Dim Sum Diaries
What do you get when there is an unknown woman ringing your doorbell, coupled with Mir's tendency for paranoid drama? Why you get a blog entry, of course!

Chez Mir usually tries to pretend that no one is home when someone is soliciting at the door. When that unknown woman rang the doorbell, the "let's pretend we're not at home" plan was forestalled by daughter thrusting aside the curtain of the window that is by the door and saying loudly, "Hey Mommy, there's some woman at the door!!!!!!!!!!!!"

Thanks, kid. I peek out the little peep hole and I see some literature in her hand. Great, I think to myself, she's here to sell newspapers so she can go on a trip of a lifetime to the zoo or something like that.

I open the door cautiously. "Yes, may I help you?" I say in my most husky, forbidding voice.

"Yes," she replied briskly, "I'm a volunteer for the Republican party. I'm here to see Hubby."

I stared at her for a moment and she stared at me. Suddenly it was like high noon in some cheesy Clint Eastwood western. She had asked for Hubby by name. She knew that he was a Republican. And she knew that I was not. I fully expected that music that plays in the background when there is a showdown between the town sheriff and villain (it goes like woo-woo-woo-woo-woo-wah-wah-woo).

What should I say to her?

a. No, I'm not pimping out Hubby today.

b. Kerry rocks! Bush sucks!

c. All of the above.

But before I could say something pithy and brilliant that would cause her to renounce her party and join my side, she pushed a flyer into my hand and merely said, "This is a voting guide on how we think Hubby should vote. Have a nice day."

Then she quickly retreated. I was left standing there for a moment, just gazing at her back.

Sigh. I can't wait till this election nonsense is over.
1. Why bloggers must be careful when writing about Dubya: the Secret Service comes to your house and questions you (via).

2. Interning at Elliot Spitzer's office, Hours of Drudgery, Moments of 'Gotcha!' (via).

3. Afghan wives try to free themselves from forced marriages by self-immolation.

In completely unrelated news, I find that being in the limbo status of being about to be laid off is rather interesting. When I mention it to people, after the rather loud and sympathetic "Ohhhhhhhhhhhh nooooooooo!!!", I have to repeat the same things over and over. Yes, I am going to take some time off. Yes, I will get severance. Yes, at least I don't have to drive so far to work anymore. It's getting to the point where I don't mention it unless I absolutely have to.

I am also trying to get into the writing mode, but have been rather unsuccessful at it. I am meeting my critique partner this Sunday and I still have loads of rewriting to do.

Someone spank me please [metaphorically!] to get my ass in gear.

PS - If you are here cuz of Blog Explosion, please leave a shout out in the comments so I can visit your site too. :)

Update: Couldn't resist another link, 2004 Scariest Halloween Costumes (via).
Just found this cool new site called Blog Explosions via Pewari. From their website:

The concept is very simple. You read other blog sites and they in return visit your blog. Blogexplosion is the internet's first blog exchange where thousands of bloggers visit each other's blogs in order to receive tons of blog traffic. Imagine how many other people out there could be adding your blog to their blogroller and how many people would be reading your blog every day with this sort of attention. It's free to use!

Here is nifty banner so that you can get to the site:

I've already gotten some traffic from there, so it seems pretty cool.

How Many Blog Entries Can I Title "Eh"

Recently Trish Jensen, an author, became ill and had to be hospitalized. She almost died from blood loss. Because she is a writer, she doesn't have medical insurance, so her hospital bill came out to be like $100k.

Authors, agents and many in the writing/romance writing industry rallied to create a fund to help her out with her bills. Many donated critiques and books to sell to help raise money for the fund. It is worth noting that some of the most notable items for auction came from Julia Quinn. Her offer of a critique went for a whopping $565 (most critiques went for $40). An advanced reading copy (ARC) of her upcoming book It's In His Kiss went for $405! Keep in mind that the ARC won't be available until early next year. It's going to a great cause, but it's still mindblowing.

Anyways, I think I'll avail myself for one of the more moderately priced critiques. It'll help get my ass motivated to write again.
The following are a list of things that Mir should not do anymore.

1. When going out on a date with Hubby to a somewhat authentic British pub, do not get cocky after drinking a fourth of a pint of cider because you do not feel yourself turning your usual red. Especially don't pronounce yourself the master of your domain in terms of your drinking self, because that will cause said self to arrogantly down the rest of the glass in the misguided notion that self can handle the alcohol.

