Monday, December 31, 2007

2007 in Pictures

My new room in my new apartment where I live with my new roommate Peter:

My 24th birthday party where my brother and sister were able to legally drink with me for the first time:

The whirlwind of a trip that was Tokyo July 2007 with the loves of my life:


Celebrating 15 years of what can only be described as the most interesting relationship I've ever had, with Naoko:

Weddings, weddings, and oh, weddings. In fact, the first thing that I'm doing in 2008 is flying to New York (again) for another wedding. I also went to NYC a LOT this year. (More than once constitutes as a lot. This will be the third time in about a year.)


Completing a year at my current job. I love it.


And finally, the family was great and healthy, and hopefully will be for 2008.


Have a happy and healthy and safe 2008. See you on the flip side!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

The Insignificant and Significant Things

Merry Xmas, everyone!

The holidays are pretty much over now. Let me tell you, we done FEASTED like no other.

The Spread:

The no-knead bread that I baked. I baked. Can you believe it? And it actually came out looking like a loaf of meaty bread. If I could do this, anyone from Britney to lizards could bake this bread.


Those brussel sprouts are not burned. It's coated with reduced balsamic vinegar. Just FYI, because I made it.


OK. HOLD UP. This. This above here, is my favorite Spanish food, EVER. Forget paella, chorizo, the jamon. Fuck it all, THIS. This is where it's at. It's mild Spanish goat cheese with membrillo preserve. It's quince. It's salty and sweet and soft, and basically what I love most in life. Best eaten with a slice of white porous bread, like the magical one that I baked. I wasn't talking for half of the meal because I was stuffing my face with this stuff. I don't really talk when I'm eating something I'm enjoying.


And finally, fresh blueberries, Japanese cheesecake that my sister's BF gave us, and a vegan Chai apple cake that I baked.

So now that the year is about to end, it's time to look back or look forward, whichever you roll. Lots of crap happened this year. I moved out, basically got started with my job, started running, lost weight, and everyone started getting married. On the more insignificant side of things, I was introduced to a show called Ace of Cakes and I permed my hair. All of the aforementioned affected my daily life in some way this year, which is why I wanted to recognize it.

Resolution? Mmmmm, nothing drastic. Just keep doing what I'm doing, and perhaps in a slightly more organized manner. That's all.

I hope everyone's holiday (whether it be Xmas, Christmas, Pagan Sun God celebration, or what have you) was relaxed and joyous. See you at work tomorrow.

Friday, December 21, 2007

YAY!

I'd like to congradulate my bussom buddy Naoko for receiving her first well-deserved acceptance letter for her grad school program.


WOOHOOOOOOOOO!!!!!

Scholar!

Friday, December 07, 2007

1 year yo!

This week marks the 1 year anniversary of me working at my current non-profit organization.

SHAZAAAAAAAAM.

That was fast. Like blinking of an eye fast. Faster than that.

The time that lapsed since last year seems like a millisecond, but the time that I actually have been working there actually seems longer. I feel like I've been part of my workplace for years. Does that make sense? I guess it means I feel like part of the family.

Wow. My work has brought me to many places, figuratively and literally. It's taught me so many useless and highly useful information. It's given me the chance to go to Skid Row and the Consulate General of Japan's house. (Nice house by the way. Huge.)

I know another year is going to go by just as quickly. Here's to my induction of The Adult Years! Cheers!

Saturday, December 01, 2007

drat

I was going to write yesterday to wrap up November and look back on my attempt of writing here regularly. But alas, I fell asleep, like always.

This November was great. I got to spend some time in New York City and enjoy actual fall, and was surprised to see some autumn colors back here in LA on my many runs. Thanksgiving was nice and relaxed as always. I love my family's Thanksgiving. No one cooks, therefore no one cleans up. There's no leftovers, which some people may find as blasphemy, but that also means that we can go back to healthy eating that night for dinner.

I love November because it's subtle. It's the beginning of "the most wonderful time of the year" but it's less apparent. December is so in-your-face about it that it turns me off a lot of times. I think I get turned off by a lot of things that are in-your-face. For example, I know how important it is to be environmentally friendly. I think I've been more of a conservationist than some (Peter can attest to that because he constantly complains about my collection of plastic yogurt containers). But this year, when everything got branded "green" and all those celebrities started yapping about being friendly to the environment (while still flying their private jets and driving in limos) (although I consider Al Gore as an exception - plus, he's not really an average celebrity) I got really turned off from all the hoopla because it just felt... phony. Even if it's for a good cause, if everyone is doing it because it's suddenly hip, I get some what annoyed with it.

I feel like that during this holiday season too. You hear all these commercials and programs about giving back to the community, toy and food drives, volunteering and such. People are in "the giving spirit" and are pouring into places with money and canned food. That's so great and everyone appreciates it. But it's once a year. Only once a year, people will give. We get a delivery of canned food this time of year that we stretch out until the next holiday season. It's definitely better than nothing. And I'm so thankful about it. But once in a while, when I suddenly hear a butt-load of these holiday-oriented charity events, I can't help but occasionally feel bitter and wonder about the rest of the year. It's hypocritical of me too, because I certainly didn't do something charitable every month. I still don't. But when I hear about different great organizations running out of money and not being able to function in March compared to the great giving hoopla happening right now, I suppose cynicism can't be avoided. At least not for me. Is this what people call a Grinch?

I suppose that is why I like November much more than December. Because it's slightly, only slightly, under the radar.

In other news, we bought new furniture during the Black Friday sale at Ikea:


Can you see our furniture, or are you distracted by our good looks?

