Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Pre-New Year Reflections

Happy almost 2014!

Such times send me into bouts of reflection about 2013, which has been a year of great learnings, ups and downs (some self perpetuated and some not), and continual cultivation of PJ as a person. It's funny that I've always mused and thought that the essence of PJ hasn't really changed but when I look back, I realized that the bits and pieces of experience have slowly molded and changed my mindset. So who says you can't teach old dogs new tricks?!

Here are the lessons learned in 2013:
+ Turning 30 is both scarier and calmer than I thought. No the earth did not split open because I did not attain A, B, C or accomplish X, Y, Z but it's pretty intense when the big societal milestone birthday proceeds a whole slew of intense holidays: Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, and Valentines. Something about this period of time with less sunlight and more cold intensifies certain expectations about life in general but reaching this magical age also calmed me down, which is no small feat! Somehow things are put into perspectives that I didn't expect and suddenly I am learning more about myself than expected. Discovering that happiness can be "manufactured" is very reassuring and I am still in the process of rewiring my brain for happiness.

+ Having and showing vulnerability is ok. Growing up as an Asian American female does something to people: instilling a high sense of standard, strong work ethics, and a tough go-get-them attitude that also comes along with sides of not sure if I am good enough, confusion about when to adhere to Asian or American culture, and heavy patriarchy hierarchical consciousness. The breakthrough this year was the ability to finally articulate these issues that have been floating around, and this vulnerability TED talk was intensely powerful and personal as a step of acknowledging weaknesses and knowing that I have the strength to weather through it and grow.

+ Your job doesn't define who you are but it sure does contribute a lot! Having been on 3 different teams in a layoff heavy environment really taught me resilence this year, along with speed reading. It was pure ironic comedy when I literally lost sleep over a 3 month time period when layoffs was happening, finding out I was "safe", and only to come back from vacation to find out that the company is laying off 20% by 2015! That gave me a healthy dose of reality check! During these times I learn how I want to be treated by work, how I should treat others at work, and while it is important to take pride in what I do and be engaged at work, work does not define me as a human being, thankfully!

I'm especially thankful for the amazing people in my life: friends and family who listen to my ad nauseum and read my email rants about women in the workplace, society, and home, who shared their perspective while broadening mine, who accept my flaws and sometimes lovingly make fun of it, and from whom I am continually learning. It's refreshing to get to know different sides of people, eye opening to be told I am occasionally wrong, and amazing to have support through ups and downs.

2013 has been an adventure. Good bye and thanks for the learnings!

Here's to hoping that 2014 still brings about lessons (though a bit less hard hitting would be nice!) and wonderful people! Cheers!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Fortune Cookie Rule #19: Fortunes are universally cross cultural

For this special edition of Fortune Cookie Wednesday coinciding with Christmas we turn to the Italians for fortunes from Baci chocolate.

Let's spare some squinting: "Economized love is never real love"

so go spread some holiday cheer and love...in bed!

Just because it's Christmas

Beautiful Aurelia, I’ve come here with a view to ask you to marriage me. I know I seems an insane person because I hardly knows you…but sometimes things are so transparency…they don’t need evidential proof. And I can inhabit with you or you can inhabit with me in England. Of course I don’t expecting you to be as foolish as me, and of course I prediction you say no...but it’s Christmas and I just wanted to...check...

 - Jaime/Colin Firth in "Love Actually" in (broken) Portuguese

Monday, December 23, 2013

Rainy day umbrella-personality guide

On a rainy day in the city, there is nothing more fun to do then to don the rainboots, belt on the fabulous black trench raincoat, pop open the umbrella, and people watch while jumping into puddles.

One of the (many) things I promise to myself is to never ever own a black umbrella. A rainy day can be dreary as is, why carry your personal black cloud as you traipse around? It's like inviting the rain to stay a bit longer.

However I also keep losing my umbrellas and am currently on my third one this year! Currently I am slinging around a super tiny Tote light blue with dark navy polka dot umbrella and hoping that it greets the new year with me safely.

