Jordan smoothies everyday?
Your house looks messy, have you been cleaning it?

Did you workout today?
You need to eat more, you're too skinny now.
Don't let yourself go!  Are you taking care of yourself?
Are you fat or skinny now?

Ever wonder why I am the way I am?  Well, now you know.  Wouldn't trade it for anything, Chinese moms are the best...even if they are quirky.

Friday, July 27, 2012

My Friday Night

I don't think there was ever a moment in my life when I thought, this Friday night, as I stay home to clean the bathroom, clear the dishes, reline the stove, make some kale chips, read a book, and use a facial mask, I will have the best night ever!  But here I am chips made (and eaten), bathroom cleaned, dishes and stove pending and face mask and book awaiting, and it feels amazing.

I think too often, we classify what is and isn't a fun Friday night activity based on what society tells is is supposed to be a Friday night.  I remember when I used to opt to stay in and read instead of party on a Friday night.  My friends would voice utter respect for my decision but then deem it "lame" outloud and proceed to convince me to do the same thing Sunday afternoon and go out with them instead.  But after a week of long hours and brain power used to create excel schedules and have difficult conversations, the leisurely Friday was often what I wanted and needed.  At the heart of things, I am a huge homebody.  I'm sure a lot of people would think of my Friday night as dull and even go so far as to feel sorry for me.  I likewise, have thought of those dolling up at 10 PM on a Friday night or going out to eat with friends as a lot of work (get dressed, are you serious?!)  To each their own though.

There are plenty of people who LOVE getting ready to go out when I'm getting ready to turn in, as there are tons of people who LOVE catching up on household items and curling up with a good book instead of venturing out into the unknown.  But I will admit, I did not think I'd be here and yet I am.  Maybe it's motherhood, maybe it's maturity, maybe it's borderline OCD.  You just never know.  *sigh. You just never know.

We're Not AS Young Anymore...

In the non-Momo world, it is very common for people to get married in their mid to late 20's.  So when I frequented my BFF's wedding this last weekend, it was indeed one of the last weddings out of my good friends (probably two more left) I would attend.  And guess what?  We're old now.

This is how I knew we were getting old.

1) Everyone is a couple.  In my mid 20's, weddings were a fun place to bring the someone you were serious with, but it was a rare thing.  To ask someone to a wedding was basically saying yes, I would marry you.  It's not a big deal anymore, everyone there at the wedding IS with their really significant other.  Crazy how fast that happened.

2) The music on the dance floor is from middle school, high school, college, and post-college/work life, but nothing is from the last year.  When listening to old songs, I commented, "dude, this song is old!" to which my friends responded, "No!  This was about 200....7"  My point exactly, that was a long time ago.  Was there any music from the current top 40 chart?  No sir. This is how we do it.  Too bad it wasn't Friday night.

3) The photobooth did not get used much.  When photobooths became a thing of weddings (maybe three to four years ago), we raided them like teenagers obsessed with Tiger Beat.  We got so much use out of the photobooth, it was almost embarrassing (almost) to see ourselves in every other photo once they were posted (who knew the couple got digital copies?).

We're still young (age is relative to me!) but we're definitely able to look back at events from 2007 and say, that was five years ago!  Anytime you can use a number like 5, 10, 20, 50... it feels like a long time ago.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Loner Me

