Sunday, December 19, 2010

Korean food!

Last night was my Korean dinner party, which turned out really well. We had tons of food and drink and desserts! I ended up preparing rice, kimchi, bulgogi (Korean "fire" meat), japchae, and three different kinds of veggie patties (Korean style sweet potato, zucchini, and eggplant.

I went a little crazy with the portions. In Korean there is a term that loosely translates to "your hands are big". It is usually used when referring to how much someone has cooked for a meal or a party, meaning that the person is very generous. It's something that I heard a lot about my mom growing up. I must have gotten "my big hands" from her.

Though some of my "big hands" is from just sheer ignorance. So when I went to the Korean grocery store on Friday, I ended up coming home with 15 pounds of meat. Knowing that about 18 folks would come, and figuring a couple wouldn't eat meat, I figured 1 pound of meat per person was a reasonable estimation. Ummm... I find out from a phone conversation with my mom that night that 1 pound of bulgogi meat is for 3-4 people! I had bought enough meat for 50-60 people!

I actually ended up sending a lot of people home last night with meat, as well as kimchi and japchae. Folks were really grateful that I sent people home with food. It was cute. A girl actually told me that my japchae was the best she ever had! And she was Korean too! Sorry, but hearing "this is the best japchae ever" from a white girl just doesn't mean as much as hearing it from a Korean girl. :p

Here's a pic of the spread:

And here's the biggest wok full of japchae you've ever seen!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Regrets of the dying

I came across this article, written by someone who used to work in palliative care. She listed the five most common regrets of the dying.

"1. I wish I'd had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.

This was the most common regret of all. When people realize that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people had not honored even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made.

2. I wish I didn't work so hard.

This came from every male patient that I nursed. They missed their children's youth and their partner's companionship. Women also spoke of this regret. But as most were from an older generation, many of the female patients had not been breadwinners. All of the men I nursed deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence.

By simplifying your lifestyle and making conscious choices along the way, it is possible to not need the income that you think you do. And by creating more space in your life, you become happier and more open to new opportunities, ones more suited to your new lifestyle.

3. I wish I'd had the courage to express my feelings.

Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others. As a result, they settled for a mediocre existence and never became who they were truly capable of becoming. Many developed illnesses relating to the bitterness and resentment they carried as a result.

We cannot control the reactions of others. However, although people may initially react when you change the way you are by speaking honestly, in the end it raises the relationship to a whole new and healthier level. Either that or it releases the unhealthy relationship from your life. Either way, you win.

4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.

Often they would not truly realize the full benefits of old friends until their dying weeks and it was not always possible to track them down. Many had become so caught up in their own lives that they had let golden friendships slip by over the years. There were many deep regrets about not giving friendships the time and effort that they deserved. Everyone misses their friends when they are dying.

It is common for anyone in a busy lifestyle to let friendships slip. But when you are faced with your approaching death, the physical details of life fall away. People do want to get their financial affairs in order if possible. But it is not money or status that holds the true importance for them. They want to get things in order more for the benefit of those they love. Usually though, they are too ill and weary to ever manage this task. It is all comes down to love and relationships in the end. That is all that remains in the final weeks, love and relationships.

5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.

This is a surprisingly common one. Many did not realize until the end that happiness is a choice. They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called 'comfort' of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives. Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to their selves, that they were content. When deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again."

I'm struck by the concept again of happiness as a conscious choice. She ends her article with "Life is a choice. It is YOUR life. Choose consciously, choose wisely, choose honestly. Choose happiness."

Choose happiness. I like it.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

All or nothing

I had a great time in New Mexico for an extended mini vacation. In the very very small chance that some New Mexico residents may just happen to be reading this, I loved the state! Best state evah! ;) Mmm red and green chiles! We were also able to spend a day in Santa Fe, which was very cool as well. I went a little crazy and bought a bunch of stuff.... jewelry, native american type souvenirs, ooh a sand globe to go with my snow globe collection!

I really found myself intrigued with the native american history in the state. It really saddens me how much the native americans got screwed by so many countries in both North and South America. I gained quite a bit of knowledge looking up a ton of stuff about the local tribes and pueblos, even though a certain someone said I was gaining too much knowledge! I think next time I am in New Mexico, perhaps to go skiing in Taos, I definitely want to check out a pueblo, perhaps the Taos pueblo.

