Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Lately, walks...

Lately, Old Man has been talking me to take walks after dinner in a bid to get healthier. A great idea I had embraced in the beginning that turned into quite a bit of complaining on my part.

(Old Man walk)
We started of walking every other night and have moved into every night with the occasional run. Let me just say this. I love walking around, we used to go hiking a lot when we first got together and went to walk around local parks when we could. Had stopped for almost 2 years if not more. While I enjoy walking, I am not a runner. Never was and never will be. I prefer to swim in my kiddie way and just enjoy myself. Old Man cannot swim. He lives to run. So we compromised by walking after dinner. .

It's always cooler at night and during summer, that was a great boon. I enjoy the chilly air even if my lung burn and my face becomes numb from the cold. I like looking up at the nearly black sky past the ever luminous monstrosity of lights around the park and tracks. The trees were pretty enough and I enjoy a good walk. Basically a nice simple stroll. 

Well not this old man. He keeps insisting on making it into exercise. Even when we walk, it turns into a fast-walking-near-jogging thing. That annoys me. Greatly. Every time. Which would be doable if we weren't both working fulltime. Our commute takes about an hour each way, on opposite ends therefore carpool was out of the question, therefore I detest driving even more now. Did I mention I had to cook dinner? He cleans, but still. It's tiring!  I'm tired!

I finally couldn't take it the other day.  He wanted to run and break out his new shoes.  Go for it!  What did I do?  *cackles*  I read.  

(Me reading while he ran a mile.)

Usually we walked the track together.  Sometimes he runs while I walks.  Other times, I run a bit with him.  Still, I'm a terrible runner, so I'll stick with walking. Lol.  We also switch it up every now and then.  We usually try to for a mile+, but if I'm really tired or we'd been out running errands the whole day, we do about half a mile.  My reasoning was that we walked a lot already. Lol.  Mostly I'm just tired.

He also surprised me on 4th o J.  He kept telling me we were just going for a stoll/walk at the local park but instead took me to watch the local city fireworks.  It was nice.  There were a lot of people and so many booths and events going on.  I'm not big on people so we shifted just enough to watch the fireworks with bunch of other people standing around. 

(Just a bit of fireworks.)

Overall, I very much like our nightly (or every other night during most weekdays) walks.  It's one of the few times when we're not being distracted by family or work.  Even being at home together gets distracting with cleaning up or using the computer (him with his video games).  So, just for about 15-20 minutes, we tend to just walk around in circles and spend some quality time together.  We even get into arguments over things...it usually results in me stealing his car keys and phone and running away. Hahaha.  Yeah, we live weird lives. 

Monday, July 29, 2013

Ugh...

Despite it being the horrors of first working day of the week, the claiming annoyance I feel is partially from the weekend.  Have not been sleeping to well and totally are something wrong Sunday night.

Also, I have books missing. This is extremely annoying since I have several reviews ready and I just need to put in the picture of the book. I don't want to have to get it off the net since this my way of a disclaimer. Source of the book, no conflict of interests plus pretty picture, yada yada doo.

Seriously, where did all my books go? Why must my bad memory mess with me to the point where I can't even remember which box my books are in. Bleck.

Help me cute nephew!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Gardening

Just a little Sunday relaxations in my garden...mostly container garden but works for me! :D

 

Started more seedlings.  
Old man asked for some flowers so hopefully most of them will come out ok.
 My pumpkins just sprouted. So excited.


 These were at my parents house.  The coolest part, they grew from the tomatoes I planted last year. Totally sprouted and grew on their own. Mom's been enjoying them. Lol.

 

This was the only sunflower that truly survived to full bloom.  I planted so many sunflowers this year and it was sad.  Slugs, bugs and all sorts of animals ate all my sunflowers.  
So many were about to bloom and moths laid eggs in the bud...the little moth larvaes ate every last one.  I had to yonk and toss...

Like the ones below...they all got eaten. Very sad.
 

This was another batch of starter seedlings. Look how cute!
 

