Posts Tagged ‘parents’


laelene Posted in relationships,Tags: , , , , , ,

I’m such a bleeding heart.

If I ever got measured for sentimentality, I’d probably be off the charts. I have a soft, squishy part of my soul that is reserved just for 6 very important people: my parents and my grandparents. Whenever I see them, I leave feeling a little nostalgic and pensive. It gets more pronounced as we get older and I think of all the love I have for them. How strange that I can feel so loved that it makes me tear up every time.

Growing up, I always thought of my parents as 35. In my mind’s eye, they didn’t age and my impression of them was frozen in time. Then at some point in my 20s, I realized they were hitting 50. Ever since then, they’ve been stuck at that age for me and they probably will for many years to come. Something about that changing doesn’t sit well with me, so I like to keep them in a little time capsule in my mind. Luckily, when I see them in person, they still look 50 to me so it’s easy to keep up the illusion.

Throughout this time, I’ve started to appreciate everything they’ve done for me more and more. We’re not an affectionate type of family, but I’ve taken to hugging my dad and kissing my mom on the cheek whenever I greet them. Just typing that makes the tears well up. What is it that makes me so sappy??

I’ve pretty much always been like that. I’ve written about how I love tenderness before and I shared some stories about my laoye, my nainaimy mom, and my dad and yeye. I guess I should add in a story about my laolao to make it complete. Thinking about each of them tugs on my heartstrings in ways that I don’t understand. Each of them has given so much to get me to where I am today and I feel close to them, yet I hardly ever see them.

I see my mom the most, at about every other month when I go home for a day. I see my dad 2-3 times a year, whenever he is visiting from China. Two of my grandparents died many years ago. I see my living grandma and step-grandpa and other grandpa on average once every 3-4 years. The closeness I feel is certainly not reflected in the frequency of our interactions.

Perhaps this distance is why I enjoy expressing nuggets of love to my friends. Absent cousins or grandparents to snuggle with and share my thoughts, I cherish the friendships that give me that outlet. As an only child, I craved the intimacy of a sibling and I’ve spent my life on the lookout for friends who could fulfill that desire. Maybe that’s where my sentimentality comes from, as I try to derive meaning in every moment, every interaction. I love inside jokes and pet names and hugging and sharing food. All these things that casually indicate a deep level of comfort with each other. To me, that’s love and it’s what I seek. More on that another day.

Back to my family though – the most mundane interaction with them can easily make my heart swell. I don’t know what it is about them that is a huge trigger for me, but I feel it more strongly with each passing year. I mean, just this weekend I had brunch with my parents and I felt incredibly sad to part ways. Did anything notable happen? No. Is either of them in poor health? No. Is there any specific reason to be sad? No.

But I’m a softie with a giant trigger on my heart that is basically a big CRY NOW button. And hanging out with my beloved family activates that for me.

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.

Meet & greet

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

Today’s a pretty momentous day in the history of my life. For most people it’s just another Black Friday, but in my world it’s also my mom’s birthday and the first time my parents and Panda’s parents met.

cat sleeping with arms stretched out straightIt started off as a nice lazy day – I woke up around 9 and lay in bed playing games on my phone for a good two hours. Missy came to find me at one point and napped by my side as I enjoyed lounging in bed. Eventually, my mom came up to discuss stuff for a bank account I’m opening and I wished her a happy birthday. She’d forgotten it was today, as usual. For the past couple of years, she probably wouldn’t have known when her birthday was if I didn’t remind her. 😛 I went through the mail that was waiting for me from my time away and went downstairs to join everyone for lunch.

rainbow seen by freeway while driving

Saw a rainbow on our drive!

After sitting around for a bit to chat with my mom and catch random bits of the show my dad was watching, I decided it was time to head off to Chase, where I was going to open a savings account. That turned out to be a bit of a disaster (offer had expired but I called in weeks ago to make sure to lock it in… and they had no record of it) and an hour later, I only kind of sorted it out. Oh well, I did the best I could and I might still get the offer. Sometimes I really hate large organizations. How do I ever get to the person who can actually help me? Bleh. From there, I had hoped to swing by the stores for a quick look around at the Black Friday deals, but it was time to go home to get ready for our trip out to Panda’s parents’ place. My parents, cousin, and cousin’s friend all came along for the festivities. 🙂

giant pile of crab legs and chilled shrimp at chinese buffet

I made sure to get crab and shrimp!

