Friday, December 28, 2007

You're it!

I've been tagged by Lost. Being a slow day at work, I will indulge my need to procrastinate. ;)

Rules for the game:

  • Link to the person that tagged you , and post the rules on your blog.
  • Share Christmas facts about yourself.
  • Tag 7 random people at the end of your post, and include links to their blogs. (or as many as you can).**
  • Let each person know that they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog

    1. Wrapping or gift bags - Mostly wrap as I find some strange pleasure in the task. Gift bags are reserved for those odd shaped things that aren't worth wasting excessive amounts of paper on to create something wrinkly.

    2. Real or artificial tree? Alas, no tree for Pandax, not as long as her bedroom is bigger than her living room. I did see a great pre-lighted, artificial tree at Bloomie's for $75 after Xmas... very tempting for next year. I make up for the smell by walking through places like Target, OSH, and Rite Aid to smell the cut trees.

    3. When do you put up the tree? This year, it was Xmas Eve because no one wanted it except me. (My mom was embarassed to have it because we don't really do gifts these days and she doesn't like a bare tree bottom.)

    4. When do you take the tree down? Within a few days after Xmas because my dad likes things put away.

    5. Do you like eggnog? In small amounts I think it's quite tasty. No lowfat stuff, you gotta go for the 100% unhealthy cream.

    6. Favorite gift received as a child? I already had a gift from my parents when I noticed there was a Rubik's cube stuffed on a shelf in my parents' closet. I was so excited to get the toy everyone else had. Funny, it was sitting on my dresser when I came home to visit this year.

    7. Do you have a nativity scene? Eh, because most of us have plenty of storage space to keep such a thing? No, I don't think that's ever going to happen. Besides, my family's not religious.

    8. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? Can't say that I remember... although I can remember several strange birthday gifts. My best guess is probably some overly perfumed set of bath salts and soaps.

    9. Mail or email Christmas cards? It's a mix because I honestly just can't get them all finished in time. It's also a matter of how close I am to people.

    10. Favorite Christmas Movie? I'm still a sucker for "It's A Wonderful Life" though I must admit "Elf" is growing on me. And there always must be a showing of "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer."

    11. When do you start shopping for Christmas? Maybe July? My philosophy is to shop whenever I see something that fits the person and is a good price. On average, I finish just after Thanksgiving... but that's because I don't have too many nieces and nephews to worry about right now.

    12. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Cookies made from scratch with real butter and sugar. Gourmet chocolates like Godiva aren't so bad either. :D

    13. Clear lights or colored on the tree? I used to love colored lights as a kid. Now I'm gotten a bit snooty with the white only.

    14. Favorite Christmas song? "Silver Bells" - I used to play it on the piano. I can't stand listening to Xmas music on the radio (I boycott the local station that starts playing it pre-Thankgiving.)

    So there's a little about me. I won't specifically tag anyone but you know who you are out there who regularly peak in on my life and vice versa.
  • Sunday, December 23, 2007

    Kindness for the season

    Tim comes down to stay with my family tonight. I'm still not sure what my mother thinks of the whole event. The fact that she's gone out to try and find a gift for him means a lot to me. I hope she will be accepting of him and happy that I'm happy. I probably should ask her, but we've never been that initmate and open with our conversations. I figure she'll tell me what she's thinking in our first post-Xmas phone call.

    I'm happy he's coming down to visit. We're going to have a full house and for once I'll really feel like it's something close to what the average American experiences during the holidays. We'll eat some good Asian food, watch a good football game (hopefully), and play Wii until our arms hurt.


    Last week I volunteered with C3 for a local charity. We thought we would be spending our afternoon in a big, empty warehouse wrapping gifts. We walked into this huge, vacant building and a concrete floor covered with rows of gifts. The wrapping paper rolls were all off to the side.

    It turns out, the first thing that needs to be done is a sorting of the gifts by charity and by child. Because the tags that go out to companies and stores don't all come back (about a 50% return rate), the organization puts out two gift requests per child.

    Our job was to sort through the gifts, write up tags for children who are missing gifts, and pull duplicate gifts from the row. It's interesting to compare what people buy for the same gift tag. Sometimes it was identical, sometimes they were different sizes (cost?), and for more challenging gifts it was a matter of prioritizing the basic item wanted versus the color or brand the child requested.

