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At home

September 18, 2009   

Tuesday was my last day at work before going on leave to wait for the alien bread we’ve been baking in the human oven. The alien bread is due in about 2.5 weeks! :O Seriously, it is shocking.

I do feel bad calling the baby things like “alien bread” and “skeletor” but it’s hard to come up with an in utero nickname, and I hate the one my mom calls him (“ddol ddol i” — like “smarty” or maybe more like “smartass”). Well, it’s hard to come up with a real name too. Hopefully, Mobi won’t take things too literally and try to dine on this alien bread.

There was some confusion for the legal definition of what was happening to me, leave-wise. Because my company is so small, most of the common leave-taking job protection doesn’t apply to me (one lesser known one does though but under different terms than the more commonly known stuff) but it was really a matter of making sure we were all individually happy with the arrangement, covering everything from how long I’ll be gone, if we want it to be full-time immediately upon returning, if they can contact me while I’m on leave, etc., much of which are “softer” issues. I at no point was actually worried about not having a job to come back to, but mostly about the legalese in terms of collecting my short term disability insurance. That headache has largely been taken care of, so I can relax. πŸ™‚

A couple of weeks ago, we went to Hawaii. It was… awesome. Seriously awesome. One of the best things was being able to be in the water all the time, which was so great for my strained joints and swollen hands & feet. It was fun going all over the island (Oahu) and nomming on everything in sight. Most of the trip is covered on Seppo’s blog. One of the worst things was getting our stuff stolen, but that’s the kind of thing you just have to roll with. The other bad thing was the flight back from Hawaii. My feet were swollen so badly that I almost busted out into tears several times during the flight.

Note to self next time if I fly while pregnant:

  1. Don’t fly 3rd trimester!
  2. Upgrade to business or first if I have to fly during 3rd trimester — I am a total cheapskate, but the extra money will be well worth it, even if it doesn’t seem like it at the time.

Last week on Saturday, I sucked up all my “scared of meeting strangers” fears with the help of my friend & recent mother MJ and attended the Kimchi Mamas Bay Area meetup! πŸ˜€Β There is so much I loved about the meetup!

  • Meeting with other women, period. I love events for women!
  • Meeting with other people who either grew up flanking both American mainstream & Korean cultures, or trying to reconcile feeling disconnected from Korean culture (I feel both ways at times). So many of us clearly felt like the “outsiders” among other groups of KA women that the sheer number was comical at this particular gathering. πŸ™‚
  • Meeting with other parents, many of them with very young children, who have gone or are going through the same issues juggling careers, multiple cultures, parents & in-laws, etc.
  • Meeting articulate, well-spoken, well-read people who were not afraid to speak their minds, yet were incredibly & sincerely nice.
  • Meeting for the first time some people I had been reading for months/years!

I would totally do this again. At some point, as Jomama and Karen the Californian blogged, many of us seemed to suffer from the “Holy crap, am I gonna be dressed up enough for other Korean girls?!” fear, and tried to primp up nicer than normal — several people owned up to wearing eyeliner/lipstick/etc. that they usually never wear. I had the same fears, but since I’m terrible at makeup, all I did was try my best to fill in my half-balding right eyebrow.

I got to see Shinyung, Twizzle, and Mary again, which was great! I wish I had gotten to talk to them a little more, but I got to meet new people which I enjoyed immensely. I hope we do this again! πŸ˜€

On a completely different note, Seppo and I have been attending classes to get ready for the baby. We are taking a 4-week series on childbirth and a 3-week series on newborn care. We really like the instructor for the newborn care class, who also happens to be the backup instructor for the childbirth class. I wish I could remember her name… Heh. I really like that she’s very non-judgmental and doesn’t appear to push a particular agenda, while presenting a multitude of options for things to try and why we might like them.

Taking the classes seems to have lit a fire under Seppo’s butt! After the first week (was that just last week??), he ran out several times during the week and the weekend to get our bag packed in case the baby comes early and is really getting into reading up on some baby-related stuff. As for me, now that I’m on leave, I’m trying to focus on getting one major thing out of the way everyday, when I’m not obsessing over how the project I was working on is going. Heh.

