Monday, December 31, 2012

Hello! I have been absent for a while, but that is because life has gotten busy, and sometimes running around all day for mundane tasks make very little writing material on paper.

It felt like I spent the entire month of December in the air, literally. Flying from LA to China, another city in China, back to LA. After getting off the grueling flight we got the sad news that one of our relatives had passed away, so we rushed to attend the funeral in another State right before Christmas. Getting flights and arranging pet boarding services during Christmas week was tough, but we made it and was able to say our final goodbye and spend some time to be with family. That was pretty much all the family gathering we had this holiday season, though under very sad circumstance.

Looking back, this year has been good and bad. We got Uggie as our third pet, and having three dogs changed our life style in many ways. My husband and I traveled quite a bit considering how much he also worked. After much consideration I decided to take a different career path and it was a big challenge. We had a few scary moments like the bat incident and the fire place disaster, but they were insignificant in retrospect. There has been times of good health and poor health, happy moments and sad moments, at the end of year, I am feeling just a little bit older but perhaps more grown up. Instead of making my usual list of resolution, I think this year I will just have a positive attitude, and let life happen on its own without too much planning.

Monday, December 17, 2012

I was at a hotel in Beijing en route coming back to the States when I saw the news of Newtown school shooting. Because of the internet restrictions in China I only had access to a couple of news articles, but it was a shock none the less. This will be a very sad Christmas!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

I'm learning how to do make-up. Yes I'm a super late bloomer, I was never interested in putting on make up or skin care, and up til lately my beauty routine was pretty much the same as my husband's, which involves washing my face with regular soap, but that was it! Lately, I discovered that a little eye liner and lipstick can go a long way. This new interest inspired me to check out some tutorials on youtube(thank God for youtube!), and it answered so many questions where I used to be completely puzzled before. It also sort of opened a big can of worm, all of a sudden I was completely razzle-dazzled by things I never knew existed but now I can't live without!

Yesterday I purchased a full set of make up brushes from Sephora and some eye shadows. This morning I opened the box brimming with excitement thinking that I was going to paint my very first grand master piece, but my excitement was immediately followed by confusion. Which one of these brush is for the eye? The lip? The cheek? Luckily I still kept the box, and it had some instructions on it to save the day!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

My camellia Japonica just bloomed! The flower is so delicate and beautiful, it made my day!
Kelly and I were just a couple of girls out on the town having some breakfast!
Now the real question is, "when is my chicken ready, mommy?"
Uggie kind of blends in...

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

A lot of the houses in my neighborhood had already began hanging their Christmas lights, however this year Christmas seem like the least thing on my mind when there are so many other things to think about. I had planned to take a family photo with all three doggies in front of the fireplace and Christmas trees, and with everyone wearing a Christmas hat. Unfortunately, with my fireplace in ruins and my house could possibly be partially demolished, we won't be making a fire anytime soon or buying a tree this year. I got a little outfit for Kelly anyway, as usual she dressed up really well, but when I tried to put the Christmas hat on Fie Fie, he went nuts. He kept moving his head left and right trying to figure out what is this red thing with a white ball on the end, so he wouldn't hold still AT ALL. I knew what he was thinking,"mommy, you drive me bonkers, you finally got me a toy, but you putted it in the wrong place!"

Monday, November 26, 2012


This is really one of the cutest video I've ever seen.  When I first got Kelly she used to sleep with me on the bed, and in the middle of her sleeping she sometimes jumped up to look around and see where she was. I suppose sometimes she forgot her surroundings and thought she was still wondering the streets!
Couple of pictures I took recently...

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Call it fate, coincidence, or what you like. Remember what happened last Thanks Giving? Remember? Remember?

Wednesday morning when I woke up, my husband showed me to a section in his side of the bedroom closet, and asked that I touch the wall. Afraid that he was pulling a prank, I refused, but eventually I put my hand on the wall, and discovered to my surprise that it was toasty warm. Turned out that he had discovered this while taking out his clothes for dry cleaning and noticed that the clothes was warm. On the other side of our bedroom closet wall is the fire place in the living room, and the last time we made a fire? Monday evening.