And I'd like to show you my new favorite staple in my everyday meals:





Slow cooked tomatoes! They are so easy to make and the best addition to anything.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

My Vice(s)

In this greedy materialistic season we call the Holidays, I'd like to announce my vices, aka, what costs me the most wasteful $$$.

In descending order:

5. Gourmet food
4. Chocolate
3. Coffee
2. Target
1. Fashion

5. Gourmet food in the form of spending an hour an a half at the newly opened Whole Foods and spending $8 on a raw harvest sandwich and $10 on organic cocoa powder.

4. I only like dark chocolate above 70% which sometimes is more expensive. And only the good kind.

3. Buying a cup of coffee is luxury enough. I buy coffee like people buy cigarettes. I don't think about the price you're paying if I can just get a cup of black coffee.

2. I never come out of Target without buying only what I need. It's seriously a trap.

1. I have too many shoes, accessories, black tops in varied cuts, dresses I've worn about twice, and most recently, boots. I own many boots even though I live in a city where boots are not necessary. And I don't own flip flops. Go figure.

There. I came clean.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Rub a dub dub. Thanks for the grub.

This Thanksgiving, I would like to give thanks to the following:

1. First and foremost, my family. My family is the best. We're small, and we don't have anyone else here in the States, but I've never felt like I lack anything because of it. I'm proud of them and they're proud of me.

3. Nudy. Without her, I would disintegrate.

4. Peter. Without him, I would be broke and on the streets because I wouldn't be able to afford my apartment. (And he is my small little family of mine in our small little home.)

2. My home friends. I have a small group of friends that have been with me for many years who I refer often as the family I chose. They've seen me for better and for very very worse and I am the luckiest person on earth to constantly have these people in my lives.

3. My college friends. My college friends often are the ones that understand me the most when I talk about my job, and about what I want to do in the future. We share the same philosophy because we came from the same great place. I'm especially thankful for Carmen, my eternal roommate, and Yvonne for indulging in my crazy quirks. And for constantly commenting on this blog. You're a great comrade, Yvonnesky.

3. My job. I bitch about my work sometimes, but I couldn't have been working at a better suited place for me. I can't believe that I've found a place where I immediately fit from the first week I was working there. I believe in what we do, and I believe in what our entire organization does for the community. It will be a year since I started there very soon, and I feel so grateful to be working with such quality people.

4. My health. I'm so much more conscious about my health since I've been dealing with people who are not as fortunate. I just hope that health care will be comprehensive enough when I need it in the future.

5. Coffee. It's my one drug, and I love it like Britney loves Cheetos.

6. Dark Chocolate. See above.

7. My MacBook and Internet. I'm addicted.

8. Facebook. I'm so addicted, it's actually a little unhealthy. But I'm nonetheless thankful for Mark Zuckerber for creating such a thing that allows me to enjoy the small joys in life like being poked and being superpoked.

9. You. Sure, you come after Facebook and coffee in the ranking, but they're incredibly high on my priority. But I'd like to thank you for reading this blog, and giving value to this small thing I have, and letting me say whatever I want.

So thank you. Thank you, dear void, and Happy Thanksgiving.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

I'm friggin boring.

I had several options to do several things this weekend, but all I wanted to do was stay home and read my book. So I did. And I finished it too.

GOD I'm so boring. I've become that girl who stays home, listens to public radio, drinks coffee, reads books by older liberal Jewish women, and falls asleep every night with the light on. Actually, I don't know why I say "that girl". It's not like I know anyone else like that. And I think I mistakenly labeled myself a "girl" when it should had been replaced with "grandmother". And "coffee" with "chamomile tea". At least I'm still cutting edge to a certain point.

I suppose I'm growing up...?

Lately, I've been thinking about the stages I go through with my life, and the stages my friends go through with their lives. The thing is, I've never been on the same so-called life timeline with my closest friends. Especially with my best friend. She and I have never been on the same page as far as what we're working on and what we're striving for. For example, at the moment, I am knee-deep in my job, and she is knee-deep in going on to grad school after having graduated from undergrad this year. I've been out of school for 2 years, and she's been going straight since we were all mandated to get an education.

This has proved to clash and compliment our friendship over time.

My internal clock is now automated with my job. At the latest, I get up by 7AM, and I get incredibly tired once 9:30PM strikes. Because my job is social service related, I'm heavily interested in what happens on the local and national level, because it actually affects my clients and what I have to do. Because I'm a recent graduate, I'm one of the youngest ones at work, and I get lots of advice and insight about things that are... I guess "grown-up".

On the other hand, with my friend, she has obligations to study and therefore her sleeping schedule is random (although, I would argue that hers is more regulated and early rising than most students). She's become very disciplined in her study habits, and can memorize, read, and take tests like no other. She has a lot of studying obligations, though, that she doesn't have time to read about stuff I read about. But she's 110% more knowledgeable about science and academic journal articles than I have ever been. And because she's in school, and not a freshman, she's rarely the youngest one in classrooms.

We complement each other and many things, mostly through trading information. But, I must admit, our priorities are slightly different. It's funny, because it's always been kind of different (because my friend and I are practically opposites in many aspects). But recently, because I've become more anal with my time (which I suppose is a sign that I'm "growing up"), we had a brief clash which brought some awkwardness. I mean, we worked it out. We worked it out pretty well, and in a very civil manner. But it just left me wondering.

I think this is the time, if it hadn't already happened, when friends start splitting ways due to different priorities and life timelines.

I have former friends who are now acquaintances because we're doing very different things now. Number one reason is them getting married and creating families. Number two is me having a job, and friends going on to school. Number three is physical distance; friends are distancing because they've moved away.

It's sad, I suppose, but I'm also feeling that this is what people talk about when they say "that's the way of life". I guess that's a cliche, but cliches are cliches for a reason, no?

