Sunday, December 31, 2006

Getting Ride of Clutter

"Clutter is anything in our environment that doesn't add value to our lives or bring us join"

-Helen Buttigieg from "Neat" tv show

Thursday, December 28, 2006

"It's Starting to Creep Me Out..."

Noel's felt baby's kicks here and there but he's never felt the baby moving around (rotating, etc) So last night when we were watching tv, I placed his hand on my stomach. I wasn't sure how much of the movement he would feel because sometimes I feel more from the inside then it's visible outside. Apparently it was enough for him to feel baby rotating around. But after a few moments, he said "it's starting to creep me out.." and removed his hand from my stomach. I told him that's how I feel all the time. I find his reaction amusing.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Our Minimalistic Christmas Decoration

I love it! So easy to put up. Provides a ton of entertainment. We anticipate how the wax melts and solidifies. Maybe we are just too simple :-) Posted by Picasa

Friday, December 01, 2006

So close....

As any partner of a pregnant woman know, the weight gain is a very sensitive topic. So the partner must choose his answers carefully like avoiding explosion in a huge land mine.

I put on the holiday dress I got a few of days before the holiday party to make sure I can still fit. I wasn't distress: I looked pregnant but not over weight.

However, on the day of the holiday party I did not feel the same. I felt bloated and that I look fat in the dress. I whined to Noel about it when we arrived at the party.

Jasmine: I look fat! :-(
Noel: No you don't. You look beautiful.
Jasmine: (Taking my coat off) but my arms look fat.
Noel: Well, maybe if you just cover them with your shawl..

So close....

Thursday, November 16, 2006


I think I felt the baby hiccup for the first time today. It's a very small rhythmical movement. It feels so weird.

There's this other baby movement that I can't figure out what he's doing. I know when he kicks (sometimes hard enough that I can see my stomach vibrate) and I know when he shifts and rotates in there, but there's this small localize movement that's NOT rhythmical and I just can't figure out what he's doing. My friend tells me the baby is probably fidgeting. I can't quite picture how a baby fidgets in there...

Monday, October 02, 2006

Finding Jeans

If you think finding a pair of flattering jeans is difficult when you are not pregnant, it's much much harder finding one when you are pregnant.

I think I must have tried on 8+ pair of jeans. It's comfort vs. flattering. I was rating each jeans at these two scales. This one is flattering but not comfortable. This other one is comfortable but not flattering. Finally I settled on one that's pretty comfortable and flattering. I hope it'll stay comfortable after a few months.

My friend just told me Old Navy has maternity cloths! I am definitely gonna check it out. These other places are so pricy.

Friday, September 22, 2006

The Day after Ultrasound

The baby moves/kicks more now.

I've been pretty gental on my stomach so far. However during the ultrasound the technician was pushing harder than I normally would on my stomach (not so hard that it hurts) to get the images he needs. I think until the ultrasound the baby only feels like he was in this big water void and he moves sometimes. Very gental movements. So the movements I felt until then was just small flutters. Like a small finger tapping. But after the ultrasound, the baby must learned that there are things beyond this big void he is in and he moves more to get an reaction or something. Like "hey, what's going on out there?!" The movements are so much more noticable that it takes me by surprise sometimes. He's definitely moving more too.

Thursday, September 21, 2006


Noel came with me to the ultrasound. The technician was nice. He smeared this gel thing all over my stomach and then went to work. It's just surreal that ultrasound can see so much. I read on the American Pregnancy Association that the baby should be 7 inches long now. The technician went to take all the important views the doctor needs. The head size, the heart beat, organs, spine and limbs. The baby's head was up and feet was down at the time. Finally he took a profile view for us to take home. First word out of Noel's mouth was "he looks like Casper".

I guess it finally hit me after this second ultrasound that I am actually having a baby. There's an actual being is growing inside of me. It still feel so surreal. Now I must face my current most fear enemy: the labor process.

Sneezing is a two hand effort now...

