Saturday, December 25, 2010

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Monday, December 20, 2010

Monday, December 13, 2010

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Friday, November 19, 2010


the rational investigation of the truths and principles of being, knowledge or conduct
Synonyms include: attitude, belief, ideology
"What pollutes the mind is our desire to get life to conform to our peculiar notion of how things should be, as opposed to how they really are. Why did this happen to me? What would make me feel better?...The thoughts themselves are not the problem; it's our desperate clinging to them and our resistance to what's actually happening that causes us so much anguish."
~ Phil Jackson, Sacred Hoops

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

resort [re-sawrt]

a place to which people frequently or generally go for relaxation and pleasure
Synonyms include: haven, refuge retreat

I'm back on the road again. This time I'm in Phoenix for another conference. This is actually my THIRD time here; I remembered this morning. The first time was to support Tita Cecile and Fantone who ran a marathon, then I came back with a group of friends to watch Larnie graduate, and here I am again. Of all the places I thought I'd visit multiple times, Phoenix was not one of them. But it is very beautiful here, desert and all.

I flew Southwest, of course, because from Bob Hope Airport, the flight was 1 hour and 17 minutes! The plane wasn't crowded so I had a whole row to myself, which allowed me to move a seat further to get this shot =)
I LOVE seeing the geography from the air - the houses in straight or curvy lines and the patchwork of farmland of course. Such perfect squares and rectangles! I can barely draw a straight line by hand!
To keep me occupied because I didn't have the pleasure of anyone's company, I read...
...and listened to my music. Can't go wrong with Boyz II Men, though "Water Runs Dry" did seem inappropriate while heeding Phil Jackson's words so I switched to some classical sounds.
The hotel where I'm staying is GORGEOUS AND LOOK AT MY ROOM - how pretty!! And my bathroom is the size of a dorm room.
My balcony overlooks the front area of the hotel, and palm trees literally run along every path on this property.
I had been up since 5:30 am, and after I checked in, I had to set up our booth in the exhibit hall so I forgot how hungry I was at 1:45 pm! All I'd had to eat until then were two hashbrowns I bought at the airport. I know what you're thinking - breakfast of champions, right? I sat down and oh, what a feeling to have this perfect, cold glass of iced tea. I forgot how thirsty I was too.
Free wifi is only available in the lobby but it wasn't working for me when I tried. Thankfully, my trusty Palm Pre can be a mobile hotspot so I was all set. Here I'm enjoying my iced tea and catching up on my Laker news...I mean, work email =) There was actually a Laker game tonight and I wasn't sure how I was going to write the postgame recap if I couldn't watch the game. My smarty pants friend, Chris, showed me how to get a live feed so I caught the entire thing. Sadly, I was yelling at the computer screen all by myself in the hotel room. Sorry for the noise, neighbors. And because Phoenix is an hour ahead, I posted the came recap an hour early to the PST peeps =)
The restaurant area is located a floor below the lobby, kind of like a sunken living room. In this case, a SUPER SUNKEN living room. The ceilings and windows are so high that you feel like you're outside with all the light pouring in.
Roy's! If I'm daring, maybe I'll eat here this week, but I don't want to push my luck. Just because I'm here for work, doesn't mean I should abuse the spending "power."
Palm Trees...seriously, everywhere. And they're the thicker, leafier kind. Not like the tall, limp ones in L.A.
After I had something to eat, I walked around the back part of the hotel. There's a pond-ish/lake-ish area, with water running down this stream of stones. Seriously, one of the nicest hotels I've ever stayed in.
Check out this path of stones. It was a short little way, and as tempted as I was to walk it, like I'm really going to chance stepping wrong and hurting my ankle again. Although, if there was ever a time to sprain my ankle, this conference of orthopaedic surgeons might be able to help.
Here's the river, stream, brook (?) of stones with the running water. So pretty, right?
And there were these Q-tip like plants, and I have no idea what they're called but I'd like to find some back home and display it in front of my house. They're some of the most unique plants I've ever seen...and I just want to HUG ONE!
Foliage...testing out my apertures, ISOs and shutter speed =)
Flowers of all kinds everywhere. I don't know what these flowers are either but they're so pretty!

