Sunday, December 31, 2006

What I Learned In 2006

Next to my husband, my niece EKT is my everything

I dislike Memphis less then I thought but I would not like to die here - NO WAY!

I love our house more than I thought

My husband is a far nicer man then me until other drivers piss him off

Friends are all disposable - even some good friends. No matter how much I like someone, at the end of the day, I can too easily turn my back on them.

It's not too late to lose weight if I want to work phucking hard lol

I must love Japan or really love Japanese food or both to go there five times in a year

Wives and husbands of buddies usually will not be your buddy

My mother may still give me a baby sister lol

'C' students will not end up being road sweepers contrary to the believe my parents instilled in me as a kid

I can be really mean to people I dislike or even sometimes like

I am a pretty good daughter

I hate stupid people more than I thought especially if they are Americans

I don't know how to appreciate country bumpkins or the southern accent

People think I'm a hick 'coz I live in Tennessee

No matter how many times I say we're not going to have kids, it still lingers at the back of my mind constantly

Why is it a headline piece of news when a 93 year old man dies?

I dislike mild winters

I still hate all summer anywhere

Australia and aussies are still at the bottom of my list - even lower then summer

Chinese songs are so much better than English ones

I dislike Katie Couric for no bloody reason

Travelling 150,000 miles in a year for fun is tiring :)

My once strong nails are getting weak and brittle

Sears sucks

I love my new SILENT Bosch dishwasher

I still refuse to shop at Walmart (thank goodness)

I cannot live without a tv

I know I can be a bitch - I just don't like to be told by someone else

Most people let me know (in front of him) that I'm too lucky to have a husband like him - no one, as far as I know, tell him same :s Hmmm...

I know I learnt a lot more but that's all I can handle for now. Happy new year to all of you still reading me after all this time :D I'm sure 2007 will bring lots more reason to blog. Stay tuned.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Seattle Beats Memphis Hands Down

Our three-day holiday celebration is coming to an end. I don't want to leave. More so, I wished we lived here. I doubt there is any chance but it doesn't cost anything to dream.

Christmas with the Shultze family was very fun as expected. Susan and Don were their usual generous hosts and Susan's parents were in town from NY and were their usual hilarious charming selves. ...and the kids... my goodness, do they ever stop growing?! Dinner was awesome! Susan went above and beyond and cooked this fantastic roast beef meal and fortunately, I could make myself useful in an angmoh kitchen by making the mash potatoes :) This is what celebrating with a family at Christmas should be like... lots of conversation and laughter, lots of fun, lots of wine and champagne (LOTS hahaha!) and just chatter in every corner of the house; which I suppose, explains why we are not in Memphis with my in-laws - I kid you not, spending two hours with that bunch shortens ten precious years of my life. Not because they're not nice... ok, there are nicer people in the world hahaha, but we just have absolutely no common interest. Plus there are way too many unspoken topics that can't be brought up ie, their restaurant.

Boxing day and the day after that was spent with our friends Julie and her boyfriend Yoshi. We met Yoshi some six months ago when they first started dating and thought he was nice but didn't really get to know him well enough. This trip, we spent some quality time with him and we really really like to see them together. He's very sweet and I think Julie albeit tired of her job, enjoys Yoshi a lot. I know the husband and I did. He's got a good sense of humor plus, he eats EVERYTHING! How awesome is that?! We're hoping everything goes smoothly for them and maybe we can even meet them in Tokyo next March. That would be awesome!

I had a lot of fun shopping two full hours in Nordstrom and then a little in Eileen Fisher the morning of Boxing Day. Nordstrom opened at 8am and the husband and I were the first in line...... ok there was no line. Together with four other Japanese ladies, I got two Ferragamo bags, two pairs of Cole Haan boots, a pair of Stuart Weitzmen suede boots (you can't go wrong with the service you get at Nordstrom), and two pairs of Miu Miu sandals. I also chanced upon a bunch of fun gay guys working there who helped pick some new fragrances for me. They were hilarious! That's what shopping should be like. Fun! So even though it wasn't the best sale I've been to, it was such a pleasure to be at Nordstrom again. ...Julie says Neiman Marcus is returning to Seattle. Yet another reason I wish to live here lol.

