Dim Sum Diaries
This Christmas was especially lovely, with many gifts from me purchased via Etsy, though when the recipients asked where I got a particular gift, when I tried to describe what exactly Etsy was, I still got looks like I had been shopping on Mars or something.

This was the hit of the night though, a t-shirt from Timbperps for my brother-in-law. I got him to pose like his shirt. Best Christmas pic evah!

Didn't work out so well...so here's a hilarious alternative!

Men! Beware THE DOGHOUSE!!

Everyone have a great Christmas!

This is in lieu of posting anything texty...I'm tired....

I had to get a new camera since I've been taking a lot of high-res pictures for work (the old 5 MP hand me down from Dad just wasn't cutting it). Luckily amazon.com was having a special on this baby so I snapped it up. But then I wanted a "big boy" camera strap for this, not the ucky metal wrist one that comes with the cam, or the even uckier neck strap that they sell as an aftermarket accessory.

So I looked up good ole etsy and found this awesome seller, PhatStraps who was able to make a customized neck strap...the argyle pattern is very pretty. So then I was so happy that I took a pic of myself holding the cam with the said gorgeous strap with my cell phone...complete and utter cheesorama!

One of the first pics from the new camera...

Say hello to Colin #2, a lovely sock monkey from Yumptatious who keeps me company during the workday. :)

The Gaping Divide Between The Generations

One thing I am grateful for is that Daughter (aged 10) has inherited the social savvy and interpersonal skills from genes of the previous generations (like my Mom) that seemed to have skipped my generation (namely me).

I didn't have many friends growing up, maybe because I was a very strong personality who had to have things my way, and didn't really give a shit about what others thought. Though I'm sure I can be charming when I want to...I've been likened to a raging bull in a china shop (its totally true). Enough about that though.

So Daughter is at an age where her friends are very important to her, and has been having issues with one girl in particular. Apparently Daughter feels like this particular girl is trying to hog the attention of certain friends in the group or something like that. She came to me with this problem and asked for advice as to what to do.

I was honestly stumped...my initial reaction to a situation like this would be to tell the girl to #@#$@^ off and go @#%@#$$@# herself. But of course I couldn't tell Daughter that. Luckily she had one of those American Girl Books that gave advice for dealing with social situations like this, so we both eagerly read what the book had to say. In the end I told her to try and talk it out with the girl and see if it could be resolved that way (not my usual way). Daughter said okay, she would try.

A few days later, Daughter reported success, that she had talked to the girl and though they would never be close, close friends, they could at least try to tolerate each other and try to get along for the sake of the group. ZOMG how socially savvy is that for a girl of 10????? I was very proud of her for that and told her so. She seemed happy about that. It's a bit of a relief that Daughter is able to handle these situations more smoothly then I did.

In other news, check out this chick, she makes bento boxes for her boyfriend's lunch and it's quite an art form!

2008 was an interesting year in many ways and I thought I'd list what I really dug this year in terms of books and movies...so without further ado...here we go!!

Best Stuff of 2008 (Part 1):

Overall Fave Must Read Book

Would have to be hands down Neil Gaiman's The Graveyard Book. I don't think I can stop raving about how much of a master storyteller that Gaiman is. I don't usually go for the genre of sci-fi/fantasy, but his writing grabs your britches from the get go and you have have have to finish reading the whole damn thing in one sitting. OR THE WORLD WILL END. Seriously. Here is a preview of Chapter One, for anyone interested.

Top Reading for The Sheer Pleasure of It Book

A Wallflower Christmas by Lisa Kleypas. She writes *cough* certain scenes so well...and no one writes tortured heroes in need of redemption like Kleypas (without going over the top).

It's Christmastime in London and Rafe Bowman has arrived from America for his arranged meeting with Natalie Blandford, the very proper and beautiful daughter of Lady and Lord Blandford. His chiseled good looks and imposing physique are sure to impress the lady-in-waiting, and if it weren't for his shocking American ways and wild reputation, her hand would already be guaranteed.
Before the courtship can begin, Rafe realizes he must learn the rules of London society. But when four former Wallfowers try their hand at matchmaking, no one knows what will happen. And winning a bride turns out to be more complicated than Rafe Bowman anticipated, especially for a man accustomed to getting anything he wants.

However, Christmas works in the most unexpected ways, changing a cynic to a romantic and inspiring passion in the most timid of hearts.

'Nuff said.

Top Design Book

As I found out this year when I started doing more graphic design, dude, graphic designers as an industry like to publish hella countless books about themselves, not only showcasing their individual work, but their philosphy, the state of the world, where the field is going or should be going, blah blah blah. I have to admit that I've bought a few books curious to see what the fuss is all about, but so far I think my favorite type of design books are ones that showcase the art of cool designers from the past. My favorite one so far (and most expensive shhhh don't tell hubby) is Paul Rand: A Designers Art. He is a major figure and created the corporate logos for some companies like IBM, ABC, UPS and even Enron! I discovered that I quite favored the mid-century aesthetic (this interview probably explains it best), so I guess it's kind of like porn, in a sense. I can look at it for hours, oohing and ahhing and trying to incorporate it in some of my work without being too obvious (although working for a technology company, they wouldn't appreciate their products marketed as last century, but I can be quite clever).