Walking around I noticed there is a variety of "umbrella-personalities" walking around. Sure you can't judge a book by it's cover but perhaps an umbrella can give you clues about the person underneath it. Here goes:

+ The Ginormous Golf Umbrella personality - you know the one I'm talking about: navigating tiny crowded sidewalks during holiday time with a waaaaay too big umbrella that forces pedestrians to play a game of dodge-umbrella or risked being poked in the eye even with the right-of-way. Such umbrella personalities tend to be middle-aged men with camel colored pea coat and look like they either have some money or at least like to play golf. Despite being a solo umbrella wielder, he seems to think he (or at least his aura) is quite big and needs its own space. Occasionally, but often not, the gargantuan umbrella may be shared with a really good looking lady.
Pros: withstanding hurricane level windgusts, looking really cool, calling dibs on everyone else's personal space without saying a word, great for sharing
Cons: heavy, takes up a lot of space due to lack of retraction, an investment (not recommended for those who keep losing their umbrellas)

+ The Really Tiny but Super Cute Umbrella personality - there is no way the chintzy, pastel colored retractable umbrella with imprinted flowers or adorable animals can actually withstand a slight gust of wind and usually it does not. So this results in a cartoony tug of war with the wind especially when blown inside out. This umbrella is usually carried by upbeat but impractical females who want a nice looking umbrella to match their outfits.
Pros: very totable and tiny, super cute, displays your personality
Cons: flimsy, impractical, useless

+ The Artsy I-Got-This-Umbrella-From-the-MOMA-Gift-Shop Umbrella personality - you've seen it in the museum gift shop and lusted after it but cannot justify $40 for an umbrella you will probably lose anyway. Really? $40? Even if it has iconic waterlily images on it that automatically identifies you as an high brow art lover who knows his Manet from Monet along with the history of the Impressionist movement in France (which Malcolm Gladwell tells a neat story about these underdogs in David and Goliath). It is usually carried by a patron of the arts who probably has a membership to the museum with the nifty 15% discount.
Pros: iconic, recognizable by like minded art enthusiasts. quality (or it better be for $40!)
Cons: expensive

+ The Deep Dome Clear Plastic Umbrella personality - this person both wants to see and be seen. Hiding coyly behind the clear covering the deep recess of the umbrella is quite nifty since it allows fuller coverage of the person beneath, almost like the helmet of an astronaut. This umbrella is usually toted by a cute Asian girl with any outfit, since clear is clearly the new black.
Pros: see through material allows for deeper coverage without bumping into inanimate objects
Cons: plastic oxidized and become brittle quicker then fabric so need for more frequent replacement, not retractable, bulky

+ The Black Umbrella personality - at the end of the day if it's raining cats and dogs and the generic black umbrella is the only option then beggars can't be choosers. Sure it demonstrates that you may have no personality, are super practical, and want to blend in with the hundreds of people around but how much can an umbrella actually say about you? Wouldn't people who want to know you (or at least bum umbrella space from you) want to talk to you to get to know you?
Pros: ubiquitous, fit right in, easy to coordinate outfit with especially for New Yorkers
Cons: prosaic, generic, yawn

Her arms were glorious...so was her music!

Last week I went to the Philadelphia Orchestra's Glorious Sound of Christmas concert. Settling down into the plush red velvet seats and readying myself for 2 hours of make-you-feel-good-or-else holiday music, while admiring the nice color coordinated lighting when lo and behold!: a female conductor sauntered onto the stage!

I was fascinated by her ((Sarah Hicks) since she was the first female conductor I've ever encountered) ... and by her arms! Not only was she fashionably dressed and had a full head of hair, but the outfit was sleeveless(!) and with a dramatic flowing one sided decorative  wing, allowing her fabulous, toned, and lean arms to entertain us as she waved her baton. It was truly glorious and enviable: her arms did not jiggle at all!

