The Opposite of optimism is cynicism

It’s been chilly all week long which means it’s starting to feel like fall in LA. In a previous post, I mentioned it was a little hard to adjust to the normal routine since coming back from vacation. I mean it’s been my first major vacation in more than two years. Plus it was my first vacation since having a baby and it was my first time being away from her for a week. I think around Wednesday was when I finally got the hang of my routine again (for the most part).

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Hanging out at baggage claim for two hours

Now it’s my turn to go on vacation. Actually, the funny thing was that it was the other way around I planned a vacation first with my college friends and my husband decided to plan one with Lana around the same time. I realized I was going to miss out on seeing Lana experience her flight and her first long-distance trip. She will, however, experience the first time she’s been apart from me for more than 10 hours. Plus I will miss out on learning how to travel with a young child. At least my husband can tell me how it goes and we can plan better for the next trip (haha). I just learned we could pack the stroller which would have made getting around the airport so much easier. Plus it could have doubled as a wagon to hold our carryons and personal items.

I just landed in Austin and I am waiting for my friends to arrive. They’re coming from the Bay Area. In the meantime, I am at the seating area next to baggage claim writing this post to occupy my two hours.

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My idea of an easy weekend is…

We thought this weekend it was best to stay in town and take it easy by finally starting our pergola project. We’ve had the supplies in our garage — we just haven’t gotten around to building it because it been too hot to work outside…maybe if we did work on our project in the summer, we would have waited until the sun went down to do the work.

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Choose what helps you bloom (PPAC #62)

Another piece of art on a utility box.

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Vision boards for travel planning

Yesterday afternoon I was cleaning the deck and it now it looks good as new. I’ve been meaning to clean the deck for some time.

I’ll be honest, I actually cleaned most of the deck. So most of it does look nice. I did not clean that small part BIL occupies with his lawn chairs, sidetable, etc. It’s a mess and I don’t want to pick up after him. When he moves out I’ll clean that part of the deck too. I’ve given up asking him to help out long ago.

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Play hard

The Comparison game

I think one of the worst things a parent, a grandparent, or a relative could do to a child is to compare them with other children. I am thankful my parents never did that. I am also thankful my parents advised me to never compare myself to other people. I am sure I started this self-flagellation of comparing myself to others as early as elementary school…maybe even sooner? I think into my 20s it was pretty bad because I was concerned about career and life satisfaction. Now in my 30s, I am actively fighting against it.

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My year of Declutter

Declutter was my 2021 word of the year. How did I do? I actually did pretty well surprisingly. I’ve experienced quite a bit of challenges such as having a baby and differences in lifestyle with roommates (read: BILs). I could have given up and let entropy do the job, but I am not the type of person who sits there and does nothing. Here’s how it went over the past year:

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Covered in paint from head to toe

If you come to my house for coffee, you’ll probably find me all covered in paint from head to toe but that’s because I’ve been painting my kid’s room. I know I paid someone to paint Lana’s room a couple of weeks ago, but there’s this one wall in Lana’s room that was not painted and it’s a plywood wall that scream the 1950s. This house was all built in 1953 after all. I was not sure if I wanted to keep the plywood wall or replace it with drywall. The painter said if I were to put drywall, he can come back another time to paint that wall for free. But after much thought, I decided to keep it but I’m going to paint it myself. Over the past week, I’ve cleaned, repaired some of the panels, spackled, filled gaps, and sanded. Today is the day for priming and painting. Working on the plywood wall is more work than painting the drywall. I can’t imagine how much more the painter would have charged me.

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DIY vs. Delegate

This is the weekend I finally catch up on sleep. My husband came back from training — which was a relief. But of course he’s catching up on sleep this weekend because he’s going back to work to his regular job on Monday. I’ll admit the last two weeks were difficult — especially when Lana was sick and then I was sick. When my husband is away, I like to use that time to work on a bunch of projects — it could be an art project to display in the dining room, plant something in the front yard, etc. But lately I’ve been too tired to do basic things.

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A Heavy declutter weekend

It’s great day to have a coconut sundae! Yup, I am still writing about ice cream for my July “Eat Around the World” challenge. Don’t be intimidated by how indulgent it looks. It’s less of a sugar bomb compared to the ice cream sandwich I had the other day.

I can’t wait to share the other ice creams I’ve had this past month! I even made a couple of ice cream popsicles.