Jordan and I just returned from a long weekend in the bay area and Sonoma County for my BFF's wedding.  It was a burning hot weekend without Andy which led me to better appreciate my husband's company at weddings.  My parents also came since they have known Grace for as long as me so I had a lot of help with Jordan while I was off with my bridal party responsibilities.  Alas, my plus one, Jordan, cute as he may be, cannot talk yet... so every time something funny happened or something noteworthy, I'd start to say something, look for a response - and whichever friend I was meaning to talk to, would be with their significant other or assume I wasn't talking to them (but hello, if not them then who?!).  After this happened about four times, I realized... nobody's listening to me, but I wouldn't give up and was met with continued disappointment known as one person conversations. They must have thought I was full of rhetorical questions this weekend.  No, they probably didn't hear me.  Everyone was with their dates and enjoying the photo booth, chip bar, or free flowing wine, and then there was lil ol' me, unsuccessfully trying to take photo booth photos with Jordan (huge fail), grabbing chips on my own and eating them by myself, and then walking around with Jordan on the dance floor (which he absolutely loved).  It reminded me a lot of eighth grade when my abnormal 5'7 height made it difficult for any of the guys to ask me for a dance.  Instead, I roamed around the refreshment table, slouched over, embarrassed of my towering height, longing for a handsome tall man to dance with. Not much has changed.

Jordan, on the other hand, didn't seem to notice Daddy was missing, until he saw him in the airport Sunday night and was all smiles and happiness.  But as for the weekend, he got so much attention from strangers, everyone at the wedding, and wai-puo and wai-gong, that he didn't even realize when Mommy was gone!  It wasn't until after my MOH speech that he seemed to want me, and I think that might have been just to sit at the head table so he could see everyone.  The dance floor was also a playground for him - he roamed the wooden floor before people began dancing and tapped the speakers, wondering where that music was coming from.  As the night progressed past his bedtime, he became tired but refused to rest and instead, reached out to everybody and anybody to hold him on the dance floor.  He just wanted to be in the mix. So you see, my date wasn't that into me.  

I remember there being a time when showing up at a wedding alone didn't seem as big of a deal.  Now, all of my friends are married or on the cusp of being married, which normally is a great thing, but given my weekend no husband situation, was not.  One would think being alone meant the opportunity to take more photos.  One would be wrong.  Between giving the speech, running around to make sure Grace was okay, using the restroom, helping her in the restroom, talking to the MC/deejay, eating, feeling sorry for my loner self, and then also taking care of Jordan while my parents weren't (which wasn't even a lot since they were with him a lot), the night was over before I knew it.  So at least I didn't have to be a loner for long.  
our make-up is done and I think we're showing how buff we are.... ummm no comment.
the bridesmaids...
my hair from the back!
beautiful Arista Winery in Healdsburg
 My parents, me, and Jordan!
Julia, Jordan and me... he's tired, but if you put him down, he'd point to the dance floor and then motion for you to pick him up

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Out With The Old, In With The New

I've longed for a new dress for quite some time now.  When Andy graduated, I mulled over what type of new cute summer dress I'd wear, immortalized in all the family photos we'd take, worn in the sunny California weather with the backdrop of the beautiful USC campus.  Just darling!  Instead, I got too busy and too cheap to do any sort of shopping.  Add to that the fact that my days of a new outfit for every single new outing are long past me and all you have is lil ol' me with no new dresses.  Instead, now I'm looking towards how I can rearrange old pieces of clothing already in my existing wardrobe for a new outfit, accessorize, or better yet.... make two dresses into one new one?  DING DING DING!  We have a winner!  I tried the last option yesterday.  Keep in mind I am a new, novice, newbie, very inexperienced wannabe sewer.  So much so that Andy had to advise me the base has a detachable section which makes it capable to sew sleeves - no, I did not know and I sewed me sleeves together and sat there, taking them meticulously apart before redoing it again!

