Saturday, November 27, 2010


i know it's a culturally insensitive thing to say, or just that people are sensitive about it in general, but i just don't understand why people don't have babies.

i don't understand the whole "wait until X is done with Y until we start a family."

i don't understand flippant choices to use certain kinds of contraceptives and i definitely don't understand studied choices to do so.

i mean, i guess it's a tad personal because I was a "surprise" for my parents.... and they weren't necessarily financially well-off (both were students in seminary - dad going for mdiv, mom going for christian education which she didn't finish because of.. her surprise (me!) ); they hadn't been married for a set amount of time...

anyway, i guess the issue maybe deals a little with life.  Lately i've been drawn to dystopian stories and i always wonder (like in the story "The ones who walk away from the omelas") is the happiness of a city worth the life of one child?  and on the car ride home, my brother and i got into a pretty heated debate about whether if given the choice, you would press a button to kill someone but at the same time achieve the cure for cancer.  there are so many .. assumptions/presuppositions that come with that thought .. but anyway, i automatically thought of abortion.

Anyway, the reason i came to this train of thought was because I finally found the time to read Revive Our Hearts's segment on "Are There Enough Children In The World"  and that kind of idea is always interesting for me to learn about (especially since I don't totally buy into the "overpopulation" idea of the world)... and as i was reading, i just wanted to write about babies.

I'm glad I grew up with the opportunity to babysit and be around babies.  and kids.  it's cool seeing my sister and brother interact with children as well.  i think seeing their natural comfort in "handling" kids (especially unruly ones) is interesting to watch.. although i get pretty ticked off when they tell me "not to judge" when i say a kid is spoiled.. honestly, i'm not judging ... a spoiled kid's a spoiled kid.. but enough on that.
i'm just going to leave you with some pictures and links...

BABIES ARE JUST SO PRECIOUS!!!   (but i guess i should add the disclaimer that i understand there are details and complications and i shouldn't be so openly dismayed when friends tell me they are waiting to start a family etc................ or... okay, i guess there are things i shouldn't publicly say on a blog. LOL)

Links to peruse:
Trailer for the documentary Babies
A cover of Bruno Mars "Just the Way You Are" from a boy about his little sister (who has down syndrome - a rare case nowadays)

[steps off soap box // fade to black]

Friday, November 26, 2010

The Town of Thanks

Nancy: It's a parable of sorts, kind of an allegory.

This story was written by a friend of mine who actually wrote it as something for families to read aloud together. The story is called The Town of Thanks, and I think you will agree with me that it is a very appropriate story for this time of year.

Leslie: "Across the Sea of Imagination, in a time long ago, there was a delightful little village nestled in the mountains, right in the heart of The Kingdom. A sign on the outskirts of the village notified travelers that they were entering the Town of Thanks.

"The air in the Town of Thanks was fresh and clean. Children played excitedly in the park—that is, when they weren't busy learning the family trade from their parents.

"It was important for the children to learn their trade well. For the Town of Thanks was renowned for its superb craftsmanship and exquisite artistry. Visitors traveled from near and far across The Kingdom to purchase wares from the legendary town. Some even came from outside The Kingdom.

"The merchants of the Town of Thanks had a reputation for unusual attention to detail. The Wood Carver fashioned his pieces with great care and accuracy. The Weaver labored diligently over his loom, and his fabrics were woven using only the finest of threads. And every morning the Baker made fresh loaves of bread, using recipes known only to his family.

"There was no denying the extraordinary quality of the goods produced in the Town of Thanks. But the greatest distinctive, that unique charm that set this town apart from every other, was the signature displayed on every product that was sold—a simple, 'Thank You.' The inscription was etched into each piece of the Wood Carver's work; it was embroidered on the edge of every bolt of the Weaver's cloth; it was even stenciled on each bag of the Baker's bread.

"At every town meeting, without fail, the village elders would remind the townspeople, 'Our workmanship would mean nothing without those who buy our goods and provide our livelihood. We must always remember to express our appreciation to every customer.'

"It was a joy to shop in the Town of Thanks. Nowhere else could the citizens of The Kingdom purchase such fine merchandise, and nowhere did they feel any more warmly welcomed. Those who visited the Town of Thanks were always eager to return.

