December 2010

I recall having known “about” Santa Claus since immigrating here at age 6, but as my family wasn’t Christian, Christmas was more or less an excuse to have festive group gatherings with friends and family for dinner. The host family would decorate their house with a tree, people would bring presents for each other, but we still all ate homecooked Chinese food. It wasn’t any different from any other get-together, except for the presents and the decorations.

The first year my older cousin Olivia came to the country, we had such a Christmas gathering at my Aunt Jessica’s house. 7 or 8 elementary school kids (myself included) ran around playing in the living room, parents sat and conversed at the dinner table, and my cousin Olivia was the in-between teenager without a peer group. She kept busy, however. After dinner, I soon heard rumors from my cousins Diana and Jennifer (whose house we were at) that Olivia was, right then, undergoing a transformation in their parents’ bedroom to become Santa Claus. I had never seen Santa before. I mean, aside from the two-dimensional depictions on TV, greeting cards, and picture books. I’m not sure it even occurred to me that Santa was supposed to be male. But I was sworn to secrecy and I awaited “Santa”‘s arrival as people started gathering in the living room for present-time. Soon, the doorbell rang. “Eh?” Aunt Jessica said in dramatic mock surprise (in Mandarin). “Who could that be? I’m not expecting anyone else.” Someone got the door, and a huge commotion was heard. My aunt exclaimed “WOW! You all look who’s here!” just as a bearded Olivia in a red suit sauntered into the room. I watched the jaw of one boy in particular hit the carpet.

My first time meeting him, Santa was enthusiastic, knew things about all of us, had great skin, and spoke Chinese. He didn’t stay long, and I played along. When he stood to leave, he explained that he has many many other boys and girls to deliver presents to, admonished us little ones to be good and listen to our parents, and walked out the front door as jollyish as he’d walked in. The stunned little boy was still quiet, in awe. He walked a few steps up to the tree, and reached up to a branch. “Santa’s beard is in the tree,” he said, still seemingly unable to blink.
“What?” Aunt Jessica asked, walking over to him as the room recovered.
He pulled a little piece of cotton (yes, as from cottonballs) off the tree, showing it to my aunt, mouth still agape.
“Oh, Santa’s beard,” Aunt Jessica said nonchalantly. “You can keep that for him and give it back to him next year.”
The boy stared at the beard in his hand, evidence that something magical had happened. “Okay,” he whispered, very very carefully putting it in his pocket.

We finished opening our presents. All the kids got a Snoopy pencil box that was rounded and looked like a giant crayon, and the top unscrewed and tons of cute pencils, erasers, sharpeners, etc. poured out. I also got a little stationery notepad with a faded photo of a green blade of grass as the background, drops of liquid round and glistening on the blade’s surface. A haiku was written in small print on the bottom corner:
Dewdrop, let me cleanse
In your brief, sweet waters
These dark hands of life. (c) Peyo
(Years later, I would be frustrated and befuddled that the middle line is missing a syllable. It seems like it’d be so easy to fix; “In your brief AND sweet waters,” for example. I still have most of the items, buried somewhere in a box perhaps at my parents’ house. I no longer have the pale green notepad, but I had long since memorized the haiku as I slowly learned English.)

Suddenly, the doorbell rang again and some moments later in came my cousin Olivia, beardless, stomach-pillow-less. “I heard Santa was just here!” The kids and some adults confirmed this. “I can’t believe I missed Santa! I only went out for a few moments! I must be the most unlucky girl in the world! Why am I so unlucky?” she griped convincingly. “You must tell me about him!” So the younger kids, plus the boy, filled her in on what she missed as the adults smiled at each other, a trick successfully pulled off.

