Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Dear Prudence

I am a fan of Dear Prudence who gives advice on Usually when I read "Dear Abby"-type columns, I am interested in the questions more so than the answers. It's really people's problems that are more entertaining, and they are usually f#$ked up. However, with Dear Prudence, her answers are just as entertaining, and she says it like it is. She's awesome...especially when she yells at people. Haha! People with problems often think they are NOT the one with the problem. But Dear Prudence has no qualms correcting them.

Here are some good examples, which I will mostly paraphrase:

Q: My young kids accidentally smooshed their hamster, and I bought them a new one to protect them. Is it okay that I lied?
A: Your kids are not as stupid as you think they are. They know they killed the hamster. Now that you brought a new and live hamster home, they are doubly confused and think their hamster has "Wolverine-like" healing abilities. Tell them the truth and stop being stupid.

Q: I am infatuated with my wife's hot sister. I love my wife who just had our first child, but she is just not as sexy as her sister. I told my wife. "Now she feels I don't want her. She also doesn't think her sister would ever 'want' me (not sure how to take that one)." What should I do?
A: Don't tell your wife that you'd like to "bang her sister." Also, you need to forget about her sister and focus on your wife who just gave birth to your friggin' child and probably feels asexual right now. "You also seem to be insinuating that you're insulted that your wife thinks her sister is not interested in you. Which prompts some more advice: Grow up. You're an adult and a father, so stop acting like a horny teenager."

Q: My mother tells me that she sees my sister and her kids every day and does everything for them. However, I live far away and hardly see my mother. I feel jealous of my mother's involvement in my sister's life. Boohoo. Can I tell her to shut up about it?
A: Let's imagine the letter your sister might write to me: Please save me from my mother who won't leave me alone. She is great with my kids but drives me crazy. I wish I was my sister who is far away and can do whatever she pleases. So stop crying!

Awesome, right? People who write to Dear Prudence are going to get brutal honesty. Love it!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Recurring Dreams

I know you probably hate hearing about other people's dreams. I am not a big fan either. I have to really like you to sit there and listen to it. Like all dreams go, they make no sense and don't have an ending. I mean, people have to wake up some time. But I can't help but think "that's it!" Plus dreams are really only interesting to the person who had the dream. Am I right?

Huz loves to tell me about his dreams. Good thing I love him. So I listen, and often times, they are convoluted and really really really friggin' long. Usually with him, I think "wait, that's NOT it!" Add that to the fact that this usually happens in the morning when I am getting ready to go to work and am about to be late. Anyway, I'll try to spare you the Huz-style explanation of my dreams.

So I had one of my recurring dreams last night. In the dream, my turtle tank is filled with fish and other turtles. I put a baby shark in it too, and I realize my mistake when it ate another fish. I panic and run around the house looking for another container for the shark before he eats everything in the tank. By the time I find one, the tank is empty except for my turtle and the shark. Somehow, my turtle survives and is perched on his rock safe and sound. What does this mean? I have various versions of this dream. It's like I am really worried about my turtle or he'll die on me. Weird, I know.

After I had this dream, I started thinking about my other recurring dreams. For instance, I sometimes dream that I am swimming in the deep ocean, and I am usually lost with no way back to land. The sea is dark and usually filled with creatures. Once I dreamt a killer whale was circling me. Another dream I have a lot is one where a lion is chasing me through my house. I just looked up what lions mean in dreams. It says: "To dream that you are attacked by a lion, indicates that you have many obstacles to overcome." Hmmm...okay.

(After adding all the images, I realized my weird dreams include a lot of animals. What's wrong with me? At first glance, this looks like a post about wild life. Hehe.)

Why do people have recurring dreams anyway? Pretty strange. Mine are really specific too. According to this website, recurring dreams reveal important information about yourself or problems that come back again and again that must be confronted and resolved. Interesting. I wonder what I am trying to tell myself. Don't get your turtle eaten or you will regret it. Will not put sharks in tank. Check. Thanks, are so wise.

Anyway, I am interested in hearing about other people's recurring dreams. So spill it.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Bad Books Make Me Mad!

I just finished reading Digital Fortress by Dan Brown. While reading the last parts of the book, I was screaming at the book and complaining to Huz who was trying to ignore it. He is used to it, I guess. I haven't read a bad book in a long time, and this was baaaaadddd. I usually get book suggestions from Laura and Tina or read popular books like those listed on the NY Times best seller list. So I have been immune to really bad books for a while. Furthermore, I thought Digital Fortress was safe because I've read Da Vinci Code, Angels and Demons, and Deception Point by Dan Brown, and I liked them all.

I don't recommend this book, so this post will be full of spoilers. You have been warned. Digital Fortress is an impossibly unbreakable code, which is a major threat to the U.S. government and its intelligence. A government agency called the NSA has a multi-million dollar machine called TRANSLTR that has broken every code until now. The NSA wants the code to Digital Fortress, but it is protected by a pass-key that is itself coded by Digital Fortress and thus unbreakable. In the first two thirds of the book, the NSA is running around trying to find the pass-key. The chapters are usually a page and a half long, and it jumps from one p.o.v. to another. It mainly switches between the main character who is this beautiful yet intelligent female cryptographer named Susan and her boyfriend named Becker who has been enlisted to go to Spain in search of the programmer and the pass-key. Susan basically does nothing for most of the book.

