Dec 30, 2010

Reverb10 (30)

December 30 – Gift
Prompt: Gift. This month, gifts and gift-giving can seem inescapable. What’s the most memorable gift, tangible or emotional, you received this year?

Emotionally, I think the best gift this year I got was that despite how stressed my fiends were about their tests, they still managed to remember my birthday. :) It was test week for my roommate and two of our friends so I didn't expect anything from them until maybe the weekend and they showed up to give me birthday hugs and gifts. I was all warm and fuzzy and happy inside that night. Also, my roommate got me the game that has managed to keep me happy all last week: plants vs zombies. It's SO CUTE! SQUEE! I finally finished adventure mode today and am working through the other modes. Go figure.

As for awesome tangible gifts I think the two things my parents got me will stick with me for a while. They visited me in July and decided I needed a new iPod so they got me an iPod touch without me having to ask for one. I felt so spoiled and happy! And then, for Christmas/belated birthday, they got me Canon EOS REBEL T2i! I've been playing with it all week, trying to learn how to take pretty camera pictures.

Speaking of which, I went to the lake today to take pictures:

Dec 29, 2010

The Game

For those of you who have been to my room/home in the last 5 years have seen the collage that decorate my wall. It's filled with crayon and watercolor scribbles. I often stare at it, looking for meaning, for order even though I know there is none. (The photo is from my sophomore year dorm. I currently have the left one still. The right one I lost track of because my friend took it to keep when we stopped living together.)

I don't know how many know the collage is the result of my bastardized version of The Game. I was introduced to The Game in high school. I think it was around my Junior year (2nd semester or summer after). My friend Sam and I started hanging out then. We read books and poetry together -- I liked reading out loud because at that time I was prideful enough to like the sound of my voice. I started getting to know her family and her friends. She told me about the Blackwells and about her boyfriend's family. One day, she said to me we should play The Game. I like the way she says it: both words are enunciated such that you can hear the capital letters; you can also hear her anticipation and excitement. Once you've heard her say it, there will never be any doubt which game she is talking about.

Reverb10 (29)

December 29 – Defining Moment
Describe a defining moment or series of events that has affected your life this year.

For me, life is often just life. I don't really think anything has drastically affected my life this year. It's not something I think about often or even really like thinking about unless I'm feeling melancholy.

Trying t o answer the question... I think somewhere along the line I decided to embrace the fact that I have girly tendencies. I started occasionally wearing make up -- eye liner and eye shadow. I wear dresses with leggings now. And sometimes I even wear high heeled shoes. :) I also discovered (maybe rediscovered) I really like hats. None of this really feel like events though.

I started this blog -- which I guess is a moment but also feels like a series of events. I like making myself put words to screen/paper. It's good for me. I like narration and I miss writing for fun.

In 2010 I made one really close friend -- which is one more than I expected to -- and a bunch of other fairly good friends who, due to circumstances, will probably not be as close. I don't think in 10 years I will remember this fact though.

Life is just lived. I don't think any moment can really define it. They all connect together feeling after feeling, moment after moment, flowing. I like life for the flow, for the ability to change, for the spontaneity. Looking for and grasping at defining moments neglect that flow that defines life for me. Thus, I refuse to find a DEFINING moment because I don't believe in it.


Dec 27, 2010

Reverb10 (28) and Home Cook Comfort Foods

December 28 – Achieve
What’s the thing you most want to achieve next year? How do you imagine you’ll feel when you get it? Free? Happy? Complete? Blissful? Write that feeling down. Then, brainstorm 10 things you can do, or 10 new thoughts you can think, in order to experience that feeling today.

I want to finish the project I'm working on in lab. I will feel relief and then stressed because I don't know what to do next. I will think, "Finally, this part is done." I will be happy that my data looks good.

I don't think I can feel relieved and stressed at the same time today. Today is a restful day. I will see friends and run around being happy. I will not be thinking about work or anything that may give me stress. I don't think it's something I want to think about today.

Last night for dinner, my parents made yummy but simple foods. I think this is one of those really simple and ordinary pleasures I have.

The first dish is simply stir fried veggies from our back yard picked fresh just before cooking. I love fresh stir fried greens because they smell so green and sometimes have subtle flavors and undertones that are overlooked in less fresh veggies.

Reverb10 (27) and Home Made Settlers

December 27 – Ordinary Joy
Our most profound joy is often experienced during ordinary moments. What was one of your most joyful ordinary moments this year?
(Author: BrenĂ© Brown)

I sincerely believe this prompt has been covered already. Food creates some of the best ordinary moments. I also talked about little things that make me feel happy in my post about body integration. In my discussion of parties and moments, there were also descriptions of ordinary things that make me happy. So, I'm opting out of today's Reverb for the sake of something better: What I did for Christmas.

