From the monthly archives:

December 2009

Happy New Year!

These are pictures taken from the plane when flying into Washington D.C. (IAD), of course, before we were told to “turn off anything with an on/off button”. It was such a gorgeous view. I simply put the iPhone to the window and proceeded to Tap, Tap, Tap to capture these images. No professional photography required.

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I have all these wonderful posts ideas for posts lined up for before the end of the year. Alas, I am in turbo-boost Catch Up mode: In less than 10 days, I had the wonderful experience of flying on 6 different airplanes. Not accustomed to being a road warrior, to rapidly adjusting to different time zones, or to packing/unpacking in quick succession, I feel like I am walking through a mist, on unstable ground. Or it could simply be I am walking through crap collected from my trips strewn on the floor in my house since I soon gave up on unpacking. Nevertheless, I do not want to miss my once-a-week WTF Wednesday feature.

(Naturally I am cheating by Backdating this post. Good thing Sarbanes–Oxley Act does not apply to blog posting…)

So here is a composition of random pictures taken at my random WTF moments:

Considering how you call yours a Chinese restaurant, I surely hope one of you are, or at least, the food is...



A question we will still be asking next year, and the next, and the next...



"The Dog and Bentley"

This picture may deserve some explanation: I was enjoying a nice bowl of frozen desert with large dark tapiocas aka “pearls” (which I am completely obsessed with and would gladly tell anybody that I had 6 bowls/cups of those in 2 days when I was in Taipei, on top of everything else I ate) at a sidewalk stand/shop. The shop owner during the day keeps his dog on the sidewalk, as you can see, with a makeshift cardboard-box doghouse. Just as I was admiring the very well-behaved dog, I saw that across the street is a Bentley dealership with a fancy showcase room. I found this an interesting juxtaposition. It says so much about Taipei.

Serisouly. How much do you want to discuss your menstrual cycle?

This is the “Menstrual Care” section at a drug store. I have not “lived” in Taiwan since 1993 and I am intrigued by the resurgence, modernization, and popularity of herbal medicinal health culinary supplement drinks dedicated to menstrual care. This belief has been around for thousands of years, that beauty (read: SLENDER FIGURE, YOUNG-LOOKING, GOOD and PALE SKIN) needs to be cultivated from inside. Not the “inner beauty” crap, y’all. You need to take the herbs. And you need to take care of your menstrual cycles. THAT is what I have been missing for living abroad. Seriously. Mine is all out of whack. Only I did not realize that until I was confronted with shelves of herbal drinks. Nowadays it seems to be OK to openly talk about the “condition”, and though I am far from being a prude, the “openness” caught me off-guard. The WTF yet heart-warming moment came when my nephew, who is only 9 years younger than I am, brought me a case of these drinks, telling me, “These are very effective! My girlfriend takes these. They taste really good, she said, and she does not suffer from menstrual cramps any more. Her skin has also improved a lot. You need to start taking these yourself!”

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I finished reading the book that I brought with me 3 hours into the flight. What now? Should have saved the book for the trip rather than greedily starting it before Christmas.

With the detour to Sarah Palin’s homeland I now have an even longer flight with no reading material. And sitting in the middle seat of the exit row by the lavatory does not make it easier to fall asleep, and when I did fall asleep, to stay asleep, I have the opposite issue of a claustrophobic: I like to feel enclosed, better if squeezed into a corner like what they say about colicky babies. I know there is a great story of how I prefer to sleep like a gerbil all curled up but I will refrain and save it for another time… But here I am, sitting out in the open, with all the wide open space, and everybody and their uncle done come and stood in front of me at one time or another during the flight.

And I only have myself to blame…

I have gone and changed myself into possibly. the worst seat on the plane. I reserved myself a window seat in the economy plus section when I first booked my flight. I got status on United. Yessiree.  I’d better, after the 40+ segments I done on flying United this past year… But not enough of a status to select the exit row. When I checked in on line the day before, I saw that there were empty rows towards the back of the plane. The plain old economy seats. But I am fine with less leg room if it means I can haz an entire row to myself. Earth to me: too good to be true… I switched myself out of Economy Plus. United.com actually flashed a screen with this question: Are you sure you don’t want Economy Plus? I pity the fool that didn’t listen to the robot…

When I got to the gate, I sashayed to the counter, flashed the agent my most charming smile:

“I am sorry for being a pain, but would you mind checking for me whether this row is still empty?” He laughed but did it anyway.

“The row is no longer empty. Would you like me to change you back to Economy Plus?”

“Oh yes sir please.” I imagined myself batting my eyelashes if I had any.

