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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Not So Great Sleep

My sleeping habits have changed quite a bit lately, and it's a bummer.  It puts me in a lot of pain, and sleeping isn't as pleasant as it used to be.  My joints are achy, and I wake up frequently in pain.  There are some good days when I sleep with very little problems, but unfortunately the uncomfortable nights outnumber the comfy ones.

H and I have a foam mattress, which is so different from the normal spring mattress.  We prefer the foam to the spring, and I don't think it is possible for me to go back.  Our mattress definitely helps with my poor sleeping habits.  Too bad the foam mattress has spoiled me to death, and sleeping on a spring mattress for just a few hours will put me in so much pain.  I had to take a nap at H's parent's house on Friday, and I felt bruised and injured from my 2 hour nap.  I am still recovering, and I think the nap did more damage to my body than good.  *sigh*

My husband is super thoughtful and bought me a special pillow to bring some relief.  It is truly special, and we refer to it as the boat.  I am pretty much wrapped in pillow all night along, and it makes sleeping much more bearable.  Too bad it doesn't take away all the pain, but it does help a whole lot.  Unfortunately the pillow takes up so much space, and I miss sleeping next to my husband.  He's physically next to me, but the boat pillow is a huge barrier.  Sadness.

I cannot wait for my normal sleeping habits to return.  I'm afraid it will be a while before that happens.  I want to fall back asleep, but I'm not so sure that's possible.  Our neighbors across the street are having their roof replaced, and it's difficult to sleep through the noise.  I also have a very important appointment this afternoon, and I certainly do not want to sleep through that.  I cannot win.

I just want to sleeeeeep peacefully with limited pain.  Is that too much to ask for?

[Edit] Wouldn't you know it... I just had the best sleep in the longest time.  It was so comfortable that I didn't even want to get out of my pillow boat (and slept for an extra hour).  My body likes to trick me. 

Monday, November 29, 2010

Thanksgiving Weekend Recap

Thanksgiving was a tad different than my old school years with my family, but it was just as amazing.  H and I spent Thanksgiving at his parents house, and my parents even joined in on the festivities.  Dinner was delicious and consisted of two rounds -- one traditional Thanksgiving dinner & one Vietnamese hot pot.  This is the first year that H's whole family has gotten together for Thanksgiving, which made it extra special.

Feasting on Vietnamese Hot Pot -- Round II

H's parents enjoying yummy hot pot.

My parents enjoying the noodles.  They later asked for a package to bring home.

I'm cheezin' for the camera.  H is just looking at me like I'm weird.

Cousins smiling for the camera.

Cousins loading their plates with the traditional Thanksgiving feast.

Cousin Love =)

SIL with nephew

No Thanksgiving would be the same without some Black Friday shopping!  H and I woke up at 3:30 AM to get to North Wilmington around 4:00 AM.  We're huge fans of Target, and we decided to go further north to the Target we're most familiar with.  I was hungry and had to take a breakfast break before the shopping even started.  I'm lame & weak.  We saw the aftermath of this crazy accident as we were eating...

We're assuming that the red car to the left of the fire truck crashed directly into the building.  It was a crazy sight.  Unfortunately this was one of many accidents we saw on Black Friday.  The slippery roads combined with crazy shoppers was not a good combination.

Then we remembered that we forgot to call the famous Brippy!  Oddly enough she was awake and joined us for her first Black Friday shopping adventure.  Last year she opted to sleep off the Thanksgiving Day feast while we shopped.  She found some awesome deals and even braved the line at Target for us.  I ran out of energy and gas in my system.  I told you I was weak!  We ended up going to Target, Concord Mall, and Christiana Mall.  Not too shabby if I say so myself.  Lots of presents were bought, and the shopping adventure was a huge success (minus my frequent breaks to rest).  Shopping also continued the following day at Costco and Target, where we finished most of our Christmas list.  Woot!

