Music room

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Way back when, the piano and the organ were what most kids learned to play. Now I hear parents saying that their kids are learning to play the drums, and in the case of my old school friend’s son, the saxophone. I bumped into her at the local mall while she was out looking for bg swabs and we spent a few minutes catching up. Her son’s teacher comes to the house to give him private music lessons I was just beginning to wonder how she could stand the sound of his saxophone practice in her home when she told me of her soundproof music room. Now I’m wondering what kind of mansion she lives in 😳 .

Those party planners

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It’s graduation time again. I’m seeing flowers, cute stuffed toys and other gifts on sale at the stores now. My girls are helping their friends brainstorm ideas on how to plan those all-time ‘important’ graduation parties. They’re out almost every day in a flurry of activity over how to make each party as cool and memorable as they can. It’s not even their graduation party but they are so busy planning and shopping it feels like it is.

Someone suggested that FavorWarehouse graduation party ideas are where the best ideas are, and they’re off like a pack of hounds sniffing around the website. Young people these days! Every event is a reason to party, and every event is a social media opportunity. My young ladies sure are having fun not only organizing their friends’ graduation parties but also shopping for what gifts to buy for their friends, and what they themselves are going to wear.

On being a bum

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If it seems like I’ve given up on blogging, well, I haven’t. I’m still blogging, furiously, voraciously, in my head every day night. When my head hits the pillow, chances are that keyboard in my head will start hammering out a blog post. Since I’m not in the habit of sleeping with my gadgets, by sunrise, that post would either be lost in space, or relegated to my mental recycle bin. Oh well, so much for blogging!

As it is, life is pretty mundane. I’m more prone to staying home these days. Of late, most of our beloved restaurants have raised prices, reduced portions and watered down their fare. What could be worse than people who take their customers for fools, eh? So I’m down to a handful of restaurants that are just barely meeting our standards. If I were like the regular person who judges a restaurant by the number of diners rather than letting my own tastebuds decide, I might still have a list a mile and a half long. But that’s not me. Right now, I can honestly tell you, my list is looking rather sad.

Luckily for me, food isn’t everything. Shopping is, if you know me. That too, I’ve been doing too much of lately. Not retail therapy, mind you (I’m saving that for you, Cali!), but stuff I need for the house. Yeah, that kind of shopping is fun for a while but it gets to be a bit of a chore. Oh well, I’m done with that now so there’s precious little reason for me to be roaming the malls. I’m home a lot more than I used to, which isn’t necessarily all bad, since I get to stuff I rarely used to have time for, like afternoon naps (aaah!).

If you’re thinking, man, you’re boring, well, maybe I am, or maybe it’s this place, I don’t know, what do you think? Yeah, I should probably join a Facebook food group and spice up my social life with a bunch of strangers. Except I don’t do Facebook, and I’m not interested in saliva-sharing, and I don’t have the patience for people who are unapologetic about showing up late, and I’m not willing to drive out miles for food that everyone else swears is good but likely isn’t… and well, food, in general, isn’t that important to me anyways, so yeah! I can handle a small group of friends who know me and my quirks, and it’s fun when I’m out with my kids but it’s too much work for me to be out with a big, rowdy social group.

So that’s a bit of a random update. I’m trying to find a way to turn my nocturnal blogging into tangible posts because goodness knows how cyberspace must miss my writing by now 😏. To be honest, I miss writing and maybe I’m tired of being a bum too. And I really do miss writing. Have I mentioned that already?

Sidenote: I’m suddenly reminded of a guy I used to work with who would read and reread my memos, emails and every bit of documentation I wrote. No, he didn’t have a crush on me, hell no! He says he just loves to read my writing and I’m like, but it’s business writing, and he goes, I still love the way you write. Hahaha, funny guy πŸ˜„!

The old music store

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I walked past the music store where my daughters used to go for their guitar lessons. It still looks the same – they sell musical instruments at the storefront, and there’s a hallway that leads to a cluster of rooms in the back where they conduct music lessons.

I still remember sitting on the benches outside on Saturday afternoons waiting for my daughters. Business at the store still seems to be good because aside from selling only musical instruments, they are also selling accessories like the jupiter 8 now. I wonder if their teacher still teaches there.