Her conducting was also great (source: a soprano in the choir), replete with outfit change during intermission. Another proof that women can do anything just as well as men, except with style and leaner arms.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Fortune Cookie Rule #6: Sometimes you are so tempted to buy the lotto, so go for it!

Especially when you get such a fortune, are about to travel to visit your family, and the lotto jackpot has the potential to hit $1 billion! 

and of course in bed

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Happy non-demominational-whatever-you-celebrate holiday

Ok so maybe this tree is not completely non-demonimational but it was still gorgeous to have it tower over the atrium of the Macy's in Philly, spanning a floor!

Happy whatever-you-want-to-celebrate/thank-goodness-we-get-a-day-off-soon holiday!

Friday, December 13, 2013

A successful guinea pig apple cake

My first attempt at America Test Kitchen/Cook's Illustrated's French apple cake. Turned out quite well despite ungreased pie plate.

Have I mentioned how much I nerdily adore America Test Kitchen/Cook's Illustrated? It's a group of scientifically minded food lovers who take a recipe and tweak it ad nauseum till they find the perfect ratio of fat/starch/sweet/savory/cooking time/technique etc. It's (almost) foolproof! They also do blind taste test for store brought ingredients and kitchen equipment. They are like what Alton Brown used to be in the good old days on Good Eats.

The biology nerd in me jumps for joy when there is logical reason for things coming together in delicious harmony. 

Thursday, December 12, 2013


"How's your friend doing?" my mom asks in Cantonese.

Although my mom has not change her conversational voice, the lilt in her voice is unmistakable. She might as well physically punch the italics into the word as it comes streaming out of her mouth. That is the funny thing about parents: they don't say what they want to say but you pretty much get the gist of where they are coming from.

In my case, it was my white boyfriend who was finally introduced to my parents after over a year of dating. It's not that I wanted to hide him from public but when you are living on your own as your own person, away from your strict parents, and in a relatively unstable "I'm in my early 20s and I don't know what I am doing with my life" phase, it's pretty hard to introduce someone to your parents when you don't know how the relationship will develop.

Regardless, he was introduced and they know of his existence. The fact that they cannot pronounce his name with their limited English vocabulary presents some problems

"Is his name this in Cantonese?"
"No, that means crazy."
"Does it sound like this?"
"No, that means rotting and sounds nothing like his name.
(Agh I give up!)

The fact that he is not a "nice Chinese boy" compounds it. Even after meeting him, he is never referred to as my boyfriend by rather as my friend.

"Have you been seeing your friend lately?"
"Is your friend picking you up from the airport after your business trip?"
"How was meeting your friend's parents?"

One of my co-workers who happens to be gay, Chinese, and has a white boyfriend advises me that every single time my parents say friend, to ask them point-blank specifically which friend until they give up and say his butchered name.

Alas I am not brave enough to implement his advice. After all I am the one who still has to talk to them. 

Tuesday, December 10, 2013


This is south Philly neighborly love for you:

Although if the sign was enforced then the streets would be cleaner...

Monday, December 9, 2013

How HIMYM gets it right sometimes

Sometimes online dating feel like a colossal free-for-all frenzy of millions of particles bumping into one another to find common orbits. I sometimes find myself worked up into a fine mathematical frenzy ala Ted from How I Met Your Mother from this excerpt (except reverse the gender roles):
Matchmaker: You give me 3 days and I will find the woman you will marry.
Ted: No, thanks. I don't need an algorithm to meet women. It's New York, you know. Plenty of fish in the sea!
Matchmaker: Plenty of fish in the sea! [grabs a calculator form the desk and starts clicking away]
There's 9 million people in New York. 4.5 million women. Of course, you want to meet someone roughly your own age - let's say plus, minus 5 years. So if you take into account the most recent census data that leaves us with 482,000 women. But wait! 48% of those are already in relationships and then you have to eliminate half for intelligence, sense of humor and compatibility. And then you have to take out the ex girlfriends and the relatives. And, oh, you can't forget those lesbians. And then that leaves us with 8 women. [pushes calculator screen into Ted's face]
Ted: That can't be right! Eight? Really? Eight?
Matchmaker: There are 8 fish in that big blue ocean, Ted. And if you feel confident that you can reel one into your boat without me, there's the door.
Ted: Do you take credit cards?
In this case I have already slapped down the credit card and am fending off either generic messages from geriatric men or sexual suggestions from colorful characters, feeling the need for Costco bulk purchase of hand sanitizer (and eyeball sanitizer if possible) every time I touch the computer/phone.