Of course one Thanksgiving was not enough for H and me.  So we had our very own Thanksgiving at home last night!!  We cooked up a delicious feast for the two of us.  Yummy!  We had our very first Thanksgiving at home last year with the family, and our house was screaming for another year of turkey.  Hehe.

Christmas music filled the house thanks to my old school N'Sync holiday CD I found recently.

Delicious turkey carved and ready to eat.  This was by far the best turkey H has ever made.  It was cooked just right.  Yummy!

 We made moist turkey, creamy mashed potatoes, and fresh cranberry sauce.  The rest of the fixings were thanks to convenience of canned goods & boxed items.

There is one more holiday to go before the end of the year, and I am so surprised how fast time is flying by.  I thought Halloween came too quickly.  Then Thanksgiving crept up sooner than expected.  Now I'm getting my Christmas groove on.  It's all so exciting.  We're dedicating this weekend to setting up our house for the festive holiday -- Christmas lights outside our house & buying our 2nd Christmas tree!

While I didn't go into details about what I'm thankful for this year on the blog, I did go through a whole list right before dinner last night.  It was so fun to think back on all the wonderful things this year has brought us.  :)

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Ready to Respond - Anonymous Comment 11.18.09

I have already responded with how I feel about anonymous comments and how I don't respond well to negative feedback.  Plus I even followed up my post with some clarifications.  A year later, and I am ready to directly respond to the comment. 

Anonymous Comment from November 18, 2009 in response to my blog entry:

The answer to your question: Is 23 a young age to own your first home? No. It's not a young age. People have different goals and dreams in life. If your goal in life is finding a lifelong partner, being able to afford a house, and doing house work, then Yin I think you have done an exceptional job. However, in these days, majority of people in their 20s are pursuing higher degrees, eg. masters, phDs, MBAs, professional schools (accountants, lawyers, doctors), on. Why you asked? Because very few people these days want to just be a college graduate and getting college graduate jobs. Thus, delaying their goals of owning their first house and settling down in hope of accomplishing the same goals but perhaps on a higher level.

This was a personal stab at me because I had difficulties finding a job and focusing on my career after college.  It was a bad economy (still is), and I suffered through depression during my job search.  To this day, I can't say that I have a career path.  I worked for my friend's parents for the past year, and the job helped me pay the bills.  It was not my dream job, but I did enjoy the people I worked with and the contributions I made.  I would love to pursue a higher degree, but I can't go to graduate school to get an MBA in a field that I haven't even had the chance of working in yet.  I already feel like I wasted so much money on my business degree, and I can't risk throwing more money in a field that I have no connection with whatsoever.

What if my goal in life was crushed by the economy?  Then what happens?  My goal was certainly not to buy a house a year after graduating from school or jump into graduate school with no money and no direction.  What if my goal is simply to be happy?  I was in a serious state of depression before.  I was living with my in-laws.  I was jobless.  I cried almost every single day, often inside a closet because I couldn't let anyone know  I just wanted to find a home, somewhere I belonged.  (I documented my experience here.)  I didn't find my career, but I was finally working again.  I was happy being able to help my friend's parents and take some load off of them.  I was happy spending quality time with my fiance, now husband.  Happiness.  It sounds like something so simple.

Of course there are exceptions. There are those who came from an extremely wealthy family own their house at a young age and those who have wealthy family/friends that support them financially with their new house.

I'm sorry to tell you that I do not come from an extremely wealthy family, nor does my husband.  My parents came to America with nothing, and now they can retire and say that they have lived the American dream.  I lived on top of my parent's restaurant growing up.  I worked at the restaurant as soon as my parents thought I was capable of taking orders.  My parents only paid for my education and nothing else.  I was responsible for all other expenses.  Actually, I moved out of my parent's house before starting my senior year of college, and I have been completely independent ever since.  They did not pay for a penny after I left the house, and they certainly did not contribute financially to our home.  I didn't tell them about the house until the day we signed on the dotted line.

Similarly, there are high school graduates who bags grocery for living have bought their own house/home with their salary.

