Monthly Archives: August 2008

Revisiting Oregon

Revisiting Oregon

Boy have I been productive this week. Yup, I’m giving myself a pat on the back. Despite being the web guru at work, I got sucked into some major party planning. You see, my department is public affairs, so we handle press, media, outreach, volunteer/docent programs, web, plus all events. And next month we’re having a volunteer recognition gathering with almost 200 people. Guess who booked the caterer? Yup, yours truly. And you’ll be happy to know that I went with the highest bidder– it was just so clear the dude’s food was gourmet, and he had his shit together. Takes an OCDer to recognize her fellow OCDer, know what I mean? I cannot wait. The menu looks insanely tasty. And of course, I was able to finagle two price cuts. Yup, I’m learning all about the negotiations.

In other news, I launched a digital photo contest. So far so good. No major glitches, thank goodness. And people have submitted some pretty kickass pics, so I’m hopeful.

Outside of work, I’m out most of next week: meeting up with our Shanghai buddies in Oregon. John and I met Jenny and James in Oregon last August also. James is a crazy superstar multi-tasker who participates in the Hood to Coast race every year. Well good for him. Even though I’m an Olympian-in-training, I ain’t that disciplined. Prefer to just float down the river in an inner tube.

We’ve never been to the Eugene and eastward area. My friend Pamela says she doesn’t know what to expect, but she will pack sneakers (usually, she’s a stilettos kind of gal) and forgo the makeup. Huh? Well I’m on a mission to get some decent pics of Bubs and me, so sorry, the make-up has got to come along. (That’s what happens when you have piss-poor, puny lashes). Anyway, the trip will be fun.

I’m enjoying the new travels. Speaking of traveling, I just sent off our passports to get the Chinese visas. For $40 extra, you can have these companies take care of it all: no waiting in lines in downtown SF to process that crap in person. Jesus, have you noticed how shitty the traffic has gotten the last several days? Thanks a lot, you bastard schoolkids! I don’t even want to think about two trips to the stupid consulate, not to mention waiting in the line, blah, blah. Who has the patience? Snoot, snoot. Haha. Whatev. Money well spent. My passports will be back in my hands next week. So worth it.

Yikes, I am dozing off here in front of the computer. Perhaps the heat is getting to me. K. Time for bed. Later folks!

Productive Weekend

Productive Weekend

Here’s the thing: I really thrive when my todo list is chock full. I think I’ve always had a fear of being lazy, so when my schedule is hectic and I’m buzzing about, somehow that energizes me. I know it sounds dorky, but getting shit done makes me happy.

This weekend was great. Well, it got off to a rocky start with the play I saw on Friday night with some coworkers. Sure, it was a community production. I wasn’t expecting Broadway or anything, but honestly, it was bad. Really bad. Some solid voices in the musical, but major acoustical kinks and plenty of bad acting and uncoordinated dancing. I was happy to support our coworker who had a small part, but man, I could have gotten two new pieces of clothing for the $20, know what I’m saying? Anyway, Friday was a long day. The play started late, ran long, and then it was like a 50-minute drive home. I didn’t get home til well after midnight. Too damn late for a grandma like me.

Thankfully, Saturday we got back on track. First, it was our anniversary. I drove Bubs up into the mountains on Skyline Blvd. for brekkies at the famed Alice’s Restaurant. Yes, it’s the subject of that famous song (which I honestly don’t know anything about— my parents were immigrants: I am culturally illiterate, remember?). My eggs benny were mediocre, but John liked his tri-tip sandwich. Next, we grabbed some dessert at a bakery down the street. We sort of went on a wild goose chase trying to find the theater spot, but after we finally arrived and settled in, the production was magnificent. Crazy mad props go to Atmos Theater’s production of Freedomland. Excellent acting, hilarious dialog (about a dysfunctional family even: no happy-go-lucky shit here), and an invigorating hike in a redwood forest. Seriously folks, it doesn’t get better than this. We loved it!

After we got home, we went for a quick swim in the pool– always refreshing on a hot summer day. I went upstairs to shower and change (we were going to make dinner), but by the time I got back downstairs 30 minutes later, Bubbey had finished cooking the entire meal from start to finish! What a wonderful surprise (and relief)! The dude is crazy fast in the kitchen, and dinner was super tasty: parmesan-panko encrusted mahi mahi with sweet corn and string bean almondine as sides. And he didn’t even follow a recipe. Just pulled that shit out his ass. Yup, I got a lot of learning to do in the kitchen! And man, I slept well last night. I think the secret was several glasses of Gewurztraminer. Had crazy dreams but it felt damn good to sleep in.