Sneezing has become a two hand effort ever since I got pregnant. Now I need one hand to cover my mouth and one hand to hold my stomach in. So when I am driving and I only have one free hand, I just don't get enough time to decide which one to do and sometimes it just doens't get to either one...

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Best Uni I Ever Had

We finally tried the good japanese restaurant near us that we didn't know about: Sushi Tomi. We had the best Uni (sea urchin) we've ever had in our lives!! I am not exaggerating. I liked uni okay until recently. In fact, I was not as impressed by uni's taste as much as Noel. But after trying some good uni at Blue Ribbbon Sushi in NY, I was convinced that when it's good quality, it tastes good. This uni from Sushi Tomi was better then Blue Ribbon's Sushi's. It was so good that we ordered another one. I had to stop Noel from talking when I was eating the second one so I can devote all my senses to experience that good uni.

We even went back the second day hoping to get the uni as good but we were prepared because restaurant don't get deliveries on the weekend. So we were aware we can be getting the same uni but a day old....which turned out to be the case.

We just hope that this is not a singular experience and we'll be able to experience that great uni again.

Yes, I shouldn't have eaten it in the first place, but we've decided that not eating raw fish was too hard for me. I mean, I can resist when nobody else is ordering raw fish. But when Noel orders raw fish, I can't resist. Besides, it's more of a precaution then a known no-no like alcohol or cigarette. We never eat at second rate sushi places, so that should decrease the chance a lot...this was one thing I didn't think I could do without for 9+ months but now that we made a different decision, I think I'll fair a lot better. Some how restricting food makes me want it more...

Search continues for another perfect uni....

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Advanture with Homemade Wonton

Okay, the wonton didn't turn out well. Mostly due to the wrong ingredient put in:

First of all, I got the bottles mixed up so I put in black vinager instead of soy sauce.

due to not labling my spices, I am not sure if I added corn starch or cream of tartar. so when the cooked wonton didn't turn out a bit sticky which the corn starch is suppose to help do, I had my suspecion that I might have put in the wrong thing. I should have left it out like Daisy told me. Next time.

Noel was very nice told me that it didn't taste bad. I wanted it to taste awesome, not just okay...oh well, next time.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Visiting Taiwan

Some how visiting Taiwan this time felt very different. I was able to pay more attention to what interests me instead of following my mother's full schedule or translating for Noel. I still rather have Noel with me than anything but I realized without having to translate, I was able to pay more attention to details of places and things.

Day 1 (Wednesday)
Dad picked me up from the airport and took me to grandparents place. I called mom and told her the news, then I presented grandparents with the note in Japanese Noel wrote. I think it took grandpa a bit to realized what the note was saying and it still took a bit to sink in. Dad and I then went to hang out with third gugu on my father side (plus her husband and son) and then later hooked up with the da-gugu on my father side. The whole family went shopping for maternity cloths for me. I felt very awkward because I really do not enjoy shopping with other people. It felt too imposing on them. I only like imposing Noel and he's the only one that doesn't care too much about shopping, especially when he's tired. Dad drove me back to grandparents to sleep that night.

Day 2 (Thursday)
Grandma went out early in the morning and bought lots of things from the market. Now that I am pregnant has finally sink in, she's prepared to cook me a whole lot of food that's very nutritious. I explained to her that because I am pregnant my digestive system is not good; i.e. I digest very slow and cannot eat a lot. She did not understand what I told her. I explained it to grandpa hoping he can help me explain it to grandma and that didn't seem to help her understand either. The rest of the day was to battle her with food. In the evening we went to eat dinner with grandpa's oldest brother (who's not alive any more)'s children. Although they were not my ideal crowd to entertain with because they are all my elders, I did have a good time learning some family history and getting who's who straight.

Day 3 (Friday)
The minute I woke up I started looking forward to dad picking me up. It was just so hard dealing with grandma. I can deal with all other impositions that comes with staying with them except for the fact that she's forcing me to eat all the time!! I know Noel would say "just don't eat" but she gets offended and she gets mad. I could see her mental problem getting worse and worse because I did not eat as much as she wished. I think I woke father up when I called him. He finally rescued me around noon.