So, Yin: Love what you have done with your blog, nice design, layout. Strong work. But sorry to have to burst your bubble. Your question: Is 23 a young age to own your first home? was a rhetorical question. I think you know it. Unfortunately, a public blogspot isn't the greatest place to have your ego/pride stroked. But happy for you. Congrats to you and your hub on your new house.

I'm sorry if you think that I write for people to stroke my ego.  I do not.  I write for myself.  I don't want people to feel sorry for me, and I don't want anyone to tell me how great I'm doing either.  My question was more based on responsibility.  For most people in their early 20s, they want to enjoy their life.  If they have an extra couple of hundred of dollars saved up, they might want to go on vacation or buy something that they have been lusting over for some time.  I chose to enjoy my life with my husband in our home.  Owning a house involves a lot of time, money, and responsibility.  I could be going to happy hour every Friday or live the adult life in the city, but I choose not to.  I could throw away rent money towards an apartment with no return, but I chose to invest that money into a house.  Although I may not have a career path or advanced degrees, I do know that I want to start a family one day (as ancient and old fashioned as that sounds).  I do know that I want to raise my family in a home, in a neighborhood.  I didn't have a lot growing up, and some can say that I'm trying to relive my childhood the way I wished it could have been.  My priorities are different from others.  My goals are different too.  I just want to be happy, and I can honestly say that I am.

My blog has always been an outlet for my thoughts.  It dates back to my Xanga days, and I can say that people didn't always like what I wrote there either.  I would vent about my mother, my struggles, and anything that I was feeling at the time.  I never wrote with the intention of having people feel sorry for me or with the intention of having them pat me on the back for a job well done.  I wrote for myself, and then soon realized that people don't like to read that.  In that case, please do not click on my blog and definitely do not read the content.  Then I tried to censor myself, and it took all the fun out of blogging.  I would write a few paragraphs, hesitate, and then delete the whole entry.  It's not me.

So if you've read this far, and you feel that I am an attention whore, please unsubscribe to my blog.  It's really that simple.  No one is forcing anyone to read this.  Yes, it is a public blog, and I want to be open to everyone's opinion.  I will take offense if the comment hurts me in any way like the anonymous comment from last year.  So please be nice.  I promise I'm not here to have anyone praise me or have anyone feel bad for me.  I'm here to write for myself and to do be me.  

Friday, November 26, 2010

Dear Teenage Yin,

Hello!  This is Grown Up Yin writing to you from the future.  Let me just tell you that life has changed quite a bit since your teenage years.  It feels weird for me to even reminiscence that far back in the past.  I am (hopefully) six to ten years wiser, and I would like to give you some advice.

Always Believe in Yourself.
I know this is the time when you fall off the tracks and hate life a bit.  Getting that B in English really wasn't all that bad.  You can recover!  Life isn't always about getting the perfect grade.  It's okay to drop below a 4.0!  Don't let this get you down.  You have to believe in yourself because you really are super awesome.  Don't let anyone make you think otherwise.  Being in a class full of students who are all capable of excelling does not mean that you are a failure amongst them.  You just have to put your mind to it and believe in yourself.

Being a studious teenager? Possibly

Be Patient
Learn to love yourself first.  Do not let boys take advantage of you!  Just because you think everyone has been in a relationship, had their first kiss, and been on a million dates doesn't mean that it's actually true.  Love takes time.  First love yourself so that you know how valuable you are.  Don't ever forget that.  You might just end up finding the love of your life soon after high school.  :)

Hanging out with the girls at our Senior Ball & Banquet.  I'm the Asian on the right.

Be Obedient
As much as we all experience the high school rebellion, you must try to be an obedient daughter.  It's not easy for mom and dad to raise two more kids after the initial three have moved out of the house.  Sure, all those hours working at the restaurant are a bummer, but we all had to put time in.  Mom may push a lot of your buttons, but try to remain calm.  You know that dad has your back and will support you through the tough times.  You can always vent to your blog.  Okay it might take a few years until you start one, but once you do, venting will make you feel a lot better.