Today was a little less eventful: another busy day (just how I like them) but mostly errands. The highlight? Bubs busted out his inline skates for the first time in like 4 months, and we went skating at Keynote rink. Was awesome and I am one step closer to breaking in my new skates. I cannot wait until they are fully broken in, because then I will be unstoppable (and definitely ready for that 15+ mile Sunday skate in SF)! The Olympics may be over folks, but I’m just getting started! 🙂

Mind Over Body

Mind Over Body

Whew! John and I flew back from Vegas early yesterday morning. De-planing took a bit longer than expected (we were in the very last row), so I didn’t reach the office until quarter til 10. Of course by then, we had already been up for five hours. I scored major props from the office peeps– they couldn’t believe we had caught the 6:30 flight and reported for work without skipping a beat. Yup. That’s what it’s like being an Olympian-in-training. No complaints: just do it.

We’ve kept up the morning walking regimen for a week now. Still going strong. Every time I find myself dragging ass trying to get up in the morning, I just think of Michael Phelps: 30 hours/week in the pool. Sure, he’s not the only one busting ass for the Olympics. I should just as easily think of Dara Torres… regardless, all the athletes inspire me to work harder. That doesn’t mean I think anything is possible when when I put my mind to it, but I guess I’d say many things are attainable through persistence (DB is coming soon!!).

John and I met with a Mandarin teacher this evening. We were thinking about signing up for Chinese classes through one of the local city parks and rec departments, but I wanted to meet the teach before committing. Yes, I’m really picky about expending my energies to learn simplified rather than traditional text. Anyway, I hadn’t spoken Mandarin in ages, so I was really psyched about busting it out. And the teach seemed really nice; I liked her focus on speaking and reading (less on writing). So, John is enrolling in her beginning class and I’ll join her advanced. Class starts in September, and I cannot wait. 90 minutes/week. Should be fun, and we’ll be in top form just in time for our trip to Taiwan in late November. Btw, heads up to my Shanghai peeps: we’re heading back to the old stomping grounds for a few days in early December. I’m a little apprehensive because I think triggering that nostalgia will make us want to move abroad again, but we’ll see how everything goes. It’ll be nice to see my friends again and also look at how the city has changed. Oh and I’m booking massages for every single day. Seriously.

In other news, work is busy. I’m getting ready to launch a photo contest at the end of this week. Meanwhile, the Google maps nuisance continues… Ugh. I won’t even get into it…

In happier thoughts, this Saturday is Bub and I’s 12-year anniversary. Woo hoo! It’s been a long windy road (and a very bumpy one this last year), but we’re doing much better now. And I have a fun weekend planned.

Let the Games Begin!

Let the Games Begin!

Holy crap, are you folks watching the Olympics? My frickin’ god, these people are disciplined. Not just the competing athletes (Jesus, is Phelps unreal or what??!) but shit, did you see the opening ceremony? Machine-like precision. That’s it: enough complaining out of me. I’m on it: the pursuit of perfection starts now. It’s so evidently possible.

This week I started a new program. John and I are on Day 3 of waking up early for a morning walk (30-45 minutes) with the pups. And I’m lining up my fall schedule man: Chinese class, swimming, skating, bicycling, web training… who has time for sleep? Hell, if everyday people can freakin’ earn their MBAs and JDs while working full time and raising kids, I can certainly boost my efficiency.

So John is officially back at work. I had my qualms, but so far so good. He made an awesome dinner Monday night. My friend Tina was totally impressed: said for me to shut up from now on — no more complaining about Bubbey. But shit, I’m not about to stand by and get one-upped by the hubby. It’s a new era. So on Tuesday, I checked out a cute mom-and-pop grocery store after work (crazy fresh produce for cheap!!) and I even made dinner: veg black bean sloppy joes. Thank goodness for Rachel Ray. Can you believe I actually got it all done in 30 minutes? Honestly, it was a lot of hustle, but that’s gonna be the story of my life now. Struggle and hustle.

I’m also aiming for longer pool time now. Did you know the swimmers spend like 30 hours/week in the pool? I think I should be able to handle an hour of doggie paddling. I’m such a wussy pants.

What else. Oh, John and I are heading to Vegas this weekend. Yup, we impulsive like that. Our friends are going, and we’re going to meet up, because I’m too cheap to buy the Friday night flights. Gotta love United Efares promos. Flying out Sat and returning early morning Monday. Shaves like $100-$200 off per ticket! Waking up early ain’t gonna be a problem for me anymore. Yeah, I’m disciplined like that. Ha.

I Still Think It’s Ironic

I Still Think It’s Ironic

I had dinner Wednesday night with my childhood friend and her new hubby. They followed an ideal path to marriage, meaning they bypassed all the usual consumerist hoopla. They decided to marry, had a small family-only wedding a month later, done. Short, sweet, and simple. Not that I hated my wedding or anything… I was really pleased with how it all turned out, but it was a lot of stress.

