Friday, February 29, 2008

Must Haves

There are a ton of things that I want/need, but none so much as this:
a Podium lululemon gym bag, preferably in black or some other neutral shade. When Hubbs and I head to the big mall on Sat., this girl is on a mission. :) The bag is waterproof and can hold up to 50 lbs, and it has a bunch of little compartments (I love compartments!). I am determined to find this bag in the city, and to make it mine. I have great plans to use this as my carry-on when we head to Mousetown.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Low Key Isn't Always Bad


Case in point - my birthday, which expires in less than 4 hours.

I didn't make it to the big mall for retail therapy.
I didn't blow out any candles.
I didn't hear the birthday song until my dear mom-in-law sang it to me over the phone at 5:45 p.m.

However, here are the highlights, in case you're interested:

*Hubbs made me breakfast
*I got a beautiful bouquet of flowers from my wonderfully thoughtful parents
*I was
wished happy birthday by many dear friends, students, and family over the course of the day
*I got three very sweet birthday cards from Hubbs
*I received a lovely surprise gift (fancy storage boxes) from my friend and mentor/colleague, Dino
*I was given a free dessert when Hubbs took me to lunch at Mongolie Grill (the xango dessert was delicious!)
*I had a great quality conversation with the other birthday girl in my family - my mom (who shares the same b-day as I do)
*I was taken out to dinner at Lux by Hubbs, and ate abundantly and drank like a fish (but it didn't count because a)I tasted no alcohol, and b)it's my birthday)
*I was promised my big mall shopping spree on Saturday (a full day!) instead
*I read some very complimentary messages from my homeroom students, who gifted me with little encouragement notes
*My sister Superstar sang the Chinese birthday song to me (with background vocals provided by Space Max, brother-in-law) over the phone

...and of course, I still get to go to Disneyland in a month's time! :D

All in all, a quiet but busy day, and one that helped me to feel very appreciated and loved. To all those who sent me well-wishes in some form - I appreciate it so much!! Thank you from the bottom of my very full heart :)

Monday, February 25, 2008

My Fun Shoes

While I was out shopping with the girls (my sisters), we chanced across some adorable shoes that were ON SALE and far too awesome for me not to pick up.

Keep in mind, of course, that my normal shoe preferences lean to the pragmatic and comfortable: I like black or brown shoes that are comfortable to wear and match with most of my clothes. To buy *gasp* coloured shoes is to do the unthinkable - waste money!

However, these were affordable and called my name. Introducing my Sugar Rockin' Round Up Flats:
My Superstar sis also bought a pair; actually, she was the first to spot these and I found a matching pair in another colour to buy, since she absolutely forbids me to buy anything that is identical to what she owns.

I am so excited for the spring, so that I can go in bare feet again and wear my cute shoes!!! I've already broken them in at school...and what do you know? The students noticed, and I was even complimented on my footwear! :) The compliments alone make this purchase worthwhile. :D

Sunday, February 24, 2008

What's Wednesday?

It's actually my birthday. Hubbs has been asking me what I'd like to do to celebrate my entry into this world and ring in another year.

I had to think about this question for a good long while. Traditionally, I've thrown myself parties with all of my students, gone for multiple dinner outings with families on both sides, and generally marked the occasion as a week-long event filled with much merriment, food, and other grand festivities. This year, two out of three of my siblings (and their significant others) and my in-laws are either out of town or gearing up to be out of town on the "big day." I also have no classes to teach, coincidentally enough, but I happen to be scheduled to attend a PD workshop despite not working on Wednesdays.

In the end, I told Hubbs that I wanted to spend the remainder of the day (post-PD) shopping at West Ed. Mall. Seems sort of lame, isn't it, when I've made my birthday such a big deal in the past?

I'm not feeling my birthday this year. Maybe I will when the day arrives, but the weeks and days leading up to it haven't excited me in the least. Is it because I'm turning an unremarkable age, rather than some momentous number such as 30, or 40, or 65? Or is it because I'm stuck in this boring ol' city, which no longer excites me the way Hong Kong did, or Vancouver does? Perhaps it is because my Hubbs already spoils me to bits, so that I want for nothing. I don't know.