My cousin Olivia remembers that night as a fun time, and was incredulous when I brought it up a last week. She was amazed I remembered so much detail, as she didn’t. Looking back, I don’t think I appreciated how much work she put into being there for us. Even that day alone, the costume must’ve taken quite a bit of preparation.
Olivia: I am never ready for Christmas! We do not celebrate Christmas; My mom used to tell me that we are Chinese so we do not care for Christmas……also she does not celebrate Chinese New Year, because we are consider as “Americans” now…………..I realize that I do love her idea for that because I am a mom now…HeeHeeeeee!
Me: There’s a constant battle in our household because I say I don’t want to lie to my kids so I’m not going to tell them that Santa Claus, the tooth fairy, etc. are “real,” I’ll just let them believe what they want from what they learn in school or on their own. [Mr. W] thinks I’m evil. And this kid doesn’t even exist yet!
Although, I can tell my kid that YOU are Santa Claus because when I was 6, you WERE. I still remember that day well. And Santa Claus spoke Chinese, left a piece of cotton beard on the Christmas tree, and you came running in late to find that you had just missed Santa Claus so you must be the unluckiest girl in the world. Haha!
Olivia: You amaze me for remember all that! We had so much fun that year! I really think I am so lucky to have you,Jen, and Diana. You are closer to me than Oliver. So matter what ; I know I can count on you and you can count on me. Love you so much… Dear Cindy!
Me: Before you could say that, we all counted on you first, for the trips to the swap meets, the trips to Disneyland, Knott’s, Magic Mountain, for thinking of us when you travel and see interesting little souvenirs, for taking me to Cal Poly to class one day to make college “real” for me (I still remember the professor’s lecture about a Jesus story, I must’ve been 12), so much that there’s no room here to list them all. Thanks for being our big sister all those years.
Olivia: My eyes are wet! You touch my heart! How come that I do not remember taking you to Cal Poly? All I can say is that I am so proud to have you as my beautiful sister!

A recent-ish photo of Olivia (she’s the one in the middle, obviously):

This year, almost 3 decades later, I made contact with my second Santa:

… 1) the troops, for protecting us and our ideals so we can have peace at home;
2) the delivery people working so hard to bring our greetings and gifts to and from loved ones;
3) my friends, for enriching my life and reminding me what’s important;
4) my family, for putting up with me;
5) the Universe, for lighting my way and showing me the splendor that is this world, fighting to push through the dark spots for the ultimate good.

Happy holidays, everyone. <3

It poured and poured last night. I think some newscaster said something about two inches of rain every hour. More freeways closed due to flooding. Visibility this morning was awful. I considered taking a photo of the quantity of water spraying out from wheel wells and undercarriages of cars on the freeway. It made the bottom half of all the moving cars look like they were submerged underwater. I bet people’s undercarriages have never been this clean since the cars’ production. Today’s social network status message honoring the rainfall is:

Cindy brings you today’s rain quote, courtesy of hottie actress Halle Berry: “I’d like to be able to use Storm’s powers for good, like have it rain more in Southern California. We could do with it.”

Some more discussion by people on this followed. And then, in the early evening, the skies silenced, clouds parted, and we saw the first glimpse of blue in a week. Photos of a huge double rainbow appeared all over the networking site as Southern Californians recorded and posted this awesome reward for having endured the torrents. It seems that the storms have passed through for a few days, and weathermen and -women speak of sunshine through Christmas weekend, temperatures in the high 60s. That means my online friends will have to do without my rain-themed status messages for now. I know my sarcastic 12-year-old nephew in Chicago will miss it…

Ryan’s results for the quiz “How Much Time Are You Wasting”: You are approximately wasting 7.25 hours daily or 110.26 days in a year in not very worthwhile activities. At this rate, now on, you will waste 30.21% of your life.”
Cindy: eek, what a depressing quiz!
Ryan: I know, i answered 2 hours on [the social networking site], 2 hours waiting for something..(christmass) 2 hours was highest but i dont think thats whta it meant but I don’t know…
Cindy: see, the formula is wrong. 2 hours on [the social networking site] is NOT a waste! haha
Ryan: EXACTLY! where else are u going to hear daily rain qoutes?
Cindy: hey now! =P
(Ryan likes this.)

It’s been raining nonstop for over a week now. Some freeways are closed due to flooding, my friends are complaining about their yards turning into lakes and moats. Our backyard is pretty swampy, too, and the patio furniture is getting a good washing. I even parked my car out on the driveway the other night to get my free carwash in. All the dirt, dust and bird poop rinsed off effortlessly by morning. I’m looking forward to the fresh greens sure to be popping everywhere soon, and meanwhile, decided to show my appreciation by posting a rain-happy status message on a social networking site for every day that it continues to rain. Today is the first day (with some minor redactions for privacy):

Cindy brings you today’s rain quote, courtesy of a Chinese proverb: “Anyone who says sunshine brings happiness has never danced in the rain.” 2 hours ago
View Feedback (16) Hide Feedback (16)
(Danielle C., Rebecca F. and Eric K. like this.)