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Georgette Heyer - Cotillion

Well, I had accidentally posted the unfinished review on Thursday.  It wasn't ready yet. Just slippery fingers on small touch-screen problems on my end.  Now, with a picture and links...plus a few minor edits, it's ready to go! Enjoy~

Cotillion by Georgette Heyer


This author was introduced to me a few years back with much rave about her being the queen of regency romance/historical romance. Since I liked those enough, I thought I’d give them a try. Out of the five I tried, this was the only book I’ve really liked so far. The rest, not so much. I probably won’t keep trying too hard to read her books despite Heyer being much loved by so many people and created the foundation of much historical romance novels. I can see why her books were so lauded.  They were very accurate, the ideas were very cool, and I noticed how a lot of the plots were basis for so many of the current Historical Romance novels we read now, but I had trouble getting into reading them. More on that below.

Cotillion, the name of a country dance, centered quite a huge cast of characters. The main storyline was a fake engagement between Kitty and Freddy, Kitty to want to experience London and make her intended fiance Jack jealous. This propelled everyone into this “dance,” if you’ll excuse my pun, of all their relationships.

The story was very simple (sort of) and was more about a bunch of people interacting, falling in love, being together, trying to be together, etc. There were no real antagonist unless you count Jack, which I don’t. He’s more of a fool than anything else and he stayed in character. There were several secondary romances which were all fun in their own way.

I guess that’s the gist of this book: a bunch of people of marriageable age interacting at parties, slowly learning about one another and falling in love. Granted, in Heyer’s books, I saw much of the tropes, elements, and foundations to many of the bestseller stories nowadays, but nothing that really knocked my socks off. Cotillion was the one I remembered enjoying reading, but even now, I have trouble making out the storyline. No one really grows or changes, but their opinions of each other changed as a result of more interactions.

I was actually very excited about having a somewhat bumbling hero, a rake that stayed a rake, and a heroine that was sure of herself and went after what she wanted. It contained all the above, but after I finished reading, I was left with that little flat taste of a soda that was no longer carbonated. I liked the book, but nothing wowed me. A few lines were funny and I enjoyed the idea of how even the characters pointed out the realities of what was romantic vastly differed than the crazy Heathcliffs of this world. Maybe the historical accuracies were interesting, but it wasn’t mind-blowing either.

In all honesty, I don’t think this author (as great as she was) really respected her own works. This may sound terrible, but I’ve read books where simple language and commonly used storylines read brilliantly because the effort and affection the author placed into her/his work were tangible with every word. On the flip side, a literary genius piece of well-documented and researched paper could put me to sleep in under 5 minutes. And yes, there existed books of everything in between of all combinations and varieties.

In the end, I guess I did not feel vested in the storyline, nor the characters themselves.  The conversations were witty enough, the characters engaging, but was more of a fluff read. My conclusion, as great as Georgette Heyer was and would be read sparingly.  Definitely give her a try to be able to see the sources of a lot of the plots and stories we read nowadays.  It's also an enjoyable read on it's own. 

Friday, July 26, 2013

Liao Zhai by Pu Songling

Thus began the book reviews...Let's start with something basic.  Plus, I really got back into Chinese folklore/wuxia novels after ready Jeannie Lin's novel. Omg, so good.  I also went on ancient tv/movie binge, but that's another post...er...posts.

Liao Zhai aka Strange Tales from the Chinese Studio by Pu Songling

(sorry for the weird picture, my phone is acting weird)

I don't know where to begin, other than I always loved these stories, whether watching them as tv series, sitting through the movies, or listening to elders tell them to me, I always loved them.  It was a part of my childhood and continued to be a part of me now.  They even have the stories on cassette tape back in the day, as well as CDs.

So when I went searching, I found several English translations to gorge myself on them. This was the Giles translation with a more updated forward. 
Not much is known about the author Pu Songling, but it can be agreed upon that this simple collection of stories, folklores and tales have been adapted and spoken of more than one can count. His stories are so well known it is mindblowing.  For those that don't know about him and his collection, this Arabian Nights, or the Grimms fairytale collection. Also, this book only included a selection of the entire volumes.  It was that expansive.

