A Jill of No Shades

I may have walked on a runway. I may have even immersed myself in a hip, fashion forward city once. However, when it comes to piecing together an outfit? I may as well be asked to figure out calculus find the cure for cancer.

All of my life, my fashion sense hinged upon ideas from things around me. A fitted, ultra chic ensemble in the window of Banana Republic, I’ll run inside to try it on, only to confirm my body shape is nothing like a mannequin. A soft, multi-colored pastel sundress from a friend’s closet, I try it on, only to find that it accentuates my narrow shoulders and king-king size arse.

So what’s a girl to do?

I run and hide under my fallback jeans and black shirt. Or black pants and black shirt. Or black dress and a black pashmina.

See a pattern here?

No, I am not in perpetual mourning, nor am I color blind. On the contrary, I am merely benevolent to public eyes, and avoid blinding everyone with my poor color coordination.

However, my father-in-law IS colorblind. He purchased a new Black automobile years ago, drove it home, only to find his family completely baffled at why he would buy a Purple car. His son, Dadisodes? He’s no help either. Up until last year, he thought wearing brown shoes with a black shirt was kosher.

*Insert head shake and eye roll*

My daughter is swimming in a color handicapped gene pool!

Thankfully I am fully aware of this issue and are taking steps to avoid raising a Wednesday Addams. While purchasing clothes for my daughter, I avoid black at all costs. I’m aware of the habit-forming possibilities. I am also fortunate enough to have a niece older than my daughter, who regularly sends colorful hand-me-downs. And recently, I’ve asked Babisodes to help pick out her own outfits in the morning.

Friday morning we were in a bit of a hurry. I opened up Babisodes’ dresser drawer and instructed her to pick out pants and a shirt to wear. In a flurry, I donned my usual jeans and shirt, Babisodes in her chosen outfit, and then ran downstairs to put on shoes.

In the distance I hear, “Mommy, wait! I gots to get my purse and stings!”

*loud clamoring of plastic toys*

Me: “Okay! Hurry up! Get your shoes on and let’s go. We’re late!”

Babisodes: “ Ahwite mommy. I ready to go! I gots my stuff. We can go now.”

*Enters room wearing this*

I believe she’s all set to swim in that defective gene pool now.

No Money Mo Problems

I’ve been pondering this post for days. I began mentally writing it this weekend, and since then I’ve rewritten it a few dozen times. Without so many words, it all boils down to one thing- Money, and the lack the lack thereof.

Throughout my life, one rule has seeped deeply into the nooks and crannies of my brain (mainly by my mother)- never borrow money from someone else. In her mid 20’s, my mom had the financial burden of a hefty home mortgage, 2 children, 2 car payments, and 2 non-English speaking elderly parents. My father also contributed his share to the mile high bills, but the breadwinner was often my mother offering a steady salary and benefits. She never asked for help from anyone. Until this day, every conscious decision in my mother’s life revolves around the question, “is it financially sound?”

Over time my mother’s financial threads helped me to weave my own monetary fibers. I learned the value of saving at an early age. Despite years of begging for Guess jeans, ID shirts, and Nike shoes, she eventually taught me the true value of things (translation- I never owned designer anything). I never borrowed a penny from anyone until college and needed a student loan to pay for tuition. Six days after I wore my cap and gown I began work in a hospital. I worked the graveyard shift in the worst hospital setting of my career. 50 hours a week for a year, just to pay back my loan in full. Since then I traveled across the country, purchased a car and a house on my own. No help from anyone.

Then…I got married, and a joint account emerged.

Five weeks after the birth of Babisodes, I immediately returned to work. Since the age of 16, I’ve had a paycheck. If there was rent to pay, I worked and paid for it. If I needed comfortable work shoes that cost a fortune, I worked overtime and paid for it. However, now I’m a stay-at-home mom. There is no timesheet to fill out or time clock to punch out with. I don’t get a mandatory 15-minute break, or have someone to fill-in while I pee. Most importantly, there is no paycheck.

Now before everyone goes waving their arms in the air about how being a mom is the hardest job in the world, and if moms were paid they would make “X” amount of dollars…I know. It’s just that those monetary fibers have been so tightly bound within me that it’s hard to undo or see through them anymore. Dadisodes has never mentioned a word about my spending. It’s all me. My underlying instincts to only spend what I have. And what’s in my own bank account has dwindled down to nothing. I merely hold onto it because of my mom’s voice echoing in my mind. Since I don’t contribute a dime to my joint account with Dadisodes, I don’t feel entitled to use it unless I’m spending for our house or child.

