Archive for April, 2008

Birthday Parties and Pirates

Today is my last day in the Bay Area before I head back to Hong Kong. Originally I was only planning on flying back to HK immediately after my Vegas trip but Jae invited me to her son’s birthday party so I extended my trip out until today so I could go (yes, Jae, I really did extend just it for you).

I pimped my sister-in-law, Lien, and her amazing baking abilities out to Jae and volunteered to drive the cake over to the party. I picked up the cake on Thursday night and was just blown away by it. The birthday party was pirate themed and this is the cake that Jae and Lien came up with:

That is a three-layer strawberry shortcake. And yes, the lid on that cake does indeed open. My brother is an engineer so Lien enlisted his help creating the structure of the chest and the moving parts. Good to know he’s finally putting that engineering degree to good use. 🙂 I was a nervous wreck driving that cake the 60 miles to my house that night and then 80 additional miles to the party the next day. I don’t remember ever driving so slowly in my life — I was half-sure I was going to make a bad turn and end up having to buy a sheet cake from Safeway instead. After dropping the cake off with Jae, I immediately got back into my car and drove to the nearest Starbucks to calm my nerves with a grande latte.

As I’ve said before, I do not do well with strangers. Manda was also supposed to be there but she couldn’t make it because she got sick (whatever!) so I was a little apprehensive at the thought that I wouldn’t know anyone there. However, I got out of my car and was greeted at once not only by Jae, but also by MonkeysMama. MonkeysMama is so awesome!!! As I walked up she threw her arms wide open, yelled out, “Wondercat!” and gave me a big hug. It was one of the warmest welcomes I’ve ever had.

MonkeysMama is one of those people who, while I don’t have direct contact with her on a regular basis, I’ve always really admired from afar (and just a little bit feared). But meeting her was just like meeting my other MM friends that I talk to on a regular basis. She was so nice and friendly I pretty much forgot that I’d never actually met her before. And holy crap, is she funny! She has a big old potty mouth for someone so cute and perky. It was totally cute. Plus she had on some really awesome shoes.

Here is Pirate MonkeysMama:

And here are MonkeysMama and Jae talking about the sad state of post-breastfeeding boobs:

Jae’s family and friends are so cool. In a lot of ways, being there reminded me of being at one my family gatherings. Only with more white people. 🙂 At one point I grabbed a baby Corona and Jae called me a camera dork for taking a picture of it. Yeah, so what. I am. But at least I wasn’t the one who insisted on making the mommy and baby bottles hug each other (that’s my little Coronita on the left and Jae making them hug it out):

Arrrrr matey. It’s Pirate Jae…who bears a striking resemblance to her son when she makes a pouty face like this:

I had to leave early so I could make it back to my side of the Bay Area in time for dinner and to do my laundry (woo hoo!), but not before getting this picture:

April 27, 2008 at 10:29 pm 1 comment

One More Time

I thought I was done with this blogging thing, but then I figured out how to upload pictures.

It was decided that we would get a turtle. Noah asked if he could hold the turtle. “As long as you wash your hands afterward,” I told him. Then Noah asked if he could kill the turtle. WHAT? I asked him to repeat himself 6x before I realized he was asking to “carry” the turtle. He has a hard time pronouncing “r’s” so “carry” sounds like “kill”. I gave him a lecture about how killing was evil anyway.

We ended up with two baby turtles.

Noah Chooses His Turtle

Noah calls them both “Mr. Turtle”. We set up his fish tank, gave them some food and said a prayer that they will last longer than his fish.

Noah Holds \

After our turtle excursion we hit the pool. The entire time Noah kept saying “Daddy, look at me…I swim like Mr. Turtle.” It was fun, but exhausting and as I mentioned yesterday, I still had a bike to fix.

I didn’t get far on the bike. Turns out that I stripped the thing a ma jing that holds the pedal to some other thing a ma jing. So I need to go searching for some thing a ma jing parts tomorrow. But, here is what I did accomplish…

Noah\'s Bike Seat

Yes! Noah has is very own seat on my bike. Now we can cruise around the Island together. Sounds dangerous right? Well, not if Noah is sporting this cool helmet with a samurai warrior on it (we are in China after all).

Noah\'s Helmet

I would show you a picture of him in it, but I didn’t want him to get to excited in case I can’t get the bike parts tomorrow. I’m sure when Cathy gets home she will take 60-140 pictures.

