Touching

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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: , , , , , , , , ,
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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!

Rupert the bear’s giant uncle

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Back when I first got Missy and Molly from the shelter, I also added Rupert to the family and eventually deemed him Missy’s boyfriend because she loves to massage him so much. A few weeks ago, Panda and I were at Costco (check out their cute video) when we came across what can only be described as Rupert’s uncle. Or granddad.

 

giant teddy bear at costco

This guy is impressive. He is absolutely MASSIVE at 93″ tall and who knows how many pounds. I could barely lift up the top half that I’m holding here. There’s no way I could have dragged him out of the bin without assistance. You could potentially use him as a backup mattress if you ran out of guest beds. I mean, I had an easier time dragging my LoveSac around. Poor Rupert looks measly at just 53″ tall (feel free to send him condolences if you’d like). Check out how his cousin of identical size, Gogobear, compares to us human folk.

As you might suspect, the price tag on this giant teddy is hefty too, at just under $180. But gosh, think of the awesome things you could do with this guy, including some pretty awesome photo shoots. Costco has sold out of their first batch, but promised more to come this spring. In the mean time, get your fix on the Facebook page for this guy! You bet I’ve liked it. :) Since I have Rupert though, I won’t be getting one of these

Wellness Challenge

laelene Posted in general blog
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At work, we are participating in a wellness challenge to try to get us to live healthier, more active lives. It’s made me painfully conscious of how inactive I am! I started tracking my steps and I’m averaging just 2000 steps a day, which is way below the 10k that so many people shoot for.

However, I have been eating better and avoiding unhealthy snacks, so that has certainly been helpful. I am also more aware of how balanced my meals are and how much I’m chewing. Did you know there are digestive enzymes in your mouth that aren’t found later in your digestive tract? Apparently chewing your food more helps you absorb more of the goodness. It probably also tricks me to thinking I ate more because I spent so much time chewing.

The two weeks went by so fast I could hardly remember what I’d done! I think it would have been less intimidating if there weren’t so many ways to earn points (which ones do I choose to focus on?!) and if it was relative to our habits prior to the challenge. Some people already work out a lot, walk a lot, or track their food consumption. Still, it’s been a good way to bring these habits to light and really make us think more about what we’re doing.

The coolest cards

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Back in the fall, when Panda and I went to Hong Kong, I came back with these awesome cards. Let me share them in more detail, because they’re just so cool.

collage of five 3d cards that pop open to ferris wheels, eiffel tower, ship with sails, and dragon designs

The cards are a heavy stock, with a nice ridged texture. Each cover has a nice image but into it, giving you a preview of what’s inside. As you start to open them, that’s when the magic happens. You might not have expected 3D cards, but then something pops out! These are designed at an angle so they will fold nicely and flatten out, but then stand up into a fantastic 3D design.

colorful 3d ferris wheel card open

I first noticed this one, which was too good to pass up.

colorful 3d ferris wheel card top

If only it turned too!

purple 3d ferris wheel card open

I couldn’t resist getting this one for myself. #ilovepurple

purple 3d ferris wheel card top

Check out the dangly little carts. Love this detail.

3d dragon card open

I also chose this one for myself to keep. It’s sitting on my desk at work.

3d dragon card top

This one needed extra support so they designed those waves.

3d eiffel tower card open

I picked this out for my coworker who is a Francophile like me!

3d eiffel tower card top

I like how it has the map of France too.

3d ship card open

And for the guy, I thought this was super cool. Reminds me of a pirate ship.

3d ship card top

Look at all the parallel lines it uses! I’m fascinated by how they designed these things.