    Probably the most fun part was "shopping" for the missing gifts. Eventually all the duplicates and non-specific donations are organized in a section of the warehouse. You literally get to take your shopping list and pick out gifts.

    My first gift tag read, "star globe or star map." My first thought was, "there's no way I'm going to find this. What could I choose as a close alternative?" My eyes gravitated towards the stacks of legos and art kits thinking maybe there'd be something useful there. And then I realized they had three carts of books, organized by subject. I saw the science books and quickly scanned the section to find ONE book on stargazing. Awesome!

    One group of girls proved particularly challenging. They all wanted Betty Boop items such as blankets. Of the four who asked for items, only one came through. Not only did the giver buy the doll she wanted, they added a great tote bag. I was impressed since I would have no idea where to go for such stuff. I had no idea Betty Boop was popular again.

    We did find a Betty Boop watch and a notebook with Betty Boop on the cover. We debated what was more important - did they need the blanket to keep warm for the winter, or were the girls just looking for Betty Boop? In the end, we decided to be boring and practical with blankets or the secondary boom boxes they listed.

    The most hilarious request of the afternoon was a six-year-old who wanted a pogo stick. C3 wondered where he could have gotten such an idea. I suggested he saw some stunt show and wanted one. It wasn't a surprise that we couldn't find one. I wanted to give him a substitute that still represented something active and outdoors. We considered a small skateboard but didn't know if his mother would like another dangerous toy. In the end, I grabbed a Nerf rocket set.

    C3 was just fascinated by the variety of gifts that kids receive these days. She hasn't ever had to buy toys and had no idea how electronic toys have become even for the youngest. In one batch of toys we had to find Vtech notebook computers for four kids under 8 years old. We scoured the piles of duplicates hoping to find one last notebook to finish our list. And wouldn't you know, we found a duplicate pogo stick. For a moment, we considered taking it for the six-year-old, but the box said for ages 9-99, so we decided he was too young for it and left it. What are the odds of another kid getting a pogo stick!??

    I wish I could have spent more days volunteering. It's really fun to do something good. There's a lot of debate about charity because you don't always know that the items, be it food, clothing, or toys, are really being given to people who need them versus being resold for cash. For the holidays at least, I have to believe that these will be items appreciated by kids. I am especially happy to give my time to people who ask for simple things like jeans, a jacket, or basic clothing because you know they need it.

    Happy holidays to everyone however you spend this time of the year!

    Wednesday, December 12, 2007


    Stolen from a variety of blogs including Anna May... I'm a little late to the game but had to do it.

    1. How do you like your eggs? usually hard boiled, just not after eating them one meal a day for two weeks straight

    2. How do you take your coffee/tea? Mostly hot tea plain, sometime a touch of honey like now when I have a sore throat

    3. Favorite breakfast food?
    Weekdays: Fruit yogurt (without HFCS)

    Weekends: Cereal, when there's milk

    4. Peanut butter - smooth or crunchy? Loved cruchy as a kid, but now it's all about the smooth

    5. What kind of dressing on your salad? Ranch, Italian if my pants are feeling tight

    6. Coke or Pepsi? Neither, I drink Coke on rare occasions

    7. You’re feeling lazy, what do you make? Chips and salsa or guacamole

    8. You’re feeling really lazy. What kind of pizza do you order? That's being lazy? I'm too cheap to do that.

    9. You feel like cooking. What do you make? Depends on what's in the frig, probably stir fry or pasta.

    10. Do any foods bring back good memories? Rice with cream of mushroom and french-cut green beans - it reminds me of simple meals as a child that I loved.

    11. Do any foods bring back bad memories? Chinese sausage, the sweet and bright red kind. My mom kept making it for months when I was six. We got sick of it, and none of us eat it anymore. Brownie mix, I broke out in hives from a certain brand.

    12. Do any foods remind you of someone? Warm maple syrup mixed with melted butter - learned it from the ex-bf. Coconut because Tim hates it.

    13. Is there a food you refuse to eat? Chinese sausage, chicken feet (the texture is like eating fat to me).

    14. What was your favorite food as a child? Egg rolls full of bean sprouts and chicken, nice and crispy, and then dipped in vinegar and soy sauce.

