Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Joy

You have no idea how long I've been waiting for this email:


The world loves Wicked. But for the past two years, Wicked has been taking up space at the Pantages Theater, forcing other companies to go to smaller venues. Smaller venues has not been attracting top notch shows to LA so I'm beyond overjoyed that BroadwayLA is back in full swing at the Pantages. I looking forward to Grease, one of my all-time favorites, and Legally Blonde, which received surprisingly good reviews.

I love the theater. I can't sing or dance, so I love watching the professionals do it. However, I am the best audience member ever. I clap, cheer, lead standing ovations, and cry mostly to the embarrassment of K who lovingly calls me his Drama Queen. After a year-long hiatus, I can't wait to renew my subscription and pen in each and every musical on my Google Calendar.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Superlatives

It was supposed to be a quick hour-long plane ride to SF for some fun with my BFFs, a wedding in Sacramento, and back in time for a late dinner with K on Sunday. It was supposed to be. A broken down car make it one of the longest weekends of my life. Highway 80 is the longest highway ever. I hope to never have to drive it again.

I hadn't been back to Nor Cal since I graduated and as the airport tram made a stop at the BART station, I teared up like a wuss.

The wedding was a fabulous blend of many people and traditions. I was so happy to be a witness to the beautiful ceremony and had a good time catching up with friends at the reception. You would think that being the wedding lover that I am, I would actually have pictures. I don't.

The wedding was also the site of the worst best man speech ever. It was long, it was boring, and I don't even think it was really about the couple. Here's a highlight (context: the couple met through eharmony):

Worst Man: Who here has tried online dating?
(A few hands go up.)
WM: I'd never do it. You never know if the "girl" you're talking to is a 40-year-old pervert.
(uncomfortable laughter)
WM: But as you know, A and A met online. ... So ... good for them.
(crickets)

Then WM proceeds to top off the evening by saying to the groom's parents at the end of the evening, "I am so glad my speech is over! I thought it was great. I'm going to get f-ing wasted now."

So. freaking. fabulous.

The wedding gave me a chance to show off my new hair cut. It received rave reviews but most people didn't recognize me until, on average, the third take.

I heart weddings.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Chop

I went to chop my hair off today. I say chop because I took a lot of length off. I was going to visit Salon D'eletto as recommended by tater and Wan but this salon, like many others, are closed on Mondays. Why is it that I've never realized this before?

I had originally taken Monday off to do this, but since I no longer had time to drive out to the taterwan rec, I tried Bravo Urban Spa and Salon in Pasadena. It's a Bumble and bumble salon, so of course I left with the surf spray. I found them on Yelp and with only a handful of reviews, I decided to try them anyway. Andy (Andrea) did a fabulous job. She's really sweet and encouraged me though I felt like a fool when I shared with her my inspiration for today's cut:



This is what I got:



I think I'm right at the edge of complete FOBalishishness. It's definitely growing me, so I hope it isn't too disconcerting for you. I would even cut it a bit shorter, but nearly 9 inches in one day is about all I can take. K says, "I don't love it, love it - but I like it." Whatever that means.

Perk #1 of marriage: K's stuck with me for-eva.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Bargains

Being married means joint finances for this happy couple.

After one of those Wasted Weekends, we really did sit down and talk - generally - about our finances. K found Expense Register, a site that allows you to record your spending I have no idea what happens after that. I've been told that my sole responsibility is to record my spending on that site. We are barely starting to track our spending so that we can set a realistic budget together.

We're unsure of what our living situation will be in the near future, but in preparation for this impending doom of home ownership, whenever it may come, I've actually been bargain hunting. Not quite the coupon clipping, Walmart shopper yet, but I'm staying away from places that should be, and are, out of my budget. (I'll miss you, Saks, Bloomies, Fred Segal ... ) Don't be mistaken, I'm a regular outlet shopper and love Loehmann's dearly. I just have to cut out "splurges" that were becoming more and more of a habit than a treat, if we're ever going to get serious about moving out. K has never overtly asked me to stop but just looking at the numbers on my own, I feel the heavy weight coming down on my shoulders. I realized I'm not one of the Hilton sisters and will never be.

