If the world could be like us

laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , , ,

There’d be less judgment.

We’d get to do what we want, without sideways glances or raised eyebrows.

Openmindedness would fuel our way of life.

We wouldn’t constrict ourselves to “acceptable” standards to avoid scrutiny.

Empathy would drive our understanding and decision-making.

We’d be comfortable expressing ourselves as is.

Assumptions would not be made.

We could each thrive in what makes us feel happy – in what feels right.

Naked without my ring

laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , , ,

For the past couple of days, I was without my ring and it felt like my hands were naked the whole time. I found myself hiding my hand from anyone who might notice that there wasn’t a ring on it (yeah right). It was silly, but I was certainly missing an integral part of my life for the past two years.

Why was my ring missing from my possession? Well, I decided it was time to get a wedding band made to go with it. I went back to the jeweler who made my engagement ring for me and they needed to keep it to do some precise measurements so my band fits properly. The lady who runs the shop knows just what I like and already had some ideas in mind. She knew right away I’d want diamonds on it, so I’m excited to see what she makes. I trust she’ll do an awesome job.

purple sapphire engagement ring on hand

Welcome back, my precious.

My ring has a bit of an odd shape, so not just any ring will work with it. I always knew it would have to be custom made and now I’m ready to get that (along with a proper ring for Panda, who’s been using a cheap placeholder). After the measuring, a CAD drawing was produced and then a wax mold created to show me the general size. Pretty much the same process that went into making my engagement ring. Being involved in the process is so much fun. :)

Now my ring is back with me and I look forward to getting a band to go with it. Panda’s going to decide on the look he wants and we’ll get that made as well. What a thrilling little journey this will be!

Shrieking kids in public

laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , , , ,

What are your thoughts on children who are playing in a restaurant, running amok and hollering at the top of their high-pitched lungs?

That’s what a good fifteen minutes of dinner was like for me last night. Exacerbating the fact was my exhaustion and stress over everything I needed to do after getting home. I already have no patience for children as it is, and I was not pleased that neither the parents nor the waitstaff said a thing. My friend and looked at each with eyebrows raised, cringing with each piercing shriek that filled the otherwise empty room. A boy of about eight was chasing around a boy of about three and the young one was having a grand old time challenging our eardrums.

The mother quietly spoke in Vietnamese as the other two adults ignored the situation. Perhaps they were used to this behavior, or perhaps they were mildly deaf (they did seem rather elderly). The kids paid no attention to whatever the mom said and that was that. Meanwhile the staff (only two were out) looked on and stood awkwardly with no sign of at least attempting to create a more pleasant dining experience for my friend and me.

I don’t know if it was because the place was Asian or maybe they knew the family, but I’m pretty sure a Western restaurant would have said something. I kept looking at the adults and the staff until I got tired of waiting. Then I resorted to my usual tactic: I stared solemnly at the children. Whenever kids are acting up in public, making a scene where it is disruptive to others (at least when I feel that way), I stare them down. If they catch my eye, they generally stop. Sometimes they might just be startled to realize someone is looking. Sometimes they figure out that they are being annoying. Whatever the case, it tends to be effective in getting them to stop yelling.

This time, the older child noticed me and then began to tell his brother to quiet down. They happened to be leaving at that point anyway, but I was glad for the noise reduction even before they made it out the door. Too bad the one causing a ruckus never saw me staring. Maybe then he’d learn to keep his play to louder environments or to more appropriate situations.

Would you ever be like I am and look at kids until they stopped screaming or crying? Or would you be even more straightforward and go speak to them or their parents? Maybe you’re like most others who sit and bear it with teeth gritted?

An iPhone exchange mistake

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It’s been a good nine months with my iPhone 6 and I only had one minor issue with the earpiece that required a replacement of the screen a few months back. While the physical hardware seemed to be ok, I was having a lot of crashing issues with it. It would sporadically restart when I was using it – sometimes when using an app, sometimes when trying to update a bunch of them. This Friday it happened again and since it’s been occurring almost regularly now, I decided to go get my phone checked out. I made an appointment for the Genius Bar after lunch, backed up my phone to iCloud, and went off.

A diagnostic couldn’t pinpoint what it might be, so I was offered a new device in case it was a hardware issue. If the problem persists, then we know it’s probably a software issue. I felt pretty confident swapping out devices since I’d done it so many times before. As we were setting up the new device, I remembered some photos from lunch that I had not backed up, so I made sure to do that. Once I felt good about it, I relinquished that device and went back to the office.

The rest of the afternoon I let my phone restore from backup. By the end of the day, the apps were all there and everything looked like normal. Except… why were my photos not syncing? I figured it would take more time. Later at night I checked again and not a single old photo was there. That’s when I realized that my iCloud backup didn’t back up photos. Since we only get 5 GB for free, I didn’t have room for them. I was so rusty when it came to this process that I hadn’t made a backup via iTunes (rookie mistake).