Yet, this is how HIMYM sometimes get to the heart of it all sometimes. 
After some frantic searching Ted finally finds the woman that the matchmaker's computer calculated for me only to realized that she is engaged already:

Ted: You're my only match! There was a computer and there were 8 fish in the sea full of lesbians.
Woman: Ted, Ted, do you honestly believe deep down that there is no one else out there for you just because some computer says so.
Ted: I didn't used to. There was math, I got confused.
Woman: Love isn't a science. You can't calculate a feeling. When you fall in love with someone, 8.5 equals a perfect 10.

To all those who are searching: cheers and hang in there!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Don't ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.

-- Howard Thurman; educator and civil rights leader.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Best burger ever!

The Whiskey King burger from Village Whiskey in Philadelphia. 

The best burger ever! (and this is coming from a non-burger lover)!

Maple Bourbon Glazed Cipollini, Rogue Bleu Cheese, Applewood Bacon, Foie Gras 26

Friday, December 6, 2013

Great Vacation Expectations

Chinese, if not Asian, culture is a lot about reciprocity. Not meaning that "if you scratch my back, I will scratch yours" but instead "if you dare claim to pay for this meal, I will have to fight you tooth and nail for this bill." The Chinese like to be generous hosts and do not want to outdone by others.

But why does this semi-rule get lost between parent and child. Case in point: visits. Despite living slightly over 200 miles apart from one another, I risk my life and limb every month to visit my parents via the Chinatown bus system while my parents reciprocate with an annual visit despite owning a car. The return ratio on this relationship is simply skewed towards my parents.

My parents suddenly called me up recently and claimed that they will be visiting me on July 4th weekend. Suddenly I am transported to their last visit. Let me clarify that when my parents visit, it is not a vacation but an agenda. They do not expect to laze around, they do not want to sit around a pool and sip pina coladas, they especially do not want to prance around on a beach in a bikini, and finally they expect to be entertained. Years of going on Chinese tour bus vacations, where they cram every minute with activities to make the most of your money, has honed their idea of a "vacation" far pass the expectations of most people.

Last year when they finally decided to embark on their annual pilgrimage to my place, I diligently mapped out their itinerary to account for every minute. Saturday: Arrival, dim sum, Big Apple circus, dinner, sleep. Sunday: Wake up, breakfast, Martha's Vineyard, lunch, drive back, dinner, sleep. Monday: parents leave.

Everything was going according to plan. The dim sum restaurant was suitable to their taste, but of course more expensive and less tasty than the local place they frequent at home; I paid for their meal; the circus was acceptable, but really should have had more animals to claim to be a real circus; and dinner was ok. Sunday should be a better day since we'll be visiting one of the landmarks in the Northeast. Despite the fact that it was in April and it being a bit chilly, we should avoid the tourists which is a positive thing.

But my parents refused to be charmed by the quaint little knick-knacks selling shops, the narrow strip of beach, or the zigging streets; they thought the food was overpriced (well...we were on an island!); the ferry ride was expensive and not scenic enough; and it was chilly. They didn't understand why people would pay to go to a place that didn't have much to do. No matter how I try to convince them that people would take a weekend or a day off to come to the island to bike, fish, or play frisbee, they were wary of my explanations. The fact that there were not enough tourists didn't help.