We drove down south with his friend and her sister. They were both very nice and kept on buying me things but not forcing me to eat! How refreshing! We took our time driving down and toured the rest stops which were like mini malls full of famous local products. We got to Tainan and dad checked me in to the best motel I've ever been. It was newly built and cost only about $50. It felt just a bit shy of a luxury hotel! So awesome. We went out to eat some famous southern stuff (coffin bread, some fish thing) and I was looking forward to a great night of sleep without having to worry about my grandparents next to me.

From 2006 August T...

Day 4 (Saturday)
I slept really late and we went to have lunch and met a classmate of my dad's and then headed toward HuaLian pretty late. Couldn't see much view because the day was dark already but was able to stop by to get some local Taiwan fruit which I do not know how to say it in English. The best I can do is tell you the fruit looks like the Buddha head.

At one point my stomach did not feel well and there was nothing along the highway. So dad stopped by a small police station and borrowed the bathroom for me. It's my first time going to a police station just for the bathroom.

We got to HuaLian after midnight and all the hotels were booked. We were able to find a private home renting rooms out and took refuge there.

Day 5 (Sunday)
We went to have the famous HuaLian wanton and it was sooooo good. The whole shop only sells one thing and everything about the wonton soup was great. It's good enough that I'll make effort to come back to Hualian for it.

From 2006 August T...

From 2006 August T...

From 2006 August T...

We then went to my childhood nanny's Lee mama's place. I haven't seen her for over 17 years! I saw her before I left Taiwan but that was it. I am pretty amazed that we are still in touch. She welcomed us warmly and insist on cooking us meal. We wanted to get on our way so we have some day light to see the sights but was not able to. We reminisced some and ate her food and then finally left Hualian at around 3pm.

From 2006 August T...

From 2006 August T...

I had forgotten or never realized how beautiful the east coast of Taiwan is! I think it's more impressive then Highway 1 in CA. I definitely would love to bring Noel here. Although I find the coastal highway nerve racking.

From 2006 August T...

We took the short cut and went to the newly opened, longest tunnel in Asia back to Taipei, which was full of traffic. We entertained ourselves by joking a lot about the traffic. Dad found me a hotel near the shopping center that I wanted to be, which is also next to a subway station that has two subway lines.

Day 6 (Monday)
Dad picked me to around noon to get luggage from grandparents place. I knew it would be hard to leave the place without eating some of her cooking. She guilts me by telling me that she bought all that nutritious food for me and I don't eat it. So I stayed in hour or so to eat.

Met up with Lee mama's young son and second son in Taipei. It's been so long since I last saw them. I guess I don't really know how these "brother" are like any more now that they are adults. The third brother is a bit more aloof then I expected. I guess that explains why he's more in to asking me about updated photos then updated news. We went to visit second brother's house and I had a good time chatting with second brother's wife. She was very warm and friendly. I think she kinda rescued the two brothers. I guess it's awkward to get to know someone you knew so long ago.

Day 7 (Tuesday)
I went shopping by myself. It was what I liked the most. I cannot truly express what I like because these nice relatives (dad and aunts) keeps on buying things for me. Sometimes they are just too expensive so I don't look at them even though I would like to. This was my chance. I find most chinese sales people annoying because they feel the need to keep on talking as you look at things, as if they want to use all the time and chance they have to influence you to buy the item. Not giving you a chance to think on your own so you might change your mind about buying it. It's the biggest turn offs for me. And when you decide not to buy, they have the saddest look on their face as if maybe hiding those sad looks has never occur to them. More expensive shopping places don't do that to you.

It was great visiting Da-Ayi, grandma and shiau-Ayi, Jeffrey, Sharon and Jason. Jason is so adorable and he looks so much like Jeffrey. Da-ayi prepared a wonderful meal with the best fish I ever had. A lot of veggies and other healthy seafood too. We did not eat dinner with rice which was weird in a chinese household but I think it's just healthier for everybody. Chatted with Jeffrey a bit after he came home and he's still adjusting. He looks like a happy father. Spoke to Sharon about her pregnancy and raising an infant. She's a very nice lady.

