Sunday, May 30, 2010

Busted: Oli and diet coke

My friend's baby is pretty darn cute, even if he did take my diet coke when I wasn't looking.

Still loving these Hipstamatic pictures--it makes Linda's floor look like a ballet studio.

Saturday, May 29, 2010


Inspired by the artistry of Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland, I thought a trip to the Getty would be in order. It was our first time and we learned there is a 3/4 mile tram ride up to the museum from the parking:

Once arrived at an amazing collection of world art, where do two inspired 5th grade girls want to go? You nailed it if you said "cafeteria". But eventually we made our way to some of the exhibits, the best being the ones that had a place to sit down:

I wanted to check out the exhibit entitled "Tasteful Pictures" which was a photo exhibit of food, but we were all a bit disappointed at how unappetizing the pictures were--and apparently, it was sort of the point of the display. One description aptly described that the composition and cropping made a plate of noodles "look like a plate of worms." Blech.

Overall, we enjoyed the views, some sculptures, and yes, the food.

Alice in Wonderland

We had a little girls night out (the girl, her bestie, and me)--starting with dinner at Asia Noodle Cafe:

Then on to the movies, finally saw Alice in Wonderland!

We all agreed that though we found the story a little confusing, we loved the movie visually. Overall, I'd average the C story and the A art direction and give this movie a B. The costumes were gorgeous, the hair and makeup magical, and the art direction alternately creepy, amazing, and downright inspiring.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Bar Celona

For work, we did a workshop a half hour north of Pasadena and when we were done at five, we thought it wiser to wait out the traffic in Pasadena. This is me and my sharp friends from work, sitting pretty and smart in Bar Celona:

But it got better--KW, who used to work with us and left to go to grad school at the University of Southern California, joined us:

The tapas were delicious:

And I HAD to treat my friends to a pitcher of their ridiculously tasty sangria. It's like Kool-Aid for adults--sweet and refreshing. By far, the best sangria I've ever had:

And to cap it off, the Laker fan in the group was pleased by the last second rebound that gave the Lakers an amazing 103-101 win.

Needless to say, it was a great night.

Thursday, May 27, 2010


If there one feature I love, love, love about the iPhone, it would be the amazing apps available for it. I have a ton of free ones and they're mostly photography apps with a few games, like Words with Friends, as I mentioned in this post.

But I recently bought my first app: Hipstamatic. It has a collection of lenses, films, and flashes that mimic the titular original toy camera:

The resulting pictures have a retro look with an appealing sloppy randomness of color processing, graininess, and/or lighting, depending on the lens, film, and/or flash combination. Unlike other photographic apps, which applies the look post-process, Hipstamatic only allows the pictures to be produced organically by taking the picture. The major downside is that in mimicking the real-time camera experience, it gets annoying waiting for the "wiping of the lens", the "transistors" to warm up, or the picture "to develop".

But here's a collection of pictures of various combos of lenses and films that the Hipstamatic can take:

Thai Iced Tea with Boba

Linda's Oli

The girl and me

A trip to the KogiBBQ truck

A cat named Oskar

I love Hipstamatic.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Drink your milk

For the longest time, I've been telling the girl that she needs to eat well (drink her milk, finish her vegetables, eat enough protein, etc.) because she's still growing. And often, she'd sigh, but I'm already one of the taller girls in my class.

To which I'd reply, Don't be so sure--remember my cousin? She was the tallest girl in 3rd grade at 5'2"...

The girl would roll her eyes. I know, Mom, and she'd finish my sentence with a wide-eyed, ghost story flourish, ...and she never grew taller than that...

Anyway, the girl recently had a growth spurt and went from 5'1" to 5'5" in a matter of 8 months. Technically speaking, at age 10, she is only 3 inches shorter than me. The other day, she was standing next to me and nearly looked in my eyes and said, hey I'm almost as tall as you--maybe I'll be taller than you someday. And then I'll say:

Who's the cousin now?

oh, snap.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Hello Monday

Kickin' off the week with one of my favorite breakfast sandwiches: avocado, hard-cooked egg, topped with garlic salt, tapatio hot sauce, olives and a little ketchup to hold it all together.

Happy Monday all!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Fundraiser For Linda - ends TOMORROW!

