Tag Archives: nanowrimo

10 Goals for 2011

Before we move forward, let’s see how I did with 2010 goals, shall we?

Goals for 2010: 6 out of 10

1. SUCCESS: Lacto-vegetarian Tuesdays. I totally rocked that. Sure, there were some accidental lapses and a few intentional ones, curiously some of those cases involved bacon.  But more or less, I did REALLY good. And I even threw in no alcohol to that mix. So yay me!

2. FAIL: One hour of piano/guitar/singing, twice a month. Another victim of my television habit.

3. SUCCESS: Keep up with Italian. Still going strong despite feeling like the village idiot in class. The joy of learning the third language on your second one.

4. FAIL: Work out at least once a week. HAHAAHAHHAHAHAH …nope.

5. FAIL: Read at least one book a month.  8 out of 12 and two of those are graphic novels. So yeah, I cheated a little bit.  I didn’t do so well this year because I rocked #6. And I got stuck trying to get through “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” and “The Zombie Survival Guide” when I should’ve given up and moved on.  The sad reading list looks like this:

  1. Serenity: Better Days #1 (Comic book)
  2. Serenity: Those Left Behind (Comic book)
  3. Angel Time – Anne Rice – the first book I ever hate
  4. New Classic Family Dinners – Mark Peel – Read it but haven’t cooked all of it.
  5. Dead Until Dark – Charlaine Harris
  6. Room – Emma Donoghue [ETA: Totally forgot to mention]
  7. Delivering Happiness – Tony Hsieh
  8. Naked Heat – “Richard Castle”

6.  SUCCESS: Finish reading the magazines as they arrive. And that’s why it eats into #5 goal a little bit.  I usually read my book before I go to bed so I’d bring in the magazines some nights instead.  Someone was laughing at me that I couldn’t finish reading a magazine in a few hours. Unlike other people, I *do* really read my magazines, getting my money’s worth.  Entertainment Weekly gets read the day it arrives, except the big issues.  Food & Wine gets in the next few days as well and will get another going-through when I sift through them later to pull out recipes.  WIRED and Self also get read cover to cover but over a longer period of time, in that order.

7. FAIL: Do my household paperwork on early day from the office.  Not so much. I found myself using that time for something else like catching up to the DVR.  Again, another victim to a television habit.

8. PARTIAL SUCCESS: Eat breakfast everyday.  Not very consistent here, but I did make an effort to do so.

9.  PARTIAL SUCCESS: Take a crack at National Novel Writing Month. Another weak yes.  I did it but didn’t accomplish it.

10. SUCCESS: Keep up with what’s working.  Starbucks and lunch out once a week for most of the year.


Goals for 2011

Less ambition! More routine setting!

Well, a lot of the failures last year has to do with bad television habit. It’s like a vicious cycle. If I don’t watch the show(s) that night, then I’d have to sacrifice another night to catch up and therefore losing time. ETC.  Hopefully, I have come up with a good solution.

Here goes!

1. 12 books a year. One of these years I’m going to be able to manage this!  Already have some books lined up to get read:

  • Full Dark, No Stars: Stephen King
  • Side Jobs: Jim Butcher’s Harry Dresden short stories
  • Emperor of Maladies: Siddhartha Mukherjee

These will be alternating some what with a bunch of cookbooks I haven’t read yet, and the three newest edition.

  • Momofuku: David Chang — this has more stories than recipe!
  • Ad Hoc At Home: Thomas Keller
  • Fiesta at Rick’s: Rick Bayless

2. Play piano/guitar/sing on Sundays after dinner for an hour. More manageable and a set schedule on the least busy night of the week.

3. Eat a salad a week…Vegan Tuesdays don’t count! Trying to add more vegetables into the diet here.  And yes, I switched from calling it meatless or vegetarian Tuesdays because I also don’t eat eggs. That just throw people the hell off for some reason.

4. Catch up on DVR on Tuesdays, Thursdays and weekends (Friday is flexible). This doesn’t mean no television on any other night.  We will still watch a show with dinner, but I will not linger on the couch and watch everything else on the DVR every night of the week.  Tuesdays, since I already can’t have meat or alcohol, I’ve gotta have me one of my vices!