Can you find me on the float?  I'm the firefighter... woot!

Stop Trying to be Skinny
Yes, you!  Stop it!  Don't listen to mom (about this one point).  She will continue to call you fat for the rest of your life, but it doesn't mean that it's true.  Wearing a size 2 and extra small makes you tiny.  Think about it.  Sizes go up to extra large and beyond, and yet you are at the lowest end of the spectrum.  Trust me, you don't want to be a size 0.  It might feel good at first, but you'll cry when you can't fit into it anymore.  Our weight will fluctuate, and that's okay.  You may not realize this yet, but we are extremely lucky to have a super high metabolism.  We eat more food than the average size 2, a heck of a lot more food.  Just have fun and take advantage of that now before our metabolism starts to slow down.

Just follow my advice, and your high school years will be much more enjoyable.  I wish that I could remember even half of it, but I decided a long time ago to lock those memories away.  The things I do remember have affected who I am today, and sometimes it's for the worse.  I think a lot of my low self-esteem lingered from those years and continues to haunt me to this day.  Do me a favor and enjoy being in high school.  Thanks!

Grown Up Yin

As a side note, I was a shy loner type in high school.  I didn't have very many friends at first because my best friends from middle school all went to different high schools.  I belonged in the wannabe orch dorks and band geeks crowd.  What does it mean to be a wannabe?  Well I didn't actually play any instruments.  I was just in their crowd.  I was a straight A student, but then I gave up after my first year (stupid B in English).  I no longer cared about my grades because I thought everyone was smarter than me.  I dated two guys in high school, and the first boyfriend was a mistake.  I wanted boys to like me, and I said yes to the first guy who wanted to date me.  I also wanted to be super skinny.  Maybe guys would like a stick more than a human shape?

On a brighter note, most of the friends I have today are from high school.  My high school buddies have stuck with me all this time, and I value their friendship so much.  I did have fun in school, especially my senior year.  I was a rebel and started driving my parent's car on the weekends -- watching my first football game, going to high school dances, attending a lot of orchestra and band concerts, and even attending a few parties.  Sure, I had to give myself a curfew so that my parents wouldn't suspect too much, but it was all worth it.  I actually enjoyed being part of Key Club and Journalism.  I recently found a stack of newspapers from the years that I wrote.  It brings back a lot of good memories.

High School Buddies for Life!  Spending New Years together -- 2010!

 Brippy!!  I think we were serving German food in the library. 2002 or 2003?

Spending time with Jen in the library. 2003

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!!

It's turkey day!!  *gobble gobble*  I think I'm a lover of all holidays, and turkey day is definitely one of the best. I have fond memories from my childhood, and I love creating new ones.  Let's rewind back and go down memory lane...

As a child, I would wake up to the smell of turkey.  My mom would wake up super early to start cooking the birdie, and I would get so excited for our yummy meal.  Let me just tell you that my parents never ever cook anything that is remotely American -- just Chinese and more Chinese.  Thanksgiving is a time when I had a very traditional (to me) American meal with my very Chinese family.  I wonder how it all started and why my parents began this tradition.  Thanksgiving is just one of the two days that my parents ever closed the restaurant, and I think that added a special factor to the day.  We had a whole day to celebrate a holiday as a family with no customer interruptions.

I would turn on the television to start watching the Macy's day parade while getting dressed and ready for Thanksgiving lunch.  I loved watching the pretty floats and elaborate costumes and performances.  I still watch the parade, but there's just no smell of turkey in the air that early in the day.

My sisters would be in charge of making mashed potatoes, and we had two sets.  One set would include milk and butter for all of the sane people in the house.  Then we would have another set of mashed potatoes with nothing added, just plain old potatoes.  That batch would be for my health conscious sister who later discovered her joy for baked potatoes with tons of butter and sour cream.  Other delicious sides would be a mix of American and Chinese food.  We always had Pillsbury crescent rolls, and that's my parent's guilty pleasure.  So now I try to bake a batch of crescent rolls every year to relive those joyous moments.