So, what did I do for Christmas? My parents hosted a party with lots of family friends (there were 5 other families in addition to my own). While 4 of the five invited families had children my age (early to mid 20s), one was out of town and the other was studying for Step 2s. The other two who showed up and I had lunch with the parents, watched a movie (during which I took a nap and they couldn't make out a thing the characters said), and were promptly bored out of our minds.

Somehow, in our boredom, we decided we wanted to play Settlers of Catan. I own the game, thanks to my roommate, but it was in St. Louis. So, we made our own.

For efficiency sake, we didn't make things overly artsy but we did use a bit of creativity and had some fun. The best part? We did end up playing it. 2 games with the normal board, then we made the expansion board and were almost going to play, but some other people (friends of one of the people my age) came over and brought real settlers (HUZZAH!). All in all, it was a good night.

The basic Settlers tiles (I'm really bad at making hexagons, they didn't fit together very well):

Dec 26, 2010

Reverb10 (26)

December 26 – Soul Food What did you eat this year that you will never forget? What went into your mouth & touched your soul? (Author: Elise Marie Collins)

I love food. I love food so much that I can eat until my stomach hurts (very literally) and often will and need to tell myself to stop. Food is interesting and fun. I like knowing why deep fried things are so tasty. I like learning how to make a good pie crust. I like figuring out how much heat to put into my cooking so that I get what I want. I like dumping spices and ingredients into my dishes and tasting them as they are transformed. I learned from my roommate that celery gives great flavor. I've learned from a book that super cold butter is essential for pie crusts because it helps with the flaky texture. I've learned from experience that lemon zest gets crunchy once all the oils are removed.

I have eaten so many things this year that I've loved and probably won't forget. Some are my favorite foods, others are new and exciting culinary adventures: stir fried kidney(my mom makes it and is one of my favorite foods), roast duck(from our favorite place in Dallas -- juicy and delicious with nice crunchy skin), hotpot (warmth, people, and so much food), deep fried tofu wraps (China -- with shrimp and veggies inside), spicy fish head (my cousin and his wife argued briefly over who would get to eat the eyeball), stir fried lamb liver (at home, mom made it with home made pickles, more tender than pig liver), home made sausage (my parents make them, sooo good), fresh garlic newly pickled (parents mailed it to me, perfection that makes me jump for joy and secretly hoard it away), perfectly seasoned pickled string beans (i love them seasoned with prickly pepper oil and my mom's spicy oil mix), seafood soup buns (Shanghai, delicious soup flows from the steamed bun onto a spoon. I drink it up and then eat the perfect bite size dumpling that threatens to burn my tongue, so good I can't describe it properly)... there really are too many things to name.

I think, for me, soul food needs to be comforting -- something I would want to eat when I'm miserable or when I'm sick. /My home made super spicy chili with cheese is one of those comfort food of mine. It neither awes me nor is super memorable; however, it does have all the flavors to keep me happy. Also, my dad's soup that he made up recently is really tasty and comforting. He calls it his twin winter soup (prettier in chinese) and it has winter melon and winter bamboo shoots in it. The flavors are simple but delicious -- one of those combos I can't get enough of. It's light enough that my stomach would take it even when it's revolting. It's delicious enough that I would be happier after eating it, no matter how I feel. I also love my friend's stuffing recipe. It's so moist and flavorful and delicious! I like the smell of sage that overwhelms the dish. I love how mushy the breadcrumbs become. I love the way the little pieces of sausage meat pack so much flavor. I even love how in my attempt at making it (7 am on Thanksgiving morning) I failed to process what "pepper" meant. I was annoyed that she didn't specify what kind of pepper, so I added cayenne. It was after adding cayenne that I realized she meant either black or white powdered pepper (so I added that). It turned out super tasty, but for me spicy foods are really comforting.

Speaking of spicy foods, I think the most random thing I ate that turned out to be surprisingly addictive are these deep fried chili pepper snacks my mom brought back from Chongqing, China. There's a nifty little area in Chongqing called CiQiKou where there are lots of little shops, stores, and food stops. Mom found these chili snacks stuffed with some sort of batter (post deep frying it's super crunchy and sesame filled) and as crunchy as potato chips. I devour them as if I would caramel popcorn from Garrett's (in Chicago, one of my best friends call it Crack Corn, which I pretty much agree with -- something else I had for the first time that I loved and will crave on occasion or maybe more often than occasion from now on).