Why do we feel more loved in Seattle then we do where we live 300 days of the year!? We enjoy our friends here and they us and simply shopping at Uwajimaya is a thrill. Sure we do similar things in Memphis as we do here; EAT (surprise surprise!). But it's just so much more fun here! The evening at Julie's was really awesome too. She made a bunch of out of the ordinary finger food (I should have taken some pics dammit!) like proscuitto wrapped in papaya (yeah I bet you've only had it with melon right!? BO-RING!) lol, steamed dungeness crab that was heavenly and served a bunch of Japanese snacks that we really enjoyed. Simple? Sure. Different? Yes. Fun? Definitely! Oh, and the neverending flow of sake was nice too :D

I don't know when we return to Seattle. Maybe Easter, maybe the summer. Either way, I can't wait to see our friends there again soon. Who knows, a couple of them might fly over to Memphis for our annual Chinese New Year party in February :)

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Northwest Airlines Still Sucks

It's been more than a year since we flew Northwest Airlines (NWA). We stopped flying them even though Memphis is a NWA hub because they have poor customer service, both at the airports and certainly in the air, small narrow seats though equipped with neverendingly long seatbelts - I think for humongous people who can't fit into the damn chairs lol and most more important to us, a bad mileage program. What happens when you've earned a shitload of miles and want to use them? Nothing. You can't. Either they can't find seats for you or they want double the number of miles for you to fly which is bloody ridiculous. The only times I have had been successful in using my NWA miles was when I lived in Tucson, AZ and flew Alaska Air to Seattle to see my then-boyfriend, now laogong - good thing those miles didn't go to waste eh lol. So NWA hasn't exactly been our favorite - oh and they have a yukky air alliance program!

The husband and I are loyal American Airlines (AA) folks. We made it a point to fly only them this year and yes, that meant taking at least one stop flights to Seattle, New York or L.A when we could easily take non-stop ones on NWA. Sometimes even paying more! This has helped us make Platinum Executive status with way too many trips to Asia. It's my first time and the husband has achieved it too many times with his more than two million miles - Mr. forever-platinum. But the perks that comes with platinum status and executive platinum is yet another world apart. Besides the international upgrade coupons you get, the service you get that comes with when travelling is endless. For one, the special airport lounges alone is worth every single cent we've spend with them. These lounges (not the ordinary lounges for practically everyone) really are fancy and comfortable. They are only for the executive platinum folks or people flying first class on international flights. No, not even if you're flying business class. You go to the lowly favored lounge which is usually packed to the brink muahahahaha. In this fancy lounge which I have spent up to nine hours at the LAX one and have time just fly by (I kid you not!), the flow of free food and drinks is embarassing. Yes, it includes all alcohol. The ladies who work there certainly aim to please and will go out of their way to have your commands a reality. They went out of their way to get me an international adaptor when all I asked was where in the terminal I could get one. Now that's what I call customer service! It's just little things like that. Usually when you're in one of these lounges, you hardly get four people in it and trust me, they're not small. Nicer bathrooms, fancy showers, plush towels... like I said, the list goes on.

Yesterday, Christmas Day, first time (certainly last of this year) we flew non-stop on NWA to Seattle. We were exactly thrilled since that means no way in hell we will be upgraded since we are back to being cattle class folks and we actually have to pay for a meal on the four and a half hour flight. Yes, small detail but it's been so long since we've had to do this. With winter weather going berserk everywhere these days, we decided not to take the risk since getting to Seattle on Christmas day to hang out with the Shultze family is important to us, we went the direct route.

The airport was practically ghostly. No line at check-in, no line at security and the one mile walk to our gate was deadly except for the black family behind us who insisted on doing every James Brown impression lol. Yes, he died yesterday but come on! The NWA terminal at the Memphis International Airport has been revamped and I will admit, nice! Much nicer than what it was before. At least the retail part of it. I asked the husband why haven't they done anything to the gates and definitely the bathrooms. He quick response, "'coz bathrooms don't make money...". I suppose, but walking past the beautiful retail area to the gates looks like you're walking in a college dorm! YUK!

