Sunday, August 31, 2008

The bargin hunters

A couple weeks ago, we went out to breakfast and the department store next to the restaurant just happened to be having a clearance sale. I convinced Mr. Fix-it to make a stop and woo hoo! Jackpot! I got three skirts, two tops (of course, they don't match so I need to do some more shopping ;) ), and Mr. Fix-it got a pair of slacks and a nice shirt. All for $102. Not as cheap as I would like, but I really wanted to update my work wardrobe.

Then just a week later, I saw that the same store was having another clearance sale. So we went to a different location and I found a few more things. But what really caught my attention was the skirt I just bought was $6 less than the other skirts I had purchased (they were all the same price originally). So I asked the clerk if I could bring back the other items for a price adjustment, even though I bought them on clearance. Now, if it had been a few weeks, I probably wouldn't have thought about it, but it had only been a week (literally 7 days and two hours) since I purchased the original items. Mr. Fix-it wasn't too thrilled with more shopping and the returns so I went back myself and of course, did even more shopping, lol.

It turns out for the price adjustment, I had to return everything I bought and then repurchase them. Whatever works is okay with me. The new total? $53! So I saved $49; Mr. Fix-it was pretty impressed. Between the two shopping trips that day, I got four more things, which were way less than $49 so I'm still ahead. I'm pretty excited about my new purchases, can you tell?

Then today, we were grocery shopping and got a great deal on meat. The store called it a grill special: 4 hamburger patties, 4 Italian sausage, and 8 pieces of chicken for $4.99. We were going to have it for dinner tonight, but then we got invited to a BBQ tomorrow. Since the meat was such a good deal, we offered to bring the main course, lol.

My latest SB purchase

I know, I know. I really don't need any more Quickutz. But I got a great deal on this set; only $30.99, including shipping! Such a deal! (Now, if only I could get Magnolia for the same price.) I was a little nervous since the ebay seller had some negative feedback. But a DT member over at Linnecards had purchased from them several times without any problems so I decided to go for it. Now I need to figure out how to use this in my Cuttlebug since I don't have any money to spend on a QK Revolution.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Feel like SB shopping this weekend?

Head on over to Linnecards. She's having a sale from Saturday through Monday. 15% off everything not already marked down. And her prices are already discounted. Don't forget free shipping at $35.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

New readers?

My counter (at the bottom of the page, in case you didn't notice it) has been increasing faster than it used to. And I noticed a few new locations on the traffic feed.

Don't be shy. Come out and say hello! Leave me a comment (I love comments) or drop me an e-mail or a PM. If you're reading this, you know how to get a hold of me. Let me know who you are so I can say hello.

Monday, August 25, 2008

I feel pretty

Not! I got my hair cut a few weeks ago since I knew we were making a visit home. I wanted something a little trendier than what I had so my hairdresser went waaaaay short, especially in the back (actually, I like that part). But I still can't figure out how to style the front.

I got lots of compliments at work, but it took me about a week to get used to it. Then I saw photos from the banquet and yuck, I hated my hair! Now I'm considering going even shorter to "fix" it, I dunno, maybe a boy cut aka a pixie cut?

But then there were a couple photos from this weekend (an anniversary party for the in-laws' in-laws, got that?) and I liked my hair in those. Hmmmm, don't say it, I will...women are so fickle!

What, no photos??? I'm at that "I don't like photos of myself" stage. I don't mind posing for photos, but I don't like looking at them afterwards, so nope, no photos to share.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Zai jian Beijing

Goodbye Beijing. Sob, I loved the Olympics closing ceremony. Shades of Cirque du Soleil. Mr. Fix-it wants those giant circle bikes and jumping shoes. The ceremoney was beautiful, impressive, moving, fun. I really didn't need to hear Jackie Chan sing though, lol.