And in warm climates, of course, hibiscus, which always makes me long for another visit to Hawai'i...*sigh*
Birds of paradise - this one looks like it's posing for me!
There was a path of gravel by some area of trees and I just loved it! I took four different pictures and as similar as the rocks look, no picture every looked the same - amazing.
Right by the elevators was this HUGE window of stained glass. It reminded me of church, no?
My room is on the 6th floor and this is where all the halls look over onto - the lobby and lower area of the hotel. Doesn't it remind you of Daddy Warbucks' house in Annie or the Von Trapp's mansion in The Sound of Music?!
And of course, here I am in the elevator. Bad thing about traveling alone is that there are never any pictures of myself. Actually, it doesn't matter. Even when I'm not traveling alone, there are always a scarcity of Anna pictures, which I don't really mind.
When I got back to my room, it was almost sunset and I'm so happy I caught the tail end of it. Maybe tomorrow I'll find a better view, but this is the view from my balcony. I won't complain. I can't remember the last time I saw a sunset...oh wait, yes I do...Maui a year ago.
Random - I was unpacking and realized I FORGOT TOOTHPASTE! When I asked the front desk where the gift shop was because I needed toothpaste, the guy was like, "OH! I'll just give you some!" Thanks buddy, you saved me like $3.
And that was my first day in Phoenix. If I have time tomorrow, I'll blog again. I better get to bed. These orthopaedic surgeons like to start early - 6:30 am!!!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Quest for #17 begins tonight!!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Friday, October 22, 2010

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Friday, October 15, 2010

surrender [suh-ren-der]

to yield (something) to the possession or power of another; deliver up possession of on demand or under duresr; to give (oneself) up to some influence, course, emotion, etc.
Synonyms include: cave in, concede, consign

"I don't want or need a phone that has a QWERTY keyboard or a touch screen," I said.

"You might as well have a rock for a phone then," my sister replied.


I loved my LG Decoy for all the right reasons. It was a slide phone, which meant it was nice and compact when not in use. It had a bluetooth attached to the phone so that I could never forget it. The keys were raised just enough so I could blind-text. And best of all, it was nice and simple - did just enough (call, text, take pics and video, etc) for someone with simple needs, like me. The last 6 months or so, however, I wanted to chuck it out my car window.

It would turn off randomly (like in the middle of the night, which sucked because I used it as an alarm!), the screen would black out each time I slid it open to answer a call - it was just a ranging hot mess of a phone after a year and a half and I can't believe I withstood its condition as it was for as long as I did.

Shopping for a new phone, I wanted something similar - simple with a detachable bluetooth earpiece if possible and an affordable data plan. I should've known in the midst of my frustration that I had nowhere to go but that is and that inexpensive data plan I was hoping for was non-existent.

I talked to everyone who had a Blackberry, a Palm, an iPhone (I know Verizon doesn't have it...yet, but I wanted their opinions all the same), etc. I read website after website for reviews and, even despite having different phones, people seemed to have a universal issue with SmartPhones - battery life. And after a while, I realized that, as with many things, pros and cons will sometimes equate and the only opinion left to tip the scale is mine.

So, after some kicking and screaming, I caved in and got a Palm Pre Plus. It's an adorable little phone, but I'm still getting accustomed to all its features. It can do a lot...way more than I could ever do with my old phone. I have an iTouch so the touch screen isn't as hard to get used to, but I have opened apps and commands unintentionally. Apparently, even in SLEEP MODE when the screen is inactive it's still sensitive. Guess SmartPhones aren't quite geniuses just yet

Friday, October 08, 2010

maintenance [meyn-tuh-nuhns]

care or upkeep; means of upkeep, support, or subsistence
Synonyms include: conservation, continuance, care, sustainment

Oh this light. This dreaded light. When you see it aglow beside the odometer, it's never to tell you that your car is performing splendidly. It's lit up to tell you the exact opposite. "WARNING! WARNING!" it yells. "Something's wrong with your ride!"