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No…I do not want your sloppy seconds

I understanding preparing for a baby can be expensive. It is tempting to accept all the free stuff you can take, however, I’ve had a lot of terrible experiences with inheriting second hand stuff. As much as I want to think people are coming from a good place, the truth is I find it is an excuse for them to buy newer, shinier stuff when I too have the funds to buy new myself.

I find we have to deal with the hassle of getting rid of the second hand stuff as soon as we get it. One time I got a Christmas tree and decoration to only find out most of the parts were broken. We tossed it and decided maybe that year was not the year we finally decorated our house of the holidays. Besides we enjoyed our tradition of exploring other places to enjoy holiday decorations.

We also have to deal with the hassle of repairing items too. My sister-in-law gave us a washer and dryer. The condition for the most part is usable, but occasionally, the washer leaks. This is the reason why I don’t want to inherit their “perfectly good” fridge because who knows what problems will come up once we take it. I pride in our “old fashion” white box because we kept ours in great condition after having it for many years.

I had a roommate back in college who always liked to pick up stuff she found on the sidewalk on the way back home. Her treasure finds tend to come with pests.

Look, I am not against receiving used items. I have inherited many items from my parents and grandparents that been in optimal condition. I was taught to keep my stuff in good shape. When the time comes when I want to give it away, I want in good conscience to know whatever I am giving something away where it does fall apart upon arrival. It’s just messed up to give away stuff because you want something newer and shinier.

With a baby on the way, the only things I am willing to take are clothes, bed sheets, swaddle cloths, and books. I don’t want to following and here are my reasons:

  • Toys: I was not intending on having lots of toy for the baby especially if it does not benefit the baby beneficially. Also, I see in the future I’ll be doing all the work where I get rid of the toys.
  • Walkers: There will absolutely be no walkers in the house. Besides walkers impede on needed muscle building a baby needs to crawl and eventually walk.
  • Furniture like pack-n-plays, cribs, drawers: If it falls apart, how are we going to return it?
  • Car seat and stroller: See reasons above. It’s a safety thing too.
  • Mattress: I don’t know why people think it is okay to just give away a mattress. I’ve inherited mattresses that came in terrible conditions like the spring popped up. The worst was getting bed bugs. Inheriting baby mattress sound disgusting too because there was previously pee, poo, barf, and who knows what. Plus newborns need firm mattresses not used mattresses that get softer with time.

Besides, if let’s say I have “saved so much money” it is not like the monies I saved went towards a vacation or home remodeing project. “Free” stuff does not give me peace of mind if it falls apart. The broken Christmas decorations and the faulty washing machine were relatively low-risk, we were not in any real danger. The used mattress with the bedbugs and pests from my roommate’s sidewalk finds were probably the worst I’ve experienced out of free stuff. We went through cycles of fumigation, homeopathic remedies, and cleaning our clothes and did it all over again. But were adults who worked it out. Based on my collective experiences with second hand items, I don’t want to put my baby (or anybody’s baby) the problems I dealt with.

What is your take on secondhand baby items? Or secondhand items in general? Comment below!

Foods I miss eating during pregnancy

  1. Poke bowl, sushi burritos, sushi – This warmer weather calls for colder food like poke. There are days where I go “this would be a good day for poke” and then I tell myself, “oh wait…I can’t have raw fish” I would say out of all foods, I miss raw fish the most.
  2. Deli meat and canned tuna – I was informed deli meats were food pregnant women should avoid, but I see other articles say it is fine to eat deli meat. The message is confusing. Anyways, I eat these in moderation. And when I say “moderation” — I say once per week. Before pregnancy, I would eat deli meats several times per week because it was a cheap and easy protein to put in my salad and sandwiches.
  3. Alcohol – I have a small bar full of wines and liquors. It will be a while until I start mixing drinks again.
  4. Kombucha – There is a tiny percentage of alcohol in kombucha. Even I was told it was not recommended during pregnancy.

I was surprised to find that I had a fairly small list of foods that I miss. Nowadays most of my diet consists of fruits, vegetables, beans, chicken, and some sort of plant based milk. I thought I would miss eating dessert all the time. I use to eat several sweets per day and now it is down to one sweet item. It is the healthiest I have ever been. Here’s to keeping it this way!

What foods have you missed during pregnancy?