Anyway, we had a nice dinner. Her hubby is a cognitive psychology professor who studies decision-making. I know, I was immediately intrigued: if he studies the process of making decisions, he must be uber decisive, right? How great is that? But when I asked, he said something about being rational. I exclaimed that I am both decisive and rational (I know, I’m so modest), and then he countered that actually, the qualities are opposites. Say what? Technically, you can’t be both decisive and rational. I was totally perplexed but didn’t necessarily want to harp on the details… I would research this further once I got home. So my conclusion is that the common definition of decisiveness is different from the scientific decision. Scientifically, being decisive means selecting/choosing swiftly, almost intuitively, without pause. In the day to day, I consider someone decisive if she’s able to make a decision after reviewing her options. I’m probably butchering the subject matter here (I liken it to my computer-illiterate neighbors referring to desktop icons as “picture squares” or something). Duh, get with the program right?

Anyway, I always have interesting discussions with my friend. Like years ago, she shared her outrage with Alanis Morrisette’s song Ironic. She, and many others, insisted that the instances were not ironic. I suppose a few are not technically correct, but hell, most all of them? Sure seem close enough for a dumbo like me (I certainly wouldn’t go so far as to label Alanis “Mrs. Malapropism”). Then again, I’m not an English major either. Shrug.

Never Say Never

Never Say Never

Hello from the East Coast! I flew out Tuesday morning on Virgin Airlines, of all airlines. Most of you know, I haven’t had the best opinion of Virgin. A few years ago, there was that whole urinals debacle that really rubbed me the wrong way. And of course there was the constant selling of sex that annoyed me as well (I know, they are named Virgin. Hello!). But several of my friends and coworkers praised the new Virgin flights out of SFO: new planes, good customer service, and really great rates– $160 each way to DC! How could I resist? I believe in change: people can change and companies can change… I figured this opportunity was worth a try.

Now that I have made it safely to the other side, I have to say, the flight did not disappoint. The new plane was nice– loaded with power outlets, USB charging ports, cushy seats, adjustable headrests, the works. And the superior cabin pressure control in new planes makes all the difference: no popping ears! Sure, Virgin still tries to nickel and dime with the movies and food, but the touchscreen music jukebox seriously rocks. And I’m not even that into music. But I was listening to all kinds of stuff: Rhianna, Kanye, Dixie Chicks, Sara Bareilles, Depeche Mode… a whole mix. I had a grand time.

Unfortunately, the $160 return leg sold out before I could book it, so I’ll be on AirTran going through Milwaukee on Saturday night. Yup, bottom of the barrel is going to suck. But I’m frugal like that and frankly, flying on crap will only make me appreciate luxury even more. Haha, the mental games I play.

So my parents picked me up at Dulles on Tuesday night, and immediately, I was reminded of marital annoyance and irritation. At the parking kiosk, the machine ate our ticket and then my parents kept bickering (loudly too!). Mom kept reading the screen instructions: “‘Please remove your ticket!’ It says, ‘Please remove your ticket!'” But the ticket was eaten! Dad and I kept explaining that the machine was broken, and around and around we went in circles. It was a horrible, cacophonous show. I hadn’t been on the ground more than ten minutes and already they were starting this up. Ugh.

John and I are coming up on 12 years together, and I am definitely noticing signs of strain and fatigue. Never thought we’d become like “those people.” Ah, the naivete and ignorance of youth! I see now how things really do change, whether you want them to or not… And sometimes in my anger and frustration, I tell myself I’m done: I want to live alone in complete individual freedom, to wallow in selfishness. I feel almost certain. Almost.

And then I think of our good times: I look at old pictures; I recall our long conversations late into the night; I think of all our exciting travels and adventures. Who else could put up with me on a bus to Beijing for 21 hours (and with James Bond movies playing continuously at nightclub decibel levels!). I think of our individual struggles that we have overcome because of the love and support of each other. I think of how he loved me even when I felt depressed and abominably ugly. I think of how, because of him, I have changed for the better and become less rigid, less belligerent, more easy-going, more patient, and more tolerant (Some of you may disagree, but I said “less” and “more,” so it’s relative!).

I also think of how he has changed for the better and grown more responsible, more aware, more feminist, and more proactive because of me. And I realize that ultimately, these recent frustrations are still just bumps in the road. And witnessing silly fights like the parking kiosk incident is yet another reminder of what not to do and how not to behave in my own relationship.

Life really is a lot of work. But just as I learned from my stylish friend Pamela, looking good requires a lot of effort. Similarly, being happy is a lot of damn work. And as someone who’s never been averse to work, I’m resolving to be even more industrious: the ant who works throughout the summer makes it through the winter.

