Saturday, September 30, 2006

It's a Small World (Take 4)

So Close

Early this year, while my son and I were in Home Depot, we saw a lady with her little chihuahua. Being a chihuahua owner myself and seeing how cute her little pup was, I couldn't resist going over.

She was an extremely nice lady, and we had a long chat (I can be quite the conversationalist!). I found out she was dog sitting her daughter's dog. We talked about potty training for chihuahuas and temperment and obedience. Apparently, that cute little pup flunked out of her first obedience class and was currently seeing a personal trainer. I shared my training tips and told her about The Dog Whisperer program (Cesar Milan is my hero!). After a while we finally went our separate ways.

A few weeks later I run into her again at the grocery store (sans dog) and we exchange greetings.

More time passes.

Then, one day while my son and I are outside of our home playing, I see an unknown car drive up. We live in a sort of dead end street. There is only one way in and out, so we know every car in our vacinity.

The car stops at the house next to us. I see it is the lady from Home Depot. Recognition! Surprise! Excitement! She is equally shocked to see me. She gets out of the car, and we immediately begin talking.

It turns out her daughter lives next door to me! Has lived next to me for at least 4 years!

Amazing. And this lady had even told her daughter about meeting me in Home Depot.

Even more amazing is I've talked more with my neighbor's mother than I ever had with her. Now, I know my neighbor's name, her mother's name, and her dog's name. We are friendlier, more neighborly, all due to the chance meetings with her mother.

See, I told you! It really is a small world. Keep your eyes, ears and heart open. You never know who you may run into or the connection you may have.

Friday, September 29, 2006

It's a Small World (Take 3)

The summer before my senior year of high school, I attended a program called SPEBE. It involved a handful of high school students dorming at Chaminade University of Honolulu in a Biology program run by the university's teachers. That particular year, there was a program for teachers there as well.

One of the teachers in attendance was a very cool man who we'll call TP. He was in his 20's with a Jack Nicholson thing going on. He loved to surf and drink and enjoy life. 16 year old girls definitely found him worthy of attention.

I had a connection with him. Even discovered he wrote poetry too and got to read some of his stuff. But what makes this worthy of "Small World"?

TP was working at that time in Hilo. Originally, he was from Texas. For some reason (I totally forget why), I was talking to my dad's aunt over the community telephone. She was a nun in Brownsville, Texas. TP was sitting next to me, so I mention I have a buddy from Texas here. She says, where is he from? Corpus Christi, I say. She says, who is it? I say TP.

Yes, she knew who he was! Apparently she knew his family, knew him since he was little. Freaked both of us out! Too weird. So I hand over the phone, and they start chatting.

It's one of those moments that I will never forget. How utterly strange to meet someone who knows someone I know from a enormous state like Texas. It really is a small world.

Thursday, September 28, 2006


I decided I need to get to work on my stories and poems as I intended when I started this blog. I just don't want to inundate this blog, so next week I'll see if I can start another blog just for my literary pursuit. If it is successful, I will have a link on this blog to the new one. It probably won't be as prolific as this one, but I'll do my best.

I haven't come up with a name yet so I'll consider any ideas for the new blog. Suggestions, please!

I started looking through my old ramblings, my "great" works and journal entries (the ones that managed to survive). I came across my "Gratitude" period. If you are an Oprah fan, you may remember Simple Abundances. The idea was that by keeping a journal and recording 5 things you are grateful for, you will find deeper happiness. (Remember, happiness comes from within.)

Here is my first list of "Gratitudes" from July 16, 1997.

  • I am grateful for my friend YJG (who called me today after a 3 month period of no contact).
  • I am grateful for my health and fitness which allowed me to pass step one of my physical (bringing me closer to my start of work as a rehab supervisor at LCOM).
  • I am grateful for JM for his understanding of my needs to be alone; to pursue my own interests, have my own thoughts.
  • I am grateful the dinner I cooked tonight tasted good.
  • I am grateful that I can still smile and laugh and think/look for the good in myself, others, things, bad times.

So those were my 5 gratitiudes then. And the funny thing is... if you reread the above gratitudes except for the words in blue, it could be my gratitudes for today.

What are your gratitudes?

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

About You

Here's 5 questions for you to answer.

  1. Name one thing you would change about your appearance.
  2. Name one thing you would change about your personality.
  3. Name one thing you haven't done that you would like to do.
  4. Name one regret.
  5. Name one thing you are most proud about (must be about you).