April 26, 2008 at 11:39 pm 2 comments

My Blogging Time Comes to an End

I am officially turning this blog back over to Cathy. I just don’t have enough time to write or come up with interesting things to write between work, Noah, household items, taxes (US AND Hong Kong), and this and that and a lot of other silly stuff I have to do.

Actually…its not that silly. For example, today I want to fix my bike. We shipped two mountain bikes all the way from California to Hong Kong. Once we arrived the bikes sat in storage for six months. I finally got the energy to pull mine out of storage, inflate the tires, fix the handle bars, clean the chain and immediately took to the streets. Not even 10 minutes into my first ride I was cruising down a small slope. The slope turned into a steep hill. Now I’m zooming along (still in complete control) and I decide to slow down. Its at this moment the pedal flies right off the bike. My first thought was “Damn those movers. They broke my bike!” The next thought was “I wonder how bad I’ll hurt myself in this situation.” I survived with just a few minor scrapes. The bike went back into storage and I haven’t seen it since. So today I’m going to pull the bike back out and get to work fixing the pedal.

Given this chore I will have less time to write so let me sum up our coming weekend.
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April 26, 2008 at 12:50 am 1 comment

My Day With Julesy Pants

Julia wasn’t able to go to Vegas and was really bummed out about it, and being as I love the girl to death I changed my return flight from Vegas to stop off in Tucson for a day.

I arrived on Sunday afternoon and after checking into my hotel and dropping off my massive luggage, I headed straight to Julia’s house. I was so excited/nervous to meet her in person. I think she’s one of the funniest people ever and we get along really well on MM and on YIM, but I was afraid we wouldn’t have the same chemistry in real life than online. I warned her that I was really shy in person but luckily for me Homey & Company® had already “broken me in” in Vegas.

Julia is awesome. Contrary to my fears, we got along just as well in real life. Better, actually, since she didn’t have to put up with my crazy typos. We talked, made fun of each other and laughed. A lot. Somewhere in between I got to play Jumping with her daughter Abby (which involves a lot of jumping up and down for a 30-year-old), Ring Around the Rosie, Swimming, and Where’s the Baby? (which refers to her doll, not her baby brother). I also hit Abby repeatedly on the head with a big rubber ball, but Julia was doing something with Zach so she didn’t see me abusing her child. When it came time to make dinner, Julia dragged me into the kitchen to chop stuff for Homey’s Chilaquiles. We also put in a call to Homey and Manda to complain about all the chopping since it turned out we were blending the whole thing anyway:

Amanda raves about these chilaquiles. Even though she says it looks like “vomit on a plate. But delicious vomit.” Judge for yourself:

It was so good (props to Homey!) and I almost single-handedly polished off the whole thing. I stayed at her house until 11 pm just talking to her. It was so cool to just sit there at her dining table, eating brownies and hanging out. I told her about Vegas, we shared stories about our hubbies and kiddos, she showed me some family pictures, I showed her some videos from the weekend, we talked about MM and made fun of Manda (I’m just kidding!…or am I?…).

Here is my favorite picture of Julia that I took. Although the picture doesn’t do her justice, you can still see just how beautiful she is when she’s laughing:

She was laughing at Abby who was being goofy like her mom:

The next morning, Julia brought Abby and Zach over to my hotel and we hit the pool. Holy crap was it cold! So much for Tucson being crazy hot. Apparently it’s only hot when you’re nowhere near water. I tried to convince Julia that we should hang out at the hot tub instead but she has a “thing” about not cooking her kids. Whatever.

She dropped Zach off at her mom’s while I checked out of my room and then she treated me to lunch at Takamatsu — a teppanyaki restaurant nearby. Abby came with us and I am still blown away at the thought of a toddler willingly eating whatever was offered to her. It was amazing. She was a huge fan of the brothy mushroomy soup. Which worked out because Julia doesn’t like mushrooms (what is it with all the ‘shroom haters?!) so Abby was more than happy to eat them for her:

BTW, that’s the way Julia normally feeds her kids.

Poor Abby was scared by the teppan chef. Probably because he set himself on fire:

Ok, no he didn’t really:

After witnessing a couple instances of flaming shrimp, Abby started grabbing the back of her chair and yelling “No more fire Mom! No more fire!” any time she saw the chef reach for a sauce bottle.