"Though generally crowded with shoppers, there was something peaceful and inviting about the streets. The craftsmen who tended their stores were always so friendly and were never too busy to answer customers' questions or help them find just what they were looking for.

"The Wood Carver (ever so humble) was quick to inform visitors of other products available in the town, and would nearly blush with gratitude over each purchase of his own work. The Weaver (busy and diligent in his labor) could always find time to visit with his customers and make them feel appreciated. And The Baker (so tender and warm in spirit) would always give hope and encouragement to any who entered his store.

"And so it continued from one generation to another, this rich heritage was passed on. But in time, yes, in time, things changed—not all at once, but slowly, almost imperceptibly.

"According to one wise man, the change began when business was booming, and people became so busy that they forgot to say 'thank you.' By and by, they began to consider the inscription an unnecessary expense.

"Before anyone realized what had happened, the Town of Thanks had ceased to be thankful. And when gratitude left, other things, ugly things, took its place.

"The shopkeepers no longer waited within their stores, content to help those who stopped in. Now they would gaze out their windows or stand on the sidewalk, waiting for the shoppers, looking for the shoppers, expecting the shoppers.

"If a shopper would arrive but purchased less than expected, the owner was annoyed. And if a prospective buyer went to a neighboring shop to make his purchase, the owner's heart would grow hot with jealousy. Those were sad days in the Town of Thanks. This town which once had so much, now wanted more.

"In time, word of the change traveled back to the King of The Kingdom. He knew the town's longtime reputation, and he knew what was needed to restore thankfulness. But would the people be able to see their need? And then, would they want to change?

"One day an elderly man wearing threadbare clothes and carrying an empty bag on his shoulder entered town. The Wood Carver eyed the prospective customer with interest, until he caught sight of the Old Man's shriveled purse. When the Old Man walked into his store, the Wood Carver remained outside, looking for more promising customers. A few moments later the Wood Carver spied the Old Man examining an especially lovely carving in the window. 'Be careful with that, Old Man. My products are expensive,' he said with pride.

"Slowly, the Old Man loosened his purse (no longer shriveled, but bulging with coins) and emptied it onto the table before the Wood Carver. Speechless for a moment, the Wood Carver soon found himself humbly shaking the Old Man's hand. 'Thank you, sir, for buying my product. I didn't expect that.' The Old Man smiled, placed the carving in his bag, and walked across the street to see the Weaver.

"The Weaver looked up from his work to see the Old Man slowly approach and enter his store. 'I don't have time for him,' the Weaver muttered to himself. 'I need some real shoppers who can afford my workmanship.' A moment or so later, the Old Man selected a bolt of fine, woven silk from the shelf and headed toward the Weaver. 'That's my best fabric, Old Man, and I don't want to get it dirty,' the Weaver said sharply.

"Deliberately, as before, the Old Man pulled from his vest a beautifully jeweled timepiece and placed it into the Weaver's hands. At that moment, time and the demands of a busy workday ceased to be important to the Weaver. It was as though the love of the world paled next to what he saw in that precious timepiece. He thanked the Old Man over and over for buying his product. The Old Man simply smiled, placed his purchase in his bag with the carving, and walked next door to see the Baker.

"Concerned and worried over many things, the Baker scarcely noticed his aged customer. Carefully, the Old Man selected a loaf of bread and placed his payment into the hand of the Baker. Their eyes met for a moment. The Baker knew the price being paid was far too great. He wanted to push it away, but then he understood that it had to be, and he received the payment with gratitude. Tears welled up in his eyes and began to overflow—tears of joy, for hope had returned to his heart. 'Thank you, Old Man, for coming to town today, and thank you for buying my goods.'

"The Old Man left town, wearied from his shopping. The items in the bag were now his; he had paid for them—an exquisite carving, a piece of fine silk, and a freshly baked loaf of bread.

"But the Old man saw his purchases differently.

"From the Wood Carver he had bought the sculpture of pride and left the payment of humility.

"From the Weaver, he had purchased impatience which had blossomed full from the love of this world. In exchange, he had given a vision to live for things of timeless value.

"And from the Baker's heart he had taken discouragement and despair, and left in their place unquenchable hope.

