Posts Tagged ‘mommy’

365great Day 260: parents

laelene Posted in 365great,Tags: , , , , , , ,

365great challenge day 260: parentsHappy birthday to my mom! I’ve written about how stupendous she is before, so I won’t go into detail again, but she’s really somebody to be admired. I mean really parents in general are pretty amazing (particularly mine :-D). They’ve worked so hard to bring me to this country and provide me with a comfortable upbringing. I’ve never had to worry about anything serious because they’ve set me up for a path of success. I can hardly believe how fortunate I am with everything I get – parents who aren’t overbearing, who teach me enough but let me learn on my own too, who show their love for me in all sorts of ways, who are always there if I need them, who allowed me to grow up in this country, who set fantastic examples of what it is to work hard and be a good person… they’re great in every way.

The worrisome type (& a story about a golf club)

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

I grew up rather carefree, with just a normal amount of teenage angst and self-doubt. My personality has always been the type to “smile first, figure it out later” – or sometimes I just laugh it off. While I am stubborn and can have a temper, I’m usually grinning or chuckling at something. I guess I take after my dad, who may not smile as much, but is pretty easygoing about things and not really one to worry too much. Meanwhile, my mother and boyfriend are completely different!

taylormade 7 iron golf club head with background of grass

The golf club.

Let me give you an example: recently, I found an offer for a free “Boccieri Secret Grip” for a golf club. I had no idea what that means, but my dad’s really into golf so I thought he might want it. Since he was busy, my mom and I went to Dick’s to redeem the offer. The coupon instructed us to bring a 7 Iron or driver in tow – we grabbed the 7 Iron because it’s lighter :-P. So we get into the store and are sent to the guy in the golf section, who takes the club behind the counter. My mom and I check out the two giant spaces they have for testing golf clubs, one which includes a projection of a videogame-like golf course.

Then we look back at the guy.

My dad’s golf club had been stripped into a sad-looking pole! Gone was the TaylorMade grip. The handle was exposed and he vigorously tore off some leftover tape still sticking to it. At this point, my mother and I are in shock. Ok, so call us clueless, but we had no idea that a free grip meant removing the one we had! We watched as he stuck this double-sided sticky paper to the pole, then wet the exposed surface and the interior of the new grip. This allowed the grip to slide on.

taylormade grip with cut splitting it down middle

RIP, old grip.

He handed it back to us as we stared, dazed. What just happened?? In a trash bin, on top of a pile of papers, lay the original grip. Sad, forlorn, floppy. We asked for it back. We were surprised to find that it had been sliced straight down the middle, but I guess that’s how you remove them. The guy explained to us that the Boccieri Secret Grip has a metal weight in it so the relative weight of the club head is lighter. Apparently that’s supposed to help with your golf game. He also showed us the TaylorMade grips they had in store, which we could always re-grip the club with. The patterning wasn’t the same as ours, but it was the same brand.

new boccieri secret grip on golf clubAnd so we left the store, my mom clinging to the ruined grip. We had some grocery shopping to do and throughout the entire time, she kept sighing and sort of melodramatically “wailing” in despair. She was sad, upset, even angry that the guy had so heartlessly cut up the old grip. To her, TaylorMade was a brand name and Boccieri was… not. And so she felt like the club had been downgraded. Plus, she wasn’t happy that the set no longer matched.

new boccieri secret grip on gold club with old taylormade grip laying on groundI, on the other hand, while certainly shocked at first, quickly recovered. Maybe it really is better and maybe it will help my dad’s golf swing or precision or something. Also, just because we hadn’t heard of the name didn’t mean that it wasn’t a brand name in itself. Who knows. But more important than the brand is the performance! And that’s pretty much exactly what my dad said when we got home. I don’t think he was thrilled that the grip was replaced, but he was open-minded and willing to give it a try. He also wasn’t so concerned about a perfectly matching set or any brand name.

Even then, my mom had a hard time letting it go. It was still a big deal to her! That’s just the type of person she is. I guess some people just get much more worked up over things. To me, they cause themselves a whole lot of unnecessary stress. But hey, that’s their prerogative! Are you the worrisome type too?

Accessories galore

laelene Posted in photo blog,Tags: , , , , , , ,

My dad recently brought me some sweet items my mom got for me to sell! Soon to be listed on and eBay. Check out a sampling of some of my favorites.

shiny yellow gem metal phone jack dust plug

Simple, elegant dust plug for any device with a headphone jack!

shiny metal ballerina dust plug with red gems

Dangling, swinging ballerina dust plug.

giant metal panda face ring with gem eyes

Big, bold, and adorable ring.

plastic brown bear head dust plug

Cute little bear head topper.

plastic grey wolf dust plug

Little wolf perched up top.

metal fox wraparound ring with red gems

Sweet little fox curled up around your finger!

metal turtle ring with blue gems and red eyes

What a fun turtle ring, complete with moving limbs!

fuzzy black fox ring with gems

Hahaha, fancy fox. 😉

Birthdays and bygones

laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , , ,

Today’s my mom’s birthday!  I can’t believe a year has come and gone.  I remember this time last year she wasn’t here, so we didn’t really celebrate.  This year I’ll be going back to see her later in the week and hopefully we can get a nice dinner in before resting up for an early flight that she’ll need to catch.  Soon, I’ll have my birthday too.  My how it all flashes by!

