Tuesday, March 25, 2008

1 year later!

There is a reason for this NAAASTA-funk photo.  (If you're curious, that's a picture of me right after a hardcore run.  My friend was so amazed with the amount of sweat on my body, that she whipped out her camera to document.  In my defense, it was a warmer than usual morning with lots of dew.)

I realized that this month will mark my 1 year anniversary since I started running.

WOOP WOOP!  Rejoice! 

Just a year ago, I was huffing and puffing while barely finishing 3 miles around my neighborhood park.  I was impressed when I finally hit 5 miles.  And here I am.  My max is currently a little less than 11 miles, and I Feel. SO. Good. 

Ask me a couple of years ago, and I would have told you that I am a water person and cannot do exercise on land.  You couldn't have paid me to go running.  Now, I am completely convinced that anyone can do it, once they get over that excruciating hump.  

I've gone through slight knee pains, falls, and near passing-out moments.  I've been rained on (and I mean POURED on - it was just me and this old man on a bicycle outside on this particular rainy day, and he yelled at me, "We're both fucking craaazyyy!"), and I've been running when it was close to 100 degrees outside.  I've ran during the night (which my friend gave me shit for every day, saying that it was unsafe) and I've been running before the sun comes up (which is equally dark and dangerous, probably). 

All in all, I've loved every moment of it.  And I love how it makes me feel during, and especially, after.  It's really interesting to understand your  body's limit, and how long your body could actually be in motion. 

The best thing (aside from the rumored Runner's High - yes, it exists) is when people I've only met for a couple of times label me as "active" or "athletic".  I was never the athletic type, and always always wanted to be.  (Just to show you how NOT athletic I was, all throughout high school, my main source of physical activity was marching band.  One time at band camp... anyone?)  Whenever someone tells me that I am, I instantly look around and then have to remember that they're referring to me.  

I've been just focusing on actually lasting the mileage, but I might start looking into my speed.  Although, speed has never been my thing.  I hate competition, and it's good enough for me to know that I've completed a run, regardless of how fast I've gone.  We'll see. 

Yayyyyyy.  ( Doing a little dance - and what do you know - running around the apartment cheering for myself.) 

Friday, March 21, 2008

Flippin' burgers.

People sometimes ask me how I learned to cook.

I think back to different reasons. First of all, my mom is an incredible cook. Her food is my favorite. But I had been eating her food for almost 20 years before I lifted a knife. And then, AHA! I knew the reason.

For about 2 and a half years in college, I paid for my booze, my clothes, and my outings by flipping burgers, making quesadillas, and putting together sandwiches. The only place that took non-work study students (wich I was for the first 3 years of school) was at this deli-like place called the Coop, where students would go when they were sick of dining hall food.

I learned how to chop, mince, and mix. I learned how to fry fries, and make shakes, and learned how to correctly boil eggs for egg salad. In fact, I can't look at mayo without getting slightly grossed out because I had to scoop out mounds of mayo out of gallon tubs to make enough egg salad for the day. Although, I also had to deal with the same amount of avocados, and my love for them have only increased. Sometimes, it's meant to be.

There were times when I honestly questioned people's choices. My least favorite thing to make was a quesadilla with American cheese. I meeaaaaan, come on. We had perfectly melt-worthy jack and cheddar cheese. Why American?? Why ruin such a perfect concept? (I just have issues with American cheese. Even in grilled cheese sandwich.)

Then there were people who ordered the triple patty burgers. With grilled onions. And melted cheese. Now, let me tell you. This is coming from someone who has worked in fast food joints: We do not care about your health. I used to slather oil and butter on the pan so that things would slide off and cook easier. And to top it off with those blood red beef patties... Yum?

I was thinking about my old and still technically the longest job I had while I was making an adapted version of Veganomicon's black bean burger. I didn't adore my job, but I am glad I did flip all of those burgers, because it has helped me luuuurve cooking today.

The black bean burgers were awesome. It called for onions, which I didn't have. I know. No onions in a kitchen? That is the equivalent of having no light bulb in a lamp. But I subbed it with grated zucchini and extra spices, and it came out fine. Oh, and the "optional" cilantro suggested by the book? Totally essential.