All I know is that unless I come up with something grand to do on Wednesday, I'll be at the big mall dragging my long-suffering, loving hubby behind me with a couple of bags in hand.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Crock Pot! and Other Household Products

I love getting gift cards for special occasions; it allows me to "spread the joy" over the course of the year, as I use them at my discretion or whim. ;)

This Christmas, I got some great gift cards, including two for Linens n'Things. If I was still a kid I would probably find the gift lame, but as an adult with a home and a hubby, I'm finding myself turning into one of those - you know, the smug marrieds who like to set up house and buy high-thread-count linens and kitchen appliances, both large and small.

Anyway, this past weekend my sisters Vanilla and Superstar accompanied me on a girls'-day-out shopping and feasting. :) We found ourselves with 20% off coupons at LnT, and I spotted my soon-to-be-post-Christmas-gift: a Rival crock pot/slow cooker. With both gift cards and the coupon to use, my purchase left me with a balance remaining on one of my cards (yippee!). The best part of the deal was that I also got a free mini-crock for dips or gravies.

Half of my brain did register that being excited over a new crock pot is incredibly lame in the high-waisted-mom-jeans sort of way, but the other half of my brain canceled out this thought with the rationale that, as a busy 21st century working woman, I need something that can save me some time and make me some dinner easily.

What better time than the present to initiate my new toy/small appliance into my kitchen wares collection? I did my first ever pot roast in the slow cooker today, and let me tell you, Hubbs ate it all up! Sure, he was starving, but aside from that he also raved that my roast was comparable to, if not better than, those made by other loving hands in his earlier years of life. :)

So, I am feeling very smug and self-satisfied with my wise, adult purchase and also my culinary abilities. For a girl who doesn't really cook, I did pretty well! Here's my recipe (modified from the recipe that came with the Crock Pot directions):

2.5lb beef roast
3 celery stalks
1 onion
salt (hard to over have to guestimate how much you might want)
soy sauce
dash of sugar

1/2 cup water

Wash and cut veggies and load them onto the bottom of the pot. Next, rub down the roast with salt, pepper, a tiny bit of sugar, and some soy sauce. Place roast on top of veggies. Add about 1/2 cup of water. Turn crock pot on "high" and cook for about 4 hours, depending on how well done you want it to be.

Another thing I love and recently purchased, though not from LnT, is the Quickie HomePro Automatic Dishwasher sponge. Having owned half a dozen other detergent-dispensing sponges in the last 3 years, I have to say that this one is my favourite, and it's also cheap!

The dispensing comes easily, and it gets the dishes clean without being abrasive. It can also stand up on its own, which is a biggie for me since I have an army of dish-washing "stuff" lined up around my kitchen sink. This one at least saves space :)

Both the Crock Pot and the Quickie HomePro Automatic Dishwasher sponge come highly recommended by moi, so if you're in the mood to be all domestic and stuff, give these toys a go! :) You won't be disappointed (though you may feel really old buying these things). ;)

The First Step Is Admitting You Have a Problem

I have a problem. I fear I've turned into a Stage 5 nerd.

It all started innocently enough; I began to date a very smart, very funny, very handsome programmer/developer who happened to be interested in video games, code, and Transformers. I didn't think any of this would rub off on me, given that the last video game system I had touched was the Super Nintendo, and that was only to play T
etris and Dr. Mario. If anything, I hoped that my presence in his life would reduce some of his geeky ways.

Shortly into our courtship, in an effort to please and surprise my honey, I began to visit toy stores all over the S.A.R. (Hong Kong) in search of rare and unique Transformers. Our first date involved my surprising him with 13 very special Japanese-released Takara-made robots in disguise. One such collector's edition robot even needed to be disguised in his Megatron form in order to pass customs (since his alternate shape, a silver gun that shoots pellets, would have landed me in jail). I had to learn to transform this thing just to bring it home. I believe this was when the nerd infection began to take hold.