All in all, I like food too much. :)

Dec 25, 2010

Reverb10 (24 and 25)


December 24 Prompt – Everything’s OK
What was the best moment that could serve as proof that everything is going to be alright? And how will you incorporate that discovery into the year ahead?

Any moment that I am upset and I can turn around and laugh at myself. Sometimes I forget to laugh. That's when things are most not OK. This isn't a discovery I've made recently. For that I'm grateful.

I don't disagree with this question (my roommate does). Everything will be OK. Things won't be perfect, but they will be ok. Ok is the idea that your world won't end, that you will move on, that even the worst circumstances can't fully stop you. Ok is acknowledging that stubborn child inside who knows what she wants and will make you work to get it. Ok is living through rough moments and knowing this too shall pass. Everything will be ok. Even realizing I lost boyfriend #4 as a friend, that he'll never talk to me again unless some strange miracle happens can be ok. It's learning to move beyond that in-the-moment mindset, to accept things and come to term with unhappy events.

I don't think everything is always ok. Breakups aren't ok at the beginning. Disappointment and failure aren't ok either. But all things WILL BE. The future tense is important here. We all manage to cope and find ways to move past things. When we move pass these things, it will be ok.

This mindset that I have just tried to explain isn't something I'm good at living. I understand it and I try to embrace it, but I still live in moments -- moments when I'm crying and shaking and unhappy, moments when I want to curl up into a ball and rock back and forth, moments when I feel like loneliness eats away at me. Then, when it's all over, I try to remember to look back and laugh at myself. I try to remember to say, "See? It's ok now."

December 25 – Photo – a present to yourself
Sift through all the photos of you from the past year. Choose one that best captures you; either who you are, or who you strive to be. Find the shot of you that is worth a thousand words. Share the image, who shot it, where, and what it best reveals about you.

 I'm a bit kooky and strange. It's one of the things I like most about myself. When I get bored, I try to entertain myself with whatever I have.  I assume it makes others smile; I know I smile. Sometimes that's enough to keep my happy.

We were waiting for food at a restaurant. One of my friends shot this picture as I sat making funny faces. 


Dec 23, 2010

Reverb10 (23)


December 23 – New Name Let’s meet again, for the first time. If you could introduce yourself to strangers by another name for just one day, what would it be and why? (Author: Becca Wilcott)

I've thought about this before, actually. First of all, I tried this once, when I was a kid. I was really really into Sailor Moon (god, it's really embarrassing; and I had all but blocked it out of my mind until ex #4 flipped through my MIDDLE SCHOOL year books and found it) and wanted to go by her name in the show. It didn't work so well. I was too lazy to enforce it, and I didn't really like her name anyway... all of it was stupid in hindsight. However, I think another aspect to my wanting to be a different character than I am was the fact that I was teased a lot for my name. I am Chinese (for those of you who don't know me personally) and my name sounds like a question word: how.  There was one time in first grade (by this time I was in the US for 4 years) where I got bored and sat down at the edge of the playground waiting for recess to end. A boy came up to me and (this sounds stupid now, but it was really hurtful then since it was the first time someone had teased me) incessantly teased me for the fact that my name sounded like an English word. I took it ok at first, not crying, but about 10 minutes in, I burst into tears. Starting then,  I started wondering if I liked my name. I think I got over that sometime in high school. Part of it is learning who I am and how I see myself.

I'm not sure if I'll really want to change my name. I think names -- especially the name people choose to be known as -- hold lots of significance. For me, my name is efficient (one syllable) and unique (even in Chinese, the sound is usually a name for a boy). That works well with my personality. Additionally, I like the confusion people sometimes show trying to process my name when they first hear it (of course, this only applies to English speakers). I don't think there is a name I really want right now not my own.

If you read my roommate's blog you would know we both fire spin. One thing I noticed after being introduced to the community and learning to accept all the different people there is how they sometimes choose to use aliases. I might decide to pick an alias for myself one day. I know I would want something to do with water. I am a Scorpio (water element) and I am a Tiger (the only cat that really likes swimming, but I have yang fire as my chinese zodiac elemental association, which amuses me). As a kid, I really liked the water. I identify with the six of cups (water element, childhood, etc). I think I would want to take a water related name from mythology or folklore (a story I like) -- obscure enough that it's not immediately recognizable, but not so much so you can't find it on Wikipedia. Additionally, it needs to sound pretty and I need to be able to say it.

Basically, I won't have an easy time picking a name for myself. Go figure.


P.S. Terrence, I didn't know your greatest fear is earthworms. I agree with you that they're super scary though. Also,  I know Reverb10 - 5 was short. I liked it that way.