Once all the food was ready, we would sit down as a family.  This would become more rare as I got older.  Sisters would leave the house after finishing college.  Some would get married and start their own Thanksgiving traditions without the rest of us.  I stick to my old memories because I especially enjoyed them.  I am between 9-13 years younger than my sisters, and by the time I could start remembering my Thanksgivings, holidays were the only time spent together as a family around the table.  I savored the moments when I could feel that our family was complete with every single member at the table.  To this day, it is extremely rare.  We do try to get together for Christmas (not the actual day) and Chinese New Years, but it's just to make my parents happy.  It's never for us as a whole complete family.  We never have discussions as a whole, just multiple small conversations between certain people.  I cling onto the memories of the past because we no longer celebrate Thanksgiving as family.  Sadness.

Lai Family Circa 2003?

Lai Family - June 2010
Photo Courtesy of Jubilee Photography

Being raised in such a traditional Chinese family, it sounds kind of odd to have such fond American Thanksgiving memories.  I am thankful for those memories that I can still retain.  I want to have the same kind of celebration with my own family one day, and I want my kids to smell turkey in the air and get super excited.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!  Safe travels to those who will be on the road this weekend!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Running Errands

Now that I'm home bound (I wonder how often my entries will start with that line), that means I have a lot more time to do stuff.  It can simply mean going to the store to buy some eggs just because I can.  Take that!  Oddly enough, I haven't gotten used to the concept of being able to run errands during the day.  Does that sound strange?  Probably because it is strange.

Let's rewind back a bit.  H and I love to do almost everything together and that includes running errands and shopping*.  When I'm not with H, it just doesn't feel right doing those things without him.  Occasionally I would need to go out on my own to buy him presents or even a cake for those special birthdays.  Those times I am forced to do it alone, and I find myself going in to purchase exactly what I need for him and nothing more.  I leave the rest of my purchases for later so that I can go with H.  I can't make any decision on my own without his opinion.  Early on in our relationship I was at T.J. Maxx shopping for who knows what, and I stumbled across these perfect pair of gold Nina wedges on super sale.  It was less than $12, Nina's, and in my size!!  Can you believe I actually had to think really super duper hard before purchasing them just because H wasn't there?  Yeah I look back on it now and think it was a no brainer, and I don't know why it was so difficult for me to buy them.

So there you go!  That's why I can't get used to the idea of running errands.  I hate going out by myself.  I've been at home for almost 3 months, and I have only been out once to run errands.  I went to Coscto and Target, and I actually got nervous about hitting traffic on my way home.  I was a wreck, constantly texting my husband.  I needed his company, even if it was just through texts.  That was last week, and I have no real desire to go back.  Bad Yin!  I have to slowly learn to get out of the house more often by myself.

Here's a funny story to go along with my inability to do anything by myself.  I usually never have any cash on me, and that day was no different.  I was too lazy to make myself lunch before heading out, and I knew I wanted to get food at Costco.  They only accept cash at the food area.  As I was about to leave, I decided to round up all of my glass bottles to get back my bottle deposits.  It took me probably 10 minutes to get everything in my trunk.  I returned a total of 69 bottles at $0.05 a pop.  That gave me a lunch spending limit of $3.45!  Then H told me that I could have asked for cash back when I used my debit card for my Costco purchase.  D'oh!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

One Year House Anniversary

I've had this entry written for quite some time, but I never put the effort to publish.  I made some slight changes to reflect more up to date thoughts.  Since I'm now home bound, I figured it would be fitting to talk a little more about that place that I spend so much time in nowadays.  

Last month H and I celebrated our one year house anniversary!  Unless you've been one of our few lucky visitors, many of you have no clue what our house looks like.  I never got a chance to post photos of our house when we first moved in.  No worries though.  Our house pretty much looks the same now as it did a year ago, and we're not ashamed of it either (we're busy folks!).  There will be a few changes in the upcoming months though.  Details later.  Shhh!

