Tuesday, August 31, 2010

5 Reasons Why You Might Want To Keep Your Office Job

You may remember from last week some facets of the corporate world that I am all too happy to leave behind but here are some reasons—small reasons—why you might not want to turn in your two weeks notice quite yet.


1. Health Insurance: In the corporate world, this was one of my fundamental rights as an employee that I took for granted, like life, liberty, and health insurance for all. Sure, besides my gazillion prenatal appointments and that one day I pushed out a baby and had to stay in the hospital, I am mostly a healthy person who goes to the doctor’s at best once a year. But that once a year stuff usually is pretty serious, like broken limbs and infections, and had I not received proper treatment in the past, I might be foaming at the mouth and look like a mutant alien by now. Of course I am in the process of getting independent insurance since I am not working anymore but because I have to pay out of my own pocket for it, I am choosing a really cheap package that allots me exactly 3 visits to the doctor’s office a year. So let’s hope I don’t have another baby anytime soon. *blink blink*

2. Around-the-clock Coffee: Yes, I am serious. I miss having freshly brewed pots of coffee sitting in the kitchen throughout the day just waiting for me to swing by, pour myself a hot cup, and inhale. And all those birthday cakes and pastries that get brought in by someone seemingly everyday! If I have a hankering for a little sweet something-something these days, I can’t just walk through the marketing department’s corridors to sneak a treat in they always have lying around. I gotta go to the grocery store, find the smallest package of muffins for sale, determine that even the smallest amount I can buy for myself will still go stale by the time I can eat them all, and not end up getting my muffin fix. Those sweet chocolate-studded muffins with ever the tender crumb *sigh*.

3. Water Cooler Gossip: It’s the little things in corporate life I miss. The friends that give me all the juicy and deliciously scandalous office gossip updates, the ongoing speculation if two people at work are involved in some hanky panky, grimy secrets the executives are keeping away from us low-level employees…basically all the dirt my company had that made any episode of The Office look like child’s play. Then there were the 5 Instant Messenger conversations I would always have going on with different coworkers (usually not work-related), the forwarded emails in my inbox asking me to answer 7 questions about myself and then pass it along to 7 of my other true friends, the occasional chit-chatting with Patrick when I walked by his desk…my, what a social life I left behind! And two more words for you: Lunch dates. I miss going out to lunch with coworkers everyday. It made me feel important.


4. You Will Never Be Important Enough To Have To Deal With Everyone’s Problems: Probably the best advice I got in the office space was that I am not paid enough, not important enough, to have to solve all of the problems within my company. Sounds like very common sense knowledge but for someone who tends to take everything personally, it was nice knowing that I can always, and should always, send bigger matters straight up the chain and wipe my hands immediately clean of it. When you have your own business, you ARE the chain so you have to deal with the good, the bad, and the ugly solo.

5. Finding Love In The Office Space: Cooler than the ubiquitous internet dating scene, what better place to find the love of your life, your soul mate from another lifetime, and kindred spirits than in an office, small, wearing a dress skirt, short, and working on some project together into the late hours? Hey, look at me—I am an office space success story! I found Patrick, we gots ourselves a baby, and INSTANT FAMILY! Just add water. Results not guaranteed.

Happy Tuesday!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Meet Carly and the drink that will change your life. Forever.

Meet Carly, my twin sister.


In some ways we are very similar: perpetual pipe-dreams chasers, impulsive, messy, really emotional and sensitive, thinks too much about the small things in life...basically all the traits that mother-in-laws do NOT want in a woman for their sons, those dear dear souls.

And then there are the ways in which we differ drastically: Carly, ever on the quest to be a full-on vegan, will go on and on about how much meat disgusts her and how cruel it is for the little animals to have to suffer at the expense of our taste buds (us greedy and naughty people!). I, on the other hand, can be scarfing down a rare steak while watching John Robbins in Diet for a New America (we all have that vegan friend who has forced us to watch this documentary once. Yes, THAT friend.). Carly also hikes big mountains, uses hemp soap, drinks brown rice milk, and recently made a vow with her boyfriend to not wash their hair for a month since synthetic shampoo is gagging the fish in our oceans alive, oh my gosh.

All opposing views aside, as I have alluded in one of my earlier posts, Carly's hippie health and earth conscious ways have really rubbed off of me when we lived together last year so because I love Carly, because it's a Monday, and just because, I will introduce to you the drink that will change your life. Forever.