Tandem weights

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Panda and I seem to be in sync when it comes to our weights. We’re mostly around 122-124, with some spikes after eating a lot. Of course, he is a few inches taller so he’s certainly more slim overall. It’s funny how our natural weights just seem to coincide though. Recently when we weighed ourselves, we had both gained some weight. It must be from all the lazing around in the winter, so now we’re nearly 130! I’m sure it’ll go back down as the weather warms up again and we resume a higher level of activity in general. I wonder how many couples out there can say they weigh the same…

pair of women's feet on scalepair of men's feet on scale

So what

laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , , ,
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if I subscribe to newsletters but never read them.
if I eat dessert first.
if I field test clothes with tags on them even after I decide to keep them.
if I order two appetizers and an entree for lunch.
if I obsess over checking in on Yelp.
if I practice my signature for potential autographing needs as an author.
if I am super particular about how I add pictures to FB (it’s a 12-step process).
if I forget to share pics for months (mostly because of my complicated FB posting process).
if I test the limits of my memory space (and I forgot why I wrote this).
if I drop my phone three times a day.
if I keep way too many lists.
if I prance around barefoot when possible.
if I notice your little ticks (and it kind of bothers me).
if I don’t care for pop culture.
if I drink hot water even in the summer.
if I eat all I want and don’t gain weight.
if I am always the exception.
if I sometimes resent my cat for not snuggling with me.
if I check the mail always hoping for a package even when I’m not expecting something.
if I can’t seem to rid my life of clutter.

Gifting Yuzen boxes

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I’m lucky enough to get Yuzen boxes sent to me and I had some extra this year, so I decided to gift some to my friends at work. I was trying to decide between bringing in all the same box (the winter one) or three completely different ones. I was talking to Panda about this and he voted for equality across the board. He figured that way one person wouldn’t be less pleased because she wanted something that came in another box. I thought it could be fun to have them trade with each other if they wanted. What do you think?

three people's hands each on a different yuzen box lined up

Each gal claimed her mystery box!

I ultimately decided to ask the ladies and they all said it’d be more fun to have different things, so that’s exactly what I did. I brought in a winter box, summer box, and one of the gift boxes with a mix of items from previous boxes. With each packaged in the same outer box, I shuffled them up and as I pulled them out, they each lay claim to one. It was fun to watch them open them and see what they thought of what was in their box. It’s amusing how perfectly it turned out too – one person was super excited about the shower bombs and sleep essential oil in the winter box and another loved the lash serum from the summer box. Meanwhile, the third was drawn to the hand cream and foot cream in the gift box (I think the nail polish was rather fitting for her and her daughter too).

I found it interesting that we all thought variety would spice things up and make it more entertaining, whereas Panda would have gone the conservative route and offered the same thing to all. Is it a difference in personalities? Do I just tend to get along with people who like a little sprinkle of uniqueness? Who knows. All I know is that it couldn’t have worked out better. I’m happy, they’re happy, we’re all happy. :) And so goes the season of giving!

I think I got food poisoning

laelene Posted in general blog
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It’s probably the old sushi I ate earlier. My intestines were killing me and I had to chug hot water. I could taste bile rising as I curled in agony. Now I’m a little hungry but afraid to eat. I guess the best solution is to sleep.

When the weather is dreary…

laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , , , ,
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We are so listless

We are so down

Lethargy is tangible in the air and conversations consist of how icky it is outside, how tired we are, how awful it all is…

All I want to do is drink cozy hot drinks like apple cider, hot chocolate, and tea. I want a fireplace to sit near, a soft comfy couch. I don’t want to have to think too hard. I don’t want to go outside.

My coworkers feel it too. We commiserate over the lack of light, lack of energy, and short days. Was it this bad last year? I suppose it was, but at least we had a room where we could close the door and turn up the music. This time around we barely see each other. I’m often off in a room or a corner, conducting a demo or webinar. When I’m at my desk, our faces are all buried in our computer screens. The day drags, yet the time still flies. The longest week manages to be the shortest and the weekends never last. Soon enough, we’re at it again. It gets darker earlier and earlier. Oftentimes it’s raining, cold. There’s no hope of getting home when it’s still light out. Oh how I miss the fairer seasons.

Yet, I get home and after dinner the night zooms past. Too soon, I need to rest but my body and mind aren’t ready to. If only there were more hours in the day, right? So then I succumb, finally. Rest is a wonderful thing. While it may be gloomy outside and totally zapping my motivation to move, at least it’s warm in here. If only I could sleep in a little more and just enjoy it.

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