Great America

I guess I am a theme park enthusiast 🙂 I guess I never thought that since I grew up in LA and went to Disney and Universal every once in a while. I got that annual pass for Universal once and went with Tracy, Gina, and some RBF gals one year, went to Disneyworld a couple years ago, Knott’s before the world shut down in 2020, and Disneyland with the hubby for Thanksgiving 2021. I believe I’ve gone three time before in my years in the Bay Area: once as a BWC event, once since it was the gift from Pure, and once from yelp for Winterfest…so I guess we never paid for them…until now 🙂

I spur of the moment bought an annual pass to Great America…I mean, it’s in the backyard of Santa Clara and only takes 10 mins to get there. It’s in the same brand as Knott’s so they have the characters from Snoopy in their shows and walking around. I also got the dining pass so that I can have 2 meals spaced 4 hours apart at certain restaurants. I have gone twice…once on 12/22 and once on 12/31. 12/22 had fewer people since it was raining on and off. I watched a bunch of shows and I loved seeing all the lights. 12/31 was much more crowded since it was New Year’s Eve, but I enjoyed the fireworks celebration. I got my meals both times. Went to Maggie’s 3 times and Panda Express once. They give you so little at Panda…grr. I like the food at Maggie’s, but I should try to venture out to the other restaurants around the park.

Why did I get this pass you ask? Why pay almost $200? Well, for one thing, I think it’ll pay for itself even from the food (besides Panda lol). I guess I also know that we will not be traveling as much this year, so the thrills on rollercoasters will get some of the antsy-ness out of my system. Besides the roller coasters, I also just thought that the production of the shows was pretty good and actually better handled than some of the new marvel shows at Disneyland. Now that I don’t have the Panera coffee subscription anymore, maybe this will be my new go-to place to hangout…just for the year. It’s sort of an experiment, and hope I can use this pass well.

The Year that was 2021

This year has been sort of an eye opener. In some ways, from the time of working at Bill Wilson Center, most of that time was very calm and not much changed for 7 years. I felt very safe and had a lot of stability. That changed when they hired a new CFO who tried to change things to, yes, make them better, but the way she interacted with people made it very difficult. I started working from home in April and my last day at the company was May 13th.

Because of the pandemic, I think people have been focusing more on mental health and whether their lives should revolve around work. Because I’ve been reading more about the FIRE movement, it doesn’t come as a surprise to me that work doesn’t complete a person. God even said that work will be hard and you may work the land all you want, but it doesn’t always result in producing fruit.

I was fun-employed for about three months (huh, it actually seemed longer). My second home was at Panera to do devos (with my free coffee subscription). My goal is to do 10,000 steps a day, so walking to Target, Walgreens, Safeway, or CVS has become commonplace. We also took up the pandemic hobby of gardening. We have about 40 green onion plants (most are dying though since these are from 2020), a couple chard plants, and a bunch of kale. It’s nice to see the fruits of your labor and is saving costs on organic veggies.

I’ve learned that there is much more than working full time…and we do not lack much and I feel like I should use my time to focus on others (something I should my remind myself every now and then when I am too inwardly focused). We are in a good financial position, so I was looking for a part time position, but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to work at CityTeam, a Christian nonprofit that did around the same kind of work as Bill Wilson Center. The position was as a full time Staff Accountant, but after a couple weeks, I could tell that I wasn’t happy. I gathered the courage to ask to become part time. Approved! It is still pretty busy, but I don’t think I should complain.

We went down the week before Thanksgiving (to go to Disneyland…more on that later) and for Christmas hanging out with family and friends. Hmm…come to think of it, I actually went down to LA a lot. I drove down by myself in July and flew…twice? Thrice? It helped to see family. I think I’ve been feeling a little down for not really any compelling reason. I know that I have so much more than I could hope for.