Although Mr. Fix-it enjoyed watching the Olympics, I'm sure he won't miss me singing along to the NBC Olympic theme music (dah daah da da da da da), correcting the commentators' pronunciation of Beijing (it's a hard j sound, Cris Collinsworth got it right), or the fist pumping every time there was mention of something the Chinese invented. I think I'll be a little quieter during the London games, actually, the Vancouver games, well, except for singing the Olympic theme music. :)

I was just thinking that in 1984, the Olympics were hosted by the United States in Los Angeles and I was in China, Beijing actually, watching what I could of the Olympics. This year, I'm in the US watching the Olympics from Beijing, China. Some sort of full circle thing going on here.


Good price for now, but it sounds prices might go up again.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Too bad I can't duplicate this recipe

Sometimes you make something so fantastic and unfortunately, you know you'll never be able to repeat it. I brought some duck and chicken home from the banquet. There wasn't much meat there, you know how all the parts of the bird show up on the plate at Chinese restaurants. So I took that stuff home to make broth, which I did on Tuesday. Then yesterday, I planned to make jook (xi fan, if you're speaking Mandarin) with the broth and add the bean leaves that mom picked for me.

Now, what's this with the bean leaves you ask? That's what I wanted to know. Mom mentioned that Auntie S would make jook with string bean leaves. Huh? How come I never heard of this before? So mom picked some for me to cook at home. But she made a big deal about how I needed to get trim them off the stems/veins and cook the leaves for at least an hour otherwise they would upset my stomach. Hmmm, doesn't sound very appetizing now, lol. (a little vent, she would only tell me how to trim the leaves, she wouldn't show me. like she couldn't spare one lousy leaf? you need to know my mom to understand what the dynamics and why I didn't tear a leaf in front of her.)

Back to cleaning and cooking the leaves. I left work early (as if 5:30 is really early), so I would have time to prep the leaves. After 10 minutes, I was started getting a little sloppy because it was taking longer than I thought. After 30 minutes, I was ready to toss the leaves in as is. After 45 minutes, I told Mr. Fix-it that we were having something else for dinner because I was still cleaning leaves and they still had to cook. So we scrounged up a meal from what we could find in the fridge while the jook (and leaves) simmered.

Finally, tonight, we were able to enjoy the fruits of my labor. Yep, it's gone. No picture. Sorry. We're not sure what flavor the leaves added since the duck broth was the predominate flavor. I think the leaves tasted like, darn it, I can't remember what the vegetable is called. I'll have to ask mom and update later. Anyways, Mr. Fix-it thought it was the best jook he ever had. Guess we'll need to buy a roast duck now and then so I can try to repeat this (sans leaves).

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


I had a big long post written out, then decided it was a little too personal and perhaps shared too much about my friends and coworkers.

So I'll just share that I'm grateful for friends. I asked a friend to help me buy some stuff and then she gifted it to me. Totally unexpected and very much appreciated. Thank you K for your generosity and brightening my day!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

A taste of home

We just got back from a quick trip home. Up Friday, back Sunday. Yes, it was a bit rushed, but we also had some free time.

One of my favorite things about going home is the food. Mom really doesn't cook for us any more; we usually go out. The flavors are so familiar, Chinese food like I'm used to. Cantonese, not Mandarin flavors. Roast chicken with salt pepper. Gai lan. Bok choy with black mushrooms. Deep fried flounder. Peking spareribs. Okay, maybe some of these started in the north, but all the Cantonese restaurants back home have been fixing some variation of these for the past twenty years. I can't get anything like this here, certainly not at the same price.

I didn't get any Dim Sum, so I'm a little bummed about that. But I did get some goodies to take home. Mom sent home some joon (Chinese dumplings) and they're in the freezer right now. I'll probably eat one a month, just to make them last longer.

On Saturday, we went to T's to pick fruit. No one has been taking care of the backyard so fruit has been rotting on the trees. We picked boxes, literally, of fruit. Mr. Fix-it estimates we picked between 30 and 50 pounds. I'd guess somewhere in the middle of those. We took more than half to the banquet Saturday night (the original reason for us going up) to share with the family. The rest come home to share down here. Does anyone have any good recipes for peaches?