2. And after getting sloshed, do not stumble drunkenly out of pub and declare to Hubby that one wants to check out the Greek-Filipino restaurant that seems to have appeared from nowhere. Declaring that finally, a place where one can get a gyros and baloot combo being a good thing is actually not. (It was in fact, two separate restaurants/stores)

3. Also not a good idea, getting drunk and wearing sports pants in which one is not familiar with the zipperage. After heading into the movie theater, went to bathroom to wee and discovered that Mir could not in fact, unzip her pants because they were stuck.

3a. Exited the restroom and loudly whispered to Hubby that Mir could not unzip her pants.

3b. Snuck conspicuously into theater corner to have Hubby try to unzip pants...passerbys glancing at us as if we were pervs trying to get it on in the corner. Hubby is finally successful in partially unzipping pants.

3c. Snuck back into restroom holding unzipped pants, trying not to have them fall down around legs in public. Mission thus successfully completed.

4. Finally watched Shaun of the Dead, an excellent movie, then screaming loudly at every scary moment and annoying Hubby because a tipsy Mir apparently is more reactive to horror movie then sober Mir.
I just realized that my last two entries are about poop, as it were. How weird. Okay, well enough about that stinky subject.

Remember I blogged about Sean from turningtables meeting Salam Pax? Well Salam Pax now writes for The Guardian. Here is his version of that visit and also his account of his visit to DC.

And dear reader, if that is not your cup of tea, then why not enjoy the song stylings of Zachary Allen. I especially like Candy Man.
In the final months before being laid off from Initech, apathy has begun to set in. In the late afternoon, we've taken to throwing spitballs at each other. That would be balls of wadded up paper the size of basketballs, taped together.

So after I get home from work yesterday, Hubby tells me about a possible job opportunity.

"Too bad you don't have a degree in chemistry," he said. "Because you could be a Junior Chemist at this water treatment plant!"

I check it out just to see what it is...here is the job description:

The duties listed below are intended only as illustrations of the various types of work that may be performed.

· Collects wastewater and solids samples from various sampling points within the treatment plant.

· Collects surf zone samples on a weekly basis.

· Assists as necessary in the collection of raw wastewater samples at various locations in the Authority’s service area.

· Performs Biosolids Environmental Management System tasks as required.

· Performs various laboratory analyses in accordance with the appropriate edition of ”Standard Methods”. Analyses include but are not limited to (a) wastewater and receiving water analyses required for compliance with the Authority’s NPDES permit; (b) solids analyses required for process control; (c) reclaimed water and potable water analyses; and (d) industrial waste analyses for source control. Generally, these analyses include: pH, turbidity, biochemical oxygen demand, carbonaceous biochemical oxygen demand, total and volatile suspended solids, grease and oil, settleable solids, conductivity, temperature, chlorine residual, alkalinity, volatile acids, total and volatile solids, total and fecal coliform and enterococcus.

What the hell? It's a chemist who tests solid waste (aka shit).

"Oh yeah," Hubby continues on. "They calculated that it takes the average noob a week and a half before they fall into the shit tank. Then said noob has to go to the doctor for hepatitis shots and they stink for a week!"

Nice. I think I'll pass, thank you very much. :)
1. Brits launch letter writing campaign urging undecided voters in Clark County, OH to vote for Kerry. Hilarity ensues.

2. Mir thinks Hubby should get his ass tattooed again, but it shouldn't be in Chinese. Incidentally, I have a shoulder tattoo of a butterfly and my Chinese name. Luckily I am semi-literate in Chinese so I know the characters don't translate to "lesbian spank inferno".

3. If you haven't already seen this, John Stewart rips Tucker Carlson a new one. Here is the video.

4. How Google saved an Australian journalist kidnapped in Iraq.

More later.
Well it's been another crazy weekend at Chez Mir.

It rained really hard all through Friday night. My sleepy sensors registered the fact that the rain was hella loud (in a comforting way). Then I briefly wondered how Son would react to all the ruckus, since it hasn't rained that much since he'd been born. I fall back asleep.

Sure enough, at 4:30 am, Son crept into my room.

"Mommy, it's RAINING," he intoned dramatically.

"Okay, now go back to sleep," I muttered in reply.

"Okay, Mommy."