I have a bunch of old dresses I don't wear anymore - some because they are too short, some because they do not fit my now Mormon modesty standards, and some because they aren't as cute as they used to be.  I had been eyeing the "modestify your summer dresses" blog post from Sarah from her Welcome to the Good Life blog since Jordan was born - showing it to my mother-in-law, who was staying with us at the time, and is an amazing seamstress.  For the wedding I'm in this weekend, I had envisioned adding sleeves - but the dress was a lot more bare than I thought - and my mother-in-law saved the day by making me a cute lil matching jacket from extra material J. Crew sent me (after many complaints and e-mails).  I couldn't do it for my bridesmaid dress but I wanted something cute for the rehearsal dinner and I didn't want to layer any of my existing dresses because it's going to be hot in Napa Valley! and let's be honest, it's not 1993 and a t-shirt underneath a spaghetti strap dress isn't as cute as it was when Monica wore it on Friends back then.  In her blog posts, Sarah always talks about how her projects are for beginners, but might I just add - there should be a category for pre-beginner because that's where I was yesterday!  The project took me a sincere two and a half hours - including cutting, sewing, un-sewing, re-sewing, un-sewing, re-sewing, etc.  Alas, I have a new dress - no, it wasn't free given the time spent on it, but come to think of it - I don't have the luxury of time to shop on my own anymore... Jordan makes it very hard to get any shopping done, sure he's content for about twenty minutes, but I've always liked shopping alone and he cramps my style.


Monday, July 16, 2012

Ya'll Come Back Now

For the last couple of weeks, I have been quite busy with a lot of bachelorette party preparations for my BFF.  All the time while I was making matching "Don't Mess with Grace" party t-shirts, putting together party favors, preparing the ice breaker games, and grabbing old photos for a slideshow, I couldn't help but worry about the bachelorette party itself.

I wasn't always Mormon.  I had a pretty typical childhood, teenage life, and college experience and so my 20's were for the most part, full of the work hard play hard mentality. There's a popular saying from an LDS talk about a father telling his daughter to remember who she was.  And to be honest, I wondered if I would remember.  I had nightmares about breaking the Word of Wisdom where I'd take just a sip of some pretty tropical (and probably tasty with all that sugar!) drink adorned with a bright festive umbrella, and then I'd wake up and think that was out there and instead worry about what I'd wear when we went out, or if someone (like the old me) would tell me I wasn't dressed appropriately for the occasion.  And then, of course, I also had worries about how the games would go - if they'd think they were stupid, if they'd be bored, or if they'd wish I'd just stop with it all.  Silly things looking back now, but at the time - they were real concerns that I thought about constantly.  I prayed a lot about the weekend, asking for strength where I would not be strong enough, and for a good time bonding with girls, and for my scripture studying, I focused on my testimony and some talks about not looking back (or you'd turn into a pillar of salt! - remember Lot's wife?).  I didn't want to feel outcasted as the uptight religious Mormon girl nor did I want to feel like I had to remind everyone I did not drink, smoke, or wear short dresses.  I just wanted to have fun while being myself, not feel pressured, and be confident with the changes in my life.

Then Friday came and I was off for the weekend.  My first time away from Jordan for more than eight hours and overnight too.  I didn't know what to expect.  I didn't know half the girls who were coming though I had heard many stories about them over the last eight years.  I didn't know how hot it'd be.

The weekend turned out to be amazingly awesome.  Never did I feel alone or judged for not drinking or for what I wore.  Never did I feel criticized for staying in Friday night (I was tired, needed a shower, and hadn't yet studied my scriptures) or for not smoking after a meal (in fact, Wendy and I got to hang out as the odd women out).  Never did I wish I was home (despite missing Jordan and Andy a lot) and never was I bored.  What I did wish for was less heat, less humidity, more air conditioning, and more time!

The weekend was successfully fun.  I got to shop for five hours, finish a book, read some trashy celeb magazines, see my college and old firm buddy, Gena - who was driving through Austin on her way back to Dallas, eat a delicious BBQ chicken meal, walk around all night in flip-flops and a cowboy hat, and talk until 5 AM with two girls I've known for more than 20 years only to then wake up a little over 4 hours for Church completely refreshed and not one bit tired until the plane ride home where I got to sleep for as long as I wanted!  It was indeed fun and felt like I was high on life, but I doubt I had enough to keep me going all weekend long.   I know I am not that awesome and that the Lord had a hand in helping me out, and I'm very grateful for that.  
All the girls in our "Don't Mess with Grace" shirts (made by yours truly) in front of our haunted but legendary hotel, the Driskill, in downtown Austin!
 I blinged the hat and added a veil, should have made her wear a different colored shirt that said "I'm Grace" because EVERYONE kept asking us who Grace was.  
 Waiting to eat a scrumptious meal at Moonshine.... the place has awesome BBQ sauce with a kick in it, and we got some free bread pudding with ice cream (everything's bigger in Texas too!) for the bachelorette!
 These are my Arcadia buddies since the 90's.
 Yeah, don't mess with Grace or I'll shoot you with this gun plastered to the wall!
Our room of girls - Wendy made us do this and yes, we know we're in Texas, not Hawaii.