I did stock up on plastic bags at mom's. She's been collecting/reusing them for years so I knew she had some to spare. I took a bunch so everyone could use them to take home fruit at the banquet.

Mr. Fix-it wanted to know if my family ever goes out for anything other than Chinese food. He remembers going out for steak with Uncle T (but I don't remember that), but that's it. Always, always, always we go out for Chinese food. Both sides of the family. I guess he's still not used to it, lol.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

I'm running out of plastic bags

Can you believe that? I guess using our reusable grocery bags is finally paying off. But the problem is we're running out of plastic bags. We do use them as trash can liners, when we give stuff to people, and to refill my FIL's stash since he hardly shops and thus doesn't collect bags.

We're running out of paper bags too. We use those to bundle paper and other recyclables, carry stuff, you know, the usual.

Such a dilemma. Do I temporarily stop using my reusable bags? Do I ask for plastic? paper? Do I find some creative way to pass things on to others that doesn't involve bags?

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

5 minute cards

Okay, these cards took more than five minutes, but you know what I mean. It seems that I've nominated myself to provide birthday cards for the department. I used to go to Hallmark and buy them, but then I had to worry about offending people with my sense of humor and getting reimbursed and all that crap so I thought this would be easier (and a good way to use up some of my stash).

Of course, when the admin asks me to bring in cards for the next birthday celebration, which happens to be the next day, I got a little annoyed. Still I managed to put these together.

I really like how the green card turned out. I finally used my Cuttlebug and it was so easy to make the card. I ran the paper through twice, which is why the bottom numbers are upside down. Then I covered the gap with a scrap of ribbon. The embossing is so impressive and so easy.

I'm not too happy with the transparency card, since the colors don't match exactly and I couldn't find my Stickles to add some bling to the embellishments. But when the birthday girl opened the envelope, she said, "Oh, how neat, I love the colors!" So it doesn't matter what I think, as long as the recipient is happy (and I didn't tell her that I didn't make the card specifically for her since I didn't know whose birthdays it was).

Monday, August 11, 2008

Product review: Page Protectors

I've been scrapping enough that I needed more page protectors (or album sleeves). I usually use K&Company, but none of my usual haunts had them in stock. I wanted to try W R Memorykeepers, but I couldn't find any locally except at the overpriced LSS. Sharon over at Linnecards was kind enough to add them to her store. As it turns out, I should have overpaid for them so I could try them out first.

W R Memorykeepers 12x12 3-ring page protectors

Pros: Clear, good quality plastic (as far as I can tell), good value-$9 or $10 for 25 page protectors, 1/4 inch gap at the top to help protect the top of your page

Cons: I can barely slide a flat page into the sleeve. In fact, I can't get some of my pages into the sleeves.

Overall rating? I have to give these a thumbs down. There is no way I'm going to trim my completed pages to fit the sleeves. So what am I supposed to do with the ones I bought? It isn't worth it to sell them on ebay. Or maybe it would be?

Sunday, August 10, 2008

I can't fit it all in!

The Olympics are going to take up all my evenings. There's family stuff this weekend and next. But there's also Scrapfest over at LM, which means I HAVE to scrap in order to earn my 200 points for a chance to win $. And I've got DT stuff over at Linnecards so more scrapping. And I signed up to be a cookbook recipe tester, but I haven't done anything with that yet. And I'm still battling aphids. And I'm behind on laundry. Think I can call in sick the rest of the month?


So exciting!!! Less than $4/gallon. Hope this trend continues, though I doubt it will.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Aphid update

We sure are enjoying our beans. In case you don't recognize the beans, they are called Chinese long beans, or asparagus beans, or yard-long beans (though they're not that long). So far, we've enjoyed them three times and I took a small bundle into the office. Even so, I think I need to plant more next year. It won't be too much more work (for me, lol, I'll need Mr. Fix-it to build a larger trellis).

