A Happy Peach

Things that make my heart smile…


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In My Neighborhood…

I finally got a new camera back in December and have been tinkering with it. The problem, or rather one of the problems, is that I have not really been taking too many pictures. Just a here and there, every so often. I think I feel a bit of a tourist taking pictures, there is a stereotype of Asian tourists visiting NY, LA, Las Vegas…etc. and taking a lot of pictures. I think people here used to feel that it was a bit strange to drag out your camera to capture an image that was otherwise be considered banal. But I am trying to overcome that ridiculous notion and take more pictures.

At first I would wait for moments when there wasn’t anyone around to see me in action. Exhibit A…

I am not quite sure what that red-winged object was, but I just liked the name A to Z Mart.

 

Then a few days later I was sitting in my car at the red light waiting. I looked over and thought that the landscape looked pretty. So I snuck out my camera and click.

Here is the landscape with its original colors.

Then I got a little photo edit happy and messed with the color of another shot.

 

Feeling my Wheaties I found and stalked a squirrel a week later. But he got the better of me.

At first he just plays with the nut he finds.

Then he decided he wanted none of me and made his getaway.

 

Over the weekend I went for some dim sum and noodles, it was New Years Eve after all. While waiting for my take out I noticed how pretty they had decorated the dining area. I realized there was a wedding reception to take place in a few hours. There was only one other set of customers so tried to look nonchalant as I surreptitiously took out my camera.

I did play with the color a bit and blurred the edges a bit.

And today while at the bank I decided to play with the fish eye feature of my little Olympus. (Claps hands and says, “Go little cheap camera!!!”)

I really can't help myself, I think I like playing with the after effects way too much.

It's a hamburger dive, I think the owner really likes to decorate their joint.

Now that I think about it, this actually turned out to be a photo journal of the month of January.


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Versatility and Creativity…

Every day seems to be a new challenge. It’s quite different from what I am used to but I think I am going to tap into my inner versatility and creativity. My dear friend Andy awarded me the Versatile Blogger and Kreative Blogger award last week. I am so sorry Andy it took me so long to acknowledge, but it has been something I wanted to post on, but didn’t seem to have the good spirit nor the opportunity to last week. Firstly, thank you so much for this/these awards, I believe it’s the first time I’ve received the Kreative Blogger Award.

Secondly, here are a couple of pictures of the awards, I think most of y’all have seen it before. But here we go just in case.

 

 

 

 

The next step is to list ten things about yourself. Now you know I want to make it a theme. So the theme this time is going to be ten soundtracks that I really enjoy. Ready…let’s start.

 

1. Singing in the Rain…every so often I like to go off into classical Hollywood musical. It’s totally unrealistic and why shouldn’t life have it’s unrealistic moments. No? It cheers me up when I feel a bit glum and I want to shake it. Plus I love the idea of a bit of California dew. And now I want to take up tap… 

2. An American in Paris…if you’re going to go with Gene Kelley classics you have to make mention of this movie. I think most people know the songs, but may not know where it’s from. Songs like “I Got Rhythm”,  “S’wonderful” and “Our Love is Here to Stay”.  But one of my favorites is the orchestral eponymous score, there’s a beautiful velvety quality to it. It gives the movie a dark romantic undertone. And now I need to pick up ballet slippers…

3. Chicago, now I am not talking about the movie, I’m thinking of the broadway version. First, we must pay respect to how physically demanding it is to one dance through your performance (intense muscle control) and two to sing and deliver lines at the same time.  All while keeping your energy up. It puts an endearing spin on prohibition and makes me want to sing.

4. I can’t help myself at this point. Cats reminds me of my childhood in New York. That show played forever on Broadway. My favorite part is the crescendo when Grizabella sings out “…Touch me, it’s so easy to leave me.” It’s one of those sounds I could never remove from my memory.

5. Last musical…Cabaret, I was thinking of A Chorus Line or perhaps Evita (I loved the Patti Lupone Mandy Patinkin version). But it’s Joel Grey, come on. It’s a bit queer but amusing in it’s own bizarre way. Every so often I find myself singing “…im Cabaret, au Cabaret, to Cabaret.”