This blog entry has been brought to you by the letters B for boring and M for meandering. Next time, let’s hope we’ll see something from letter E for exciting and C for concise. :p

Note to self: blog about the difference between advice & help. That thought has been incubating for a while now.

Lunchtime Blogging

July 28, 2009   

Been crazy busy with work lately. Not so unusual, but it’s pretty exciting. I wish I had a couple of breathers to just sort of clean up all the messy corners and tighten up the loose bolts, but time is limited.

Sleeping badly lately too, probably far less than before getting pregnant. Hip joint and left shoulder hurts like a mofo. Hip joint pops every time I get up and hurts like a joint that shouldn’t pop.

Clearly have been tweeting too much, as I can only seem to write in fragmented sentences.

Looking forward to the new season of America’s Best Dance Crew. Woo!

The public areas of the house are starting to tidy up Β and feel nice.

Trying to figure out when to have my mom come out to help with the baby.

Found out yesterday that my sister told my dad I was pregnant. It is nice to know he knows. I’m still reluctant to talk to him, for complicated reasons. I may write him a letter. He has a job as a security guard and is working. With my grandmother’s recent passing, I don’t want to have regrets about not reaching out to him later, but it is still really hard.

It kills me that even with all the money I make, I don’t make enough to Β pay all the bills here, shore up our financial security, and still get my mom off food stamps. I breaks my heart that she’s still on food stamps. It just kills me.

I’ve finished the Sookie Stackhouse series (up to the most current one out) and started Karen Marie Moning’s Fever series. She got me with her free Kindle book, Darkfever.

Looking forward to getting away to Hawaii in August. At the same time, I think about my dad in Korea and my mom and think, gah, is this really, really ok? Couldn’t I be helping them more? I know there are things I need to do for myself too but in the long run, what will make me happier?

A blogger I read regularly is getting divorced. It saddens me more than it should, given that he’s a stranger.

I’ve been cooking Korean food the last few days. Simple Korean food (not restaurant food) really feeds more than my body; making it and eating it calms me, makes me feel rooted, and other touchy-feely bs that kinda makes me want to hurl, but there it is, undeniably making me feel good. Truly, it is comfort food.

I feel tired. I feel restless. I feel like things are changing faster than I can really take in. I don’t feel like myself, but a wimpier, weaker, whinier version of myself. This too shall pass. I’m not used to it, but it’s not like it’s a permanent state.

I recently reread my NaNoWriMo project from 2 years ago. Or has it been three years already? It wasn’t as good as I had hoped it was. Oh well. It was a learning experience, and I think I can come up with something better.

I’d like to organize my photos. I wish I had more photos as a baby.

Seppo and I talked about how amazing it was that we are where we are in life right now. I was born in my grandmom’s house, lived in houses without running water or indoor plumbing or a modern stove (cooking was done over the fire), and now I live in the Bay Area, in a great neighborhood, living a comfortable life, calling some incredible people my friends, with access to all sorts of material and cultural goods and experiences. It’s crazy. Honestly, if I thought it was just through my own hard work and not also through a series of incredibly lucky events and helpful people, I’d be the most arrogant ass on Earth.

Life, despite all the little bumps and bruises, is great. The bumps and bruises are tiny, insignificant. Our child-to-be has every chance to live to great life, and I just have to make sure he doesn’t become an entitled person, but an appreciative one. πŸ™‚

Zee Sexola

June 1, 2009   

It’s a boy! Husband & I had individually guessed girl, and the grandmothers-to-be guessed boy. I guess the elder generation takes this round!

In other news, my long-time friend (I’ve known him since the third grade) and his wife (who is totally awesome) just revealed to me that they are expecting their own baby, just about two weeks after ours. I am so very excited for them. We are making plans to meet up for lunch or dinner soon. It has been entirely too long. We don’t live super-far from them, but our work schedules have been such that we’ve had a lot of trouble meeting up more than twice a year. I know, totally shameful.