We have enough food, money, a roof over our head, etc. I have a pretty easy life and I don’t know much adversity. But the reason I think I’ve been feeling down is because I feel like I can’t relate to my peers anymore. It wasn’t as apparent until now. We are in different life stages compared to others in our small groups. We will probably not have kids when that is what all our friends’ paths will take. We want to retire in hopefully 9 years, and that is definitely not the norm. But I know that I am also scared of it since I do not know what I would retire “to”. Am I really using my time in the best way now? And if I am not, why would I think that I would know in the future? How do I practically glorify God in my life? Find ways to partner with nonprofits to give them resources that they need? Make them food? Find ways to help bless people in our church?

Coronavirus and Happy 35th!

this year has definitely not been how i thought it would turn out to be…

in case ya’ll are wondering, it’s year 2020…the year the coronavirus stopped the world. we’ve been sheltering in place for over 2.5 months now. you can’t go out to get groceries/supplies without masks, movie theaters have been shut down…disneyland is closed!!! The Dow Jones went down to 18,000 from a high of almost 30,000. when walking down the street, if someone is coming toward you, we walk into the street in order to keep 6 feet distance. i had planned a week long trip to LA for our anniversary/my birthday in mid-May. we were gonna use the LA pass to go to universal studios, do studio tours, all things Hollywood…the pass and flights would all be free using my points…but all those plans changed. just glad that these were refundable.

many people have lost their jobs especially in the hospitality industry (hotels, restaurants, etc). our renter lost her job at a restaurant and is now on unemployment.  thankfully, anson’s and my workplace are considered essential services (mine dealing with the poor and housing and his with providing storage to other companies that are essential). i kinda had to fight to be able to work from home a couple days a week. Anson has been working from home to the point that he is almost short of going stir crazy. he’s even started a garden in the back (40 green onion plants…I like :), has been working out with weights, weeding, and filling in gaps in the patio with polymeric sand. he’s glad his workplace will try to start bringing people back in in mid June and he’ll be part of the first wave to test it out.

all in all, not how we thought this year would start out, but we definitely don’t have it as bad as some others. it seems that the fed is making sure we don’t collapse into chaos. the government took swift action and sent most people checks for $1200 (we didn’t qualify) and those on unemployment get an extra $600/week. we’ll get thru it; I don’t doubt that. they’ll find a vaccine and at some point, we’ll be able to shake hands and hug again without a feeling of trepidation. I worry a about our economy though and how small and big business alike will close it’s doors for good. what is waiting on the other side of this pandemic seems like it’ll affect us for years to come.

so…since my birthday plans were derailed, how did i celebrate? we don’t do anything elaborate, but it’s just nice to have it acknowledged. memorial day fell on the 25th this year, so it was nice to have the day off. anson and i walked to starbucks for my free drink (venti mango dragonfruit) and then to safeway to get a free movie from redbox (jumangi: the next level). courtney came over to drop off my chick fil a card, homemade cookies and bread, and jada came right after to give me two tomato plants and a baby maple tree (hope they don’t die by my hands:). for dinner, we got takeout from outback steakhouse since i have two gift cards (one from victoria and another from chase ultimate rewards).

on wednesday when i went back into the office, nancy gave me donna karen body lotion, jada gave me garden tools (she really wants me to become a gardener during this pandemic), and sheri had baked a red velvet cake in which nancy supplied the strawberries on top. since it was wednesday, we had free oatmeal, and since our co is non profit with no money, we also received donations of Mediterranean food for lunch. my coworkers are so not adventurous, so i was able to bring home more food for dinner. yay! yeah…i know i have a funny way to celebrate. i find joy in getting things for free…i think it’s a much better way to enjoy life…and you can probably retire sooner too lol. i hadn’t checked our finances for the last few months since i was afraid, but the market is coming back up, and all in all, we’ve only lost 5% of our total monetary assets. if you calculate anson’s RSUs and the appreciated value of the house (which we’re gonna refi since rates are drastically low right now), we’re actually in the green too. always best to play the long game…and in the short term when things are crumbling all around you, look away and try not to cry…happy bday 🙂