Claudio F.: Yay!
*slips and falls*
(Maggie likes this.)
Maggie: That’s lovely, however, I think it should include an Ark for this rainstorm.
Cindy: Okay, modification. “Anyone who says sunshine brings happness has never danced starboard on an ark in this rain while fully insured for any medical slip-and-fall mishaps.”
(Rebecca F. likes this.)
Eric K.[who works for an insurance company]: What about a trained claims adjuster to make sure we’re not paying any frivilous claims?
Micha K.[Eric’s wife]: OMG stop.
Cindy: “Anyone who says sunshine brings happiness has never danced starboard on an ark in this rain while fully insured for any legitimate medical slip-and-fall mishaps over which a trained claims adjuster will prevail to keep everyone’s insurance rates low by ensuring that frivolous claims will not be paid.”
(Daren N. likes this.)
Micha K.: *Sigh*
Danielle C.: Naked? (did that once on a camping trip – cathartic)
Cindy: “Anyone who says sunshine brings happiness has never danced in their birthday suit starboard on an ark in this rain while fully insured for any legitimate medical slip-and-fall mishaps over which a trained claims adjuster will prevail to keep everyone’s insurance rates low by ensuring that frivolous claims will not be paid.”
(Danielle C. likes this.)
Danielle C.: LMFAO!! You are my facebook soulmate!! BIG fan. Huge.
(Cindy likes this.)
Cindy: This now excludes me in all the terms and conditions, and sounds more like fine print than a proverb-to-live-by. 🙂
Danielle C.: Belly. Laugh.
Cindy: I <3 my [online] playmates.
Maggie: Excellent job with all the additions!
Cindy: I’m ready for my bar card now.
Maggie: Indeed!

I’m well known for being able to sniff out bargains, for not paying full price for anything, for always getting a better deal on something than the next person. People have fallen over when they found out what I paid for my Lexus, my first house, my vacations, my wedding band (that’s a great story in itself, cuz that diamond-covered band came out to be better than free — as in, the jewelry store gave me money after they handed me the band). The list goes on and on. Today, that bit me on the butt. Just a little. *rubbing insulted tooshie*

My employer is a member of a discount program, and if we sign onto this program, we get deals on amusement parks, prescription pills not covered by insurance, jewelry, shoes, restaurants, all sorts of stuff. I was exploring the restaurant option online when I saw that I could purchase a gift certificate to a local Japanese restaurant we’d eaten at a few times for a great price: $100 gift certificate for $28. I’ve known restaurants and events to do this, sort of like seat-fillers (which is how I’d gotten deep discounts to shows and plays before, too), so I looked it over for “catches,” didn’t see any, and plunked down my credit card for a $28 transaction. I figured if there were some horrendous service charge or convenience charge at checkout, I’d simply abort the purchase. There wasn’t and my transaction went through. I clicked the option to print my $100 certificate right away, the site redirected me to the printable version, and that’s when I saw it, filling up my screen. My mouth formed a giant “O,” and not in a good way.

…Special Instructions: Minimum purchase of $200. 18% Gratuity added prior to discount. Valid for Dine In ONLY. Excludes: Other Offers/Promotions. Excludes happy hour. 1 certificate per table. Valid with parties of 2 or more.

HOLD the phone. I have to have a party of 2 or more before I can redeem this gift certificate? So I can’t go in this restaurant alone? No wait, that’s not a problem. The problem is, WHO THE HELL IS GONNA SPEND $200+ AT A LITTLE CASUAL JAPANESE RESTAURANT?! How much sushi am I gonna eat?! Why wasn’t this disclosed before I purchased the darn thing? Or maybe I should’ve read all the tiny print that wasn’t on the screen (cuz I would’ve had to click “Read Terms and Conditions for Use of this Site” and be redirected to another screen) before I clicked the only thing that was on the screen, which was a little box next to “I agree to the terms and conditions for the use of this site.”

Mr. W had warned me that a deal like this sounded too good to be true, and to make sure I don’t get slapped for all kinds of surcharges at the end of my order process; little did he expect that the trickery comes AFTER that. And if you’re thinking that I can just use this certificate little by little over time, well, they thought of that, too. “Restaurant-Specific Gift Certificates are redeemable in their entirety only and may not be redeemed incrementally.”

Sometimes bargain-shopping is inversely effective. The bigger the bargain, the more I pay. BUT, as I tried to argue with Mr. W when I had to tell him I was tricked, it still is a $200 dinner for $128. That’s still 36% off. =P Anyone want to join me for a group dinner at a sushi and teppan restaurant at our neck of the woods?