From 2006 August T...

From 2006 August T...

From 2006 August T...

Shiau-ayi took me to mother's second brother's home because grandma lives there. It was great to see second gio-ma, my cousins Daphne, Jay and his wife. I think Jay and wife were tired so they didn't not seem as excited but Daphne always has a lot of energy. She is going to do her master's degree part time which is great. At one point, while sitting next to me, grandma lift her butt cheek near me and farted loudly and then sat back down like as if nothing had happened. I had to stop myself from gasping at what just happened. I guess her generation just grew up with different etiquettes.

From 2006 August T...

From 2006 August T...

Day 8 (Wednesday)
I had lunch with Grandparents and some relatives including the taxi uncle and his kids. Well, two out of his three kids. My cousin shiau-gene completed his mandatory military service and is now working as an apprentice to a chef. His sister is still very petite has a boyfriend that she was too shy to tell me (her mother told me).

From 2006 August T...

I went to the old house in wan-hwa that grandparents used to live. Where I spent most of my younger school years because my elementary was just behind the house. I would go to grandma's after school and get some snack, do my homework and just hang out there until mom came home. I miss that place. It's all renovated now to a historical site and I am sad to see that grandparents house is no longer there but the grocery store in front of the house still has it's frame and the address number on a plate stating that.

From 2006 August T...

From 2006 August T...

From 2006 August T...

Dad picked me up and then we went to the Gee-Long harbor. It has a huge Goddess of Mercy at the temple which had a good view of the harbor. We then went to the famous Gee-Long night market and tried out some local eats. Dad got some famous pineapple cake and green bean cake for me to take back to Noel.

We then went to visit great grandmother who's 97 now. Her health has deteriorated a bit after falling ill last year. She now goes through a period of sleeping for a couple of days and then awake for a couple of days. The day we went she was in a sleepy mode and tells us to leave her along. It was good seeing her though.

From 2006 August T...

We then went to visit Small-gugu's place and I could see that everybody was very proud of shiau uncle who just became a principle in elementary school. He's now the youngest principle in Taipei at age 41! All the gugu's were there to meet up. It's nice to have dad together with rest of them.

From 2006 August T...

Day 9 (Thursday)
I had afternoon tea with cousin Liang Huie, her husband and her son. I just realized she's only 6 years younger then mom but because she's in a different generation she calls mom auntie. It was nice catching up with her and meeting her husband. Her husband is very nice and he has many intriguing questions for me. Their son did not have such a good time because he was bored. I made a note to myself to always have something for the kid to do in the future. Let it be a drawing book or a reading book or something that can engage him.

I ended my last night in Taipei by having dinner with Second gio-gio and gio-ma and shiau-ayi and yi-tzan. It was so interesting meeting these elders now that I am an adult. I think it's the first time I see them all for a long time except for shiau-ayi who came to visit me last year. Shiau-yitzan gain respect for me and realized I am an adult from the aunt lily accident. I think that's because his English ability is pretty good (having an non-chinese son-in-law requires that). We had pleasant conversations together. I realized how amazing second gio-ma is. She's truly an amazing woman. I think second gio-gio still sees me as a child and his lectures are still the same.

From 2006 August T...

Day 10 (Friday)
Dad drop me to the airport but not without stopping by the famous soy milk place to get me some breakfast. It's always sad to say goodbyes. I saw in dad's eye that he was a bit scared and but mostly excited for me to become a parent myself.

From 2006 August T...

The flight back wasn't so bad. It was a short flight to Manila and then the long wait at the airport but that did not bother me because I was so excited I'll see my husband again soon. The flight from Manila to SFO was decent because nobody sat in the middle of the three seats so we were not as cramped.

Overall I did not get enough of the chinese treats. I still miss it when I came back. Oh well, next time...

