Potsticker Pity


This was originally supposed to be posted before Christmas… But things got busy. (And I may have been not ready to re-live this experience, just yet). Anyway, here it goes.


I work for a really nice couple somewhere in San Diego- I keep the Mrs.’ sweet ol’ mom company, and pretty much hang out with her a few days out of the week. We watch Shirley Temple movies, take long walks, exchange silly stories about our childhood, and talk about good-looking Cary Grant is. And sometimes, when we are feeling a little rebellious, we might go to McDonald’s and order some senior coffees.

Who knew a 19 and a 91 year-old would have so much in common?

Ok, I will admit… Not exactly your typical 19 year-old.
I also have a collection of cat sweaters.
I’m kidding. Really.

What does this all have to do with Potstickers, you ask?
Read on, lovely person.

So, one night, I had to whip up dinner for myself and sweet “Alice” (not her real name). Lemme just tell you- lunch was a hit. I heated some rotisserie chicken, mixed veggies and rice pilaf with almonds (it wasn’t from scratch- but “semi-homemade” as the young ones are calling it these days).

With the freezer door wide open, as I peered into the icy plethora of frozen foods that had the potential of becoming my next masterpiece, I smiled and recalled the earlier success.

I’m pretty sure my eyes twinkled (like in the movies) when I saw the bag of frozen potstickers sitting on the 2nd shelf. “Booyah!” I thought to myself. “Wife material. Right here.”

Disclosure: I’m Asian. And potstickers are an Asian thing, yeah? my little niece loves potstickers and, My sister, her mom, swears by them.

My parents on the other hand, don’t buy frozen ones cause they have preservatives and yada yada yada- they are sort of health nuts, and it gets a little annoying sometimes, but these days- I’m turning into one (Shhh. Don’t tell them).

The bottom line is: heating frozen potstickers was a foreign concept to me.
(Still is)

So I yank out the bag- it read- “ready in 10 minutes!”

“This can’t be that hard”

Cue the scary music.

10 minutes later, I have a huge ball of half-cooked, half-not cooked potstickers on the pan- all soaking butter and 1/2 cup of water. Picture this: uncooked brownish, pinkish meat, oozing out of slimy dough. I felt like it was gonna come alive and jump out of the pan… All Frankenstein-style.

I started to panic, knowing that the people I work for were in the next room (with their cats and dog)- not that they would fire me or anything. I just thought that I was gonna impress them somehow.

While I poked the “evil blob” (I named it, yes) with a fork, trying to relentlessly salvage my wounded pride, I tried to think of the positive side of things.

“If this thing attacks me, at least they’ll hear my screams.”
“Who needs a wife who can cook anyway?”
“My kids will just have to learn”
“At least the dog won’t be hungry tonight”
“One day, I will laugh about this”
“Today is not that day”
“Darn it, should’ve worn the cat sweater.”
“Pride cometh before the fall”
“I wonder if they have cat sweaters that ‘meow'”
“The Asian community should disown me”
“Heck, I’m going to disown me”
“I will never touch a potsticker in my life”

Somewhere among those musings,
the pan turned black.
Something started to smoke.
Someone entered the kitchen.

And I was going crawl under the dining room table.

They held their composure, but I could hear a nervous laugh, here and there- and I’m pretty sure they wondered if the smoke alarms were on.

I mumbled a few stupid things I’m sure about how directions on frozen food packages lie, and how I’m pretty sure it’s a conspiracy started by the government.

But the one thing that I cannot forget was when I thought I seemingly found a loophole out of my misery: “OH look!” I said in jubilation, “it’s expired! It expired a month ago!”

And I was oh so close to adding, “so this mess is not my fault! I am still wife material!”

Then, my false hopes were shot down when the Mrs. responded, by telling me that it’s fine to freeze stuff before the expiration date and she just had some potstickers the night before.

I knew that. I do that at home all the time.

“Shoot me now,” I thought to myself. Right about then, I was ready for “evil blob” to jump out of the pan and kill me.

Actually, The Mr. was kind enough to help me salvage what was left of the bunch of potstickers. And, thus, some of my pride.
Maybe the 2% that remained.

A little part of me likes to think he did that cause he knew I was embarrassed.
But a big part of me knows it’s cause he was afraid I might burn his house down.

Well…The Mrs. did seem a little jumpy that next time I put a pan on the stove.


Clinicals: Day One

A “clinical” is basically when students get out in ‘real healthcare world’ and put what we’ve been learning into practice. It’s a great way to see what you’ll be doing when you get hired.

Nursing Assistants (a.k.a. “CNAs”) usually work in long term care facilities and get to interact with the residents the most.