5. Cook one new recipe a month…and blog it! This could be a total disaster, but it’ll keep me on schedule at least.  Especially with all the cookbooks I have/want to read.

6. Wednesday Date Night. We MUST establish a day or it never happens!  LOL

7. If the hair needs a wash, work out! With much hair, I am not going back to washing it daily. No way in hell!  So, if it’s the pony tail day, it’s a work out day.  And by work out, I mean doing something active.  Like going for a walk or go to yoga class, or doing some mini workouts with the weights I have sitting on the bathroom floor before hitting the shower.

8. Write every week day on the way to work. It’s proven over November during NaNoWriMo that I *can* write on the bus on the way to work without getting motion sick!  The route is pretty straight on and the traffic is never too staccato. And I don’t really miss the morning nap that much.  That’s an hour of productive time I can have.  And I should use it!

9. A secret goal. If you want to know, you’ll have to ask me personally. 😉

10. Keep up with past success. Weekly Starbucks and lunch out; Vegan & Dry Tuesdays; Italian lessons; Reading magazines as they arrive; and participating in NaNoWriMo.


So those are mine. What is/are your goals?

Whoop. There went 2010

It has been a crazy year.  You can tell by the infrequency of my posts.  Despite the fact that I have given up my involvement with Thrill the World almost completely (I still do twitter for TTW headquarter), I managed to remain as busy as ever.

I mean, look at how neglected this blog is!!!

Let’s take a look back this year, see what all I did, and give out some 2010 awards, shall we?

2010 in Pictures:

2010: Year in Pictures

Drinking Buddy of the Year: Bus Buddy Amanda

We’ve been riding the bus together for a few years and carpooled together numerous times.  But it was this year that Amanda and I started hanging out outside of the bus.  We grabbed a few drinks either in Downtown LA or right here back in Los Alamitos.  We occasionally dragged our husbands with us too, like when we went to the Night Dive at the Aquarium of the Pacific. Next up on our agenda is shopping.  Our wallets should be afraid. Very afraid.

Bar of the Year: Chaya Downtown

I actually have visited less and less Downtown LA hot spots since last year.  Work dynamic continues to shift and happy hour gathering has become more and more difficult to manage.  Yet, I kept finding myself moseying over to Chaya Downtown whenever I have an excuse to do so.

At the beginning, I didn’t really give Chaya much of a chance.  Compared to the cozy vibe at the Library Bar, I felt Chaya was a bit more snooty.  I was proven wrong on that.  Also with Library Bar having become so popular it was too crowded for my liking, Chaya has plenty of space to spread out either right up to the bar or out in their Japanese beer garden.  It’s one of the better places in the financial district for happy hour these days with great menu and strong drink specials.  I mean, that $5 cocktail specials they have would knock a lightweight on her ass, I tell ya!

Chaya bar is not just for drinks, but for lunch too.  Bartender Greg always take a good care of me whether I was just picking up a very reasonably priced to-go bento box or sitting down to pig out alone.  The food was surprising fast out there at the bar versus sitting down at the proper restaurant section.

Newcomer Award: USC Trojan Nation


Fight on!

Fight on!

It only took me 11 years since graduation to get around to buy USC football season ticket.  Bless her heart, at the time of purchase, Gridiron Goddess Amy shouldn’t be spending her money on the ticket, but she did. And we roamed and ruled USC campus as tailgate nomads, lugging our own food and beverages, looking for a place to crash.

During the sesason, I reconnected with old friend Roy aka USC Psycho and crashed at my rarely-seen Trojan brother Joel and his wife Zoe’s tailgate.  I never quite made it to Hawaiian Jen’s group at the engineering quad though, my one regret.  I also made new Trojan tweeps as I tweeted my away games from my couch or at the bar with USC Long Beach Alumni Club.

Yes, the Long Beach Alumni Club is back and very alive!  As destiny would have it, it got resurrected this year.  And naturally, I joined and soon became their director of technology, handling their twitter account and soon to design their website.