Dec 22, 2010

Reverb10 (21 and 22)

December 21 – Future Self. Imagine yourself five years from now. What advice would you give your current self for the year ahead? (Bonus: Write a note to yourself 10 years ago. What would you tell your younger self?) (Author: Jenny Blake)

Considering I have no idea what to expect, I have no idea what sort of advice to give. If I find a boyfriend, I would tell myself to keep my heart open. If I am unhappy, I would give myself advice on being happy. If all goes well, I'll tell myself to just keep swimming along. :)

I think something I can tell myself no matter at what point in time is don't forget that hope exists and don't forget that life is worth living and beautiful. Remember to stop and enjoy the little things because they add up to be much bigger than you'll ever realize. Remember to forgive faults and don't be so judgmental of others -- you're not perfect and need forgiveness often as well.

When I was 14, I was a bit emo. I think I would tell the me then that things are rarely ever life or death. I will explain to her how my father thinks. I will tell her that she'll be happier and crazier in the future and that things will turn out just fine. I will tell her not to listen to stupid things people say and to cherish her friendships with the people actually around her more. I will tell her the internet isn't nearly as exciting as she thinks it is and that the friendships may last, but the people you love may grow distant. I will warn her of that so she doesn't become guilty or sad.

December 22 – Travel
How did you travel in 2010? How and/or where would you like to travel next year?
This is a cute question. I traveled quite a bit this year. I was somewhat adventurous and I've learned how to not over pack.

I went to China  (Shanghai) for the World Expo this year. I also visited Seattle and Chicago for the first time. China was fun but not mind blowing -- mostly because I've been there so many times. I think I was shocked by the volume of people there -- crowding, chaotic. It made me grateful I didn't try to go to the Beijing Olympics in 2008. The World Expo was fun though and I love going to China.

I flew to Seattle to visit Ahmet (I talked about it in one of my earlier posts) and I had a blast. I really love that city. Then, in November, I drove to Chicago to visit EC. The drive was the first time I drove alone, and it was good for me. I hope to see Seattle fairly soon and Chicago over the summer.

Additionally, I really want to drive up to Minnesota and visit one of my best friends in her home town. I might also want to go to Kansas City for their renaissance fair, but that's not as important to me. I don't think I'll get to leave the country next year (2011) and I'm ok with it.

Well then! I'm all caught up! Horray! :D


Reverb10 (19 and 20)


December 19 – Healing What healed you this year? Was it sudden, or a drip-by-drip evolution? How would you like to be healed in 2011? (Author: Leoni Allan)

I don't think I needed healing this year. I needed to let things go, and I did -- slowly. It was good for me. I learned to give up on people that I should give up on. I don't think I need healing now, so again, it's not applicable for me.

December 20 – Beyond Avoidance What should you have done this year but didn’t because you were too scared, worried, unsure, busy or otherwise deterred from doing? (Bonus: Will you do it?) (Author: Jake Nickell)

I don't think there are many SHOULDS that I don't do.  I try living my life doing the things I think I should do or want to do and care about doing. I'm not really regretting much this year. Maybe I should've finished the exercise thing I tried to do. Then again, I'm glad I tried it and I don't really care that I got busy with school and didn't finish it. I could start again. I think I might. :) I could use to get in shape again.

I know this is short. I sorta avoided answering them because there wasn't much to say.

Dec 21, 2010

Reverb10 (17 and 18)


December 17 – Lesson Learned What was the best thing you learned about yourself this past year? And how will you apply that lesson going forward? (Author: Tara Weaver)
I think one of the things I've become more aware of is my neediness, at least emotionally. I don't want to be needy, but I am. I like hugs and warmth and all that. I want to be appreciated but I don't know how to accept appreciation well. Unfortunately, when I interact, I mostly reciprocate so I don't always get closer to people. Unless I really really like a person when I first meet him/her, I will return the style of interaction. If you're nice to me, I'll be good to you. If you're only ok, I'll be semi-nice. If you're somewhat mean, I'll be cruel. I will talk to you if you talk to me about equally important things. Sometimes I will open more to encourage interaction. Otherwise, it's some sort of fairness and reciprocity.

I don't really think it's something to be applied going forward. I don't think my neediness is really that detrimental. I'm aware of it and can deal with it. I have really good friends to fall back on and the awareness that they're there will help. The information is just amusing for me.

 December 18 – Try What do you want to try next year? Is there something you wanted to try in 2010? What happened when you did / didn’t go for it? (Author: Kaileen Elise)

Skydiving. I bought a groupon. I didn't really think about trying things this year. I guess there were random kitchen things I tried: making pesto, pie crusts from scratch, making ice cream and sorbet. They mostly turned out tasty (I have pictures of a lot of them on this blog).