6. So what about non-musical selections you say. I am on the hunt for the soundtrack for Ascenseur pour l’échafaud. Miles Davis is one of my all time favorite and to me he is at  his smokey sultry best for this movie.

7. Garden State…it’s one of those soundtracks that I can just sit and listen to a few times. It’s so eclectic. Zach Braff did a great job picking out these songs. It’s like the perfect Saturday bike ride playlist.

8. The Big Chill…it’s just a great collection of music from the sixties.

9. Pretty in Pink…eighties classic.  I think just for Jon Cryer’s rendition of Otis Redding’s “Try a Little Tenderness.” And of course the Psych Furs. This was hard when I was thinking about “Say Anything”, “Sixteen Candles”, and “The Breakfast Club.”

10. This was hard, how do end this list when there are so many you know you’ve missed. Knowing this I then began to rue the moment I thought to do this list. So rip it off like a band-aid, I’m going to go with the “Kill Bill” soundtrack. It’s nutty selection of music.

Now to pass the awards on. I’m actually going to pass it on to just four:

I’m new to these blogs but I’ve been enjoying them for their own unique content.

 


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Last Week…

My Dearest Friends,

Last week was a very unkind week. It was one I hope not to repeat. It made me feel sad, dejected and quite tired as it progressed and thus very few posts. I am hoping this week will improve, but I wonder. In fact I ended the week with many questions running through my head. All the questions, which are still unanswered, have me quite worried, not just for me, but for the future of all of us.

Even though I ended the week badly, I am trying to start the new week better. An experience is only a complete disaster if you do not take a lesson from it. After assessing all that went wrong, I felt a bit bleak. I wanted to remind myself of some positive thoughts. I started to think of what my relationship with education was and what it may evolve into. I came to the conclusion that with regard to education, I believe in a few critical ideas:

  1. That each person learns in their own way. But each way is no less valid, just as long as the concept to be learned is not lost. (Reminding myself to take a deep breath and have patience and practice acceptance)
  2. As long as the individual wants to learn they can be taught, it may just take more effort and more time. But as long as they want to learn and they don’t quit, it will happen. Isn’t this true for everything.
  3. Children are the same no matter what. Think of all those kids who get new toys on Christmas, only to play with the box. Little kids love games and stickers. They really are sweet little lights, you just have to treat them like that.
  4. Children are curious by nature, they want to learn, they want to please, and they want to be rewarded. I think that’s all part of human nature.
  5. Memorizing is not the same as understanding. Once you understand a concept, it is yours to use however you like. From your understanding comes creativity.

I personally operate all my teaching, training and mentoring in this way (be they a child or adult). I try not to criticize, and if I need to point something out I focus not on the person, but rather the thing that needs to be fixed. We all make mistakes, but it’s what we do after that is the most telling.

So right now I am gathering my thoughts and preparing my heart for another week. Actually the kids and I are getting into a groove. I think sometimes it’s the adults that get in the way of education. I trying not to impede their learning, and giving it my best effort to help facilitate their learning.

It’s a bit of a sigh sort of post, isn’t it? I hope I won’t have many posts that heave a sigh in the future.

Thank you for reading,

D…


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If You Are In Need Of A Boost…

Ah, my friends, today was my first day working with the kids, and let me tell you this may be a big challenge. Right now I am a bit pooped out, and I think I may have to be a disciplinarian for the first few sessions. It was not as I had planned, but I guess a lot of things in life tend not to go as we thought. I’ll just have to adapt. Hopefully I can turn the situation around.

As a result today was one of those days where I just wanted to watch an uncomplicated bit of cute or funny. Anyone else have those sort of days, the ones that require a bit of rest and relaxation till you have to think about what your next step is.

First up, this video always puts a smile on my face. It’s too cute.

And who doesn’t love a baby Polar bear cub?