Finally it starts to get interesting on page 300. Becker finds the programmer has been murdered and, as his last act, gave away his ring, which Becker suspects contains the pass-key. Becker is on a wild goose chase trying to find that stupid ring. Also, someone is following him and leaving dead bodies in his wake...unnecessarily. Susan is at the NSA headquarters with the NSA head and finds that maybe one of their own is a traitor. Of course, who she thinks is the traitor is not actually a traitor. She finds that the NSA head has a plan to obtain Digital Fortress and is the one that ordered the programmer killed. And get this! He hired the assassin to kill Becker because he is obsessed with Susan and in love with her. That came out of nowhere. WTF! Then 50 pages to the end, they find out it is all a farce! There is no Digital Fortress. Instead, the NSA head had set a worm loose in TRANSLTR, thinking it was an unbreakable code. In order to kill the worm, they have to enter the pass-key. Becker finally obtains the ring and escapes his assassin. However, the ring is completely useless and does not contain the pass-key. They are back to square one. At this point, the worm is only a few minutes from releasing every governmental secret to the public. Susan of course saves the day literally at the last second.

If I have to use one word to describe this book, it would be "contrived." Everything is completely contrived. The NSA head's actions are partly motivated by his love for Susan. SNORE! Becker's mission turns up nothing, so Susan is forced to break the code on her own. WOW! Didn't see that one coming. Susan and Becker are reunited at the end. BORING! I have no interest in their relationship or these characters. I just wish I could get the hours of my life back that I wasted on this terrible book.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

My Kaitlin Olson Story

In recognition of the new season of Always Sunny in Philadelphia (on FX Thurs. at 10/9c), here is my Kaitlin Olson story. About a year ago, I was traveling from Philly to Los Angeles on business. As I was walking to my seat on the plane, I immediately noticed Kaitlin Olson in first class. At the time, I had only just started watching the show. I recognized her right away but had no idea what her name was. When I got to my seat in coach, I started rapidly shooting emails to Tina, Laura and Huz. You'd think my story ends there, but it doesn't!

I was about to send the email that included tons of caps and exclamation points (to show my excitement of course) when a flight attendant comes up to me. She tells me that there is a first class seat available for me. Because I travel a lot for work, I sometimes get upgraded. I collected my things, and they showed me to my seat. I ended up right next to Kaitlin Olson! OMG! In quiet excitement, I emailed Tina, Laura and Huz about the turn of events.

Okay, I have never approached a celebrity before, except for Hal Sparks (love him!). So what do I say? What do I say?! These are the thoughts that ran through my head: Should I say hello now? But we will be on this flight for six hours. Would it be awkward for six whole hours if I say something now? What if she doesn't want to be bothered? What if she hates people?

So what did I end up doing? I took a nap. Haha. I was really sleepy...from all the thinking. But then I woke up a couple hours later. And she was still there. Really! So for the next hour, I tried to pretend to read my book while I was really
thinking about what to say. I knew I had to say something...anything. I just didn't know how to break the ice. Finally, three hours into the flight, after summoning all my courage (I am a big big wuss), I turn to her and say "I just wanted to say I love your show. I didn't say anything earlier because I didn't want to bother you. But I knew my friends would never forgive me if I didn't say something." I can assure you that this line was rehearsed repeatedly and silently in my head. She was so sweet and said that I should have said something earlier. Then we chatted for the next three hours. We talked about my family, her family, her new husband (her co-star btw) and my husband. I asked her what big celebrities she's met. She said Ed Norton. How cool is that? I asked her about Always Sunny. I noticed she was reading Twilight, so I asked her about that. She was soooo nice. It was actually, it was awe quite a bit (think about that one). We totally became BFFs. Oh, and I got a picture with her!! Of course, I look terrible in it because we had been on the plane for six hours, but I don't care. It is definitely epic.

I haven't had many celebrity encounters in my life. One time, Laura and I went to a book signing by Stephenie Meyer. Laura could blog about that. My head hurts just thinking about that day. Four words. Lots of screaming tweens. Not fun.

What I Want to Be When I Grow Up

Deciding what I wanted to be when I grew up was a journey, but I can say there was never a point in my life that I had no idea. I always had a goal to aim for, always had a vision of my future career and I guess that's what sets me apart from a lot of people. I know so many people who just have no idea what they want or what they're good at, and I can't imagine being in that predicament. Dreams are what I run on, they push me. My dreams, no matter how big, are what I strive for even if they change. And they did.

When I was a child, I liked to draw. Nothing major. Some art kids say they were born with a brush in their hands or something poetic like that, but not me. Sure, I was pretty creative when I doodled. My brother was really good at copying drawings, but he would always point out that he couldn't create things like I could. But I was insistent that I was only pretty good, and for some reason, that dashed any ideas of me being an artist. I thought I just wasn't good enough. My sisters would say that's what school's for, for getting better, but I wouldn't have it. I didn't think I had the natural talent.

