Monthly Archives: January 2011

Version 2.0

Version 2.0


First month into the new year, and I’m already creating a new version of me. Last time I wrote, I was pissed and angry and well, disgruntled. My weekend getaway in Long Beach turned out to be just the antidote I needed. Hanging with Pamela is like wearing pajamas– it’s just so easy, so comfortable, so great. We hit the ground running the night I flew in. Hit the supermarket on the way from the airport to her home (gotta squeeze in those errands!), hung a bit with her hubby, and then we headed out to a nightclub. Yup, totally anti-me, but what the heck? She wanted me to meet her friends and well, they wanted to go to a gay dance club. Let’s just say, the experience was majorly traumatic. I saw all kinds of crazy bumpin’ and grindin’. This was like ten times worse than watching Jersey Shore. And people wear the skankiest stuff and bust out the trashiest moves! Seriously, do I need to see you doing doggie-style on the dance floor???

I don’t dance, so I just sat at the table observing all this in utter horror. Fortunately, in my old age, I’ve grown more tolerant of uncomfortable environments. Had I gone to a dance club a year or two back, I would have been stressed out about being the one lame person sitting at the table not participating. But now that I’m mid-30s, it doesn’t bother me that much. They can go do their thing, and I’ll just watch (while maintaining composure) and just count down the minutes until the misery is over. In the older version of me, I probably would have gotten upset at Pamela too for subjecting me to this, but you know what? She’s had a rough year, and heck, the girl loves to dance. She should get her 2-3 hours of fun.

Btw, a woman tried to talk to me– she complimented me on my blazer, but then I responded in the most idiotic manner: “Oh thanks, it’s my mom’s.” I know, totally moronic, and if I were interested in someone and she responded with that? Loser! Ah well, it’s no surprise that I’m a dork. Just laugh with me AT me. See, while everyone was partying it up, my phone went off with an alarm for my calendar event: saline nasal rinse. Yup, that’s how fucking cool I am.

The next day, we had breakfast at an awesome little French cafe. I had a waffle Folle– a waffle with fresh fruit + Nutella. I’m telling you, that chocolate hazelnut spread is like my version of crack. It goes on everything, and I crave that shit every damn day. Maybe that’s why the pounds aren’t shedding despite 90 minutes of hot yoga three times a week. Whatever.

So yeah, breakfast was delish. Then we walked in the sunshine (85 degrees!!), got pedicures, walked around some more. Finished the day off with three games of bowling. So much fun. Turns out, her hubster grew up bowling with his dad and grandfather– played on the league and everything. I always love it when people reconnect with their childhood hobbies.

The final day (yes, I was only there two days), we hit Rancho Palos Verdes along the coast. Did a good bit of hiking in my ballet flats, of all things. But god, it was beautiful. Mind you, Pamela and I talked the entire time. Yup, we can talk forever.

After the hike, we went for the hard stuff: Blue Valentine. The movie was well done, but to my surprise, I hardly cried. And I found myself sympathizing with the husband. Argh! I sided with him, and so did Pamela. After I got home, I read a ton more reviews, and all the critics kept saying how you could see BOTH sides, and some even sympathized more with the wife. Wth? I always want to side with the woman, and yet this time… I didn’t see it. Did I not pick up on the subtleties? Ugh. I will have to watch it again. Sometimes I’m so clueless.

Since my return home from Long Beach, things have been better. John is really trying to be pro-active. He’s taking a stress reduction/meditation class, and he practices every day. He registered for a gardening class. He’s been trying all kinds of new recipes (again, thwarting all my hot yoga work), and he’s taking care of other house-related items– repairs, yard work. It’s a pleasant and welcome change.

I am back into my activities. Lots of shopping going on– online and otherwise. The sales are pretty good right now as stores make room for spring items. The usual suspects: BR, Target, Loft.