This collection is like folklores, social commentary and moral teaching all wrapped together.
Granted, as I was reading the various stories I notice some historical stuff that don't really apply nowadays (as with all stories such as these), but I loved it.  Some of the more famous stories have been adapted and readapted countless times like Hua Pi aka Painted Faces.  So many adaption and I've watched them all! Well, I try to when I can. The more current adaptions actually changed a lot and knowing me, I wanted to go to the sources. 

Some of the stories were a page or two long, some were a chapter's worth.  From certain stories, it had a very oral story-telling feel to it. Many of the stories were very different and interesting and I'm kind of thinking of using them as a basis for some stories rolling around in my head.  The difficult part would be the cultural translations.  This would probably cause some readers a pause, as this was still an older translation.  Although the translator obviously loved these stories, there were still some biases evident (maybe only to me).  Some of the words translated were very confusing and a bit white-washed since I do have recollection of the original tales.  Still, I really had fun reading these stories.  It also helped that it allowed me to take my time to read a story or two here and maybe a few stories there.  No rush to finish it all at once and can take your time.   Definitely something I'd recommend reading for something different and historical (yes, it has some historical basis).

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Minor last wedding stuff

Hooray the thank you cards I made are here. Well more like thank you mini booklets.  The boxes came like this. Lol.




Here are some of the picture inside.

Entrance

Bouquet toss, which for us, was ribbon toss!
I copied this from my sister's wedding.  Instead of tossing the bouquet.  I hold onto one end of several ribbons.  Each lady holds the other end.  On the count of three, I pull back and let go the loose ribbons and only one ribbon will be tied to the bouquet. Tada! 



Pre-wedding day, where my cute nephew was checking out all the goods and fun.  He couldn't make it because he hadn't been feeling well the day before.  Poor Rusty.

 


 Candies again. lol.


 

And the view! Omg, I wish I could've included more pictures of the view. It was gorgeous. 
 

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Old reviews

I was recently cleaning out some old documents in my hard drives.  They were a mess and then I gave up.  What was different was I started re-reading some of the old documents for fun and I realized something, I had a bunch of book reviews just hanging around taking up data storage.

There were a lot of reviews.  Seriously, there were so many reviews I had started and just never finished, or close to finish waiting for edit.  So. Freaking. Many.  I'm not even kidding.  Now that I finally have some personal time after the crazy hours from work to do nothing more than mindlessly browse and click on links, I had taken the time to look at my past posts...boy was it disappointing.  I mean, I barely posted any book reviews here - all I've done was complain.

What the heck is wrong with me?  Oh wait, it's called life. ;)

Granted, I've had perfectly good reason to complain (as do most people).  Life has just been crazy.  What I had not realized was I thought I had posted reviews and totally didn't.  It all happened only in my head. Lol.  So please be on the lookout for some reviews of older books.

Also movies and television shows.  I love me some shows.  It's much easier at times as I can go on doing my thing while listening and partial watching.  

Here's a cute picture of my nephew wondering why I haven't posted any reviews. 

Friday, July 19, 2013

More wedding!

More details for the reception. 

So, the wedding itself was a lot of DIY.  My mom and sister helped a lot with everything, including the day-of and setting up. They were exhausted.  Old Man and I created the invites ourselves in the form of boat tickets, we designed, cut and mailed out the tickets. They were so real people thought it was necessary for the tickets to board.  Lol.  This might include a lot of promo, but that's only because I really liked them.  I will avoid using their names and let you click on links...

Party favors!!! I actually had a LOT of party favors since they also dubbed as my decoration.

 So the table numbers were in mason jars with Ferraro Rochellas (one per person).

We made the table cards ourselves.   You can kind of see it there.
The group that helped us print them were very fast and helpful.  They also did the invites, which you can kind of see.
 Once you sit down, you get a little envelop with two milk candies that my Uncle had carried in from Taiwan.  They're very delicious made from only one store/family...