I grew up a little and I went into high school knowing, without a doubt, that I wanted to be a writer. I guess that stems back to 7th grade, when my sisters first introduced me to novels. It was like love at first sight. I couldn't put them down. I was inspired. I wanted to create them. So I went for it. I dove into the writing world. I took summer courses at my local community college. I took writing, learned I wasn't so interested in writing essays or articles, then took creative writing and I fell in love. My senior year of high school, I finally had a couple electives free to take creative writing. But I also took Art 2. I thought, eh, could be fun. As expected, I aced all my creative writing assignments. My teacher loved me. But something was happening in Art 2 that I didn't expect. I was good at it and that caught my attention.

Now, let me rewind a little. You remember how I was saying I wanted to be a writer and yada yada? Well, my mother and Tina was always pestering me that I couldn't just be a novelist right out of college. I needed something more practical as a job, and I could always write in my spare time and if I ever hit it big, and I intended to, then I could just quit. But Tara, the lawyer who is creative but chose a non-creative occupation (that she loves nonetheless) and who likes to live vicariously through me, told me to just go for it--major in creative writing and throw all caution to the wind. I was stuck in the middle.

Well, I started to rethink this decision. I could try some type of art major like graphic design (whatever the hell that was). It didn't sound like a terrible idea. It wouldn't hurt to try, right?

Summer after high school was pretty groundbreaking. I got the Creative Writing award at graduation, of course. But my focus suddenly wasn't on writing. I was suddenly fascinated with my seemingly new found ability to draw. I always knew I had some talent, but so did all my siblings. But something new was happening to me. It started with a picture in my head, a simple picture of a silly character that I had just thought up. I just had to draw him down. And I did, he was a fatter, brown version of Gumbo with a polka-dotted top hat and a matching tie. And for some reason, as if my hand had a mind of its own, I swirled his eye. That was the beginnings of my art. I started to pop out these simple sharpie drawings on cardstock, one after the other. My characters were odd, but what I always thought was kind of interesting was that I utilized my story telling ability into my drawings. These characters had individual personalities, and lot of my drawings had some type of narrative.

I don't know at what exact point I gave up my dream of being a novelist. I guess it was more a matter of me growing up and learning more about myself. Because I know that deep down I'm not intersted in writing novels. Sure, I can write wonderful short stories. But short stories take me a day or two to write, while whole novels take months, sometimes years. I'm not saying I'm lazy, because when I'm passionate about something, I work to the bone. No, it's not laziness. It's that I know myself enough to know that I'm not interested enough to write something as complicated and invested as a novel. I don't get into the same zone I get into when I'm painting or drawing or sewing a doll, that complete focus that makes everything else around me fade away.

This decision was big, trust me. I'm a focused person and when I change my whole vision of my future, it's big. Since it's changed, it's still been a journey. I'm still learning what I can do and it's been fun. I didn't completely give creative writing up. It's my minor. I may not want to be a novelist, but I've settled on the dream of writing and illustrating my own children's books. And as time goes by and I'm taking more art classes, I'm adding to my list of dreams. There just never seems to be enough.

It's funny how when I made new friends last year, they'd look at my wall of work and ask me how long I've been doing art. They always seemed to be baffled when I say I just started that summer.

Parting words of wisdom: Dream big.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Don't Tell My In-Laws

Psst...I have a secret. Come closer. *in a hushed tone* I did not change my last name when I got married. Eek! If my in-laws knew, they would not be pleased. Of course, I didn't even think of them when I decided not to change my last name (for now). My decision was for me...not for anyone else. And my wonderful husband is not pushy about it although he has voiced his opinion. I only recently found out that my in-laws even cared about it. Huz told me that his mother and grandmother mentioned how they were happy I changed my last name. And Huz being a very smart person didn't correct them. Haha!

Here is another confession that is kinda embarrassing. When I first started dating Huz, I doodled "Mrs. Huz" everywhere. Admittedly, if we married when I was in my early twenties, I would probably be Mrs. Huz now. However, as time went on and as I basically grew up, I was less and less inclined to change my last name. I love my last name. It is an important part of me. And I don't think it is fair that, because I am a woman, I have to give it up. Men will never understand how hard it is.

Right now, there is really no reason for me to change my last name. Huz says I should change it because it'll just be easier especially when we have kids. I see his point. I would like to have the same name as my kids. So I told him that, when we have kids, I'll revisit this issue. I am also considering whether his last name will be my middle name or my last name will be my middle name. Dilemma, dilemma.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Carmen's Drawing of My Turtle

Whenever Carmen gives me a drawing, it usually has a turtle in it. She associates me with turtles and proclaims them as my favorite animal. She knows I have a pet turtle who she loves to feed whenever she is over. I went over to Tina's house the other day and saw this picture stuck to the fridge. Apparently, Carmen drew it for me but liked it too much to give it away. It's my turtle in his tank, and Carmen is feeding him. See her lil head poking out at the top and saying "hehe." Underneath the turtle tank is two kinds of turtle food. The containers say shrimp and pellets. Haha! She puts so much detail in her art work. It is adorable!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

This Cookie Knows Stuff

Tonight we went out to a Chinese restaurant for dinner with Huz's family. On the way home is this diner that has awesome carrot cake. So I told Huz that I wanted to pick one up after dinner. I was looking forward to it and even mentioned it to Huz when dinner was about over. Then at the end of our meal, we got fortune cookies. I picked one from the pile, and the fortune read, "A nice cake is waiting for you." Holy sh%#! How'd the fortune cookie know? It was so friggin' weird. This fortune is epic! It may be better than the one that I got a few years ago that said "You'll make a good lawyer."