I have not seen my name on a real paycheck in over a year. Since then, I cannot recall myself purchasing anything for myself without feeling a suffocating level of guilt. So after a year of credit card purchases (thank you ridiculous gas prices) I managed to accumulate a decent size cash-back bonus check. I used all of it to buy Dadisodes’ father’s day gift last week.

He is a big, fat coffee snob loves espresso, and buys it nearly everyday. Now he can make some at home! When shopping for his gift, I couldn’t help but peruse the other shiny items that I would personally love to have. But I won’t buy them…because of that whole paycheck thing.

Instead, I made sure Dadisodes’ espresso machine came with a steam wand. That way he can make me some damn cappuccinos.

House Of Possible Horrors

Have I ever told you I’m a wuss? A big fat scaredy cat afraid of her own shadow? Well I am. I’ve slept with a nightlight since I was a three. I’m afraid of the dark, heights, spiders, frogs, snakes, worms, insects, rodents, drawn curtains at night, horror movies, lightening, and watching America’s Most Wanted (John Walsh’s voice alone freaks me out).

I alluded to some creepy activity in our house a few days back, and mentioned my daughter keeps saying she sees “ghostses.” And many of you have gathered around the campfire to share your ghostly stories and ghost busting tips. Although I’d like to say I’m sitting back cozy with a few toasted marshmallows, I’m really typing up this entry from beneath my covers with all the lights on in the room.

Needless to say that when I read Sarah’s entry about her own paranormal encounter,… I had to change. my. pants. Go read it, but seriously, bring an extra pair of pants with you.

Anyhow, here’s the low down on our house of possible horrors we’ve now lived in for ohhh…7 days.

It was after 10pm on Monday. We just finished unpacking as many boxes possible for the evening and were ready to call it a day. Hubby and I spent most of the day taking turns unpacking and wrangling the toddler throughout the house. Everywhere except for one room- the dining room. We don’t have a dining table or furniture for that room yet, so we left it alone. The rest of the rooms kept us plenty busy, so we were exhausted and headed upstairs for the night. As hubby brushed his teeth, I turned on our tiny 12” TV in our bedroom with the sound nearly off (I like to read Closed Captioning on the Weather Channel). As I waited for the local weather update, I walked out of our bedroom to join hubby to brush my teeth.


Hubby and I both heard the loud noise downstairs and stood a bit frozen for a minute waiting to hear more to follow. It was silent.

We gingerly tip-toed downstairs to assess the areas. Living room, nothing. Kitchen, nothing, Dining room…um, who opened the window?!?!

As I mentioned before, none of us ever went into this room or touched anything in it.

Hold onto your pants as I give you the lamest re-enactment, ever. What? I’m afraid of the dark remember?

Here is what the window shade looked like all day.

Mowed Over

I am quickly learning, it’s not always easy being green.

Since the purchase of our home, we’ve had to invest in several “homeowner items”- rake, ladder, hose, etc. However, when it came down to purchasing a lawn mower, maybe we were in over our heads.

You see, we aspire to live green(er) when possible. We purchased a large capacity, front-loading washer to save on water and electricity, use re-useable grocery bags and energy saver bulbs. I’ve even posted a long list of other ways in my Project Support Beauty in Nature posts here and here. So when we strolled through Sears seeking a lawn-mowing tool, we immediately thought “Gas is expensive. Lets get a ‘Reel mover’” (the one without an engine).

Can you see the naivety in our actions already?

Well before you think we’re a bunch of tree hugging loons, please keep in mind that when we purchased our home MOST of our lawn was dead. I mean D-E-A-D, as in, nuthin’ but dirt kind of dead.

So this lawn mower would just be a simple tool to hold us over until we could afford some sod or as grass seed slowly grew in. Here is what our backyard looked like when we moved in…

See those tiny flecks of green beneath the vast landscape of un-raked leaves (thank you lazy previous homeowners)? I promise that was the ONLY patch of green on our entire property…until about 3 weeks ago.

Now we have this…

Try mowing ALL of that, plus a decent sized front and side yard with this…

My arms feel like they’ve been rung through those dull ass blades all. weekend. long.