And now for something silly, this ain’t for no deep saints…

Let’s continue with some more bad drag…

Let’s be honest girls, we’ve all had those fashion girl moments. I’m embarrassed to admit it, but I know that I have said some odd ball fashion related things. Hope that at least one of these videos put a smile on your face.


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Year Of The Dragon!!!!

Happy Lunar New Year!!! It’s the year of the dragon. This year is actually going to be the year of the Water Dragon. It is the belief that the years associated with water will bring wealth and prosperity and/or natural disaster. There are a few attributes attributed to water like wisdom and intelligence. Additionally, think of all the attributes for water, such as its flexibility and necessary balance. An imbalance of water could translate to consequences suffered.  Dragons are thought of as colorful, creative, dynamic, and hot-headed.

I am not sure I believe in all of this, but I like to think of it as parlour game. You are just messing around with luck. I thought since this is all in fun, I would add some fun New Years videos.

I thought this was different…

Underwater…

In Vegas…

In truth the scared me when I was a small girl. But now I think it’s interesting. Happy Lunar New Year Everyone!!! May it be a wonderful one.


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Food Hunter…

My dear Friends,

If you haven’t noticed by now, I’m a bit of a food lover, a foodie if you will. I love to try new foods and experiment with my cooking. Although I do become very sad if my dish doesn’t turn out quite right, it’s like I need a round of therapy afterwards.

After college I spent a great deal of time as well a great deal of money trying new places big and small. It’s the perfect way to plumpen oneself (yikes). Some of my experiences were good, some have been unusual, while others have been down right funny. I remember a foodie friend and I went to this fusion Japanese place called Cafe Hiro. The food was yummy, but we ordered this roasted pork  and most of it was fat. I guess they had simmered the fat and it was supposed to be eaten. Well, we would have none of it, it just seemed wrong to chomp on a piece of fat. It was also a weeknight so there weren’t many people in the restaurant, which meant the servers had time to gawk at us not eat the fat. My friend jokes saying they were probably whispering to one another, why won’t they eat the fat. While I still don’t think I would eat the fat having a variety of adventures in cuisine has helped me to broaden my horizons when ordering as well as when cooking.

Needless to say as a foodie and a bit of an organizer (not that I’m good with the upkeep all the time) I tend to be the one to gather the troops for meals. I tended to be the person who kept an organized file of menus, although I’ve been cooking a lot the past year. I tend to prefer that now as it can be better for your health as well as your wallet. What with withdrawal of weaning myself off of eating out I tend to visit food site every so often to tempt my palate. I must say it is a bit sadistic of me to do so, because I end up wanting to go and breaking the fast so to speak.

Today I went over to my local PBS station and became waylaid when I saw they had a link to their socal food  and then I saw a posting on this place I had been to called Izakaya Honda-Ya. It’s one of the places my best friend and I went to when she came home for a visit, Cookie if you’re reading this do you remember? I began thinking of all the fun places we should go to when she comes for another visit soon.

I began to snoop around more and I found so many other places I had been to or felt that I needed to go to. I saw a blog on Elite Restaurant, which is a dim sum place, you know I love my dim sum.  They even had a video, it’s like food porn, GAH!!!!

And at the bottom of the post one gal wrote her comment with a link to her blog EatingLA. I continued to torture myself and itemized places that I needed to try in the near future. She reminded me how great eating in Southern California can be. It’s not necessarily New York, but there are so many different nationalities and so many people who want to try to make something new. It’s so fun. I thought of all the farmers markets in my local cities and pop-up food opportunities that can happen. I just found out about The Secret Fork, it seems to be shrouded in mystery, maybe even exclusivity. They don’t seem to want to publicize it too much. All of they cyber food travel has reinvigorated my love of food, as if it had gone away. It’s made me want to find a way to travel and explore.

It has also left me a bit munchy. Right now I am craving Jjol-myeon. What can I say, one of my favorite textures is chewy. Anyone else hungry?