Later we said our goodbyes at the restaurant parking lot since I had to catch my flight back to CA.

In hindsight, I wish I had stayed longer but at the time I booked my flight I still had reason to doubt her sanity so one day was as much time as I was willing to risk with a crazy girl. She is crazy, by the way. But in a totally good way. I secretly like to laugh at the two of us because I’m amazed that we’re even friends to begin with. She being a hilarious, Tuscon-loving, uber-religious, sober, tall girl and me, a shy, California-loving, agnostic, drunk shorty. I find so much in her that I admire, she makes me laugh like no one’s business and she just gets me. I love so much that we’re friends and I’m really going to miss her when I go back.

Thanks for letting me invade your space Julia!!! Miss you!! Weirdo. 😀

April 24, 2008 at 10:33 pm Leave a comment

My Vegas Update

I had such a blast at Vegas. We did a lot less gambling and drinking than I had originally imagined, but what surprised me the most was how great we all got along. I was nervous to meet everyone before I got there. On my flight from SFO to Las Vegas, I actually got pretty nauseous anytime I thought about meeting them. Not because they’re nausea-inducing people or anything, but because I realized that I was meeting a bunch of strangers and just remembered that I’m really shy in person and very awkward in social situations. Eeek!

It turned out there was absolutely nothing for me to worry about. Meeting them was like meeting up with a bunch of old friends that I hadn’t seen in a while. Everyone was warm and friendly and if I wasn’t completely comfortable in the very beginning, it wasn’t because I felt awkward but more because I was jet-lagged and feeling just a bit star-struck. So my update is about them. Because the best part for me wasn’t about being in Las Vegas, but about finally getting to meet some incredible people in real life.

Amanda

MandaAmanda was the first person I met (but only by like 5 seconds). To sum up how I feel about her, at one point during the weekend I told Amanda, “Don’t take this the wrong way, but I didn’t expect to like you so much.” Amanda is one of those people who completely intimidate me online. She is super smart, outspoken, brutally honest, beautiful…you know, intimidating. I’ve always liked her and admired her on MM but I was prepared to be nervous around her all weekend and I was really surprised by how well we got along. In person, she is still intimidating, but she is also really funny, sweet, slightly neurotic (ca-caw! ca-caw!), sensitive and is just a total goofball. Even if we don’t have a bajillion things in common, I still like to think we are a lot alike…only she’s younger, blonder and with better boobs (but I’m taller).

Cristina

Cristina,NobuOh Homey. She likes to threaten me with hugs because she thinks it makes me uncomfortable but secretly I like them. Especially from her. 😉  Cristina was another person that I felt very comfortable with from the very beginning. I knew that she and Amanda were already close but neither of them ever made me feel left out of anything. Cristina just radiates warmth and laughter. She’s insanely funny — partly because of her super-smart brain and partly because she’s so clumsy — kind, open, honest and friendly. She has an annoying complex about having her picture taken which is weird because I think she’s beautiful and she has such gorgeous eyes. She also kept telling me I was mean all weekend long. Which was ok because I knew she meant it in a good way.

Lisa

Lisa,Nobu

Lisa is surprisingly shy. She isn’t reclusive-shy, but online I always assumed she was brimming with confidence and sass. Online she is larger than life — she almost always has an answer or a smartass comment for any question, she too is brutally honest and very assertive. Not that she isn’t like that in real life, but what a surprise to find out that she can be just as insecure as the rest of us. It was actually kind of endearing and a bit of a relief to know she was just a normal person. But with some weird OCD issues.

Kristin

KristinKristin in person is almost exactly the way I had imagined she was going to be. Not that she didn’t have any surprises in store, but I knew I was going to like her and get along with her and we did. I love her little midwestern accent — when she said, “You’re dead to me” in her little accent, it was just so cute it made me want to pinch her cheeks. 🙂 She is incredibly sweet and down-to-earth but she’s also sarcastic, snarky and insanely funny at the same time. 50 years from now, I will think back to this time and one of the things that will stand out in my foggy memory will be her beautiful smile and laughter. The force of her character is so huge that when she left very early Saturday morning, her absence was definitely palpable.