Christmas Choir 2019

Wow, it’s been a year since I blogged…so bad of me 🙂

…but I had to write an entry about a monumental event…we finally after 8 years of attending RBF had a Christmas Choir!!! Stacy Wood was our conductor and she has the skills! Vera was our pianist and she did a phenomenal job…she only had 1 week to learn a complicated song called “O Joyous Christmas”. It was a compilation of Christmas hymns “O Come All Ye Faithful”, “Angels We Have Heard on High”, and “Joy to the World”. A smaller group of us also did an acapella version of “Silent Night”. Anson didn’t really want to do this in the beginning, but I think he had a good time. Props to Jonathon Wood for using garageband to input all our parts so that could practice the songs on our own. We performed the songs at the Christmas Party on Sunday, December 15. I stood beside Vivian and Jennifer. It was fun to feel the camaraderie of learning the parts together and singing as one with four part harmony. It’s been a while and I’m really glad that it happened…hopefully, this isn’t a one time thing for our church 🙂

Christmas Holiday 2018

Saturday, 12/22/18: We flew down one last time using the Companion Pass (bogo flights) at 9:35am-10:30am. My dad picked us up, we got groceries from 99 ranch, and we went to the house. Uncle Daniel was there taking some of my dad’s tools in the garage (they’ve officially sold the house!). He brought my dad to the condo. In the afternoon, we walked to Aaron and Lauren’s from Sprouts (I got hangry). They’re now back in the valley for Lauren’s new job. Claire is getting big now. She can walk! Aaron brought us back to Sprouts, we bought groceries and made dinner at home (tofu, salmon, etc)

Sunday, 12/23/18: We went to New Life Church this time. They had an all ladies Christmas Choir. We then went to Galleria and had lunch with Gina and Cindy. Anson had poke and I had a spare rib soup (it was okay…tough meat, but liked the clear soup. Raymond and David Wei came to the house in the afternoon and we went around Balboa park twice, then went for boba and Bounce Boba Loft (I got some sort of milk froth custard drink…ehh). We then had dinner with my parents (egg/tofu, pompeo fish, duck)

Monday, 12/24/18: I walked with my mom one last time around the neighborhood…it’s so weird to think that the house is no longer ours. Marc, our real estate agent, came over at 1pm and they signed the final paperwork, and all the money was in their account when they checked (woohoo! i like money!). My mom and I then went to 99 Ranch to get asian pears and to Sam Woo for a chicken and a duck. We filled up the car with more stuff (junk!), and all went to the Wong house in Northridge and had our annual Christmas Eve dinner. After dinner, we headed to the condo and dropped off their things before heading back home for one….last…night ;(

Tuesday, 12/25/18: Merry Christmas! We went to Griffith Observatory (closed on Christmas) in order to park there and hike to Bronson Caves (where they filmed the 60s Batman TV show). We helped my parents with some of their finances, cancelling internet, etc, but many companies were not open because of the holiday. At least Anson was able to uninstall some spyware on their computer. Raymond and David Wei came over again in order to look at an antique-ish rifle that my dad got from kmart for much cheaper 30 years ago. Raymond was happy 😉 he also took some things from my dad’s garage as did Anson (guess it’s a guy thing). We had our last dinner at the house (leftovers from Christmas eve dinner), and my parents brought us to the airport. It was a bittersweet time. I will miss the house that I lived in for 26 years of my life. You will not be forgotten. You have served my parents well 🙂

Relationships are hard

I’ve always been bad at keeping up with relationships. Even though I do see some friends when I go to LA, it’s usually the same 3 people, but I don’t talk to them before or after, so our conversations may be a little more like catching up, but not as deep. And even though I have some relationships in the Bay Area that are considered closer, we can drift apart pretty quickly. I think the only “closer” relationships I have are with my roommates, but that is also probably cuz we LIVE together and they have to see us. If they lived somewhere else, not sure how often we would hang out. At least we sometimes have dinner or watch a movie together.

