From the monthly archives:

December 2010

Homebody

December 29, 2010

in random

Less than a year after we started dating, my husband brought me home to meet his parents during the winter break. Ever since that year, we have been spending Christmas at my in-laws in Maryland. The fact that my folks are not in the U.S. simplifies things since we don’t have to fight over which set of grandparents to visit. And in all honesty, even if my folks were here, I would have supported the idea of celebarting Christmas with my in-laws because they are the Christian and this is a holiday that holds a special meaning for them, especially my mother-in-law.

It does get a bit claustrophobic whenever I am here because we do not do anything. We sit around the house and enjoy each other’s company. We read and we watch movies on DVDs. This is all fine and dandy for the first three days. After that, I would get myself a severe case of cabin fever, knowing that Washington D.C. is only a 45-minute train ride away.

I do lobby for a visit to the Smithsonian every year. This year we did the tour of the White House, finally, and I even managed to force the husband and brother-in-law to have lunch in Dupont Circle. Can you believe it? I have been coming to Maryland since 1995, and this was the first time I had eaten there. If not for Dufmanno, I would not have known a place as cool as Adams Morgan existed.

Yes, I know every guidebook mentions all the cool neighborhoods. In my feeble defense, when your in-laws LIVE so close to D.C. you kind of do not feel the need to pick up a tourist-y guidebook…

I have never been to Georgetown. There. That should settle how pathetic it is. I am. We are.

I love them dearly but these people are homebodies.

Example 1: When we visited my husband’s grandmother and aunt in a Boston suburb in 1996, I found out that my husband and his brother had only been to Boston once. ONCE. They had been visiting the grandmother EVERY SINGLE YEAR and the aunt’s house is a mere 10-minute drive to a T station.

Example 2: The family gets together for one week every summer at the Outer Banks. We go to the beach and read. That’s it. The highlight will be having Chinese take-out one night and going to the 4-screen movie theatre one afternoon.

What’s more: they make me feel so guilty, like there is something wrong with me, for wanting to GET OUT.

On the third day of our trip here, I volunteered to go to the store, perhaps with too much enthusiasm. My mother-in-law, let me preface with this, a very kind and gentle person whom I get along famously well with and from whose mouth I have never heard of an ill word of others, jokingly commented, “You are itching to get out of the house, aren’t you?” “No. Me? Noooo. I just thought I’d go to the store for you.” “It’s ok. We don’t need anything right now.”

I don’t even feel comfortable saying, “I am going to Starbucks” because why do you need to go spend that money if you can have a perfectly good cup of coffee at home? Unless you are a spoiled spendthrift. And why do you need to leave the house when you don’t need anything? Unless you dislike the company of the people around you.

So that’s what I have been doing so far ever since we got here last Tuesday. RELAXING. There were days when I did not see the sky at all. It seriously stresses me out to no end. I feel so restless.

I am just a bad case of spontaneous combustion waiting to happen.

I hope I don’t trigger the alarm when I go through the airport security tomorrow.

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Quickly. Group Hug!

December 24, 2010

in random

Strangers are just friends waiting to happen. — Rod McKuen

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I almost missed the postscript. And when I first read it, I was upset that he asked for $100 cash! "You little...!" I thought. I burst out laughing when I saw the instruction to Santa. Despite everything, I did not ruin this child. I think.

Dear Friends,

Yes, you dread this moment of sappiness and it has come. No, seriously, I am so blessed to be surrounded by people who show me what the true human spirit of giving and caring is, not just around Christmas, but on a daily basis.

In the past year, I have been fortunate enough to get to know many of you better through words and some, through images (although to my disappointment, nothing risqué. We need to work on that, my friends!), from all over the world. I have been even more fortunate to see a few of you materialize in the real 3D world. Do you know how awesome that is? It means that I would have more than one Cora waiting next to my Ducati right outside of Flynn’s Arcade when I came out of The Grid if I were Sam Flynn.

I am so grateful for the community I have found and become part of that my heart aches every time I think about it. I find it easier for me to breathe and to be myself every day because of this place right here.

I want to wish those who celebrate it a Merry Christmas and those who don’t, a wonderful long weekend and/or vacation. And for my Jewish friends, enjoy the movies and the Chinese! And you know, by Chinese I mean the food, not ME.

And to all, unless you are a Jehovahs Witness, a HAPPY NEW YEAR!