The best part?  I get to see everyone in exactly one week for the wedding.  

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Work Life Flexibility, a Fraud at Most...?

I love the Power of Moms, and today I just had another article posted... one that is very close to my heart as I tried for so many years to achieve work-life balance, only to fall short myself and realize... le sigh, time to just be flexible and call it a day.  Work-life balance is never truly achievable... read on to find out why... and how that even pertains to motherhood!

Flexibility is the New Balance

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Yummy Air

It's become customary for Jordan and I to drop by Burger King on our way back from the mall indoor playground to get some fries, because who doesn't love fries?  And with that, a mother-son tradition is born!

The last time we went, we got onion rings too - but Jordan wasn't too fond of these and mummy dearest ate 'em all.  So this time, I thought hard about what I wanted.  The summer weather made me decide on a 12 oz icee.  Oh, how I love icees.  They are sincerely a favorite, especially at our beloved Mann movie theatre growing up in Monrovia.  Oh, they had the BEST icees.  I have also recently discovered Target also carries icees.  Yay for me!

I came home, thinking about how great that icee tasted!  One, because it is dang hot.  Scorching.  Without a layer of smog to shield us from the sun, the rays come down BRIGHT and HOT.  When it isn't raining (it feels like every other day, but hasn't for a week now...), it is SUMMER here and though we can escape to the park and be okay in the shade, the mere walk to the car has me drenched in sweat, wondering where the breeze is and wishing for some indoor A/C, hence our second trip yesterday to the indoor, air conditioned playground in the mall.  Relief was had. Two, because icees are so much better than slurpees.  I told Andy of my newfound appreciation of icees over slurpees and he asked what the difference was.  Taste?  I couldn't quite articulate what it was.

So I googled it this morning.

Icees have more air in them and are supposed to be a mixture of concentrate and plain tap water which is then poured into a machine to freeze it whereas a slurpee is a concentrate mixed with carbonate water pumped into some chamber of a machine that freezes it.  That's why icees don't melt the same way.  If you drink a slurpee really fast (like me), it turns into just ice - and you've sucked up all the flavoring, whereas an icee will just be consumed.  Ironice that icees are named icees instead of slurpees, since icees are easier to slurp and slurpees turn into icees.

In celebration of 7/11 and free slurpees at 7-Eleven (while supplies last), I thought it was important to impart the aforementioned details of an icee versus a slurpee.

 Surveying the scene before partaking of the fun
I love this because you can see how small he really is!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Working Hard or Hardly Working

When I used to work for the Firm, I would find myself wasting time surfing the internet, absorbed in Facebook or someone's blog, shopping for useless items deemed necessary online, and basically NOT working.  I was the best at not working when given the opportunity, and despite the amount of time I spent NOT working, I still worked a lot (as in actual hard work focused time).  It was always just a break I told myself.  A short respite from the hard detailed testing or project management I was used to.  A nice escape away from the stress and frustrations of trying to fix a problem that couldn't be fixed.

Now that I work from home, it's crucial that I spend every waking second of the nap time Jordan takes to work.  And I have been very diligent about doing exactly that, especially after moving to small town, where the opportunity to be whisked away to Ding Tai Fong by my mother does not exist.  There are no family within close proximity to take us out here.  No, here we must admit the reality of our fiscal potential and eat out once a week on our own dime.