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Don’t Forget The Silly…

Today I spent the day organizing and preparing for next week. You must know by now my friends that I am a bit of an organizer. It’s been a little cumbersome, as I tinkered away on a database with software that I am not accustomed too (Open Office as opposed to Microsoft Access) and going through some paperwork and checking to see that I have all my tools. Actually a lot of this is extra work that I am creating for myself, but when I take on a project I like to invest myself, no matter how small or large. I’ve busied myself away all day, and quite frankly I am pooped.

This exhaustion means that I need to relax and treat myself. For such occasions sometimes a bit of silliness is in order, as it seems completely unnecessary to take oneself so seriously all the time.

I feel for Ben Stiller…I really do…oh Kevin Spacey.

And I realize this LMFAO video (Sexy and I know it) may be a bit raunchy (so much so that I don’t really want it on my blog), but it’s so dumb it makes me laugh. It makes me laugh and want to head on to Venice Beach. So very wrong.

But this little guy makes me laugh. He can be on the blog.

I wonder what everyone else does to shake off tension. Do tell…

 


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New Adventures…

Last year seemed to be a bit of a repose for me, which was what I needed even if I hadn’t realized it. Then at the end of the year I finally found a project I wanted to be a part of. It’s something that I had done a couple of years ago and really enjoyed. It’s a supplement teaching program. I am really excited about it, because while I never really expected to teach kids it turns out that it’s something that I truly enjoy. I also like the idea that this is something that will help my community.

However, I am worried about it. The idea of having a young little mind in your hands is always a concern to me, even for a short time period you want to do your best for them. Also kids, while I adore them, are foreign little creatures for me. Even as a child, I was normally around adults most of the times. I am sure I’m worrying for nothing, but a gal can’t help but fret a bit. What I was hoping for was a bit of advice from anyone with little ones. Anything you could think of would be great.

You know this song is now in my head….oh good gravy…if you listen you may find yourself singing it in your car. I warned  you…

Wish me luck my friends 🙂


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We Shall Overcome…

“But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. And so, we’ve come to cash this check, a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice.”

Martin Luther King, Jr. “I Have A Dream Speech” August 28, 1963

Dear Friends,

Today was Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Today is dedicated a great Civil Right Activist, but more than that a great man. He was instrumental in uniting people who understood the need for equality. While he had every right to be angry for all the injustice he and other minorities had to face, his dignified words held peace. His words stirred the hearts of people then and are still relevant today, sadly we have made progress legally but economically there are still barriers.  There are still a selection of the population that harbors prejudice within their hearts (within varying degrees) and others who unfortunately act on it. I have heard horrible stories from friend who have gone through that era. But I have also heard recent stories as well as experienced first hand prejudice, stereotyping, and discrimination. On this day let us not only remember Dr. King and what he stood for, but let it remind us that there is much work which still needs to be done.

Bill Stevenson said that, “In America, the opposite of poverty is justice.” When I heard this a light went on, and I understood his point. These issues stay utmost in my thoughts, and I struggle to grasp what I need to do to contribute. Although little by little I have been finding my footing. With so much economic woes and civil  unrest, I wonder what constructively we must be doing. Any thoughts?

I leave you with Dr. King’s “I Have A Dream Speech.”

Peace be with you my friends,

D…

 


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Lifestyle Project Management…

My dear Friends,

I’ve never really been a person to make New Years resolutions. My thinking is that if there is something that you want to achieve, you should go start to implement that change as soon as you can. But I can see the allure of making a few changes at the beginning of the year, making a fresh start if you will. So maybe you’ve got a few resolutions that you’ve made, and maybe those resolutions have already gone down the drain. Or perhaps you need to revise your strategy of change. If a new approach is in order you may want to try to view  it as a regimented lifestyle improvement plan.

Let me preface the following with a bit of my personal history, I have a Masters in Software Engineering. The focus of the degree is project management (initiating, planning and design, executing, monitoring and control, and closing) in a nutshell we look at software projects from beginning to completion as a life cycle. I think that this process, software development life cycle, can be translated to personal goals, so I am going to give it a try.

