a prayer

October 27th, 2009 - No Responses

When I moved to DC in 2006, my friend Michelle and I did weekly devotionals over the phone together, using the book Devotional Classics (ed. Richard Foster).

Here’s a prayer I like from that book, written by John Baillie (Scottish theologian):

O Lord and Maker of all things, from whose creative power the first light came forth, who looked upon the world’s first morning and saw that it was good, I praise You for this light that now streams through my windows to rouse me to the life of another day.

I praise You for the life that stirs within me:
I praise You for the bright and beautiful world into which I go:
I praise You for earth and sea and sky, for scudding cloud and singing bird:
I praise You for the work You have given me to do:
I praise You for all that You have given me to fill my leisure hours:
I praise You for my friends:
I praise You for music and books and good company and all pure pleasures.

Amen.

eee box!

February 22nd, 2009 - One Response

eee box

Last July, I promised my grandma that I would get her a new computer, because her Compaq desktop (from the nineties) took 20 minutes to load! Well, I finally got around to doing research this month. I wanted something light and portable and relatively inexpensive. On Joe’s recommendation, I ordered her an Asus Eee Box from Newegg.

The Eee Box is super quiet, requires little energy to run (only 20 watts!), and is less than 3 pounds! Setup was relatively simple. I did consult my “personal IT helpdesk” peeps (Joe and my bro) about display resolution but everything was pretty intuitive.

It is so pretty, I want to keep it for myself! But that would be silly since Joe already has 4 computers (G4, Macbook Pro, iMac, Eee Box) and I have 1 (Macbook). Um, yeah :)

the cheongsam

February 10th, 2009 - No Responses

cheongsam

So my biggest “hurdle” right now with wedding planning is finding a cheongsam for our Vancouver banquet. (In Mandarin it’s called a qipao but I grew up speaking Cantonese, so to me, it’s a cheongsam.) Joe’s mom generously offered to make one for me, but given the long-distance, it’s not practical– plus it’d be a big project!

So I’m trying to figure out where to look. If I were in Seattle or New York City, this wouldn’t be such a challenge– but I’m in DC, where Chinese boutiques are almost non-existent. And I really have no idea how to go about finding quality information on cheongsam vendors. Can I trust the top results in Google? If I look in the Yellow Pages, what category do I look under? Should I roam around Chinablock and start networking with folks who are “in the know”?

What I really want is something like Yelp with reviews so that I can discern: 1) where this type of dress would be sold, and 2) of those choices, which would be accessible to me and make a high-quality, affordable product. I want to know pros and cons of ordering online vs. going to a boutique in person.

I need a cheongsam librarian! ;)

long-distance update

January 31st, 2009 - 2 Responses

Joe and I have been long-distance for a month now, and it’s been a process figuring out how to communicate across 3 time zones and an international boundary.

boundary

At first we used the method we’ve been used to– our cell phones. But those calls between Canada and the US add up! My cell phone plan charges 15 cents per minute for calls to Canada, and Joe’s plan charges 10 cents per minute for calls to the States. If we were to talk for an hour every day using this method, that’s a whopping $450 a month!

So then my roommate suggested calling cards. I still have the calling card I used back in college (before cell phones were popular!) to call my parents– 5.9 cents per minute to call Canada. That brings our $450 down to $286.20. Better, but doesn’t pass. We’re frugal Chinese.

Plan C. Joe has a GrandCentral account which provides you with a free phone number that can be forwarded to all your phones. The GrandCentral number has a US area code, and we got it to forward to Joe’s cell! So I can use my US cell to call a US number (at no additional charge to my cell plan) which forwards to Joe’s Canada cell number. Now we’re down to $180.

Still not good enough, because meanwhile, I’m racking up way too many peak hour minutes and going over my monthly usage limit. :-o It’s hard to restrict calls till after 9pm and weekends. We need to use the internet!

But my roommate and I are frugal and don’t pay for internet– we’ve been relying on unsecured wireless in the neighborhood, which is weak and unreliable, but works for things like e-mail and IM. So Joe uses his Skype out account ($3/month) to call my cell phone. This is fine, but it means that he always has to call me and I can’t call him, and often the reception is unclear. Lame.

Finally, I break down and decide to pay for cable internet so we can use iChat, which IMHO is way cooler (and more reliable) than Skype. This is our method of choice now because iChat, in all its awesomeness, has video chat!

joe laughing as i eat a cracker

…and even a screensharing feature!

screenshare

So not only can we see each other when we communicate, we can share web projects we’ve been working on via screensharing! This past week I showed Joe the new Serials Solutions ERM I’ve been working in and Joe (tried to) show me some CSS stuff. We can also have Hulu dates and watch “The Office” together– iChat lets us do voice chat while we watch, so it *almost* feels like we’re in the same room as we chuckle and banter about the show.

Geeky, I know. But we’re making it work.

the garland

January 25th, 2009 - 4 Responses

My mom is an artistic soul. She loves to draw, press flowers, rubber stamp, write songs, do paper-cutting, and decorate cakes (she used to run her own Chinese cake and pastry business in Virginia).

It’s been hard figuring out how to involve our families in the wedding planning– it’s difficult to find appropriate tasks to delegate when they’re on the other side of the country. As I was reviewing our task list, I realized one thing we had overlooked– decorating our wedding arch. We’re renting one of these for our outdoor ceremony:

I started running through a list of DC friends in my head as potentials to delegate this task to, but couldn’t think of anyone who would be particularly enthused about the task… when I realized my mom loves this sort of thing! Perfect! I sent her this link for inspiration and within two days, she had taken two trips to Michael’s, selected about 3 different types of silk flowers and 2 types of leaves, and created this:

How awesome is my mom? Hmm…. what else can I delegate to her… ;)