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Aunt Lily and Uncle Jim's accident

They got in to a bad car accident on Tuesday, March 14 2006 in Laytonville CA, about 200 miles north of us. I am not sure how information was passed around but when it finally go to Judy, she quickly remember that I was close by and proposed that I can go there to help them. I found out too late on Wednesday night so I didn't depart until Thursday morning.

Driving to Santa Rosa wasn't too bad. I think we might have been to this region of CA when we went to Calistoga. Driving up to Willits the next day was a bit more then I can usually do. However the opera on ipod help the drive easier. I am glad to see both of them. They keep on saying they don't really need people here because the hospital staffs are great and that they sleep all the time. However, I just think that if I was in their situation, I would love to see some familiar faces and know that someone is near to help me and take care of things I am worrying about. I don't want to interfere with their recovering so I think even just visiting them a little bit each day can help with their spirit.

Driving this much makes me realize how much Dad drives each week. He drives between north and south of Taiwan once or twice a week for business. While he says he's used to it, I can't help but think it still gets tiring for him. This also makes me realize him driving so much increases his chance of accident. I guess one must do what one needs for work but I will remind him to be more careful.

I am very glad I am making mom happy too. She's glad I can help her sister in their needs. Plus she's been seen as the black sheep of the family and always someone that people worry about. I am glad I can be useful which makes her look good.

I am also glad Sylvia and Liang are coming to help out. More then one person would make it easier to take care of both of them so far apart. While driving the round trip is doable (it's similar to us doing the manhattan to hamptons drive with the guys in the city) but doing it daily might be too much.

Thank goodness for someone with higher power looking over them. I am so glad they are recovering well. They are so sweet that they worry more about each other. I do my best to keep each other informed and ease their minds. They would be marry 35 years this June. How wonderful and sweet...

Thursday, March 09, 2006

The Academy Award Message

It's been said the whole Acamedy award was on an anti-dvd-pro-movie-theatre campaign through out the show. I don't disagree that some movie is best experienced in the theatre, but dvds (legal or not) is not the reason I haven't been going to the theatre. Hollywood makes crap these days. They needs to stop pushing movie out like cheap products. They need to make quality stuff. Yes, I love Ang Lee. Yes, partly because he's also Taiwanese. I love how it takes him a while to produce but he produces good stuff.

They make so much money already. They need to step back and realize that. Stop the whole cycle of "I need to make more money right away!" Enjoy a little. Relax a little. Then go back to make some good stuff.

I want to make a list of favorite moments in movies. They give me similar high as my favorite moments in opera...

Monday, February 13, 2006

So many things, so little time

I just feel so overwhelmed by everything I want to do. I need to back up of the computer working. Need to get knitting stuff update so the info are not in so many little pieces of paper. And there are other to do's too...Knitting and reading are just in the way of doing those too...

I finally connected the newly bought seagate external backup server. While the sales person said "yes" to my question: "Can I back up all my computers at home (mac and pc) to the same drive)?" , I am finding out the real answer is other wise. After puzzling over the instructions so many times and experimenting on my own:

I learned that if the drive is formatted for microsoft file system, my laptop can pick it up and show it in the windows explorer properly. The mac will be able to read it but it won't be able to back up to it. If the drive is formatted to mac file system format, then the mac will be able to back up to it but my laptop won't pick it up. And apparently I cannot divide the drive to different partitions and format each partition differently.

So I decided the right thing to do is format it in microsoft format and back up my laptop because it's the oldest and needs backup the most. After making it the proper format (via mac help), the program told me it would be take an hour and half. I don't like why it will take so long but that makes it difficult to backup on the regular basis. I just can't figure out how to back up specific directories in the pc (it makes me back up the whole drive). This is puzzling because I am able to do that in mac.... *sigh* Another reason to get mac for my next computer...

I want to blog about all those other things. I want to start putting my knitting stuff in the blog along with the photo, but I am just so discourage to do that because I just don't feel safe making all those effort and not be able to back up the work. I still need to figure out how to do category in the blog so I don't have to keep ten thousand blogs. Wish google blogger does it already...*sigh*

I owe so many people pictures...*sigh* so many things to do....