One for the ant

One for the ant
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Seems like I blinked, and it’s April. Where did the time go? Don’t ask me, I have no idea, I wasn’t looking! Mostly the weeks of preparing for the acocalypse have kept me crazy busy. While the grasshoppers have been singing and dancing in the fields, the ants have been hard at work scurrying back and forth with heavy loads on their backs. Don’t envy me, I’m five shades darker than before just from dashing in and out of the sun daily in near 100 degree weather (Vancouver, how I miss thee!). Okay, so now that this chronic bulk shopper is done, she’s finally getting a breather πŸ˜‰ .

Well now, that’s not to say that life has been all work and no play. Hanging out with our Korean friends has been so much fun. Not to mention that I broke the record and had soju and what was that – whiskey? for the first time. I know. It’s bound to send some shockwaves through this little blog of mine. Heck, I don’t even drink, not even socially! I’m strictly an orange juice person. But our friends like to have soju over dinner and they’ve somehow managed to persuade me to try some.

soju

Obviously I had no idea what soju would taste like. It looks like water so I figured, how bad can it be, right? And quite honestly, it isn’t bad. It’s easy to drink, not heavy or intense, and it doesn’t seize up your tongue. Drinking a little now and then is okay. I don’t advocate drinking but like I tell my kids, if the social setting calls for it, we should drink responsibly. Each time before we start dinner, our friends would insist on appointing designated drivers for each car, even though we don’t drink nearly enough to get anywhere near drunk. Gotta love them for it.

On that note, here’s my friendly little reminder to everyone, never drink and drive, be sure you have a designated driver. Like mine, he was only allowed to sip sipping iced green tea πŸ˜‰ .

Music in my ears

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I had a pair of headphones which I used to use at the gym. It’s great to work out to music but it’s so annoying having wires dangling over me when I’m working out. Not for me.

These days, however, I find myself wishing I had headphones to take with me on my travels. It’s nice to have something like kerly to listen to during long layovers. So I went out recently and got myself a pair from Sony which goes really nicely with my new Sony Xperia.

My biggest fear with headphones though is if I forget my volume is set to maximum, and I end up blasting my poor eardrums with deafening music. Not funny!

Bah humbug!

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Glad it’s over… the Lunar New Year, I mean. I used to enjoy it but with each passing year, it’s becoming more and more of a chore. Maybe times have changed. Maybe I’ve become disillusioned. Or maybe it’s a bit of both.

The superstitions: First off, I’m not into the tradition of decorating the house with red decor and lucky plants and symbols, and eating food with auspicious names. So I don’t even bother. I’m no expert but I just can’t see how eating auspiciously named food will make you rich, or having some lucky plant in your home will bring you good luck. If this were true, everyone on Planet Earth would be a freakin’ millionaire.

Relative amnesia: I have some relatives who keep asking the same old questions every year and I keep giving them the same old answers every year. I thought amnesia only happens in soap operas. Some of my relatives are archaeologists, constantly digging for new info. And some of them are bullet trains, boasting non-stop for 3 hours straight.

Boycotting Chinese restaurants: We avoid dining at Chinese restaurants for the length of the Lunar New Year. It’s something we’ve been doing for years. For someone who doesn’t enjoy getting ripped off, paying through the nose for food that’s nothing special except that they come with auspicious names just don’t cut it for me. No thanks!

The gifting contest: It used to be that the exchange of gifts was purely symbolic. Over the years, however, gift giving has become more and more of a contest. Gifts have become ever bigger and more expensive because people are either trying to show off how rich they are, or they’re trying to get into the good graces of their rich relatives. Frankly I’ve got better things to do than compete for who brings the biggest and most expensive gifts.

Wherefore manners: In the good old days, we would greet our elders by their titles like Second Aunt or Grand Uncle. These days, you would be hard-pressed to hear your nieces and nephews (or even your adult relatives) greet you by your title. All you get these days (if they even bother to greet you at all!) is “Hello, happy new year!”. Excuse me, hello who??? As a younger person (doesn’t matter if you’re 8 or 80), you always greet someone older by their title. Good manners have definitely gone down the drain.

The animal factor: I read that the year of the goat is not a good year to have kids, and some couples were opting for C-sections to have their babies born before the new year. A bit extreme, don’t you think? Well, it seems someone’s always coming up with these kinds of predictions like oh, this is a bad year for this animal year, yada yada yada and people would actually believe them. And don’t even get me started on the feng shui nonsense. All I have to say is – be kind, be compassionate, keep your fingers off what’s not yours, eat less seafood and you’ll be just fine.