It is like the world is made up of two camps: the people that know about green smoothies and the people that do not. There is nothing hard to make or sophisticated about these drinks. Just blend up a fruit smoothie with massive amounts of tender leafy greens and you will have a yummy snack (or meal-replacement if you're into being really really thin and don't like to eat much but I'm not a doctor so please don't take any medical advice from me *breathe breathe breathe*) that will pack a photosynthetic punch so powerful it will make all your cells tingle with life. Yee-haw!

The fruit masks up any bitter taste the greens may impart and even meat-and-potatoes Patrick has been fooled once or twice back in the day when I first made him an "all-fruit smoothie" (he has since caught onto me, that smart dude). Anyhoo, go blend up a green smoothie for your chillin's today and they will let you kiss and hug them tons. Or at least swing a high-five, like, totally. Dude.



And...Monday minute for blog hoppers:

Who was your high school Sweet Heart?
Someone named Charles. It's a long story and I have 70 pages so far to prove it.

What is your favorite vegetable to eat?

Do you plan on dressing up for Halloween. If yes, what do you have in mind?
Definitely something NOT sexy. I'm not into the sexy school girl, police woman, dominatrix costumes. King has a little pumpkin outfit already picked out so maybe the whole family will go as pumpkins.

Are you a reality show junkie? If so, what is your guilty pleasure?
YES! All food competitions, The Real Housewives, Kardashians, and ever since I got pregnant and had my baby, 16 and Pregnant and Teen Mom.

What year did you graduate high school?

Monday Minute

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Sunday Best

King is so fashion forward he wears his canvas shoes...without socks.


Friday, August 27, 2010

How to lose 10 pounds by Monday.

And other things I won't hold my breath for this weekend.

I know, I’m supposed to write about my career aspirations but something just feels off today. I’ve been up since 4:30 AM (maybe it’s last night's dinner of Tater Tots and chicken nuggets that aren’t sitting so well or the random and mysterious creaking sounds in our apartment) so I’m making the executive decision to switch blog topics and do a quick list of a few things in life I just have to accept won’t pull through for me this weekend *sigh*…and probably won't for you, either.

1. How to lose 10 pounds by Monday A.K.A The 48-Hour Hollywood Diet, The Master Cleanse, The Just-Don’t-Eat-Anything-For Two-Days Diet: Listen up, diet gurus. There is no magic potion or pill that can do what simple math it is to lose weight—just eat less than you do now and you will be thinner. And it ain’t all happening this weekend. So skip that bottle of Hoodia you picked up for $50 and remember the three words that will actually help round out (heh) the equation (and you won't even have to pay an extra dime for it!): Water, fiber, and sleep.

Breakfast of Champions: Beer...It's for the breastmilk, I swear!

2. Become an Avon representative: C’mon, we’ve all seen the commercials. The pretty housewives vamped up in power suits claiming “I get to control how much money I make” and “I sell so many cosmetics that I can actually save now” sure have my attention these days seeing as I currently still have champagne taste on a beer budget. But do you really know someone who is rolling in cash and making it rain by selling Avon cosmetics? If you do, I’d like to talk to you, like pronto.

3. Jennifer Lopez in romantic comedies: Please just save your five bucks or Netflix subscription and you’ll be doing yourself a HUGE favor. I mean, between Monster-in-Law, Maid in Manhattan, and now The Back-up Plan, when did J. Lo ever have us believing that she was actually the witty, smart, and sassy leading lady she is always so desperately trying to portray, golden highlights and all? What’s sad is that I actually liked her in a classic Horatio Alger story as Selina, a struggling Latina singer who makes it big, so why can’t she just stick to what works for her? And then there's the whole race thing I can't overlook, the ethnic-bending roles where her character is clearly not-white (and proud!) but the people that play her family are always as white as Wonder Bread—how did that happen? Add to that the god-awful script and beyond-poor casting...seriously, who’s green lighting these projects??

4. DIY hair highlights: In my long and winding history with DIY hair coloring, I have never found even an ounce of success with any product that claims to provide salon-worthy highlights that will be the envy of all stylists and socialites alike (and I am not just referring to the Sun-In days). End of story.

5. Learning a new language by next week: Yes, I’m talking about you, Rosetta Stone, you. Maybe in six months of dedicated studying or a full-culture submersion program abroad but hell if I’m whispering French sweet nothings in Patrick’s ear Sunday night.