After lunch we strolled down the beach front. The water was too cold to get in but since the next ferry doesn't depart till an hour later, we had to make the best of it. The sun was shining pleasantly enough to warm the air a bit as we strolled down the tiny beach near where the ferry docked. I was contemplating whether or not to take them further down the road when we seem to have passed through the most bustling area already, my dad called out "Come here PJ, come!"(For some reason they actually don't ever call me by my Chinese name but calls my brother by his Chinese name.)

What could have driven my dad to be at the water's edge and be so excited? My mom and grandma were equally as excited. "Look," said my dad as he continued to bend and pluck something out of the water. Look I did. They were peeling small snails off the rocks of Martha's Vineyard! "There's tons of them," said my mom as she waded further into the frigid water to grab the bigger ones. My dad's arthritic joints prevented him from following her but I'm sure he would have jumped right in if he is less afflicted.

I was half afraid that some tourists would come down the streets and first wonder why three elderly Chinese people were wading in the water only to turn in horror as they realize they were snail hunting. Since I couldn't stop them, I joined them. After 45 minutes of bending and plucking we got a good pound of snails in a plastic bag and it was time to head back to the mainland via the ferry.

Needless to say, my parents cooked them for a tasty dinner. First by boiling the snails, then using toothpicks to extricate the meat from the intricate whorls, and finally sautée-ing them in a fragrant garlic sauce (the French do it too!). Had I known that simple snail picking and cooking can entertained them for the whole day, I would not have agonized about their itinerary.

Now let's see how I can keep them amused for the coming visit.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

A human being is part of the whole, called by us 'universe,' a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings, as something separate from the rest -- a kind of optical delusion of consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.

-- Albert Einstein; physicist

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

A Giant Totoro (doll)

Who can resist a face like that?
He only gets cuter when paired with a newborn baby!

Monday, December 2, 2013

The truth of online dating

A fellow friend blogger once asked: why not blog about your dating life and online dating? (or lack of really)

First of all this blog is meant for me to look upon 3, 7, 10, 15 years later, laugh, and say what a silly/profound person to be worried/thinking about these topics. Second of all if I do post about my online dating adventures (or lack of) I am sure it will make me sad/angry/disappointed later when I read them. Why? Because online dating is not easy and is quite easily one the the creepiest things I've ever done.

Sure those Match.com commercials make it look so easy: two relatively normal and even good looking people in their indistinguishable 20s meeting for their "first time." Not only do they speak and write decent English but the communication does not entail a sexual proposition and/or inappropriate pictures and/or specifications of physical endowments. When do they meet they actually have great conversations (or pretend to), laugh with nice white teeth and delightful eye crinkles (or pretend to), and have a good time (or pretend to). Simple!, easy!, anyone can do it!

eHarmony is even better! It takes all the questions and headaches out of dating by pairing you with someone who is "truly compatible" with you. What they neglect to mention is that:
- You'll have to write a mandatory bajillion word autobiography to even join. Trust me, I am just as egotistical as everyone else and love to talk about myself but at some point I was getting carpal tunnel.
- After filling all these forms they then proceed to give you 5-8 matches a date based on your criteria, which you widen to increase your chance. (But I really just want strawberry ice cream!!! Must I open myself up to mint chocolate chip (which tastes like toothpaste!)?)
- Then you wait and go through this massive multi-step program of communication: you send them 5 multiple choice question, they answer and send it back, you send 10 must have and deal breakers, they answer and send it back, you send open ended questions, they answer and send it back, you send an ACTUAL EMAIL!!! (huzzah!), they suddenly drop off and you go "What the heck!!!!??!?! I just wrote my 2nd bajillion word autobiography ever and you drop out??!?!" I thought this site is for people who are "seriously seeking!"