My answers:

  1. My body parts that changed due to pregnancy. (Use your imagination.)
  2. Be less judgemental and more accepting of what I view as others' faults.
  3. Skydive
  4. Losing touch with friends.
  5. Being a good mommy.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

All the Way Out of the Closet

I just made it official. I am fully out of the closet! Now all my friends AND family know.

It was a really scary move for me. In the past, I've always wonder about what everyone will think or say. But, maybe I'm getting older (and wiser?) or I just don't care anymore (isn't what I think about ME more important?). I'd rather you find me strange than keep secrets. Besides, it seems kind of silly to have this accessible to millions of strangers but not to family.

So after thinking about it for a few days, I girded up my loins and spread the word. If you are reading this, you
  • are curious (how much stranger can I get?)
  • have nothing better to do
  • really want to see what the heck I am doing now
In any case, thanks for being here. At least once.

BTW, for those that are confused, out of the closet refers to writing my blog. Not my sexual orientation. Just thought I'd clear that up!


Tidbits will be a collection of short thoughts that come into my mind, which I may or may not expand upon at a later date. I'll try to have one monthly Tidbit section and update as I think up more things.

What's in a Name?
My blog is called "This is Just a Test". Is it referring to my views on life? Does it refer to this blog being just a test? Am I testing my skills? I dunno. It just sounded good at the time.

Bribery works. It doesn't matter if you call it bribery or positive reinforcement, it works. Except bribery doesn't sound as good.

I hope you dance.
If you want your child to dance, you must show them how.

Take naps.
It helps prevent grouchiness.

Out of the Mouth of Babe

If you have a child, know a child, ever watched Candid Camera, you know children say the darndest things. So this will be a collection of some words my son has said. I'll update them as more come out of his mouth.

"What it is"
He means to ask, "What is it?" but doesn't quite make it. So he says "What it is" and I just picture him as someone from the 70s ready to strut, wearing a beret, just another Asian brother.

"When I grow up I want to be a stop sign"
This came after the desire to be a firefighter, a train engineer, an ice cream truck driver... I guess he was having so much fun pretending he kept going with the ideas. Hey, I should use this to my advantage. Okay, time for you to be a stop sign. Stay still and don't talk! You be the best stop sign you can be! Mommy will support you!

"I love you, mommy."
Okay, I admit it. 70% of the time it makes me melt. The other 30% I'm thinking, "what did you do now? have you been naughty?" And I'm usually right!

What's Weird?

We all have either seen it or heard about it. Asian tourists (usually Japanese) taking pictures of our everyday items like it was a major attraction... in front of McDonald's and lots of other seemingly silly objects to us.

This past weekend, we ate lunch at a foodcourt which served Japanese food. My husband pointed out something that was a first for me. Living in the United States, it was something I had never seen before. An American was eating Japanese food. (Okay, not that!) It was the sight of the American taking a picture of their food. It was not octopus legs (which is delicious by the way). It wasn't raw fish. It was just regular Japanese food! You know, tempura, rice, some veggies.

I just found it to be an odd sight. Is it just me? Have you ever seen someone taking pictures of their food in a Japanese restaurant or other establishment in the USA? Even when I ordered Rocky Mountain Oysters for the first time (and being Japanese), I was not tempted to take a photograph.

Which made me wonder, which was weirder?

These Japanese tourists or these Americans?

Or maybe me for even thinking about this further and choosing to blog about it?!

Monday, September 25, 2006

Today's Work of Art

Yes, I am a proud mama.

Damn you Data Miners!

WTH?! Until yesterday, I did not even know there was such a thing as data miners. In fact, when my husband first explained it to me, I thought he said data MinDers. Which would make equal sense, because data miners dig for dirt on you, so in a sense they are minding your data.

I know! More big brother.

It's not enough that we have to use a card for every gorcery/pharmacy store we shop in. It's not enough we get our photo taken on the street or voices are now streaming over these video cameras in parts of the world to tell us to get off our bicycles or pick up trash.

We are being monitored while we are on the net.

Maybe I am just very naive or computer illiterate, but it never occured to me. Apparently, all it takes is for you to click onto a website. Then... BINGO! BANGO! If they have a data miner set up, they can track what you do, where you go on the web.

Now I am sure most of these data miners are innocuous, just collecting generic info to help companies with marketing and the like. BUT, these things work like viruses, getting into your computer. And it does seem like a sneaky, shady thing to do, all without our knowledge. Insiduous. (I'm liking the big "I" words rolling off my tongue. Insiduous. Innocuous. Try it!)