Yesterday, I stood at Trader Joe's trying to decide between the organic and regular milk. This was a non issue before our budget conversation, but there was a $3 - $4 price different between the two and I really struggled with that. I went with the regular milk. That made me slightly sad, I'll admit. I've decided that I can take away designer duds but the food must stay.

There must be a balance between being a responsible shopper and obsessing over a $3 - $4 difference between organic and regular milk.

On the happy side, I found a fabulous outfit for a wedding this weekend for under $40, accessories included. Gold star for this little shopper!

There is no need to tell me that I am coming off as a complete jerk given the starving children, third-world countries, etc.. I'm well aware of my own stupidity. It's something I'm working through, thankyouverymuch.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Finally a break

I work on Saturdays. It's not detention, just extra class time for kids who are behind. It is the epitome of suck to have to wake up early on a Saturday but the extra time to catch up on work or to do whatever I want is pretty sweet. Most of wedding planning took place during Saturday School.

Today, I picked the 65 pictures that will go into the wedding album (nevermind the mile-high pile of work sitting patiently on my desk) and pending hubby approval, we'll get those back to Jasmine and - whee!! - we'll get our album. After that, I plan on covering every wall in the house with our wedding pictures. I love me.

The highlights continue. After helping out with the World Vision AIDS Experience Tent at our church's annual Social Concern Conference, K and I went to see Forgetting Sarah Marshall (Yes, the Tent and movie go hand in hand. ;)) I give it a 3/4 of a thumbs up. It's not as hilarious as Knocked Up, though on par in crudeness, but humorous and sweet enough to help me forget my momentary troubles. That's good enough for now.

Now I'm eager awaiting a sushi take-out delivered by K while watching David Bromstad on HGTV.

Exhale.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Status

Currently:
In desperate need of a hair cut. (Recommendations for salons/stylists, please.)
In need a new stylist. (My lady has been cutting my hair since I was 7. It's time.)
Looking for a dress. (Three weddings in the next 5 weeks.)
Craving sushi. (As I do every other week.)
Almost completely back to the workout routine. (Endorphins are awesome.)
More hopeful and at peace. (Thank the Lord.)
Loving this:

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Failure

Failure is extremely, extremely painful. It makes the world stop spinning and yanks the pit of your gut right out of your belly button. There is nothing you can do after the failure. Trying again is not the same thing as succeeding the first time. I don't care what people say, it isn't the same. Failure stays on you for awhile, shadowing everything else you try. For an eternity if you're Chinese. Failure makes me curl up in a ball and cry. And y'all know, I don't cry.

"Trust in the Lord." I do.
"For I know the plans I have for you." I know.
"Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life." Definitely.

But for right now, all I want is my gut back.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Moody, Molars, and More

My job has become less and less about children and more and more about pushing papers. Today, I spent all day scrolling through the scores of 500+ children to figure out who is "on track" to passing the California Standards Test. For what? So we can "target" them. The test in 18 school days. Yea, good luck kids.

I made my third trip back to the dentist today to change the fillings. One more to go. I attempted to take a picture for y'all but the camera ran out of juice just when I was snapping a second shot. Must be a sign. It's actually really amazing for me to see my own teeth without the silver fillings as I've had them all since about the age of 10.

GreenPeace, Marathon, Whisperer, and I hit up The Boiling Crab tonight. When we left for dinner, my mouth was still recovering from the anesthesia. Two hours later! This was one of the few instances I actually hoped for a wait at this restaurant so that my mouth would be ready to fulfill its duty. Of course, there was no wait and we even found a parking spot right in the tiny lot.