One would think that paid online dating mediums are better due to the increase barriers to entry (actually paying a membership fee) will lead less to the tragedy of commons (previously used to referred to overgrazing of public land by sheep since it was free to everyone in the village). Additionally you think that people who are paying actually want to meet someone to "be with"* (as defined by 'dating for longer term potential') but no! With all these flaky people dropping off I would have to assume

1- we are not in a economic depression and people have money to throw around OR
2- the online dating medium allows for the classic "so many fishes in the sea!" syndrome where men are having a mind boggling amount of women of all size, shape, and wants out there! It's like a kid at a freecandy shop: why settle for one when you can have all of them! (and then proceed to get a stomache ache or STD in this case.)

Talking about the free online dating sites (okcupid, Tinder, Plenty of Fish, and the like): yes they are super sketchy because no one pays for them. However if one wants sexual propositions, go for it! Perhaps one step above craigslist killer-esque.

Yet my friends and I still persist. Why? I think because deep down we still wear rose-colored glasses and believe all this work is worth it in the end. Thank to all our witty cynicism, shared mortification, and great storytelling we have built a proverbial thick skin, a grateful attitude for all the amazing people we do have in our lives, and a newfound appreciation/confidence of who we are and what we have to offer. If this is a test to find someone to share our lives (or learning how to avoid potential creeps and serial killers) then we will be acing it because along the way we are learning to what we want, what we don't want, how we want to be treated and love, how we should treat and love others, and at the end of the day what makes us better and more joyful beings.

For all the single ladies out there using online dating:
+ I wish you all the best of luck finding that person to share your life with.
+ Always be: safe, slightly wary, confident and smart, and yourself.
+ When you find that person then take that jump!

That being said, my Black Friday gift to self was a 6 month subscription to match.com.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Lesson learned? When people say, "You really, really must" do something, it means you don't really have to. No one ever says, "You really, really must deliver the baby during labor." When it's true, it doesn't need to be said.

-- Tina Fey, comedian

Saturday, November 30, 2013

"Blanket Bag"

Just as important as the outfit we sleep in, is also the environment.

My ever practical parents were harried, hard working blue-collar folks who had little time to themselves let alone raising a daughter and a son. So they have solutions to everything!

Issue: Sleeping kids do not lie still! They do cartwheels, karate kicks, and punches in their sleep; tossing blankets off again and again.

My parents must have gotten pretty annoyed of checking on my active brother and I every few hours, repositioning the blankets constantly, that they had an "Eureka!" moment. After all necessity is the mother of invention and my mom was quite a talented seamstress.

Solution: The "blanket bag"!!!
Almost like a burlap sack but not quite. My mom literally sewed together 2 pieces of fabric together, leaving a hole on top for the head, the two sides for arms, and a zipper on the side.

For the winter, she used stiff heavier material to brave the cold so we look more like rectangle monsters:
For the non-winter months, she used lighter fabric so we can breath so we look more like lumpy people who were previously obese and now have huge skin flaps:

But what about mobility you ask?! Since the original versions had no holes for feet we just hopped around and bent over like worms:

Later one she upgraded the product and opened holes on the bottom. Soon I was running around terrorizing my younger brother like this:


Friday, November 29, 2013

What do you see?

The giant clothespin by Claes Oldenburg’s.

What do you see?

Some say they see intertwined lovers. Others claim that the sculpture was commissioned and installed right next to City Hall to warn politicians to not "air their dirty laundry."

I love clever and giant art.

(Photo taken in Philadelphia at 15th Street and Market Street.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Turkey Day!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! 

Whether you celebrate this day with "traditional" turkey, stuffing, cranberry, green beans, pie, and the American accoutrements with your immediate family 

or create your own new traditions with extended family, friends, and strangers with imported mixing and matching of foods, drinks, and stories from around the world

the most important thing is that you are gathering with people who are part of your life now, at this very moment!

It's sometimes is a rare thing to get people together around the same table in this globalized, constantly moving, and ephemeral world. 

So hope this day is full of delicious food, warm laughter, and wonderful company for all!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Me want cookie!

Cookie Monster has always been my favorite Sesame Street character.

However his persona has been changing throughout the years: from cookie being a "sometime food" to now being a poster child of patience.

