February 2007

One day in March last year, I was given a pod by my parents. It was unremarkable except for its large size. I kept waiting and waiting for it to ripen, drooling at the thought of a creamy avocado of this size, nearly 6 inches in length and maybe 4 inches across. I remember it being very heavy. Little did I know then, that this avocado would never ripen, but instead housed a healthy bouncing baby boy for me to love!

The boy came out in a C-section. I’m sorry to say that the pod was inedible. Hard as a rubber ball, it was. But the boy became right at home up on my desk in a little cup of water. People came by to marvel at it, to question its identity, but most of all, to say stuff like, “That’s gross! You should throw it away! I think it’s MOLDING!” But I always had faith, so on the edge of the desk it continued to sit, making friends with the Lucky Bamboo.

It wasn’t even 3 months later in early June when the boy’s sprouting became indisputable.

People came by and were utterly shocked. “That’s a little avocado tree!” they exclaimed as the leaves were now identifiable. My boy was now taller than his buddy, Lucky Bamboo.

Many envious friends tried to raise their own avocado, but I haven’t heard of anyone else’s success quite like this one. Indeed, the little green plant grew and grew, it seemed that two new leaves popped out the top every other week. My court reporter and I have both noticed that the plant gives off a very positive energy, and yes, both of us sensed that he’s a boy.
Like all boys, they soon outgrow their clothes and shoes. So two weeks after the last photo when the little avocado plant was 3 months old, we nervously and excitedly gave him a new outfit, hoping he doesn’t go into shock and wilt.

Aww, lookit the little guy! My bailiff brought in potting soil, my gym trainee brought in the cute pot, and potted him. Now, more people were coming in and making astounded statements about the plant. “It’s a TREE now!” they said. Before the avocado was repotted, I’d offered him to a bailiff who had 3 expensive avocado saplings die on him. He said with a high-fallutin’ scoff, “I don’t want your little weed.” Who’re you calling a weed NOW?!

Here, my little avocado tree is 11 months old, and has stopped growing new leaves on top. I haven’t seen any new growth for a few weeks now, so clearly he’s outgrown this pot, too. The question is whether to put him into the ground somewhere, or to put him in a bigger pot. I think he could use a bigger pot just to get a little stronger before he’s exposed to the cruel elements outdoors. After all, he has been terribly spoiled so far. He’s never been outdoors and the only “raw” element he’s been exposed to was sunshine filtered through a window. He sits with me on the weekdays, where I water him with drinking water as needed and my court reporter comes up to him and nuzzles his green leaves with her nose as she smiles and puts her arms around him. My trainee pops in here and there and plumps up his ego by exclaiming, “It’s a shade tree now!” and smiling as she stands underneath its spread leaves, which appears to spread wider to provide her adequate shade from the overhead flourescent lights.

Yesterday, I received an email from a retired coworker, canceling her weekly lunch with us. The tone of her email seemed a little bummed to me, so I replied to her email asking her about it. She wrote back that I was perceptive, that she was indeed in a sort of “funk,” and that she was “Just waiting for spring to show up so I can start planting my garden and my hanging baskets.. The nurseries have no seedlings to plant as they are waiting for warmer weather also.” Are you thinking what I was thinking?

I responded, “Would you like a baby avocado tree to love? He’s very sweet, and I raised him from the seed stage in a plastic cup. He’s now almost 3 ft high and straight with big happy leaves, ready to be repotted. (I’d understand if you turn him down; I hear avocados are big trees and some people don’t have the yard room, like me.)”

Her response: “I’ll take your baby from you if you really don’t want him and I will understand if you do not want to part with him. Thank you for your sweet offer.”

Me: “I’ll miss him as he’s become our courtroom mascot and shade tree, but he needs some place to stretch and I’m unable to provide that. I’ll know he’s in a good home if you take him!” So she’s gonna stop by this Friday for a meet-n-greet with my little green boy.

I’m all of a sudden getting separation anxiety! The plant has become a fixture in the courtroom in the past 11 months. But I know that he’ll get lots of loving care from her, and may soon forget me, his first mommy.

Rest mouse pointer over photos for captions. I apologize for looking crappy today and not having my face or hair done. I did not expect to have my picture taken, and therefore rushed to work with my hair wet. You can tell my eyes are all red from all the incessant coughing.