A carrot cake WAS waiting for me. And it WAS nice. It was so polite and asked me how I was doing. Haha! It was yummy too! See the fortune below. Freaky, ain't it?

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Eek Bugs!

Since moving farther out into the suburbs, we have encountered bugs we have never seen before. I don't know where the hell they come from. I hate bugs. They freak me out. I do this weird double scream when I see a particularly nasty one. (Huz calls it my machine gun scream. Tehe.) I can't help it. It's involuntary.

This past week was like the Plagues of Egypt at my house. Last weekend, we had a run in with a giant spider and two huge black crickets while hanging out in the basement. Huz got rid of them for me. He's my hero. Then last night I had the most disturbing bug encounter. We recently found out that we have an ant problem. I left a pizza box sitting on the floor for a couple weeks for recycling. That's how it started. It is not that bad. We don't have tons of ants crawling around, usually just one or two in my kitchen. For days, I would scour the floor looking for them. Recently, I didn't see any more. I thought they were gone. So I stopped checking for them. Boy, was I very very wrong.

I popped popcorn last night and sat to watch TV. After getting seconds, I was done eating and went to put the bowl in the sink. That was when I saw a lone ant in my bowl. Eek!! WTF! After I killed it, I turned my dining room light on and was checking the floor for any wandering ants. At this point, I was pretty grossed out and a little on edge. My turtle whose tank is in the dining room was swimming frantically when he saw me--a sign he was hungry. I tried to get my mind off the ant-in-my-food thing, so I decided to feed him. I have these tiny dried shrimps that I give him. I opened the lid, and there on the inside lid was a swarm of tiny crawling mites. OMG! My life flashed before my eyes. Then I screamed bloody murder and threw the whole container on the floor. If you thought I was freaked out earlier... I was a wreck now. I couldn't calm down for a while. I never turn the light on when I feed my turtle. So how long were those bugs there? I have been feeding my turtle the dried shrimp for months. Ack! I don't even want to think about it.

Huz looked at the container after I dropped it and only saw a few mites. Not like how I had described it. When I think back on it, I still imagine something out of a horror movie where a thousand bugs was on that turtle food lid. Even blogging about it is making my skin crawl. I am officially traumatized.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Embrace Your Shortness

For years, I wore high heels everywhere--to class, to the mall, to work. I don't really consider myself short at 5 feet 4 inches and a quarter. (I can't forget about that quarter.) I am kinda tall for an Asian. (Yeah, that's right, Laura!) However, all the pretty shoes were high heels. And honestly, I kinda liked towering over my vertically challenged friends. Then the pain of high heels got too much for me. Wearing high heels to work everyday hurt like a motha. Anyway, stilettos no longer matched my style as I went from dressy to casual. I am all about comfort. But I also wanted to look good.

So I was extremely happy when ballet shoes came in. I noticed even the shortest of women were wearing flats. Then last year, boots were really trendy. Love them! Girls all over were wearing flat boots. Then, this past summer, flat gladiator shoes were in. Yes, yes, yes! Hallelujah. Good-bye, blisters and band-aids. Now I wear flats almost every day. They are not hideous like the days of yore. They actually look great and are really fashionable. Finally, women can embrace their shortness, which in itself is beyond awesome.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Proud to Suck

I recently started noticing people's "I can't" attitude. Let me clarify. How many times have you found yourself telling someone, without provocation, that you can't do something or aren't good at something? Here are some classic examples: "I'm not good at math." "I can't read maps." "I suck at science." Have we become a society where we are proud at sucking? It irks me. These statements are made so matter-of-factly that we all ignore it. So when you tell me you don't know how to read a map, then am I supposed to forgive your stupidity? Come on. It's really not that hard. Try! Learn it!

Or am I completely off base? Are these statements really a way to prevent criticism? Or to hide people's shame? I'm not sure. I am not saying I am perfect. I have occasionally announced that "I am bad at geography" (like really bad) and "economics escapes me completely" (like it diminishes me to a fraction of my former self). I AM ashamed. I wish I were better at them.

People seem more proud of what they can't do than what they can. That doesn't make any sense to me. How is this okay? No one notices these passing remarks. But maybe we should stop saying them nonetheless and keep it to ourselves. Instead, tell me something you can be proud of.

My Freshman Year Nightmare

Before my Freshman year of college, I had an awesome summer with my friends, most of whom I've been friends with since at least 3rd grade, and with my family. I was getting so close to Carmen and Rachel. I saw them almost every other day. I always have so much fun with my sisters, and I was doing fun, care-free things, just living the life of a young, irresponsible young woman. And it was the life for me. But summer doesn't last forever ya know. It ends. But for me it didn't just end, it crashed and burned and sent me spiraling into reality.

