From the monthly archives:

July 2013

My previous post was a fine example for #FirstWorldProblem.

The kids and I survived. Of course. More than survived, we had a grand old time taking it easy playing really layback tourists in Chicago. The kids apparently inherited my love for hotels: we spent one morning inside the hotel watching the History Channel.

My view now by the pool on the 40th floor… #nofilter #sky #clouds #Chicago #hotels

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View from the rooftop. #Chicago #lake #sky #skyline

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Night swim. #swimmingpool #swimming

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As I lay on the lounge chair watching the kids frolicking in the pool on the top of the hotel under the moon and surrounded by city lights, I had to admit, with embarrassment, that I could no longer complain.


I am going to be staying at yet another hotel tonight. BlogHer 2013 is here in Chicago. I hope to see some of you in 3D. Be warned: I am hashtag awkward.


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July 17, 2013

in random

My co-worker once told me that my family should have a reality TV show because ridiculous things happen to us all the time. Actually, I admit: what he really meant was that we are a family of ridiculous inclination and we make ridiculous decisions and do ridiculous things.

“Hilarity ensued.”

I should have a plaque of these words hanging in our family room.

We are putting new floors in for the house this week. We did not realize that we had to completely vacate the first floor before the workers could start.

No problem. We all got a rude awakening early Tuesday morning. We moved everything (except the large pieces of furniture) off the floor, the china cabinet, the buffet table, the wine cabinet, bookcases and shelves in a record time of 3 hours. I was tearfully grateful to have a teenage son that morning.

Then I was told that starting today, we had to vacate the house because of the sanding and the staining.



I really do.

I love them so much that when I am on a business trip I often miss the chance to explore the city fully because I spend most of the time enjoying the hotel, that I used to bid on Priceline for $50 or less a night to stay in hotels, sometimes within 5 minutes drive from my house, just because.


I have fond childhood memories of my mom hiding me in the laundry cart or under the service cart to sneak me into the hotels that she worked at when she could not find somebody to watch me. Hotels to me at that time were fantastical places where super wealthy people stayed when they were not at home. I did not know the concept of vacation back then – I don’t remember my parents ever taking any “vacation”, and my family certainly had never taken trips together to faraway places for fun. The guests at the hotels always looked so grand and happy. Some frequent guests even brought me candy, and sometimes even chocolate truffles [worth their weight in gold to a child]! The ladies dressed beautifully and spoke in soft voices, and plus, they smelled nice, like flowers.

Hotels were where you were taken care of, where your towels and sheets smelled like sunshine, your bed was big and soft and bounced when you jumped on it. My mother was an expert bed maker (she kind of had to): she made beds with perfect “hotel corners”, and they looked like rectangular boxes with sheets pulled so tight that you could see the sharp angles at the foot of the bed.

Compared to the regular cramped apartments in Taipei, hotels seemed like palaces with modern amenities. The bathroom itself was a wonder – a toilet that worked perfectly, tiles with no dirt or moldy spots in between, and a bathtub so big and CLEAN that you could soak your entire body in.


and the most wondrous thing of them all:


To this day my favorite thing about staying in a hotel is to sleep in a cool room with a soft comforter pulled over my face.


Thus began our adventure in three different hotels on three consecutive nights.

Renaissance/Marriott tonight.

Tomorrow onto Starwood.

On Friday, we are checking into an IHG hotel.

Collect all three!

I guess my co-worker was onto something.

“Hilarity ensued…”

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It’s my party, and I’ll cry if I want to.

A is for Advil I have been taking for my pounding headaches and sore throat.

B is for Benadryl for watery eyes, sneezing and runny nose.


D is for Depression that I feel on every single one of my birthday since the third grade.

You get my drift.

On my birthday I have learned to keep my expectations extremely low. In fact, I’ve learned to go through life with no expectations from anybody. Probably due to the cold virus, I’ve lost my self-defense mechanism and failed to put up my mental wall and accidentally caused some accidental birthday expectations breach.

I have also been trying to be more grateful for what I am blessed with. So I will count my blessings on my birthday:

I am grateful that it rained today.

I am grateful for the perfect excuse to sleep through most of the day. Perhaps sleeping through the day is the way to go for the rest of my birthdays.

I am grateful that my youngest needed to wake me up from my slumber because he and his brother were hungry and I, it seemed, was the only person who knew how to cook for them. This was important because otherwise I would have missed dinner.

I am grateful for the excellent fish and shrimp tacos and the two big giant glasses of epic blueberry Mojitos for dinner in a nice cantina.


Google wished me a happy birthday by name. I must be a big shot on the Internet.


Do they grant do-overs for birthdays? I will take one when I turn 80.



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The ABCs of OBX

July 10, 2013 through the looking glass

A is for the ABC stores in NC. After having come here every year for 10+ years, I finally realized on this trip that 1) in NC, you could only purchase hard liquors from the ABC stores, 2) ABCs are not open on Sundays, 3) ABC is not a random acronym that many businesses have […]