For those who know me through this blog, you know that my amazing friend Linda has had a crazy year, having survived a coma and becoming a quad amputee.

Besides being a beautiful, hilarious, generous, and crafty genius, I find her determination and independent drive so inspiring as well. Oddly enough, I don't think she realizes how kick-a$$ she is--remember this? She crafted that word "joy" with her fingertip-amputated fingers. Incredible.

What has been eye-opening to me has been the little challenges that one takes for granted: being able to scratch an itch, pick up a tiny piece of paper, or turn a page with fingernails and fingertips, being able to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night without having to put on a pair of prosthetic legs, being able to pick up a toddler with full hands and steady legs, and not being immobilized when a swelling prevents putting on prosthetic legs.

But before all this, Linda was a published and still is a well-regarded scrapbooker. She was on the design team for Cocoa Daisy and now they are having an amazing fundraiser raffle for her.

The prizes are AMAZING. Besides the top prize of the Greece event, major scrapbook celebrities and manufactures have donated fanatastic prizes for this fundraiser. The prizes alone are worth the $10 raffle ticket. The last day to have your donation count as a raffle ticket is tomorrow, May 22.

Because as amazing and determined as Linda, she could still use a helping hand. She lives in a second floor (you can imagine how demanding that is on a person with a pair of prosthetic legs) two bedroom condo with her husband, mother-in-law, and two young sons and they aim to move to a one-story home in the hopefully near future. Her insurance coverage is somewhat limited and doesn't cover test leg prosthetics, which are so key to a good fit for her permanent set of legs. Apparently there are a variety of prosthetic legs and fit and feel is different for each variation.

I hope you'll join me in helping out Linda and participate in this fundraiser.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Happy Birthday Annabelle!

To the best sister I could dare dream to have.

I love you, Annabelle!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Sermon

I wasn't raised going to church but I married into a family that has a Christian tradition on both sides. I've gone to church more than a few times and at some points, quite regularly. There is one particular tale told in a sermon that I always remember and come back to:

An old man lived in a town where there was a major flood warning. As folks were preparing to leave town, they asked him if he wanted to come along. He said, "no thank you, I've been a faithful man to God and I have faith that he will take care of me."

As the flood waters rose to his porch, a man in a canoe paddled by and said, "hey, the flood waters are rising, why don't you get in my canoe and I'll paddle us to dry land."

The old man replied, "no thank you, I've been a faithful man to God and I have faith that he will take care of me."

As the flood waters rose to his second floor, a couple in a row boat paddle by and said, "hey, the flood waters are still rising, why don't you get in our boat and we'll row to dry land."

The old man replied, "no thank you, I've been a faithful man to God and I have faith that he will take care of me."

The flood waters rose to the roof and a helicopter circled above him, and the pilot shouted, "hey, the flood waters are still rising, grab the rope ladder and I can fly you to dry land."

The old man replied, "no thank you, I've been a faithful man to God and I have faith that he will take care of me."

Unfortunately the flood waters continued to rise and the old man perished.

As he reaches Heaven, he asks God, "I've been a faithful man to you all my life--how come you didn't take care of me?"

And God answered, "Who do you think sent the canoe, the rowboat, and the helicopter?"

The takeaways I got was that God helps you in various ways, and often not in a deus ex machina sort of way and that there are signs all around to guide and clue you in life but they're so easy to dismiss, even when they seem fairly obvious.

Obviously, I can't help but relate this to my previous 3 experiences--Zed being my canoe, En my rowboat, and Shue my helicopter.

I guess I can't ask for a bigger sign than that to get my eating/exercise in better balance.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

3 experiences/reflections

Recently I had 3 separate experiences with friends at work that made me reflect on my eating habits/weight gain.