I've been out in the garden every day smashing aphids, spraying them with a soap solution, or washing them off with water. I'm finally making some headway (I think). The first soap solution was too light and didn't make any difference. The second solution was too strong I think. It seems to have slowed the ants and aphids, but I think it also burned the leaves; it's pretty warm here and I guess the soap and sun don't mix.

The ladybugs are still hanging out and I noticed a few ladybug larvae so I hope they stick around to help me in my battle. And that the soap solution doesn't hurt them.

I may have another ally. After I "wash" the beans, some little birds hang out in the beans. They're so small, the bean stalks are sturdy enough to hold them. I can't tell what they're eating, but I sure hope it is the ants or aphids. And not being a birder, I have no idea what kind of bird this is.
It was difficult to get a photo (plus my battery died). There's one bird in the middle of this photo in the shadow. Compare it to the leaf size and you can see how small it is.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Let the games begin!

One of my favorite events started tonight, well, at least the network broadcast started tonight. I'll be glued to the TV until the closing ceremony. Times like this make me wish we had cable and Tivo so I could watch the Olympics live and also see more events. Ah well, maybe we'll dive into the modern age by the next Olympics.

Tonight's opening ceremony was full of symbolism and frankly, a little boring. Impressive technology, impressive coordination of thousands of people, impressive costumes (where did the money for all of this come from???), but overall, it was too slow. Nice fireworks though. What did you think?

Well, maybe I was just tired and bitchy when I posted the above because I went to bed during the parade of nations. I just finished watching the rest of the opening ceremony and as usual, I cried during the torch lighting. Now that's the sign of a successful opening ceremony! (no, I'm not being sarcastic)

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Life Balance advice of the day

Don't read your work e-mail after 6:00 pm or 10 minutes before you plan on leaving, whichever comes first.

Because if you do, you might read a frantic e-mail about a problem with hot project and even though it's not your project and you don't even know if the information is available anywhere, you might still feel compelled to help fix the problem.

Luckily (or maybe not), one of the two people who had the information was available so between the two of us, the problem was solved. Teamwork, yeah! And as soon as the information was sent, we shut down our computers and went home. Any more problems can wait until tomorrow. And do you think anyone will appreciate what we did? I don't think so. Good thing we take pride in our work. Even if it meant getting home at 7:45 pm.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Slow start to the day

I ended up sleeping in today. I didn't mean to, so I guess I needed the sleep. I've been fighting a cold, as is Mr. Fix-it. Work has been stressful. I just finished the antibiotics so maybe I'm still fighting a tooth infection. Who knows.

Anyway, that set the tone for the rest of the day. Since I was already getting a late start, I decided to take a little time to battle the aphids (who are winning at the moment). Then I went to an appointment and of course, my timing was off. I ended up getting there just after a rush of people so waited a half hour, but then everyone after me probably just waited 10 minutes or so. Oh well.

Work was okay. I didn't have to deal with any crisis so that makes it a good day. :)

How was your day?

Monday, August 04, 2008

Attack of the aphids

The aphids are loving my string bean plants. I've out there every day trying to keep them in check. They've completely covered some stems so I basically just smash as many as I can find. Then I take the hose and wash off the remains and any aphids that I missed. Did I mention that I live on an ant hill? At least that's what it feels like. Guess that's why the aphids are doing so well. This is why I don't grow lettuce. Not interested in the "extra protein" in my salad. Got any organic tips for getting rid of aphids or ants?

Saturday, August 02, 2008


I came home singing that and Mr. Fix-it thought I lost it, lol. It pays to wait sometimes. I was going to fill up before yoga, but didn't have enough time so I filled my tank after class. And the price had gone down two cents, woo hoo! I've been watching prices drop for the past week. It's so exciting!!