Tag Archives: friends

Kind of a Big Deal

About 22 months ago, I asked my boss to take a week of sick leave because I wasn’t feeling quite well. In my own estimation and the opinion of other medical professionals, that sounded like enough time to get some good rest and back on track if not completely better. No one, least of all me, thought that I would so quickly fall down the rabbit hole. I wouldn’t return to work for several months and when I did, it would be part-time. During those first months back, this day seemed a pipe dream, if not completely ludicrous. I am so very grateful for my job, my boss and the higher-ups who supported me. I have been restored to good health for some time and have been intermittently working 40+ hours/week but due to scheduling, logistics, and contractual stipulations/obligations, today is officially my first day back working full-time. It feels a bit like the first day of school. I’m wearing a pretty dress. I made myself pancakes to celebrate. (I’d have a mimosa if I didn’t have to actually go to work). Though I have been around enough to no longer believe that “everything happens for a reason,” I do still believe that every experience, even the very unpleasant ones, add to your life. Whether by removing a layer of your naivety, showing you a strength you didn’t know you could muster, or revealing who really has your back when the chips are down, you are changed. Big hugs and thank yous to those who had faith in me when I had all but lost my own. And to the doubters, sorry to disappoint. I’m back. And I’m here to stay.

I can't wait to see this on Thursday. Photo courtesy of Universal Studios.

I can’t wait to see this on Thursday! Photo courtesy of Universal Studios.

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I Love My Friends (aka Bitmoji Love, Part Two)

Last week, I waxed poetic about the Bitmoji app that I had heard about on the “Today” show. It literally makes me laugh out loud at least once a day. I have been trying to convince my friends to make their Bitmojis. Several of them have humored me and no one has regretted it (well, ok, they regret it in the sense that they are also becoming obsessed with it):

I need two more for...Bitmoji Hollywood Squares!

I need two more for…Bitmoji Hollywood Squares!

This is has been no easy feat. Except for the gentleman in the leotard, my friends and I are technological dinosaurs. We did not have smartphones when we were in high school. Or college. Or graduate school. (Ok, I’ll stop now!) After I kept bugging her, one of my friends above recruited her twelve year-old daughter to make hers. Thanks for indulging me, guys!

Yes, this is a thinly veiled attempt to guilt more friends into joining the tribe. You know who you are.

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I Love My Peeps

These will be a collector's item any day now.

These will be a collector’s item any day now. Note the original packaging.

For some, spring is heralded by the arrival of warmer weather, daffodils and birds chirping. For me, it is the appearance of marshmallow bunnies and chicks covered in colored sanding sugar. I love toasted marshmallows, s’mores, marshmallow fluff, marshmallow sauce, chocolate covered, floating in hot cocoa, etc. but I don’t like plain marshmallows. I find the coating of flour/cornstarch/whatever they use to keep them from sticking to each other to be a little off-putting. Behold, the genius of Peeps: coat puffy clouds of sugar with…more sugar!!!

Behold, a wand of marshmallow magic.

Behold, a wand of marshmallow magic.

I’m not sure how it started, but I have an annual tradition of gifting my friend N the coolest new Peeps item I can find. Some past finds: Peeps plushies, a giant hollow chocolate egg with Peeps inside, Peeps shaped cookie cutters (if you are reading this, N, that was a not-so subtle hint for you to bake cookies and bring them to work). I honestly look forward to seeing what the peeps at Peeps come up with and surprising N. Of course, I usually have to buy myself one of whatever I get her. Except for the cookie cutters. Why do I need them if she if going to bake me cookies?

Great with coffee.

Great with coffee.

I have a threadbare t-shirt in my closet I refuse to throw out: it says “Give Peeps a Chance” and has a cartoon of a Peeps chick with an olive branch in its mouth. If you know where I can get a new one (this one has now shrunk from normal to baby tee to not-suitable-for-public-wear), let me know. But if you think I love my Peeps, check out these folk who love to get their Peeps diorama on!