But now I can look forward to playdates for parents and kids, not just with them but with other friends who have young kids and who are expecting. How wonderful to be able to go through this process at the same time as good friends… πŸ™‚ I am truly lucky.

I only wish family (on both sides) were closer by so that they would be able to grow up with family near. We are still lucky to have our close friends live in the Bay Area, so I can’t complain.

Christmas comes early!

December 10, 2006   

Seppo got me a sewing machine! Exactly what I wanted! πŸ˜€ I am learning sewing techniques. Right now, it’s all about the straight sewing on little pieces of cloth. I want to be able to hem my pants, since they are always too long for me.

We are so bad about early presents. Hee.

Last night, we went to see the Count Basie Orchestra at the SF Symphony. Earlier in the day, we went over to Klay & Nana’s to play a little Scattegories and try out Sushi Sam’s for the first time, before rushing like crazy people because we were worried about being late. We weren’t. πŸ˜€

They were really great. The music was beautiful, and the people clearly loved playing with each other. Melba Joyce sang a couple of songs, one of which was “What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life?”. It was haunting and heartbreaking the way she sang it. Just beautiful.

Oh yeah, the symphony tickets were a present from Seppo’s parents! Thank you!

Speaking of Christmas coming early, I saw a commercial on TV the other day for a televised audition to cast the leads of a new production of Grease! I love Grease! I am so all over that. Tee hee.

A random smattering, like every other time

November 7, 2006   

Lately, I feel like all I do are summary posts, but I’m busy as hell.

Friends.
Tonight, I went to dinner with Hoa. Which was awesome. I don’t know what it is, but it’s so easy to talk with her. She is defintely an active listener, which is something I really appreciate, but I also think we had some similar experiences growing up which gives us an easy rapport. Or so I think from my side of things, while she sits on her side of things wondering why she feels sorry enough for me to meet me occasionally. πŸ˜€

Uyen finished her half marathon at the astounding time of 2 hrs and 3 minutes! Holy crap! They both deserve to be mucho proud of themselves. Congraulations!!

Finances.
We opened a savings account at eloan.com at 5.5% APY. I had been looking into CDs with a CD ladder scheme in mind (ask me about CD ladders because I will be glad to answer), when I found that the highest non-credit union CD rate I could find for an amount we could afford topped out at 5.65% APY anyway.

Elections.
Don’t be an idiot; vote. Don’t make excuses; vote. For the love of God, this is what makes a democracy. And if you see any funny business at your polling site, report it. I have no idea where. But I’m sure you’ll figure something out.

Books.
Both Seppo and I are making great progress. They both seem like they are telling stories, like they are really a part of a greater narrative. It’s very satisfying. This year is different because I’m not plagued with thoughts/fears of whether I can do it or not. The last two years have taught me that I can do it. So this year has been about the quality of the content. Caring about the quality has made this a much more all-consuming process. I feel so nervous when Seppo reads my words. Not that he will or won’t like them, but more that they will feel meaningless or trite and leave him feeling nothing. He’s my only audience so far, so all the pressure is on him. πŸ˜€

On the reading front, Colin lent me The Time Traveler’s Wife. I am only about a quarter way through it, and I love it already. It’s clever, but not self-important, interesting, and warmly written. It’s a little awkward when it’s called for. I have an awful feeling about something I am guessing will happen in the story, but I hope it doesn’t. But if it doesn’t, I’ll think the author will have wasted a really great opportunity. Oh, the conflict.

Work.
Still busy. Going pretty well.

Berkley Bowl.
Wow, I had never been to Berkley Bowl before. And we’ve lived in this area for more than five years. It was great! The vegetable selection was astounding. Two thumbs up.

Battlestar Galactica.
Wow. Times ten. I can’t believe the stuff that’s happening in the second half of the second season. Definitely give it a try, but it’s really best to start at the beginning.

Catch up

November 4, 2006   

On the friend front: My friend visited from out of town a couple of weeks ago. Ordinarily, when I say things like that, they are usually out here on business, or for a wedding, or for some family-related function, or even vacation.

This time, it was quite different.