So… One of the highlights of the experience thus far- and one that will stick with me for awhile-

Here we were, students- awkwardly walking around the dining hall for the first time; we were trying to find ways to talk with the older residents without freaking them out (yes, we were happy to see them- but a little hyper due to our nerves acting up, I believe. At least I was!).

Then a sweet old lady, with beautiful auburn hair, called some students (including myself) to her table. She leaned back comfortably in her wheelchair, and gently clutched onto the blanket on her lap. She greeted us with a smile, introduced herself to each one of us, and asked for our names- then proceeded to tell us about herself.

“I was a nursing assistant for 20 years, before I had a stroke and came here. I enjoyed my job very much. I would do it all again. But I am happy now; I have been walking with The Lord all these years and I still am now. I want to wish you the best in your journey.”

Oh kindred soul, why you gotta make my heart melt!

Thank you for shining your light and being courageous and sweet. You are truly an example of one who has sweetly walked with Jesus!

Silly Pictures and Pretty Dresses

A couple months ago I had the absolute pleasure of participating in a wedding. 

Thing is, a few years ago, I kinda roped the bride into having me as one of her bridesmaids. 
Okay, that sounds bad. Okay, I can explain. I think.
Karla, the beautiful bride, is really one of the coolest adults I know.  
(I call her “Ate Karla”–“Ate” is a term of respect that you call “sisters” back in The Philippines”)
She loves being around people, and, honestly, I think everyone loves her company.
During the summers, my niece and I get to spend a couple days with her and act all silly and not think about tomorrow and eat too much and laugh ’til our cheeks hurt and take hundreds of pictures.
like this 
 (Left: my lovely niece, Mary. Right: me)
(Karla and Mary)
(I love this one hah)
 (top: us trying to look cool :P)
One of those summers, we parked in a commercial area, with shops all around us, probably eating ice cream, while trying to plan our future shenanigans.
I vaguely remember what we were doing there and where we were going, but vividly remember the discussion we had:
“Okay, girls! Where should we head to next!” Karla exclaimed.
We smile… and try to think of something fun we can do on a budget.
Then. Boom.
Mary and I start to nudge each other as we spot “David’s Bridal” a few stores down.
I was probably 14-15 (don’t quote me on that; I have a horrid sense of time hah.) and Mary was 11-12…
I think its around that age where girls realize that:
  1. Some boys aren’t so annoying after all; 
  2. Wedding dresses are real pretty and fluffy; 
  3. bridesmaid duty is a BIG step up from flower girl status; 
  4. getting your best friends to dress up in your favorite color and look gorgeous alongside you is awesome;
  5. maybe having a day where everybody gasps at how beautiful you are is even better.
So. We suggest the most rational thing any sugar-powered teen would.
And of course, the older, more mature one suggests it.
“LETS TRY ON DRESSES AT DAVID’S BRIDAL!!!” I scream, as if I spot the Jonas Brothers down the street (Yeah, Bieber wasn’t big back then).
“YES!!” Mary echoes. And I think we burst out in some equivalent of a happy dance in the backseat of the car.
Karla may have been in her early twenties and single, but obviously she’d be the more believable bride-to-be.
ideas started to pour out from the backseat like:
“You can try on poofy dresses!”
“And we can try on bridesmaid dresses!”  
“You can say you get married next month!”
“To…um.. a guy”… 
“What should be his name?”
I love how Karla laughed at the ridiculousness of it all, and presented us with reasonable gaps in our thought-to-be-perfect plan.
“What if they look for the engagement ring?”
“What if they ask how long we’ve been together or how he proposed?”
Which we respond to: “He can’t afford one… or it’s in the mail!”
And somewhere in there, I’m pretty sure I present the idea of pretending we can’t speak English or fashioning a trash bag into an engagement ring… or something like that.
(I’m just overflowing with brilliance, right?)
Reality sinks in eventually, (“It ain’t going to happen!”)
and we laugh a little to cover our disappointment.
But Karla asks us the most important question of our then 11 year old and 15 year old lives:
“You’ll be my bridesmaids, for my future wedding right?”
NO WAY. Flower girl status.. was sorta subjected to the cute little girl who could walk down the aisle to the music and not eat the flowers.
People liked you. 
That’s cause you were five… and they weren’t taking you home with them.
Bridesmaid– now that, was special. 
Of course we couldn’t believe it, so I told her, 
“When we get home, you have to get that on paper and sign and date it too!!”
“Of course, I want you two in my wedding! And you’ll like my futur husband too, okay? He has to be cool with hanging out with the family and you guys!”
Fast-forward a couple years.
Someone gets engaged on a starry night, on a hill overlooking the bright downtown lights.
“Did you ask my parents?” she says, trying to contain her excitement.
“I did! So what is your answer? To my question?” 
Meet the guy she said “Yes!” to- Patrick. 