"The bag of goods grew heavy on the Old Man's shoulder as he stumbled up the path that led out of the valley. After days of travel, he finally approached his home. The drawbridge was lowered to allow him to enter the castle. As he made his way past the guards and attendants, each bowed low in respect before him.

"The bag he carried—filled with pride, love of this world, and despair—was taken down to the dungeon, where it would never see the light of day again.

"Finally, having returned to the palace, His mission fulfilled, He took His seat on the throne. As he did so, his eyes fell upon an object standing in the corner. Used only once, but always to be remembered, was a blood-stained, rugged cross.

"Thank You, Your majesty. Thank You."1

Nancy: Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift. God has given us so much, hasn't He? And not the least of which; in fact, the greatest of which is the Lord Jesus—the salvation that He has given us through Christ represented by that cross.

Of course you realize as we were listening to this story that the Old Man, the one who was really the King, is a picture of God Himself who came to visit this earth in the form of Jesus Christ.

And as we reflect on what He has done for us, I wonder if you don't need, as did those characters in this story—the Wood Carver and the Weaver and the Baker—they needed a great exchange.

But they had to be willing to give up those negative things that they had developed over the process of time as a result of an unthankful heart.

What is the exchange that perhaps you need in your heart, in your home today? Is there pride? Is there impatience? Is there discouragement? Is there bitterness?

If so, are you willing to give up those things to the Master, to the King? Just to hand them over to Him and say, "Lord, I don't want to live with those things any longer."


When I opened this email from our president with the above heading, I was, of course, curious. Would he explicitly express to whom he is thankful? would he mention God?

The email:

Junia --

When Michelle and I sit down with our family to give thanks today, I want you to know that we'll be especially grateful for folks like you.

Everything we have been able to accomplish in the last two years was possible because you have been willing to work for it and organize for it.

And every time we face a setback, or when progress doesn't happen as quickly as we would like, we know that you'll be right there with us, ready to fight another day.

So I want to thank you -- for everything.

I also hope you'll join me in taking a moment to remember that the freedoms and security we enjoy as Americans are protected by the brave men and women of the United States Armed Forces. These patriots are willing to lay down their lives in our defense, and each of us owes them and their families a debt of gratitude.

Have a wonderful day, and God bless.


was as typical as you'd expect from our silver-tongued president. Interestingly, he gives thanks to us, to the troops.. and in the end he has a shoutout to God.. (sort of).. in the "God bless" I guess though, but who is God to bless? Me? You? Us?

Ultimately, I don't harbor any hard feelings towards the president, and I think he's doing the best job he can, and if he weren't messing up in office, some other guy would be.. and honestly, i'd rather have him there.. than.. say, palin.. BUT, i can't help but be intrigued and also semi-dissect public figures' notices ..

especially comparing President Obama's thanksgiving email to say.. a speech from one of our founding fathers... there's a considerable difference.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

a discovery

i was listening to I Will Survive on the radio....
and i got very suspicious, b/c the instrumental parts sounded very similar to korean drama soundtracks...
so ...

sounds veryyy similar to....

what do you think? am i just crazy

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

the mountain view public library

i love public libraries
i randomly ended up popping into the mountain view public library and decided to get my library card today
although my ID has my old address, i happened to have an old paystub from a check i deposited from work that had my current mountain view address
and voila!
i had a card!

the mountain view library is BEAUTIFUL, and i only moseyed around the first floor.

I checked out The Lightning Thief, an Ann Rinaldi book (best children's historical fiction writer EVER), a bilingual children's book (that my dad and i had a surprisingly interesting conversation about.  dude my dad's so smart), and Revolutionary Road (DVD).

I was amazed by the amount of bilingual stuff that's there.

and it was so sweet seeing families with their kids reading books on the sofas and little nooks the MV Library provides.

There's free wireless from google there too.

and, yeah, i can't wait to go back.

i HAVE to go back - but I have to wait until 12/3 when my first application gets turned in.. otherwise i'll fritter away my time reading about Percy Jackson.  It's fun.  Gotta hand it to them.


I bought some adult books to read... but yeah, i think YA fiction is just.. so much more interesting...