Margo just finished biking across the US. HOLY MOLY! I saw her near the end of the trip and was completely floored by her amazing feat. It was so awesome to see her [link to her entry of the day we met for dinner]. I hadn’t seen her in years. I met her on either the first or second day of freshmen year in college. We even roomed together for a bit in sophormore year.

Actually, this reminds me of the fact that after Rush Week, we all had to figure out who we wanted to room with, and I remember she was one of the people I wanted to room with. She listed all the music I liked too! And she was so funny in an understated way. And dressed like the indie girl I wanted to dress like. AND to top it all off, she also read Sassy! Can you believe it? But my Evil Roommate guilt-tripped me and somehow convinced me that I had promised to room with her instead even though I had done no such thing. Sigh.

Anyway.

Margo. Awesome! I am so glad we are in touch again, so glad she called me up out of the blue.

Speaking of amazing stuff friends are up to, my friends (a couple married to each other) are running a half marathon tomorrow. Can you believe it? I am so proud of them! Go U & C! They have been working hard for this for months now, and I know they will push themselves to do their best.

I swear, I am the only slug in the group. H is busy as hell but trying to earn Presidential Champions awards. I can barely walk without huffing and puffing. I hope to get better at running eventually though. It’s a goalish thing. I probably haven’t improved much because I haven’t actually made it a goal yet. We’ll see when I get to the point where I want to make it a priority.

The novel writing endeavor is going surprisingly well. I mean, I don’t objectively know if it’s crap or greatness, but I’m putting more honesty and emotion into making the characters in this book than I had ever before. And it’s a little terrifying.

I had been working like a dog, pretty much rolling out of bed, going to work, coming home, breaking for dinner, working some more from home, going to bed, lather, rinse, and repeat, which is why I haven’t been blogging regularly lately, but I made a huge breakthrough Friday night in tweaking performance and reliability levels, so I feel less frantic this weekend. I am still doing some work this weekend, but I feel finally like I’m actually caught up.

Whew.

All pistons firing!

Today, I watched the TiVoed Project Runway Season 1 marathon (just the second half), got the Roomba back in working order, did a load of laundry, unloaded & loaded the dishwasher, tidied up the kitchen counters and stove, chased my dog around the diningroom table, helped cook dinner, and wrote over 3000 words (approx. 12 8.5″ x 11″ pages of double-spaced in fixed-width font) for my book. I feel like I had a really full day. I’m so ready to go to sleep.

So! Important! Not.

October 25, 2006   

Since the elections are coming up, Iraq is going crappily with no real end in sight, and the state of education and health care in America is still what it is, I figured I need to focus on the really important stuff.

Like Madonna’s baby.

Kidding!

More like pressing questions such as the following:

  • If you are a part of a couple, when you get invited to things, do you prefer that
    1. people just funnel the invitations to one person (one designated contact or whomever is the “primary” friend of the inviter); or
    2. always invite the both of you when both of you are in fact invited?

    Personally, I like getting individual invites (or a cc on an email or evite) because I do occasionally invite individuals (not couples) to functions and unless I make it clear that it’s a couples thing, I don’t wanna see your significant other. Plus, I often don’t hear about the event until it’s too late if you only tell Seppo. πŸ˜€

  • Giving versus getting presents — which do you love more?

    I’d rank it as:

    1. Giving presents when I know I’ve gotten the person a great gift they will love.
    2. Getting a present.
    3. Giving a gift without the certainty of knowing if it’s a good gift or not.

  • I feel like I now watch about half as much tv as I did as a kid and about twice (or more) as much tv as I did since college. Is it me, or is it that tv shows are actually better? Is posing this question as an either-or scenario inherently asking for wrong answers? How long does it take for rhetorical questions to get annoying? Now? How about now?
  • Is loving things like the following picture a sign that I’m becoming a squishy old lady?

    Who cares? Soooo cute.

  • Do kids actually go around your neighborhood “Trick or Treat”ing? We need to get the one or two kids that come giant bars of chocolate.
  • Why it is that when I’m driving, I think of a million insightful, thoughtful things to blog about, but when I have the time and opportunity, it’s almost always fluff like this?