Soon, we'll be so split that I'll only have unmarried, un-family-attached, career-minded friends that are so reminiscent of those sitcoms and Sex and the City's, that it'll probably be quite pathetic. But my married and family-holding friends will probably be dying inside in their ridiculously monotoned households. And we'll all be unhappy and frustrated in such cliched ways in our own respective worlds, but some how find a reason to go on every day. Like that IRA or pensions.

If you're wondering about my friend and I, though, (which I doubt you are but I'm going to assume you are anyway), we've gone through so much and had such different lives throughout the entire duration of our friendship, that these types of clashes probably won't be the cause of our demise, if we ever have one. So you see, that could happen too. Different people could coexist with each other in very close and personal ways like she an I do. She's practically my family, and maybe that's why it doesn't matter if we don't really do the same thing, ever.

It is nice to have someone like that in your life, though. Right?

Anyway, have a nice Sunday everyone. To support my grandmother-ness, I'd like to report that it's 7AM on a Sunday morning, and I've been up for nearly an hour. In the spirit of grabbing my youth by the balls, though, I'm going to go on a run.

Ciao!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

JoWriMo gone wrong.

There has been a halt to my JoWriMo, caused by my utter stupidity.

I left my journal on the plane coming back from NYC....GAAAAAAAAAAHHH. I've contacted the airline, airport, and posted a lost item note online... Now, I'm just waiting. I feel as dumb as how Yo-yo Ma must have felt when he left his cello in a cab. But he got his cello back, so I'm hoping I'm just as lucky.

Anyhoo,

I went to NYC this weekend. Seriously... I hate leaving that place. I've been talking people's ears off about how I should live there some day, so I won't torture you guys any longer. My desire to escape is heightened by this disgusting weather we're having in LA. 80+ degrees in mid-November????????? Fuck that shit. I really hate it.

I spent most of my time visiting friends, because apparently, I have a lot of friends who live on that side of the country.

One day... One day, I will be close to them.

FOTOS



I had that cup of coffee at the cutest little cafe that reminded Carmen of this old deli/cafe we had at out college. I had the best blackout cake, and am now vowing not to touch any other cake unless it's just as dark as a blackout. Or if it's cheesecake. I love cheesecakes.

Come to think of it, those pictures make it look like I spent my time in the woods, and not the city. (Central park is like a twilight zone in the city.)

Here's one more to prove that I was in a urban area:



I heart public transportation...

Friday, November 09, 2007

I'm an ass.

So, now I feel like an ass for making that comment about white men bitching, because my roommate told me his friend lost his job yesterday because of the strike.

I forget that I live in the city of The Industry. And I don't mean the City of Industry. And I sometimes forget that my roommate is involved in The Industry.

Oh well. I hope it ends soon.

Off to NYC tonight! Photogs to follow. I promise.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

In Support, I guess.

So after reading this I suppose I can support the Writer's Guild strike.

If anything, the middle class has the shitty end of everything, because a lot of times, they get nothing. I should know.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

It's 11AM.

Certain things that I've though about today:

Writer's Guild Strike: I want to support it fully, because I support writers, but in the back of my head, I can't help but think... God, stop bitching, you old White Men. This is mainly because 90% of the writers striking are white men. I also don't watch television (besides Ace of Cakes) so, perhaps I don't feel the effects of the strike. But like I said, it's something in the back of my head, and I sincerely hope people's jobs are protected, no matter what color.

November is National Alzheimer Awareness Month. Be Aware.

It's cold and I want some good Indian Food.

Calling Social Security is such a drag. "Your estimated wait is 8 minutes" is such a wrong estimate. It's been 20 minutes.

The end.

Monday, November 05, 2007

What I really do.

This month is basically insane. And so was last month. And the insanity actually feels kind of good. Work is busy. Work is good. I shall talk about work.

So, I get the, "What exactly do you do?" question a lot from my friends. It's mainly because I put up random away messages on my Gmail like, going to a luau with seniors, or it's Karaoke day with the seniors, or I hate calling Social Security, or I hate walking to Skid Row.

First the logistical part: I split my time between my Social Service agency and a subsidized senior housing for low-income older adults. M-W-Fri I'm at the agency, and Tu-Th I'm at the apartments. I'm a social worker at both places, but I face different types of cases in each.

First, the title "social worker" is a little misleading, because I get the impression that you actually need a Masters in Social Worker to be considered a bonafied social worker. I'm what they call a Case Manager. A person who manages cases of different clients. At the senior apartments, I'm known as a Service Coordinator, which means I am the one who is responsible with getting appropriate benefits and services for the residents.

First at the agency. A typical day at the agency starts with me at my desk, sipping coffee and listening to my voices messages from clients with all sorts of questions. Can you help me find a Japanese speaking dentist who takes Medi-Cal? (There are practically none.) I need help taking care of myself, because I'm too old to drive and do housework. I'm homeless again and need a place to stay. I have kids and am about to get evicted.
Then, I spend the day trying to solve these problems, and call all sorts of places, and interpret for my clients. My least favorite place to call is Social Security because there's always a wait. I also sometimes do receptionist work and intake random callers too. My most recent one that sticks out in my mind is a call from someone saying, "The gusty wind blew away my divorce papers. What do I do?"
At the end of the day, it's a lot of documenting. And then, sometimes I would have to walk down to Skid Row so that I can translate for my client to agencies down there so that my client can get the appropriate resources like food and TB tests.
Other than that, it's random snacking and fooling around with my co-workers, who are, to say the least, a colorful bunch. I really really like working with them.