Spread Trader Joe's Peach Salsa (which I slather on EVERYTHING because it makes EVERYTHING better) on a sprouted hamburger bun with the burger, and devour. You can see my Veganomicon cookbook in the background of the picture below.

I have several patties left to survive me a couple of days. Excited! I shall be flippin' burgers like the old days, and reminisce about all those American cheese monstrosities.

P.S. I got rid of almost all of the nasta-funk soyogurt by baking a chocolate orange yogurt cake, pictured below. My co-workers ate that entire cake. I think I really like baking for people.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008


I made a smoothie. It was delicious. The reason why there's a ring of nothing-ness at the top of the cup is because I savagely scraped off the remains of the smoothie with my finger. It was that good.

I made a smoothie because I had to think of a way to get rid of this gigantic tub of NASTY soy yogurt I bought. I bought soy yogurt because, guess what? I think I might be slightly lactose intolerant.


I just made this discovery 2 days ago (which is when I made this smoothie). I had been feeling some discomfort for the last couple of months, and I couldn't figure out why, since I eat pretty healthy. I started taking out different food groups to see what it was that was causing me to feel funky. Beans? Nope. Raw vegetables? Nope. (Thank goodness.) Nuts? Nope. ( Double thank goodness. I think I'd be SO SO SO sad if I became allergic to peanuts.) And then finally, 2 days ago, I went diary-free for the day. What do you know. It was the cow.

I was kind of sad, since I ate yogurt religiously. So I went to my local Whole Foods and bought the cheapest soy yogurt there and was HIGHLY disappointed when I tasted it. It was bitter, watery, and had this aftertaste that resembled plastic. I hated it, but what I hate more is wasting food, so I had to figure out some way to use it. Enter smoothie.

I made the smoothie with the soyogurt (which is what the tub said), blueberries, strawberries, banana, honey, and the magic ingredient: peanut butter. It made it into this thick textured thing, and was very enjoyable with a spoon.

I'm glad to have found a way to get rid of that crap, but still am slightly sad about my new (mostly) dairy-free life.

Anyone know of a good soy yogurt brand?

Sunday, March 16, 2008


I don't know if oxymoronic is a word, but that is how I would describe this Saturday. OxyMoronic.

I went on a long run in the morning. It was very crisp and cool. I was slow at first, but it turned out to be a calm long and relaxing run.

Anyway, that's not the oxymoronic part. That happened during the night.

So, the Saturday night turned out to be a combo of two events that are almost direct opposites from other, which is why I called it oxymoronic.

I started out the night watching a production of the Vagina Monologues. It was a fundraiser to raise money for a domestic violence prevention transitional housing program that my non-profit has connections with. I was given VIP tickets to it, so I took my friend, and together, we reclaimed our vaginas. It was great, and funny, and empowering. Janet from the Real World Seattle (who was my favorite Real World cast member) performed a monologue, and it was great. Her bio didn't say anything about MTV, so I'm guessing that's not what she wants to be known as.

Then, I met up with a group of girls that I'm slowly getting to know at a club in Koreatown. There, I was introduced to a practice that only happens at this Korean club called booking. What is booking, you ask? Let me tell you:

You enter the club, and you see a huge space. Dance floor on your right, and rows of tables on your left. Then you notice a circle of booths surrounding the row of tables. You might notice that the tables are exclusively occupied by women, and the booths by men. This serves a purpose to this practice called booking. You see, the guys have the view of the girls in the club, and once they choose a girl they like, they have a waiter physically bring the girl over to their booth. The waiter physically takes the girl's arm and lead her to the booth, has her sit down and have her converse with the men. This happens throughout the night, and the waiters are on a hustle because the girls that they bring to the booths directly effect the amount of tip they receive that night.

In all honesty, an hour after sitting in that club, you kind of get desensitized and find the booking process less and less ludicrous. I also was wearing my combat boots and man trousers, so I didn't have the pleasure of being booked as much as some of my companions. I just didn't feel like heels and frilly things, and I'm pretty glad I went with the butch direction.

So you see, I reclaimed and empowered my vagina, and then I handed it to a waiter and figuratively had him serve my vagina to a pack of Grey Goose- drinking frat boys. What an oxymoronic night.