If you’re considering one of these an alternative to a mower with an actual motor…DON’T DO IT! Fork over the extra dough to get a real mower. You have to roll this heavy, non-powered contraption over a blade of grass 15 times to get it to cut evenly or at all. And dandelions? Ha! Their flimsy seeds that blow off in a stiff breeze will just scoff at one of these barreling down on them. It took me 2 hours to finish our yard.

Maybe next time I shoul

I Don’t Understand It Myself

1) I love bananas, but hate anything banana flavored.

2) I hate coconut, but love coconut flavor.

3) I can tolerate wearing thongs, but hate g-strings.

4) I love to eat rice, but cannot even look at rice pudding.

5) I love to travel, but hate flying.

6) I can munch on granola, but gag on oatmeal.

7) I can appreciate a massage anywhere (head, back, feet, etc), but if you touch my thighs, I’ll kick you.

8 ) I love guacamole, but hate avocados.

9) I tie my hair back into a ponytail daily, but rarely ever pull it all the way through the hair-tie (not sure why).

10) I love having long hair, but just end up tying it up.

11) I don’t like to wear make-up, but always apply pressed powder.

12) Feet gross me out, but I love flip-flops.

13) I’m a total wuss and hate to watch any type of scary movie or show, but sat glued to my TV yesterday watching a Ghost Hunter marathon (no I did not sleep well).

I think it was his fault…

What’s in the Bag

In recent weeks I’ve mentioned a few times how much we spend on groceries each week. Because I’m lazy and a big fat cheap-o, I do my grocery shopping just once a week at the same supermarket, and I try to keep my grocery bill between $50-$60 for a family of three.

Since some of you asked how I spend so little and I have nothing else to blog about today, I figured why not share my grocery list. Of course a few items vary from week to week, depending on my needs (i.e. I’m running low on good coffee). However, I tend to tally up a bill in the ballpark of $50/week. Here’s a breakdown from my latest grocery receipt:

$4.59 – All natural boneless chicken breasts
$3.02 – 93% lean ground beef
$3.58  – Organic tofu x’s 2
$2.79 – All natural deli ham (9 oz)
$2.99 –  American Kraft cheese slices
$2.79 – Less sugar Yoplait yogurt
$2.25 – Life cereal
$1.50 – Natural sugar free applesauce
$1.99 – Organic raisins (6 snack boxes)
$1.00 – Dry Spaghetti pasta
$2.50 – Natural tomato sauce
$1.29 – Loaf of wheat bread (generic)
$1.99 – Organic mini carrots
$1.79 – Celery stalks
$0.45 – Scallion
$1.00 – Small bag of yellow onions
$0.99 – Green beans (1 pound)
$1.25 – Zucchini (1.25 pounds)
$1.99 – Organic cherry tomatoes
$2.50 – Organic mixed greens (salad)
$0.50 – Garlic (full head)
$2.45 – Strawberries (10 oz)
$2.99 – Bag of oranges (3 pounds)
$1.02 – Bananas (2 pounds)
$2.00 – Sun chips
$3.69 – 2% Natural Milk (1 gallon)
$2.29 – 1 dozen brown eggs (large)
$57.19 Total

If I am not being lazy , I will also clip coupons to try and save more. However, I am queen of coupon clipping and then forgetting them all during checkout…until they expire. I also try to stay keen on how much items cost, especially if they’re organic. Sometimes you can find great prices for natural and/or organic foods at places like Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s or be completely ripped off. For instance, I find boxes of organic tofu cheaper at Whole Foods than my regular market, but a bag of oranges are twice the price.

For our meals, I tend to cook large enough dinners to allow leftovers for lunch, and breakfasts are as simple as toast and/or fruit. Snacks for my 2-year old are usually fruit (banana, raisins, applesauce, etc), and the same goes for the adults in the house too.

We DO eat out as a family throughout the week, but rarely at a sit-down restaurant. Often times if I’m not in the mood to cook we will order simple take-out. I’m trying to avoid eating fast food (usually $5/combo meal, plus 10,000 calories), and have weaned myself from my daily $3 cup of StarCrack.

How about you?

Do you have any penny pinching tips?

Please share in the comments below

I Quit

I officially have a new title.

I am no longer a “Working mom”, or a “Work-at-Home mom.”

For the first time in my life, I am now a…”Stay. At. Home. Mom.”


I apologize for not having a more funny or witty post today, but I am physically and emotionally drained. I spent most of the Mother’s day weekend working, and I went to bed last night around 4am contemplating this decision.