  1. Planning – the start of any undertaking is best served with good planning. Plans serve to give us direction and help us if we are ever to get lost. In software it depends on what school of development you want to adhere to, but I am going to lay out some general good practice planning ideas.
    1. Requirements engineering (my favorite part) looks at what you really want to achieve. Say you want to lose weight. You sit yourself down and write down that goal. As much as you can, make your goal measurable. Measurable goals allow you to see your progress. Within your end goal build in some smaller milestone goals, so if you are trying to lose weight, set an ideal body weight goal and set realistic weekly weigh-ins and monthly goals. But also consider why you want that goal, what you will be achieving when you accomplish that goal, and how achieving that goal my help other aspects of your life. This will help you stay focused as well as motivated. You will also want to consider your constraints, i.e. what do you have to work with, as well as what may be a pitfall for you. When you know what endangers your goal it can’t take you by surprise and you can plan for it. Some popular constraints for weight loss may seemingly be a lack of time and money. But really how cheap and easy can it be to throw together a Salad Niçoise or maybe throw something in a crock pot the night before and you have lunch. That gives you more time during lunch to relax and enjoy yourself.
    2. Now that you have an idea of what you want to achieve, why you want to do it, and what you need to avoid, you have are ready to move on to design. Designs can go through many versions, so don’t limit yourself, and also build in some flexibility. You may not reach your weekly weigh-in goals, but you did lose some weight. Let that difference be the tolerance, so a difference of plus or minus 5 lbs for example. Also build in allowances, if you’re trying to lose weight, don’t completely deprive yourself of yummy foods. Maybe allow for a portion of desert once a week, or however often you feel is appropriate. Design the plan so that you can achieve your goal, be kind to yourself. You don’t want to feel like you are being mean to yourself, that sort of goal is just abusive.
  2. Implementation, testing and documentation – now that you have your plan it’s time to make it happen. Remember this change is for you, so if you need to change at any time, sit down and revisit the plan and make it work for you.
    1. Implementation – try to stick to your plan as much as possible. If you see that there are problems or that there are issues, examine those problems and determine what the best solutions are. For example if you have a friend who is an enabler, maybe it’s better to limit your time with them. When you’re just starting out it is good to limit time with people who reinforce the opposite of what we want to achieve, till we’re strong enough to resist on our own. This helps to break bad patterns.
    2. Testing – we engineers like to test things. We run a variety of tests, including validation (are we doing the right thing) and verification (are we doing it the right way). Periodically, ask yourself is what I am doing the right thing and am I doing it the right way. Translation, am I eating the right thing and am I eating the right portions and at the right time? We also test things to make sure that things work right and what could go wrong. Pretty much we want to see if we can break the thing (no, I’m serious, that’s what we test for). You may want to see what things are tempting or preventing you from eating right, like those darn office birthday cakes or treats. Also as you progress and your patterns have changed, some people may want to test old behaviors to see their reactions. But that’s a personal preference.
    3. Documenting – normally this is reserved for creating manuals. But in this case I want to reserve documentation as part of the monitor and control part of the process. Writing down your progress, taking notes of what helps and doesn’t help, as well as your findings during testing, all these things are great for understanding your own personal process. You can see your own patterns and the progress that you made, you begin to understand yourself and what you can accomplish. It’s a wonderful thing to behold.
  3. Deployment and Maintenance – also known as the rest of your life. All those other steps were just a way to change your lifestyle and hopefully get to know yourself better. It’s also amazing how wonderful you can feel when you realize your goal. Along the way you may see yourself change and making different choices. The critical aspect of completing the goal is how will you maintain it. What other changes do you need to institute in order to keep yourself at a healthy weight. Your lifestyle needs to support your goals in the now and thereafter.
I know this was long for a post, and I am somewhat pooped out now. As for myself, I think one of the things that dissuades me from writing posts is that my chosen topics a lot of times are way too long. I also tend to be thorough, so that doesn’t help matter. One of my goals for this blog is to write smaller posts and more frequently.