While I'm the first to admit that I get easily hyped up about big talk and sweeping promises (Look at me, I'm with Patrick. Juuuuust kidding!), what I've learned the long and painful way (yes, watching The Back-Up Plan was nothing short of pull-my-hair-out painful last night) is if it sounds too good to be true, it ALWAYS is. I can toss out today's lotto ticket now with not a smidgen of "What if?" and can forget about that cute guy who'd said he'd give me a call sometime...four years ago. (Hi Patrick. I love you.)

So this weekend, I’m sticking to the things where success is within reach: some wine, cooking a steak dinner, taking a leisurely stroll with the babes, and good friends. Hey, I never claimed to NOT be a simple gal (gotta love the double negatives!), have I?

What’s on your list?

BWS tips button

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Pretty little things.

Happy Thursday! Highlight of my day? My first dentist appointment since I don't know when. GAHHH!!! 

Missed yesterday's post on why you should leave the corporate world, like STAT? Check it out HERE.

And come back tomorrow for my thoughts on chasing your fantasy career, pipe dreams and all.




Wednesday, August 25, 2010

10 Reasons Why I Do Not Miss the Office Space

I may seem spacey sometimes but I am not all that delusional as I do know that I currently live in La La Land and at some point I will need to re-enter the dreaded “real world” again. But that time is not today as King’s daddy is a good man by letting me stay at home and pick at my toe nails all day so let’s take a look at some of the things I am glad I left behind in the corporate world, shall we?

1. 8-5 Monotony: Who says we all need to work exactly 8 hours a day for five days a week for maximum productivity? Within these set hours? Now, I can wake up at five and do some Photoshopping if I feel like it or sleep deliciously in until 9 if the sun is not out yet. I just follow my body’s natural rhythm and get whatever work that needs to be done (hey, reluctant housewives DO work still!) when I am the most energetic. And it usually does not take 8 hours a day, as Patrick can gladly attest. Americans have grueling hours for the sake of setting hours!

2. 1-hour Lunches: I eat my biggest meal of the day during noontime and trying to fit a large and relaxing meal into the corporate schedule just leaves icky gas bubbles in my stomach. We need time to rest and digest midday so I’ll go with our European friends on this one and take my daily siesta, thank you very much.

3. Mandatory Meetings: Meetings for what? To allow others to speak and feel important? Sure, we all create our agendas and make these big action plans during these meetings but nothing usually happens after we all sit down and talk about it. Except that I am left with an extra wrinkle fold around my eyes trying so hard to keep them open during the snooze fest.

4. Asking Permission to Take a Holiday: I never realized how restricted I was with my year until now that I can compare the flexibility I have with when I can just take off and go somewhere versus Patrick who is bound to his company’s timeline of when it is okay to take his yearly vacation. We constantly need a break, a chance to go see something new, to indulge in the exotic and luxurious, and hell if I’m waiting until I’m 65. And those poor corporate souls who get, like, 15 days a year so they cram all of their vacationing into one trip. Just sounds like a good way to get even more burnt out.

5. Having to Work With Others: Teamwork can lead to powerful things but once in a while, I don’t want someone to have to approve of my articles or “give me their thoughts” on what they think of my design for something. Sometimes, I did things just the way I wanted to and if people would just let me fully carry out the vision in my head with no disruption, my idea just might work.

6. Dealing with Power Trippers: You know what I am talking about and we all have had our fair share of encounters with THE POWER TRIPPERS. These are the control freaks/insecure/narcissistic/I-don’t-have-anything-else-going-for-me people in the office that validate their existences by power tripping all over those of us that couldn’t care less about the petty things. But OMG are they annoying to navigate through on a day-to-day basis.

7. Constantly Pretending That You Are Working: If anyone truly works on company-relevant projects all 8 hours that you are in prison in the office space, then I will give you my head AND my first-born son to boot. So why are we all still pretending that we are only writing proposals and sending client emails when we all have that hidden Facebook or People.com screen minimized that will be pulled up the moment your boss is out of the room? Pretending to be busy is such a waste of time and life and I relish in shamelessly Internet surfing without having to keep a mirror on my monitor.

8. Having to Play Nice and Be All PC About Everything: I am so over putting a smiley face on every internal email that I send out just in case someone will “take things the wrong way.” Now, I put smileys on things I am truy happy about, not as a means to prevent someone’s feelings for getting hurt because I didn’t have time to add a disclaimer somewhere in the email that THESE ARE ONLY MY SUGGESTIONS and EVERYTHING IS OKAY and WE CAN STILL BE FRIENDS AFTER WE ARE DONE WITH THIS PROJECT.

9. Solving Someone Else’s Emotional Critical: While working in customer service, I constantly dealt with clients whose world’s were ending because our product didn’t work for a half second and now I need to solve the mathematical framework of quantum physics and provide an answer as to why his/her daughter wasn’t asked to senior prom. Or better yet, seeing an internal employee flipping out over an issue that maybe I contributed an ounce to so now I am tasked with finding an end-all solution for them while still being the lowest paid person in the company. Gaw!

10. Everyone Is ALWAYS Complaining: If it is not about their bosses or coworkers it is their workload or how busy they are. I’ve never, NEVER, heard someone say, “Hey, I’m actually having a pretty good day and I am thankful for my job and the things I am working on are actually quite fun and interesting” instead of “I can’t believe my boss doesn’t see how stupid Sue is and why I am always the one getting stuck doing all of the work and I am up to here working on things and I have a master’s degree, for crying out loud, so why I am still doing everyone else’s leftover data entry?!!?!”

You are free to add to the list or dispute any of my points in the comments section. Now off to a champagne breakfast and masseuse appointment! Er, off to cuddling with the babes in bed but that’s just as good, if not better. ☺ (And I really mean the smiley.)

the long road

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Purple trees.

Following my baby story? Catch Chapter 5 HERE.


The Making of King Ch. 5

The Making of King chronicles my experience starting from this time of last year when I first found out about my unexpected pregnancy to King's birth and the physical, emotional, and spiritual aftermath of being a new mom. If you're new to the story, find Chapter 1 HERE.

The pink cross slowly appeared on the pregnancy test like a headless horseman emerging from the night fog. I was by myself at noontime in my apartment the day after Patrick and I were supposed to get a pregnancy test but never did. Never did because we were running around the supermarket like two pitiful coke addicts looking to get our fix, looking to get an absolution for a peace of mind that no, I was not pregnant. Not now, not ever with Patrick’s baby.

And as the story of life too often goes, you can never find what you are looking for even though it stared you straight in the face all the times you didn’t need it. Never needed a pregnancy test until now as I was on the cusp of realizing my dreams as a wedding photographer and jumpstarting my corporate career. On the cusp of abandoning a relationship with Patrick that served me well for perhaps only the first few months but has been proving, like a bottle of cold medicine, to be hazardous to my health in larger doses. Our relationship, like a helpless child of no real fault, simply failed to withstand the little southern California earthquakes that shook us along the way so now, this very moment, was when I needed that darned pregnancy test. Guddammit.


But we couldn’t find what we needed that night. Nope, it was not stashed alongside the isle with the feminine products or the condoms or the flavored lubes so after losing a small bet to Patrick, I was sent out to ask a checker, stealthily, where on earth—or at least within the supermarket—I could find that darned pregnancy test. And he pointed with almost a smirk on that acne pock-marked skin of his that the tests were all locked up by the cigarettes since, you know, so many “kids” try to steal them. I took that as a sign that no, I am not pregnant and “Patrick, I promise you I will get my period tomorrow morning like I always do when I am teensiest concerned that I might be pregnant.”

Lo and behold, the next morning, September 23rd, I let out a “Hallelujah!” in the women’s bathroom at work when I saw a bloody stain on my panties. I just knew there was no way, not now, that I could possibly be having a baby. Not me, this 22-year-old fresh out of college, this driven, determined, and disciplined (for the most part) young adult who took the straight line (for the most part) her whole life. Stuff like this just doesn’t happen to girls like me, the girls that will be making her own money before having a precious wedding ceremony in front of 150 of her closest friends and family to marry the esteemed business man of her dreams who also dabbles in real estate. And then, only then, will girls like me start a family but ALWAYS on her own terms and timeline. So when my period started, I, almost in a snobby huff, thought to myself, Of course I am not pregnant because stuff like that just don’t happen to girls like me. Period.

On my second trip to the bathroom a couple of hours later, however, I discovered that there had been a false alarm, so to speak, and my period was actually a women’s bodily phenomenon I have yet to experience: SPOTTING. After many frantic conversations going back and forth with my sister, Carly, on Instant Messenger, she finally convinced me to have her take me to a drug store during our lunch breaks to put the end of all ends to our worrisome speculation. And when the test gave “inconclusive” results because the control line did not show up, I dropped off Carly at her office since her break was over and went straight back to the store to buy one more, no, two more, pregnancy tests.

So here we are now, the pink cross slowly appearing on the second pregnancy test, and I felt, in the cheesiest way imaginable, that I was in some sort of a coming-of-age melodrama with the camera gradually spanning a full circle around me in the room, as if I were the center of the universe and chronological time had stopped at this juncture for me. Stopped for me like it did for Sarah Michelle Gellar’s character in the ending of Cruel Intentions when shit hit the ceiling, when the game was over, when the events finally all came together with an unfavorable outcome so someone cues the violins to play “Bittersweet Symphony.” One of those very rare, confusing, and dramatic moments in life when, say, you find out that you are unexpectedly a little bit pregnant.

I was released from my trance when I saw that I had taken almost a two-hour break from work and was running desperately late for a mandatory department meeting so the third test, to be extra sure of my condition, had to wait until later. I rushed back to our office building, a mere mile away from my apartment that seemed so much longer when burdened with the possible baby I was carrying, and ignored all the calls I kept getting from Patrick. I walked into the meeting room discreetly, so discrete that I even took a couple of extra seconds in the hallway to calm down as much as I could, and slipped into the first empty chair I could find. My boss, this boisterous, happy-go-lucky woman no more than 50 years of age named Trish, turned on the lights that had been dimmed for a projector presentation and yelled across the room, “Where have you been, Missy?!

Oh my goodness, you look so pale! Is everything okay??”

To be continued.

Monday, August 23, 2010

The transformation is (almost) complete.

“Once every Russian woman gets to a certain age, she’ll cut off all of her hair and get a perm on what’s left. So it ends up being like a big poof on her head,” a friend once told me.

“Well, don’t worry. That will never happen to me. Even if I became a mom, I would still have long hair.”

Patrick and I took King to the beach this weekend.

Let’s be superficial for a minute on the blog. I’m not quite the fake tan and acrylic nails superficial but I am vain to a certain extent since I am very visually charged and I like things, all things, to look nice. So keeping my hair long was a given no matter how much time it took for me to style it pretty each morning because I knew it was possibly the best thing I had going for me. Plus, long hair, dewy skin, and nice nails are a prerequisite for guys when judging the health and sexual viability of a woman but we won’t get into all that anthropological nonsense right now.

Thank you, J.B., for the family shots!! :)

Sights of Venice. Er, okay, Venice Beach.

Where was I again? Oh right, hair. So a couple of days ago, as I was finger-combing my hair (makes things way less frizzy than actually brushing it), I pulled out a huge chunk of it, enough of it in one go to make a small pet. I freaked out, turned to my trusty friend, the Internet, and read that many women actually lose massive amounts of hair after giving birth to a child. I guess I had only started to notice and my dad did poke fun of my increasingly thin roots the last time he saw me so I did the only rational thing I could think of and made a hair appointment DAY OF.

I didn’t want anytime to think about it and I just knew that if I were actually going to get a nice haircut, I had to make things count. When I arrived an hour later at the salon, I informed my hairdresser (whom I don’t see nearly enough) that I wanted a big change. “BIG. Like, seven inches big,” I said in between hushing King, who I dragged along with me, the poor soul.

Shorter hair and a happier family.

Everything was so pretty I just HAD to go photo crazy.

Patrick with a coworker friend who lives by the beach.

An hour later, I walked out of the salon with shorter hair than I have had since maybe high school. Probably not all that short compared to other women but short for me so I texted Patrick, “Got a surprise for you. I hope your love for me is unconditional.” And then the realization that I am doing and becoming everything that I said I would never do or be ever since I donned the mommy hat hit me like a ton of bricks. Sure, it is only seven inches today but what will it be tomorrow? And the day after? And how about after two more kids?

Yep, folks, it looks like my transformation into the reluctant housewife is well underway and now I have the soccer mom haircut to prove it. Actually, with my new ‘do, I think I look every part the foreign exchange student. From China. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing if I were into white men over 60 who teach linguistics on a liberal arts campus. Add a couple zeros to his bank account and I might even consider it.

(Amended to note that the above sentiment was made out of 100% jest and if my horrible attempt at being funny offends people, well, at some point you'll learn that you can never please everyone. And my fellow Chinese family and friends know how much I love them, cute hair and all.)

King's virgin feet touch sand for the first time.

Stop intruding on Daddy time, Mommy!

King is pensive in the afternoon sunlight.

Want to be a part of the real L.A. love story? Find out how HERE.

Speaking of which, check back tomorrow for Chapter 5 of my baby story. New to the story? Start with Chapter 1 HERE.


Sunday, August 22, 2010

Share the love story.

The idea in starting this blog (less than a month ago!) was to document, in as many chapters as it will take, my love story—with Patrick, with King, and with myself. Sure, I've kept plenty o' blogs before with sites chronicling my woe-is-me days as an agnsty 21-year-old to sites promoting my wedding photography business that never was but this time around, all I sought after was a platform for me to share a story. To share a transformative time in my life that brought out the parts of me that are endearing and human but also forced out sides to me that are cruel and unforgiving. A time in my life that I feel like I have somewhat fully crossed and yet, everyday is still a continuing chapter of the journey. The journey into motherhood at the wrong time with possibly the wrong guy and while there is nothing new to this story, it will be the way that I tell it and the details in which I weave into our memories that will create a richly unique and intimate experience to share with others. And if in the end I have done nothing more than write down my love story, the whole cathartic process of reliving some of the more interesting times and forcing myself to be honest with the things that DID happen will be worth the while.

So here is my challenge for you: Write down your story, ANY story, and share it. If you feel like linking your posts back to The real L.A. love story, slap a badge on them (find the code on the left column) and let me know. I'll create a permanent link for you on my site and together, we will find our voices as storytellers, as mothers, as lovers, and create a community of bloggers who don't just document the everyday life but also persist to examine the paths they took to get them to where they are (albeit temporary) today.


New to the story? Start reading my Chapter 1 HERE.

Friday, August 20, 2010

It's officially over.

Not Patrick and me, thilly.

Flowers my mom grew.

My (f)unemployment is officially over now that I have come back to Los Angeles lovin’ from “vacationing” at my parents’ in Northern California. It’s been just over a month since I’ve lost my job and I think it is high time for me to think about what else I can do everyday except go goo-goo-gah-gah over my baby and write and visit blogs (although I am enjoying every minute of it). I guess I can put together a resume and throw it to the wind to see what catches. Except that I am horrible about being serious when it comes to talking about myself since it is always the sarcasm and tongue-in-cheekiness that comes through when I try to list my skill sets and accomplishments in the work force. Ah, who wants to work anyway when my biggest task at hand today is to stock the fridge after being gone for a whole week. Speaking of which, stocking the fridge does fully involve trips to three separate supermarkets (Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, and Vons) to satisfy taste buds and lifestyles that could span continents even though it is just for Patrick and me. So perhaps my work here is still cut out for me. At least that is what I'll keep telling myself.

Best part of being home? Having my computer and Photoshop back. Oh, and Patrick too, but that goes without saying.

*Sob sob* Imma mith u grandparents!


Thursday, August 19, 2010

Fair Expectations

When I saw a couple of days ago that the county fair was opening this week in the local paper, I did a little whoop d’holla and fist pumped into the air. I asked my younger brother, Wayne, to take King and me the next day because with the ponies, cotton candy, and ferris wheel galore, I just knew King would have the best of times. Sure, he hardly ever opens his eyes when we take him out and the sweltering summer heat will probably give us all the hives but “King baby, Momma’s gonna to show you the world!”

King gives up on waiting for Uncle Wayne. Hunter, with soulful eyes, understands.

Familiar with Wayne’s nightly excursions to the bars (having just turned 21, Wayne is newly getting acquainted with the wonder that is the brewsky since he never drank underage. No, not our Wayne. Never.) I made him pinky swear that he will come over to pick us up at 10 AM so that we can hit the fair before the junior high school crowd gets there, swag and all. Wayne, ever the good brother, told me to stop worrying and told King, “Uncle promises we will go to the fair tomorrow.”

farmer's market 014
King's new favorite onesie. He thinks the paws are his best look.

The next morning, King, who fidgeted all night from excitement, hopped out of bed at 8 and asked me for a bath so that he could, uh, “look fresh for the ladies.” We even combed the little hair that he has three ways (front, back, sides) and he put on his cutest onesie (thanks, Val!) with dog paw prints all over it. In King’s own words, “The ladies won’t know what hit 'em.” Never mind that King is only 3 months old, this was a man on a mission if I’ve ever seen one.