Oh Cookie Monster, you are perfect just the way you were.

To shave or not to shave

...my legs!

As bears need extra calories to bulk up for winter hibernation, us humans lack such evolution talent: eating copious amount of food, storing it all in fat, and then sleeping off the cold season till warm beautiful spring arrives. Heck, we even have been losing most of the hair on our body except on certain inconvenient places!

When winter comes the ultimate question comes up: should I or should I not shave my legs?

(Disclaimer: for an Asian women, whose whole race is seen as relatively hairless, for some reason I have atrociously hair appendages. Not only do I blame it on my father's genes (where most of my aunts and female cousins display the same traits) but this is one of the reason I believe that one of my ancestors is probably a beautiful women from south China who was taking an innocent stroll through the meadows one day. Her beauty captured the interest of a hairy Mongolian warrior who had his way with her and resulted in hairy progenies. The end.)

To solve this conundrum I run down this mental checklist. The following answers are for this very day:

- How cold is it? Well...it's winter so: very. (If weather is 75 degree Fahrenheit then shave, if less than 75 degrees then abstain)
- How lazy do I feel? Well...again it's winter so: very.
- Am I dating anyone right now? No.
- (Even if I am dating someone, what is the probability of him coming to close proximity with my bare legs? If higher than 85% then shave, is lower than 85% maintain status quo of hairiness.)
- Do I feel comfortable with hairy legs? Always.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Beauty from trash

These sculptures are amazing: made by Nigerian sculptor El Anatsui from trash -- hundreds of thousands of discarded gin, whiskey, and rum bottle screw-tops that he finds discarded near his village.

It's astonishing the beauty he creates from things that people throw away carelessly. The metallic curtains look fluid and soft, sharply contrasting to their rigid material. It's mind-boggling to see the hundreds of thousands of intricate rings connecting the screw-top material creating art that is simultaneously delicate and strong.

(Pictures taken at Brooklyn Museum of Art.)

Sunday, November 24, 2013

To know what you wanted and pursue it, perhaps with great determination, but without impatience. To enjoy the event as it unfolded, whether it was a journey to see a friend or the impossibly slow, impossibly wonderful act of falling in love.

-- paraphrased from Sharon Shinn's Angel Seeker  

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Thought "up" was the status quo...

Once there was a little girl named PJ who was quite the exemplary obedient Asian American girl: going to school, doing well in classes, memorizing the multiplications tables when all the other kids in class barely knew how to add (or count), doing "chores" below minimum wage, and listening to her elders.

Except one thing kept bothering her: the toilet, specifically the toilet seat.

Because here is how the L household looks like:

Now little PJ was very scientifically savvy and knew that since she and mommy were both females they need to sit down on the toilet. On the other hand since daddy and little bro were males they didn't need to sit down (though the actual mechanics were never ever witnessed.)

Using her advance math powers little PJ discovered: 

With that discover, little PJ then observed this constant trend:

It wasn't until she finally stepped into a friend's house for the first time ever in junior high school that little PJ realized that toilet seats in American are usually "down" not "up"!

That blew her mind.

The End.

Friday, November 22, 2013

I see your survey and I also raise it back

I see your survey and I also raise it back

1. Best time doing the sex?
10:30 pm. I like to go to bed early.

2. One thing you’d change if you could.
My height, or lack of. Plus it's been proven that taller better looking people. Since on average for every inch of height a taller person gets $789 per year and with my height differential I can realize thousands of $$$ more! Think of all the money I would earning through compounding! 

3. Song you hate to admit that you love.
No such thing, because I am shameless and love all sugary senseless pop songs.

4. Favorite dating website.
Match - surprisingly less creepy and actually have contestants who wants to date.

5. Least favorite dating website.
EHarmony - takes too long and too many flakers
OK Cupid - low/non-existent barriers to entry attracts a lot of even flakier and weirder people.