More Trojan Nation shenanigan will ensue through the spring, I am sure.  Thank god I’m not a basketball fan too or else my husband will never see me again…

High point of the Year: NaNoWriMo

I have great friends who always supported me through everything I do whether it’s AIDS Walk Long Beach with Team Lesser Weevils or joining GuerilLA in a spectacular improv musical unleashed upon the unsuspecting crowd at Universal City Walk.

This year I took a swing at National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) and raised money for the foundation set up in my grandfather’s name in memory of both him and my mom.  Friends were super supportive with donations and encouragement.

I was writing on the bus on the way to work. I was writing it at lunch at work. I was writing some of it at home too.  50,000 words in 30 days proved to be too much for me as my inner editor and procrastinator kept chipping away at my words and my time.  However, I did have half of that for a draft of a memoir about our family’s ties to mom’s two big folders full of fortune teller notes.

Low point of the year (other than a disappointing USC football season): Sickness and death among friends

This year has sucked for so many friends healthwise thus make it a low point of the year.  Friends have been afflicted with fibromyalgia, MS, and cancer. I hate you, diseases, for making my friends’ lives unnecessarily harder. My fist. Your direction. Grrr….

Also,  a former colleague who had been dealing with kidney issues unexpectedly passed away.  He was okay one day and died in his sleep over the weekend. It was quite a jolt.

Holiday of the Year: Halloween for a completely different reason!

The past two years, weeks leading up to Halloween had involved running around with Thrill the World.  This year, I passed on the torch so I get to have my favorite holiday back!  Then again, the costume change this year was the most I’ve ever done.  5 costumes leading up to Halloween, if you can imagine.

  1. Halloween Friday: Nerd Herder for work
  2. Halloween Friday Party: Slave Leia for a Star Wars party at Amy’s house.
  3. Halloween’s Eve: Crazy USC fan gear.  Well, I just topped off with what became my signature Dr. Seuss hat for the game.
  4. Halloween afternoon: a Jedi costume was thrown on to visit Gregg at the hospital. I did tell him I was going to bring out Slave Leia but I didn’t think it was appropriate for a hospital.  David said if anyone was to have a heart attack, that would be a good place for it. LOL.
  5. Halloween: Resident Evil’s Alice accompanying Brandon’s Tallahassee from Zombieland to our usual trick or treat evening at Paul’s house.

Song of the Year: Teenage Dreams, Glee version

Can’t. Stop. Listening.

Movie of the Year: Toy Story 3.

No, I haven’t seen the Social Network, Inception, The Kids Are Alright, or anything critically acclaimed.  Naturally, Woody and the gang won this round.

Surprise Movie of the Year: Hachi: A Dog’s Tale

It’s a straight-to-video gem.  I’ve grown up knowing the story of the original Hachikp in Japan so I was curious to see this movie Entertainment Weekly and my friend were raving about.  I knew it was going to be a 3 hanky type mush so I expected a little tears in my eyes.  But oh, no. No no no no. THAT was the middle of the movie.  At the end, I was sobbing so hard Brandon asked if I was okay.  I never cried like that for a movie. Ever.

Book of the Year: Delivering Happiness

Amy G. knows me more than I know myself sometimes.  She definitely knows something I don’t when she saved me a pre-release copy of Zappo’s CEO Tony Hsieh’s Delivering Happiness she had received at an event.  It only took me months to get to read it.  And once I did, I was inspired and depressed all at the same time.  You know, excited about the future and the fact that there’s a company out there that has the same perspective about “work should be a happy, inspiring place” as I do. (Damn you, Zappos for being in Las Vegas!)  And of course, it’s a little disheartening to look at my current situation which is not quite what it could be.  Then again, there’s not much fun you can really wring out of the line of work I do. *sigh*

TV Show of the Year: Doctor Who

I might have just become a late fan of the show (helloooo Martha Jones!), but my attachment to David Tennant is pretty strong.  So I was very skeptic of Matt Smith’s taking over.  But the show managed to change my mind and kept me glued.  So, hats off to you, Doctor!

Runner Up: Hawaii Five-O.  Alex O’Loughlin’s taking his shirt off every other week?  If this is not the best show on television I don’t know what is. But to tell you the truth, it’s Scott Caan’s performance that is keeping me hooked.  His big softy, smart alecky Danno is the only real character on the show. Everyone else is kind of two dimensional.