A picture I posted over a year ago, before we signed on the dotted line.  The house currently looks just like that, even down to the car parked on the left side of the garage.  Just add an updated roof and some leaves on the ground, and you're set.

I remember the euphoria of moving into our home, and those happy feelings never seem to go away.  The house is truly perfect for us, and we gush about how perfect it is all the time.  Yeah we're losers, happy house loving losers.  Our neighborhood is awesome.  Our neighbors are awesome.  Our 43 year old home was move in ready, and the previous original owner really did take great care of it.  We really can't wipe the smile off our faces.  Is it crazy that we drive around and compare our house to other homes?  We are convinced that we found the perfect home for us.

So what have we done in the past year of home ownership?  Not much.  Planning, executing, and paying for a wedding is a strain on the bank account and precious time.  Most of our money went into the wedding, and our house was left with hand me down goods.  The house decorating gods would be ashamed of us.  It somewhat resembles a college house, full of mismatched decor (this makes sense for us since we never dormed on campus or had an apartment of our own -- we had to start from scratch).  One day that will change.  So here's what we've done...
  • purchased new washer & dryer -- oh how I love thee
  • put down new insulation in attic -- thank you Obama for paying for most of our insulation & keeping our house warm
  • painted the inside of our kitchen cabinets & nothing else (meaning our walls are very sad)
  • replaced all our light bulbs with CFLs -- which can be found super cheap at Costco thanks to Energize Delaware
  • came out with some super auction finds -- $10 Ethan Allen old school sofa bed
  • spent mucho $ on a super fine roof -- those things are expensive
Getting our new roof in August!  It'll probably be one of the most expensive projects for our house but totally worth every penny.

The list is pretty short, and I spent a lot of time trying to think of more items to add to the list.  Can you believe that we still have hand me down dishes in our cabinet & only enough to serve 4 people?  When you have a whole house to take care of, there are a set of priorities that take place.  The smaller details get left behind.  Hopefully this year will be full of small projects to spiff up our home.  We can never compete with the Jones, nor do we ever want to.  We like to take our time.  :)

Super awesome home, thank you for providing us with a place we happily call home.  I've been searching for that place for so long, and it is so good to finally find it.  One day I will give you guys a tour and let you in on the details of home ownership.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Yin's Comeback

I hate blogging dry spells because it is so darn difficult to get myself back into the blogging groove.  I don't know what to say or how to write.  Why can't I just be myself and get it over with?  I'll try.  This is my comeback.  Don't confuse it with my wedding blog comeback that never actually happened.

It's the easiest to start with an update.  Well a lot has been happening in the oh so exciting life of Yin.  I spend a lot of my time at home now, and work is just a memory from the past.  I prefer life at home, but I am still getting adjusted.  How did I end up here?  Well that's a big story for another day.  I like to remain vague for now.  With all of this time to myself, I'm trying to get small things accomplished, one at a time.

Posing in front of the house with our pumpkins.  :)

Married life is great, all 5.75 months of it.  Okay to be honest, it's not much different from engaged life.  H and I have lived together for 3+ years, 1 of which in our new (can we even call it new after our first house-iversary?) home.  We have been together for 5 wonderful years, and life keeps getting better for us.  While married life may not be much different, we do love calling each other husband and wife.  It's starting to come naturally now, and I like it very much.

H and I making it official in front of the Clerk of the Peace 06.02.10

Family life is pretty darn great too.  I live minutes away from my parents, which can appear to be too close comfort at times.  Overall, it's helped my relationship with them.  They have been super supportive of my relationship with H and all the crazy events that have been happening.  My relationship with my little (okay, she's not so little anymore) sister has strengthened, and we actually talk to each other.  If you told me that a year ago, I would have never believed you.  H and I do have this big weakness of not visiting his parents more often, but we're changing that a bit now.  We try to visit every other week, and it has made a huge difference.

Our families together in celebration of us tying the knot.

I think that sounds like a pretty reasonable update.  Now that I've marked my comeback, please do check back every now and then.  I might even have a new entry for you guys.  :)