Monday, November 15, 2010

random passing thoughts i wanted to write down

i sometimes have difficulty distinguishing between memories and dreams..  especially lately
today a person asked me when i was coming back from Irvine -_-  (i've been up here for almost 3 months now)
i get excited.. then i get deflated... then i get excited... (and on and on the circle goes)
when i meet someone from romania or bulgaria, i think of estera
life has been running so smoothly lately, i'm a little nervous about the future
i love it when people give me subtle social reminder cues
i've been listening more to R&B than country lately, probably for the following reasons
A) the beats keep me awake when I drive
B) the late country singles have been really bad
i don't really like cooking or baking anymore.. unless i'm making breakfast for myself
today at church there were a group of people practicing a song - they sounded good and all, but it sounded really funny too at the same time. hehehehehe. especially when they tried to you know go all diva
i really need to start my uffish blog

Saturday, November 13, 2010

i really hope i didn't send this essay in for my stanford (undergrad) app....

but if i did, it's even MORE understandable as to why i didn't get in. -_-

It's cute though.  I was so naive.

I was spending the night at my friend Taylor's house when around 9 pm, my friend Laura stomped in and declared, "I have just found the meaning of true rejection."  Basically, she had been lead on by her ex boyfriend who she wanted to get back together with (I don't understand it either), and was shattered.  Being crazy juniors, Taylor, Laura, and I hopped into a minivan and went driving around downtown looking for Laura's ex.  After having scoped out all the local hang outs, we admitted defeat and went back home where I promptly turned on my mix and lit candles.  Being absolutely tired since it was around 12 am, all three of us snuggled into Taylor's queen sized bed.  As we tried to sleep, we listened to Laura complain, then sing us lullabies.

The next morning, I awoke to commotion on the roof.  I saw Laura in a bikini outside holding a boom box.  "Get dressed and come up!" she yelled motioning to the roof.  As I searched for a two piece, I heard my CD being blasted on the roof.  After I fixed lime margaritas, we climbed on the roof with my video camera and took pictures and danced.  It was something that people would not normally do; dance in a two piece on the roof while belting out Jewel’s “Standing Still.”  But, desperate times called for desperate measures, and the total loss of a boy was definitely a desperate time in my book.

Friday, November 5, 2010

what the.. no, No.. absolutely NOT. NO.

are you serious Sarah Palin?
Seriously Sarah Palin, if you run for president, Obama is guaranteed his second term.

That video is beyond ridiculous.  It's like 3 people, all white people..  what happened to latinos?  asians?  southeast Asians?

and not to be mean, but your accent is that of CANADA.

Ms. Sarah Palin, you might have a HUGE hand in the sweeping GOP successes during this year's elections, but if they're smart (and they are), I doubt they'll back you as president.  you're more of a risk than an asset to this country.


You know how people used to say "Not my president!" about GW Bush?  I used to think that was incredibly rude and unnecessary - because he IS your president.....  if you don't like him, then move to Canada.

But in this case, if Palin becomes president (a hUge IF, but i mean, i don't have much faith in either side of America.. the red or the blue..) ...  I won't HAVE to move to Canada.. it will have moved to us! AHHHHH

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

thoughts on voting

i should've read up on this wayy more than i did.  i have no excuse.
i think we all should vote... i think you should exercise your right as a citizen and furthermore, actively work to prevent decay in society (whether they want it or not).
with that said, i think when i vote, i realize how stupid i am, how i'm really no better than any ignorant, uninformed voter, because that's what i am.  i don't take the time to read up on issues, i focus on a few and get too lazy with the rest... i jump on bandwagons and brush off this blase attitude with the "eh, lesser of two evils" blah blah blah.

which sucks. and so, next time, i plan on spending more time and evenly researching the ideas that are passed my way as a CA/US citizen.. (rather than simply sticking my nose into the interesting ones).

i have a proposition idea.
Each election day, they should have a prop for "regular citizens should lose their right to vote if they don't vote on at least 4 props" ... that way, people would panic, feel outraged, go out and vote.. and this cycle would continue. hahaha.