I was to attend a college in another state. Okay, it's only an hour away, but New Jersey is a completely different monster than Philadelphia. Philadelphia is diverse and loud and dirty. Ewing, New Jersey is quite the opposite. No one, absolutely no soul from my high school class was going to this college, just me. I was scared to say the least.

The first month was the hardest. It was hard to make friends. Everyone was so different than me. I was some girl from Philly who wore emo glasses but spoke ghetto slang fluently. I was an odd mix of all these cultural cliches that made me fit right in in my high school in Philly, but I couldn't quite figure out where I fit in in this school full of white, Republican small-towners. Saying I was homesick would be a gross understatement. I was desperate to go home and breathe in that deliciously polluted Philadelphia air. I felt more than lonely, I felt empty.

I survived my first semester, living off of daily phone calls to my sister and best friend. I lived it day by day. I hung out with all sorts of different people. Although in the inside of me brewed turmoil, at least I'm proud to say I never stopped trying. There were some cool Latinas, some quiet Asians, and some dorky white kids. I tried to wiggle my way into these groups that seemed to form from day one. I was petrified I would never make any friends.

Eventually though, I struck luck with one of the crowds. Believe it or not, it turned out to be the dorky white kids. Haha. I got closer to them during my second semester, and we all hit it off very well. Conveniently, we all lived on the same floor.

Now I'm in the beginning of my second semester of college. Now that I've found some close friends, life's not so hard. We practically do everything together, eat every meal, go to the occasional party, and sometimes, we just lay around doing absolutely nothing.

Admittedly, the friends I've made are very different than me, and I stick out like a sore thumb. But we still all get along and have fun together, and that's what counts. I'm glad I got to meet people with such different lives and experiences than my own.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Monk, Three Rivers, and Too Much TV

Summer TV is meh, which is good because it forces me outside in the light of day. You should have seen me in the beginning of summer. After months of hibernation (in front of the TV), my eyes burned, and my skin was all pale and pasty. With no TV to watch, I got to go to Hawaii and have taken up new hobbies. After getting some much needed Vitamin D this summer, time to go back inside, lock my doors, and close the shades. Because TV season is back! Yay!

I have to talk about Monk first. The final season of Monk has already started. To those fans that lost interest (I was almost one of them), come back now! Monk is going out with a bang. The new episodes are awesome. Monk's character is funny as ever. Watch it before it ends.

I also want to remind you that The Office (9/8c) and Always Sunny in Philadelphia* (10/9c) premiere on Thursday, Sept. 17 and How I Met Your Mother (8/7c) and The Big Bang Theory (9:30/8:30c) premiere on Monday, Sept. 21. You're welcome!

As for new shows, here are the ones I am excited about:
- Glee (FOX): Premiered on Wednesday, Sept. 9 at 9/8c. Fox is really pushing this one about a high school glee club. It seems very High School Musical, but I hear good things.
- Eastwick (ABC): Premieres on Wednesday, Sept. 23 at 10/9c. It is based on the novel/movie, The Witches of Eastwick. I love this kind of stuff!
- Flash Forward (ABC): Premieres Thursday, Sept. 24 at 8/7c. I am not sure what this is about, but it looks awesome!
Three Rivers (CBS): Premieres Sunday, Oct. 4 at 8/7c. Two words, Alex O'Loughlin.

*I have a great story about Kaitlin Olson from Always Sunny. But I'll save that for another post.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

My Next Husband

Last night, Huz and I went to dinner and planned to watch the movie, Nine. While waiting to be seated, I was talking to Huz about this situation at work that I was concerned about. I was explaining it to him and then asked him what he thought. He paused and then said "yeah." I looked at him waiting for him to continue, but when he didn't, I responded, "yeah what?" He didn't say anything and just looked at me awkwardly. Flabbergasted, I said "you weren't even listening, were you?" He gave me this weak smile. Then all hell broke lose. We started fighting right then and there. We were yelling at the top of our lungs. And people were staring at us. Finally, I told him I wanted a divorce. He agreed. And I told him that he can forget about watching Nine too. So much for lucky 13.

So now that we are getting divorced, I was thinking about my next husband. Because Simon Pegg is married and is probably traveling with security, I set my sights on Michael Voltaggio who is a contestant on this season's Top Chef. He is my new crush. Okay, I confess! You twisted my arm. I just picked a fight with Huz, so I can divorce him and marry Michael Voltaggio. Isn't he so cute? And he is such a gentlemen. But a gentlemen with tattoos, which is even better.

Okay, I confess again! You are a real arm twister you. I totally made up the first part. I just wanted to tell someone that I love Michael Voltaggio. But thought it would be inappropriate because I am a happily married woman. Hey, I respect Huz. Really! I waited until the day after our 13th anniversary to make my second marriage announcement. My first marriage is all about respect. Anyway, as I was saying, Michael Voltaggio, will you marry me?