So Over It

So Over It

Thankfully, self-absorption is the secret to getting out of a rut. As I had reasoned, there was no sense getting all worked up over issues beyond my control, i.e. anything outside of myself: the answer was simply to focus on me! Easy enough. My new Rollerblades arrived on Wednesday. These skates are heavier than my old ones, but I can definitely tell they are sturdier. And boy do these babies glide. The left boot still needs some breaking in, but this afternoon I returned to good ol’ Keynote Skating Rink (i.e., the corporate parking garage) and my god, I’d forgotten just how smooth the concrete flooring is. Apollo Ono is in da house! Got a great workout. I’ll certainly go back for more tomorrow.

In other news, I was uber productive last week at work– probably in anticipation of four days out of the office this upcoming week. A childhood friend of mine is getting married, so I’ll be in Maryland for that. Then, run the usual errands/chores with the parents– in and out, I tell you. I max out at about three days. Yup, no tolerance. Oh well. Self preservation. What can I do.

I’ve been getting a lot of home items crossed off the list as well. Tina kept dropping hints about chucking our old Sealy sleeper sofa that was taking up precious living room space (it’s 7′ long). John bought the couch when he had first moved back to the States in 2006, and it was the most comfortable sofa ever but the damn thing weighed about as much as an elephant. In my slow but steady shift towards a clean house, I resolved that the damn boat just had to go. Like immediately. But OMG, what a fucking ordeal this was. Seriously, I tried to get rid of the thing like four times in the past. The last time I gave up, because it was just too much of a hassle. The thing is, folks here are ultra deluxe: they can’t even be bothered with a nice, free couch. Really. I scheduled a pickup with one of the local charities. Two dudes came by, took the cushion out into the sun to examine it (yeah, can you believe that shit??), came back and INSISTED there was pet fur and stains on it (the dogs don’t even jump on our furniture), and then they left. St. Vincent’s my ass. We paid like $300 for the thing two years ago, and it’s in mint condition. Seriously. And they didn’t even want it for free. Picky as hell. Whatev.

After St. Vinny’s, I became even more determined to jettison the damn thing, so I posted on Craigslist. Got four or five bites in like 1 hour, followed by four people frickin’ flaking or giving me attitude for insisting that it go by 8:30 a.m. the next day. Whatever, woman. This awesome piece of furniture is FREE. Fork over some cash to hire movers to haul it to your house, ok? Lazy, cheap bastards. I’m frugal but that is a whole different level. The good news is, eventually, a fellow Asian came through. And this chick busted ass calling movers all over the place. They came the next day and the monster couch was finally out. Now there’s this odd space in my living room, but whatever. I need some freaking room to breathe, know what I’m saying?

So how are things with the hubby, you ask? Well following my 2.5 weeks of living alone, I had some trouble readjusting to sharing the space again. But the larger issue this past week has been his decision to go back to work sooner rather than later. Personally, I don’t feel like he’s done due diligence A) returning to a place that was the source of all his hell B) developing the necessary coping mechanisms to prevent this from occurring again in the future. In other words, is his balanced lifestyle regimen solid enough to withstand a full work schedule? I’m not trying to be negative. I’m not trying to piss on his parade. But I had to witness and suffer the consequences too you know, and I’m not about to go through that shit again.

And if this last week is any indication, this is only the beginning. Last Thursday, he attended a two-day off-site meeting, as a way of “wetting his feet.” Hmm let’s see: the first night, he said he would come home late. How late is late? Try 11:30/midnight. He said “late.” Fair enough. The second day, he said the agenda items ended at 3:30 p.m. I had dinner plans, and he said he would be home for the dogs. While I was at dinner, he texted that things were running late. He got home around 8:30 p.m. Four plus hours late? Are you fucking kidding me?

Earlier in the week, we had talked about going berry picking on Saturday, because he’s been whining about getting fruit at the “source” for making jams. Manual labor (farm work) is not my idea of weekend fun, but I figured we’d try it. On Friday, he tells me that a potential hire is staying through the weekend and he’ll need to meet him for lunch on Saturday. Oh, ok. Guess I was supposed to be happy I didn’t have to do manual labor. Fine. I got shit to do. So today, before he goes to lunch, he tells me he’ll be done around 1:30. When does he call me? At 3:30 p.m. Oh, and btw, can the guy come over. Some nerve. Yeah, I’m independent and I do do my own thing. But I didn’t know I would be doing it from 11:30 to 4 rather than 11:30 to 1:30. Great reintroduction to his work, right? Can’t wait. Whatever. Going to Maryland next week. Who the fuck cares. Over it.