Anyways, I've mentioned before that my last two months have been very very quiet with work. But then of course the shit hits the fan all at once, as I am now on two projects. I was in Kansas City yesterday for the first one, which will probably require travel to Charlotte and Boston over the next two weeks. Also my second project starts this Friday, which will require about 100 hours of work before Christmas. Sigh!

Things are busy otherwise as a good friend's holiday party is this Saturday. I also agreed to host a Korean potluck dinner for 15-20 people at my condo next Saturday. I am kind of stressing out over all I have to do for that dinner and what I want to serve. I need to get to Ikea to get some serving platters and decorative stuff as well. Damn it, why am I going to be busy for work now?!?! Cry.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Lottery of Life

I flew into Albuquerque yesterday and will be here until Monday. However, I found out yesterday that I have to be in Kansas City for an all day meeting next Tuesday. I was going to try to change my flight to get back to Chicago earlier, but it turned out to be too freakin' expensive. So I'm just going to fly back on my original flight, get into O'hare at 5 pm and stay to turn around on a flight back out at 8 pm.

Anyways, I've talked before about trying to remember how incredibly lucky I am to have all that I have and to have been born into the world that I was. A very powerful ad/campaign called The Lottery of Life from Save the Children. The ads juxtapose images to show what your life may be like if you were born in a different time or place.

Gratitude... must remember...

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


I flew back from Chapel Hill yesterday. And waking up in Chicago this morning... I woke up to snow flurries! First I've seen this winter. I'm here just for today and am flying back out tomorrow morning to New Mexico for 4 days to see a friend. It's the first time I've ever been in the Southwest part of this country, so I'm looking forward to it.

Anyways, so I heard back from the Atlanta firm on Monday that while it was a very hard decision, (part of why it took so long) that I didn't get the job. While I was definitely kinda disappointed, I wasn't as disappointed as I thought I'd be. Maybe because the thought of moving to Atlanta was pretty overwhelming and something I wasn't 100% sure I wanted to do. So the job search continues. We'll see what happens and where I end up. A big part of me thinks that the reason I didn't get the job in Atlanta is because I'm supposed to stay in Chicago for some reason. There's that big fate part of me again!

Now given I just flew back and am getting back on a plane tomorrow, just a couple thoughts around flying that I need to get out. I'm not flying every week for work right now, but that is my typical schedule and I flew over 50,000 miles in both 2007 and 2008. I've been on a lot of flights. You should see how fast I can get through security, often with two laptops. For all the talk about TSA security lately, I haven't been frisked recently or sent through the x-ray thing yet. Anyways, what irritates me about flying.

First of all, I can't stand people who are assholes about the overhead compartment. I mean the people who come on and just put a coat up there or some small bag? Come on! There are tons of people trying to get roll aboard bags up there! I myself am not shy about moving things around, though typically I am amongst the first people to board so its not an issue for me. But it still irritates me to sit there and see all these people come on and be assholes about it.

Then there are the assholes who don't seem to understand that there is a method or order to how to get off a plane. People who try to rush ahead without letting people in the row ahead of them get off, really really irritate me. Hmmm maybe I just can't stand assholes.

Finally, this whole "turn off all electronic devices during take off and landing". Do you really think that every single person on a flight is completely turning off their cell phone? Hell, no! And really, "they" are going to put the "safety" of the plane/flight on the guarantee that every person is turning off their phone? No way. If a phone being turned on is really going to somehow mess with the flight controls, there is no f'in way they would let us all on the plane with them. They'd confiscate them at the airplane door. So I'm not sure why they make us turn them off, but I call bullshit. BULLSHIT!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Scary mean asian girl

Hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving! I flew back to Chapel Hill on Tuesday night and am here for an entire week. Seriously, "not really working but still kinda working but still making the same money but being able to live in yoga pants" rocks. Really hard.

So let me talk about something I've mentioned on a previous post. I call it my scary mean asian girl factor. Now once I get to know people I'm fine and normal (I think), but I'm not someone who is overly friendly or warm or welcoming to those I don't know. Some people just go out into the world with this friendly, open vibe. I don't. I've been this way for as long as I can remember.

Back in college one of my best friends started out as a suitemate in our dorm. Before we got to know each other and she got to know my high awesomeness factor, folks kinda referred to me as the scary mean asian girl. I don't know... unlike some of my friends, my friendliness factor is quite low, especially with strangers.

This also makes it damn near impossible for guys to approach me on the street. I've had random guys tell me that I should smile more, a comment which I usually end up returning with a sideways look sorta like this: <.< Or when it does happen, I'm so caught off guard that I respond with this half shocked half defensive look on my face that isn't very warm or welcoming.