The first was a long car ride (4-5 hours each way) with "Zed" to a workshop for work. I didn't realize the ride would be so long and didn't eat anything that morning as I thought I'd have time to eat something before we left. Unfortunately, we pretty much had to go at 9am. Of course within an hour on the road I'm ravenous. I'll spare the undignified details but eventually I'm snacking on a bag of trail mix that Zed prepared for himself for the long car ride. As I'm munching on some of the cashews, Zed starts talking about a marshmallow experiment done with 5 year-olds. He said that each child was given a marshmallow and told that they could eat that marshmallow or if they waited 15 minutes without eating it, they would get another marshmallow and end up with 2 marshmallows. The adult would then leave the room and return in 15 minutes and would either dole out another marshmallow or see a kid with no marshmallow. They followed up with these kids 20 years later and it turns out that majority of those kids of those kids who waited for the second marshmallow were college-educated, in well-paying jobs, etc. while the marshmallow eaters tended towards lower-paying jobs.

"So...I guess I'm a marshmallow eater?"

"Oh no, I wasn't saying anything about you. Just that it was an interesting experiment on putting off instant gratification for a bigger reward."


On the way back while grabbing dinner in Bakersfield on the way back, he pondered aloud, "What are you going to do with the leftovers?"

"Leftovers?" What was he talking about? "I don't understand."

"Well, we still have a couple hours to go. Would the food survive the ride in the car for that long?"

Then I realized that he fully expected me to have leftovers because my portion was seemingly too huge for one person to eat in one sitting. For better or worse, my inner marshmallow eater was totally shamed into asking for the rest to be boxed up. "I'm sure it'll be fine for the car ride," I sighed.

Reflection on experience #1: I'm a marshmallow eater. Perhaps I should pause and reflect before instantly gratifying my desire to eat.

Experience #2--I was eating with some friends at a catered lunch of Chinese food at work. "En" was apparently known to be a slow eater. He corrected, "I savor and enjoy my food". As this was my first time eating with him, I couldn't help but watch him eat. As I shoveled spoonfuls of food in my face, I watched as En would scoop about 6 grains on the tines of his fork and chew it. Then he'd slice a green bean into 2 pieces and eat one of them. I was incredulous. I stared with the same jealous regard of an adult watching a baby's pure and simple enjoyment of being totally engrossed with a set of car keys.

Reflection on experience #2: Perhaps I could savor my food more.

Experience #3--"Shue" remarked that he saw my post about eating through my birthday and snorted, "no wonder you're struggling to run a mile." Oh snap. It was like asking him "does this shirt made me look fat?" and he replying, "oh no, your three chins make you look fat." hmmph.

Reflection on experience #3: My food intake is exceeding what I burn with any sort of exercise. And it is apparently very, very obvious.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Current obsession: people who run

I have long harbored fantasies of being a runner. I know I've posted about it a couple of times, last August and last November--it's a real calorie burner and it's a really cheap and convenient way to keep in shape. Unfortunately with my short, thick legs, loose rack, and currently, some extra flab that feels like I have a couple of purses slapping my backside, I'm not a natural fit for running. But I still dream. And live vicariously through other people.

Currently I know two people at work preparing for a marathon in the fall. What I am fascinated by is that one of them is like me--never ran more a couple of miles at a time, though he definitely has better lean line for running. They're following a specific training program with scheduled runs building up more miles each week. I'm constantly asking how their training is going and how many miles they've run that week.

Some other folks in the office are more casual runners, one says it's not worth his time unless he runs for like, an hour. An hour!!! I don't think I could drive for an hour without fatiguing. Another one (who has run marathons) runs with her husband and they just go on some trail in the evening and "just go". I'm pretty sure I'd psych myself out attempting an open-ended jog like that.

Even though my weight has caused me to struggle to even run a mile, I wonder if I could ever run something like, 5 miles without stopping? How long would that take--a couple hours?

Maybe I could eventually build up to it...

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Pix from an awesome weekend

My weekend kicked off with lunch with Linda, who totally surprised me with a gift of a Kindle!

I LOVE it. Of course, I open it and start to pull out the "Getting Started" guide. Linda sighs and starts plugging it in and before I know it I'm registered and cruising books on the internet. I've actually explored the non-book aspects of it (mp3 player, web browser) and am totally a new disciple in the Kindle clan.

Our cute kids had fun with their own technology, DSLites.

A great day was topped with a great night with an awesome birthday party for my friend Karen (in the center), which took place at Maureen's (on the right) house:

Maureen's girl and mine enjoyed the birthday cake:

The next day we spent with Nana and celebrated post-Mother's Day:

With a Princess cake:

Light cake, raspberry filling and marzipan coating--delicious.