Now at the senior apartments. I usually come in early in the morning, and there's usually a resident waiting for me with a piece of mail they don't understand. More than half of my work is reading complicated / English mail from different places, including government agencies. Half the time, it's life insurance trying to sell shit to them. Sometimes, though, things are more serious, like a letter saying they've been kicked out of their original insurance because some strange broker had tricked them into buying another insurance policy that they don't need. Other times, I spend visiting the residents, which can be good, or really really bad. Like, if you visit them and realize that they are incapable of taking care of themselves. Or if they had passed away. I have yet to encounter an actual dead body, but several residents did pass away since I started working there. It's the way of life, really. (Needless to say, this job has really made me realistic about death. I have never really been afraid of dying, but this job really makes me want to prepare for it.)

Then there are random things like luaus and karaoke. Hey, seniors need an active social life too. I also have lots of meetings to talk about programs, and other internal stuff that sometimes takes an entire day.

So that's what I do. It's really the type of job where anything can happen in one day. I really like that part, but sometimes it can suck ass too.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Why I'm not running

I am officially declaring it here: I am not going to run the marathon.

Most of you know that I started running earlier this year in hopes of a possible half or full marathon. All sorts of things happened since then. I've lost weight, my sleeping pattern did a 180 (prime example: it's 6:30AM on a Sunday morning, and I'm writing this entry), and I am now able to run roughly 10 miles.

I guess I can run a half. But I will let all of you know right here that I will NOT run a full marathon. My reasons are simple: I don't want to. I am so content in how running is working my life, that I don't want to do anything that can potentially mess that up. I've heard people getting burnt out after training for something like that, and I do not want to feel burnt out about running. At the moment, it's the only time of day where I have an hour to think about nothing, and where I can listen to an entire episode of Fresh Air without being interrupted. I can't tell you how releasing this experience has been. I won't do anything to change that.

Running has also given me the opportunity to notice things that I would have never realized. There are just things you notice by walking around outside. They are:

1. Skunks like dark places. The rich neighborhoods in my area are dark. Hence, skunks like riches areas. (That is such a potential LSAT question.)
2. Sprinklers are the biggest waste of water. It makes me so sad to see sprinklers on in the rain. And most of them just make puddles on the sidewalks instead of watering the grass.
3. There are more dog poop on the sidewalks in the morning than in the afternoon. People, pick up your shit. Seriously.

There are positive things. I swear. Like, for example, you really do notice the change of the season.

Anyway, this is why I will keep running, but I will not run a marathon.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

JoWriMo

A friend told me that November is National Novel Writing Month. I'm not talented nor crazy enough to participate in NaNoWriMo, but I really like the idea. So here's my little thing for this month:

Basically, November is my favorite month of the year. The weather is (usually) just right, and I love warm colors and layering clothes. I can't write a novel, but what I can do is write in my journal or here to make sure that I am concious of each day passing in this short month. I've done pretty well with my journal so far, so let's see if I would have something to say on a regular basis here.

I really love fall. One good thing about LA is that winter feels like fall too. We basically just go from fall straight to summer every year.



looovely!

Friday, November 02, 2007

My conflicted relationship with LA

I've said this time and time again, but I have the most conflicted relationship with my dear city Los Angeles.

I love it here. I love being from here. But there are so many things that drive me absolutely crazy about living in this ridiculous city.

The number one thing that I absolutely canNOT STAND about this place is DRIVING. DRIVING in time-wasting, gas guzzling, mother-fucking TRAFFIC.

It's seriously the one thing that is driving me away from this city. (No pun intended.)

I hate the transportation system here as a whole. The bus system blows. A lot of the times, routes don't have a round trip system. It'll have a route one way, and then you have to go an extra step and take 2 more buses to go back to where you originally came from. The train system only covers certain areas. The subways are OK, but they're basically only for Downtown Los Angeles. The freeways are the worst in the country, and it is the most frustrating thing to know that some places that take an hour in traffic is actually only 15 minutes away without it.

How do I survive?

With good public radio stations and a good cup of coffee.



But I am pretty close to moving out of this crazy city because of this dumb ass traffic.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

My kind of defense mechanism.

This is so awesome, and probably why people call me a crazy Japanese girl. I don't care. I love this:

Modern Ninja

The effectiveness is debatable, but I don't care. I totally want this vending machine skirt.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

5 artists you HATE.

A co-worker of mine presented this question to me as I was leaving work on Monday: Who are the top 5 music artists you hate?

I was about to leave but ended up staying an extra hour just thinking about it and discussing it.

Try making your list. It's actually quite hard. I have been thinking about it for 2 days, and I can only lock down 3. Here's my list (in no particular order):

1. Eddie Murphy

He made horrible records. "Party All The Time" is one of the most annoying songs in the history of pop music. That one he made with Michael Jackson is not worth mentioning. He thought he was Michael. No. Just... no.

2. R Kelly

I think I'll get a lot of dispute on this one. Let me first say, that I recognize his talent. I can see that he's a musically skilled man. But I still hate all of his songs, because they all make me feel like I've been lyrically molested. I also hate those songs where he has conversations with Mr. Big. And the crazy saga that he recently created? I'll admit, I watched some of those and found them hilarious. But the point is, will I ever spend money on him? No. Although, one song I admit to liking is "Step in the Name of Love". That's it.

3. Limp Bizkit

It's not really Limp Bizkit I hate. It's mainly Fred Durst. I hate men who whine, and I especially hate White men who wine. I only really like the cover they did of "Faith". Otherwise, I don't like any of their records.

Mainly, my "hate" of artists is determined by whether I would ever spend money on any of their products or not. I would offend myself if I spent any of my hard earned money on these 3 artists.

You try making a list. It's really difficult.