Tomorrow I have my self-defense class. Mind you, it’s just a one-timer for two hours, but I’ve always wanted to see what that’s about. I think I’ll learn something. Tuesday I’m taking a photography class– again a onesie for two hours. I guess I’m very noncommittal, except with voice lessons. Those start up next month and run for 16 weeks. I got a lot riding on these lessons, that’s for sure! 🙂

My yoga membership expires later this week, and I think I’m going to really try for my dancer’s body dream. Yesterday, I must have watched 15 clips with Tracy Anderson. I want to believe. I feel like yoga bulked up my shoulders/arms again. Maybe I’m paranoid but I dunno: I see what I see. I’m fascinated by Tracy’s lean and cut (yet tiny) body. Her boot camp in NYC is 3 hrs/day for 2 weeks. Sure, it’s THREE hours/day, but 2 weeks is practically no time! Obviously, I’m not doing the boot camp, but I might try some of her exercises and then hope for the best. 🙂 Guess that means I’m not really THAT dedicated. Just happy to change things up.

Version 3.0 is coming soon– maybe in the next quarter of 2011. I know, I’m going to have to curb the Nutella habit. 🙁

Ladies Weekend Ahead

Ladies Weekend Ahead

I’m flying off to Long Beach tomorrow to visit with my Shanghai bestie Pamela, and holy shit, this is a much-needed vacation. Yes, you may recall that I had a “vacation” over the Christmas holiday; well, let me remind you: family time does NOT equal vacation. Enough said.

I’m stoked for my little trip. To be honest, things at home have kind of been a buzz kill… today was John’s first day out of work (he gave notice at the beginning of the year), and he stayed home while the window contractors replaced our original, untempered single pane casements with new energy-efficient sliders.

I wanted him to talk to the contractors about repairing shoddy stucco work done by a previous contractor. Could he ask them about it? Nope. He’d rather just live with a shoddy stucco job than inquire the cost to fix. Whatever.

So sure, he was captive to the home all day, but you know what? Except for one afternoon at the windows showroom, he didn’t have to do any of the vendor research, meetings, and scheduling. And just like that, voila! New windows in the bedrooms.

I went home for lunch today, ate the leftovers he reheated, and the sink was full of dirty dishes. I started cleaning up. There was a mostly used jar of minced garlic by the sink. I thought we could still get garlic out of it, but he considered the jar done, so fine. It sat by the sink for days. Today, I told him to recycle the jar, and then he started asking whether the jar really needed to be rinsed out. It takes 10 seconds to rinse the goddamn jar. Supposedly, he was just asking because it wastes water to rinse the jar, and if in the end, it doesn’t matter for recycling purposes anyway, why bother? Are you fucking kidding me? If he wants to learn more about the glass recycling process, go right ahead. He has a Mac Pro, an iPad, and an iPhone to research to his heart’s desire. But you know what? It’s 10 seconds to rinse the jar and put it in the recycle bin. Save me the lazy-ass bullshit about saving water. I know he doesn’t give a fuck about the environment.

This is what I have to deal with on a daily basis. Bullshit. So as much as I myself feel inspired to do more, every day I’m faced with bullshit like this. Stupid, simple little things that I have to debate every single time. It’s exhausting, and like I said: all the work of living alone without the benefits. Now it’s very late Friday night, and I’m still pissed. He went to bed hours ago.

Needless to say, it’ll be refreshing to hang with my kindred spirit. We’re going to shop, commiserate, watch Blue Valentine, get pedicures, go for walks by the Ocean… it’ll be a whirlwind two days and then I’ll be all rested and ready for more bullshit come Monday night.

Game Changers

Game Changers

I have decided to compile a list of items/products that have significantly improved my life. You’ll notice a common theme, but whatever, it IS fucking winter.

1. silk thermal base layers
2. heating blanket (oldie but goodie)
3. chullo hat (with ear flaps)
4. isotoner gloves (so warm without sacrificing dexterity)
5. leg warmers (just discovered these at the Japanese dollar store last week!)
6. alpaca scarf (so soft and warm, non-scratchy!)
7. Nutra Sonic facial brush (minimal breakout during Flo week)
8. new windows (just installed today). bedrooms are noticeably warmer

Ok, that’s all that comes to mind right now. I’ll add as more things come to mind.