Sweet ending to a sweet weekend.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

No angry eyes for her

While we were driving, the girl grabbed a pair of sunglasses off the dash and put them on. I always keep a couple of pairs there and I asked why all of a sudden she was wearing sunglasses. She said she realized that when it's bright she tends to squint and furrow her brows. And she didn't want a permanent furrow like I have--she didn't want to have "angry eyes" all the time.

Hmmph. Smart girl.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

The Weekend

I had an early start on the weekend, as I took Friday off. I treated the girl and myself to breakfast at the IHOP before school and bonus--a lady at the table next to us gave me an extra BOGO coupon. Sweet way to start the weekend, right?

Then it was off to Vegas with some friends. Yes, that's right, Vegas. A little pre-Mother's Day getaway with the ladies. Lady Luck was definitely with my friends that Friday night as they came out ahead a couple of hundred dollars ahead, whereas after feeding $80 to the slots, I had this to show for it:

The next night, I burned another $100 learning to play 3 Card Poker. I swung by the restroom and when I came out I pulled out that last money I had: a $5 voucher and the 25 cent voucher I "won" the night before. I put them in a slot machine that was on the end. At the $2 mark, Lady Luck graced me with her presence:

I pocketed $200 of it to cover what I brought--so worst case scenario, I would break even from this weekend in Vegas. I took the other $100 and went back to the 3 card poker table where my friends were. Bottom line, I burned that $100 but, honestly, I got a few hours of fun losing that money. It was a good and fun group of people and we were cheering each other on, hugging when someone won or just for luck. I definitely got the rush of winning big and also the disappointment of watching the pile dwindle back down again, only to win another hand to go another round.

Interestingly enough, it was enough time to generate some superstitions as I played--I felt I had to take a swig of my rum & diet coke before I would touch my cards (yes, I went through a few of those free drinks. And by few, I mean over half a dozen.) Sometimes I felt I had to literally ask the dealer to please give me a straight flush--it started as a joke and then I got a straight and I felt I had to continue that joke in an effort to repeat another good hand. I also came to believe it was bad luck when the dealer revealed my cards one at a time, instead of all at once.

Overall--a really good time. I won't bog this post down with details with all the stuff in between, but briefly, some NKOTB sightings, as well as one of Frank Trigg with his family, some dancing, some pool time, and of course, buffet time. I highly recommend the Bellagio buffet--get there early! I also left with a little more experience and confidence to play a table game again if I go to a casino. Maybe BlackJack?

Thanks to these ladies for such a great time:

You ladies are dynamite!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Last note for Teacher Appreciation week

For the last gift for Teacher Appreciation week, the kids were asked to bring in a piece of fruit. I let the girl pick the fruit when we were at the store last night. She wanted to give a small watermelon.

I guess I was trying to talk her into a smaller fruit by indicating it was so big (the girl sighed, she can share with her husband), how she was going to take it to school (I'll carry it), and how it may not fit in a fruit bowl (so?). At that point, I didn't see a reason not to let her bring it in. A plus was that it gave her space to write another note:

Hope her teacher likes watermelon!

Wish Granted

My sweet cousin Clara super surprised me with an Amazon package that came to work at such the right time. It was from my wish list, stuff from a late-night-wishing session and kind of forgotten about. There was a sweeeeeet Instax mini camera:

(and film!) but it was amazing she had chosen this book:

The girl and I had just seen "Exit Through the Gift Shop" last Saturday. It's a documentary about a fan (and amateur filmmaker) of graffiti artists who ends up a graffiti artist himself. It was made by Banksy and it was a funny and intriguing film, but to be honest, I wish it was more about Banksy himself and his work. I love his work--it's very clever, well executed, and often has a sense of humor to it. I remember while I was watching the movie that I wished I had this book.

Wish granted--amazing. Thanks Clara!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

For her teacher

It's Teacher Appreciation Week and each day the kids are bringing in a token of appreciation. Monday was a personal note, yesterday was a flower from the garden, tomorrow is a piece of fruit, and today is chocolate or coffee. The girl asked me to pick up one of her own favorite bars for her great teacher:

And then we dressed it up:

Happy Teacher Appreciation Week!