I want to get a cute costume for Mobi, but I’m sure Seppo will object. Come on, he’s a dog! He has no dignity to speak of! πŸ˜€

Weekended

October 16, 2006   

Wow, I was so busy this past week/weekend.

Work has been really hectic, so I haven’t been making any social plans, but things kept coming up so I was able to be human and actually talk to people other than the little code monkeys in my head.

Sometime during the week (I think it was Tuesday?) we had an impromptu dinner with Holly at Mekong Garden on Piedmont Ave. Everything we ate was delicious, and I especially loved the dry fried salt and pepper squid. Yum! Mc & Holly were awesome company and we had a great time.

Wednesday, I think, we had Uyen over for shabu-shabu, but her meat was not very tender, as she’s been working out like crazy for her upcoming half-marathon. Ok, we didn’t eat her. It was a good time. Since the weather’s been getting cold, I think we’ll be having soups and stews more often.

Roopa came into town on Thursday! I didn’t see her until Friday because she was here for work, and I obviously also have been busy with work, otherwise I would have taken the day off while she was here. πŸ™‚ We went back to Pearl Oyster Bar & Restaurant on College Ave, and this time, every dish was awesome, unlike last time when we were sort of torn on the food. I’m sure we’ll give it a write-up at some point in the near future.

After a most delicious dinner (thanks Roopa!), we headed over to Jaguar Karaoke (formerly known as Music Box Karaoke) and sang for 4.2 hours (or so the time sheet said when we paid up)! My throat was so raw Saturday morning. Holly, Leila, and Lindsi joined us for the ridiculous sing-a-rama, meaning Seppo was trapped in a dark room with only five ladeez for hours and hours. Dun dun dun! Lindsi makes a really great air guitar partner, I have to say. πŸ˜€ I think we are the only ones that knew *every part* of the Bon Jovi songs and the New Kids on the Block songs, including the random backup parts. LOL!

It was interesting to observe the varying tastes of our friends. I tried to think of how I’d order us by similar musical tastes, and the best I can do is this:

Me -> Lindsi -> Holly -> Seppo -> Leila -> Roopa -> Me

Lindsi & I overlap in everything from the Motown era to the late 80s. Lindsi & Holly overlap in the more contemporary areas, I think. Seppo & Holly also do, but in different music than Lindsi & Holly overlap. Holly is key to the group because of her very diverse musical tastes, I think. Leila & Seppo have Radiohead-like music very much in common. Leila & Roopa definitely had music in common, but I had a hard time putting my finger on the exact subgenre. Roopa & I have a varied assortment of music in common, also not easy to categorize.

It’s been a while since I’ve sung Pearl Jam and Roxette at the top of my lungs within a 15-minute time span. πŸ˜€

Saturday morning, I woke up thinking that my cough & cold had returned from the week before, but luckily, it was just that my throat was raw from all the singing. Roopa and I headed over to Piedmont Ave and had yet another delicious meal together, this time at CΓ©sar (this is the second location; the original is in the Berkeley Gourmet Ghetto). Man, we were on such a great food roll. It was really great to sit outside at a nice restaurant and eat great food while chatting with a dear, missed friend about life and nothing in particular.

Seppo and I got spiffed up after lunch to attend Claire & Nick’s wedding. After weeks of griping that they had nothing to wear, Uyen & Becky turned up looking like hot stuff indeed, and I looked like their matronly spinster aunt who had come to chaperone them. Hahaha. Anyway, it was a really pretty wedding with some very personal moments. Joe, of course, was the life of the party and danced up a nice older lady, who I’m sure now wants to make him her boy-toy. Watch out, Joe! πŸ˜‰

Sunday was thankfully empty of engagements, since I had to catch up on some work so that I could be back on target. I managed to get some work done but it took much longer than I was hoping for.

I took a break from work so that we could go grocery shopping. I think that I’ll be experimenting with spicy chicken & potatoes for as the next item in my Korean recipe refining series. πŸ˜€

I got a call from a college friend this morning! She is in town for a few days, so I am going to try to catch dinner with her tomorrow night. πŸ™‚ Yay! So busy…