I haven't been to The Boiling Crab in several months but the food seemed to be significantly better this time around. It was pretty tasty before but there is now a better use of spices and just tastier overall. We had the shrimp, lobster, crab, oysters, regular fries, and sweet potato fries. Loved it all. The Gluttony Award goes to the couple who was already eating when we got there and was still eating when we left. They totally beat us. The four of us.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Happy Birthday, Kenny!

Today we celebrated Kenny's 24th birthday. Kenny, being the true Shanghai boy that he is, invited us to dinner at Green Village Shanghai Restaurant. It's been really fun watching Kenny grow into a strapping young man. Kenny and I have to deal that will allow me to post his profile on eHarmony when he turns 26. Major selling point: If he ever moves back to Shanghai, he'd actually be allowed to have 2 kids because his parents obeyed the single-child rule. Act now, ladies!

Holla if you're lookin' for love! I have an entire file of strapping young men to pimp out.

Happy Birthday, Kenny!




The one on the right is off the market. Kenny is in the middle. Bryan is single and on the left. And I'm only half kidding.

Of course, no night would be complete without an old-school group photo. Extra points to Gun Boy for striking the perfect pose.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Advice

It was a fun and busy weekend. I didn't get to do any of the things I wanted to do, but there's always next weekend.

I went to a bridal shower (4 hours, 3 quizzes, and a giant bustier cake) on Saturday and when it came time to give marital advice, as a newly wed, I actually had some things I wanted to say:
1. Leave your husband alone when he's watching football.
2. Things will go wrong at your wedding but God willing, you'll only focus on and remember the good stuff.
3. Things in the bedroom are awkward at first, but they'll get better.  
I received mixed reviews on this last comment. I'm only speaking from experience. Sorry. TMI.  
Saturday night was dinner with the in-laws at Black Angus for the brother's birthday. Extremely disappointing in both food and service. But it's Black Angus, what did I expect?

On Sunday after church and post-church activities, I was determined to do something I wanted to do. I had wanted to cut my hair but am currently looking for a new stylist so didn't know where to go. I also wanted to go shopping for a couple of weddings coming up. Since I didn't have time to do any of those things before K's weekly basketball game, I decided on a pedicure.

I made the trip to Burke Williams in Pasadena only to find that they didn't have any slots available. (Of course I could've called before I went but that would make too much sense.) I scoured my mind trying to remember nail salon recs that I had read from Wan or WeezerMonkey and I recalled Dashing Diva. Sadly, I couldn't remember if it was a negative or positive review. It was only after I had already went in, chosen my nail color, and dipped my feet into the water that I remembered that WeezerMonkey had said that the polish was sub-par. Oh well. At least my toes are painted and I was generally pleased with the service and environment.

Sunday brought a wonderful surprise. We were able to see Mr. and Mrs. SnappyJoe. They have the pictures of the rehearsal dinner and the wedding ready for us to see and a gift! Hooray for more wedding stuff. After scanning through 1000+ uber-fabulous pictures from Jasmine, you'd think I'd be over looking at myself. Not this self-loving hag. Another wonderful thing about seeing the SnappyJoes is meeting up with Baby Snap. He's has such a great disposition and will actually allow me to hold him. Most babies cry at the sight of my approach. He's a cool dude in my book. 

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

I love/love my trainer.

I dragged my slightly lumpier behind into the gym today after a month of avoiding any type of contact, even eye contact, with exercise machines. I'm one of those people who hate working out. Every workout, every run is an arduous task that I have to mentally prepare for. I have no idea what it means when people say, "I love working out!" And I have no idea what it means to "miss" the gym.

Having a trainer is critical to getting me into the gym. A trainer elicits the perfect mixture of social guilt and financial obligation to force this Chinese daughter into a workout. I love my trainer. We get along really well and she really thinks about the exercises that actually challenge me. However, after nearly a month of zero exercise, I thought she would make me throw up or pass out. (The former occurred on a day when I neglected to eat a proper meal before the workout.)