The Way I Am

The Way I Am

Day 11 of the new year, and I am feeling energized and inspired like never before. Well ok, I guess I have felt like this before, but dayum, it’s been a fucking long ass time. I attribute part of this new breath to my resolution to let things go: control the things I can (myself) and worry/stress/internalize less about things that simply aren’t up to me. Yes, I’m sure I have made this vow before, but this time, I mean it– if only for my own freaking salvation.

I suppose it helps that I have several trips planned in the coming months, and well, the hobbies are kicking up again. I’ve decided that hobbies don’t get the credit they deserve: they’re not just frivolous activities to pass the time; oh no, they are essential to self-nourishment and overall well-being. I’m allowing myself to partake in hobbies (lots of them), because really, there’s no reason to delay: I have the time, I have the funds (especially since Groupon/Living Social make things so much more affordable), and I have the interest/curiosity. The time is now.

Overall, I’m also feeling more hopeful. Maybe it’s media messaging through shows like What Not to Wear, I Used to be Fat, Biggest Loser… call me a sucker, but those shows only reinforce what I’ve believed all along: humans are extremely resilient– they can survive all kinds of crazy mental, emotional, environmental, physical conditions. “Mind over body” really can bring about amazing, incredible positive change. Sure, some skeptics say these “reality” shows appear successful because all the conditions and resources are optimized so people can’t help but succeed… and the point is??? Rather than dismissing and downplaying accomplishments that are nothing short of incredible (no matter how short-lived after returning to the “real” world), these shows only demonstrate and affirm what is possible. To me, that is the magical bit. Think about it: some of those participants weigh over 500 lbs!! And in a matter of months, they transform their bodies, their spirits, their souls, their lives. How does that not amaze and inspire?

A few days after Christmas, I met up with my old college roommate. I used to refer to Yova as my Carrie Bradshaw/Sex in the City friend. She was professionally successful, socially popular, extremely independent. Oftentimes, I envied her life. But like everyone, she had her own set of challenges. She had bad luck with men, and she struggled with her weight. Maybe that was a consequence of her unlucky relationships or her “professional success.” Either way, it was a factor in that all-too-familiar vicious downward spiral. Long story short, when I saw her in December, she looked incredible. In the last year or so, she had started running, going to the gym, and holy smokes, she must have dropped 30-40 lbs!! And the impact on her esteem and overall mood was so palpable. The truth with all of this is: there are no tricks or gimmicks to changing your life. Life is a beotch, and everything requires hard work and effort. Seriously. Maybe some areas are easier for others, but everyone has something that needs improving or fixing… and sometimes the answer is simply: enough with the excuses. Shut up and go.

So now you’re probably asking, what happened to all that bullshit about becoming more empathetic and understanding in the new year? Well honestly, I’m a bit torn now. Especially after reading this article in the WSJ, I kinda feel some validation, like my personal philosophy/attitude is similar to the whole Chinese vs. American parenting dichotomy. Yeah, growing up with what I considered strict Chinese immigrant parents, I was stressed out a lot from the pressure of high expectations, but at the same time, I definitely learned the value of discipline and hard work in achieving goals. The author talks about a kind of tough love approach, with very little emotional coddling. And tonight’s episode of I Used to be Fat seemed to reinforce that method: The trainer was this ex-military dude, and he was fucking fierce! The girl must have cried in all her early workouts– whining and complaining– and the dude was just like, “I don’t want to hear it. Run down and back. If you want to keep crying, you can stay fat.” Sure, he was blunt and harsh and at times his choice of words were downright rude, but it was so refreshing to hear him– to hear this kind of straight-up, no nonsense, no bullshit language. I mean, here he is, changing lives… That woman lost 90 lbs. in 90 days. The results speak for themselves. Like the parents whose decisions override the desires of the children, he pushed her through all the excuses and resistance and self doubt until ultimately, she herself saw the results of her efforts, the direct payoff.

Sure, people will criticize and say it’s not an approach that works for everyone. But how do you know unless you push every person to that extreme? The woman even surprised herself! If life change were a drug, I think I could get hooked. Seriously.

And now that my original attitude has been validated by an outside source, we’ll end with the newest song on my ktv list: Ingrid Michaelson’s The Way I Am.

Good night.