Dec 19, 2010

Reverb (15 and 16)


December 15 – 5 Minutes Imagine you will completely lose your memory of 2010 in five minutes. Set an alarm for five minutes and capture the things you most want to remember about 2010. (Author: Patti Digh)

Firespinning at the handle bar and forest park. Wednesday nights. It's fun and amazing. People are great too.

I have good friends. I need to remember that. I need to remember to be willing to talk to them and be open and honest, even if I can't tell what they're thinking. the friends I have do have my back and it's sometimes hard to remember but i need to.

Hotpot night needs to be repeated. So much good fooooood. Also game nights are great.

I went to see Wicked at the Fox Theatre. It was awesome. Pretty singing and fun characters.

I learned that I don't hate being girly. Also, I discovered eyeliner and eye shadow this year. Crazy, right? but I actually do like them -- something else I should remember

Gokul is really tasty. They're opening up a new branch on teh loop. That means tasty tasty indian food close by. I love Chaat. I love bhel puri, dahi puri, and samosa chaat. I definitely need to remember that. :)

Quals this year was scary, but not the worse thing in the world. I can study adn focus and get to the point where I feel confident. I need to remember that about myself.

I also like classical music. I've forgotten that, but my friend made me go to the symphony. I like it now.

I also shot a gun for the first time. A revolver. It's actually quite fun. And when it's really cold outside and the metal gets warm, my hands are happier.

The Ren faire and pirate fest in STL are both lots of fun. I should go again and maybe bounce around and scream at jousting people more. :)

And the chinese wold expo.... hm... i'm out of time.

December 16 – Friendship How has a friend changed you or your perspective on the world this year? Was this change gradual, or a sudden burst?

I have never been religious. I never wanted to believe in a doctrine that has been passed down with seemingly arbitrary rules and strange customs. I don't like the idea of a higher being or anything like that. In fact, I tend to not be friends with super religious people (with the exception of one or two who are too awesome not to be friends with). So... it was weird when I made a new friend and got to know him and his religion.

I think when I make friends with people and really get to know someone, I give them a lot of leeway. Since I do care about my friends as individuals, I no longer try to lump them into some random category.

My friend is religious. He is religious enough that it shocks me. What shocked me more is the fact that he didn't grow up religious. I wanted to know what sort of intelligent, sensible human would spontaneously choose to listen to doctrines and follow random practices? I've discussed this issue with him. I think his answer boils down to the fact that he believes in God. Because he believes in God, he respects the god. From his respect stems a desire to honor the god. I think, in the end, following certain (what I think are silly and irrational sometimes) codes, practices, and traditions is a way to identify specifically with the religion he follows.

Somehow I'm ok with that. He made it personal and he doesn't blindly follow parts of his religion made up purely by church denominations. I think knowing how he chooses and his choices makes me feel more comfortable with his religion and its presence when I interact with him.

 I don't know if my willingness to give my friend leeway is something that has intrinsically changed in my views, but it is something that I ponder often.


Dec 18, 2010

Reverb (13 and 14)


December 13 – Action When it comes to aspirations, it’s not about ideas. It’s about making ideas happen. What’s your next step? (Author: Scott Belsky)
Actually, I'm not sure where I want to go in life. I know the next step no matter what I want to do is to get a PhD. That means finishing graduate school, which I am doing. It also means I need to read the stuff this weekend for TAing my PI's class next semester. I have the files on my computer, so at least I've done that.

As for my aspirations... I don't know for sure. I'd like to do research. I want to know enough to have my own lab and lead my own projects. I don't have the confidence for that, so maybe the really abstract and difficult "next step" is to learn enough to have confidence in what I have to say.

Sometimes I wonder if what I say hold any weight. For example, I piped up in lab meeting today and made a comment about some stuff I worked on last semester. I felt like I should be the one talking about it because I knew it so well. Then again, when my PI turned to look at me (I think she was surprised I decided to start talking), I felt myself flush. I don't know if anyone else noticed, but my ears got all tingly and my heart beat faster. I didn't know if I was supposed to say something and ended up justifying why I was talking by explaining how I had worked on the issue.

So maybe my next step is confidence. I want to gain more confidence in what I do. I want to at least be able to PRETEND to have an ego. I used to have an ego, back in high school. Looking back, I'm not sure if I like that me: the obnoxious one who looks down at people when they don't understand me. I still judge people, but differently now, and I hope that me will stay around.

December 14 – Appreciate What’s the one thing you have come to appreciate most in the past year? How do you express gratitude for it? (Author: Victoria Klein)

I don't know what I've come to appreciate in the past year. I know I appreciate a lot of things: the internet (which my roomie talked about well enough that I shouldn't bother venturing there), board games, technology of all sorts, the weather (especially rainy days), good tea, earthworms (even if I don't like the way they move), fire, electricity, home made food, cooking my own food my way, alcohol, etc.