Though apparently he didn't listen to Mommy, but proceeded to bug the hell out of his older sister until she yelled at him to leave her alone. Then he played quietly in his room until light finally dawned.


Took Daughter to play in her first soccer game. I had been volunteered as the team mom, which means I get to bring the team snacks for the first game and also be heavily involved in planning the team party at the end of the season. I felt a little ill at ease in socializing with the other parents. Mostly because it's my first time doing the group mother hen thing. And because I work (and work environment is mostly filled with being snarky with co-workers and bitching about work). Off-work hours are spent online or reading or with the family. I don't get much time socializing as a parent. I tried to make up for my ill-at-easeness by being extra perky.

"Do you need water?" I chirped to the kids every time they did a team rotation change on/off the field. During half-time and after the game, I was like,

"Would you like a fruit snack and/or juice? Are you sure? Seriously, are you sure?"

Daughter did get in some good play time though.


Sometimes I think that getting laid off is rather like a break-up or divorce. In my case, since I have a few months before the actual date, it's like I've been served with divorce papers. I alternate between trying to be positive about the coming event, sadness and also panic. I've been in this relationship for two years. I have begun to disassociate myself from it in ways. Despite all of the positive spin I try to put on it, well a better opportunity will come along, I can spend more time with the kids, I can do some seriously writing, etc etc etc, I know that when the day comes, it will still hurt a bit.
Well here's another thing to make my day, Sean from turningtabes finally posted an entry after a long hiatus.

Woo hoo!!!!!!
Ah nothing like great news on the prospective job front to make one's day.

On the brighter side though, I think I am getting the writing groove back. I thought for awhile I would abandon D&K's story and start a new one...but D&K just keep sticking in my mind. So maybe getting laid off is not a bad thing...I get to spend more time with the kids and I can also give myself a window to "be a writer"...we'll see...

But for today let's just concentrate on the stuff that looks good to buy (while I can still afford it):

1. Kyren blogged about a cool new book which I will get at some point, Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell: A Novel. It sounds very interesting.

2. Secrets of a Summer Night by Lisa Kleypas. Because LK is the absolute goddess of romance writers...I will happily bow down and worship at her alter on October 26 (when the book comes out).

3. If Lisa K is the yin of Mir's pantheon of kickass writers, then Aaron Sorkin is most definitely the yang. The West Wing, Season 3 on DVD is coming out on Nov 2 (election day) and I am mad for it.

Okay, that's it for now. Back to work and thinking about manu.

Evolving List of 100 Things About Me

I'll add to this as I think of them...

1. I live in California.

2. My real name is not Mir. It comes from Miriya Parino, the kick ass female Zentraedi ace pilot from Robotech. I try not to bandy my real name about the internet, as I would like to remain somewhat anonymous.

3. I'm 2nd generation Chinese. My parents emigrated here and I am like totally Americanized.

4. I speak Cantonese with a Valley Girl accent, causing my Uncle Fei Fei to wince everytime he hears me speak conversationally.

5. I'm married and have two kids, Daughter is 6 and Son is 4.

6. I am an aspiring writer.

7. In a few months I will be laid off from my job. Then I'll become a stay at home mom...and the Dim Sum Diaries will become a Mommy blog!!!!

8. I'm 32 years old.

9. My most interesting memory from high school: I was on the track team (and not very athletic but it beats regular P.E.). We didn't have very many people on the track team that day for some reason, so I participated in many events. One was the hurdles, which I was not used to jumping/approaching, so instead of running and athletically jumping over them, I sort of hobbled over them. I came in last in that race.

9a. I also did the shotput (me with my skinny string bean arms), which was also my first time. After recieving instructions on how to throw the shotput, I threw it 19 1/2 inches, and won third place, beating another girl by half an inch. GLORY!

10. I love to read romances. And books about the current Gulf war/conflict and political/current affairs books.

11. I have a very quirky sense of humor.

12. I have one tatoo on my shoulder.

13. I get drunk off of 1/4 of a beer.

14. I am a somewhat dominating personality.

15. Much of the useless trivia I know comes from reading romances about historical matters, but has come in handy in several conversations in which I came off as brilliant and witty. :)

15. I think Hugh Jackman is a sexy bitch.

16. I've been married to Hubby for 9 years.

17. I graduated from college with a degree in Cultural Anthropology. Fascinating stuff but absolutely useless in terms of getting a real job.