Top DVD Purchase

I keep trying to remember if there was a movie I particularly loved loved loved so much, like When Harry Met Sally, but I couldn't really think of any, so here is the best DVD that I got this year instead. Some of you may know that I've been trying to lose weight/get in shape etc. Last year at my OB/GYN yearly physical, the nurse practitioner noted I was getting a bit on the plump side, and would I consider losing weight. This, coupled with watching the endless reruns of You Are What You Eat on BBC America...Gillian is a dietitian that goes into the homes of Britain's morbidly obese...evaluates their diet and makes them go on a 2 month diet/exercise regimen. Some of the more eye-opening things she does is take the food diary for a week and actually remakes/rebuys exactly the aggregate of what they ate and presents it on a table. It can be quite shocking. Then she also makes the person do a poo into a plastic box and she inspects it. I was so grossed out by this at first because sometimes you could see a fuzzy shot of the poo from a distance sometimes....but I recently noticed they don't show it anymore...she's just talks about it now (poo being off camera). But overall the show really motivated me to start eating more healthily and exercising, etc.

SO to make a long story short, I tried the Weight Watchers thing for awhile, then moved on to trying to watch my food intake. Bought countless DVDs from The Firm, and while had some success with these DVDs, they were just like...too long, I didn't want to be working out 1.5 hours every day. Finally happened upon 30 Day Shred by Jillian Michaels.

You only work out for 20 minutes (a blessed relief since it used to be 1.5 hours a day), and its intense but the cardio/strength combo make you lose the fat and reshape your body fairly quickly, and a lot more effectively then what I had been trying before. So if you are trying to jumpstart a healthier change, I can't recommend her high enough. Side note: Jillian is a trainer from the NBC tv show The Biggest Loser. My abs are actually getting quite ripped (still a bit to go) but dude, I can't believe I'm getting toned! I have muscles!@!!! ZOMG!!

That's it for this segment! Next up is Best Etsy Shops of 2008!

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My first print!

Trying to think of something witty to write here. Not much luck though. I'd have to say it was a very very good, relaxing Thanksgiving. Last week, very nearly got "laid off" (even though I'm a freelancer, so it's not really the correct term). Luckily, my Boss and several others at the company liked me enough to veto the layoff decision. So that was good, even though it was quite freaky. Apparently Boss, knowing my previous history with layoffs (severe depression for two years, no self-worth blah blah blah) didn't tell me until after everything was over and settled. I guess that's a good thing.

Then I called my parents...got Dad on the phone and told him "Hey Dad, I almost lost my job, but luckily everything is okay." But Dad apparently only heard, "Hey Dad I lost my job!!!!!!!!" He was to pick up my sister and her husband from LAX that day, which he did with my Mom in tow. They were headed south to my sister's house when he told everyone I lost my job and btw, we're heading down to San Diego to make sure I didn't do anything drastic, or was possibly huddled under my desk in the fetal position.

Here is a visual re-enactment of what Dad thought I must've been going through (via):

Fueled by the zeal of a worried parent on a mission, Dad made it to San Diego via extremely illegal speeds which will only be hinted at...only to find out that everything was OK. Oh well, it was a nice surprise to see my family anyways, since it had been awhile. We went out to dinner...it was lovely....

A few days later, after much planning and prep Turkey Day dawned with Hubby in charge of the turkey and me in charge of the sides. Everyone had a great time and the food was great, if I must say so myself, but the whole day was very mentally draining...spent the rest of the weekend in brain shut down mode and not really doing much of anything.

In other news, wanted to see what all the fuss was about for that new teen vamp movie Twilight, so I bought the book. Read it in one night and liked it quite a bit, so I went back to the bookstore the next day and bought the rest of the 3 books of the series. Read 2nd, 3rd...one a day, had weird vampirish dreams...but by the 4th it was quite tiresome. Maybe if I was still a naive tween who still believed that the perfect teen boyfriend was out there, waiting just for me, otherwise that premise is a load of shit. Not that I'm bitter or anything. The girl is 18ish and Edward the vampire wants to marry her (and she won't have sex with him until their married) and she wants him to make her a vampire asap so they'll both be young and beautiful together forever...then I haven't really read the 4th one yet but then I think she either adopts a kid or spawns one in that one. Stephanie Meyer graduated from BYU, so it leads me to believe that she is or was a practicing Mormon so the whole oh lets not have sex till we're married crap is a bit tiresome. In fact I don't know if this whole series is an allegory for Mormonism, who knows.

Anyways, post more later.