Luckily, I had done the photo backup to Flickr and Dropbox, so the photos are available, just not the way I want (in my Camera Roll). However, with more digging I found that some videos I’d taken last weekend were not backed up. My Dropbox had run out of space and Flickr doesn’t auto backup video files. Sad times! No matter what I did, I just couldn’t recover them anymore. It’s unfortunate and I’m not happy about it, but it was my own oversight.

Lesson learned.

From now on, I will be sure to back up to iTunes. While this is inconvenient, there’s not much I can do. The last iTunes backup I have is from December! It feels like too much lost data along the way if I restore using that version. So while I am happy to have a brand new device, I mourn the loss of the media that got lost in the shuffle.

Yogi Surprise June 2015 review

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It was pouring rain when I got home and found this box on the stoop. It got pretty wet, but everything inside was ok!

Yogi Surprise is just under $36 per box (with code for 20% off your subscription – use my referral links from this post) and comes with yoga gear, skincare, food, and other lifestyle products. Boxes are sent monthly with no option to skip. They offer a referral program that earns you free boxes.

contents of yogi surprise june 2015 box with info cardyogi surprise june 2015 info card with product details

Natural Fitness hemp yoga strap – This is a nice strap that feels soft and thick. It’s strong and long, with very sturdy metal buckles. Between this and the other yoga strap we got, I’m all set for classes! I will also use them to help with stretches at home.

Mind Over Lather yoga mat spray – What a refreshingly clean scent! Perfect for cleaning off my mat. It’s a really large bottle too, so it’ll last me a good, long time. I might transfer some to a smaller bottle so it’s not quite so heavy to carry around.

Yoga Gangsters Truthful Mist – I don’t quite get this energy mist thing, but I sprayed and inhaled it as recommended. I think it’s nice for being a face mist of sorts. This particular scent isn’t my ideal, but it’s different so I think it’ll offer a nice change of scenery from the usual lavenders and citruses I have.

Gaiam Super Grippy yoga gloves – Fascinating product here, which certainly helps make it easier to keep your hands in place. I would like a pair of similar socks to use and then I can practice yoga on any smooth floor!

Bearded Brothers bar – I’ll be saving this for before or after a workout when I feel like I need a boost. Today I ate a bar before running and thank goodness! I probably would have passed out otherwise.

Jade Tree of Life bracelet – Aww this is cute. I like the delicate pendant hanging off the bracelet. I wear a solid jade bracelet, so I might try pairing them together. I can also use it for meditation like meditation beads. :)

Another box I’ll make good use of for the most part. Some items are more of a novelty sort of thing, but others are really practical. What do you think?

[This post contains affiliate links. Signing up through them helps support my subscription and I’d be ever so grateful. :) All opinions are my own and I received no compensation for this review. I just purchased this box and wanted to share what I got!]

Reading speed test

laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , ,

I just tried a reading speed test and scored 317 on the first try, then 357 on the second. I don’t think I’d read much faster than that without compromising comprehension. Not that I feel being particularly fast at reading is going to make a huge difference, but it’s a fun little test to try!

ereader test
Source: Staples eReader Department


laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , ,

For some reason, I seem to bruise really easily. It’s been that way as long as I remember and every few weeks I’ll discover a bruise that just appeared without me knowing. I’m quite certain that with most, I did not just bump into something and forget about it. After all, these bruises come in the most random places (mostly on my legs). Sometimes it’s the back of my calf. Sometimes it’s the middle of my thigh. Occasionally I get them on my arms too.

bruised crook of arm from needle pokeAnd if I ever do bump into something, oh boy. It’s pretty much guaranteed that I’ll have a bruise emerge the next day. I didn’t realize this extended to small jabs too – I had my blood drawn recently and my arm was sore for days afterward, in addition to the bruising that came up! It was nearly two weeks before it completely faded and the flesh wasn’t tender anymore. Who knew a needle would create such problems for me? I guess I should have known, since the last time (maaaany years ago) I did get some bruising as well. I guess I have delicate veins?

Are you sensitive to bumps, scrapes, and bruises too?


laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , , ,

cover image for cracked poem by mary qin

I fell through the cracks

I lay all alone

And I quietly hoped they’d help me

As others stumbled, they were helped up

“Soon it will be my turn,” I thought

Soon it will be my turn.

But the seconds dragged to minutes

And nothing

So I timidly hollered.

They peered down at me

I waved

They turned their noses – quiet, you!

Back to the ones above board!

Help them, help them instead


I fell through the cracks and it broke me




Now I choose to sit in the shadows

A tainted spirit and soul.