I prefer to spend my Lunar New Years across the planet. I don’t drink or gamble and I find LNY songs annoying so I’m not missing much. I find it infinitely more fun hanging out at home with my kids over some good old home-cooked food ala Thanksgiving or Christmas. So yeah!

Hip to be Shopping – Warm tops pretty enough for any kind of day

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The weather’s been so unpredictable everywhere that I’m getting all spiral-eyed trying to picking out a selection this week. There was a time when winter meant coats and jackets but these days, who knows? πŸ˜€ Take the weather here in California, for example, we seem to have skipped winter (except for a few days when it was cold but even then, not cold enough to be wearing a jacket) and now spring is here in the middle of February.

So here I am, with my weekly selection of stuff I have hand-picked, stuff that I would actually wear myself… a very pretty selection, I might add, of tops warm enough for a cool day that won’t leave you shivering when the wind blows.

Petite Red Embellished Shell Top

Petite Red Embellished Shell TopPetite Red Embellished Shell Top

This red embellished top may be sleeveless but it’s perfect for wearing on its own when you take your coat off in the office. The subtle embellishments take you effortlessly from day to night for that after-work gathering on the town.

Pale Pink Soft Knitted Jumper

Pale Pink Soft Knitted JumperPale Pink Soft Knitted Jumper

I love the texture and color of this jumper. It’s a pretty color that is easy to pair with either a skirt or pants. You can wear it day or night and still look so presentable.

Coral Fringe Rib Poncho

Coral Fringe Rib PonchoCoral Fringe Rib Poncho

Just look at the color of this poncho. Sure makes a statement, doesn’t it? And that loose cowl neck gives it a casual look that’s not too casual, know what I mean? Whether it’s a quick trip to the office, or the store, this will do just fine.

Let’s face it, why stick with drab winter colors when you can bust out in these cheerful spring colors, eh? Well, I hope you’ve enjoyed my picks for this week. Wallis is offering FREE delivery on orders over $50 simply by using the code – WALLIS50 – at checkout for a limited time only, so you should definitely check these out! Have a great weekend.

Bug Story No. 103

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Twas a quiet Saturday night just before Christmas. After a deliciously spicy Thai takeout dinner at home, we were each settling down to our own nightly routine… when a scream pierces the silence! My fingers froze on my keyboard, then…

“A BUG!”

No, this is not a scene from a horror movie and the bug is not the size of King Kong. But this is how bug stories go in our family.

Split second of silence, “There’s a BUG!”

Helter-skelter!!

“Where??!”

“HERE!! In the bathroom!”

“Where??!”

“On the towel! THERE!!! QUICK!!”

“Where??!!”

“THERE?!!”!

“Where??” (peers closely) “Is that even a bug?”

“IT IS! There, ThErE, THERE!”

“That’s not a bug.”

“IT IS! It is! It’s MOVING, omg, OMG!!”

We have a towel by the sink where we place our electric toothbrushes, and there, on the edge of the towel, was what looked like a small piece of oval-shaped cardboard. It was dark brown, flat and FUZZY!! I had no time to take a photo. Neither did I want a photo of this creature to be sitting in my phone *gag*. So you’re going to have to imagine what it looked like. Not pretty, I swear!

I didn’t see it move, well, until it moved, at which point, I jumped back and SCREAMED. Okay, that wasn’t very dignified of me but when you’re in the same room with an unidentified bug the size of half your fingernail, your instinct takes control! When I regained my senses, I heard myself barking orders in rapid fire succession to Hip2bDaughters who had since fled the scene.

“GET ME A PLASTIC BAG! QUICK, ANY PLASTIC BAG! COME ON, HURRY UP, IT’S ON THE MOVE!! GIVE IT TO ME, QUICK! AAAA-AAH!”

At this point, you’re probably thinking, why don’t you just smash the bug and be done with it??!!! Read on, I’ll get to that in a minute.

I threw the open plastic bag over the bug and attempted to grab it with my fingers. I have no idea what kind of bug this was (because I’ve never seen any bug that looks this gross) but it was so flat I couldn’t get a grip.