So, I'm doing my best to limit these miners. I'm cutting down the time I spend at certain sites. I'm making sure I search for data miners after I visit a site and eliminating it (for those as novice as I am, you need a program to do this). I'm keeping myself alert.

The idea of people getting information about me is disconcerting. (Thank God I no longer visit those XXX sites! Boy, would my face be red!) And these miners do have the potential to gain more personal information from you than you expect.

You have been warned.

I wish I could go back to just enjoying the net as innocently as before.

Damn you Data Miners!

It's a Small World (Take 2)

Okay, have I caught your interest? Are you a believer? Am I right? Is this just a really small freakin' world or is someone just messing with me? Ready to read more? Here's a story about a girl and a guy.

It must be True Love

I lived in Saudi Arabia for a while, between the ages of 10-14. My first year there I fell in love (as only a 10 year old can do!) with a handsome young boy of the same age. He had skipped a grade so was not in my class. (I'm such a geek to love those nerds! But he really was a cutie! Picture dark hair and a British accent! )

The good thing was that our parents had become friends. The Saudi government at that time required foreign families to be out of the country 2 times a year or something like that. In any event, our families took a vacation together. Picture two 10 year olds (complete with 1 younger sister and 1 younger brother and 2 sets of parents) gallivanting the streets of Paris and Rome and Scotland together. I was in heaven.

Unfortunately, the love was all one sided (my side, in case you've forgotten). And time passed, but I never forgot my first feelings of love.

Let's fast forward.

I'm sixteen now. I've just completed the state science fair (I know! I know! Geek!) for my project (I won’t bore you with the title). My entry was #27, my lucky number, so winning the honorable mention just proved how lucky #27 was for me. I was feeling quite special, and since I'd been up the night before at the science fair festivities, I got permission to stay home from school the next day. My goodness gracious! I would never do such a thing as to play hooky without permission!

So there I am at home on a day I should have been at school, and who should call me on the telephone? Out of the blue? Years later? Geniuses! I tell you, you are all geniuses! Yes, it was my first love. We ended up chatting for 2 hours long distance (at 16, what did we know about phone costs… and this was before “unlimited calls” and cell phones). Talk about being on cloud nine!

I’ve always thought it was strange that he should call on the one day I played hooky. Any other day, any other time, we would have missed one another. And yes, this did help (in my humble opinion) to set the ground work for our brief dating relationship later in my early 20s. Unfortunately, it is very difficult dating someone living continents away. So no, true love it wasn’t. But still a great example of fate vs. coincidence.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Just My Luck

It's no surprise that my 3 year old son would be into Disney's "Cars". He loves things with, trucks, trains, and more. As incentive for potty training we've been giving the small die-casts as rewards. Let me tell you it has been very difficult locating this little guys (specifically Lightning McQueen and Snot Rod/Boost). I didn't want the ones that you pull back and watch them do tricks. If I'm spending the money, I just want the plain old toy cars that won't break down.

For the last 2 weeks I've been searching high and low. I've searched Toys R Us. I've searched Kmart, Target, and Walmart. The only place I could find it was at a collector's store, priced at an arm and a leg and my first born child (okay, not my second if I ever have one more). I even looked on eBay to comparison shop.

I discuss things with my husband and finally decided to buy the toys at the inflated prices, since I just can't find them elsewhere. My son has been doing an excellent job, and we need to keep up our end of the bargain. So, today I go to the collector's store to buy them. I buy them knowing that they are way over priced and that they have a no return policy for these types of toys. I know, huge risk. But, my son's worth it we figure.

I go to Target next just to look around. And yes! Wouldn't you damn well know it?! What do I see at Target with a "just reduced" price sticker on it? Did I see it the million other times I went to Target? NO! Both freakin' vehicles there! The very ones I've been looking for and just bought at 3 times the price. And no returns.

Yes, there is a God and she is laughing at me!

It's a Small World (Take 1)

Weird things happen to me. Call it coincidence, call it fate. It doesn't really matter. It just serves to show me how small the world really is. Or at least how small my world is. Which is really odd since it's not unusual for me to feel rather alone. So either it really is a small world or someone just likes to keep freaking me out.

The Mommies and Me

One of my priorities as a stay at home mom is my son. (Duh!) So I try to keep him socialized by signing us up for mommy and me type classes. A few months ago we finished our first class together (an art class for those of you curious folks).

Since the class has ended, we've run into one of the moms and her daughter quite frequently. We see them at McDonald's, at Toys R Us. Mind you we've never run into any one else from that same class. I'm already thinking how odd we keep seeing them.