I have a post written and ready to go, except that I need to insert a final photo. Unfortunately, my cell phone won’t turn on its camera. It keeps giving me a “memory full” message, which I’d gotten in the past and how I fixed the problem was simply by deleting one or two of my existing photos in the phone’s memory. But this time, it didn’t work!
*delete*…”Memory Full, Camera on Standby”
*delete*…”Memory Full, Camera on Standby”
*delete delete delete, delete photos, multimedia messages, text message inbox*…”Memory Full, Camera on Standby”
WHAT the heck?! What does it want from me??? It even says, when I pick the option to free up memory, that I have 59.0 kB of memory free. That’s more than enough! A cameraphone photo is like 12kB!
*fiddling with phone again*
Oh wait, NOW it’s giving me the camera option! What the heck??? But I think I owe it a better “final” photo than one that a cameraphone can provide, especially considering all the other prior photos I’ve posted on this subject were all cameraphone photos.

I’m late to the game, but at least I’m swingin’! This meme is from Flat Coke & Flies’ blog

Three Little Words

1. Where is your cell phone? In my purse.
2. Boyfriend/girlfriend? Mister Double You
3. Hair? Needs another cut.
4. Your mother? Gets cuter everyday.
5. Your father? Shaped my mind.
6. Your favorite item(s)? I’m not materialistic! =/
7. Your dream last night? Jordan/boyfriend suck.
8. Your favorite drink? Anything with Chambord.
9. Your dream guy/girl? Can’t beat W.
10. The room you are in? Court of law.
11. Your fear? Bats outa hell.
12. What do you want to be in 10 years? Happy, at peace.
13. Who did you hang out with last night? Dodo and TV.
14. What are you not? Your typical girl.
15. Are you in love? teeHEE teeHEE teeHEE!!!
16. One of your wish list items? Have it all.
17. What time is it? Forty past four!
18. The last thing you did? Put file away.
19. What are you wearing? Turtleneck, slacks, boots.
20. Your favorite book? Somewhere in Time
21. The last thing you ate? Ricola Cough Drop
22. Your life? Smells like roses.
23. Your mood? I reach up.
24. Your friends? Carefully selected peeps.
25. What are you thinking about right now? Dodo on recliner?!
26. Your car? Blue Lexus IS350.
27. What are you doing at this moment? Answering this, duh!
28. Your summer? Begins in China.
29. Your relationship status? Still goin’ strong!
30. What is on your TV screen? No TV here.
31. When is the last time you laughed? Earlier, Vanessa’s email!
32. Last time you cried? Tears from coughing.
33. School? Go UCLA Bruins!!

Now post your own answers on your blog, and let me know that you’ve participated! The rules are simple. Answer each question in three words. No more, no less.

(And if you don’t have a blog and are still stubborn about creating one, then I guess you’ll have to answer these on my comments!)

Dodo was audacious last nite. Twice, he tried to go onto my super duper expensive chenille La-Z-Boy, causing me to yell, which in turn caused him to dart off with a guilty “rawr!” and settle down on the carpet. Twice, I walked into my bedroom to find him lounging in the middle of my bed. The boy knows he’s not supposed to be on furniture! As it is I let him hang out on the backs and arms and the middle section of the tri-sectional couch (which I will be soon rid of as I take over my parents’ cream leather couch). So in the middle of the night, feeling bad for the forlorn looking kitty gazing at me with wide round eyes, I got my sacrificial chenille sweater, folded it up, and put it on the floor next to my bed. He happily took that over, kneaded it while purring loudly, and slept on it like it were a pillow. So I got my little taste of heaven around 4am. The cat’s purrs dissolved into the increasing volume of a rainfall. Thus were the sounds around me as I was lulled into a deep comfortable sleep, curled up between flannel sheets underneath a heavy cotton Chinese comforter. As I drifted, I pictured all my neglected plants and flowers happily drinking up rainwater. I’m sure I smiled in my sleep.

That is, until the stupid nightmare where I dreamt I was on a large ship to go to China, and somehow my family was also on the cruise, and during the family banquet, Mr. W was missing and I was thinking he didn’t want to do the formal banquet so he must be enjoying the gambling floor or something in his sloppy clothes. I called Jordan to tell her to put on her formal dress and to invite her to the banquet, and when she picked up, she said hello and presumed I’d called looking for Mr. W, and I heard a shuffle as she handed him the phone! I demanded why the hell he wasn’t at the banquet, that’s the whole reason we’re on this freaking cruise, and he said because he’d wanted to see San Pedro and apparently, Jordan was on her way out to explore San Pedro and so he just went along with her. I was livid. (I also didn’t even know we were docked at San Pedro.) I yelled at him so loud that I had to leave the banquet hall to avoid the curious looks from other guests, and I walked out into the hallway and yelled so loud THERE that I got more looks.