I'm torn between just accepting that this is how I am as opposed to trying to change or improve it. I mean I'd like to be a little more open and friendly. But then I wouldn't be able to relate so well to the cute little angry asian girl in the Angry Little Girls comics by Lela Lee.

Too cute, too cute.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Judgy McJudgy Pants

I haven't completely jumped back into the online dating pool yet since I'm not sure where I'll be living in a couple months. But I have done some general searching around on just to see what was out there.

Online dating is a weird thing. Well, I guess dating is a weird thing to begin with, but then you add the whole online component and it gets even weirder. The whole aspect of looking at profiles and yes, pictures (come on, lets just be real here) to "decide" whether you are interested in someone...

Anyways, it was interesting to look through a bunch of profiles. And yes, I was totally Judgy McJudgypants. But not in the way you may think. I think I'm less into physical appearances than I was perhaps 5 years ago. In all honesty, I'm probably going to be less trusting of a good looking guy anymore.

So on Match you can see someone's profile where they talk about certain key characteristics about themselves, but then they also designate what they are looking for. Ok so on to good part, the judging!

First, there are the guys who are my age, meaning early to mid 30s. But if you are a 35 year old man and you say that the age range of women that you are willing to date is 18 to 34, hell yeah I'm going to judge you. Eighteen? EIGHTEEN?!?!? Are you f'in kidding me? Next.

Next, Match has the option to say what your salary is, as well as the salary ranges of your dates you are looking for. First of all, yes I'm going to judge you a bit if you list what your salary is. I don't know, it just seems tacky and like you're using that as some measure of your date-ability.

But worse for me were the guys who said that they make $100-$125k, but when it came to the women they were looking for, they specifically listed the salary ranges that were less than theirs. So for example, they were looking for women who make $50-$75k, or $75-$100k.

Let me get this straight. Not only do you not want to date women who make more money than you, but you don't want to date women who are in the SAME salary bracket as yours? YOU have to be the one making more? Give me a f'in break. WTF!!!

I wonder if I need to try to be less judgy and more trusting to make this work...

Friday, November 19, 2010

US maps according to Movies and TV

Just a quick post this morning with two amusing maps from Geekologie, the US map according to movies as well as TV. Click on pics or follow links to make them readable.

Yay maps!

Thursday, November 18, 2010


A beautiful and thought provoking postcard from one of my absolutely favorite sites, PostSecret. What does it really mean to be happy? I've had some recent conversations with friends around this topic recently. It seems like an inexpicably simple question with an inexpicably difficult and complicated answer.

My original thought around this question was that even being able to consider our own happiness is a luxury of the rich. Many people throughout history, as well as many living today, struggle so hard every single day just to survive. I don't think they have the time to even consider whether they are happy.

I think you hear so much in our society about people striving, or wanting to be happy. Like the postsecret card says above, maybe it's not something you strive towards. Maybe its something you just actively decide that you are... accepting who you are, where you are in life? Maybe a more Buddhist or Taoist view of happiness?

In job update news, the Chicago firm thinks that I may be a better fit for another group within their provider space. I'm not completely disappointed to not get an offer from the group that I interviewed with because I found the managing director kind of intimidating and potentially stressful to work for.

I'm surprised though that they even recommended me for this other practice, because I didn't think the interview went that great. This other practice is a much more analytical area though, doing pricing and reimbursement strategy type work. I'm not quite sure if I want to do a ton of analytics and financial models anymore but I guess I'll follow through with the phone interviews because you never know.

The firm with the Atlanta office is looking at all the people they interviewed over the last two weeks and are looking at who they want to add to their healthcare group on a national level. They say that they hope to make final decisions early next week. It'd be great to know before Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 15, 2010

A question of fate

I'm still waiting to hear about my interviews. The one in Chicago didn't go so great, but I think the one in Atlanta went pretty well. We'll wait to see what happens, but whatever happens I do believe that it is what was meant to happen.

When I once asked a friend about fate, he responded that he doesn't believe in fate. He believes in luck and effort. No fate. But I'm a pretty big believer in fate. But I wonder if this strong belief in fate prevents me from taking more action, instead blindly just believing that things will turn out how they're supposed to.