Then last Saturday we are attending an open house/kiddie carnival at my husband's working place. And who should I see there?! Ding! Ding! Ding! Give that reader a prize! Yes, the same mother and her daughter. It turns out her husband also works for the same company as mine. Please keep in mind this all occurs in different cities.

So today my son and I began our new cooking class together. We walk through the door and ... lo! and behold! ... it is them!

But wait! It is not over yet! Ye, of little faith! Yes, there's more!

Her mother is there in the class, too. While I am introduced to grandma, I notice her name tag (specifically her last name). So I have to comment since it is the same as my maiden name. And I add that mine is spelled with a "y". Grandma replies that her last name was supposed to have a "y" but got screwed up in the whole Japanese to English translation. Now it's getting eerie.
A few more minutes pass as we are into our task of making pita pizza. Then my son pipes up and tries telling everyone his full name (which he hears often if he is misbehaving). I have to translate in adult language because most of what comes out of his 3 year old mouth is only something I can fully understand. And I swear you could see ears just perk up. (I told you! Weren't you reading?! Weird things happen to me.) It turns out that they have a grandpa with my son's middle name.

WAIT! There's more!

Who do you think I named my son after? God! You are good! He got his name from my grandpa! So there are two grandpas with the same name, both of which are from Oahu with families in California who just happen to attend the same classes.

Is it just me or is this weird?

Ah, the observant ones have noticed that this is just Take 1.

If you doubt me about this small world, please keep reading. I promise at least 3 more installments of similar strange "small world" events.

What my 3 year old knows about writing

A 3 year old's mind is an amazing thing. Inquisitive! Free! Honest! They soak up new information like a sponge with the attention span of a gnat.

Yesterday it dawned on me. After answering many of my toddler's typical questions for the upteenth time, I had a revelation.

My toddler is teaching me to be a better writer.

He asks questions. Lots of questions. Unrelenting questions continuously bombarding me.

What's he doing?
What's his name?
Where's he going?
What's he got?

And he asks questions even when he thinks he knows the answers.

Extremely important for a writer.

I need to keep asking questions. Play the "What If" game more often. About people. About my characters. Who are they? What are their names? Where are they going? What are they doing? And keep asking those questions over and over so I know I am still on track.

I am firmly convinced. Watch the children. They are showing us the way.

One Day

"If you had one day to spend with someone who's gone... Who would it be? What would you do?"

This was the title of last Sunday's Parade Magazine written by Mitch Albom. It got me to thinking.



I'm thinking why the heck didn't I think of that! Damn you, Mitch Albom! Foiled again! (BTW, I'm really looking forward to his new novel, For One More Day.)

So back to the question, "If you had one day to spend with someone who's gone... Who would it be? What would you do?"

I have no one I need to see on the other side. No one I loved, really loved, has past. There is no one I care to see whom I may have unresolved issues with. So maybe I need to do some more thinking on this.

But, what would your answer be? Do you have someone you'd like to have just one more day with?

Think about it.

Blogger World Here I come!

Hello there! Here I am, a virtual newbie. I recently began blogging on Monday at another site. I have blogged exactly 4 times. Then it hit me. I really love blogging. And I wanted to blog more openly. So here I am.

I'm still trying to figure most of this out as I go. I'm surfing the net. I'm reading other people's blogs. There are so many different blogs out there. Informative. Creative. Angry. And many are just too darn funny. I find I am enjoying myself as I read about your thoughts, your trials and tribulations.

So what am I doing here? Don't expect great literature here. My main objective is to simply write. Write whatever is on my mind. I'm sure the topics will be varied. I'm sure the genres will vary. I'm a writer that hasn't written, so here I am. I'm hoping to find my voice.

A writer must write. I've mostly written under the covers in my never to see the light of day journals. Personal renderings which more often than not find their way into the trash, carefully ripped so no one will ever know my innermost thoughts and feelings. Which, unfortunately, will never get me to my ultimate goal of getting published. I hope doing this blog will help stimulate my creativity. I hope it will get me over my fears of my writing inadequacies. A tall order, I'm sure. Blogging make me braver!

I will try to write as often as I can. I know from my past I can be quite a determined person. I have to make this one of my priorities. I need to think of this as taking care of me, taking care of another important but much neglected part of me. This is one more thing I need to do to stay healthy. I need to eat right, exercise and write.

Please comment. I think it will help me stay motivated and keep my creativity flowing. I do promise to try to get better at this!

Happy Reading!