Friday, September 11, 2009

Lucky 13

My husband (to whom I will refer as Huz from now on) and I have been married for only two years, but we've been together for 13 years today. Lucky 13. You probably noticed that today is September 11 too. Thirteen years ago, both Huz and I were away at college and over 300 miles apart. After a great summer together hanging out as friends, we confessed our intense "like" for each other over e-mail. Haha. Romantic, isn't it? Years later, he is still the love of my life.

I don't take what we have for granted. I appreciate everything about him, even the little things. Like when he tries not to laugh at my weird antics. But I always see his cute boyish grin creeping up. Then I demand that he admit I am funny.

He hates wasting food and throwing what he thinks is perfectly good food away. However, I've found that he always saves food for me in case I would want it later. He continues to do it even though the food usually goes bad and has to be thrown out.

He lets me complain about my whiny voice. It's really quite annoying.

He remembers all my pet peeves and goes out of his way to do them all. For instance, I hate when he takes up all the space in the bed. And he'll purposely scoot onto my side as soon as I get in. It drives me mad.

I love him for all those things and more. Happy Anniversary, Huz.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Miracle at St. Anna

I watched a really good movie this past weekend, called Miracle at St. Anna. But I must warn you that it is really long--about 2 hours and 45 minutes. The movie follows four Buffalo Soldiers in World War II. If you didn't know, Buffalo Soldiers is the name of the first all-black regiments in the U.S. Army, which was established during the Civil War.

The movie opens in New York City in 1983 when an older gentlemen is working as a clerk at the post office. While working, he seems to recognize a customer and without a warning shoots the man dead with a WWII-era German Luger. During an interview, he tells his tale as a Buffalo Soldier in 1944 in Tuscany, Italy and about a carved stone head, a lost Italian boy, and the only "family" he ever knew.

This movie is unlike any war movie I've ever seen. Not only do these soldiers have to face the obvious dangers of war, they struggle with their own allegiance to their country and conflict with their fellow white solders. The Buffalo soldiers fought for a country that did not view them as equals. They had to endure prejudice back home and in the war zone.

These four soldiers seemed like real people and not stereotypes or caricatures. The movie shows them at their weakest and strongest moments. What made me love this movie is the bonds between these four soldiers. They were brothers. They were there for each other in the most desperate of times--mainly when bullets were flying their way. However, they fought and disagreed too. No matter what, in the end, they were family. During the terrible times of war, they only had each other.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

My New Hobby Continued...

I am continuing my experiment and adventure with photography. Yes, I am still using my digital camera. However, I am looking at everything differently. I try to find art and beauty things I see every day to things I never really noticed before. When I photograph people, I try to take different angles and perspectives. At the shore this past weekend, I got some great candid shots, especially of my nieces. Of course, I am cheating because those girls don't have a bad side or angle. I also got some great ones of Laura too...although she doesn't want to admit it. =p

Here is my wonderful day at the beach as shown through my photos.

My stroll through the eerily quiet and clean neighborhood

My run-in with a playful dog

Two very happy girls

Rachel's sandy hands. Sand was everywhere!

A clear sign summer is over...

Monday, September 7, 2009

The End of Summer

Summer is over. My favorite season. I miss it as soon as it ends. And I can't wait for it to come back again. I prefer the scorching hot weather to the freezing cold. I prefer summer activities to winter sports. I love everything about summer, but below are my top ten favorite things:

10. Lighter traffic on the way to and from work
9. Swimming
8. Barbecues
7. Fresh fruit, especially blueberries, cherries and watermelon
6. The slow pace of summer
5. Soft serve ice cream
4. The beach
3. Long days and short nights
2. Summer fashion, especially dresses, sandals and flip flops
1. The hot/warm weather

I definitely didn't take the opportunity to fully enjoy summer this year. But that always seems to be the case. Before I knew it, summer was nearing its end. And there was just not enough time left. I hadn't been to the beach enough. I only went to like three barbecues. I want more Dairy Queen blizzards. And I didn't spend enough time outdoors. Sigh. Good-bye, summer. See ya next year.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Catching Fire

If you haven't read The Hunger Games by Susan Collins, do so immediately and then read part 2, Catching Fire. I have been waiting in anticipation for this book for months. The second book was released on Sept. 1, and I finished it on Sept. 2.

Even though I liked them both, Catching Fire was not nearly as satisfying as The Hunger Games. It really was a tough act to follow. The first book introduces you to this new world and these interesting characters. That newness is no longer there in Catching Fire, and thus the magic was lost a bit. That being said, I still like the book. If I didn't, I wouldn't have read it in two days. I mean, there was no way I was going to hate it because I loved The Hunger Games.

I can't write about Catching Fire without spoilers. So turn away now if you don't want to know the ending of the first book. The book starts where The Hunger Games leaves off. Katniss and Peeta have returned to District 12 as victors. However, Katniss's act of defiance did not go unnoticed. She unknowingly becomes a symbol of hope for the people of the districts and a target of the Capitol. Even though the Hunger Games is over, it is just the beginning. The Capitol will stop at nothing to maintain its power and control. However, Katniss will do everything in her power to protect the people she loves. The girl on fire must defy the Capitol once more and thwart their plans to destroy her.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Me...But Better

I did something crazy last year. Something I swore I would never do since I was in 5th grade. I got bangs! Insanity! Laura said it was the best decision I ever made. However, it wasn't an impulsive decision. I am never impulsive or spontaneous. I plan. I am a planner. Ask anyone. Also, it takes me a long long time to make a big change. Yes, bangs was a big deal to me, all right?!