This morning, I’m mad at Mr. W and at Jordan. Hmmph! Of course, Jordan can redeem herself by posting on her blog so that we can have something new to read. 🙂

James had told me about some amazing sushi in Tustin that’s served traditional omakase style at the sushi bar, meaning you don’t pick items off a menu, the sushi chef just starts serving you all the different fresh fish of the day until you tell him to stop. Altho I was forewarned that this meal would be expensive, I was eager to try out the restaurant.

Last Friday evening, Mr. W and I met up with James and Vanessa at Sushi Wasabi for this delectation. James was right; all four of us enjoyed every single cut of fish. When the chef puts the hand roll, sushi or sashimi on your plate (each fish/oyster/scallop/crab is served slightly differently depending on the best way to showcase each flavor), he’d tell you what it is and where it’s from. “This is salmon from Austria,” or “This is blue crab from Alaska,” or “This is oyster from Seattle.” I’m not quoting him as I can’t remember where anything’s from, but it went a little something like that. I felt like I was taking a seafood tour of the world from my seat! The experience was also unique in that altho I’ve had yellowtail, ahi, oysters, etc before, they never tasted like this. Each savory bite melted in my mouth and had a fresh, refeshing and almost sweet aftertaste.

In the midst of the funny and entertaining conversation we were having together, James happened to mention that the last time he was there with 2 male coworkers, it was a no-holds-barred type of meal celebrating his promotion, so they’d gone through the entire fish menu twice plus some change, and polished off more than one liter-sized bottle of sake, and the total bill came out to over $700. Mr. W balked. I’d already expected our meal to be expensive because I was forewarned a few times by James, but I think Mr. W didn’t expect it to be that expensive since he kept saying that the restaurant is located in a ghetto Mexican area where there wouldn’t be a lot of sushi connoisseurs in attendance. Our total came out to be over $330 including tax and tip. Vanessa plunked down her card, and I wrote her a check for my and Mr. W’s half of the price (I’d never reimbursed a friend for a meal with a check before, but I don’t have that much cash onhand). James of course paid her in cash, the wealthy guy. But even he was $2 short. Haha.

I think it was worth the experience to try this amazing place out once, as it has totally blown all my past sushi experiences out of the water. But Mr. W lamented the entire weekend about how altho it truly was the best sushi he’d ever had in his life, no food is worth that price tag. (He’s sick at home today with food poisoning he got from some other food Sunday afternoon [my poor little boy], NOT from the Friday nite sushi, and Vanessa speculated maybe it’s a karma thing from all the complaining he did about the sushi all weekend. Food has feelings, too! At least it may have before we chopped it up and ate it over rice. Yum.)

Also worthy of note is that James remembered to bring his happy Magic 8 Ball (see comments on that post), which turns out is actually a Magic 8 Ball that’s yellow with a big smiley face on it, a promotional item from some company’s recruiting.

Mr. W and I went to my parents’ newly remodeled house on Sunday evening to help them put away a few things and do some finishing touches, paint touch-ups, etc. The place is amazing, by the way. They ripped up all the carpeting in the house and put down either marble or rich deep floorboards. All countertops, sinks, toilets, tubs were redone; all tiles in the restrooms are new and very artistic. Each bedroom and bathroom has a new color and design scheme. The windows were replaced and the blinds have been removed with French wood shutters put in their place.

While I was up in my parents’ new bedroom upstairs lining shelving paper inside their drawers and cabinets (we are still Asian, after all), I saw that they have a new state-of-the-art glass digital scale. I stepped on it and it registered 127.9. I was not happy with that reading, so I dragged the scale into the bathroom, closed the door, and proceeded to lose weight. I peed myself dry, shed the clothes, and then stepped back on the scale. 125.9. There, that’s an acceptable number! Satisfied, I got dressed and came back out, and bumped into my mom in her bedroom. Sheepishly, I told her I just weighed myself. She said she was going to weigh herself, too. I put the scale down on the ground, and she stepped on. Immediately, she stepped off and handed me a small pair of scissors she’d been using to cut the contact paper. She stepped back on. I laughed at her, and confessed what I’d done in the bathroom. She said, “It’s okay, your dad does that, too!”

Genetics are strong, I tell ya.