After several failed attempts, I heard myself rapid-firing another round of orders.

“GET ME A PIECE OF PAPER! YOU HOLD THE PLASTIC BAG! I’LL FISH IT UP AND PUT IT IN THE PLASTIC BAG AND YOU CLOSE IT TIGHT, OK? SOMEONE OPEN THE FRONT DOOR SO I CAN RUN OUT AND TOSS IT OUTSIDE!”

And that’s exactly what we did. It was freezin’ cold outside but I didn’t care. I didn’t even stop to put a jacket on. Plastic bag containing bug in hand, I did the Usain Bolt pastΒ Hip2bDaughters and straight out the front door to our neighbor’s bush where I unceremoniously flung said plastic bag. You can probably tell by now that I wasn’t really thinking. All I cared about was getting that freakin’ bug out of our house!!

It was only much later when things had calmed down that it struck me. Omg, what have I done? What will our neighbors think? Oh well, better in their bush than ours, for sure! The next morning, I tippy-toed out there armed with a pair of kitchen thongs and a bigger plastic bag to transfer that plastic bag AND its contents to right into the garbage bin.

Okay, back to your question – why didn’t I just smash the bug? Sure it would’ve been easier to do just that but that’s not how I roll. In our household, we try to preserve life, no matter how small and seemingly insignificant. We try. We don’t always succeed but we do try.

As you can well imagine, we have enough bug stories to fill a book half a foot thick. The episodes are usually pretty darned scary in the moment but they’re hysterical when we look back at all the times we’ve let a teeny tiny creature turn our house upside down πŸ˜† .

Are you freaked out by bugs, or are you someone who takes them by their horns feelers and wrestles them to the ground? I’d love to hear your bug stories, feel free to share.

Reflecting on 2014

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Here we are, on the last day of yet another year. For me, 2014 has been a little surreal in more ways than one. I woke up on New Year’s Day 2014 in Vancouver, Canada and we’re counting down to 2015 here in California. Sometimes, I wake up and I have to take a minute to check my mental GPS.

Looking back, it’s been sort of interesting…

Cooking firsts

This has been a year of cooking firsts for me. In these past years of cooking for my kids, I’ve always been the chief of pastas, salads, and roasts. This year, well, we seem to be going through a small Asian food revolution here. My kids have started warming up to Asian food which they never quite appreciated before. Thing is I’m not much of an Asian chef. But being the mom that I am, I’ve always catered to my picky eaters’ whims and fancies, or at least, I’ve tried. So that set me off dishing out an eggplant stirfry here, a sophisticated steamed tofu there and glam rice congee on a cold day. There’s nothing I can’t cook with my kids cheering me on πŸ˜‰ !

New loves

This has got to be the year of new loves.

  • Fruits, fruits, fruits – all locally grown (read: no worries about their country of origin!).
  • Boots – bought my first pair, so wearing them every day, I’m in love!
  • Mrs Dishwasher, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways. That you’re making sweet music with my dishes and pots while I’m sitting here at my computer, and when you’re done, everything comes out squeaky clean.
  • Toilet tablets – truly a gift to someone who hates cleaning the toilet bowl.
  • Ready-peeled shrimps, ready-peeled garlic, pre-washed veggies, you get the idea.
  • A car with a reverse camera – not that I can’t do without one but it sure as heck is a cool thing to have.
  • Self-cleaning oven… and if I were ever to have pet fish, they would live a life of luxury in a self-cleaning fish tank.
  • A whirlwind romance with Korean food, thanks to the K-friend who dragged us around town in search of.

Learning experiences

This year has been fraught with new learning experiences, among them:

  • Don’t park the car under a tree unless you want it to be decorated with bird droppings.
  • Volunteering at a community service center was a first and very rewarding experience for me.
  • I spoke Korean to our Korean mart lady so I guess that officially makes me Korean, huh?
  • Diving into a ‘shark’ tank was eye-opening *shudders* and we might even have befriended a semi-friendly shark name of Roger.

I swear there’s a ton more stuff I’d blogged inside my head for days before this but right now, this is about all I can come up with. I’ve got Korean BBQ chicken wing dings fresh out of the oven, scallops and Shiitake mushrooms and a bowl of kimchi sitting on the dining table.

To all my readers and fellow bloggers, have a safe and amazing 2015. Happy New Year!

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