I don't really know what I've come to appreciate this year... well, maybe standing fans. Yes. Fans. Those things that blow air at you when you feed it electricity. I appreciate those because my roommate and I decided we wouldn't turn the temperature of our apt lower than 80 in the summer (it sucked for me, let me tell you, but our electricity bill was RIDICULOUS, so it was wise). I couldn't sleep sometimes. Now I really appreciate standing fans.Did I learn to appreciate this the most? I don't know what that means, but I'll say no.

What do I most appreciate? Being alive. I don't think anything else would matter if I'm not. It's something I'm hyper aware of when I think about it. It's logical and one of those strange things that constant cross my mind.

Maybe if we put my two answers together we can pretend it's "What I have come to appreciate most:" standing fans keeping me alive. I think that's reasonable. Don't you?


Dec 17, 2010

Reverb10 (11 and 12)

December 11 – 11 Things What are 11 things your life doesn’t need in 2011? How will you go about eliminating them? How will getting rid of these 11 things change your life? (Author: Sam Davidson)

(wow, this is difficult)

At school:
1) Bad data -- I need to be more meticulous.
2) My project not working -- read more, pay attention, talk to people in lab
3) Bad grades -- I'm doing ok right now, not perfect, but not horribly. I could work harder. Maybe study more intently, actually review material the day or day after I am exposed to it.
4) Lateness -- while i'm never REALLY late for lab, I always feel bad because I tend to get there later than I want (9:30 instead of 9:00 or 9:15). I really should start being more efficient in the mornings

Personal habits:
5) Wasteful spending -- pay more attention. Stop and ask myself: will I ever use this? or better yet: Do you really need this?
6) Procrastination -- I'm really not sure how to make this better. I can keep on trying to start things a week before instead of the day of though.
7) Over eating -- I need to be more like my roommate and stop eating when my tummy tells me it's satiated. Unfortunately, unlike her, I still want to eat when I'm full. -_-;
8) Over caffeination -- I'm a caffeine addict. I can't help it. Unless it's times of stress (tests, due dates, etc) I really shouldn't have more than one latte and a cup of tea a day (unless it's herbal tea, or if i don't drink coffee, I can have 3 cups of black tea, 5 of green?).

9) Too many video games -- while i love them, I really don't need them as an addiction. -_-; I'll just pay more attention and maybe set a timer. I like the idea of setting timers.
10) Over brewing tea or burning baked goods -- I hate it when I make tea and it gets over brewed or forget I'm making cookies and get distracted for 20+ minutes. I really do need to remember to set timers.
11) Gaining weight -- My weight fluctuates. I try to lose weight -- I lose 5-10 lbs. Then I sorta stop worrying and gain it all back. It's really frustrating. I think working on 7 will help with this one. Merrrrrrr.

December 12 – Body Integration This year, when did you feel the most integrated with your body? Did you have a moment where there wasn’t mind and body, but simply a cohesive YOU, alive and present? (Author: Patrick Reynolds)

I'm not sure. I don't usually think about my body and my mind as separate entities. Take typing for example (I think this must apply to others too): I talk to myself in my head and that little voice communicates with my fingers before I can even really process where all the letters are. If I tried to think through all the letters of all the words I'm trying to spell and their locations on the keyboard, then it'd take me forever to type anything. Contrary to what the question suggests, I think it's when I'm HYPER AWARE of my mind and body that I feel alive and present. When I'm not aware, I take life for granted and I don't really think about it.

Enough with critiquing the question. I love water and when I swim I move without thinking. I'm really glad I was never competitive as a swimmer and thus never stopped loving the water. I guess I did have moment when I hated SWIM PRACTICE but I knew very clearly that it was the constant repetition and yelling and competitiveness that I disliked and not the water. I'm grateful for not needing to be that in shape. I'm grateful for being able to just sit back in my mind and allow the water flow over me when I'm swimming. I like the way my shoulders move when I swim backstroke (even if I can't seem to swim in a straight line). I like the way the water parts when I swim breaststroke. Up and down. Over, under, diving into the calmness and splitting it apart. I like how I feel like I'm floating at the interface between water and air when I swim free. Lastly, butterfly. When I'm actually swimming it and not failing (ie after 25 yards b/c I'm really out of shape), I love the rhythm it provides. I think swimming one of the times I feel most alive.

I also like it when I'm walking and the wind starts to play with my hair. It feels very cartoon (specifically anime) like and dramatic. When I notice it, it makes me smile.I think it's one of the reasons I keep my hair so long.