    15. Is there a food that you hated as a child but now like? My mom always commented that I ate everything.

    16. Is there a food that you liked as a child but now hate? Chef Boyardee raviolis - I still like the idea, but my stomach isn't too pleased these days.

    17. Favorite fruit and vegetable: Blueberries, persimmons, pea sprouts.

    18. Favorite junk food: Cheetos!!

    19. Favorite between meal snack: Whatever I can find in my desk drawer - usually trail mix.

    20. Do you have any weird food habits? Putting chips into my sandwiches to have some crunch.

    21. You’re on a diet. What food(s) do you fill up on? It's more about cutting down on things I like rather than filling up on specific foods. I guess I'd probably eat more salad.

    22. You’re off your diet. Now what would you like? Pastries made with lots of butter and eggs.

    23. How spicy do you order Indian/Thai? Medium to hot, but I want to be able to taste the food.

    24. Can I get you a drink? Tap water (in most cities). It probably stems from my cheap Asian upbringing - "you can drink soda at home"

    25. Red wine or white? I'm a lightweight but I don't mind the occasional glass of cab, pinot, or sweeter white.

    26. Favorite dessert? Tough choice between fruit and chocolate... a warm fruit crisp wins if I have to choose.

    Monday, December 10, 2007

    Matching the past

    I heard a great story over the weekend about how online dating can be successful. It's not your typical girl meets boy story. I heard this story from a friend and just had to share the entertainment.

    An acquaintance of mine, Lynx, has been single for a number of years. She an attractive Asian women - pretty, petite, slender. She's a bit of a home body so she doesn't necessarily get out and meet new people often. After three years of being single, Hula has been trying to convince her to try online dating.

    Recently, she gave it some thought. They had created a profile for her some months ago but never activated it. Hula convinced Lynx to let her write up a little summary to her profile. She did her best to imitate how Lynx might write about herself. Apparently, it was a good pretty good imitation because Lynx was satisfied and posted her profile.

    Weeks went by and she received several e-mails from guys Hula considered to be good candidates. A few deal-breakers in Lynx's profile made her list limited. Since Lynx had been off the dating market for a few years, she was naturally a bit hesitant to initiate any conversation or reply to any of the bachelors who sought her out.

    Persistent nugding by Hula paid off and Lynx exchanged e-mails with a handful of guys. Eventually, she went on dates with a couple guys. When Hula would ask about the dates, Lynx's attitude was that of indifference. She said she needed to date a guy 5 times to know whether or not she wanted something more. (This comment in and of itself could spark plenty of debate over how many dates is enough. Frankly, I think two to three seems fair.)

    The next couple weeks could best be described as "when it rains, it pours." Not only was she going on a few dates and e-mailing new candidates online, her old high school boyfriend called. She was relieve to learn that he was just calling to chat. He's still happily married and for some reason just called (after years) to catch up. It was a pleasant chat.

    Later that week, her old boyfriend, SJ, called. That hadn't spoken to each other since she broke it off three years ago. At the time, she was not happy with his lifestyle. They are both somewhat reclusive people. They fit well in that sense. What bothered her was that he tended to compartmentalize his life. He has his work, his friends, and Lynx. The issues was that he never mixed any of them. For the two or three years they dated, she never once met his co-workers or friends. She was uncomfortable with the fact that she was not included in more of his life. He lacked maturity.

    SJ was calling to say that he was still thinking of her and wanted to discuss getting back together. He readily admitted that she had been right about his lack of maturity and wanted to change things. Based on what had happened before, she was hesitant. She still liked him as well, however, and was willing to go slow and see if it could work.

    Soon after, she stopped seeing her online men. It's been several months now and they are fully together again.

    The best part of the story is what she learned after the fact. Remember how they hadn't spoken in three years? When he realized how much Lynx meant to him, he thought about seeking her out. He doubtful, however, about whether she was still in the same apartment or city and whether she was available. A friend of SJ's suggested that he check online to test whether she was still single.

    Knowing her city and her deal-breaker traits, he did a search and found her. There was no picture or name to verify it was her, but he was pretty sure the description fit the Lynx. Finding this information is what gave him the courage to call her up.