You know how sometimes you get ready to go out and in the mirror, you think you’ve created the most perfect version of you possible? The hair’s behaving, the makeup’s just right, a glint of vixen-like coyness is in your eye; you smile at yourself, or if you’re a guy, you do that click with the inside of your cheek against your teeth and wink, while pointing a trigger hand gesture at your reflection in the mirror? And then you go out, take photos that you can’t wait to see cuz the last time you checked, you were on fire! And in the pictures, your face looks NOTHING as nice as you thought it did in the mirror. It looks like a whole different person. (And if you don’t know what I’m talking about and this has never happened to you, well, then, poo to you! 😛 ) I’ve come up with the perfect solution to ensure that it doesn’t happen to you again.

me: I’m gonna carry around a big paper bag with me wherever I go.
and cut 2 holes out of it for eyes
Josh: right
me: and draw red lips on the center in red permanent marker
which is ironic cuz I don’t wear lipstick
Josh: you do that
me: ooh! and fangs! I’m gonna draw fangs coming out the lips
Josh: that be would realistic
me: OOH, and whiskers! long whiskers!
Josh: keep going
me: …I can’t. that’s all I want.
except for the tiny cat ears I’m gonna tape to the top
Josh: ok
me: I’d be so cute!
and I wouldn’t even have to do my hair
Josh: saves time
me: i know, when the other girls see it, they’d all want one.
and the great thing is, you don’t have to make do with what you got, you can draw whatever you want!
whatever you really feel like you are inside!

I asked Josh what his mask would be and he said probably a girl. I asked what kind of girl? He wasn’t sure. So I suggested he draw a mask of me, and we can go out together and I’d be a cat and he’d be ME. We’d be a hit.

What would YOUR mask be?

I’m too ticked to sleep. I brought up to Mr. W earlier that I don’t understand why he’d take all these random chemical diet aid pills and “supplement” stuff that his ex left laying around his house, but it’s so hard for him to listen to ME and not take ephedrine despite how much I explained that it was dangerous for someone with high blood pressure and a history of heart problems in the family, or to take other things I suggest that are good for him, such as glucosamine for all his creaking crackling joints especially since he runs. I said it’s a different thing if she were a nutritionist, or had actual knowledge about these products, but judging by the crap laying around the house that she’d bought, she’d simply bought into all the ineffective and/or dangerous trends. He yelled at me about not understanding why I have to pick a fight with him and feel threatened by an ex-girlfriend of his that doesn’t even live in the same state anymore. I was so pissed off that he said that. He’s back to the same old problem — not hearing what I’m saying but projecting other fights he had with his exes over, apparently, other women and other exes. I told him I would’ve said the same damn thing if his dad were the one who’d bought those pills, but does that mean I must be jealous of his father? He wouldn’t listen and instead got into bed and went to sleep.


No, all women are NOT alike! No, all women are NOT catty! No, not everything is about some fear that I’m gonna lose you to some ex! I’m so upset I’m shaking right now. I hate, HATE when I’m falsely accused of something like this, cuz it means 1) he didn’t hear me or didn’t take me seriously; 2) he can’t see that I’m not like THEM; 3) we’re making no progress in our relationship in getting to know each other; 4) I get no credit for NOT being like his jealous exes. This is like when someone who’s innocent is accused of cheating and they say, “Well shit, I may as well go cheat cuz I’m gonna get blamed for it either way.” WHY do I make the effort to keep the peace between him/us and his exes, then? Why don’t I just have a fuss and have a fit whenever the mother of his children calls, instead of getting along with her, going with him to pick up the kids and then greeting the ex and having a nice warm chat with her? So when he’s got me totally wronged like this, I find myself trying to explain what my issue ACTUALLY is instead of what he’s ACCUSING ME that the issue is (and his reaction to that was to practically call me a liar and then he ignored me), and now it’s so much uglier than it would’ve been if he’d just listened to and stuck to the original real issue. Now, I can’t sleep and I’m too upset to go lay down next to him.

As an immigrant, I had the opportunity to be heard as to my chosen English first name. Well, not initially. A non-English speaker at the tender age of 6, I remember standing in the social security registration line with my mother. “We’re going to call you Sing,” she said in Mandarin. “That way it sounds kind of like the middle character of your Chinese name. Is that okay? You like that name?” I really had no opinion as to the name. The English sound “Sing” was unfamiliar to me, so I just agreed. And so, that’s how I was registered in this country. Some days later, in the waiting room of a doctor’s office (I think I was there to be immunized), my mother and aunt Jessica were discussing my translated name. My aunt asked if I liked it. I again nodded, simply because I didn’t have an opinion. She then told me what “Sing” meant. Dude, it wasn’t even a noun! It was a verb! I protested the name then. Like that mattered. The full translation of my Chinese name into the registered legal English version isn’t even something I can pronounce to this day.