(i swear, i think if you tweak my idea.. it might work..)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

the half marathon

so i always hated running... perhaps the best shape i was ever in was when i was around 15 or 16... that's when i ran 2 miles in under 16 minutes.. went to do situps and pushups and weights and swam like crazy. that was before i got knee injuries and my PE teacher labeled me (and 2 fellow wopo teammates) "the Gimp"....

during college i never ran - maybe jogged.. like once.. but yea, was too afraid to try anything huge (like the EBCB 3-mile fun run. sounds like death!)

i DID do a triathlon once and the running was the worst part..a 10:33/mile split = PAINFUL!

but in Taiwan, i caved to the peer pressure and the enthusiasm my fellow teachers had towards running and i even found the best running buddy ever! She and i would run and talk at the same time! we would even take turns pushing her daughter in her stroller! Did it faze me that my pace was that of a mom of two? not at all. we "trained" in a lovely park in Taiwan amidst the interesting locals and ended up running the Supau Supau 9k! (a SUPER cheap run: 100NT (~3$))... it was fun. it was whatevers. (51.34.85.. but I think they messed up.. i think i was slower..)

Anywhoos, around that time, a BUNCH of us decided to sign up for the Dean Karnezos Silicon Valley Marathon...

Ashley, my running-friend extraordinaire counseled me and said half-marathons are fun.. and marathons, granted, you get the "sense of accomplishment", but they are never fun. Considering how this lady is a RUNNER, I took her word for it...

The eve of the half, i was skeptical.. it was NOT going to be fun. lena and i stayed up making food for the next day (i realized how IMPORTANT it is to EAT... because I totally lost all energy on the triathlon i did when i came home) ... we made almond butter bagels with peanut butter and cold-toasted creamcheese bagels for choe...

then we pillowtalked.
then i slept.

and woke up the next morning to Lena's voice (i had slept through the alarm).

Choe came soonafter... and i was a nervous wreck.
Because I was cold
and i was borrowing Lena's tanktop
because the cheapo shirts we got from the SV Marathon were SUPER SEE-THROUGH and i didn't come prepared with another tank.. >:O

when we got there, i tried to pump myself up and smile and be happy (because Ashley said if you smile while you run, you trick yourself into thinking you're having fun)... but I knew I was going to die.

Especially considering how
A) I twisted my ankle in June (thus did not train)
B) I totally ate it on my July 17th Triathlon
C) I didn't train.. (even though I planned on training/vowed to..).. I mean the extent of my training can be counted on my two hands... and on the Thursday before the half, I ran with stupid DannyBoy 4.88 miles (although I told everyone it was 5).. and it took like.. an hour and twenty minutes. (although granted, running with dannyboy will be a PAIN!). and then i was SORE the next two days!!!!!!!!
D) DChoe said he'd just leave me if i was slow
E) so granted, I was scared...

But of course, when we got there, they have music pumping, and I'm getting excited (and scared) and i meet a few people who are also running for the first time. i see a lot of middle-aged-out-of-shape people (and feel encouraged haha) .. annnd I saw a HUGE row of portapotties.. so i tried to use one.. but i didn't shut the door properly.. grabbed it closed before an awkward incident occured. (whew) . I couldn't poo though :-(

Choe, Lena and I stretched, took pictures and after debating a bit, i decided to check in my jacket (it was SO cold, i thought maybe I could run with my jacket on) .... it was FREEZING.. the MOON was out.. i waS COLD. What the HECK was i DOING OUT HERE IN THE MIDDLE OF SAN JOSE AT 6AM!?!!!!!


7AM came quickly and Choe, Lena and I started on a brisk pace. At the first mile, there were people cheering and i drank water too fast and cramped a little. It was fun though, nothing bad.. i could smell bo and perfume. not pleasant, but not bad. we were running through residential areas so it was pretty and i got to see festive (and freaky) halloween decorations. as i passed the first mile, i tried to psych myself into thinking that that was not a mile (when i do any sort of long-distance exercise, i try to pretend i have accomplished less than I already have... IE, when I climbed the stairs to my 4th floor dorm freshman year, i'd pretend I was on floor 2 when I was on floor 3 so that when floor 4 appeared I'd be pleasantly surprised!) ....

then it took a LONG time for the next water stand to appear.. for some reason, i thought there'd be a stand every mile, so i was like WHAAAT??? WHY IS THIS TAKING SO LONG WAHHH. but it turned out that it was actually the third mile~!! and that there would be around 9 stands... and that there'd be markers for the miles.