Entertainment aside, we did have a final party favor that was handed out as people left.  These were also DIY.  (We did a lot of diy...omg, so tired...)
Rice for good luck (and suck out moisture, plus keep it stable), two flowering teas in the form of hearts cuz, you know, two hearts and romance.  And a cute sticker on top that's our label.  :)
These were for adults of course. 
Kids got a smaller tin bottle with jelly beans. :D


Oh, here are some nice pictures.  They were part of my two entertainment.  One was a photobooth and the other was a candy artists.
See the back I was talking about? :P

I also made my family all wear tradition QiPoa with a modern take.  I have a picture of my grandma in her's too. :D  Let me look for it.  Btw, the little kid was my littlest cousin.  He totally photobombed sooooo many of our pictures. Lol. He was everywhere!
 

Any finally, my second dress in all its glory. 
 

The photobooth was awesome.  They were the same people at my sister's wedding and I liked them so much, I booked them! :) They also do photography...

This was my main entertainment: Candy Sculptures! It's called Amezaiku and they were one of three groups that does it in the US. I was in so much luck since both of them came, when I was only supposed to have Taka-san (the younger gentleman) show up.  Shan-sensei (the master/older gentleman) was not supposed to do any of it, but it got so busy.

I was soooooooooooo happy they were there.  I wished I had more time to spend with them and relaxing, but was running around and trying to keep it together. I also wished I had their information to pass out so everyone.  I had to book through a contractor.




These are some of the candies that was made.  They were seriously awesome.  You can ask them to make anything and they will be able to create them. 
Love! <3 br="">
 


I was supposed to have one other entertainment, but we didn't have enough money.  Luckily we planned it enough that we didn't have to pay off too much after the event.    Weddings are so expensive. I wanted to invite more people, but seriously, this thing was expensive.  It ended up being family and close friends.  

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Wedding!

By popular request, pictures of my wedding reception!
Well, not really popular request, but here is it.
  First off, we actually got legit way before this event. We went quiet court style and had a family dinner thing. This reception thing is more due to family request and expectations.  There was a lot of yelling, arguing and tears to have this reception...
We're also going to have to have on for the family on the other side of the ocean later this year. 
Ah, so much to do.

So, surprise! We had the reception on a boat!  It was actually Old Man's idea, not mine. Surprising, right? Everyone thought it was me, but no, it was all him. Lol.
 The funniest part was that he couldn't swim and yet, he wanted it on a boat. Hahaha.
My wonderful Sister was the one that found this place and made the initial call. 
 
My theme was still Asian even though the venue and food were more Western.  I had two dresses (even though I really wanted only one).  Both were Chinese QiPao based, but with a modern take.  Look at that back! Hehehe.

My parents designed that second dress themselves and had it custom made.  They argued a lot about it...even towards the end, but I appreciated their effort.  The dress really was pretty gorgeous.  My input was the skirt/hem itself. I wanted it to flair out.  Let me look for better pictures.  I don't have that many pictures yet. 
 
Let me look for some better photos.

Until then, here was the first floor set up with a sweetheart table for the two of us.
 

My bouquet was full of sunflowers. Lol. So yes, my flowers for the entire event were all sunflowers.  Sunflowers everywhere!  Ok, not everywhere, but just enough.  The second picture was of the centerpiece.  It was really pretty.  There were colored marbles in the water at the bottom (with mixtures of red).


My cake (one of)
Yes, I actually had two cakes.  My original one was a delicious tasting taro cake, with pudding and coffee jello on top.  It's so good, but not exactly cutting and photo material.  After much arguing and struggle with my parents, I gave up and let them pick another tiered cake.  I had to set my foot down at 3 tiers.  They wanted 4-5. O__o Parents.

 

Also, the top sunflower was done by the florists we hired, but the roses?  Those were all my Mom and Sister.  Where they not awesome?

Here's us cutting cake and having a bite.