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At the in-laws. Can’t talk. I mean, it will not look too good if I remain attached to my laptop or my Blackberry or my fake iPhone, aka CONNECTED, the way I am at home. I can hide in the bathroom and tweet though.*

* I am absolutely not kidding about hiding and tweeting from the restroom… I sent a picture of the ladies room from Old Ebbitt to Wicked Shawn because she has been made to notice my strange habit of checking out ladies rooms wherever I go. I get excited about nice bathrooms…

And I absolutely love restrooms that make political statements, but only if they are left-leaning, liberal ones like those at the Luna Grill & Diner in Dupont Circle.

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So we “visited” the White House today. It was over in 30 minutes. No sightings of President Obama. I was absolutely crushed over that. We did get to see all the fancy rooms looking even fancier now with all the Christmas decorations. (This of course begged the question of: What do people SEE when there is no Christmas tree inside every single room?) We spent more time in the UNofficial gift shop across the street including having our pictures taken with the cardboard POTUS and the First Lady. Apparently, one of the requisite poses is of the famous photo taken of JFK at the Oval Office with John Jr. poking his head out through underneath the desk. Is it just me or has Monica Lewinsky forever ruined that iconic image for you too?

Nothing is allowed when you tour the White House; you are allowed basically your cellphone (which has to be turned off), wallet and car keys. When I saw a sign that says

PASSHOLDERS BEYOND THIS POINT ONLY.

I was so tempted to risk being tackled by the secret service and take a picture of it, for you, because the P was missing. Instead I have this underwhelming photo to show for:

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As a result of our trip to the White House, I spent the entire day out and about, including a jaunt to the trendy Dupont Circle, without my purse, i.e. NO lip balm, NO lipstick, NO compact, NO hairbrush, NO Kleenex, NO hand lotion, NO touch-up.

The horror.

I did take way too many pictures of the Washington Monument. What? I like reading the articles.

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This is turning into a travelogue, so I will stop, BUT not before I show you the most interesting thing I saw today. Kudos to my husband for pointing it out as a good blogging fodder:

At the Air and Space Museum, there is a small exhibit calling your attention with the intriguing question:

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Can you be a Stewardess in the early 1950s?

with 8 flaps emblazoned with categories such as Height, Weight, Age, Race, Marital Status, Education, Appearances.

5’2″ to 5’6″, 135 lbs. max, White, Never married, 2-year college or registered nurse, AND… [our favorite] Attractive – “Just below Hollywood” standards.

I have a phone (with a camera, like every other phone nowadays) and I am not afraid to use it…

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Procrastinating

December 21, 2010 random

It is 3:50 am. I am a night owl. I think I am so by necessity: when I was in high school, it was necessary to stay up and “burn the midnight oil” so to speak in order to deal with all the tests and homework that Asian countries are so famous for; in college, […]

23 comments

Sundays in My City – So This is Christmas

December 20, 2010 random

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14 comments

Jerry! Jerry! Jerry!

December 19, 2010 random

As in Seinfeld… . When I landed in the U.S. which turned out to be in the middle of corn field and not in NYC or LA, I was often trapped inside my dorm room and therefore I watched a lot of American TV. That’s probably for the better since I needed polishing on not […]

8 comments

There is no shame on the bandwagon if it is for a worthy cause

December 16, 2010 this i believe

WARNING: Wagon jumping here! . . I learned of Beads of Courage from BugginWord, a charity that I have never heard of until today. The main program is based on a concept so “simple” yet so brilliant (’cause many probably thought to themselves: “Why didn’t anybody think of this sooner?!”) that is making a huge […]

29 comments

Ants

December 11, 2010 therapy in session

I have been thinking about ants a lot lately. Or rather, the absence of ants. It probably has a lot to do with all the holiday-related activities happening in this house: cookie baking, frosting, sprinkling, gingerbread house decorating. Every time when I see Mr. Monk walking around with a sugar cookie that he has added […]

35 comments

Getting into the Holiday Spirit

December 10, 2010 a picture is worth a thousand words

Work. “Single mother” for two weeks. Business trip. Sick. Child hurting his foot by doing backflip on concrete floor. Suspicion of a broken foot. X-ray. Orthopedic surgeon. Good news: Not broken. Bad news: No other cure but time for the pain. Advent Calendar = Sweets first thing in the morning. Over-purchase of cookie doughs from […]

22 comments