Dec 16, 2010

Reverb10 (9 and 10)

December 9 – Party Prompt: Party. What social gathering rocked your socks off in 2010? Describe the people, music, food, drink, clothes, shenanigans.

I LOVE hosting game nights. In the beginning of the year, we would play Settlers of Catan and drink wine. If people were too tipsy, they would just stay over and spend the night at my place. Somewhere along the way, we added more people to game nights and now when I hold game nights, it ends up being crazy and fun and filled with people.

Currently, the favorite game is Names in a Hat. Basically, everyone writes fairly well known people's name onto slips of paper and put it in a hat/bag. We then split into two teams and go through every name in the hat 3 times. The first time is taboo, then one word + charades, then charades.  It's really fun and sometimes random associations yield really funny responses. :)

My favorite was when a person said President. A girl was about to blurt out Obama (and did) but just after the person said Slave. It was awkward but hysterical.

December 10 – Wisdom Wisdom. What was the wisest decision you made this year, and how did it play out?

I'm not sure if I think any of my decisions are WISE. I think I tried changing my diet in the summer and that was a good decision. I ate lots of fruit and veggies in the morning and for lunch. It helped me watch what I was eating and controlled what I was eating. I ended up losing about 5 lbs. It was nice. I should try that again.


Dec 15, 2010

Reverb10 (7 and 8)

December 7 – Community. Where have you discovered community, online or otherwise, in 2010? What community would you like to join, create or more deeply connect with in 2011?

As my roommate said in her post, we found the St. Louis burning community this year. I really like them. I want to get to know them better and maybe even expand my contacts to the Missouri burning community and so on.  I really like the artsy, loving, open culture. :) Additionally, my lab is very close knit. I'm fairly good friends with everyone in lab and it's a very positive community I'd like to maintain.

I think I want to learn breaking better and art better. I might try to get involved in the STL art community (if I find time) or go breaking with the undergraduates on campus more. Other than those, I'm happy with where I am right now community-wise. 

December 8 – Beautifully Different. Think about what makes you different and what you do that lights people up. Reflect on all the things that make you different – you’ll find they’re what make you beautiful.

I think this little parody song sums it up fairly well:

The wonderful thing about Haoppo, is Haoppo's a wonderful thing
Her head is made of crazy
Her feet wish they had wings
She's silly, willy, nilly, but not frilly
Fun Fun Fun FUN FUN!
The wonderful thing about Haoppo, is I'm the ONLY one!


Dec 14, 2010

Reverb10 (5 and 6)

December 5 – Let Go. What (or whom) did you let go of this year? Why?
My ex boyfriend, because he broke up with me and then ignored me.  I also let go of the stuffed animals I let him borrow. They can stay with him. I hope he'll love them.

December 6 – Make. What was the last thing you made? What materials did you use? Is there something you want to make, but you need to clear some time for it?

I'm not sure. A book out of notebook paper, cereal box cardboard, thread, glue, and pretty paper? A modular origami shape out of lots of square sheets of paper? A painting of water color paints, crayons, and paper? A latte from milk, ground coffee, and water? My ipod case from felt, thread, and a really cute button. Cookies from flour, eggs, sugar, butter, craisins, cinnamon, and white chocolate.

I need to finish making a random blanket for one of my best friends. I can't seem to figure out how to embroider. Once that's worked out, he'll get his blanket.


Dec 13, 2010

Reverb10 (3 and 4)

December 3 – Moment. Pick one moment during which you felt most alive this year. Describe it in vivid detail (texture, smells, voices, noises, colors).

This is a difficult question for me. Ha. One moment. If this were 2008, the answer would be easy. There was one rainy afternoon over the summer that made me look outside and gather two friends to go dancing in the rain. We changed into clothing we didn't care about and ran around bare footed: dancing, spinning, laughing, hugging. The roof poured water down in the form of a waterfall. We ran through it over and over and over. I didn't care the water was dirty. I don't think my friends did either. The feel of the water, the way my eyes could barely focus, the freedom my toes felt, and the sound of our laughter really made me feel alive. We let go of inhibitions and let ourselves just BE. I was shivering but our laughter made me forget about the cold.