Friday, March 14, 2008

This is not food porn

This is not food porn because the pictures are such crappy qualities. I took it with my cell phone. My siblings and I tease our father all the time because his actual digital camera is the same mega pixel as our cell phones.


The reason for today's food pictures is to show you my favorite dinner that I made for myself last night. It's my favorite because almost everything was locally made or made by me, and very few things were store bought. It's my favorite kind of meal.

This salad:
The romaine lettuce was given to me by someone who grows her own vegetables. I love knowing people with their own gardens. The beets were bought by my local farmer's market and I roasted them myself, which is FAR better (and CHEAPER) than buying it canned. The tomatoes, I bought from Trader Joe's. I can't grow everything. And, the honey I used for the balsamic vinaigrette (which I also bought at TJ's) is honey made here, in Pomona. Using local honey can desensitize you from pollen allergies. Did you know that? I didn't, until a couple of weeks ago.

More beets. And I made the hummus underneath. The celery (which I couldn't stop myself from eating half before taking the picture) was also grown by the same woman. The carrots, TJ. And the bread is Ezekiel's sprouted hamburger buns.

I love simple meals, and I love simple meals that I have on late nights during the week when the chaos of the day is temporarily put on hold.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008


Sorry for the boring and depressing entries. I'm doing alright, thanks to many things.

Overall, things are turning out to be OK, and it's especially because my friend came up to hang out with me two days in a row, and slept over. She asked me what I wanted to do, and I answered that I wanted to cook. I have always loved cooking, but it has been even more therapeutic lately, especially because I've discovered the wonders of vegan cookbooks, specifically Veganomicon and Vive Le Vegan.

No, I'm not quite vegan, nor vegetarian. I'm a flexitarian, but I'm telling you, these two books are amazing for everyone because they don't rely on scary processed soy things. I would show you pictures of what I've cooked so far, but I eat it all before I can document what I've made. (For the record, I've been eating the chickpea quinoa pilaf all week for lunch, and have been eating Dreena's hummus for dinner. Chickpeas galore.) What I love about these books is that I love the ingredients. Is that possible? It's not so much the recipes, but the ingredients are wholesome. Of course, the recipes are innovative, but the natural ingredients they use to make things vegan are really inspiring.

Anyway, these are a bunch of words, and I know what you want to see are pictures. So, to show you exactly what I mean from my last entry (when I said that my friends make me laugh in such a great way), here is a picture text that my friend sent me to demonstrate how great it would be to go hiking. She was at her workplace, and apparently busy as hell.

In this time of stress, I only see the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel because of the loving, compassionate people I have surrounding me.

I am so fortunate to be working where I work, and to have the friends that I have.

The friends that I have don't try to give me unsolicited advice, and just hearing them laugh and laughing with them, reminds me that things are going to be OK.

Thank you, so much.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

How I totally lost my shit.

Yesterday, I cried at work for the first time. I basically had an anxiety attack and cried in front of my supervisor like a child coming home to their mother with a wound. It was probably as endearing yet felt just as pathetic.

Basically, something happened to my client. It was something I was dreading, yet something that I knew was going to happen in the end, but also knew that I was going to be completely drowned by guilt if it did, even if I could have never prevented it.

My supervisor listened to me, and didn't try to overtly comfort me, or hug me, or do anything that felt insincere. She did just what I needed at the time, and listened to me pour out everything that I had been worried about, and listened to me sob about how guilty I felt. She told me, truthfully, that there was nothing else I could have done. I think I always subconsciously understood that, but after saying everything out loud and hearing her say those words, I was finally emotionally able to understand that things were beyond my control.

It was an exhausting day, to say the least.

It didn't help that earlier that day, I had gone to a day-long case manager training where we talked about self-management. They talked about how professional caregivers (i.e. social workers, case managers, etc.) had to learn how to take care of themselves first before helping others.

I listened, but when I hear these things, I always thought yada yada yada, blah blah blah, I know this stuff, this is new-age, I need to go back to work and get stuff done.

But you know what? It does matter. Because I think (and you can even see on previous entries) that I'm on the verge, or perhaps already in the state, of a burn-out.

It didn't occur to me until I identified it, but I may be totally stressed out from my job. ( You think?)