I'm happy to report that I made it through the 50 minutes with little issue. Now that I no longer have to squeeze myself into the white dress, I'm not really sure I have the motivation to continue on. There's really no more reason to kill myself. Twice a week.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

I love/hate my dentist

Blame it on my parents. Blame it on my eating habits during my younger years. My pretty little mouth houses 12+ cavities. 12+ cavities comes with 12+ sparkling silver fillings (heh). They looked fabulous in my wedding photos. (gag)

Today, I embarked on the 2nd of 3 (or 4) visits to the dentist to get the silver beauties switched to resin fillings. I like my dentist. He remembers details about each of his patients and is very friendly. However, I just can't, in my right mind, truly like a person who sticks drills and needles in my mouth. It just isn't right. I think of this every time he asks me, "Does that hurt, Jane?" The needle you just stuck in my mouth repeatedly? Yes. It does.

At least I'm an honest dental patient.

Dental assistant: How often do you floss?
Jane: I don't.
DA: Do you know how?
J: Yes.
DA: You should floss daily to keep your teeth healthy.
J: Yea.
DA: Well, maybe I will give you a sample and encourage you to start flossing.
J: No, I won't.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Wasted Weekend

I had big plans to do a lot of housework this weekend. I really did. It was supposed to be my first weekend as Betty Crocker as K was heading out to watch the UCLA game at a friend's house. So if Betty Crocker watched TV, surfed the net, all while dining on chips and ice cream, then my mission is complete. :)

We've been back from Paris for about a week and a half now, and things are really back to their normal rhythm. I finally sent a text to my trainer scheduling a session for this week. K and I both had church meetings after service. The questions about the wedding and the honeymoon are starting to wane. I'm getting used to saying "husband" and someone at work even called me by my new last name. The normal of it all makes me giddy.

K and I have scheduled some time together tomorrow night to start on our budget. This is the part of the normal that I dread. I've never used a budget before, I never balance my checkbook, I don't invest, and while I live within my means, I don't have a clear picture of my financial situation. I'm literally scared of money. Clearly, scared to the point of stupidity. K, on the other hand, is the complete opposite.

If you don't hear from me tomorrow, it is because I'm huddling in a corner, crying like a little girl over a spread sheet full of numbers and dollar signs.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

If only I had a camera

Upon our return from Paris, K returned the camera he had purchased from Costco for the trip. We bought it last minute before the trip and decided it wasn't a good enough camera to keep. Luckily, Costco's fabulous return policy allows you to do this sort of thing.

This post would be much more visually interesting, if only I had a camera. Or even a decent camera phone. But here's the ghetto, bulleted version:

- I went bowling last night and bowled an awesome 91. *chuckle* (Insert picture of score board.)
- Took a trip to Pink's and had the bacon burrito dog. (insert picture of burrito dog.) My friends decided it would be to their economic advantage to bring their own drinks. Not a stop at starbucks or whatever, but a run to the supermarket for a 12-pack and some water type of drinks. For 12 people. True to my Berkeley roots, I became extremely indignant at this (something about supporting and respecting small business owners), and purchased a lemonade in silent protest. (Insert picture of lemonade.) Power to the people.

- Have to work on Saturday mornings for the next month. Saturday School is held for all students who are below grade level, which is a majority of the school. Should be some fabulous fun. (Insert picture of my sad, dreary face on Saturday morning.)

That is all.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Sleep

For the past week, I had been waking up before my alarm clock. I was losing about 15-20 minutes of sleep each morning but I feel so awake that I can't help but get out of bed.
I realized it's actually wearing me down because last night I crashed at 9:45 and barely woke up when the alarm went off at 6am this morning.

*tangent*
Waking up at 6am in unnatural. The sun isn't even up. The human body shouldn't be forced to wake up without natural light. Reason #123940918 to quit my job.
*/tangent*

I've been yawning all day. This is unfortunate because for awhile there I thought I was Superwoman. I was getting to work way early and feeling really good about myself.