Oh, and you’re welcome for the following clip. (Good luck, Aquaman!)  Alex’ chest deserves his own FB page…oh wait a minute

Restaurant of the Year: Koi Sushi, Seal Beach

We have always known of Koi Sushi.  As a matter of fact, my memory of it was that Brandon’s parents wanted to take us there once but the line was out the door.  We rediscovered it one day as a part of my quest to find a true Japanese restaurant, not just a place that serves sushi and teriyaki.  Koi was exactly what I was looking for.

They hooked us at our first visit with a huge hunk of braised pork belly “appetizer”.  I mean, we could’ve split that for dinner, it was that big.  And it was delicious.  The teriyaki beef got Brandon addicted.  Tender beef cooked perfectly and the teriyaki sauce that’ not cloying.  What I like most is that they a special menu that changes every week I believe.  Food was fresh and portion is generous.  Service was great.  As long as we get there off peak hours, there wasn’t any line.

When it’s a restaurant that Brandon actually craves, that gets on my favorite restaurant list!


Well, that’s my 2010. How did you year go?

NaNoWriMo: Week 2

My inner editor must die.


As I continue to get encouragement emails from the main NaNoWriMo people as well as my regional leader, I keep finding myself doing all the wrong things which they said would happen anyway.

I can’t just keep writing things out; I go back and rework things as I go.  And that’s not really the point of NaNoWriMo.

Being a blogger also doesn’t help as I try to rein things in to keep you folks interested.  It has become a second nature for me to start cringing when what I’m working on started to get lengthy.

And the biggest obstacle of all: time.  I have been doing great typing away on the bus on my way to work.  As a matter of fact, I think I’m going to keep up with this productive habit so my blog would not lapse this much ever again.  Writing at lunch was also good now that I have an office with a door I can close.  When I have a time schedule set up, I’m on it and productive as heck.

In comes the weekend.

I thought I would do all sorts of catching up and making great ways on the weekend and in the evenings.  Oh boy have I been wrong!  By the time I was done with dinner and cleared a show or two out of the DVR, it was time for bed.  The weekend rolled around and because of my social life, I would find myself with a couple hours break…which, selfishly, I would rather watch the Graham Norton Show than work on the computer.

And in a way, I guess there’s a part of me that’s still doing the emotional running away. You can’t possibly imagine all the time I spent on the couch watching TV after mommy died. It was crazy.

The more I write, the more I become aware of how much of my mom’s last few years I had missed.  The guilt of having been away the entire time is nipping at my heels every time I turn on the netbook.  That is probably why I never quite gotten far. Damn guilt.

But I’m aware of it. And I’m trying to work through it. At the end of the month, I will definitely have 17,000 words written. I will make good of that promise. I really want to see what I kind of book I’m going to end up with at the end.

For sure, there are all these holes in the draft I must fill in from all those times I wasn’t there.  Hopefully, doing so will also fill the corresponding holes in my heart.

Thanks again for being here for me!


Haven’t read about my NaNoWriMo effort? Read this and donate.

Friends in Thailand: To donate, please contact me and I’ll get you the routing number.

Friends in the US and Elsewhere with Facebook: To donate, please go through my FundRazr page here.

Friends in the US and Elsewhere without Facebook: Use this button here:

NaNoWriMo: Week 1

It’s been an entirely unexpected and interesting journey only one week in.  4,869 is the word count I have on the 8th day of this challenge. Ideally, I should be around 13,300 words.  I start to wonder if I could ever make 50,000 words.  But I promise you, I’ll at least write as much as your donation. That I will do.

First of all, balancing the time between my numerous hobbies and activities, as you all know, during USC football season has proven to be challenging.  Secondly, my inner editor won’t shut the hell up.  I guess that’s a major pitfall of someone who writes short and concise pieces for a living.

And finally, typing through tears is kind of hard.

I know going in that writing a memoir about my mom is going to be difficult.  Band-aids are definitely being ripped open and healed over in almost an instant.  The physical pain in my chest still needs a little getting used to.  Thank god that I have an office now so nobody has to see my occasional bloodshot eyes.  But the warm and fuzzy feeling when I got the words out is quite rewarding.