I feel like there hasn’t been that much to pace my life by, since a work day is pretty predictable.  I’m nearing two years of employment at my company and so much has changed, yet the pattern of each day makes things blend a lot more than during my school years.  Within the next year or two I’ll be changing all of that though – it’s about time for a shift in my life.  Going back to school will offer me a change in scenery and pace of life.  I always enjoy shaking things up a bit!

For now I’ll just prepare for that next stage and marvel that in 2012, my parents will be twice my age!  Has it really taken that long to get to this point?  Sometimes I feel older than I am, but of course there is still so much more to grow.


laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , ,

This year is the first time I’m filing taxes with a real job, complete with W-2, credits, deductions, and all that jazz.  I’ve been avoiding it, like most of the country probably is, but my mom sat down with me to go over it step by step in TurboTax and though it was a bit tedious, thankfully my taxes are still very simple.  Ultimately it turned out great though, since I’m getting some tax returns!

Watching the amount for my federal and state tax returns go up and down depending on certain items I added in was kind of cool.  It’s like watching slot machine 7s fall into place.  I like how that effect almost turned doing my taxes into a game.  Certainly everything’s better as a game!  But then again, it turns out to be so much better that this isn’t a game, since the money I get back will be real and not some virtual currency.

It can get kind of stressful though, since I worry that I missed something that will really affect my return.  This early on it doesn’t really matter since I just qualify for a standard federal deduction amount, but later on when things are itemized, every bit counts…  For now I will just rejoice in the fact that filing my returns this year will be quite quick and painless.  Soon enough I’ll have my returns and I can revel in the pleasure of getting money back from Uncle Sam.

Daddy’s birthday

laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , , ,

Today was my dad’s birthday and the first one where my parents and I have been united in awhile.  To celebrate, we went out to an Asian buffet, which we discovered actually offers you a free meal for your birthday!  Even better.  🙂  It was nice to spend a quiet weekend with them and spend some time just hanging out at home.  Days like that are few and far between now.  Though we don’t really do much, it’s comforting just to have them sitting in the next room.  And there’s something about being in the house that makes me want to move around, which is great for my health!

The early years

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

Branching off from my description of generational gaps in my family

For my parents in particular, my maternal grandmother heard of my dad through the wife of a professor at the local university, which is where my parents both went to school.  My maternal grandfather was also a professor at the school and his professor buddy had my dad as a student.  Through the women talking, my grandmother learned that this young man was the professor’s star student and first in his class.  My parents were introduced to each other and my grandfather approved without ever meeting the young man.  All he had to know was that he was a hard worker and an excellent student.  My grandmother, on the other hand, wanted to meet and get to know this potential suitor.  As the legend goes, she sat him down for an interview (probably mostly asking about academics and his professional future) and liked him as well.  My mom decided that of the guys she’d been introduced to, she liked this one the most, and so they were married.  Or something like that.

It turned out to be a great decision, since my dad was smart enough to be allowed to leave China, which was a bit of a mess back in those years.  The country had been in lock down and it was extremely hard to get out.  My dad got into a PhD program at Penn State, which is what took him abroad.  About six months before I was born, he left for the land of the free and began his studies.  A year later, when I was a few months old, my mom followed suit, going to Penn State for her Master’s.  I was left with relatives in China and I believe my paternal grandmother was mostly in charge of raising me those years.  By the time I was three and a half, my parents had saved up enough money to fly me over.

I don’t remember much from those years, but I did have one strong memory from the plane ride, about the lady who escorted me from my family in China to my parents in America.  I have also been told by my mother that when I first arrived, I refused to let my dad sleep in the bed.  After all, it really was like meeting them for the first time – my dad had never seen me before and my mom had only been with me for about half a year.  My mom attributes this behavior to a child’s need to cling to one adult they trust.  Apparently between my parents, I chose my mother.  So I clung to her and slept with her, but initially wouldn’t allow my dad to share the space.  Poor guy must have had a couple of rough nights camping out on the couch or something.

And so that is how I spent the first couple of years of my life.  Most of it’s a blur and photography was too expensive back then to have many pictures capturing my toddler years.  The few I do have are quite amusing, with me all bundled up in winter clothes with a red dot on my forehead, or hanging out in a crib with my cousins standing around me.  Perhaps I’ll dig those up someday and share them too.

Curious observations

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

I spent a lovely holiday with Panda’s family having a BBQ, then going home to enjoy the night with my mom, but along the way, some strange things caught my attention.