Anyway, it was okay, in the first 5-6 miles, we would randomly make some conversation, have some moments of laughter and smiles... have brief spurts of energy... and i'd try not to let my heart sink at the fact that I had to do 13 miles....... I tried to do math in my head, and the whole time, my song soundtrack in my head was "Don't Stop Me Now" by Queen, "Pump It" by Black Eyed Peas, and "Our God Reigns." HAHAHAHa. towards the end I had some Aguilera and Destiny's child, but not much. lots of times it was just blank..
I really liked the scenic areas... and such. towards the end, there were a few small hills, and during the last 2 miles, i was dying.. er not dying, just falling behind. CHOE AND LENA KEPT SUCH A ROBUST PACE!!!!!! and at certain times, my breathing/pace was perfect.. and i felt like i could keep it up forever. Also, every time i saw an official looking camera person, i tried to look HAPPY (just like Gloria, the random blogger I read who inspires me to eat healthy and run... well, she inspires me in my head, i never actually do anything she says.. because heck no will i ever wake up at the crack of dawn to run and become a vegan..) but instead of her "thumbs up", I'd just wave my hands madly in the air.. after all, in the end, what do we have besides memories and... PICTURES? I also tried to thank people or say good morning to the policemen (again, Gloria) but.. I couldn't keep it up. it's too awkward. maybe in Canada and Taiwan, people are nice, but in America? much less the Silicon Valley? yeah, just smile nicely and stare.. hahahahha

other times, i realized that when i talked, i'd fall behind, and when i stopped talking, i could keep up. around that time i realized wow, i'm tired... i can't talk and run at the same time.

I also mused about "Accelerade" or "Excelerade" i was wondering if it's from the idea of to Accelerate or from the idea of to Excel? Anyway, i won't look it up.

I side-cramped maybe twice.

I also tried some accelerade gel.. it was nasty. like the fluoride mixture dentists put on your teeth. i felt gypped ....

OH i LOVE how during races, you can drink and just TOSS the CUP!!! (But then of course, you have to be careful of people around you).

It's different though how in Taiwan, they yell "JIAYOU!" and clap for you, but here, there weren't many verbal affirmations. I cheered this old indian man, and he chuckled behind me. hahaha.

things like that kept me happy and my spirits up. the weather was nice, it was shady... and yeah, Lena and Choe kept a great pace.. and would occasionally laugh. I think during the whole time i felt okay..


but by the end, i was feeling it..
and finally, when we hit the last mile mark, i was like.. okay. good. glad to end..I tried to sing Don Maclean's "American Pie" in my head since that song is 10 minutes long and my mile should be 10 minutes long, but it was slow and making me sad... and i forgot the lyrics... since it was SO long.. and there's only so many "chevy to the levee"s you can say...... I was planning on just jogging and jogging b/c i doubted I'd have a 'last spurt of energy'... but then we were on a track, and i HAD to try to pick it up.. so i did..I had been saving "Don't Stop Me Now" after the first few miles .. and so with that song bumping in my head, I began to pick up the pace and actually, you know, raise my knees up.... because each person you pass, is a person you pass... but MAN. they tRICKEd you because after the track, i had to run ONE MORE LOOP (when i thought i'd be done)... but by then, you can't call it quits, so i ran through the wet grass and saw the ticking timer... and it was 20 seconds away from 2:20.. and i wanted to BREAK that.. so .. i SPED THROUGH!! and my mom didn't come in time :-( but that's okay! I got a medal and someone bent down and cut off the timer from my shoe (i felt like a Roman goddess!) .. and i got a free banana!! and drinks and stuff....


and then my mom found me, and we went home.. and i was starting to feel sore.. but seriously, I can't believe it happened/ I did it.
I jogged the whole thing (couldn't stop with Lena and Choe).. well except for when I stopped once to tie my shoe and another time to carefully drink my water (but i don't count it)...
and yeah.... i didn't die.

now i feel like dying though.
but i don't know.

I'm all inspired.

Not to run a marathon
or a half marathon.

but I want to jog regularly.. and 5 miles don't seem bad anymore
and I think I'll try the EBCB Fun Run this year!

Final Stats:
Bib: 3146
Gender: F
Age: 23
Race: Half Marathon Individual
Class: F29Under
Class Rank: 31 (out of 78)
Gender Rank: 182 (out of 434)
Overall Rank: 490 (out of 945)
Pace: 10:38
Time: 2:19:25