Then came the news of a dear friend who has recently been diagnosed with lymphoma.  He has just begun his treatment and has a long road ahead of him.

Real life and memories meet on the pages of my Word document, and bring with them feelings I’ve long since put away or learned to live with.

Expecting the best and the worst at the same time was something I perfected when my mom was sick.  While I never gave up on her treatment options, at the same time I resigned to the fact that she might never make it.  I guess so I wouldn’t be disappointed with either outcome.

It seemed I’ve applied that to everything else since then.

So, while I know I might not make it to 50,000, I’m not giving up  NaNoWriMo effort.

I’m also not giving up on the friend.

(And yes, I’m adding this to my word count. So we’re at 5,209 now. It’s a preface material, no?)


Haven’t read about my NaNoWriMo effort? Read this and donate.

Friends in Thailand: To donate, please contact me and I’ll get you the routing number.

Friends in the US and Elsewhere with Facebook: To donate, please go through my FundRazr page here.

Friends in the US and Elsewhere without Facebook: Use this button here:

NaNoWriMo here I come

We’re in October now and I’ve realized I’m not doing entirely well on my 2010 goals.  Determined to accomplish something this year and inspired by my friend Irena, I’ve decided to participate in National Novel Writing Month – NaNoWriMo, in November.

NaNoWriMo is is a novel-writing program for everyone who has thought fleetingly about writing a novel but has been scared away by the time and effort involved. So, staring November 1 and wrapping up on November 30, participants are aspired to write 50,000 words or about 175 pages novel.  It doesn’t have to be completed. It doesn’t have to be edited.  As they call it, “It’s all about quantity, not quality. The kamikaze approach forces you to lower your expectations, take risks, and write on the fly.”

That’s right. 50,000 words in 30 days.  For scale, one page of single spaced Times font size 12 has about 525 words.  That’s about 95 pages of written word I have to crank out.

Hopefully, by November 30, I will have a draft of a memoir on my hands.

“Folder of Fortune” will be a memoir based on a folder full of notes my mother took from her visits to fortune tellers, numerologists, and psychics of Thailand. With mom’s due diligent in checking to see the accuracy of these readings, the folder full of little pieces of paper and torn pages of notebooks hold the key to my family’s past, present, and future.

Now, to keep me motivated, I’m going to raise fund for this pursuit.  $1 for every 100 words.  That’s $500 for 50,000 words!  The more you pledge, the more I will write!

NaNoWriMo is put on by Office of Letters and Light so naturally folks would raise fund for them.  You can too.

However, since this memoir will be in the memory of my mother, I’d like to raise the money for her and my grandfather’s foundation back in Thailand instead.

The General Mangkorn Phromyothi Foundation was founded in my grandfather’s name but with my mom’s love for education in mind.  My grandfather was Thailand’s Minister of Education back in the days so the Ministry of Education asked to use his name for the newly established foundation for their Teacher’s Training Program.  Essentially, the GMP Foundation funds the development of the training program for teachers with a goal to better prepare them to teach children in the rural area of Thailand. The Foundation also provides scholarships for those seeking training in this program.

Friends in Thailand: To donate, please contact me and I’ll get you the routing number.

Friends in the US and Elsewhere with Facebook: To donate, please go through my FundRazr page here.

Friends in the US and Elsewhere without Facebook: Use this button here:

And you will have to trust me with your dollars as the donation is going through PayPal for me to hold onto until I transfer the chunk to Thailand at the end of NaNoWriMo.  And more importantly, US dollars are weak right now (29 Baht/$US) so to maximize your donation, we will have to wait for the rate to go back up…at least 32 baht.  (I’d rather prefer 35 baht, but who knows when we’ll get there at this point!)

So, here’s what I’ll do for you, donors.

  1. Every single penny is going to be donated. I’ll pay for all FundRazr and PayPal fees incurred on my end.
  2. On December 1, if currency is about/above 32 baht/dollar, I will send the donation home.
  3. On December 1, If currency is still below 32 baht/dollar, I will continue to keep watch and give weekly update on “In Memory of Khun Noi” Facebook Page.  The moment we get to 32 baht/dollar, I’ll make the transfer.