So for the sake of staying true to this online journal/blog, I am posting portions from my letter of resignation sent out today. I’ve omitted many areas in order to keep details about the company out of the public eye for the time being.


I am resigning from my position as (title) at (company), effective immediately. After 2 years I regret to inform you that I can no longer be part of the (company) team. I cannot put forth my time and effort, emotionally and physically anymore. In the past two years I’ve adjusted to the new role of motherhood, sold a house, moved across the country, moved into many different residences, worked part-time as a nurse, managed my own website daily, all the while taking care of a family. During these events in my personal life, my work for (company) has never waned…

(a whole lot of text omitted here)

I’ve stayed with this company for over 2 years (watching many people sever ties) sacrificing my time, family, and sanity at times, for NO pay and the smallest share in this company. I do not feel as if everyone’s work ethic within this company is aligned, and I can no longer continue fulfilling my role under these conditions, and with this team.

Attached is a list of some of my current tasks and responsibilities as a (title) I complete on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis.

I know part of me is mourning the loss of this role already. Letting go has never been easy for me. Throughout my professional career, I have never “quit” a job for any reason other than relocation (except for that 1 nursing job where I took a patient down to the morgue nearly every week). So for me to cut ties with this company, and so abruptly, has left me licking my wounds a bit.

On the plus side, for the first time in my life, my mother called me today and said “I’m proud of you for leaving Sandy. I know it was hard….but I’m proud of you.” And for the first time in nearly 2 years, I sat down on my couch to do nothing and my 2.5 year old daughter climbed up into my lap, placed her hand in mine….and fell asleep in my arms.

Maybe this new gig isn’t so bad after all.

The Yellow Page

My mother is the typical Asian mom. Growing up there were no hugs, kisses, or “I love you’s”. They just didn’t exist. They were never part of her world growing up in rural China. With only bare necessities to live, and little to resources in a tiny village, I’m guessing the culture and lifestyle didn’t leave much room for those things. So in turn, my upbringing was often void of emotional or physical affection. Even until this day, my mom expresses her compassion purely through actions.

At the end of my first week in kindergarten, I walked over to my mom in the kitchen and handed her a piece of paper. The yellow page was a notice listing all the supplies and requirements students in my class needed to have ready by the end of the week. I kept it hidden in my Care Bear folder with the intent of showing it her, but she was never home when I arrived home from school. Subconsciously, I think I neglected to show her to spare her from being upset about all the expenses for school. Every expense was a burden, and she always let us know it.

So instead, she complained bitterly about me not bringing the list to her sooner. I remember lying in bed that night, crying softly into my pillow so my mom wouldn’t hear me. No one was allowed to close their bedroom door, so I buried myself under my covers and soaked my pillow in muffled cries. I knew that just outside of the room were my disappointed mom, and a brand new backpack…empty. I envisioned myself walking into a classroom full of children, each one with fully stocked pencil boxes and desks, and mine being empty.

I tossed and turned for hours, but finally fell asleep staring out my bedroom window. I remember looking up at the night sky and saying to my then 5-year old self, “I wish I didn’t have to go to school ever again.”

7am the next morning my mom gently pulled the covers off from my curled up body. I sat up for a moment as my head spun from all the crying, and rubbed my swollen eyes to see clearly.

At the foot of my bed was my new red backpack. My mom leaned over and pulled it closer on my bed in front of me and unzipped the top. As I peeled away the front flap, all of my textbooks leaned forward, all perfectly covered with folded brown paper bags to protect the outside hard covers. Every last one marked with their subject title on the front with a Sharpie. Behind the books were a few crisp folders, slightly filled with wide-ruled lined paper. And in the front pocket, newly sharpened #2 pencils, safety scissors, Elmer’s glue, a ruler, and a coveted unopened box of Crayola crayons. I wrapped my hands around the box of crayons and pulled them up to my face and closed my eyes. Breathing deeply to smell the new crayons, I was overcome with how special my mom made me feel. After a few moments in bed to take it all in, I peered up at my mom and smiled…

She smiled back.

Back then my mom was a busy working mother of two, supporting a family and aging parents. A woman I have grown to respect and love even more now that I am a mother, regardless of her signs of affection.

She probably has no recollection of this day when I was just five years old. However, for me, it is one of my most treasured memories of my mom.