18. My absolute favorite show in the whole widest world is The West Wing...before Aaron Sorkin left.

19. I absolutely adore Aaron Sorkin.

20. I like buying naughty gifts to the holiday family parties...so when there is a white elephant exchange...the older folks are completely scandalized. What is that sticking out of that cup???

21. I drive a 2003 Honda Civic hybrid. I get 50 mph to the gallon baby!

22. I like making lists.

23. One of these days, I would like to take a luxury dream trip to Europe. More specifically, England, Ireland and Scotland.

24. I am a Chinese lass with an Irish last name. It throws peeps off.

This is totally cool! Just took this quiz, What Kind of Girl Are You?, via Kyren.

Note to Hubby: To win Progressive Girl's heart, you must be her utter slave (oh wait you already are and you already have) bwhaaaaaaaaaaa!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Won Ton Mein
Originally uploaded by miriyaparino.
Dad just emailed me some pics he took of their trip to San Francisco.

Being my Dad (and being Chinese), his favorite thing to do is to take pictures of his meals before (when just served) and after (empty plate). This is especially true of wedding banquets or special events, he gets to take a photo of each and every course that is served (usually about 10-12).

Also, I think Dad likes to send pictures of excellent Chinese food to taunt me. I live in an area that absolutely sucks ass when it comes to delicious, AUTHENTIC Chinese food.

Look at what we had to eat today Mir!!! Too bad you weren't here to eat this delicious won ton mein with us!!!! And to think, all you had to do was make the 8 hour drive to San Francisco in time for dinner...

Anyways, now that the reality of being a future laid-off person is sinking in, it isn't hitting me as hard as I thought it would be. Yeah I've got to be more fiscally conservative now but I suppose it could be a door to something better. The trick is to know when to step through. Now if I could just get my writing self in gear...
Ah, the kiddies are spending the night at the grandparents' house, so Hubby and I have the house to ourselves for the evening. After we get back from a nice, romantic dinner, Hubby watches tv and I putter around on the internet. After awhile I decide to go join Hubby in the family room. Mayhap he'll want to watch The West Wing with me, I think. He is raptly watching the The SciFi Channel. The movie is Octopus 2. I kid you not.

Here is the movie summary:

As bodies begin to turn up in the waters around Manhattan, one determined New Yorker deduces that the culprit is a giant killer octopus that has taken up residence. Will he be able to convince the authorities before New York Harbor fills to capacity for the impending Independence Day celebration? Michael Reilly Burke, who played the title role in 2002's acclaimed feature film Ted Bundy, stars in this film a.k.a. Octopus 2: River of Fear.

Airs Saturday, October 9, at 5PM ET/PT

The following conversation takes place during the last 10 minutes of the movie:

Mir: Let's watch the West Wing.

Hubby: Come on, this is almost done. I want to finish watching this.

Mir: (watches as giant octopus with a glowing eye rises from the ocean depths in final climatic scene) Damn, that's a giant octupus!

Hubby: Oh God, they shot the octopus and it exploded! Why didn't they just do that at the beginning of the movie?

Mir: FRIED CALAMARI FOR ALL OF NEW YORK!!!!! Happy 4th of July!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Hubby: (shoots Mir a dirty look) You know that dessert I was going to make you? You can make it yourself now.

Mir: ...
JibJab has the new Kerry-Bush parody, Good To Be In DC. It's pretty damn funny.
Well I wasn't sure whether I should blog about this or not, but I think I will.

As of yesterday, a bunch of us were notified that we would be laid off from work, starting in January. While that still gives me a few months to prepare, it is still a little shocking. The biggest concern for me, of course, is money. Mentally I am already figuring out ways I can cut costs in the household budget.

I'm thinking about taking a couple of months off after I officially get laid off. Spend real time with the kids, do the house mom thing.

Part of me whispers that it would be the perfect opportunity to write seriously. Actually getting the manuscript done.

At this point I honestly don't know.

Honey, Pack Yer Bags We're Movin To London!!!!

Okay not really, but I seriously should. Because many cool movies get premiered in London first. Very deeply bitter about that...very bitter...but with counseling and meds...it will get better in time... ;)

Anyways, just read an article about Gurinder Chadha's (she did Bend it Like Beckham) Bollywood style remake of Jane Austen's Pride & Prejudice. It's titled Bride and Prejudice, and it looks pretty cool.