But today... for some reason, I cannot bring myself to work.  I feel slothful.  Lazy.  Unwilling to move away from the computer's mindless internet surfing.  Isn't it interesting that they call it surfing when in fact, we exert no energy at all besides our eyes being strained and our fingers clicking on our mouses?  Man, those financial statements look so boring.  How did I ever become an accountant?  Party planning seems way more fun.  Has Q2 has already passed?  Ugh.  It seems more fun to use someone else's money to organize something.  Do I really need to data input and then analyze how we did for the second quarter of the year?  Time is passing way too fast.  What should we have for lunch today? That cowboy hat I blinged for Grace last night (Austin bachelorette this upcoming weekend!) is really cute.  So is the tulle and 99 cent veil I added onto it.

I don't even feel like putting laundry or the dishes away and I usually am genuinely excited to do so.  No.  Today feels like a slow and lazy day.  I'd like to just sit here and do nothing.  Maybe listen to some music and just chill.

Hardly working... definitely.

Grace's bachelorette is almost here!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Peer Pressure Got Me Here

Nobody wants to jump on a cliff just because everyone else is, but despite knowing how stupid of a decision it would be, I can't help but wonder... well, if everyone has gone off the cliff, who am I going to hang out with? 

Okay, yes - we know peer pressure is bad, bullying is even worse... but there have been some positive results of peer pressure in my life recently.   

My brother came to visit for a few days with his girlfriend and we made a huge pot of curry and chicken and pork katsu (with sauce we also made from scratch!), 
 and then we decided to venture off for a hike in beautiful nature that is Washington,
 and Andy took Jordan in a backpack,
 and Grace went climbing onto a huge mountain followed by my brother, and then Andy and Jordan...
 and so after hesitating and wondering how long they would take, I finally mustered up the courage to climb after them, all the while thinking I am going to die, I am going to die, I hope I do not die, I hope I do not die...
 and guess what?  I didn't die.  But boy, did I think I was.

We were so high up and the wrong footing, and over and into the river, we would have gone.

On our way back, we went down by the swaying bridge before crossing back over.
 and just enjoyed the view (that huge rock is the one we were on TOP of!... eek!),
 and threw some rocks,
And looked out at nature.  

We went to a diner, dive, and drive-by for lunch afterwards, and confirmed we need to adjust our dining out standards while in Washington (still good, just not that good)..., so we went for ice cream and looked at all the pastries, 

and then, we played on the computer with Uncle Ray and ate watermelon, and played on the iPad with Uncle Ray's girlfriend, Grace... life has been good with visitors.  Jordan has had a lot of attention, too much screen time, and lots of fruit.
 And tonight, he will have cheesecake that Grace made us.

And I got much needed help washing all the remaining strawberries from our picking adventures last weekend.
Whew.  It's fun having visitors.  And even more fun to go beyond your comfort zone whilst being peer pressured to go check out the view.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Tell Me About Yourself

There's nothing more intimidating than someone asking you to tell them about yourself, of course, unless it's asking what do you like to do?  I find the question inexplicably hard to answer given the nature of my complex self.  Where do I begin?  Do you want the brief version or the long drawn out, life story?  Part of the issue lies in the fact that I am an over complicator.  That's right, any normal and simple situation, I can magically complicate and over analyze.  Gone are my bitter and single days of over analyzing, over thinking and over doing it as I was lucky enough to land a nice fella willing to bear with my inadequacies for the rest of eternity... but here to stay are the infrequent thoughts that push me into a sea of confusion and question and wonder.  For example, what do I like to do?  Well, let's think about that together now.

I like to do a lot of things.  But in the short time that I have to answer the question, how do I best answer it while structuring it so you will have the most accurate portrayal of me and not think I'm a raging lunatic which I very well may be?