While I do believe in fate, I do also believe that the actions and choices you make today can alter your future fate. I think sometimes I need to remember this, and not just blindly believe that things will turn out how they're supposed to. Kinda like making decisions and performing actions that will help realize the future that I want? There's some balance there that I haven't quite figured out.

But when I look back to the larger events and decision points in my life, when things didn't turn out the way I might have wanted at the time, I can see now why my life took that turn. And often that turn was for the better. It just took me a while to see why. So whatever happens with these two job interviews, I do kind of believe that it will take me to where I'm supposed to be.

Speaking of fate, on a much grander level, I caught an incredible two hour show on the History Channel this weekend on the story of the 16 (of 45) Uruguayan survivors of the crash in the Andes. I had heard about this story before, but this was a much more personal view into the amazing story.

It was incredible to see actual photos taken by the survivors during their 72 day ordeal. Their website shows a lot of the incredible photos.

Seeing their story definitely makes you wonder what you would or could have done. Those who have previously heard of this story probably remember the part where the survivors ended up having to eat their fellow passengers who had already died. After 10 days of starvation, I'm guessing that most of us would have made the same incredibly difficult choice to survive.

The show also highlighted some of the men who clearly stepped up into leadership positions. I think leadership of this sort is intrinsic. It's not learned. You either have it or you don't. But I also think its ok if you don't have it. Everyone is who they are, and each would have their roles in a situation like this. The interesting thing about the leader in this story, Fernando Parrado, is that I think he became the leader because his will to live was the greatest.

Now if only we could clearly understand exactly who we are... who we are at our deepest core, without facing some incredible life or death type tragedy.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


I spent an extended weekend in San Diego with two girlfriends, which was pretty awesome. It was fun to reminisce about how we were over 10 years ago as undergrads, as well as wonder where we'll be in 10 years when we are in our 40s. We did plenty of talking about our lives today as well.

We talked a little bit about how to live in the present. I guess it's common, but I find it especially difficult. I think I spend a lot of time rehashing the past or rehearsing the future. How do you live in the present? Is it by appreciating the little things? Being grateful for what you have? I'm not sure.

Anyways, I have a crazy week coming up as I am interviewing with a firm Thursday morning, then hopping on a flight Thursday afternoon for Atlanta. I'll be interviewing with this Atlanta firm on Friday. I can't imagine moving to Atlanta. It'd be a huge change.

I think I decided to just do my best with both interviews and see what happens. The theme for our weekend was, 'Whatever happens, happens'. Even if that is to stay with my current firm.

The potential of moving to Atlanta does make me wonder whether I should even start my online dating escapes here in Chicago. I don't know. Strangely enough, I actually met my ex in NYC when I already knew I would be moving to Chicago. So hmmm... whatever happens, happens? Yay for overusing catch phrases!

No, but seriously, we'll see. A friend of mine in San Diego has her own recent experiences with online dating. Talking to her about it and discussing what I'd be looking for was kind of amusing. Mmmmm maybe after I get back from Atlanta this Friday we'll see how I feel.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

From the interwebbies

Two cute things I came across on the interwebbies this week.

First, a very interesting look at breakups based on facebook status updates. Hmmm, looks like we're in a phase where breakups start ramping up in November to rise to a peak two weeks before Christmas.

Secondly, you know how you hear about these crazy romantic ways that some couples meet? Check out this story from the NYTimes wedding section. Let me copy a part of the announcement:

"The couple met on a flight to Los Angeles in June 2008. Ms. Cho was unaware that, before boarding, Mr. Hires had noticed her as she was changing her shoes in a line adjacent to his at Dulles International Airport in Washington.

“She kept getting farther and farther away,” Mr. Hires said. “I was thinking of being both frustrated at the slow line, and that I missed a magic opportunity.”

He was soon glad to discover that they were both on the same flight, to Los Angeles, and noted her seat number as he walked past.

Ms. Cho, who was living in Los Angeles then, had found herself next to a very chatty fellow. An hour later, she couldn’t believe her eyes when a message popped up on the seat back monitor in front of her. “Seat 19C would like to initiate a chat,” she recalled its saying. “I was in seat 17F. I turned around, and he was looking at me and smiled.”

Mr. Hires, who had never engaged in a seat-to-seat chat before, recalled having a glass of wine — or two — to summon the courage to send the note. “My opener was, ‘How are your feet feeling?’ ” he said.

Messages zipped back and forth from screen to screen. During a lull in their conversation, a flight attendant, figuring that Ms. Cho had heard enough from the man next to her, asked if she wanted to change seats, and she found an empty one next to Mr. Hires. They spoke for the rest of the flight.