Growing up, Tina was the more impulsive one. If she got an idea in her head, she would act on it immediately. Tina had to convince me to make even the smallest of changes. I always resisted. We used to wear these huge plastic glasses (either in pink, orange or red), which I was totally content with. Nooo, but not Tina. She wanted to change to wire frames instead. Even though she was absolutely right, I resisted. She had to coax me. She had me try on a few. She complimented me. (The she-devil knows my weaknesses!) She eventually persuaded me. After I got used to the wire frames, she wanted to get rid of them altogether and get contacts. What! But I was completely content with my humongous glasses.

When I was in high school, I got the idea to chop off my long hair. I thought about it for months. I mulled it over. I even drew myself with the hairstyle to see what it looked like. (We didn't have those fancy computer programs in those days.) Then suddenly, one day, Tina said she wanted a cute boy cut. The following day, she got it. But but...I wanted to cut my hair first! Finally, after several months, I bit the bullet and cut my hair. Honestly, she looked way better with her boy cut. (It doesn't matter that we are identical twins. Just trust me.) I immediately started growing mine back.

So a couple years ago, I thought of breaking my vow and cutting my bangs. As you would have guessed, I didn't do it right away. I thought and thought about it. I pictured myself with bangs. Laura styled my hair to see what it would look like. Then I thought about it some more. I began with baby steps. I wanted side swept bangs, so I changed my part from the middle to the side. I've had the same part forever. I even have a tan line there. When I changed my part, it was new, exciting and scary for me. It was amusing to my sisters. After a few months of hair in my face, I went to get my bangs cut. I was scared. I told the hair dresser so. She was sympathetic. So she took it slow and gave me long bangs. And she only cut a little. At the end, she thanked me for allowing her to go through this journey with me. Her. actual. words.

Afterward, I didn't look much different. Less hair in my face. But basically the same. That wasn't so bad, I thought. Then months later, I took the plunge. "Just cut it off," I said. So my hair dresser did. And here I am...with bangs. That was my very long journey to my bang-ful life. Oh, what a journey.

Random Nostalgia: My Maid of Honor Speech

So once in a while, when I get bored, I start sifting through my old Creative Writing files that I've written over the years. Well I came upon the speech that I wrote for Tara's wedding as her Maid of Honor and started getting nostalgic. I thought I'd share. Note that the following was originally written for me to read aloud and not to read on paper!

Tara and Wil. It’s become a commonly said phrase, considering they’ve only been together for… ten years! That’s more than half my life! So to me, their relationship is ancient… not to mention their ages…

But let’s not elaborate any more on that. Instead, let’s talk about what I see. Simply put, I see the perfect couple. A couple that can survive through thick and thin. A couple that screams FOREVER.

For example, when separated for a few days… no hours… no more like minutes, Tara begins to pine for her “long-lost love” and, yes, it makes me gag (make gagging motion). In their condo, they must spend every second in the same room together, even when it’s inconvenient! When Wil’s watching TV or playing video games, Tara does her work on the couch instead on the nice quiet desk in her computer room. And Wil has to wake up early every morning, but he stays up late with Tara because a bed without Tara in it is just not worth sleeping on. Of course, like you all, I’m assuming that she’s holding him hostage or something, because, honestly, who the heck would willingly spend so much time with Tara?!

There’s also this other time, when I went with Tara and Wil to New York to pick up the wedding invitations. Naturally, I talked to Tara the entire time. Well, guess what she said at the end of the day, “I miss Wil!” and, yes, he was right there in the car with us! So this is what I did, I took 3 of my fingers like this (make faux gun), put it to my head, and shot myself. WILL SOMEONE PLEASE PUT THEM OUT OF THEIR MISERY AND HAVE THEM SURGICALLY ATTACHED!?!?

Wil’s been like a brother to me and Tina for some time now. So when Tara called me with the news, I didn’t scream or cry, it was more like “FINALLY!” I’m sure we’ve all considered him already part of the family since like forever and it was about time that we made it official. Congratulations!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009 Is My Friend

I remember the days when Tina and I tried to memorize vocabulary words for the SATs. I got up to the word, "abate." Yeah, that was like the third word on the list. But I always remembered what it meant. =) Teachers and my parents would say that I should get in the habit of looking words up as I am reading books or magazines or whatever. But I didn't care about vocabulary. It was so boring.

Now years later, I've found that words are important to me. Important for my education. My job. This blog. I look words up on almost everyday. I want to know more words and definitions and idioms. Yeah, I am a big ol' nerd! And I am proud of it.