At Panda’s, his parents and brother were there with him to meet us. My cousin had met his family before and we’d both met each others’ parents, but the parents had not met each other. Back when Panda was graduating with his Master’s degree, my parents had hoped to attend but were ultimately unable to. Little did I know that would be the very day we got engaged! Too bad my parents weren’t there for that. Since then, this was the first time we got a chance to all gather. We sat in the living room and the adults chatted about a variety of things, including their histories and us kids. After nearly an hour, we did a tour of the house and headed off to dinner.

large tub of hot and sour soup with a ton of mushrooms

The hot & sour soup was a mushroom-lovers dream! NOM

Throughout the night, the parents seemed to have plenty to talk about. They got along quite well and had many common threads, including the immigrant experience, being engineers, and of course being Chinese. I got a chance to catch up with Panda’s brother, who is working down in San Diego now. We had all sorts of filling food and stayed for nearly 3 hours! It went so much better than I could have hoped for and I think we all had a great time. Now his parents aren’t some mysterious phantoms that my parents need to imagine and both sides have a sense of what the other family is like. I think the way I describe his family doesn’t do them justice, so my parents had a skewed view of what they might be like. Now they can see for themselves and it was encouraging that we all enjoyed each others’ company. We are very different, yet share enough culturally and experience-wise that it’s wonderful.

Home for Thanksgiving!

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

Happy Turkey Day! I’m thankful to be home. 🙂

It was a strange feeling yesterday to show up to work with half the office out, then work a short day. I left around 4:30 and ended up taking a nap when I got home. I woke up about two hours later and tried to get some work done. Between attempting to blog, chatting with Panda, and getting distracted by the news, I had a busy night. Before I knew it, the night had passed me by and Panda was settling in for some shuteye before our flight. I kept working and at 3:30 I decided that it wasn’t worth it to try to sleep, so I took a shower and started to get ready. I pretty much had nothing to pack since I’ve got everything I need at home, so I decided to treat myself by bringing my sherpa blanket with me. Panda got up at 4:50 and we were outside by 5:15, right as the taxi showed up.

flying over colorado mountains covered in snow

Hello somewhere in Colorado.

As soon as we got on the plane, I settled in with my blankets and drifted off to sleep. When I awoke, I felt like we should be nearly there, but it was only 10:30 EST… we were flying over Colorado with two more hours to go. This is the first time I’ve actually felt hot on a plane ride, so I’m definitely going to try to bring my blanket with me for all future travel purposes, if there’s room. I hate having cold feet! After playing some games on my phone and catching a few more Zs, we started our descent. We arrived a good half hour early and got picked up by our respective families. My mom and cousin came to get me since my dad’s back is not doing so well. It was great to see my family again and I had a good time catching up with my dad. Soon after, I got a chance to do what I’ve been missing for months: play with Missy! She’s my baby and loves me the most – probably because I’m the only one who scratches her neck, rubs her face, and lets her sit/sleep on me all she wants. I took some time to go through my things at home to prepare items to move. Tons of memories to come! It’s weird being home; I feel different out here. It’s like my life out here is completely separate from that of my life out east. It’s surreal being back and I hope to really relax during this time. 🙂 And now I’ll some of my day in pictures…

cat sitting on sofa back

I got home to find a sleepy, confused Molly. “Who are you again?”

cat playing under person's legs staring out

Missy ran in and out of my legs for awhile as we played in the yard.

cat laying on person's arm sleeping

Pretty soon, she found her way to my lap and took a nap.

cat sleeping on person's chest

Eventually I went up to my room and Missy decided to join me for a nap.

thanksgiving turkey fresh out of oven

It’s turkey time! My mom made a delicious turkey.

collage of thanksgiving meal laid out and dishes with food

We always have a Chinese American turkey day, with turkey, stuffing, gravy, sweet potatoes, and random Chinese vegetable dishes.

cat sitting on person's lap at dinner table

Whenever I’m eating, Missy likes to come sit on my lap. I then end up sitting there for hours because I don’t want to move her.

scratching cat's chin

Missy loooves being scratched – under the chin, behind the ears, along the neck, on her back… it’s all good!

cat sneaking a taste of thanksgiving turkey

She’s a naughty girl who likes to sneak a taste of our food! I eventually had to hide the turkey in the oven.

cat sniffing pineapple and rubbing teeth on leaves

She loves to use pineapples as an after dinner mint/floss. Gotta keep that breath fresh!

365great Day 250: parasailing

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

365great challenge day 250: parasailingWhen my parents and I were in Cancun, my dad and I went parasailing. It was so amazing to be up in the air like that, floating above the ocean with insane views of the gorgeous waters and coastline. It was very serene, since there wasn’t much to hear except the rustle of the gentle breeze. I hardly felt like we were moving at all and it really just seemed like we were sitting in midair. Everything was so picturesque and perfect that I wouldn’t have wanted to come down were it not for the fact that my feet were getting cold after being still for so long in that harness. It was a lovely experience to share with my dad, whose love of adventure and fun like this shone on his face. I must have gotten that from him, because we were both grinning ear to ear during and after the ride. Not only was it fantastic to try that activity, it was great to share it with my dad.