    In the end, Hula says this demonstrates that online dating does work. No, Lynx didn't meet her boyfriend online, but certainly it was the catalyst for getting back together. Had she not posted her profile online, how long would SJ have continued to pine for her without saying a word?

    Monday, December 03, 2007

    Is this work-related?

    On Thursday, my boss commented that he wanted to talk to me after lunch. After lunch, however, he was not around and his calendar was empty. Our admin, Cheetah, assumed that he had left for the day given that his computer was gone and no personal items like car keys or blackberry was laying around. I left around 4:30pm.

    This morning, I come into my office to find a post-it note clinging to the edge of my monitor. In his thin scribble, my boss had written:

    "Sorry I missed you. I'll be in touch."

    It was kind of a given that everyone took Friday off because of a computer outage. His office door was ajar this morning, giving me the impression he was here. But no one has seen him and Cheetah took the day off. That tells me she knew he was not planning to come in. So when did he leave this message? Why did he leave this message? Leaving a note is somewhat unusual for him in my book. But I do appreciate that he did mean to talk with me. What's with the "I'll be in touch" part?

    I'm suspicious of this because we all know he will be leaving the company at the end of the year. We also all suspect he's double dipping right now. He's probably spending several days each week working for the other company already as there's not much to do around here as we await layoffs. Does this mean he's not coming back to the office for awhile. It would have been nice if he'd tell us this. It's not just me in the office here.

    Cheetah implied that it was nothing to worry about, yet she couldn't tell me what it was about. Later, she did say that she knows he needs to hire some people at his new company. Could it be he wants to suggested I could come interview there should I get laid off? But is that appropriate to say while we're both still working here?

    Eh, whatever. It's probably nothing other than that he won't be in the office for awhile. It's just really weird sitting around without someone at the helm. I really do need to finish my resume though... .

    Minor note: Oh the irony, our last company sponsored auditorium movie is "The Hoax."

    Saturday, December 01, 2007

    What's the weather going to be like?

    I talked with my mom this week. I've been trying to ask her about having Tim visit for the holidays. I figured that she's had sometime for the idea of me having a boyfriend to sink in. Now, I wanted to make him more of a presence.

    We discussed a range of topics. What I was hoping would be a 30 minutes conversation turned into more than one hour. We discussed her plans to join a gym, my depressed aunt, my cousin's job, my sister-in-law's job opportunities, and the housing market.

    Finally, I said, "hey Mom, I was wondering if I might invite Tim to visit with us for a couple days during the holidays? His parents will be out of town, and since he's planning to visit friends in [cities a couple hours away], I though it would be nice to have him spend time with us."

    Mom: "Okay, but we don't have much room at the house."

    Me: "What about the den? Don't we still have the extra twin bed?"

    Mom: "Oh yeah, I guess we could set that up. But we won't be around for lunch on the 23rd."

    Me: "That's fine, I don't think he'll come visit until the next day."

    And then, we drifted towards another conversation. She didn't ask a thing about him. I don't know whether that's a good or bad thing. I mean, wouldn't you expect your parents to ask more about the person who's coming to visit. I did, a couple years ago, mention a little about him, maybe she remembers. Perhaps she doesn't want to ask fearing I'll think she's being nosy. The more likely truth, however, is that she doesn't have any interest in asking which makes me sad.

    I find myself very disheartened by her lack of anything to say. Certainly I'm not surprised that she's not excited. Still, I wanted her to ask something - show some curiosity. It hurts because I can't do anything to make her happy. It hurst because she can't be happy for me. I feel guilty because part of me is uncomfortable with Tim because I am apprehensive of the conflict that will arise because I am dating him. Who knows what comments she'll have to share with me later. It's hard enough to find someone whom you think you could have a lasting relationship; it's worse when you know it could bring such angst with your mother.

    Tim's immediate conclusion is that my mom doesn't like him and doesn't want to care to know anything about him. How am I supposed to respond to that? It's unfortunate that he has this pessimistic mindset but it's understandable. I don't know what to tell him other than things will be fine and just to be himself. I'm not the sort of person to sugar coat a situation. I'd like to believe that everything will be okay, but I really don't know what to think.

    So, at least they know he's coming to visit. I know my mom will be polite and hospitable throughout his stay. All we can do now is find them so nice gifts for Tim to give and hope that they'll find him a good guy.