It really hit home today, when I burst into tears again during work (which I thankfully was able to hide because, on Tuesdays and Thursdays, I have my own office) for no real reason except that I was just tired and felt inadequate at my job.

I called Naoko and she talked me through it, and I also replayed what my supervisor told me the day before, and I finally, truly, breathed. Really, just inhaled and exhaled and really really meant it.

After that, I was relatively OK, and was able to carry on through the day as normal. And slowly feeling some sort of purpose again with what I was doing. I'm still slowly regaining that.

And that's where I am tonight.: finally understanding the value of self-management, and understanding the importance of admitting defeat and admitting your own limit. It's the kind of thing people on sitcoms and TV show admit to themselves (like when Jessie from Saved By The Bell OD'ed on caffeine pills), and something not a lot of Asian people do. I mean, my family never talked about feelings. Feelings are for those other people who always like to hug and call each other animal-related pet names. We dealt with things in an unspoken way. (Notice I said unspoken, and not ignored. There is a difference.) I function very well that way, and I always will, but I'm glad to be able to deal with something in a slightly different manner for once, and feeling a beginning of some sort of outcome. And also, it's nice to know that I actually am NOT dead inside. Yay.

Here's to one step forward towards personal growth.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Testosterone and/or Men

Today, I wanted to talk about shit that I don't understand. Like, at all. Like testosterone and men. (Do you hate how I use the word 'like'? Tough luck. I'm part of the 'like' generation, and so are you.)

I was listening to "This American Life" on my run this weekend. (This is my new favorite podcast - sometimes I find myself literally LOL-ing mid-run. I seldom use LOL in online conversations because I rarely actually laugh out loud.) The topic was testosterone. The show told several stories about how testosterone affected people. There was a man who, because of a deficiency, didn't produce testosterone for 4 months, another former women who became a man through testosterone shots, a contest of who in the "This American Life" staff had the most testosterone, and an interview of a 15 year-old boy by his mother. It was really funny and fascinating. For example, the transgendered guy said that after his "T-shots", he had an increased aptitude for science. WTF?! That's just crazy and kind of disheartening.

Testosterone is fascinating, and so are men. The other thing the transgendered guy said was, that he suddenly had jolts of sexual desires and aggressive sexual images in most random moments, instead of the narrative he used to have in his head when he was a woman. When he saw an attractive woman when he was a woman, he would talk to himself about what she might be like, how he would approach her, etc. etc. But once he became a man, he just had pornographic images and just a sensation of desire.

I don't GEEETT IT. How do you function like that?

I was talking to a group of co-workers on Friday. Just a random conversation. Two guys and two girls, including me. We were talking about this one co-worker who is currently pregnant. She's gorgeous (like, model-gorgeous), and most guys already find her pretty attractive. But one of the guys told us that she's even hotter because she's pregnant. He then asked my co-worker and me, "Dude, are you guys going to be hot when you're pregnant?"

Really?? I don't understand.

It's the first time I've heard about this pregnant women fascination. The other guy, who is more mild in temperament, agreed too. Is it because pregnancy is the ultimate feminine state? (Aside from things like menstruation. Haha, what a way to kill sexual desire. I know how to do that very well.)
This must be because of testosterone too. Finding something crazy, desirable.

The guy who had the testosterone deficiency on the show described himself of having no desire, no ambition, and no subjective opinion when he didn't produce testosterone. He said that he had the most literal understanding of things. He saw a tree, he thought, tree. When he saw a woman, he thought, woman, instead of Object I'd Like To Fuck.

I suppose you men really do have things controlled by this crazy hormone (and some women - women have testosterone too). I'm somewhat jealous and yet also glad that I don't have such things controlling me all the time.

Here are some proofs that you have a lot of testosterone. Compare and see how you fit:
- baldness
- competitiveness
- love of performing
- desire
- decisiveness

I think I might have very little testosterone, even as a girl. I have so much hair, it's not even funny. My shower drain sometimes looks like Chewbacca's head. I HATE competition. Like, hate. I don't perform, ever. And lately, I'm too tired to desire anything. And I'm pretty indecisive.

Perhaps I should get "T-shots" to get me places, huh? Is that a chauvinistic idea?

The end.