I don't think I've done anything that awesome this year. There are moments when the sound of leaves crunching as I trample over them or the way sunlight glows on a fall morning will make me hyper aware of existence, but I haven't achieved that carefree feeling of aliveness. I miss it, actually. Moments that have come close include waking up at 6:25 am to go watch the sun rise with a friend on his rooftop, lighting my hair on fire when I was fire spinning, and allowing myself to get drenched by chilling rain while waiting for the metrolink train. Unfortunately, all these cases were not filled with the purity of appreciating the moment or sort of laughter that accompanies being completely alive. The 6 am sunrise was filled with my worrying about labwork. Lighting my hair on fire happened too fast and was too scary to be really savored. Lastly, dancing alone in chilling rain with a friend staring and watching me leaves a loneliness inside -- a loneliness that asks, "Why won't you join me? What are you thinking? Why can't you forget about judgmental eyes?"

I want to find someone to dance in the rain with me.

December 4 – Wonder. How did you cultivate a sense of wonder in your life this year?

This question is easier.  Wonder is something I try to live by.  I like savoring moments (unless I'm really hungry and just devouring my food or in a super hurry and must meet stupid deadlines).

In terms of food I come off as being a bit (sometimes extremely) obsessive. I like eating smoked salmon and pulling apart the fibers of flesh. I like sipping tea and drinking coffee slowly and then quickly to see how the sensations changes. I also like trying things at different temperatures. My apples are usually sliced super thin because it changes my perception of their texture. I also slice my cheese (usually swiss cave aged gruyere) super thin and then eat it with the apple. I put peanut butter on my oreos and make sure it's smeared perfectly. When I try new foods, I try the components individually and then see if I can taste every permutation as well as the entity as a whole. I like experiencing how flavors change with each chew and the different orders and places flavors hit my palate. I like trying new foods and being surprised or horrified by them. :)

In other aspects, I am a child a heart. It's something I don't want to ever go away. I like colors and staring at colors. I still own a large box of crayons and enjoy coloring with them. I like picking ginko leaves off ginko trees in the fall. There's something really nice about the way the leaves look -- that unique fan shape other leaves aren't. I like taking walks and smelling the air or bouncing on leaves and listening to them crunch. I like trying to climb a tree -- I don't mind getting stuck or getting scraped. The way the sun sets and the colors that end up dancing around my eyes make me happy. I like looking at people's eyes when they're staring at the setting sun. Eyes glow really pretty and the way people's irises move can be interesting. I giggle at stupid things, funny things, little things. Sometimes I giggle and fall over while my friends just look at me confused. I try to appreciate little things. Not losing my sense of childish wonderment keeps me engaged in the world.

Dec 12, 2010

Reverb10 (1 and 2)

My roommate is doing Reverb10 on her blog. I think it's a great idea, so I'm copying her. That is that. Since I'm behind, I will answer two Reverb prompts a day until I catch up. So... here goes nothing on reflecting about my life. (I don't really do this much anymore, but I feel it'll be good for me.)

December 1 – One Word. Encapsulate the year 2010 in one word. Explain why you’re choosing that word. Now, imagine it’s one year from today, what would you like the word to be that captures 2011 for you?

Movement. I think 2010 has been a year where I have been getting over things and moving on. I finally got over an ex. I passed my qualifying exam. I got off my lazy butt and started this blog. My roommate and I finally found fire people. I see myself doing things I wanted to do. I visited a friend in Seattle. I also drove to Chicago on my own. China was another place I went. While my cousin was there to help me navigate, but I think I was rather independent. I'm brave enough to drive 5 hours by myself now -- something I wouldn't have done a year ago. I've gone places and I feel like my life is going places. I also see myself changing. All in all, there is lots of movement in my life.

Hopefully, at this time next year, I'll say I was adventurous. I want to do things and experience things next year. I want to go on adventures... or at least feel accomplished. Maybe I want my word to be accomplished. I don't feel as accomplished this year.... hopefully next year I'll start projects and complete them in timely manners and have lots to show for my time. I also hope my research will take off and I will be happily busy. Stasis isn't a good state to be in for me. I require motion (metaphorically as well as literally).

December 2 – Writing. What do you do each day that doesn’t contribute to your writing — and can you eliminate it?

I think my  lack of writing everyday does not contribute to my writing. Maybe I will blog more. Maybe I can keep a journal again.I'm not sure if I think it's necessary to contribute to my writing everyday -- mostly because I'm not always thinking about writing. I do think, however, I should try writing Chinese more. I have a nagging fear that I will forget the language and the writing. I guess even reading Chinese more regularly will help that. LOL.

That's all for now.

Dec 6, 2010

Thanksgiving Baking

I decided to make PIES! :D

So I ended up making a pumpkin and a pecan pie from scratch (well, as close to scratch as I can get when I use canned pumpkin... I didn't use pumpkin spice mix though!)

Dec 3, 2010

Chicago (Part II)

My friend was free on Saturday for most of the day, so we wandered the city together. We went shopping, and Pengu made some friends outside a random store: