He transformed into a tough security guard, and wherever I went, he was there….
Last night, I had an disturbing dream where a coworker’s omnipresence at a building’s every entrance unsettled me. With his steely gaze, he said firmly, “Sa, you can’t leave. You have been QUARANTINED.” I look behind me to find a packed auditorium surrendering to the shadows.
This morning, the city mayor and important officials imposed a shelter-in-place order on the residents for at least three weeks to help “flatten the curve“. Those who choose not to follow the rules can face a fine of $2000.
In the midst of the fearful masses, courageous people throughout the community have displayed admirable, selfless acts of service. A small alteration business has been donating their fabric to help make more masks for the medical professionals in the hospital. There has been an increase in volunteers at the homeless shelters and food banks helping those that are most vulnerable.
Fear and faith can’t occupy the same space.
A friend shared a post-it note and the above declaration with me. I thought to share this post-it with you and invite you to reflect on these questions in your own lives.
1. What are you GRATEFUL for today?
Good morning from my end! 🌻🌅
Emojis! Regardless of how Rory Gilmore feels about them!
Stress-relief balls of all shapes and sizes!
Yarn for crocheting Harry Potter House scarves for everyone!
Adult coloring books, comic books, and magazines to create collages!
Business and work that allows me to work from home!
But seriously…. Most of all… Dare I say it? 😆 YOU’RE da bomb! 💣💥
Today, I celebrate having 600 followers on my blog! 🍹💝 THANK YOU! You guys are all rock stars in my eyes! 🙌 Shining bright like diamonds in the sky creating beautiful constellations.
Find light in the beautiful sea, I choose to be happy You and I, you and I, we’re like diamonds in the sky You’re a shooting star I see, a vision of ecstasy …. At first sight I felt the energy of sun rays I saw the life inside your eyes
Each of you has impacted my world one way or another. Words cannot express how deeply appreciative I am for your presence. You have brought a full spectrum of emotions from jubilation, sadness, humor, and companionship into my life by sharing pockets of your life through a variety of mediums: film, poetry, story, & photos.
Truly, you’ve made my life richer. You’ve even inspired me to take my first virtual poetry workshop (Sharpened Visions) hosted by California Institute of the Arts on Coursera which I never thought I would do.
2. Who am I CHECKING IN or CONNECTING WITH today?
Unable to visit anyone due to new laws enacted in my city, I’ve checked in family, friends, coworkers, former coworkers, and other acquaintance-friends in my phone book. A friend who worked on the front lines as a medical worker passed away recently.
Today I’m checking in with you! How are you? Are you relishing the homebody lifestyle? Or…are you itching go somewhere?
3. What expectations of “NORMAL” am I LETTING GO OF today?
Such a timely question considering how the purpose of my blog explores just that! Lately, I’ve noticed that there is a deeper spiritual hunger which wants to be quenched perhaps not just in myself but around the world. I came across this story below.
Finally, after over an hour, a beautiful sight rose before my eyes. The Yamuna River, descended from the Himalayas, having flowed through the plains of North India, was embracing Mother Ganges—Yamuna with her complexion of deep blue, Ganges with hers of white, and the transparent Saraswati joined them from below.Sitting on the sandy bank, I gazed into the cloudless blue sky.
There, a hawk, wings extended, soared the airways. His reddish-brown feathers shone in the sun as he hovered lower and lower, till he was just a few yards above my head, his glistening yellow eyes intently scanning the river. Suddenly he plunged headlong into the Ganges.
There, a frantic underwater skirmish ensued until he emerged with a flapping fish, about a foot long, pierced in the grip of his talons. Squirming desperately, the fish was carried overhead and into a nearby forest. Looking on I reflected:
The unsuspecting fish, who knew nothing but a life in the river, went about its routine like any other day, but in an instant was ripped out of its reality to meet with death.
Like that fish, we routinely live our lives hardly aware that, at the least expected moment, the yellow-eyed hawk of fate in the form of crises, tragedy, or even death, may wrench us out of our comfortable environment.
We regularly hear of it in the news or see it around us but rarely take seriously that it could happen to us. Perhaps the lesson here is to guard against complacency and give higher priority to our spiritual needs.
If the fish swam deeper, the hawk would not be able reach it. Similarly, if we go deeper into our connection to God, we will find an inner reality so deep and so satisfying that it lifts the consciousness to a place where we could deal with the effects of unforeseeable fate with a stable, detached mind.
Just when I think I’m going to be doing haikus for the rest of the year due to my tight schedule…
Blogger “Normal Happenings” has tagged me in an interesting challenge that seems to coincide with a random daily horoscope I received a few days ago from a free Vedic astrology app called Yodha. (By the way, I like your new branding! It’s bold and glowing like a neon sign. 🙂 )
Happy new year! For those of you who are new to my blog, welcome! Thank you so much for following my blog, and I will be swinging by to read yours as well. I see a lot of new faces out there, and I just want to say hi! This is my fun, personal blog where I typically write about all sorts of subjects in a variety of formats: poetry, story, photo-story, music. I’m about to start another blog for school related stuff, but that’ll be shared on another post!
You may wonder how did I encounter Vedic astrology? Well! One day, I was chatting with a young lady about the staggering synchronicity in both our lives, and she told me about how she regularly talks to her Vedic astrologist for all sorts of decisions. She said that she made some of the best business decisions of her life with his guidance and that it is a lot more accurate than western astrology. I was skeptical because there are a lot of quacks out there as you well know, but intrigued nevertheless.
So, I downloaded the free Yodha Daily Horoscope app where authentic Vedic astrologists from Nepal share with you their insights. I started learning more about it. Apparently there are Indian universities that offer advanced courses in Vedic astrology despite scientists protesting about it being a pseudoscience. Jyotisha is the traditional system of Hindu astrology. Its etymology is from the Sanskrit term, “jyoti” meaning “light heavenly body”. The term Vedic astrology came about later around the 70s.
Below are the sort of messages I get. This is one I received this morning:
“Due to your nature, you are a rather positive person. You are someone who can find a silver lining in most of the situations. Perhaps you are aware of this gift and know how to implement it. At times, you can put a smile on your face even when the circumstances don’t naturally warrant it and in doing so you can spread good vibrations to others. Nevertheless, it is important to understand that not everyone has that gift and you may be dealing with someone who doesn’t. The planets are encouraging you to show how it’s done.”
Astrologer P. Bhattarai
Anyway, back to the horoscope that inspired this post! She mentioned how when time and money permits, I enjoy traveling to an exotic locale and experiencing new things. However, lately, I may be seeking a more spiritual experience which may not be a physical location: a journey to understand myself better, gain a deeper understanding of myself, be more conscious and aware. I thought Daily Inkling’s prompt might help me explore this arena!
“Write 24 talking points between current you and you from seven years ago. Consider teaching yourself something you’ve picked up since then.“
Seven years ago was the year 2013. A pivotal point in my life: the beginning of a lot of new things, drastic changes to my lifestyle. This is a rare occasion when all of my category boxes on my blog have been checked! I’ve chosen 24 random topics to discuss in no particular order: then vs. now!
2013: Grocery store cashier – Served a lot of people from all walks of life! I love to meet new people and listening to their stories.
2020: Technical writer for a cybersecurity firm & vacation business manager – nice balance between the two!
I read a lot of books during both years, but I’ll just mention two for now:
2013:Shantaram, an epic, philosophical tale of an Australian convict opening up clinics in the slums of India
“Some feelings sink so deep into the heart that only loneliness can help you find them again. Some truths are so painful that only shame can help you live with them. Some things are so sad that only your soul can do the crying for them.”
2020:The Atlas of Happiness: The Global Secrets of How to be Happy – People worldwide share unique testimonials of what made them happy
Optimism isn’t frivolous: it’s necessary. If we feel hopeless all the time, if we’re always in crisis, the natural response is to give up and stop trying altogether. But we can’t let snark win. Problems are there to be solved. Challenges, to be met. We can be aware of the bad while also being mindful of how we can make it better. … Empathy is essential, and learning what matters to people on the other side of the world helps us all. Understanding how different nations view happiness can impact how we interact with one another going forward.
2013: Friends were there to lift my spirits, give me warm cup of tea when going through a new challenge, have fun in the cosplay contests at school. Really enjoyed checking out the Ghostbusters!
2020: All of the above still applies, but my friendships seem to have more depth and honesty. Also, true friendship has a way of helping me see things in myself that I didn’t think was capable.
2013: I took my family and friends to check out the Arboretum gardens in Dallas, TX during special holidays like Mother’s Day
2020: I hope to visit Vanderpool, TX sometime and bask in the warm glow of the “lost maple trees” during autumn
2013: Infatuated by a gentle young man I met one beautiful autumn day while feeding the birds at the pier down by the lake. A rather electrifying meeting, though the relationship never developed due to my fear of commitment.
2020: Enjoying a long term relationship of 4 years. Its been a dream come true filled fun adventures, humor, and passion with the normal ups and downs of life.
2013: Attended community college on a digital forensics academic track. The most memorable project was where I developed a website for a hypothetical geologist living in Colorado. He was studying various types of gemstones he found during his excavations. I researched stories of legends surrounding their origin.
2020: Currently working on an online masters program for technology and innovation management track. The most memorable project so far involved a hypothetical four million dollars granted to me to develop a civil engineering software application from start to finish.
7) Volunteer Cause
2013: I worked with a group of friends with Habitat for Humanity. Learned a lot about house building and painting!
2020: Currently helping a school teacher collect cans and plastics with the Rotary Club for a contest with Pepsi Co.
2013: Had a thing for barre workouts!
2020: About to do Hot Yoga with my cowokers!
2013: Back when Google+ was around, I heavily got involved with a sustainability discussion group for many hours. The discussions intrigued me. I wanted to learn how to be eco-friendly and be up to date with all of it.
2020: I’m itching to get plugged into community initiatives regarding sustainability issues. They’re looking for ideas, and I hope to contribute in someway!
2013: I fancied the idea of being a student blogger on campus. I applied, but was turned down for the position. It may have been because the writing sample I sent was about the sound of a lovely bell ringing off in the distance as I was walking around the campus lake to class. Maybe they want more samples about student life? 🙂
Below is the walkway of the lovely campus I used to walk by often.
2020: Didn’t matter! Here I am blogging my heart out on my own without anyone else’s approval! I don’t know why I thought of it sooner! 😉
Blogging my thoughts has been a freeing, exciting experience. Thank you to my readers for making the experience so worthwhile!
12) Fashion Interests
2013: Bold floral-print Sunday dresses
2020: Bandage skirts, Currently love them! Sorry no picture of me in them, but I love to wear them with leggings
2013: 30 Rock, CSI Miami, Supernatural, Glee
2020: Meteor Garden, Witcher, Miraculous Lady Bug
2013: Frozen, Iron Man III, Man of Steel, The Croods, Monsters University
2020: Star Wars (2019), want to see Mulan, Artemis Fowl, Sonic
There were a lot of news stories that deeply affected me and my path trajectory.
2013: Nelson Mandela’s death, Boston Marathon bombing, Edward Snowden
Nelson Mandela was a leader whom I was captivated by. Boston Marathon and Edward Snowden prompted my interests in security.
The news story above impacts me because it deals with one of my favorite childhood pastimes. My first major Lego project was a pirate ship. Always fascinated by adventure even then! Will be going to a Lego Brick Fiesta event with some friends this year to indulge in this interest!
2013: Followed Maria Sharapova tennis matches quite a bit since I practiced developing my forearm swing at the tennis courts!
2020: I might go check out some Spurs basketball players play! Matt Bonner signed my basketball. He was so down-to-earth and friendly!
2013: I was really curious about consumer drones. Always felt tempted to buy one to take awesome aerial photos and videos from the sky!
2020: Right now, I’m super curious about the Click and Grow smart garden!
18) Favorite Hang-out spots
2013: White Rock Lake, Dallas, TX
I enjoyed walking sections around this park almost every day. Seeing the scenery change with the seasons is a great beauty. I once walked around the whole park which took four hours! There are some incredibly beautiful views, expansive hiking trails, fishing spots. There’s also a well known ghost story as well about the Lady of White Rock Lake! One of my favorite memories is sitting on a wooden bench on top of a hill and seeing the sunset as the breeze is blowing the tall grasses.
2020: Riverwalk & Pearsall Park in San Antonio, TX
I enjoy walking downtown and checking out the riverboats with curious spectators gliding by in this river. At night, it’s bustling with tourist activity. Families and couples are dining in the restaurants. Some of my favorite memories here was when my brother visited me and we got to listen to a beautiful mariachi band singing a lovely serenade and when my boyfriend and I celebrated Christmas slow dancing in the island platform.
I love to go jogging here with my exercise buddy early mornings! The fields and the hills are incredible. Breathing in the fresh cold air is refreshing.
2013: I was trying to continue my Spanish studies on Babbel
2020: Duolingo’s mascot, a little owl, has been guiding me in learning Spanish and Vietnamese basics. It’s been fun learning from their podcasts too!
2013: For an English literature assignment, I had the opportunity to watch a live Shakespearean comedic play, Taming of the Shrew.
2020: Curious about the Miss Saigon musical in town!
2013: Fascinated by Google’s chart that compiled deforestation rates by country
2020: Currently checking out Mongobay’s environmental snippet summary
2013: Learned about Healthcare.gov’s crashing website as millions of Americans tried to sign up for healthcare under the Affordable Care Act. Stress is relative though!
2020: Everyone around me is getting the flu! Got my flu shot. Learning about personalized AI medical care innovations
2013: Played Juice Cubes a bit!
2020: Curious about Smash Hit and Megaman Zero!
24) Quote I lived by
2013: Eleanor Roosevelt impacted me from an early age.
“Do the thing you think you cannot do. You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.”
2020: Right now, these below! More to come later!
Never underestimate the power you have to take your life in a new direction
“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.
That was fun! See you soon everyone! Hope you enjoyed it! 🙂
A really good couch knows just how to greet you when you walk in from a long hard day out in the world. The cushions knows the shape of your body as you sink into the softness. Sometimes, I find that I’m more productive working on my laptop as I’m relaxing on the couch. I love to snuggle up with a blanket on the couch and read a book or get into the rhythm of a crochet session.
I wonder how couches come in handy during psychotherapy. Are you just relaxed enough to share things with your psychiatrist that you normally wouldn’t? Is your mind more able to explore and access your memories, feelings, and thoughts?
This past month I’ve been so active, and I would love to watch a few movies now, but I need to finish some homework. Make some trail mix and popcorn.
I’ve even cancelled my plans to go to San Japan convention this weekend. The convention draws in thousands of people every year. I sewed my own cosplay outfit based on a favorite childhood TV show, Sailor Moon. I was inspired by the quality in of the outfits in this photo:
The circle skirt pattern required a bit of mathematics, but I will fix it for next year.
…but in the meantime, I’m a couch potato working on homework – risk matrices and financial budget sheets. I’ll come back here later and share a few stories when I’m done! 🙂
An ephemeral network outage happened last night. I could not access the internet to do research for my homework on my laptop, read my books on my Kindle, or watch my evening Netflix shows to wind down for the day. I felt somewhat relieved that I could unplug for the day. It’s rather difficult for me to do at times.
I decided to test out one of Rory’s snifty pens that I requested and doodled in a notebook for the evening. The pen smelled like birthday cake! You inspired me last evening to create a rather interesting world…
Every Thursday, I will pick up a “prompt word” to be acted upon by y’all. You are free to go wild with your imagination and interpret the “prompt” in any way that you like – photo, prose, poetry, fiction, non-fiction, quotes, articles or drawing/painting – whatever works for you! In short, it’s all about you being the BOSS and choosing the best way possible to express and depict your understanding of the prompt and go berserk!
I’m going to entertain myself and let myself daydream for a moment! My boyfriend would be happy to read this. He daydreams quite often, and as a result comes up with amazing ideas and solutions. I tend to underestimate the benefits reaped from simply sitting back on a bed somewhere and letting my mind wander. Sometimes I find myself drawn in many directions as I am an eclectic person. Let’s see where my stream of consciousness takes me today!
Nox @ The Daily Spur shared this photo prompt and the first thing that comes to my mind is the contours of a geological topographic map and pleated fabric. It’s minimalist, yet intriguing with its curves and shadows revealing layers and depth. I can almost imagine feeling the texture of it in my hands!
Seeing pleated fabric in Nox’s images inspires me to search for images of several pleated dresses and I stumble across some stunning gowns. I’ll save these ideas as they can be applied to future projects.
As I’m looking at this array of photos, I can’t help but think of an inspirational image I saved of Coco Chanel who was sitting at a studio desk of sorts. She had this look of wonder as she drew sketches of what she wanted to create next. The backdrop was a variety of sewing supplies in a chaotic mess of sorts. Yet, the expression on her face reflected a very clear vision of what she was going to achieve. I remembered thinking to myself, “I want to feel what Coco Chanel is feeling.” Excitement, passion, enthusiasm integrated in a grounding sense of purpose.
Coco Chanel was born Gabrielle Bonheur Chanel in 1883 in France. After her mother died, her father, a peddler dropped her off at an orphanage where she learned to sew. The name Coco came from her early career as a singer. She opened her shop in 1910 initially selling hats, and as she branched out, she began making clothes. Her initial success in sewing came after she refashioned an old jersey into a dress on a cold day. She continued to build on top of her thriving business by creating a fragrance line. She describes perfume so elegantly here:
Suddenly, I’m remembering my mother’s favorite Coco Chanel perfume: Nth degree #5. This elegant and timeless scent will always remind me of mom. I remembered when she found a good deal at the souvenir shop at the airport, a set of three bottles for $60 or so. Mom always loves to drift away to a fanciful world that she dreams and often brought me along with her.
Coco had her share of ups and downs in her life. She had an controversial love life tinged with a bit of scandal and some fascinating friendships including Winston Churchill, Pablo Picasso, and Igor Stravinski! Now I’ll just reflect on some bold quotes by Coco Chanel and keep dreaming. Thanks for reading, dear dreamer! Till next time! 😉
Good afternoon everyone! I would like to sincerely thank Jason @ Proscenium for nominating me for a Sunshine Blogger Award. He hosts the fun Friday Follies photo challenge (hilarious entries from participants), takes interesting photos and gives a slice of his day while promoting other bloggers. Please stop by and take a look into his world!
Rules for Award:
Thank the person who nominated you and provide a link back to their blog so others can find them.
Answer the 11 questions asked by the blogger who nominated you.
Nominate 11 other bloggers and ask them 11 new questions.
Notify the nominees about it by commenting on one of their blog posts. (In my case, I tag!)
List the rules and display a Sunshine Blogger Award logo on your post and/or your blog site.
Is what you’re doing now what you always wanted to do growing up? If not, what did you always want to be “when you grew up?” Was there a reason why?
Short answer: yes and no. 🙂
When I was a young girl, I wanted to be a doctor “when I grew up”. I imagined taking care of a clinic full of sick stuffed animals who needed care. I just wanted them to be happy again so that we can drink tea together. I always felt called to help people feel better. I was sensitive to those who were suffering. In college, I attempted to do a pre-med track only to get burnt out in the process. I didn’t get much sleep in those years and didn’t eat properly either because of the stress of maintaining a decent GPA to get into medical school.
I was rattled and a train wreck three years into the program. I later explained to my parents that perhaps this isn’t the right path for me and decided to do some soul searching. I asked myself what were things that I enjoyed doing: listening to music, art, writing, crafty activities, gardening, tinkering with tech stuff. Changing my course wasn’t easy at first. In the course of my recuperation, I decided to participate in a “Trash-to-Treasure” environmental contest hosted by my school after reading a story about some inventive dresses made out of recycled products.
There was a deadline to the project so I decided to go with a simpler project. I was later inspired by a curtain made out of plastic bottle parts and enjoyed the process of connecting all the pieces together. Time just flew by and I had fun!
What is/was a relationship deal breaker for you? Why? Is that the same for friendships?
As understanding and patient I can be, I’ve had quite a few deal breakers even in the midst some redeeming qualities they may have. Some deal breakers for me for relationships and friendships alike were individuals with abusive personalities, poor hygiene/uncleanliness, and laziness. It’s difficult for me to cut ties due to my desire to help people through problems, but there are times when it is necessary for my own well being.
Anyone who has been around abusive people knows that they create an incredibly toxic environment for you and they will drain you physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Sometimes, they can be logical and knowledgeable yet hurtful with their arrogance. Constantly taking a beating figuratively and literally eventually takes its toll. Taking care of myself means giving myself space from those sorts of individuals.
Poor hygiene has always irked me. It is very difficult to be in close proximity around someone who doesn’t bother to brush their teeth or take regular showers. I can take note of their compassion, but at a distance?
Laziness bugs me because if people won’t make the effort to work on a relationship, why be in one? It reveals to me that they don’t care, and if they don’t care, then I won’t feel adequately cared for. Laziness is different than resting or recreation. I’ve always been surrounded by hardworking people all my life and I’ve seen the fruits of that labor play out in various facets of their lives including their relationships.
What’s something you can’t go a day without doing?
“If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien
Eating! Good food can instantly change my mood and worldview on life. I love the delectable colors of this vegetable skewer!
“One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.”
What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done for love?
There was a relationship I had which didn’t last, but it taught me a lot of important life lessons. The craziest thing I think I did for love was that I got down on my knees and cried in front of this individual. In hindsight, it doesn’t sound too crazy, but at the time I refused to be vulnerable because I didn’t want to show any weaknesses. I set up so many walls that guys used to think that I didn’t have feelings. They would never see me cry, and I never wanted someone to take advantage of my heart. The moment I tore down the walls I built for myself, I was open to what was going to happen, and that scared me.
What scene in a movie has evoked the most feelings out of you?
There are certain scenes in movies that stand out in my memory. Life changers.
Typically, the ones that have evoked the most feelings are the ones I don’t think I’ll ever want to see again: war, WWII, Holocaust. Movies about featuring the depravity in the Holocaust like Schindler’s List, Sophie’s Choice, Boy in the Striped Pajamas. The final scene in Schindler’s List where Oscar talks about saving one more life, the scene where Sophie is asked to choose which of her children shall survive, the scene where the boys go to the gas chamber…
Though I have never watched Passion of the Christ, I assumed it was going to evoke many feelings. My family and I avoided it for the brutal violence and the newspaper report of a woman getting a heart attack while watching it in the theater.
On the opposite side of the spectrum, some movie scenes that evoked incredibly positive emotions was the Amazonian training scene in Wonder Woman, the grandmother remembering her father in Coco, women achieving their dreams in Hidden Figures, Circle of Life in Lion King.
You are not obligated to respond to this award nomination, however it is a wonderful way for me to recognize your blogs! Thank you for being here!
Good evening everyone! Art has always been a relaxing hobby for me. I grew up with a friend who majored in art history and I dabbled in various art techniques after she chatted with me about stuff she’s learned. Today, I will explore a technique called pointillism which takes quite a bit of patience!
I’m gonna backtrack a little bit before pointillism to understand how it came to be. In the 1880s, two new styles of landscape painting were trending: impressionism & tonalism.
Impressionists often utilized vigorous brushstrokes and frequently applied paint thickly to their canvases via a technique called impasto. They sought to capture fleeting effects of sunlight and atmosphere. American impressionists preferred to paint everyday life: urban scenes of leisure and recreation.
Tonalism uses tonal harmonies to create the style’s heightened sense of intimacy. Some painters muted the detail in their work to create softly contoured representations of nature’s suggestive moments. (ie – twilight and dawn: mists prevails, light is less distinct, hues are susceptible to change). It typically evokes feelings of nostalgia in viewers.
Fast-forward to the post-impressionism era, painters began to try out a new direction in art and favored symbolism, idealism, and romanticism. They began to prefer subjectivity (conceptual) to objectivity (perceived).
In the late 1800’s, Georges Seurat and Paul Signac painted in a style called pointillism using “distinctive points of color to build form and image“.
The idea was based on Michel-Eugene Chevreul’s work as a chemist for a tapestry company. He studied the way that different colors contrasted with each other so that his company could develop more attractive tapestries.
Chevruel published his research in a treatise describing how colors can impose their complements on adjacent colors. “A red dot placed next to a blue dot can make the blue dot appear greenish because green is red’s complementary color.”
Painters, Paul Gauguin and Vincent Van Gogh, were symbolists who grounded their work not merely their observations in nature but in their emotions. I think about how the moon is gleaming so brightly here creating romantic, magical feelings as the wind is swirling in the sky.
Hello everyone! I’m sorry I haven’t been present for the past few weeks. February was just one of those busy months where I wondered exactly how I got involved with so much. “Eclectic Days of My Life” is a chronicle of my recent tales which I broke into two parts! I tend to have phases in my life where I unplug from a few technological devices, live life to the fullest, and then write about my tales afterwards. Here’s a “table of contents” for my recent adventures! 😀
Part 1 1. Lunar New Year (2/1-2/6) 2. “Made For More” Retreat (2/7) 3. Infinity Expo (2/9) 4. Hosting a Sushi Making Party (2/10)
Part 2 5. Cybersecurity Job Fair (2/13) 6. Valentine’s Day (2/14) 7. PopCon2019 (2/16) 8. Friend’s Anniversary Party (2/16)
Lunar New Year
It’s been a long while since I’ve seen my family. I was really excited to see them again and spend quality time. On the bus ride, I decided to write in my journal for five hours straight. I wanted to see what the stream of consciousness would produce and where my mind and imagination would take me as I stared out at the fields of grass rows of skyscrapers. I explored my past, politics, my philosophical coursework, animal rights, personality types, international affairs, gift giving. 😊 Daydreaming at my best I suppose. I like that travelling in buses give me the chance to do that.
It was a warm family welcome. Mom had made a delicious bowl of Bun Bo Hue (vermicelli soup with fried tofu and beef) for dinner and I cracked opened a coconut and enjoyed the cool refreshing juice. After dinner we began making banh chung together as a family. I fold the banana leaves to create a box of sorts and put in in a wooden mold to create a square structure. I begin putting the colored rice, mung bean or peanuts, and marinated pork. I wrap it up in foil and pat it down to fill the mold. We got the steamer ready and waited for the water to boil.
As we waited, my brother introduced us to fun card game called The Mind that was developed by a German game maker, Wolfgang Warsch. Guessing what cards my siblings may have by reading body language prove quite difficult. We made it to level six out of twelve! We called it a night after three rounds. I wore this knitted puppet who brought some laughs in this intense game.
The next evening we went out to Asia Times Square in Grand Prairie, TX. Celebrations and entertainment occur here for six days. Parking was packed. It took my brother and I 30 minutes to find parking at night, so it’s best to come early! The size of the crowd was dense. In the morning, there’s usually dances and shows of firecrackers.
Like Christmas, there’s plenty of light displays outside the plaza. Food vendors have set up stands or parked their trucks outside. It’s a good time for their businesses! There’s was a long line where the average wait time is 30 minutes.The funnel cake and kabobs were delicious.
Indoors, there were lion/dragon dances parading in the lobbies to the beat of the drummers banging away on drums half their size. People tip the teenagers who wear the dragon costumes who do tricks. Singers captivate the audience.
We walked inside the plaza exploring. I checked out various things that were out on display: dresses, K-pop posters, toys, flowers, food. Various institutions set up tables as well to advertise themselves: police/fire department, various non-profit groups, politicians.
After a few hours, we drove over to another plaza called Ben Thanh a few minutes down the street. Stores are decorated with several flowers. The singers sing traditional music that appeals to many of the masses with their lyrics. Cashiers at the grocery store give you raffle tickets towards a drawing for a brand new car each day you shop there. You can also buy each ticket for one dollar. Mom collected 8 tickets for me to place inside a large plastic container on stage. A woman told the audience that roughly 42,000 tickets were sold.
Two emcees periodically pulled tickets out of the container to award gift certificates to restaurants throughout the night. While listening to the beautiful music, I chatted to a man next to me while waiting for the results. He talked about how he felt when Vietnam was taken over by the Communist regime. A few tears sprung from his eyes when his son expressed interest in visiting Vietnam to learn more about his heritage. He said that he would never go back, but out of his love for his son, he decided to buy plane tickets for both of them. I learned about his experiences of raising children in America, his academic accomplishments in engineering, his views on music and culture. When the emcee finally called out the winner of the car, my heart almost stopped when he called out Sa Lee. It was another woman’s number. Now I know how the people in Willa Wonka felt with the golden tickets! 🙂 The older gentlemen wished me good luck in my endeavors as we bid each other good night.
The next morning, my family got ready to attend mass service at the church. My mother and I ironed our ao dai dresses as we got ready. After we arrived, there was a full house in the church as we listened to the priest talk about loving others. The main hall was beautifully decorated with flowers, red envelopes, blossoming branches.
After the service, we headed to the auditorium where we ate our meals as we listened to the entertainment and kids played at the carnival games. I reconnected with former Sunday school teachers and friends who I haven’t seen in years.
Monday morning, one of my brothers took me to a Korean plaza that has developed in Carrollton after I finished weeding the garden. It was such a beautiful day outside. There was a wonderful bakery called “85 degrees Celsius”. Everything smelled wonderful. I got an egg tart and a cheesecake pastry though I was tempted to get some pretty slices of cake. I know that my eyes can get bigger than my stomach, so I refrained.
We walked over to the bookstore next door. I loved the book collection, stationery, cards, pins, toys, pens. I spent some time admiring the book covers which immediately caught my attention. We chatted about his accomplishments at the library that he works at. I felt proud of the fact that he turned the library into a cool hangout spot for the teenagers he mentors. The city awarded him for his service.
My brother and I parted ways as he left me to explore the Japanese dollar shop. He was going to meet up with a friend. I did take some time exploring my surroundings and the objects that were on sale. It looked pristine and organized. Later that evening, I got a haircut at my aunt’s salon and reconnected with her. I loved my new hair style!
Next morning, mom woke me up to begin making another treat: banh bao (steamed buns). I began kneading the flour for half an hour reflecting on the past few days. Mom was sauteing the seasoned meat and boiling the eggs. When we were done prepping everything, I took a rolling pin, dusted it with flour, and flattened a piece of dough so that we could put the meat and eggs in there. We sealed the bun up with a twist so that it could look like a flower bud and place it on some wax paper so that it won’t stick to the metal steamer. I always learn so much from my mom as I’m cooking and baking alongside from her. She has such a knack for it, I once suggested the idea of opening a restaurant, but she didn’t want to deal with the level of stress with that pursuit.
Later that afternoon, after we were done steaming the buns. We decided to make some food deliveries to friends. First stop was my sister. When she moved out to her own place, she has new guests try out her yoga wheel which has significantly helped her back problems from a car accident. I got to see her artwork and doodles and felt proud of her recent accomplishments.
Later that evening, my other brother gave me a tour of the new library they built in my hometown after the city closed down the old branches. The books gave me a sense of comfort as I entered unfamiliar settings. I began browsing the shelves and examined the new amenities like a 3-D printer.
When we arrived back home, the President’s 2nd State of the Union Address was on TV. My family was worn out from the days activities, and called it a night. I tuned in and decided to listened. I felt like he was exaggerating the issues and the statistics that he uses are taken out of context that could affect the audience’s understanding of the big picture.
When I see women shaking their heads in the audience about health issues, I thought about articles I read in Ms.Magazine which offered perspectives as to why they might be feeling dismayed. In my regards to immigration, I thought about when he talked about how it is cruel to be tolerant of illegal immigration. I thought about his comments about the economy, foreign policy, laws on incarceration, antisemitism, nuclear energy.
2. Made for More
Where do we come from and where are we going? These questions are DECISIVE for understanding what it means to be human and how to orient our lives and our actions toward authentic fulfillment. Join Christopher West and Mike Mangione as they creatively weave together dynamic presentations with live music, movie clips, popular YouTube videos, and sacred art for an evening of beauty and reflection on the meaning of life, love, and human destiny. You will come away with a faith-filled vision of hope that will instill in you the sheer wonder and joy of being alive…
My boyfriend’s mother invited me to retreat called “Made for More: Visions of the Promised Land” held in Corpus Christi, TX. Christopher West presents the dense material of John Paul II’s “Theology of the Body” in a language that appeals to the average person. Matt Mangione is a musician and song writer who weaves theological truths into poetic narrative. It interested me because I wanted to develop a more positive vision for my future in spite of the news that I watch and read often.
It was a two hour car drive to Corpus Christi. My boyfriend uploads a podcast from Conlangery about “converbs“. I was fascinated by the talk about the construction of clauses. Afterward, I uploaded a podcast called “Cisco Systems & Urban Decay: Sandy Lerner“ from Castbox. Interviewer Guy Raz asked some intriguing questions, and we were both hooked by the fascinating story behind the origins of routing technology company and the makeup company. It’s inspiring for me to hear the story about a female programmer navigating the tech industry.
Before we knew it, we arrived at the church where it was already packed. We sat in the far back row where there was room for exactly two people. I listened to Christopher as he mentioned the concept of your worth in Toy Story as the toys are being tossed into the trash. He showed a video clip from Les Miserables. The point of redemption where Father Carl forgives Jean Valjean for stealing the chalices from the building. My boyfriend is covering my ears for all the spoilers the speaker mentioned. I haven’t watched it, but someday I will since it’s a classic. There was another scene he shared from the TV show Cheers, where a girl is asking her father for his blessing as she wants to get married. She wants her father to truly “see” her as she really is.
He mentioned some things about the architecture of church buildings and how it’s arranged to focus on Jesus Christ. I thought of the mathematics in involved in making stained glass windows as I am captivated by the designs. He talked about the symbolism behind the feminine mystique of the flowers in the church which left me in a dazed state. I just thought of flowers as beautiful decorations to help bring peace to the members with its beauty, nothing more. He segwayed into a discussion about gender roles. The bride of the church. Specific characteristics of why only men are priests and women are nuns. I think about the differences between sex and gender, and choices
3. Infinity Expo
I found this event while scrolling through Eventbrite. Various topics in the description caught my attention.
Spend a day at The Infinity Expo where a venue will be transformed into a bustling town of fashion, rhythm, glamour, art, culture and a marketplace featuring some of the latest and exciting brands from vendors across the country. Presented at The Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center in San Antonio, Tx, a lavish and beautiful haven will emerge taking inspiration from a bygone era and into the 21st century.
Fashion Gallery Experience a unique fashion presentation where mannequins and display windows come to life.
The Skin Deep Beauty Forum It’s been said that beauty is only skin deep. Is it? Venture into the depth of beauty with the Skin Deep Beauty Forum where fashion, beauty and wellness experts explore the definition of beauty, self-care, body image, wellness and how it applies to our everyday lives. With an overarching message centered on the importance in maintaining a healthy relationship with your own beauty, The Skin Deep Beauty Forum is designed to inspire, uplift and encourage you to discover and rediscover your own beauty.
The entrance to the convention center is quite stunning with its bold architecture. I enjoy the glass structures in the lobby that are like interlocking mini pyramids.
I enjoyed slowly reading the messages made with an assortment of metal signs.
I believe I came too early because I saw the models were still applying makeup behind the stage, so I walked around the booths and chatted to the vendors. I mainly chatted to a woman who is an HR professional who was promoting her book, “Do You Want the Job or Not?” She shared some tips on pursuing a new career.
4. Sushi Party
Last year, a friend became my study buddy and helped me get through the challenges of one of our IT classes dealing with advanced database design. Forever grateful for her help, I decided to host a sushi party to teach her and her family how to make their own sushi. I was pretty excited as I sifted through a huge box filled with supplies in her kitchen.
I set up bamboo mats on the dining table and asked her family members to help me prepare the food to go inside the sushi. Many hands make the work light. The rice was warming on the stove, cucumbers and avocados were being finely chopped, cream cheese were cut into cylindrical blocks, crab meat was being pulled apart. It was so much fun seeing them have fun roll their own sushi rolls for the first time. The kids enjoyed it. The mothers put it on the Facebook storyline which went viral. Now, it looks like I’m booked for another sushi party gig next month for a youth group!
Those who bring sunshine into the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves.
After hanging out in the time traveling fog, the sun has come out again! Whip out your shades because I’m going to be answering roughly 60 questions from the WP community for Sunshine Blogger Awards for the next few days. Thank you! It’s always an honor and an encouragement to receive such an award. I’m learning a lot from this blogging journey and looking forward to the new year.
First up, I’ve been nominated by Sean at Baldy.Blog. Thank you Sean! I’ve enjoyed the poetry that he has shared from some classic poets such as Robert Frost, Stevenson, and Tennyson. He also shares fun facts, trivia, scattered quotes, and some wonderful photos.
What is the Sunshine Blogger Award? “The Sunshine Blogger Award is given to those who are creative, positive, and inspiring, while spreading sunshine to the blogging community.”
Once nominated, if you choose to accept, write a post where you:
Thank the person who nominated you for the Sunshine Award and link back to their blog
Answer the questions set by the person who nominated you
Nominate other blogs and give them questions to answer
Notify your nominees through social media or commenting on their blog
List the “rules” and display a Sunshine Award logo in your post
If you had to choose to be on a reality show, which one would it be?
Though I’m aware that reality shows aren’t reality, I enjoy watching a variety of reality shows from time to time! I enjoy watching The Voice, Master Chef, Survivor, The Mole, and Disruptive Pitch. However, there’s a handful that I’d think I personally would enjoy being on and realistically see myself on. If level of skills didn’t matter, there’s four shows that come to mind:
The Amazing Race
Ellen’s Design Challenge: “From Trash to Treasure”
Slow TV: National Knitting Evening
If you could change your name, what would it be?
I really like my name: Sa! It’s short, simple, and sweet! Hm…I’ve always wondered what it’ll be like if I was named Magnolia like the flower. My nickname would be Maggie like Baby Maggie from the Simpsons. 🙂 My aunts were all named after flowers. My sister is named after a flower. Maybe I just want to join the flower garden!
Also, I have contemplated what it’ll be like if I was named Star after I read this fun young adult novel called “Stargirl“. It’s about a free-spirited girl celebrating non-conformity.
How long have you been blogging?
Roughly 6 months and a few days! I’m still in the early stages of organizing my content and format, but I enjoy it immensely.
How frequently do you blog?
Depends on the season, but generally once or twice a week. I spend the rest of the time checking out your posts and reading your thoughts. I write in my journals everyday though!
Share the link to a favourite post of yours, why is this your favourite?
I loved the lovely image that Helene @ Willow Poetry picked out for her weekly prompt “What do you see?”. It combined a variety of my interests: the beauty of nature, drama, love, poetry. This poem makes me feel alive and grateful for simple pleasures like a sunrise and a breeze.
Do you check your stats for the countries that have ‘visited’ your blog?
Yes, it’s just fascinating to me that what I write is seen from others from different locations around the globe! I’m amazed by these bloggers who inspire me and am curious to see what regions they live and experience life.
Which countries are you missing from your WordPress globe and would really like to see filled in on your map?
So what’s generally missing from my WP globe map are countries from South America, Africa, Russia, Asia. I think it’ll be helpful if I can add a plugin to translate my page into their language of choice. If I keep blogging, I can update to the premium version to do that!
Are you a ‘crafty’ person? (Knit, sew, paint, macrame … ?)
YES! I’ve done all of the above ever since I was a young girl. (This is why I would be on the knitting reality show!) A childhood friend taught me how to knit one afternoon while watching Sailor Moon. My mom was a seamstress and taught me how to sew. Learned how to paint and macrame at school! Crafty activities make me feel really happy. I lose track of time because it’s so fun for me.
There’s a lot of health benefits to these sort of activities as well. Repetitive needlework can induce a relaxed state like the association with meditation or yoga. For some, it redirects their focus and reduces the awareness of pain or rumination on problems. It replaces anxiety and stress with the satisfaction of creating something tangible.
Assuming that you celebrate, do you shop in advance for Christmas or do you leave everything to the last minute?
I shop in advance and online when possible. I also try hard to hit the clearance sales throughout the year. There are many times that I hand-make items. I like to make origami crafts 🙂
Do you participate in sports?
I enjoy many sports recreationally not competitively: martial arts, basketball, soccer, tennis, baseball. I enjoy playing with friends in the courts at the schools and parks. I join in some athletic camps from time to time. I have a lot of fun stories from all the sports I’ve played.
A few months ago, I was stressed out from my own studies, I sometimes manage by heading to the gym on campus and putting on some boxing gloves and pounding a bag for a while to help me refocus. I know I don’t really look like the boxer type, but this activity helps me. 🙂
One day, a caricature artist arrived at my school to help students de-stress from midterms and other various tests.
I thought it would be fun spending five to ten minutes in front of an artist as she draws me looking frazzled before lunch.
It was a brief moment of indulgence as time is of the essence during testing season. Yet, I never had a caricature made for myself before!
So THIS is what I looked like when I’m stressed! Guess the artist didn’t really capture the turmoil in my mind too well! 😀