My vocabulary was so limited before. There were a lot of common words that I didn't know. I am sheepish to admit it. Furthermore, there were a lot of words I didn't know how to pronounce. has this neat function where you can hear the pronunciation. One day in a panic, I thought I had been pronouncing "comparable" and "applicable" wrong for years. After I looked it up, I realized that they had two pronunciations. Whew! I thought I was a big idiot. Well, I am but not for that.

Oh, and I have another dictionary I use all the time. My husband. When I am at home blogging, I often randomly ask him to spell something for me or ask if I used a word in the right context. He is so helpful...and wonderful too. He's such a smartie. And he doesn't say "you're an idiot" when I ask him to spell words like "whine." (Haha! It looked weird, okay?!) He's my kind of nerd.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Dear Tara

This is a letter in response to Tara's Letter in a previous post.

Your letter surprised me a lot. I never knew how you felt about my sensitivity. It's pretty funny, actually. Yes, I admit, I'm a big cry baby! But I'm pretty secretive about it. So shush!

Now that I'm older, I really see all that you do for the people you love. It's a lot to shoulder, and you do it all with ease, because you've been doing it for so long. It's your way of showing us how much you care and I really see that and appreciate it. I admire it too. You do things because you must, no complaints. It makes you a great leader, and I hope I can be like that some day.

I got over my freshman jitters because of you! You helped me through it so much. I admire that you have no doubt like the rest of us mortals do. You go through life knowing you can achieve anything you put your mind to. You went into law school without a doubt in the world that you would do just fine, and of course you do better than fine! Almost everyone who knows you loves you, Tara, because you're so great. You genuinely care about people, and I hate when the occasional person puts you down. You don't deserve to be treated that way by anyone.

You know how I always say I wish we were closer in age. It's so true! Although our 12-year age gap hasn't prevented us from being best friends, it would be so much cooler if we were the same age! Instead of you guiding me through life and giving me advise, I wish all three of us could be going through the same problems together! I wish I could have been one of the girls you and Tina confided in about your boy problems or whatever problems. Because you are the ones I confide in about those things, I only wish I could do the same for you guys and give back what you have given to me.

I'm happy at least that I had the chance of being your Maid-of-Honor in your wedding. It really meant a lot to me. Although I still grumble about not being a triplet, I'm happy that you and Tina are in my life and that, as the years go by, our bond gets stronger. I feel so lucky to have so many people in my life that love me unconditionally just as I love them unconditionally. We are each others' rocks and nothing can stand between us, of that I'm sure.

I'm sorry I was so distracted this summer to spend as much time with you guys as I used to, but some boy *ahem* was particularly distracting. But he and all my friends know that hanging out with my sisters is my favorite thing to do!

Although much of my childhood I've felt like an only child (only because you were off at college), I'm glad that I'm growing up and we continue to get closer. I love you guys so much I can't stand it!

I end this letter with four words of wisdom: Monopoly nights are epic!

Proactiv: Does it work?

I have been having a problem with acne since forever. And it's not that terrible that I really wanted to do anything about it. I used the occasional spot treatment, but mostly I just let my skin be. Recently I've been stressed with my new job and I felt my acne was getting worse. Finally this summer I looked at my face in the mirror and thought enough was enough! I literally ran to the computer and ordered Proactive online. I have been using it for about a month and I have to say it really works. My skin has never looked better. It's smoother and less splotchy. It started working in the first week, and by week two, there was definite improvements. My husband keeps commenting on it; I went downstairs just now and he complimented me on my skin again. I have to admit that you have to stick to a skin regiment, and of course, I've never took care of my face so well. After I'm done using Proactive, I might try the over-the-counter skin systems to see if they're any different. But I do love my skin now and I'm not sure if I want to mess with that. Proactive isn't too expensive compared to department store products. So I say give it a try if you're acne prone. They also have a 60-day guarantee, so what do you have to lose?

I Am My Mother's Daughter

When I was younger, I wanted to be like my mother. I strove to be like her actually. She is well-educated and a successful business woman. She is her own boss and is a really good one too. She is independent and could do anything. She sets her mind to something, and things got accomplished. I wanted to be like that.

Then out of nowhere, I've found I've become her. I didn't even have to try. Growing up, I didn't let being a girl get in my way. I thought and knew that girls can do anything that boys can do. I adopted this feminist mentality without even knowing it. Only years later did I realize that I got it from my mother. However, she didn't tell me "girls can do anything." She showed me. She actually did anything and everything.

Since I was 17, she treated me like an equal. Perhaps she saw herself in me before I did. She talked to me like an adult. She asked me for advice. So I assumed that role...assumed the responsibilities of being an adult. I am who I am today because of her.

Like my mother, I am very independent. I have no patience with other people. If I can do it myself, I usually do. In that way, I am self-reliant too. I depend on myself. My mother is the same way. She rarely asks me or anyone for help. If she does ask, and it takes too long, she would sooner do it herself. I know how she feels because I am exactly like her. So I often have to remind myself to ask her if she needs help. No one can do everything alone. Not even me. Like my mother, I recognize my own flaws...and try to better myself every day.

My mother is a strong woman. I am a strong woman. She is reliable, and I am reliable. My mother is accomplished. I want to be accomplished. I am my mother's daughter.