I hope you can support me through this journey!

10 goals for 2010

We’ve seen how I did last year.  Let’s see how many I can accomplish this year.

1.  Lacto-vegetarian Tuesdays

Vegetarian or vegan diet is nothing new to this Buddhist. However, the most I’ve ever done was 2 days a week of loosely vegan diet during Catholic lent of back in high school.  That was tough too since there was no soy milk or tofu available in nearby grocery stores like there are today.  In college, I started back on vegetarian on Tuesdays, the day of my birth.  You know, one day a week of not taking any lives.  My mom encouraged me to do that as herself had altogether given up eating beef (aka killing of large animals) many years before.  But then, I found myself eating mostly fries, mac and cheese, cheese pizza, and cheese sandwiches–grilled or otherwise, on those days.  Eventually, I gave up.

I still don’t have the will power to give up beef like my mom did, and now my oldest brother does (I think…?).  But lacto vegetarian (vegetarian with dairy product but no eggs) on Tuesdays (and even vegan if I’m mindful enough) can totally come back now that I have more resources to get healthy vegetarian foods and motivation/discipline to do it.  Mommy, this one’s for you.

2.   One hour of piano/guitar/singing, twice a month

Once a week of music shouldn’t be too hard.  I mean, I tried last year.  But realistically, with all of my obligations and TV habit, twice a month is a good point to start. Heh.

3.   Keep up with Italian

I started it. I’d better keep it up!

4.  Work out at least once a week

I have come to realize that my fitness goal wasn’t aligned with my life’s goal.  I was pushing working out on myself to “get in shape”. What’s the point of getting in shape if my eating habit still involves Del Taco?  However, working out so that my metabolism is high so that I am able to consume more calories, now THAT aligns with my culinary exploration.  I came to this little epiphany as I discussed my fitness habit with a colleague, walking up the hill from a big lunch at Bottega Louie.

Exercise so I can eat more.  Now that’s a goal I can get behind. :)

5.  Read at least one book a month

Last year I got to 10 out of 12.  This year, 12 and up is to aim for!

6.  Finish reading the magazines as they arrive

The only magazine I finish in a timely manner is Entertainment Weekly, being a pop culture fiend that I am.  SELF gets relocated to the bathroom the day it arrives and it does get well read.  Food & Wine and WIRED tend to get backlogged.  I mean, I still have at least 5 of 2008-2009 F&W in the cabinet I have to sift through! This is why I recently canceled my subscriptions to Rachael Ray and Real Simple.

7.  Do my household paperwork on early day from the office

I have put it on the calendar every month that I come home early from those board meeting days.  Last year, after 3 months, I haven’t followed through with that at all.  Oh god, that reminds me…ARRRRGH PAPER WORK AVALANCHE!!!!

8. Eat breakfast everyday

Another realization about how my body works came very clearly to me during my week in Bangkok over Thanksgiving.  I had proper breakfast everyday.  As in Thai style breakfast of, well, rice and whatever was left from dinner the night before.  I felt great all day and even with all the food I stuffed myself with during the trip, I actually might have lost a couple of pounds.  I guess my spoiled little self has been programmed to have proper breakfast since, well, birth.  I mean, when you grew up with a nanny and then a maid, neither one would let you out the door without at least an egg or a scoop of rice in you.

Here in the US, I don’t always eat breakfast.  First of all, I’m never hungry the moment I wake up.  So if I don’t eat before I leave the house, I usually try to find something to eat at the office…which turned out to be either a cup of coffee or tea and some Goldfish crackers, and not much else.  Not any more.  I’m going to do better with packing breakfast as well as lunch from now on.  Well, I’ll try at least.

9.  Take a crack at NaNoWriMo

November is usually the crazy month for me.  But I would like to participate in the National Novel Writing Month this year anyway!  I mean, I think maybe I could cheat and started the ground works in August. Or something.

10. Keep up with What’s Working

I’m doing brilliantly with saving on little things I started last year.  A weekly Starbucks latte and non-brownbag lunch work out very well.  Then again, most of my lunch-out would make for 2 lunches anyway. 😉

Now, share yours.