After my return from abroad, our relationship blossomed into engagement, then marriage. During that time, unintentionally my knowledge of development-related topics (OO TDD, programming, design patterns, VB.Net vs. C#.Net, Agile, MVC vs. MVP, etc.) actually increased, despite the fact that I don't even know how to write a proper For / Next loop anymore. I also found myself spending quality time with Hubbs playing on the Wii, the GameCube (prior to the Wii's arrival), the GBA, and the DS.

With much embarrassment, I must admit that this courtship journey chronicled my descent into the abyss of nerddom, rather than Hubbs' ascent into coolness. I began to indulge Hubbs' Transformer-loving ways (hence the glass display case proudly housing his most prized pieces, on full display in our living room). I also began to further grow his inner geek, going on programming book-hunts with him to Chapters stores in both AB and BC. I even encouraged his video gaming habit by conspiring with his parents to get him a PSP for Christmas, for the sole purpose of allowing him to play ONE game (Final Fantasy Tactics) on a different system.

Little did I know that as I fed the monster, my own little nerd-beast was growing, too.

And today, I hit rock bottom.

You see, Hubbs introduced me to the game, Professor Layton and the Curious Village for DS about a week or two ago. At first, I was skeptical. The last few games he has introduced me to have failed to truly engage me, and generally speaking I go through brief phases with any given game, and then quickly lose interest.

Well, with this particular game, I did not lose interest. In fact, all their little puzzles were very enticing to me, as was their somewhat-transparent plot line. I actually had to argue with Hubbs over who would get to play the DS at bedtime, and we'd sometimes end up compromising by working on the puzzles together for our "quality time" rather than actually spend time engaging with one another.

Anyway, today I hit a desperately ugly low. Hubbs was not around to help me with my puzzles, so I actually went online to find the cheats to beat the puzzles and move forward with the story line. Then, the unthinkable happened.

I finished a video game on my own for the first time in my over-three decades of living.

To the normal geek, I suppose this is no feat. This is just a regular Saturday night in lieu of actual human company. For me, however, this is *huge* and not in a good way. This completion of the game indicates that I have truly reached an all-time low in coolness, and the pinnacle of heights in geekiness. This is truly my "rock bottom."

I don't know what to do. There is no recovery group, no NerdAnon, to rescue me from myself.

I have a problem. I am a geek.

PS - The Professor Layton game also has bonus levels which I am now attempting to unlock and play. I may be beyond help.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Mouse-ward Bound


When you wish upon a star,
Makes no difference who you are...

Any wish your heart desires
Will come to you..

I am so lucky that my Hubbs, who is already my dream-come-true, is making my other dreams come true as well! :) This spring break, we are heading to the "happiest place on Earth" for the "year of a million dreams." Ignoring all the cheesy catch-phrases, this is still pretty cool news in my books.

This whole thing came about after my last post, when Hubbs asked me if I seriously wanted to go to Disneyland, and I answered with an emphatic YES! and a gigantic grin on my face. Hubbs, being well versed in wife-pleasing, quickly made the decision to take me there on a getaway spring break holiday this year.

We booked, we've paid, and now we are in process of deciding what we actually want to do in the Anaheim area. It has been so long since I've been to a Disney park that I no longer know which features are the "popular ones" (except for Pirates of the Caribbean - we all know that this ride is the best and most notable one). I was, in fact, shocked and amazed to learn that there are actually two theme parks in the area - Disneyland, and Disney's California Adventure Park. On top of that, the Anaheim / L.A. area is home to Universal Studios.

Where to go? What to do? I am happy to take suggestions. If you have been, or know the secret ins-and-outs to a quality Disney visit, do enlighten me please. I'm a Disney ignoramus and I feel that, in order to avoid being overwhelmed when I get there, I need to do some homework and get myself edumacated (heehee) on all things Disney.