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Out of This World

I wonder if E.T. ever got his green card.

I wonder if E.T. ever got his green card.

When I was eleven, I found my grandma’s green card sitting on her dresser. It looked like a driver’s license except it said “Resident Alien” across the top. I ran excitedly to my parents, half-intrigued, half-freaked out: was I actually 3/4 Chinese and 1/4 extraterrestrial? They had a good laugh. In her late eighties, my grandma actually became a US citizen. She told my dad that she wanted to be a citizen of the country that had welcomed her as a grieving 64 year-old widow. If you are over 55 and have lived in the US for over 15 years, you can take the Naturalization test in your native tongue with a translator. One night, I overheard my grandma reviewing her study materials. She kept repeating “Bill Kuh-Linton” and “San Quai Man Tou” (my dad had taught her to say “three pieces of steamed buns” –which sounds remarkably similar to “Sacramento”– in response to “What is the state capital of California?”). It was one of the most touching things I have ever seen.

This weekend, I was talking to my new friend, O, and discovered he does not have a green card. He has lived in this country for almost 20 years, attended college here, works here, contributes to taxes and his community here. I was shocked. The average Chinese waiter’s 2nd cousin thrice-removed who doesn’t speak English has a green card. Apparently, it is more difficult when you come from a European country and don’t have an extended family or job that will agree to be your sponsor. Curious about this process that has allowed me to be a US citizen (I was born here, but my parents emigrated as students in the 1960s), I looked up the government website. And I found this little gem above. An Alien with Extraordinary Abilities? Like if you have frickin’ laser beams shooting out of your head? I don’t know about these criteria. Obama, I think we need some revisions here.

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Personal Bests

Props to this lady who gets to check off the 4th box today! Awesome. I wished I had a Sharpie with me.

Props to this lady who gets to check off the 4th box today! Awesome. I wished I had a Sharpie with me.

One of the things I love about running (other than allowing me to eat tasty high calorie foods with wild abandon) is that it is an individual and group sport…at the same time. Most of the runners I know aren’t running to beat other people, they are running to beat themselves. Reaching towards your goal alongside others doing the same creates a certain energy in the air. I recently joined a running group at the urging of my friend S. I was reluctant but walked by a sign for a group sponsored by a local running shoe store that is jogging distance from my house. In LA, if you want to do anything during rush hour (basically 7a-10a, and/or 12p-7p), this can be a crucial factor. I decided to try it out and after a few weeks, I was a convert. Even though I am usually at the back of the pack and sometimes run by myself for stretches, I am not running alone. Therein lies the difference. We start as a group and end as a group, hydrating and chatting after the last runner has come in; sometimes there are even raffles. Running with the fast kids usually shaves 20 seconds off my regular solo mile pace–I’m usually trying to hustle back to the store so I don’t miss the raffle!

Today, I was trying to best my 10K PR in the LA Chinatown Firecracker 10K.  I missed my mark by 40 seconds but I couldn’t help thinking that a year ago, running this race seemed impossible, physically and mentally. So to be out there again with S, in perfect running weather, enjoying Elysian Park, was a personal best. And just about 10K times better than forty seconds.

Oh and S, if you’re reading this, next time I will NOT let you confiscate my Garmin! You owe me another 10K :)

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It’s The Little Things

A more Rubenesque Siren

A more Rubenesque Siren

This is my new favorite coffee mug. My friends, K and D, who also happen to be my neighbors, brought it back for me from the Starbucks mothership in Seattle. The logo is a throwback, with the NC-17 version of the Siren, rather than the stylized one currently in use. They got it for me because they thought I would like the venti-sized nature of the mug and well, it just reminded them of me. Because 99.9% of the time they knock on my door, I can be heard shouting, “Hold on! I’m not wearing a bra!!!” And then I proceed to answer the door anyway, with my arms crossed over my chest, where they stay for the duration of the conversation.

With friends like these…life is more fun!

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