This particularly entry should have been helpful in helping you fall asleep. G'nite.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Chew, Swallow, Repeat.

My stomach is clearly in post-wedding mode. I ate like I hadn't eaten in years:
- english muffin
- goldfish crackers. Constantly.
- 3 slices of cake (Hey, we had 2 birthdays at work today.)
- 2 bowls of Italian Wedding Soup (meatballs, beans, pasta, and some other stuff...)
All before 1pm.

For dinner, Greenpeace Bridesmaid, Marathon Bridesmaid, Bridesmaid Whisperer, and I hit up Mahan near Garfield and Main in Alhambra. The restaurant is deceptively large and if you look in from Garfield Ave., it often looks empty. None of us had ever tried it or heard of any reviews, nor had we ever even seen a person eat there, but we decided to try it. We're either brave or very, very stupid. To continue my mission to eat all that I can today, I had the mixed grill with 2 types of chicken and lamb kabobs. Others had various meats and curries and we shared vegetable samosas and naan. Yum. It turned out to be pretty good, though I prefer this place near Old Town Pasadena more (name escapes me.)

Less than 2 hours later, I'm ready to eat again. There is hagen daaz in the fridge and I'm not sure I have the power to resist it. I can literally hear my stomach begging for mercy.

I'm sure I'll be receiving a phone call from my trainer soon. I told her I'd call her when I returned from Paris, but I just haven't been able to find the will power to do so. There's really no reason to work so hard now that I don't have to squeeze myself into a white dress. She's going to try to convince me to keep up with the workouts 4 times a week. Bless her crazy little heart.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

I don't cry.

My grandpa is in the hospital. He's been there for the past few days and my dad just called me to go see him. He's having heart problems and difficulty breathing. My grandpa has been sick and progressively getting worse for awhile. Partly because of age, partly of various ailments. Some in the family are convinced this is the end of the road for him and my aunt was in tears at the hospital.

I looked at her, I looked at my grandpa with his oxygen mask and frail body and I ... wanted to take a picture. For some strange reason, I thought to myself, if this was going to be my last time seeing him, I wanted to remember every single detail of the moment. I have a horrible memory and part of me was afraid I'd somehow forget what was happening or even what he looked like. All I could think of was taking a picture. But I didn't cry.

At one point I was on the verge of tears when the nurse responsible for monitoring his heart walked in. She was a woman of at least forty years with braided pig tails and these pigtails were weaved with sparkly gold yarn. This framed her face painted with blue eye shadow, cat eyes drawn in with liquid eyeliner, and bright red lipstick. It was some demented version of Raggedy Anne crossed with "Me love you long time."

I could not help but bust up laughing. I thank God for His sense of humor and perfect timing. My grandpa may or may not get better, but I will forever remember tonight's meeting.

You gotta whistle while you work!

Today was a tough day at work.

After school, a student who used to attend our school came on campus today and beat up a current student. It wasn't a planned altercation (the two didn't know each other) and I'm not sure of the details but apparently, the older student landed a couple of punches and pulled some hair. This doesn't happen everyday at school, but it definitely isn't rare. Usually we handle the situation: discipline the students, suspend if necessary, and inform parents of what took place.

But today, all hell broke loose. The parent called the police and demanded an ambulance. She cursed out the office staff and administration, and called us racist. The fact that the students were of two different races is like dynamite powder waiting for just the right spark. 

The police ended up arresting the older student. They walked her through the school, handcuffed, to the car. The ambulance came and treated the younger student. 

The older student is 12 and the younger student is 10. I got extremely depressed. I can only imagine how an experience like this shapes your view of people. What goes through your mind while you're being treated by an EMT or being led away in handcuffs and your parent is berating the school staff with racial epithets?

It's not the low pay that keeps people out of the profession. It's the feeling of powerlessness as children are being shaped for the rest of their lives that makes me want to quit.