My husband had promised to give a call to the chimney sweeper sometime during the day, but he completely forgot about it until the day was almost over. While the chimney sweeper couldn't help him, he said we should call the fire department immediately. All this while I was puckering away on my fairy gardens, wondering how I should decorate a Christmas themed fairy garden. When my husband called me, I put down my gloves to answer the phone. He told me about the whole ordeal and that the fire department will stop by shortly to check out what was going on with the wall. We talked about what to have for dinner that night, thinking it would be a short 30 min check, we decided that Indian food would be the choice dinner.  While we were still on the phone, I could hear sirens fast approaching our neighborhood, and in the back of my mind I thought, no way, no way this was coming to my house.

The 5 seconds I had to put my dogs away in the bedroom, already an enormous fire truck had parked in front of my house with three firemen knocking heavily on the door, startling myself and probably all the neighbors. I answered the door and first thing went out of my mouth was," oh no no, I think you are mistaken, this is NOT an emergency."

Apparently, having fire smoldering in the wall is a serious problem.  Within a minute my house had turned from a zen haven to a completely chaotic war zone. First went my wall, an axe was brought in and knocked off a huge patch of plaster above the fire mantle exposing the brick walls. Firemen checked every possible place to see if they could have better access to the fire or any other place they could've missed, the chimney top, the attic, the basement, the side yard... our house was covered with firemen from roof to side yard, to living room, to basement.  Of course, being completely shocked by the turn of events, I protested mindlessly when the axe went down on the wall and said, "wait, you can't just break the wall, this is a historical house!!" And one of the officer told me,"but if you don't, then this is going to be a historically BURNT house!"

Looking back I have to say I was very impressed and appreciative of the service of the Orange County fire department. All these firemen in heavy suits and gears removed my delicate china carefully and quickly from the mantle without breaking anything. They were constantly sweeping the floors where the wall plaster and dust accumulated, and kept me up dated immediately whenever there was news on the progress. In order to minimize the damage, they called in a arson investigator to help figuring out the best way to go about it, the urban search and rescue team was brought in because they needed the special equipment, and treated our house as if it was their own house.
 (There were maybe 15 firemen in my living room)

(I had to put my doggies in the bathroom for a make shift dog house)
Finally the decision was made after talking to a chimney expert that we just had to break through the bricks above the fireplace. My entire fire mantle was removed as well as several pieces of old tiles. I had to gobble down some wine when they did this. Lucky for us, one of the firemen used to be a brick layer, so he was able to remove the bricks piece by piece without breaking them in case I wanted to salvage my 100 year old bricks.

( After the bricks were finally removed, the temperature inside was about 900˚ F. )

So here it is, the aftermath. I sat on top of my piano stared at the fire mantle and cried a little. Needless to say, we did not have Indian food that night. The next morning was a beautiful day, the world went on as if nothing had happened. My husband and I tried to clean up the bricks and tiles left outside. Piecing two of them together, Jeff read out a name on one of the bricks. It says," SIMONS." That same afternoon we went out for our Thanks Giving meal at a restaurant in Laguna Beach that Jeff had reserved a day ago, when we walked to the front gate, there it was, a spread of several vintage tiles cemented into the ground as a entrance decoration, and one of them read, "SIMONS." It was as if everything was just meant to be, and we've no better place to be than to be exactly where we are now.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

At first I mistook this little bonsai for Hokkaido elm, but it wasn't. It was a type of Chinese elm with small leaves. I had to hold it next to my Hokkaido bonsai to see the difference, though these leaves are small, the Hokkaido leaves are even smaller!  I'm always on the look out for interesting miniature trees for fairy garden idea, this is going into my "tree stash" for now!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Martha Stuart makes dog clothes now, I dream of the day when I have a closet just for Kelly!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Every once in a while there comes a really good stop motion movie. I enjoyed watching Frankenweenie this weekend. My parents used to say that I would eventually grow out of kids movies, NEVER!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Jeff:" this is our GOOD couch, dogs are not allowed on the couch, dogs are not allowed on the couch, dogs are not allowed on the couch..."

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Fie Fie almost never misbehaves when my husband is at home. He loves jumping on the bed, which is not allowed, (and I love cuddling with him in bed, which is also not allowed!) but he will do it when my husband is in the shower, or after he has left for work.  So here is me snatching a picture of my little partner in crime!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

A picture of my fairy garden at night... I bought 50 bucks worth of candy and it didn't even last me til 8pm.  Lots and lots of kids came for candies and many of them complimented on my fairy garden! I oven baked some organic chicken legs for my doggies and ate fast food with my husband, and man my dogs live for chicken! It was a really good night overall!