I like to work out.  But then again, when's the last time I actually entered an actual gym and worked out for more than 30 minutes?  I like to dance.  But come on, it's been years since you actually did a pirouette much less danced anything beyond the dance of excitement or victory (when you're right and your husband is wrong hehe).  I like to write.  But really I'm not trying to sell my own blog, in fact I have so many blogs - only one public, a few personal, and a collection of short stories and articles I have amassed over the years all in hopes of one day publishing something more than a blog or online article.  I like to read.  But reading is such a personal thing unless you're in a book club, otherwise it's just you and the book, right albeit you can also recommend books to other people and converse about it nonchalantly, but I don't want the last book I read or am currently reading to represent my entire book taste.  I like to shop.  But I'm in no way a trendy person, nor do I have the energy to go shopping with anyone besides myself, so really I'm kinda anti-social.  I like to read magazines.  But I haven't subscribed to a non-food magazine for years now so my time consists of skimming the latest Us or Shape (which I subscribed to for more than five years!) while waiting in line.  I like to organize.  But I don't want you to think I'm OCD even though I'm a little borderline at times.  I like to cook.  But wait a minute, do I really?  More along the lines of I like to eat but unless someone else is paying, I better learn how to do it myself.  I like to do crafty things.  Occasionally.  But really, moreso when I have to save money or if it's for someone else like bachelorette stuff or baby shower stuff.  I like to clean.  But whoever actually admits that gets sucked into cleaning up for everyone, so why would I ever admit it?!  I like to be pampered.  But I'm not spoiled!  Or I try not to be!  I like music.  But don't make me tell you what type or what bands I like most, I just like good music, even if it has been years since I've been to a concert.  I like board games.  I really do, but it helps even more if I win.  

So what do I really like?!

I like to ask questions.  I like to question myself.  I like to challenge other people.  I like to make sense despite not always making sense.  I like to be grammatically correct.  I like to think.  I like to laugh.  I like to be silly.  I like to be girly.  I like to play dress-up and make believe.  I like to tell stories.  I like the truth.  I like vegetables.  I like fruits.  I like being healthy.  I like curling my hair.  I like taking photos.  I like watching other people sleep.  I like eavesdropping on strangers' conversations.  I like people watching.  

The real question is what do I love?...

Monday, July 2, 2012

The Open Roads

For years, I was stuck driving in heavy congested LA traffic to and fro work.  Hours of my life were wasted away inside a car, listening to morning talk shows and afternoon rush hour radio, monotonously moving or wondering what accident was ahead of me, trying to catch up with friends on the phone, or just trying not to fall asleep.  Traffic consumed my life.  I absorbed Sigalert, launching it in my browser, hoping for a preponderance of green, only to be met with lots of red and speckles of yellow.  Often, the results of Sigalert convinced me to stick around work or go to happy hour, wait out the traffic, and inadvertently, I was accused of being a workaholic, despite socializing with co-workers (if it's work related, it's work).  Even after work no longer called for a disgusting commute, outings were carefully planned around traffic time.  Andy and I would discuss the potential ramifications of leaving for the Westside between 4 and 7 PM on Friday afternoons and eventually, we'd enjoy each other's company in traffic and call all our family members while in the car.  Yes, traffic was a huge part of my life, an inconvenience I saw as normal, expected, and just addressed by carefully planning around it.

And now, years later... for the first time in my life, I do not know what traffic is. 

Everything actually takes 20 minutes or less to get to.  The accuracy of estimated travel times per google maps is astonishing.  

This weekend, we ventured off too pick some strawberries and we were running behind (shocking), but even with the delay ... we made it to lunch at this cute coffee shop that serves food (it's owned by one of Andy's residents) in the opposite direction of where we'd eventually head for strawberry picking, but we had to do it all within a few short hours knowing we'd have to make it back by 4, at the latest, to start dinner for the Missionaries we were having over at 5 PM for dinner.  

If it weren't for the lack of traffic here... we'd never have been able to pull it off!

Yes, they are indeed gourmet hot dogs - one with baked beans, bacon, white onions and mustard, and the other with grilled pineapple and red onions with BBQ sauce.