To Ensure Immunity to Bogus Gift-itis

It’s been a busy week! Some of you mentioned that Dadisode must have read my birthday karma post before he received his Krazy Glue. After speaking with him last night, I can assure you that had no idea. He finally caught up with all the recent posts here last night while…sitting right next to me.

*shields eyes*

Of course his immediate reaction to all the posts had NOTHING to do with the fact that he received GLUE in a TUBE as a birthday gift; or the fact that I had on lace underthings and fell asleep. Nope, I got an earful of, “ Geez! I look like CRAP in that picture!”


This man is a total moron completely oblivious. Subtle and not so subtle hints are never going to work.

So in lieu of Mother’s Day this Sunday (and to ensure not receiving another $5 car accessory), I feel I may need to list precisely which items may be deemed as appropriate gifts to receive from my husband.

1) A designer handbag – and it better not say “Fucci” or “Foach” on it.

2) iPod- Turn Off your PC defense mechanisms, walk into a MAC store, and allow the high school wannabe geek lead you into the dark side.

3) Manicure/Pedicure- from a reputable place that will not give me a fungal souvenir.

4) Alone time- for me. Meaning everyone must be off the premises.

5) Private shower- with just me, myself, and I. No toddler allowed. (This does not count as “alone time”)

6) New camera- My current Canon Elph has little to no zoom, and turns everyone into Casper the Friendly Ghosts with flash. Even iPhoto has limits to it’s magic powers.

7) Insolence perfume by Guerlain- I’ve had 3,045 samples of this lying around our bedroom. An actual spritz bottle would be much nicer than having to rub packets on my neck.

8 ) Shoes- I’ve mentioned this as a big “No No” in the past, but all of my current ones have either a tear, hole, or have been worn to death. However, please do not attempt to pick out shoes for me. Remember when you brought home a size 9 or 10 engagement ring for my size 4.5 finger. Please…. allow me.

9) A grown up size diamond- because the one I have was clearly not made for one. I’d post a photo, but the zoom on my camera doesn’t double as a microscope.

10) Earrings- Allow me to pick these out too (refer to #9 for diamond size insufficiency).

11) Salon haircut- to fix the hack job Superbad Cuts did to my hair last month.

12) A massage- by a professional. I’ve had a 1-hour massage once in my life, and I nearly cried when it was over.

13) Gift certificate to any store with decent clothes for women (does not include Wal-Mart Target, or K-Mart)- One day, I’ll need to replace some of the clothes I’ve been hanging on to for over 15 years.

Crazed or Not Crazed?…That is the Question

My parental units are still here. Today is the last day of their visit, and as usual my emotions are a little conflicted. The anticipation leading up to their visits are always intense. Since they live many states away, we rarely get to see them and their visits are a always special. However, after spending more than 48 hours with them under the same roof, I’m quickly reminded of the past. A time when I was about, oh…. 15 or 16 years old. Don’t get me wrong. I love my parents, bizarre Chinese superstitions and personality quirks and all (sort of), but sometimes, they can drive me a bit batty.

Here are 13 reasons why I love and not so love having my parents here.
You be the judge…

1) Sandy, do you have a scale? When was the last time you weighed yourself?

2) You need more plants in your house… You need a plant in here… A plant should go right here…Why don’t you plant something here?

3) Are you taking your vitamins? You should take your vitamins Sandy?

4) Why don’t you just quit your job? It’s just not worth it. (I agree)

5) Ella doesn’t look like you AT ALL Sandy.

6) Why is there hair ALL OVER the house? There’s hair everywhere! – my O.C.D dad

7) Gosh Sandy, you really need to clean your car.

8) Go ahead and take a shower, we’ll watch Ella. *Angel choir sings*

9) Dad phones a few relatives (ones I don’t like) and thinks it is all right to divulge how much we paid for our house

10) Your toilets are really loud. Why are they so loud? Did you hear how loud they are?

11) *Mom fills a glass with green slimy substance resembling swamp water*
Here Sandy, drink this. It’s good for you…

Dad: Blah, blah blah in Cantonese.
Toddler: *blank stare*
Dad: Blah, blah blah in Cantonese (louder)
Me: She doesn’t understand Chinese dad.

13) I slept in this morning until 9am and came downstairs to a dog and toddler both fed and happy 🙂

I only hope to have the same opportunity to share some of these torturous moments with Ella in a few years.