Happy Halloween everyone! I didn't decorate my house for Halloween this year, so I thought a Halloween fairy garden at my front porch for kids to see when they come for candies would be a good idea!

There are lights flickering inside the Crows Best Inn, it will be more visible when it gets dark outside...

A real slug crawling on the pumpkin:)

Keep out! ( And do you see the black cat?)

Skull and pumpkin on the house!

Tombstone, zombie's hand, and skulls... Happy Halloween:)

Friday, October 26, 2012

I recently discovered this little book at my local second hand bookstore. Amazon sells the new prints, but I always prefer the older books if I can find them! I quite enjoy watching old Hollywood movies custom designed by Edith Head, and this little book is full of good humor and useful tips! If you haven't read it, I highly recommend:)

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

A few Serissa trees I kept in small containers have now grown nice roots and big enough to be used as miniature trees in my fairy garden.  I've been busy trying to put them in new homes for the last couple of days, can't wait til they grow into a decent size!

Friday, October 12, 2012

I finally got around to post some of our Santorini pictures after we've been back for three weeks!

 We arrived at the Santorini airport very early in the morning after having to stop at Athens airport. When the hotel personnel picked us up, I could just vaguely see the ocean wave gently patting the shore from far away. It was still dark outside and on our way to the hotel we could only see bakeries with workers inside, the town was still asleep. The driver dropped us off at a rather sleepy little town, I saw short houses and narrow, crooked streets, and having never been to Santorini before, I didn't quite know what to expect. Once we started decent from the hotel entrance door down the little pathway, this view started to reveal itself, and I thought it was quite breath taking.


During our stay at Santorini, we had the best food out of all three cities that we visited. Walked many narrow and steep mountain roads, got quite a lot of good work out from it, and enjoyed the view. The sky was never clearer, the ocean was never bluer, you can say that it was a world outside the real world!

In the morning we slept in, breakfast with pastry, coffee and orange juice was delivered around 9 am. At first we ate whatever was brought to us, but then we realized that we could order Greek yogurt with fruit, so we had that and it was delicious! Having our breakfast and coffee on our patio looking out the ocean was quite a pick upper first thing in the morning!


We saw lots of pets just hanging out on their own in Santorini. It seems that they were all pretty used to seeing the tourists, and they never even budged when I took their pictures. The little brown dog on the last picture belonged to a girl who worked at the restaurant we dined at. On our first day I gave him a piece of fresh catch of the day fish, but he refused! After I asked the waiter why, he said the little dog didn't like fish, he ate mostly meat, and only fish when he was very hungry! Being the dog lover that I am, I ordered meat at the second meal, and he got some!


When we started our European trip, I was very grumpy whenever we had to walk, but by the time we got to Santorini, I had gotten used to it, and loved walking everywhere! I'd insist on walking to places even when my husband thought it was a good idea to take a bus! It was quite an experience to walk under the warm Mediterranean sun, with ancient stone path under our feet.  The next town was about 30 minutes away, we did some sight seeing on foot while popping in and out of little shops along the way. Mostly, we were just so impressed with the beauty of this little island, and tried to enjoy every minute of it as much as we could!   


Almost every evening, I'd jump into the hot tub on our private patio with some local wine in hand and watch the sun set.  One thing is for certain, you cannot beat the sunset in Santorini, it was the most beatufiul sunset I've ever seen!

Usually, after the sunset my husband and I got dressed and walked out in search of a great restaurant. It didn't take long to find one tucked away in some little corner. If we heard wine glasses clinking and people's laughters, we knew good food was near by! There were many such little restaurants with great ambience, food, and the breathtaking ocean view on the side.


The dish on the last picture was called fava. It was grown on the island, and prepared with some kind of fusion twist. We enjoyed every bite of it because it was so delicious and the taste was something I've never quite experienced before!


It usually was already pitch dark when we finished our dinner. On our way back to the hotel we must be very careful walking on those bumpy roads, but on a lucky day the moon would be out, reflecting beautiful silvery lights on the ocean, and needless to say it was very romantic!  

The days quickly passed, and soon it was time to say good bye! I left the island loving it whole heartedly, and hope that we will come back there again soon someday. This European trip was really my first trip traveling for an extended period of time, and it had opened my eyes and filled me in ways I never imagined before.  If one thing I learned, would be that I love traveling and seeing the world, and I want to make an effort to do more of it from now on!


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