Monday, October 01, 2007

What Peter and I do

When the stars align, and Peter and I are in the apartment together, this is how we entertain ourselves, if we are not parked in front of the television.

video


This weekend was kind of hectic! Another success at the farmer's market, though. I've got a bag of squashes and zucchinis this week. Tonight is roasted zucchini sandwich. I think I might try to make curry with the other stuff. I'm quite fond with ground coriander these days.

P.S. That chai mix I bought last week was disgusting. I think I should just stick with actual chai tea and a little milk. I do not approve.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Last Sunday, and This Sunday

Last Sunday was hiLAARRious, in a dark family comedy kind of way.

It all started when my family sans my brother were getting ready to go to Long Beach to attend the JACL dinner show that my sister was MC-ing.

My sister is crazy, and she agreed to do this gig immediately after coming back from a retreat in Palms Springs. Naturally, she was running late, and after I worked my Fairy Godmother Magic and made her presentable, she ran out of the house first and hopped on to my mom's MPV. (She had to be there an hour before.)

20 minutes later, she calls the house and informs us that the engine light turned on and the car was making clackity noises. She exited off of the 710 on to Lynwood, and my dad drove to go trade cars. He informed us to come after him to make sure that we have back-up. So, 15 minutes after that, my mom and I drove after him on the 710 southbound.

My sister and my dad traded cars, and she sped off and made it safely to Long Beach. My dad circled around the area and decided that the car was atleast mobile enough to drive back to his office. He called us and asked us to meet him there, which meant that we had to turn back around the freeway.

As my mom got off the freeway and tried to get on the opposite direction, a car rear-ended us. BOOM. (Flashbacks galore!) The driver of the car got out, and motioned for us to pull over on the right. We obliged, only to realize that the car made the most illegal U-turn ever and sped off. I got out of the car, shaking my fist in the air (literally), when a homeless woman approached me. She was yelling at me saying, "I KNOW THAT FUCKER!! I KNOW HIM!! HE DRIVES HERE EVERYDAY! THAT FUCKER!" and asks me to give her my phone number so she can call me and give me the license plate number. I stood there for a good 3 minutes trying to calm her down, when another car pulled over in front of us. A young guy came out, and asked if everything was ok, because from the streets, it looked like this woman was attacking me. I said, no we're all fine, and got back in the car and headed north to meet up with my dad.

Then.

My dad called us, and before I could tell him that we've been hit, he reported that the engine died and he is stranded on the freeway. He asked us to meet him there. We found him on the freeway, parked on the side, and called AAA and waited there for an hour before they came to tow the car. The image is totally Little Miss Sunshine-esque. We're all in our nice clothes on the side of the freeway with two busted cars, one with a giant dent, and another with the hood popped up and smoke coming out of it. It was so hilarious, that I took pictures (which is trapped in my mom's digital camera).

Needless to say, we never made it to Long Beach. We had sushi instead.

So that was last sunday.

This weekend was infinitely better, and I took full advantage of the rain. I made it to the farmer's market today, and bought some cheap white peaches and Gala apples. I even found a non-sweetened Chai mix at Trader Joe's, which was something I've been searching for. It was the perfect rainy weekend. I also went to go see a musical that Peter produced, and if you're in the LA area, you should check it out!!! It was really good; a great community theatre atmosphere. For more info, check it out here. --> www.droodinla.com

I love LA for its produce. I live walking distance (literally 3 minutes) to the local farmer's market. If I had a Trader Joe's next door and a train station close by, I think I would be sublimely happy.

I hope you all had a great weekend, and hopefully no one was involved in a rain induced accident.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Wedding Numero Uno, Down!


Remember when I had told you about my wedding marathon?

It has started with the ceremony of my co-worker.

I have to say, her wedding was the best wedding I have ever had the pleasure to attend. It was very local and organic (not just the food, but everything), complete with homemade guestbook made from Trader Joe's bag, and non-dairy cupcake centerpiece. I loved every minute of it, and it was very very indicative of what my co-worker was like. If I ever change my mind about marriage, that's the type of ceremony I would consider.

(Speaking of Trader Joe's, LA Magazine named Trader Joe's as one of the best places to meet someone and get a date here in the Southland. What do you say to that?)

Next, I have two weddings back-to-back in October. One will be at a park, and another in San Francisco. I'm pretty excited!

In other news, it's gotten suddenly cool in LA. I luuurrve it because I lurrve fall, but I'm very wary about it too, because the change was so sudden. The change only points to one natural disaster in my mind: earthquakes. They even say that this weather is very uncharacteristic of September in Los Angeles. I hate hearing about that kind of shit.

I do love fall. It makes me want Colin Firth movies and something cinnamon. And wear boots. I love boots. I currently own 4 pairs, and am looking for an authentic, no-frill pair of sturdy cowboy boots. It'll encourage me to stomp around the city without being stuck in cars. OH! Which brings me to what happened last Sunday, but that's another entry all in itself. Let me just say that I HATE CARS. If I didn't need it, I would gladly relinquish it. (Commuting 30 miles every other day makes it kind of tough, although I suppose I can actually work around it... something to look into.)

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Where were you?

Last generation, this question referred to when JFK was shot. Our generation, it refers to the morning of 9/11.

9/11 was memorable for everyone, but I think it has a special significance for kids my age. First of all, specifically to people my age, it was the first year of college. You're away from home, and deal with a national tragedy with people you just met, since it was the first or second week of college. Second, this changed the entire meaning of joining the military. I knew a lot of people who joined the military after graduating from high school, thinking war was never going to happen in this country. They were the first ones to be deployed. The first couple of kids you saw in the newspapers, the 18-19 year-olds that were dying, those were kids like me. Kids after my year had a new prospective about what it meant to join the ranks, and it changed the whole process forever.