I pulled into my driveway on Tuesday night and happened to glance at my gas guage to check if I could wait to load up until after work the next day, and there it was - the CHECK ENGINE indicator.

Since my commute is so demanding, I don’t take any chances when my car is even remotely in need of ANYTHING, even if it’s just a lightbulb. So after dinner, I drove my car to Glendale Toyota, where I have spent a great part of my car’s life. They’d have to run a diagnostic test in the morning, they said, so I stayed home from work the following day, checking office email all morning, trying to distract myself from worrying about what the next fixer was going to cost.

When Minsu, the rep from Toyota finally called, I braced myself. The catalytic converter needed to be replaced and it would cost…well, a lot. The cata-what? I Googled it before we got off the phone. Apparently it controls the toxicity of my car's emissions. Well, obviously I can’t not replace THAT! I ok’d the service and sulked…for awhile. ANOTHER maintenance expense?

Dad heard me on the phone and came in to talk me off the ledge. I seem to get unbelievably upset every time I have to invest such a huge chunk of my paycheck (or sometimes all of one) into something that doesn’t take me on vacation, buys me a new wardrobe or feeds me. "What pleasure do I get from spending so much on my car?!" I foolishly thought to myself.

“It’s a car,” Dad said in his very dad-like tone. “It needs to be taken care of all the time especially when it works so hard. It’s not meant to be new forever.” I knew that.

I left the house to get some air. It was raining that day, but I actually welcomed it, especially when I was already feeling so crappy. I visited Church and whined to God for an hour, then I went home.

I asked myself what I was upset about and then I asked myself what my other options were, really, for this situation. There really wasn't one. Either I left the old part in and figure out away to get to Thousand Oaks everyday, or get the car fixed and let it be the end. Of course I chose the latter, but it wasn't without reserve.

I did get some perks from being such a loyal customer there. I went back to Glendale Toyota that Wednesday evening to pick up my car and saw Minsu typing like a madman on his computer, punching code after code to give me as big of a discount as he could.

"I saw your maintenance history with us," he said. "Let's see what discounts we can give you."

It wasn't a huge dollar amount off, but it certainly helped. I drove off still feeling the financial blow, but thought about what Dad said. My little 2002 Rav4 does work hard. She's driven me to and from San Francisco, Las Vegas, San Diego and Palm Springs; she's taken me to work 400 miles/week for the last 4 1/2 years; she's played taxi to practically every member of my family; and on the side, she takes me to every birthday party, wedding, baby shower, housewarming, basketball game, etc on my calendar. How could I feel bad about taking care of something that's taken such good care of me?

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Thursday, September 16, 2010

lyric [lir-ik]
having the form and musical quality of a song, and esp. the character of a songlike outpouring of the poet's own thoughts and feelings, as distinguished from epic and dramatic poetry
Synonyms include: words, verse, song

I wrote the song/poem below about two years ago upon a friend's request. He wanted to write a song and needed some lyrics. "What do you want it to be about?" I asked. "About ANYTHING," he said.

I used to write a lot of poetry back in the day. Mostly it was just venting exercised in the corniest and cheesiest of rhymes. I wrote about the usual topics in poetry; love (usually sad and angry verses) and life in general. With the advent of the blog and journal-writing, I never found any reason to want to write anything other than prose but sometimes you take advantage of inspiration when it arrives, as it doesn't arrive too often...

You Haul

I had a teacher tell me once
That life, sometimes, is fair
When everything
Hell, everyone
That brings you joy is there

But sometimes, well, what can you say
Unfairness always makes its way
And there, you’re left
With nothing but
A load of shit to haul away

So carry
So lift
The weight – it doesn’t matter
Show yourself you’re better
Than the burdens
That your aching shoulders will recall
Take pride in all the crap
You have to haul

That silver lining – yes, it’s there
It’s hard, sometimes, to see
When all the dirt
From all the hurt
Is a cloud of pain’s debris

But you soldier on, because you know
There must be something waiting
Another chance
Another dance
That’s there for compensating

You hate this share of lessons learned
It’s never how you wanna learn it
But in the end
You smile, my friend
Because you know you fought to earn it
~ A.L.B.G.

Thursday, September 09, 2010