The 'smart' people of NWA doesn't seem to have boarding down to a science yet obviously. They did the first class AND the people who need help (I could have gone since I do need help in many facets of my life lol) and once that was over, they announced boarding for ALL groups. Now this is a packed to the brim 757 flight! So you can imagine the mad rush when the idiot said 'NOW' lol. It's like having a bunch of refugees rush for the next boat to America. Even we were in line pretty quickly considering we had our carry-ons meaning everything, with us. People were already trying to trade seats before boarding so you can imagine the trading that went on upon boarding. The dumbasses didn't realize that they were holding up the line behind them; or they just didn't care. They just wanted to be seated with the rest of the family. For crying out loud, it's only four a half phucking hours! Even the husband and I had seperate seats (his directly in front of mine) and of course, someone was in my seat telling me I should go take theirs at 6F. "Yeah, phuck off!". Ok, I didn't say that but I thought it lol. You take your original seat first then you come ask. You don't take my seat then tell me to back-track four gazillion people behind me (waiting to run me over to get to their seat ahead) to go to a seat in front of the plane. Of course Bruce said no hee hee. He's my sweetie pie :D

The flight was not too exciting except for the bad turbulence throughout the four hours and the pilot who insisted on doing the play by play on exactly where we'd just flown over. Hello, we're in the either in the midst of thick clouds or above it. Who cared where the hell we were!? Just shut the hell up and let me sleep!!! That was when I whipped out my Nintendo DS and busted a groove lol. It's the name of my new game lol!! ...oh, when it was time to out away all electronics, I was removing my headphone when I noticed the old and unattractive flight attended glaring coldly towards my direction. I starred back at her and she mouthed 'turn it off now!'. I frowned and thought 'you idiot, my phucking cell phone's been on the entire phucking fight bitch!' Hahahaha!

Of course we have to fly NWA back home in a couple of days. But I'm not looking forward to having to deal with them even one more time.

Time to go get ready for boxing day shopping adventure now :D

Sunday, December 17, 2006

America Makes Me More Chinese

In Singapore the term used to describe someone as being very Chinese would be 'cheena obiang'. A derogatory term calling someone 'too Chinese' - if you know what that means. You know, the greasy straight flat hair parted in the centre, glasses so thick you can hardly see the eyes that were already small enough to be blind-folded by dental floss, speaks nothing but a Chinese language so loud your family back home can hear him. To put it simply, just a Chinese who is immediately recognized (or guessed) to be from Mainland; someone who seems rather fresh-off-the-boat'y :D Crude in mannerisms and personality. Forever stuck in their own little Chinese world.

While I have neither straight flat hair and gawd forbid, parted from the centre of my forehead, nor do I speak as loud as any typical Mainlander does (tho' I'll admit, I am loud lol), I am Chinese. I don't seem to look very Chinese to most people. I see that as a problem since most people think I'm Filipina or Hawaiian. Someone has even asked me what tribe I'm from thinking I'm Native Indian and one thought I was this Indian girl's sister (yes, the ones with the dot on the forehead). WTF!? But, living in the US of A has made me come to embrace being Chinese a lot more than I did ten, certainly twenty years ago when I was a mere know-it-all (well, know anything but Chinese) teenager.

This morning, I had a surprise IM message from my cousin's 21 year old daughter while I was listening to my itunes and catching up on email. She was gasping in surprise that she could see my playlist for a good hour of Chinese pop. Jay , Jerry, Jolin, Jacky, F4, LeeHom, you name it! Sure I listened to some Chinese songs growing up. Lord knows mom sang only Chinese songs to my baby brother and myself when we were kids - the same songs our little EKT is listening to now. But Chinese pop music wasn't exactly my forte. I could hum a couple of Emil and Jacky songs but which Chinese can't? These days, I look feverishly for them online, when I'm in Chinatown in NY, even in Japan when I'm at HMV.