Anyhoo.

9/11 was the start of the second week of college. I was asleep on the top bunk, when one of the girls in my hall burst into our room yelling, "New York's been bombed!" It was so early in the morning, and I had spent the night before chatting it up in the hallway, like a normal college student. I thought it was a dream, so I fell back asleep. 15 minutes later, I felt a buzz in the entire hallway, and I got up. I saw that people were crowded around a small TV and saw the image of the plane crashing into the second tower. My roommate, who was from New York, was freaking out. I didn't know what to do, so I went to class. Our professor debriefed us a little bit about what was happening and dismissed us. I called my family, just because. Then the rest of the day was just sitting down and talking to a bunch of people I barely knew.

At the end of the day, I wrote an email to my friends, and got the sweetest responses I had ever received in my life. It's a pretty naive and cheesey email, but I do cherish it as an evidence of how young people may react when they don't know what else to do. Here it is:

Dear all,

My roommates and I were having a long talk of what happened today...actually yesterday. (Its 1 am in the morning) Truthfully, I hate hearing about it now because its just too depressing, but it reminded me again of how life really is short and you really don't know what's going to happen. That phrase has become somewhat of a cliché, but I don't think I've heard of a more truthful one. Thousands of people have lost their family and friends in just one day. Thousands of people woke up this morning to lead their normal lives, and died. This country has lost more people today than it has in its entire history in just one day. Life is full of surprises and there really is no way to prepare for them, which makes it even more precious.
The purpose of this e-mail is just to tell you people how much I love you all, and how thankful I am that you people are still with me today. I don't care if you think I'm being too corny...That's a lot better than to lose you all without telling you guys how much you all mean to me. You guys are the reason why I am who I am, and I love you guys very much. Very very very much! Take care of yourself, and remember that there's at least one person in this frightening world that will cry for you, that will do anything for your safety and happiness. Again, I love you guys, and please take advantage of the life that you still have.

Love,
Lisa

Anyway, may the memory live on, and the nightmare that has occurred because of this day be resolved as soon as possible.


Saturday, September 08, 2007

You Are What You Eat


Name: You guys should know my name by now.

Occupation: Case Manager (basically kind of like a social worker) for the Little Tokyo Service Center, and Resident Service Coordinator at a subsidized senior apartment.

Borough: Currently Alhambra, but raised in South Pasadena. Made a brief cameo in Upland, CA and Madrid, Spain, and have my eyes on moving east or north.

Relationship status: Single-minded, single status. Free as can be.

What did you eat today?
Since it's still 7AM, and I've only eaten breakfast, I will recap yesterday's food:
Breakfast, which is by far my favorite meal of the day, was yogurt with strawberries, peanut butter and jelly sandwich on whole wheat bread, and black coffee.
I made it through lunch with some apples and a cup of tea.
Lunch was a tofu salad that I've been making for lunch every single day, and which I'm considering on retiring, and some brown rice.
Snacks include some free Fuji apples from my residents, grapes, cherry tomatoes, and some almonds. I luver dry roasted almonds.
And dinner was an aray of finger foods from Gelson's at the Not The Boss Mixer at the Avenue Q Opening night reception at the Ahmanson. YUUUMMM. Grilled vegetables, sushi, and brownie. WATCH AVENUE Q! Of course, it couldn't beat my first experience of the show on Broadway, but it was pretty good, despite the large theatre!

What do you never eat?
There is nothing I would never eat. But here are some things I would never choose to eat:
Flan, custard, or anything egg-y and sweet. Strawberry ice cream, or cheap vanilla ice cream. Milk chocolate. White chocolate (It's NOT CHOCOLATE!). Whole milk. Steak. Rice pudding (rice is not supposed to be sweet). Pudding in general. Mousse and souffles. Flavored sweetened coffee. Can you see that I don't really have a sweet tooth? And I don't like red meat very much.

Complete this sentence: In my refrigerator, you can always find:
A big tub of non-fat plain yogurt. Tofu. A bag of baby spinach. Peanut butter, and black berry jam.

What is your favorite kitchen item?
KNIFE. Watch out. And my green tea kettle. Two things I use most in the kitchen.

Where do you eat out most frequently?
I actually hate eating out consecutively, hence, I do not eat out much. BUT! If I had to, it would be Sushi Gen in Little Tokyo (sushi is literally the only reason I cannot be vegetarian), Pho places (I live in Alhambra, man!) and that's about it.

World ends tomorrow. What would you like for your last meal?
Whatever my mom cooks me with a big bowl of hot white rice. Really, her cooking is my favorite cuisine. My grandma's is a close second.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

make-me-barf quote of the day

Older man: Damn, you look good. How old are you? 16? 18?

Me: I'm 24. (and still too young for your gross ass, i want to punch you in the face, 16?? 18??? you're a criminal!!!!!!)


the end.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Because it's not 110 degrees anymore:

End of Summer Survey

Name: Lisa
Age: 24
Grade: super duper senior (citizen)
Summer of:

This Summer Have You..

Been On Vacation?: TOKYO!!!!! with Nudy and Banana!!
Went Camping?: negative
Been On A Boat?: only in Disneyland
Went To The Ocean?: thankfully, yes. Went on a little adventure at 6 in the morning in Japan with Nudy. That was fun, huh?
Slept all day?: If anything, this summer was Summer of No Sleep.
Went to the movies?: more than usual, which means twice.
Been on a Plane?: longest plane ride ever.
Partied too much?: not enough, although my wallet would say otherwise.

Summer This or That...