Let’s see if I can whirlwind my way thru this, altho I’ve never been good at concise posts (unless I’m hiding something, ha).

Mr. W and I had discovered a weird raised mole on his shoulder so I made him an appointment with a doctor to get a referral to a dermatologist, if needed. Turns out the regular doctor said it was benign so that was good news, no derm referral necessary. We took the afternoon off work for the appointment, so we went home, he packed a few things, and we went to La Costa Resort & Spa in Carlsbad to spend the night. College roommie Diana and her fiance Eric had a certificate from their gym for a free night there, and she’d stayed there before on a business trip, and they gave us the certificate since it expires mid-month and they weren’t going to use it. The place is so nice! We were given tip top treatment with a golfcourse view off a huge suite, visited a quaint little oceanside town for dinner, enjoyed the huge tub, ate well, took walks. Great time.

We took an early walk around the amazing resort grounds, had breakfast overlooking the greens, packed up, checked out, and went to my ob-gyn appointment. The doctor was very nice and looked at the ultrasound printouts the fertility clinic gave me, and agreed that up, these polyps need to come out. She made the referral and I’m expecting a call from the coordinator telling me the when and where and who. This doctor feels like it could be an office visit, much like the LEEP I did years before, and I didn’t need to be put through traditional surgery with the anesthesia and all that. That’s good cuz putting put complete under kinda wigs me out. So I get to watch polyps being removed on the screen. After the appointment, we went shopping at Fashion Island and I bought some stuff for my staff for xmas presents.

I’d booked a half-hour private reading with Rebecca, and booked a half-hour private reading for Mr. W’s friends Yvonne and Yvette right after hours, and invited Rebecca to lunch with all of us afterwards. Rebecca’s office was decorated very spa and very zen, and I commented enthusiastically on the decor as I went in. But minutes after I sat down on the couch, I noticed a compression type of feeling, like the atmosphere was heavy and dense, like I was in the pressurized cabin of a plane. Soon afterwards I found myself straining to take some deep breaths, as if there were pressure against my chest. Then the ear-ringing happened. I thought about bringing this up to Rebecca but didn’t, thinking if there were high-voltage power lines over her office or something unsafe like that, she’s the psychic, she’d know. (I’d brought this up with Mr. W afterwards and he did not feel any of these things.) As soon as she went into our readings, I got distracted and forgot about those feelings. She’s pretty specific when she’s doing private readings, not having to be tactfully private as she is when she’s in a crowd in the coffee shop. She even described our fertility doctor down to a tee, when I expressed concerns with our finances. She asked who the doctor is, and I just gave a last name, no gender. She immediately said, “Does he wear glasses?” Yes! “He is sort of balding on top, slender, petite?” YES YES YES! She says he’ll work with us, talk to him about splitting payments or payment plans; he sometimes needs to be reminded that his patients are humans, but that he’s amenable to working with us. She also said she felt a second child or soul coming to us after the first one. INTERESTING. I was afraid to look at Mr. W when she said this. Haha! After the readings, Rebecca’s husband and young son joined us and we all walked over to a Mexican food place next door to the coffee shop and had a great lunch.

We invited my parents over to treat them to a movie at the VIP Theatre we’ve been going to. They drove down and we had a good time walking around the town after the movie. Unfortunately, the movie that was playing was “Love and Other Drugs,” which I did not look into and just took Mr. W’s word that it was a romantic comedy. Turned out, it was practically a porno. Mr. W apologized to my parents afterwards for not realizing there was so much sex, but my dad laughed it off. After they left for home, Mr. W and I waited for his son to get here; he was over last week and said he was interested in coming with us for Rebecca’s group reading on Sunday, and for us to text to remind him. So I texted Sunday morning, “Reminder…rebecca tonite, be here by 6. :)” He texted back “K” and I was excited. Unfortunately, last minute he decided that a better offer came along to play tennis, so he flaked on us, telling his dad it was because his dad didn’t get back to him on what time Rebecca’s thing was (altho I’d told him to be here at 6p), so he had made plans to play tennis at 8:30 with his friends. Mr. W’s daughter, nearly out of her mind from studying for her finals for the last 4 days, spontaneously decided to come with us. That was unexpected since her religion typically frowns upon things like psychics, reincarnation, etc. She brought her study material and set up at the coffee house. She did participate openly, asking a few questions, watching people get readings on past-life stuff, said she’d never even considered the possibility that this isn’t our one-and-only-shot here as her church always insists it is. She was so touched and impressed by Rebecca she immediately contacted her closest friends and family and wants to book a private session. He even texted her brother saying they can split a private reading, he texted back that’d be cool and that he should’ve come. She said, “Yeah, you should’ve. :(” His flaking bothered me more than I thought it would. I couldn’t figure out why, since it’s not like he’s never flaked before. But I guess this was the first time I had REALLY expected him come through, and it meant something to me personally that he come through, because attendance was a promise he’d made ME. Rebecca did say in our private session on Saturday, tho, that I give him the materials, and it’s up to him to deal with it or not, but that he had a few years left of growing up to do before he came out of the teenager mindset he’s in.