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Best part about not being pregnant anymore? Coffee!

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Pesto chicken crepe.

By 10, King was ready to go, his eagerness spilling out of him like regurgitated breast milk. Needless to say, 11 o’clock rolled around, then 12, and then 1 and Wayne was still nowhere to be found. Sometime after 1, I received a distraught call from Wayne to tell me that he’s so sorry for running late and he didn’t hear the (15) calls I made to him earlier that morning. “That’s okay,” I replied (grumble grumble grumble). “Just come over when you can.”

Wayne showed up half an hour later and when we reread the newspaper article, we found out that the fair’s opening night wasn’t even going to start until 6 PM, a time we couldn’t make since I already had dinner plans with my parents. So, Wayne, King, and I just spent the my last afternoon in town before heading back to Los Angeles eating at as many different restaurants in the neighborhood as we could stomach, which turned out to be a lot when you are drowning the disappointment of your fair expectations away.

farmer's market 036farmer's market 027

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A leg of our Tour de Food included a stop at the farmer's market.

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I know, I even posted about my aversion toward mirror pics but I am starting to see how babes in arm is a good look for me. Right? (cue the crickets)

Peking duck for dinner.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The History of Food: Post-baby Goods Eats

To catch up on the saga of how I went from a Skinny Bitch to a Reluctant Housewife, read my two previous posts HERE and HERE.

Davis trip Aug 031

Not two hours after I pushed King out did my mother's plane touch down in Los Angeles to see us. She had been on standby for a couple of weeks already, ready to pack up her things and leave work for an undisclosed period of time as soon as I was done baking the little one. King came a tad bit early from his expected due date but my mom was prepared. Prepared to live with me and Patrick for our first week home with the babes. Prepared to haul King and me 7 hours up the state of California to her and my dad’s house for the remainder of my first month post-baby. Prepared, with her arsenal of unusual and exotic ingredients, to whip my body back into shape through the ingestion of food. Not just any food, mind you, but foods deemed for their healing and fortifying powers in Chinese folklore and tradition. Foods like liver, pig’s feet, free-range chicken, goji berries, ginseng, red beans, fermented rice, vinegar, ginger, seaweed, oxtail…oh the list goes on.

Davis trip Aug 036

Davis trip Aug 038
Dried abalone used to flavor stock.

My mother, the most gentle and easy-going of souls, turned into a mad alchemist in the kitchen, whipping up concoctions seemingly around the clock and determined, like I have never seen before, to completely heal her daughter’s body after baby. At the time, I didn’t understand why she insisted on this particular diet that many an occasion proved to be too difficult to stomach for even the most adventurous of gastronomes. Like pig’s feet, which I probably wouldn’t have had an issue eating had it been braised in soy sauce but on its own as my mother served, this gelatinous tan-colored mass with some hair (!!) still stuck on it, was where, I’m sorry to say, I drew the line.

Davis trip Aug 040
Bitter melon, made more palatable with the addition of beef with black bean paste.

Davis trip Aug 041
Rice wine.

But, you ask, did this “intensive” one-month culinary boot camp work? I would say so, seeing as I lost all my baby weight a mere two weeks after giving birth. And after four weeks, I had slimmed down to even less than what I was when I got pregnant even though I never restricted how much I ate. Heck, Patrick even benefited from the fringe effects of this diet since he probably dropped a couple pounds too. Not from eating the food, I’m sure, since he practically carried a ten-foot pole around with him the whole time, but rather from losing his appetite over what was brewing in the kitchen. Oh how the kitchen would smell, reeking of pungent sesame oil and ginger and offending every Anglo-Saxon cell of his, and no sooner did Patrick come home from work were the windows flailed wide open to air the apartment out.

Davis trip Aug 046
Sesame oil and ginger: Patrick's nemesis.

Davis trip Aug 052

And today, even though I have gone back to eating the SAD (Standard American Diet, its acronym unfortunately befitting), I am still enjoying the gravy, so to speak, of my mom’s culinary labors. I have maintained my weight loss and continue to produce enough breast milk to properly nourish a small village. My milk, I suspect, must also be extremely nutrient-dense seeing as I have an 18-pound 3-month-old but uh, we won’t get into that now.

Davis trip Aug 053
Wild rice, so chewy and filling.

Davis trip Aug 056
Free-range chicken cooked in wine and sesame oil.
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