I think it's because I'm returning to my roots. Being older now, living in a city where there are hardly Asians and speaking Mandarin means I'm talking to my mom or a couple of friends on the phone or maybe the Taiwanese sushi chef in town. I'm even trying to read the Chinese subtitles when I'm watching Chinese dubbed Korean series and making a point to match what they say with what I read. Insane as it might sound, but I can certainly read more Chinese chararters now then when I was in school when it mattered most lol.

Oh well, that's what living in America has done to me. I am now practically 'cheena' minus the physical charateristics . I suppose being surrounded by a bunch of not-the-brightest non-Chinese and non-Mandarin-speakers who I love to bitch about will do that to you. I only wish I could bitch it to someone else who will understand :D

Friday, December 15, 2006

Winter Is Here... Or Is It?

I know, it's been a month since I've posted anything and while I sit here skipping the 8:3am aeroboxing class (hey, Randy's been sick the last week and I'm tired of doing the alternative which is going to the gym that's filled with ugly old men (and I mean OLD) and even older women just to use the eliptical machine). I took yesterday off working out to prep for the Math department end-of-the-year party that was held at our house; so I figured taking the first class off this morning would be a nice treat for myself. Fine, I'll admit it, I'm feeling bloody lazy after a big ass bolw of fried rice for breakfast; there, I said it.

I can't say nothing been going on since my last post considering we did fly to Hong Kong. Nonetheless, I can't say it's been all that much different from any other month. Everyday's Christmas in the Ryan household. Okay, everyday's Christmas for ME. The weather, however, has been cranky. Last week we had below 20 degree days (that's below freezing for the people outside the US) and this week till Christmas it's going to be days as warm as 70 degrees! When did I move to Florida?! I want my real winter back!! I want my bitterly cold days and icy ass nights! I want to be able to be able to wear my winter coat, my leather gloves (cashmere lined of course), my high boots and my luxurious scarves without looking like I'm out of place. Ok, I will look out of place anywayz 'coz I live in a city where dressing up means you're going to court. Still, I enjoy going it - without explaination - and I want to, with permission from no one but the weather. I want to go shopping and see the stupid Salvation Army idiots standing there ringing the annoying bells asking for a donation (no, I NEVER give 'coz they spend the money people donate on sending people like me who don't, personalized address stickers and silly stuff like that which I trash without a second thought) dressed in their silly uniforms, not tees and cargos!

Okay, so where is the summary lol.

Hong Kong was a blast. Despite our incredibly short trip there, the husband and I spent two short but very fun days with my baby brother who was there on a business meeting and was able to stretch his trip to hang out with us... we saw my buddy and his new wife whom I cannot talk about here 'coz he reads my blog (lol). We will certainly be back to Hong Kong in the near future. The husband says the Chinese in Hong Kong are super nice (unlike the Singaporeans); but that's only 'coz he's a gwei lo and in a recently de-colonized country, they still feel that the gwei lo is King (not!) :D

I'll be the first to be admit, after flying 30 hours to Hong Kong for two and a half days and back and after flying more than one hundred and seventy five thousand miles this year, I had just about enough of taking long trips. After five trips to Japan, one to Hong Kong, one to Thailand, and I think two (or at least one) to Australia, going anywhere far isn't on top of my list for Christmas. The husband did suggest Japan and Thailand, even Singapore. But as much as I love to go to Asia for vacation, I had to shoot him one of those are-you-kiddin' looks and say 'naaaaahhhhhhhh!'. So Seattle it is for Christmas. Yes, we will spend it with the Shultze family and then see our friend (Japanese) Julie (not to be confused with my friend here, British Julie) whom we did a couple of trips to Japan this year. It's bad when there are more people who like to spend time with you who don't live in the city you live in where your friends and family live.

Christmas is in the air - well, not really here in Memphis, but it's an awesome excuse for me to shop :D Ok, I never need an excuse to shop 'coz like I said, it's Christmas everyday at the Ryan's. At least I get to use my Christmas china lol!!! I still wish the temperature will drop drastically - no chance though. But the very very sweet husband of mine has suggested we do some quick shopping in Boston and Chicago next week. So shop I shall... and I'm sure it'll be way too cold and I will be bitching, but I will be bitching with a big smile :)