Apparently it wasn’t something a lot of people could pronounce. First through second grade, the name just became ammunition for me to be teased. As if kids pulling their eyelids out into narrow slants and saying to me, “ching chong chang chone” and throwing sand at my face weren’t enough. Now they could encircle me and chant, “Sing…sing a song…sing along…” which I guess was a popular song on the radio that year, unfortunately for me. I don’t remember what kind of a fuss I made regarding my name, except that whatever I did, my mom finally agreed to give me an a.k.a. to use in school aside from my legal translated “English” name, the full thing of which I haven’t told you guys and which the teachers struggled to say when calling roll. My mom suggested “Jean,” because that sounded somewhat like the 3rd character in my Chinese name. I readily agreed to that. Finally, a real name! One which didn’t have a dictionary definition! My mother wrote a note to my 2nd grade teacher, informing her of the name change and asking her to please start referring to me as Jean immediately. My teacher made a brief announcement of my name in front of the class (to the bewilderment of the American students, to whom a name change was unheard of), and good-naturedly started calling me Jean. It wasn’t a few weeks later when my family was having dinner with some family friends, and the 2 sons of the other families started making fun of my name. “Jing” in Mandarin means “near,” or “closeness.” The boys said, “Jing. Ta lee wo hun jing.” Roughly translated: “Near. She is very near to me.” And guffawed. The rest of the evening consisted of them making up sentences with “jing.”

The next school day, I handed another note from my mother to my 2nd grade teacher. Miss Lawrence cooperatively started referring to me as Cindy, which I’d picked myself out of a dictionary.

Some years ago, I briefly dated a Chinese guy named Arlington. Asian immigrants are kind of known for naming their kids the last names of prestigious (at least prestigous-sounding) Americans, so I wasn’t too weirded out by Arlington. I’d already known a Jackson, a Nelson, a couple of Wilsons, an Edison, and a Rockefeller. (Just kidding about the Rockefeller. There’s probably at least one out there, but I don’t know any.) But I thought I’d ask the origin of his name anyway. He told me that his mother didn’t have a name for him until she was in the delivery room of the hospital. After he was delivered, she asked the doctor to help name him. Her only requirements? The name must start with the letter A because she was in Delivery Room A, and it should sound similar to her other son’s name. The doctor came up with Arlington.

“What’s your brother’s name?” I asked. I mean, what the heck sounds like Arlington?

Apparently, Wellington.

Oh, he also has a younger sister. Her name is Joyce. Joycington? No, just Joyce.

Okay, I’ve shared. What’s the origin of your name?

I met Mr. W at the gym during lunch today and we took a yoga class together. I held off coughing through almost the entire hour by not “inhaling deeply” when the instructor told us to but taking shallow breaths, until the last relaxation pose. At the last pose, my body wanted to cough so badly that I was spasming. My throat was closing up, my lungs were involuntarily pushing the air out. I finally let out a cough, and once I did I couldn’t stop. The hacking echoed off the hardwood floors and mirrored walls, completely shattering the illusion of shaded tranquility in the room.

A minute ago, my bailiff, who had been reading a magazine at his desk, walked up toward me with an article and announced, “I’ve been doing some reading, and I know now why you’ve got that cough.” Curious, I let him show me an open page, which features a review on the Lexus IS 250, the lower version of my car. Compared to my IS 350, the 250 is the same car and body without the V6 engine, with 100 less horsepower. I was confused as he summarized the article. “It says here that the IS 250 has ‘top-notch handling and a firm suspension’, and that it ‘takes technological features to the next level’.” Right, I agree, but what’s that got to do with my cough? He continued to bullet other points in the article. “It says that the Lexus succeeds in ‘making complex features simple.’ And then it talks about all the luxury car comforts in the cabin. It says here ‘Exterior styling is on the muscular side — lean, not bulky — a departure for buttoned-down Lexus. Handling is taut… The base engine, which is strong but quiet, is a hair underpowered but makes up for it with great fuel economy’.”
“Yeah, but that’s the IS 250,” I said. “I have the 350, which has a stronger engine than what you’re reading there.”
“I know, wait a minute, but here’s where it talks about how you got your cough. The last sentence in the article says, ‘Those who want to notch up the power can cough up an extra four grand for the IS 350, which has a 306-horsepower V6.’ Have you been coughing ever since you bought that car?”

Oh my gawd.

Of course I had to blog it.

Oh, cites from the January/February 2007 issue of Westways magazine, published by Triple-A.

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