365great Day 235: fireplaces

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

365great challenge day 235: fireplacesThe crackling of a fireplace is a really soothing sort of sound to snuggle up near. Add in the welcoming warmth and rich wood smell for a wonderfully comforting experience. Throw in a blanket, good book, and hot chocolate and you may never get me to leave. I also have some lovely memories of singing karaoke with my parents as the fireplace heated up our living room in the St. Louis winter. I don’t have a fireplace anymore, but I get a chance to hang out by one I always enjoy that nice slow pace. It’s so easy to kick back and relax next to a fireplace and let the rest of the world slip away. I wish I had one to use for this upcoming winter! The office sure could use some extra heat. 😛 Wouldn’t that be fun? I’d love to work next to a fireplace at work. It’s a great place to clear my mind and get some work done.

Toothpaste preferences

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

No, I’m not talking about what brand of toothpaste you like to use. Perhaps more accurately I’m wondering about your toothpaste tube squeezing preferences.

collage of toothpaste tubes squeezed randomly versus neatlyYou see, I’m a bit OCD about my toothpaste tubes and they must be neatly squeezed toward the top of the tube, with the empty part flat and usually folded over. I don’t know how I developed this particular preference since my parents don’t appear to do it. It drives me crazy when I use a tube that is just a misshapen glob, where squeezing it causes the toothpaste not just to come out the top slowly, but sometimes even pushes some of it further back into the tube. Panda’s the type to also let his toothpaste tubes run wild and I’ll find it looking like the one on the left. I then carefully squeeze everything towards the lid and flatten out the bottom. Usually I’ll use a rubber band to keep the flap folded over so his next squeeze doesn’t undo my work.

Am I weird to be so picky about this? I can’t help it; it’s just something I have to fix. What is your toothpaste tube squeezing preference? Do you even have one?

365great Day 113: road trips

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

Learn more about 365great here.

365great challenge day 113: road tripsIt’s such a fun, exhilarating, even romantic concept, isn’t it? Road tripping is super popular with Americans, if only as a fantasy, but plenty do manage to do at least some small ones. Whether you’re driving 3 hours or 3 days, it can be quite the experience to pack up, hop in the car, and hit the open road. Panda and I made a little one for the 4th of July break, trekking up to Pennsylvania to check out Hershey and Gettysburg, with a stop in Harrisburg. It was fun to be alone in the car together, with plenty of time for conversation, sightseeing, and overall bonding. It reminded me of trips I took with my parents as a kid – I’d spend a lot of time reading or looking at the landscape passing by as my parents sang Chinese songs playing on the cassette. We’d make pit stops for gas and food and I’d snuggle in with a blanket and pillow. What fond memories! Road trips are great for that.

One day, someday

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

I’ve come to a realization. This whole time I thought being an entrepreneur working on my own schedule was the most important thing to me. While I do cherish the ability to work from home as I please and enjoy the atmosphere and weather here, it’s not enough. Or, more accurately, it’s not the most important thing for me right now.

For the past couple of years, I’ve had to say “we’ll do this someday” or “in the future let’s get that” or “we can go there one day” when referring to anything I wanted to do with Panda. Most things have to be put off – we’re just not at that stage in life yet. Then, recently I came across all these bloggers who are married and have this great home life. The kind of life that I want. And you know, it’s hard to sit here and wait for that future day to come, when Panda and I can finally live together. I’m ready for that stage.

ironing board being used as desk

Case in point: an ironing board shouldn’t have to double as a desk. I want a more permanent solution.

So really, while my work freedom is something I would love to hold on to, I see now that emotionally what I need is not that. First and foremost my heart desires to live with Panda, so we can start to do all those things “for the future.” I want to have a home I can make my own, whether it’s how things are organized within it or how it is decorated and furnished. In addition to that, I need more socialization. Working on my own is lonely and I always knew I’d want a business partner, but that didn’t work out. After a year of plowing ahead, I’ve learned that I was right: I’d work so much better with a team.

I’m so glad that my parents have been unconditionally supportive of my efforts. They gave me the time and space to figure this out for myself. In my stubbornness, I probably would have jumped off the deep end if they pushed me to stick with a “9 to 5” job. Ran off to some remote place to start some obscure small business or something. Instead, they let me sit around at home, evaluating what I was doing, altering my direction as I learned, and that is what has led me to this point. Entrepreneurship may be for me, in a future setting, but right now it’s not what I need.

What I need is a happy (pseudo-married) home life. I’m in no rush to get married, but I do want to build a home life with Panda. So far I’ve only stayed with him sporadically and never felt like I could make the place “ours.” I guess you could say I’m in the mood to be nesting? At least in terms of getting furnishings and developing lifestyle patterns together. And on the work front, I need coworkers and a team more than I need the freedom to work from home or work odd hours. I’m ready to re-enter the workforce.

It’s time for “one day” and “someday” to become a reality. I don’t want to put it off anymore, so I’m dusting off my resume, revamping it, and going on the job hunt.

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?

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