It all started on my drive back home after spending the day at his family’s.  I noticed on the opposite side of the freeway, a silver/gray Honda type vehicle on the side of the road, left side tilted up and that front wheel still spinning.  Apparently it had hit a pole of some sort, which seemed to be the thing propping it up at that strange angle.  The front of the car had a dent in the middle, with smoke coming out of the hood.  It was a bizarre thing to see and I almost didn’t believe it, what with all the TV show crime and accident scenes I’ve been seeing.  As I passed by, the driver’s side door opened slowly (remember that the car was tilted on its side, so gravity was working against them) and I saw an arm or a leg push out.  As I contemplated whether or not I should exit and turn around, I noticed an SUV type vehicle pull over.  It looked like they were getting help, so I continued on my way, but puzzled about that incident the entire drive home.

Then when I exited from the freeway and began to drive through my town, I noticed groups of people camped out on the lawns of businesses.  It seems that they wanted to get a really good view of the fireworks that night, which I think were coming from the town center or the nearby amusement park.  A couple of lanes of the road had been blocked off, which made no sense to me, since there was nothing there.  The right-turn lane of the street I was on was blocked off, but traffic going in that direction wasn’t stopped, so I couldn’t figure out why coned it off!  How bizarre.  Were they saving room on the streets for patrol cars to use later?  Were they actually going to block off all the roads in that area closer to the time the fireworks were due to start?  Were they going to allow people to use the road to camp out too?  Or maybe they were getting ready to set up traffic stops and sobriety checkpoints?  Who knows.

Finally, I passed by our postal office and noticed that the flag was at half-mast.  Pondering the situation, I couldn’t come up with any explanation as to why that could be.  Independence Day is a holiday of celebrations, not commemoration, like Memorial Day would be.  So it couldn’t be due to that.  I figured someone must have died, but I wondered if it was a local thing or national thing.  When I made it home, I did some digging around and discovered that President Obama ordered flags at half-mast for a couple of days, to commemorate the late Senator Robert Byrd.  I hadn’t really heard of the man, so I wonder if they always lower the flag for Senators or if this man was a particularly special one.  Apparently it was supposed to be raised to full mast for today (after all, it is a happy holiday), but seeing as postal workers are all off, it’s no surprise they just left it.  Makes it easier, since it’s to be half-mast for Monday and Tuesday anyway.

And there you have it, a 50-minute drive full of peculiar things that I just about managed to figure out.  This is how my curious mind works.

Financial intelligence

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

My mom lectured me about smart financial moves today and though I was tired and didn’t really want to think about it, she makes a good point.   I can save a lot of money if I take advantage of tax breaks, save and invest wisely, and limit my spending.   At this point, I don’t really want to think about it and plan for it, but it really is the time to start as I get a steady paycheck.  Unfortunately (and despite one of my majors being Economics), I’m not really interested in the financial field and have little patience for all the complexities of it.   At the same time, I can save a lot of money by knowing how to handle my money smartly and not pay a financial advisor to figure that out for me.

It’s a bit of a dilemma because I just don’t have the interest, but the stakes are pretty high and the ultimate benefits do warrant a closer look.  As of now I’ve been letting my Roth IRA money sit there, whiling away, but what I need to do is invest it in a somewhat aggressive mutual fund or index or something.  There are many other things to do, such as figure what areas of tax avoidance I can take advantage of (note that that’s not the same as tax evasion, which is illegal).  I need to put in a lot of time and effort into this area, but I just don’t have the interest.  I wish I could just let someone else handle it, but why spend good money on something I can learn myself?

At least if I start early in my working life (like now), I’ll be setting myself up for a better future that will be able to ride out the periodic financial downs.  I just wish it wasn’t so complicated.

Celebrating motherhood

laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , , ,

Happy Mother’s Day to those who qualify.  😛

As we get bombarded by flower, jewelry, and and plenty of “pamper her” offers, let’s not forget that none of that really means as much as time spent together.  The mother who has spent so many years giving her time and energy raising you probably needs no more in return than attention and love given back to her.  Though giving things is a popular way of showing affection, I think it’s much nicer if you can take the time to spend the day/weekend with her.  After all, how much effort does it take to buy something and have it sent to her?

So year after year, it is a family tradition to celebrate various occasions and holidays just by going out to dinner.  Of course I will treat her in this case, and take her to get the moisturizer she said she needed.  But flowers?  I find those the most unnecessary gift of all.  They only last a week or two and especially for my mom, she’s got plenty growing in her backyard.  A bouquet looks nice only for a fleeting moment, but the waste of resources to produce it… well, it’s just not very eco-friendly, so I’m opting out.  She’d get better use out of a pack of seeds or a little pot of freshly sprouted seedlings.

In the future, I hope my kids would do the same – make an effort to see me and spend time with me (and if not, a fun ecard or homemade video is so much more meaningful than a pile of flowers that thousands of other mothers got).  I hope everyone is celebrating happily and enjoying what is a beautiful day out on the west coast.  Go for a stroll and grab some dessert or something.  I say do something with her and have some quality bonding time.  🙂

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