I think I am content with this though…I don’t think all relationships will last. Maybe I’m jaded since I left LA and all my friends when marriage happened? And friends that I make sometimes leave for jobs or move out of state? And just…we just sometimes drift apart because we don’t make as much of an effort to be part of each other’s lives. I guess this is just something that you have to accept as part of life. Things just go on, work goes on, senseless killings happen, wildfires burn down everything you own (there are fires in SoCal and NorCal right now). I think I’m just in a stage in which I am just cruising through…I know it’s just a phase…hopefully, I can enjoy the holiday season with a happier outlook…holidays should bring our relationships with other together.

The Ford is finally dying…woohoo!

Anson’s Ford Taurus does not like me…I’ve been locked out at least twice, since he’s parked outside and I go to work early, his windshields are frozen over when it is the winter season, it took me forever to get his gas cap off (three other people filled up at the station before I was done), his light switch broke on me…when it was at night, and he leaks…everywhere! So since yesterday was when he got smokey when hubby brought him back to the gym, I think the hubby has had enough of fixing our 1990 car.

I feel like this should probably have happened sooner. Of course, we aren’t going to buy a new car. We’re too cheap for that, and Anson doesn’t like all the electronics in newer cars since they can get complicated when trying to fix up. We’ve been looking online and even subscribed to Consumer Reports for the month. A 10 year old Toyota Corolla sells for around $5k-$6k. We’ll be looking at the dealerships this Saturday, so hopefully we’ll be able take care of this as soon as possible. I don’t really understand about getting it insured and title and the dmv process…our parents gave us our cars, so this’ll be a new experience for the both of us.

Aaaaaacid Reflux =(

I guess I should have seen this coming…I’ve previously had minor cases of heartburn after eating raw garlic and a couple times after overeating…but the last few nights, I’ve been waking up at 3-4am with a pain in my chest. Of course, self-diagnosing always makes you paranoid and I first thought I was having congestive heart failure, hehe…wasn’t really laughing this morning at 3:30…but the symptoms look like what many millions of Americans suffer from…acid reflux.

Acid Reflux: a condition in which acidic gastric fluid is regurgitated into the esophagus, causing heartburn.

There are a good amount of signs that I have this:

  1. Every morning, I have to brush my tongue since there is a white film over it (food coming back up in your sleep)
  2. Food triggers: caffeine, tomatoes, garlic, carbonated drinks (I bought a lot of sparkling water), chocolate, spicy food, cheese, red meat, fatty foods, etc
  3. Wearing tight pants that restrict my stomach and causing discomfort
  4. Sleeping on my back which makes the acid travel back up and has been giving me bad chest pains at night
  5. Needing to sleep upright to let the pain subside…think I’ll need to adjust my bedding…don’t wanna keep sleeping on the couch
  6. Regurgitation/vomit/bloating: this happens every so often after eating a lot and I feel the acid in my throat…makes swallowing hurt

Guess this is just one of the signs of getting older. I guess I’ll be forced to change my diet. I’ve already ordered some apple cider vinegar, turmeric, and antacid pills from Target. I ate oatmeal and a banana today and drank hot ginger water. Honestly, I am thankful. It is quite common and it isn’t the worst thing to deal with (though I wish I could get a good night’s sleep). I should probably eat healthier in the long run…the hubby is secretly jumping for joy…

LA to help my parents move

Anson had a tough mudder event w/ coworkers on Saturday 10/6/18, so I had planned a trip to LA for the long weekend (we get Columbus day off), but my parents called me two weeks before and asked if I could extend my trip till Wednesday and help them permanently move from their house in Reseda to the condo we helped buy for them in San Gabriel. Me, being the dutiful daughter (and I love traveling anyways), said yes.