Flip-Flops or Barefoot?: barefoot contessa
Beach or Pool?: i like the beach better, but I'm afraid I was at the pool more...
Ice cream or Snow cone?: Ice Cream, man.
Bug-Bite or Sun Burn?: suffered both. I prefer mild bug-bites, though. It's less threatening.
Relationship or Summer Lovin?: One did not turn into another, and that was that.
Hang With Friends or Family?: Friends, I believe, since I moved out. Although, I saw my sister more than ever since she started working at my org. What a tag-a-long.
Layout or Tanning bed?: Layout! Tanning bed is so 2003.
Fans or A/C?: I don't like A/C, but these last 3 days were unbearable without it.

Best of Summer..

Movie: Ratatouille!
TV Show: ACE OF CAKES ACE OF CAKES ACE OF CAKES!! I want a Geof cake, made by Geof, and delivered by Geof.
Concert: the only concert I went to was the John Wayne/Gene Autry Hollywood Bowl Spectacular.
Song: Under my umbrella, ella ella, eh eh eh
Hangout Spot: Tiffanie and Jimmy's house.

This Summer Who..

Made you cry?: no one! Yesss... except for Naoko, actually, for making me go through that fuckin haunted house.
Made you laugh?: everyone.
Let you down?: circumstances
Surprised you?: mmmm... myself?
Lied to you?: I'm sure many, but I never found out.
Made an offer you could not refuse?: still waitin'
Gave you the best advice?: Grammar Girl and Legal Lad.

Random Summer Questions..

What did you look forward to most about this Summer?
Tokyo! 'Twas fun.

Do you spend more time partying or relaxing?
a little of both.

Did you set/accomplish goals this summer?
I said I'd train for a half marathon. I think I'm almost there, although there are doubts if I'm actually going to run it.

Did you make any new friends?
I sure did.

Do you sleep all day or stay up all night?
I had an insomniac summer, or a narcoleptic one. Ask Peter.

Whats your favorite food to eat during the summer?
TOFU. You think I'm kidding, but that's all I ate this summer.

Did you learn something new this summer?
I learned that I am a robot, devoid of all human emotions. Apparently.

This summer was better than last summer.
Yes, it was. Last summer, I had to come home from Spain. That sucked. And I had to work at a dumbass bank. That sucked even more.

Do you already have plans for next summer?
nope! It's still hot. Since there are no summer vacations in WorkLand, I'm going to pretend that it still is. Although, I REALLY REALLY REALLY miss going Back to School Shopping.

That is all.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

questions these kids ask

Yesterday was Katrina's 2nd anniversary. I know most of you must be sick of hearing about it by now, since that's all they talked about yesterday. But you know, it's only appropriate.

So here's my Katrina story.

The hurricane happened just days before I left for Spain for the Fulbright. When I got there, the US Ambassador talked to us about the hurricane, and what questions Spaniards might have for us and what we should say. Basically, he said that we can say whatever we want, but to keep in mind that we are "cultural ambassadors" of the US in Spain, and should think about what we were going to represent... blah blah blah.

Then came my first day of school as a teaching assistant. I think it was a week after Katrina. One of the first things I was asked to do was to start off in the Geography and History class. The teacher of that subject asked me if I could answer any questions the students might have about the hurricane. I couldn't say no, so I agreed to do it. It started off with questions like, what made it so bad, what caused it to flood like that, how many people were affected, etc etc.

Then, one small boy (the same boy who had asked me the day before if there were a lot of bitches in California - he meant beaches), raised his hand and asked me this questions: "Why are all the people drowning on TV, Black?"

I knew a question like that was bound to come up. I tried to answer it by regurgitating some article I had read about the low-income community that lived near the levy, and how they were the only ones who could afford living in an area that was below sea level. But ultimately, I had to say that I didn't know for sure, but that racism and discrimination exists in the US, and people who were underprivileged are the ones that were harmed the most.

The boy was satisfied with my answer, but I wasn't. I almost wanted to make it simple and Kanye West-it, but you know, that wouldn't have worked. But that's the image that we as Americans got, and even more so around the world. The only positive thing that I could think of was knowing the fact that this kid was questioning something that obviously was not right.

When I was in Sevilla, I had another encounter with a child that made me slightly speechless and unable to answer the question he had asked. The child was my host brother, who had just turned 12. Sweet kid; he was one of the people I hung out with the most. One day, we were looking through books together, and he showed me one of those "Children of the World" books, where it pictured all kids of all color holding hands, standing on top of the Earth. Nice illustration, I guess, but the kids pictured were the most stereotypical images of what "children of the world" looked like. The Black kid was dark dark dark with tribal clothes, big eyes, and round thick lips, the Latin kid was brown with a sombrero, the White kid was pinkish with blue eyes, and the Asian kid was literally yellow, with slanted eyes and bucked tooth. My host brother looked at the picture, and then held out his arm next to mine, comparing the color of our skins. He then asked, "You and I are the same color. You're tanned just like me. Why do they make you yellow in this book?" I had no answer. I said, I don't know, and hugged him. It made me like him even more.

Kids say the darnest things sometimes, but kids do have the bravery and innocence to openly question about things we may not notice. I have high hopes for these two kids and what they might question in the future. I always remember them when I feel like I should be more inquisitive about the world.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Crazy Month

It's been slightly non-stop for the past couple of weekends. Visit from my old roommate from college, reunion with another old friend, and this weekend is the Tofu Festival. On top of that, my previous sleeping problem is on the verge of becoming full blown insomnia (although it's not the falling asleep part that I have a problem with - in fact, my current roommate claims that I also have narcoleptic tendencies). With my consecutive scheduled events, I feel as though I am only surviving because I'm hanging on to the last ounces of youth left in my spirit.