I've been a big fan of Gurinder Chadha's ever since Bend It Like Beckham. I also enjoyed another one of her movies, What's Cooking? She has a deft touch with filmaking that emotionally resonates with me.

Bride and Prejudice comes out in U.S. theaters on December 24.
Well it was a pretty good weekend. I took Friday off and after schlepping the kids off to school, took a nice long nap. Puttered around the house, checked email, did the laundry, watched a bit of tv. Man, I wish all my days were like that (and getting paid for it)!!!

On Saturday, truly became a soccer mom in the literal sense. Daughter had soccer practice for the first time. The YMCA parking lot was crowded, but using my mad parking skills (and we’re following a person that is leaving…stake out parking spot as mine by turning on the turn blinker as leaving person pulls out…show the fierce glare that denotes that yes, I will rip your face off if you mess with my parking space bitch to anyone who dares approach). It was very warm and sunny for 9 am in the morning, but Daughter was slathered in sunscreen and looking a bit like a bionicle warrior with her plastic soccer shinguards and black cleats. Apparently had fun, so that's good.

Then drove up to my parents’ house in Los Angeles. It was quite relaxing actually. My parents were glad to see their grandkids.

“Oh, I’m going to take the kids out to the park,” Dad says innocently. A little too innocently. “They have a new play structure up that they should enjoy.”

An hour later, the kids come back with blue tongues and flecks of sugar down the front of their shirts.

“Oh,” I say, giving Gung Gung (Chinese for maternal grandpa) the “look”. “And where did you guys go again?”

Daughter pipes up. “The ice cream truck came and we got ice cream! Then Gung Gung took us to the donut shop!”

“You weren’t supposed to tell,” Gung Gung protests.

Daughter merely smirks.

We ate a lot…Korean bbq and then northern style noodles (at different times). Muy delicisioso..

As I was preparing to drive back home on Sunday evening, Gung Gung announces to the entire house, “Oh guess what kids, I have a surprise for you!!!”

I look at him for a minute. After surmising that he wasn’t giving them the keys to their own amphibious assault vehicle, I wearily warn him, “Please, no more candy.”

“Oh, its not candy.”


He pulls out a shopping bag. “It’s POTATO CHIPS!!!” he booms in the Santa Claus-esque way that only a grandfather who is about to give the kids back to the parents after mass feeding the kids with loads of sugar can manage.

“Yay!!!” the kids chorus.

It was a long drive back to chez moi.
It has been pretty post-lite lately. Work has been so crazy ass lately and I'm still trying to adjust to the kids' school and homework schedules. Oh yeah and piano lessons for Daughter too.

So anyways, yesterday was the presidential debate. I had been so psyched for it...I wanted to see how Kerry would do against Bush, and the consensus is, Kerry won the debate. The debate started at 6 pm pst. We went out to dinner yesterday...didn't get home until 6:10...I completely forgot about the debate until like a minute before I got home. Frantically tuned into the local public radio station ...listened to a couple of minutes of it. I pulled into the driveway (Hubby got home at the same time) and I sprinted into the house and turned on the television. I stared at the tv screen...I'm sure the kids are like, why, why is Mommy acting like a crazy woman?

Hubby walks in and sits down next to me. Since he is a Republican and I am a Democrat, we would both make comments.

"That's right, John Kerry! You make Bush your bitch!" I yell at the tv.

"Kerry is a liar. He's a flip flopper!" Hubby retorts.

We both glare at each other for a moment and then go back to watching the debate. Hubby rubs my feet. :)

Then it is over. Hubby heads up to give Son a bath. For me, watching the debate wasn't as important as listening to what the spinners/pundits had to say about the debate. At least that's what I thought. But then I encounter Jessi Klein's presidential debate blog on CNN. I guess she works for VH1 and she's a comedienne. They lumped in her take along with political heavyweight Paul Begala. She was supposed to be funny, I guess. Appeal to the young 18-25 demographic. Okay, here's the thing, I don't think she was that funny. An example:

"Hands-on president?

Posted 9:47 p.m. ET

I'm just noticing that Kerry has really weird thumbs. I'm not sure America should be led by a guy with such weird thumbs. I think Bush really needs to jump on that."

I'm like, damn, I could do waaaay better then that. I could do a live blogging of the next presidential debate and totally be snarky and not that funny. So maybe I will do that. Next time...do a live blogging...I'm sure the seven readers of DSD will enjoy it...