On Saturday, I ubered to SJC (sad that I don’t have lounge access anymore). I watched a pretty good Netflix Live Action movie Bleach on the plane (thank goodness for Netflix downloads). Junior picked me up and we had lunch in North Hollywood at a pho restaurant. I’ve been a little sick, so I wanted soup. He dropped me off at the Metro Red subway line. I took it all the way down to Union Station (only $1.75!) and caught the Gold line to Chinatown. I was going to meet my parents there for dinner, but we ended up just going back home and had leftovers. Many people give them a lot of food and they go to different occasions in which there is always an excess of food. The rest of the night, we just spent rearranging the furniture in anticipation of the move.

On Sunday, I walked to MBCLA (30-40 mins since 1.5 miles away). I briefly talked to Caleb, Clara, Jackie, and Auntie Rose and made plans to meet up midweek). I walked back to the condo, took a shower, and drove 40 mins back to the valley to have lunch at 12:45pm with Crescencia at Lulu’s. The sirloin steak pasta was not on the menu, but they were able to make it for me (my favorite from when I was younger). Cres is doing well with her job at a community college, singing for church, etc. I met up with Gina at 2:45pm at Bon Bon Tea House. She’ll be going to Isreal with a bunch of church people…so cool! Had leftover Lulu’s and boba for dinner (probably shouldn’t have had milk tea as I couldn’t sleep till 3am)

On Monday, spent the day with my parents. My mom and I did a morning walk and also went to OneGeneration (their senior center that is close to the park) and had lunch ($2/elderly but $4 for me). Food wasn’t the greatest, but it’s balanced and makes it easier for my parents so that they don’t have to cook. We did more packing and had Yoshinoya for dinner.

On Tuesday, the movers came at 9am. They were pretty efficient in packing our 5 pantry units, 2 bookcases, upright piano, coffee table, A/C unit, a few boxes, and some cabinets with moving blankets, saran wrap, and bubble wrap. We had told them to go from the front, but they went thru the back which became a small ordeal since the truck couldn’t fit at parts of the condo units and had trouble getting out of the complex. No matter, the amount was $109/hr for 5 hours (CA has a policy for double drive time), so was $545 +$60 tips. I bought a bunch of groceries from Mitsuwa and had Japanese for lunch and dinner (sushi! Nigiri! Squid and octopus!). My parents then showed me around their neighborhood (downtown mission district). We walked 2.3 miles…they are so fit.

On Wednesday, I went with my mom to the park to do some Chinese exercise that is held every day at 8am. There were probably +30 older people participating…good to see that they care about their health. Auntie Rose came by to see the condo and we met Uncle Daniel and Caleb at a dim sum restaurant for brunch. Uncle Daniel stopped by to take a look around the condo and we discussed a little about renting out my parents’ old house. I think I am leaning more to doing that since I am hoping to get them and us passive income thru the property. We will pay to fix up the house and deal with all the maintenance/management, and we will give my parents a set amount of income monthly. We’re still in the planning stages, so hopefully if all goes well, we’ll get it fixed up and rented out by mid next year! My parents dropped me off at the Burbank Airport around 6:30pm. I cried a little when they drove off. I should try to appreciate them more and show love to them.

The Pang family…sigh

My parents sometimes make me sad. They are going to move to San Gabriel to be closer to their church, but they are very bad at communicating with each other and have been arguing. My mom gets angry and my dad is bad at communicating and then my mom doesn’t talk to him. They sound verbally abusive toward each other. I mean…of course if one attacks the other person, you’d naturally feel defensive…but they constantly do that to each other…how do you think they are going to solve any problems by putting the other person down?  It feels like they are ALWAYS arguing actually, not just about the move. I feel like if they didn’t call themselves Christian, they are no different from marriages that are toxic and falling apart. I don’t know why they can’t just try to be nice to each other. They are both sinful people and they don’t want to compromise. Sometimes, their marriage is a map for how I DON’T want my marriage to turn out. Maybe it’s just cuz they are in an argument that I’m saying this…they have good times too…but sometimes, I think their arguing is just a way of life for them. My mom probably takes comfort in friends and church more than her own husband. My dad has no one except her and has bad health…they frustrate me and I don’t really know how to help them.