Before they landed, Mr. Hires, who was going to his brother’s college graduation that weekend, took Ms. Cho’s telephone number."

It looks like this seat to seat chat that was mentioned was a service that Virgin Atlantic offered at the time (I don't think they have it anymore). You could choose people and seats to chat with using the screen on the seat back in front of you.

But can I just say, what the heck?!?! Given all the flying I've done for work over the past three years, how come I've never met anyone on a flight?

Sigh. Just sigh.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Where I've been and where I'm going

Where I've been

I think about where I've been on multiple fronts. Career wise I am very lucky to be doing exactly what I want to be doing. I really can't imagine another job for myself now other than being a healthcare consultant. Even if getting to this point brought along with it a mountain load of student loans that I will be paying off forever, I feel incredibly lucky to have had the education that I've had, and the career opportunities that come along with it.

On the personal front, I've been in one serious relationship that lasted almost 5 years. It was quite a roller coaster type relationship with incredible highs and incredible lows. The relationship ended amidst a ton of made for TV movie type drama that I would never have believed could have happened to me. This relationship ended almost 3 years ago now, and I recognize that I've spent the last 3 years recovering and hiding at the same time.

Where I'm going

I am in the process of looking at switching consulting firms. One job would keep me here in Chicago, while the other would require me to eventually move to Atlanta. I had a second phone interview with the Atlanta firm this morning, which I think went really well. The prospect of moving to Atlanta frightens me a bit, as it would be a huge change and I would have to figure out what to do with this condo in Chicago that I bought a year ago. But perhaps a huge change is what I need in my life. It would also get me to within driving distance of my parents in Chapel Hill, which is something I've wanted for a while.

In terms of where I'm going on a personal front? Well, I've known for a while that I need to get myself back out there. Since I don't have much luck meeting guys in my everyday life (probably has to do with my angry mean asian girl face, a topic I shall blog about another time), a reasonable option for me would be to get back into the world of online dating. I've done online dating before, way back in 2002 when it was new and crazy and friends were concerned for my sanity and safety. It's actually how I met my ex, so I know it can work.

However, I'm having a hard time taking the jump back in that pool. Given that I've gone through this song and dance before, I kind of know what I can expect. It's going to be painful. It's going to suck. Part of the reason I've started this personal blog is to be able to blog through this pain of online dating. At least when I'm sitting there on a bad date and wanting to poke my eyes out with my silverware, I can think about how funny it will be to blog about. Blog through the pain! With humor!

I'm not sure where I'm going to be living in 3 months. I'm not sure who I'll be working for. I'm not sure where my future lies in terms of relationships and if or when I will ever get married. But you know what? In a way that not knowing part, while incredibly scary is also kind of exhilarating. It's like I have this blank slate, a whole future that I can write and create for myself.

So you know what? I'm not really sure where I'm going other than going forwards and see where the road takes me. That's all I can do, right?

Amazing picture is of Stelvio Pass, an amazing paved road in Italy's Eastern Alps.

Monday, November 1, 2010

New blog, first post!

So... as the title aptly describes, this is the first post of my new blog.

I've blogged before, having kept a blog for over three years. I also have a longer history with journaling for about ten years. So I think this blog will be a combination of the two where I can continue to share random thoughts and things I find funny like I did on my old blog, but also get into some more personal thoughts and every day happenings like when I kept a daily journal.

I find that the process of writing things down, seeing your thoughts and words in print is pretty therapeutic. Trying to make sense of things and spelling those things out can help you see and understand how you really feel about things, and thus help you work through them. So why don't I just go back to journaling instead of doing something more public like blogging? Well for me, I've learned that blogging publicly also brings about some sense of accountability, not only in keeping up with the blog, but also in being more accountable to what you say you want to do.

I feel like it's a good time to be starting this new blog, as I feel like I'm at a stage of new beginnings. I feel like I've been through several phases in my life over the last couple of years. And while it's definitely hard to appreciate the crap that you go through, I do think it helps you appreciate and approach your future in a different way. I think this approach influenced the title of this blog a bit.

For those who know me, the carolina blue bit is obvious, as I grew up in Chapel Hill and graduated from Carolina. (And yes, we do own the color. It is carolina blue). But I combined that with the dreams part to remind me to look towards the future and all the dreams that I have. I think a carolina blue sky with puffs of clouds lends itself well to dreaming.