My sleeping thing is really becoming crazy. Basically, I nearly collapse every night around 10PM, and I collapse on my bed if I'm lucky. My roommate has found me on the floor, on the couch, on the foot of the couch... you name it. Then, I wake up once at 1-2AM, again around 4AM, and then finally, I just get tired of it and get up at 6:30. Needless to say, I haven't been late to work lately, but it's taking a bit of a toll on my overall energy level.

But on to better things in life. Carmen, my college roommate, came to visit for a whirlwind weekend here in LA. The weekend was VERY LA. Disneyland, Coffee Bean, sunshine, fresh produce, and lots and lots of driving and traffic. I have to say, because of my commute to Gardena (which I secretly despise), I've gotten a lot better at driving. It's all relative to my original skill, though, so I fear it's not at any level of expertise in comparison to how a normal person should drive.

I've also become incredibly obsessed with the Foodnetwork show, Ace of Cakes. It is literally the only show I watch. ( I use the word "literally" correctly, so I truthfully am exclusive to this show.) Thank the All Mighty for DVR.

I know, what a shitty, boring ass update. I guess I'll end this by saying COME TO THE TOFU FESTIVAL THIS WEEKEND!! It's in Little Tokyo on San Pedro St. between 1st and 3rd. Come for the community, and watch me yell at the crowd.

Photo recap of Carmenpalooza:


What would Carmenpalooza look like without paparazzi photos? Nothing! There would be no Carmenpalooza!







I was going to say that once this month ends, things will go back to normal. But no. I just realized that the next two months are going to be Wedding Months, where I will be attending 3 weddings and several wedding related events... And did I tell you that I might start my grad school apps? Who knows if I will be able to do that...

PEAACE the fork out. Leave me some love to let me know you're alive. Or email me. Or Facebook me (I'm pretty Facebook exclusive, as opposed to Myspace).

bye yo.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Purikura aka Sticker Pictures

Something to look at while you sip on your morning coffee. Yes, there are that many. Yes, there are more. Yes... we are a bit insane for spending that much $$ on sticker pictures, but blame it on Naoko.

It's a bit dark, but I don't have a scanner.










Monday, July 30, 2007

JAPONICA!!

I went to Tokyo last week with Naoko and Hannah and it was the fastest, funnest, and most exhausting week of my life.

In fact, I'm still exhausted, so I'm going to call it a night.

Here's a video of Naoko and me running out of a haunted house in Tokyo. I hate haunted houses:



More pictures to come. Don't be alarmed if most of them are sticker pictures. Naoko insisted we take one each day that we were there. Indeed we did. Indeed we did.

I do love Tokyo. It's one of my favorite cities. Here are my favorite cities, in no particular order:

South Pasadena
Madrid
New York City
Tokyo
Sevilla

Ok, I'm seriously going to collapse. And I have to finish Harry Potter before someone ruins it for me.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

4th.

How was everyone's 4th?

I had a pleasant one, thank you. Ate entirely too much, but that's the American way. And if you ain't down with the American way, they say to go home to where you came from. I went to the Hollywood Bowl July 4th Spectacular on Monday and they showed a clip of Gene Autry singing a song with those exact words. Ohh, you should have SEEN the reaction on people's faces. It was quite inappropriate to say those things in Los Angeles. I was offended. It's like showing a clip of Mickey Rooney's Yellow-Face buck-toothed man from "Breakfast at Tiffany's" on the big screen on Chinese New Year. Well, kind of. The latter is probably a lot worse, but still.

Back at work. Tired as hell. Glad that today is Friday and it's the ACTUAL weekend. I wonder what I'll be doing. I've been out way too much the last month, and it's hurting me in more ways than one.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

I turned 24, and that's that.

Last Saturday was my birthday yo. It was a pretty good birthday. My actual birthday was slightly uneventful, except for the family dinner. The uneventful birthday was due to a massive hangover from the night before. It's a massive hangover when you wake up still drunk the next morning. I suuuuuuuurrre was, and I knew I was still drunk when I woke up the next morning at 8AM (I'll get to that in a bit) and was still red. I work in an office. Let me tell ya, it wasn't a sunburn.

The other highlight of the birthday was that my brother and sister were finally 21 on my birthday. All in all, it was pretty great. The best part of it all was that it took very little planning on my part. I love that because I hate planning parties.

Visual highlights:We learned how to dance from our parents. That's a lie.

I'm entirely too happy.

This picture is literally one of three normal pictures of Naoko and me. Ok, not literally. but pretty damn close.


I love this bitch. He took me home and made sure I took out my contact lenses.

Pitzer represent!

I was lucky enough to have lots and lots of people come out that night. I think... or from what I remember, almost a third of the bar were people I knew. That felt pretty awesome. I really love everyone for coming out, and even those who couldn't make it. I feel very very lucky to be with such great people.

Now.

Why did I wake up at 8AM the next morning? Because, ever since a week and a half ago, my body decided to age 50 years, and will not let me sleep more than 6 hours. I literally go to bed at 12 and wake up around 5:50AM every morning. I'm so confused as to why that happens. My dad does that. My dad is also in his late 50s. NOT COOL. I'm fuckin tired.

The other part that made last weekend a great delight was that Naoko graduated, and I got to spend the weekend with my posse (minus my Hannah Banana).

More visual highlights:


Mmmhmm. June has been pretty cool so far. This weekend is going to be hectic, though. But I will make it work.

I really sincerely love you all!

PAZ.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Say hello to my little friend.

My little friend, my camera, is back!

Look at the photos:

Before:


After:



The first picture is a demonstration of what was wrong with my camera, but also, proof of my love for Angelina Jolie. I had to throw my magazine collection out because it was getting crazy.