6. Would you take back any of your exes?
No, because there are good reasons why we broke up in the first place.

7. What are you hoping to get for Christmas?
A rocket ship, perfect non-Lasik eyesight, or catching up with friends old and new.

8. Are you currently fighting with anyone?
No, not as I am typing this post. Even I am in a fight I'll probably lose due to height and weight restrictions.

9. What’s your dream job?
Food and travel host/writer -- oh to eat and travel on someone else's dime!

10. If you could only live in one place for the rest of your life, where would it be?
I can't pick but it will have to be a city with decent public transportation. The thought of driving to get an emergency gallon of milk or aspirin scares me. Plus it's really for the safety of the general public: I am a terrible driver. 

11. What’s the meanest thing you’ve ever done?
Being mean to myself but not believing I am not good/smart/pretty enough, that in turn bleeds onto other people.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Fortune Cookie Rule #1: always always always add "in bed" to the end

I'm obsessed with fortune cookies, not necessarily going out of my way to eat bad take out Chinese food to get them but I've been saving/hoarding every little scrap of fortune since I can remember! 

While fortune cookies are served ubiquitously at Chinese American take out joints across the US, the cookies are actual not served in China or even invented there! That doesn't diminish my glee as I crack open the brittle shell to reveal a "fortune," and then proceed to add "in bed" to the end of every fortune.

So let it be proclaim that every Wednesday is Fortune Cookie Wednesday, where the more amusing fortunes are shared :)

To kick it off:

...in bed! ;) 

Just cuz!

Yes they can: apple pie in vanilla cake + pumpkin pie in chocolate cake = Pumpple Cake!

Perfect companion to the Turducken in your life!

(Photo taken at Flying Monkey in Reading Terminal Market.)

Monday, November 18, 2013

The Crappiest and Bestest of Friends

I have the crappiest friends!
Friends who:
- Live far far away and you don't get to see much, making you miss their gentle/crazy smiles, wit, and warm hugs
- Are just such amazing people who humble you in ways you can not expect
- Are sick/need surgery/in pain and don't tell you about it! Instead they listen to you prattle on about your aching heart, burning ambitions, and righteous indignities with open mind and accepting hearts

I have the bestest friends!
Friends who:
- Let you talk/sob/express/rant your heart out about dreams, hopes, disappointments, feelings, fears, joy and life without judgement
- Willing to lend a helping hand/shoulder/ear, not necessarily all the time but at times that seem just right
- See the value and beauty of you, supplying that confidence/trust/belief/love/compassion in yourself when at times the world or even you have given up on yourself: they haven't!

I'm very lucky.

Sending luck, good health, laughter, and adventures to all my friends.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you’re wonderful, and don’t forget to make some art — write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself.

-- Neil Gaiman; author

Saturday, November 16, 2013

There has ceased to be a difference between my awake clothes and my asleep clothes.
-- Mindy Kaling, comedian

Hello World, Welcome, and An Introduction

Hi and welcome to Sense of Pajamas! You can call me PJ for short =)

So why the moniker PJ?

Because we all have a set of PJs that we have that defines who we are. Whether it is comfy flannel set, sexy lingerie, onesy, worn and somewhat ragged college t-shirt, or just whatever that is relatively clean and not lying on the floor, it's the outfit that we wear to bed at the end of everyday to sleep, perchance to dream. We are comfortable, familiar, and relaxed in this setting and perhaps our truest selves without the make up, fashionable accessories, brand names, and labels. I hope my blog will reflect this.

Additionally growing up in an immigrant family, I never had a "sense of pajamas" - my ever practical parents just put my younger brother and me to bed in an elastic waist outfit that we then went to school in the next day. Literally just roll out of bed and go! See below for a few outfits that were my favorite and I still think fondly about:

A bit about me: I am a woman, I am Asian, and I am American. The blog will have thoughts, stories, and musings from all 3 realms of my life. Even if you do not come from these walks of life there will be components that will resonate with you. Thanks for stopping by, hope you enjoy the reading, and come share this journey with me.