So anyway, since I was up all night feeling bothered anyway, I thought I’d write Rebecca an email. Her response totally blew my mind…


Hi Rebecca! As usual it was great seeing you today. There were a lot of new people so I didn’t ask anything, giving them an opportunity to get to know you. But something I wanted to bring up…

When I visited you at your office on Saturday, within a few minutes of sitting there, I felt like the physical pressure inside the room was really high. Like in a pressurized cabin of a plane, or when you’re sitting half in and half out of a car and can feel that the pressure inside is denser than outside, and it makes your inner ears feel funny. And then I felt like there was pressure on my lungs, making it hard to breathe. Then my ears started ringing. I’m not sure what that was, and thought about bringing that up to you, but I figured that if there were something “off” about your space, that you’d be the first to know.


First of all, Cindy, I just want to tell you what a delight you are in so many ways!

The energy you picked up on in my office was several things; the presssure in your chest was your empathy of my asthma. Being empathic means you feel other’s physical or emotional feelings. When that happens, simply acknowledge that you are feeling something, then send it back to the source from where it came.

The ringing in your ears, the funny feeling of being in and out of a car at the same time was about your exposure to the conscious field in my presence. You are showing integrity and clear intention to know more about God, the Conscious Field and Guidance and the Universe is responding to your request by exposing you to more awareness of what it feels like when there are energies around you.

You are the first to tell me of experiencing these sensations while in my office. I have had others talk about how peaceful it is or that it feels like good energy in there, but your awareness is growing by leaps and bounds.

Ringing in the ears has always meant (for me) that something or someone is trying to get me to stop and listen for a moment. I have always thought of the high pitched ringing as beings that are a lighter vibration such as insects or other small beings letting me know they are also helping and guiding when appropriate. It’s a good reminder that all beings in the Universe are supportive. 🙂

I thought about it, and I had been gradually getting to the point where I was more open to direct contact, whereas before I was a little put off by it. I hadn’t thought the 3 sensations I felt in her office was 3 separate things. I was afraid it’d be something like, there’s high-radiation or high-electrical lines flowing over the ceiling of her office and the building managers didn’t want to let her know how unhealthy that is, so they didn’t tell her it was there. I just figured maybe I was sensitive to that the way some people are sensitive to magnetic fields; it didn’t occur to me that it was third-eye type perception because the feelings were so PHYSICAL. I sent up a thank-you for giving me such clear sensations and exposure to that. I also thanked Rebecca for interpreting for me. I’ve felt stress or anxiety before that wasn’t mine, but never a physical feeling that feels like it’s coming from my own nerve cells. Wow. This just makes my week. 🙂

I was wandering around online, enjoying the scenery, and came across an old conversation I had on a social networking site with some work friends. A district attorney buddy and I have a running joke of using chicken terms, i.e. “cluck” and “pluck,” in lieu of profanity. On his page…

Me: Where the cluck have you been?!
Maggie: Whittier
Me: What the pluck was he doing THERE?
DA buddy: Just in the wrong place at the wrong time and got stuck covering one of the misD courts here this past week. I’ll be back home next week…..thankfully. 🙂
Maggie: I was in Dept 4 yesterday. You were NOT there.
Me: busted! he flew the chicken coop!
Maggie: Well…he could have been in one of the other 4 depts.
Me: yeah, I guess he’d have to obey the pecking order down there and go wherever the feed is.
Me: unless he’s just following the chicks around.
DA Buddy: @Mags: Yeah, I was in Dept. 2 yesterday. That’s Olivia Rosales’s court.
@Cindy: Ur cluckin’ hilarious!!!!
Me: Just pleasin’ my peeps. 🙂