One day I might explode

Break open the boards above

Let everyone fall down here too


Or if I’m feeling generous

I’ll swim off to the sea

There’s a wide world out there

As soon as I’m strong enough to swim

As soon as the tide comes in


laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , , ,

Monday night I was chatting with my dad about how grandpa was going to be visiting him in Beijing in a few months. He mentioned that grandpa had given me a ton of money for my wedding and that he’s so happy I’ll be married. That was so sweet of him. In my family, money is not really important – it exchanges hands rather freely and nobody hoards it all selfishly. Everyone earns their keep and family members help each other out as needed. The giving of money is really more symbolic than anything. It’s such a touching thing for my grandpa to give me money because he wants to celebrate. It’s completely unnecessary but a really nice gesture. I don’t know why it affects me so much, but it had me gushing tears.

For some reason, whenever I talk to my dad about my grandpa, I get all teary. It’s this crazy weird emotional thing where all the joy of unspoken love is just too much to keep inside.

My grandpa is undoubtedly the patriarch of our family. He is the father to four grown children, each with 2 kids of their own (well, except my father, with just me). We grew up having family gatherings each summer to celebrate his birthday. It was always a big deal, and we’d so some of the traditional Chinese things, like offer a peach bun. My cousins and I would sit at the children’s table as the adults marveled at the years gone by (and how big we were all getting). I always was meeting new relatives at these things (someone from each family including his nieces and nephews had to send a representative to be respectful to my grandfather, after all).

As a child, I would only spend a few months in China before returning to my American life. Most of my time I did not get to spend with family. What precious time I did have I wanted to hang out with my cousins (they were more fun, you see). I never sat with grandpa and had long chats or got to know what was in his mind or heart. We just aren’t that type of family. I have a deep respect and love for him that doesn’t require me to spend tons of time with him or say certain things just to feel or express it. He sits in the tenderest part of my heart.

One year when I went back to China, I was presented with an essay he’d written. In his 80s, he decided to put together a little summary of our family history. He outlined his family lineage all the way through to my cousins and their children. It was such a precious thing. My aunt sat with me and patiently helped me read through it (my Chinese isn’t great, but manageable). Maybe I get my sentimentality from him. That’s exactly the sort of thing I like, knowing some of our past. Now I have a full account of his parents, siblings, children, and grandchildren. It was then that I learned that I would have had another uncle, but he drowned as a child. Wow – the quietest bombshell ever.

Sometimes I do ache for the time that we could have spent together. What would it have been like to grow up being able to visit all the time? What I do know of him is that he loved raising birds. Whenever I was there, he was always checking on his birds, making sure they were doing well. He was enterprising too – in retirement, he found activities to keep his mind sharp even as his body started to weaken. He’s a bit deaf and his eyes are getting droopy, but he’s still got his mind and that’s a blessing.

I see him clearly in my dad and uncle, and maybe that’s why I have similar feelings about my dad. As the only male I grew up with, he was somewhat intimidating but a strong figure I respected. We are not much into expressing ourselves, but in adulthood we’ve started to explore ways to be more affectionate. Funny enough, digital interaction has allowed us to open up more. When I see him I see all the sacrifice, the hard work that he has given. It’s so touching how much he has done to make my life far less difficult. I don’t see him much, but he’s certainly in my heart too.

My father and grandfather’s actions are so subtle in their love that many may miss or dismiss it. But for me, they speak volumes. Ours are not relationships of hugs, praise, and hoopla. It is a quiet, joyous love that touches the heart deeply. And sometimes that’s a little overwhelming.

How to: make a browser tab act as a desktop program

laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

When I learned of this trick, I was so excited! I hope your inner nerd loves it too.

Are you like me and hate having certain tabs open in your browser because you want to be able to use a site as if it was a separate program? Well, with Google Chrome you can basically achieve that! As I discovered recently, you can pop out certain sites you want to have open without having to resort to new windows or tabs. This way, it gets its very own icon in your taskbar and when you close it, you can quickly re-open it by clicking the image. This is called an application shortcut and is particularly useful for sites you listen to music on (so it’s like having a music player program open), sites you’re messaging with (so it’s like having an IMing program installed), or even just your favorite sites (like your blog editor).

I think you really need to try it out for yourself to understand it better. It’s a lot like the Add to Home Screen option on iOS devices (but the Windows desktop version), if you’ve done that before. Here’s how to do it:

Step 1 – Go to the menu in the top right, More Tools, then Create Application Shortcuts…

google chrome browser application shortcut setting option

Step 2 – Choose one or both application shortcuts to create. You can create a Desktop shortcut and/or a Pin to Taskbar one.

google chrome browser create application shortcut options

Step 3 – Now your app shortcut sits on your desktop and/or your taskbar for easy access. Just click to open!

google chrome browser application shortcut on desktop

Here I set up Grooveshark so I can listen to music and quickly switch to it to pause my music. Behind it, I’m working on this blog post in the browser!

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