Jess

Jess,BellagioJess is another person that I knew I was going to get along with — partly because we IM each other almost every day and partly because she’s just really easygoing (although she has probably the worst travel luck of anyone I know). She was my roomie in Vegas which was good because I was instantly comfortable with her. We are a lot alike in a lot of ways. You know how there are some people you can just hang out with and not say anything to and yet still feel comfortable and relaxed? She’s one of those people. Laid-back and easy to talk to (but she’s also a fiery redhead so you don’t want to mess with her even though she seems super nice).

Linda

Kristin,LindaI didn’t get a chance to hang out with Linda that much. I wish I did because she was just so cute and perky. If there was anything that surprised me about Linda, it was how short she was. Like, tiny short. It just added her overall cuteness factor though. She is so sweet, funny, open and welcoming — I felt like I’d known her for years. Plus she’s also lucky at slots. 😉

Sara

SaraI never knew Sara that well on MM. Aside from being the tallest one there, she was funny and just really easygoing. If there’s one thing that I admire about her it’s how she just seems to roll with everything. Although people might be going nuts around her trying to figure out what’s going on, nothing seems to faze her and she just takes everything in stride. Except for the asthma attack from all the cigarette smoke. That was definitely panicky, but otherwise she is all calm, humor and sanity in a sea of madness.

Joss

Joss,NobuJoss was one of the people I had been looking forward to meeting. I was surprised by how short she is because online her personality is HUGE. She is very much like how she is online — bold, funny, talkative, honest. For someone with so much going on in her life, she has a crazy sense of humor and just has such a gorgeous smile and laugh. She also goes around carrying her own set of chopsticks. Awesome.

Jae

JaeThe first thing that struck me about Jae was just how gorgeous she is in person. Like, unfairly beautiful (especially for someone who had just flown in from Australia that same day). And then it was how cute she was because she was being so shy. And then it was how shy she was while still being a huge potty mouth with a dirty mind. I knew I was going to be intimidated by her and I totally was. But mostly because I wanted desperately to be her — she is ridiculously perfect. It’s unfair I tell ya. This description of her is also unfair because she is way more than just the way she looks — she is super smart (although she has trouble with counting), funny, sarcastic, mischievous, she has the weirdest stories and she’s a total badass, but really sweet at the same time with a hint of insecurity and shyness.

I am so glad that I got to spend the weekend with them, but in a way it’s also slightly bittersweet for me. I love that I finally got to meet them and there are people that I just love to pieces, but I know it’ll be hard for me to come back and see them all again and that just makes me miss them that much more.

April 23, 2008 at 10:36 pm Leave a comment

Daddy Daycare

Since Cathy is in the States I’ve decided to provide a few updates. I know…I know…I can’t do this blog justice. I’m not the best writer and I’m not at all witty or funny. Cathy has a charm that I couldn’t possibly replicate. If you’re wondering why I never email or post, well now you know.

Since last Thursday me and Noah are having an all boys festival. I like to think it’s a festival. If you saw it from afar it may look like battle royal. We’ve wrestled, we’ve jumped up and down, we’ve climbed, we’ve swung from bars, we’ve chased each other around and around in circles. The chasing in circles was a problem. I got nauseous and had to sit down for 30 minutes. I would say that all of this is exhausting. It sure is and I have another week to go! Since I travel so much its great to get some one on one time with Noah. Here is a quick recap of our weekend.

Saturday: There was a Level I typhoon. The winds were howling and the rain was coming down in sheets. Like good Hong Kongers we took to shopping. Noah is now the proud owner of three new pairs of jeans and a bowling shirt. He has more jeans than me and Cathy combined. Wow. While shopping we came across a video arcade. We played so many games for just 100 HK ($12 US). Noah took to a video game where two beetles battle each other to the death.

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April 22, 2008 at 5:37 pm 3 comments

Hereditary-ness

A sign that Noah is definitely my child:

When he drops something, knocks something down, or goofs up in any way he says “Oops! Sorry! My fault.”


A sign that Noah is definitely Mark’s child:

He asked Clarita for a banana milkshake and a minute later it still wasn’t done so he shouted out to her in the kitchen, “Hey! Where’s my banana milkshake?” When she handed him the cup 5 seconds later, he took it in one hand and with the other hand pretended to pay her.

Apologetic, yet demanding. The poor child is so messed up.

April 17, 2008 at 1:16 pm Leave a comment

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