“Ummmm. Huhhhhh. All we’ve got left are middle seats now. Harrumph. Oh wait. do you want the exit row?”

“Oh yes yes please!” Why you even bother asking? Anybody ever said no? In my excitement, I failed to remember what Seat Guru said about this particular row: The seats are displayed in red on the website because they are right by the bathroom section…

The view from my thrice-changed seat

When I saw my seat I wish I had Seat Guru all memorized. Or that I had the thick skin to say, “Excuse me, I appreciate your help and all, but hold on, while I consult with Seat Guru. Oh no, the exit row you offered me won’t do because lookee here, these seats are in RED! It says here: do not sit here ’cause them by the bathrooms. Oh and this particular seat is in the middle. Why would you think anybody would want to give up their window seat for a middle seat is beyond me? I am sorry if I just sounded like am ungrateful bitch…”

During the excitement of the medical emergency, the three of us sitting in that exit row were asked to move to some other seats on the plane. Nothing but middle seats left in the back. Except one. The row right in front of the kitchen galley that is especially cramped, and the seats do not recline. I sat at the end, after the man on the other end woke his wife up and explained to her that I had to sit where her head was. The lady commented that these seats have got to be the worst seats on the plane, and I thought “I don’t mind sitting here all cozy and secure!” We got to talking and I thought we were having such a good time. I even offered to give her the book I was reading when I’m done. After perhaps an hour, she nudged. “Are you sure you can’t go back to your seat now? Will they let you go back now?”

People do see the empty seats next to them as a god-given right as soon as the plane is in the air. Don’t even think about moving into someone’s empty seats an hour into the flight. You will forever be known as the jackass that took THEIR seat.

Later the plane started making high pitched noise bbbbbbbeeeeeeeeeeeppppppppppppp near the exit door. It was so loud that the flight attendants noticed and asked us whether we’d like to move to other seats IF we could find one. So I walked to the back of the plane as I was told. Sure enough all the empty seats have been occupied by horizontal sleeping bodies. I walked back to my seat. Like a fool. I was not going to move from my seat again. Bathroom or not.

Dude. close the friggin' door! And yes, I got up and closed the damned door BUT not before I took a picture of it...

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Ok, Sarah Palin, you got me! Now what?

December 26, 2009 through the looking glass

Tweet I am in Alaska. More specifically, I am sitting on the plane on the runway. In Anchorage. We have to make the emergency stop here because a passenger passed out en route to Narita. Although he looks rather young, he apparently has suffered a heart attack recently. He is also traveling by himself, with […]

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Flying 8,108* miles home

December 26, 2009 through the looking glass

Tweet I bet’ya that I was given the best Christmas present this year. Hands down. I will be flying home. Today. By myself. A while ago I wrote about how I wish I could go home and see my parents. Many of you commented that I should just take the trip… Before it’s too late. I want […]

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Christmas Day Rambling

December 25, 2009 no manual for parenting

Tweet The presents were all opened, displayed, oooo-ahhhed, ridiculed, and appreciated. The floors have been cleaned up, except the piles of new possessions pushed against the wall around the corners of the small family room in my in-law’s house to make room for foot traffic. And for Zhu Zhu pets, which my husband discovered online […]

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Christmas Eve Shuffle

December 24, 2009 a picture is worth a thousand words

Tweet Every year we come back to my husband’s childhood home for Christmas. We are fortunate, I guess, in that we never have to worry/argue/agonize about splitting time between two sets of grandparents since mine are 7,500 miles away. It has become a holiday ritual: Santa goes to grandpa and grandma’s house. This year I […]

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WTF Wednesday: Christmas Presents Don’t

December 23, 2009 a picture is worth a thousand words

Tweet Your pending divorce. Or the future bildungsroman written by your children. Courtesy of CVS. While you are at it, get one of those cards strategically positioned by the cash register at any liquor store to go with an item you carefully selected from this section.

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Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas: Jackal & Hyde Style

December 21, 2009 a picture is worth a thousand words

Tweet This post was written on December 20, 2009, the Sunday before Christmas… I am a gullible cynic. Or rather a cynical _______ (Fill in the blank for “a gullible person”). If it is possible to have such a conflicted personality. Or I may just be plain crazy. Despite the making fun of the over-exposure […]

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Stolen Day

December 20, 2009 random

Tweet I feel that we have got an extra day out of this insane holiday season… The original plan was for me to be away for 3 days this past week on a business trip. I would come back late on Friday night and start cleaning, doing laundry, packing, addressing holiday cards, and finishing up […]

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