He proudly serves our country in the military, likes football, legos and filipino food (any food for that matter). He’ll totally take you on in a dance-off, and will play video games for hours with Mary’s little bro. 
He and Karla are absolutely perfect together, and he is almost as cool as she is! (teheee ;))
We (Mary and I) adore them and look forward to our future summer adventures with these newlyweds!
Enjoy these shots from the big day!






Pssstt….matching dresses could only mean one thing, right? 😉

Zac Efron Indirectly Saved The Dog



Zac Efron indirectly saved the dog

I kid you not.

Without him, sweet dottie would be out in the cold all night…. Or worse.


It was a night a couple weeks ago where Kate and Maddie (names changed for confidentiality’s sake 😉 and I had an impromptu sleepover since our parents all happened to be out of town.

It was 1 am,

We were watching “The Lucky One” (efron is the leading man, of course)…
And he worked at a farm…
Where they so happened to train dogs.

in one scene, Efron (not so ‘high school musical’ looking anymore; think ‘navy seal’) was walking around with his very well-behaved German Shepherd.

Kate remarks, “when I move out one day, I hope to get a dog as nice as his.”

(When I was thinking, “When I move out, I hope I marry someone as good looking as Zac Efron”….
But– Kate is married to a really sweet guy. )

then she goes…”hey, has anyone seen Dottie (the family dog)?”

Maddie and I in turn respond,”No- wait- I think we have- no, actually we haven’t”

Then while Kate panics and checks every room of the house, screaming dotty’s name… And I’m pretty sure checking every crevice that dog could fit in..

Maddie and I walk up and re-check those rooms and echo her name.

I was filled (and I am sure the feeling was mutual) with guilt as my mind replayed the events of that evening:

-fun time cooking dinner-we didn’t burn the down the house- baked BBQ chicken and quinoa!
-funny stories like this
-looked at wedding pictures and sighed
-watched wedding clips and sighed
some more
-watched Jefferson and Alyssa Bethke’s wedding video and sighed even more
-talked about life
-talked about books (my favorite)
-spent more time then I would like to admit taking a perfect funny picture for instagram
-talked about sending texts to the wrong people
-one of us talking to her mom (kidding),”We burned down the house!”
… Little did she know she would lose the dog.

Now back to finding Dottie-

We concluded that she was not in the house the whole evening, (while we laughed and giggled and took pictures) since she didn’t touch her food.

(Aren’t we wonderful people?)

Kate rushed to the room to grab her gun.

(My internal dialog: “COYOTES!! Oh no!! Poor Dottie!
I am too young to have blood on my hands! Noooooo.
I can’t go to jail.

I need a good lawyer.

What will the jury think of me?

I need to become a nurse!

Kate’s mom is going to hate me!

I love her!

Remember to google “lawyers in the area”

Dottie! If we find you alive, I will love you forever”)

Maddie and I were also armed,
a rake and a flashlight, respectively.

(We were so like the Charlie’s Angels-
A blonde, brunette and an asian!)

We screamed her name out (yes, at almost 2am at this point- sorry neighbors) and checked around the yard multiple times-

And Kate was fearful that at each turn that she would find a dead animal carcass.

When we exhausted our search of the yard, we returned inside and (hopelessly, I think) re-checked all the rooms and the garage.

“Has anyone checked the front room?” One of us question.

I open the dark room to find the window blinds open, and step in…
I thought I saw some movement on the other side of the window…

“Could it be her?”my heart quickens with expectancy at the possibility.

Now, In the hallway, Maddie says, “She must have gotten out when we went to the video store- when the garage door was open-”

“-that means-” Kate counts,
“5…6..7 hours. She’s been out there in the freezing cold for 7 hours.”

Ours hearts were filled with dispair.

And I exit the front room, to join the girls, putting to rest any hope of finding dotty alive;
blaming the movement on the front porch as my reflection.

“Has anyone checked the front door?” Kate asks, as a last effort;
As if she was ready to be met with disappointment, once again;
Ready to swing the front door open, and feel the cold winter air and envision her poor, lifeless dog in a ditch someplace holding on to dear life.

While she and her friends laughed and ate BBQ chicken and looked at wedding pictures; all in the warmth of her own home.

Her opening the door, I do not recall,
But all I remember were the screams that followed.

First Kate screamed as if she saw a ghost.
Then, followed Maddie.
And finally, me.


“Why did you scream, Kate!”

“I thought it was a coyote!”

Just know that belly rubs and hugs were abundant that evening (morning?).

she even got some of the leftover chicken from the night.

And Kate held her in her lap, for the remainder of the movie.
Dottie stayed still (which she never does!) and you could see the terror in her eyes and feel chill on her dark, black fur.

(Did I mention we were only about 15 minutes into the movie?).

Lesson: In the words of Samuel Coleridge,

“He prayeth well, who loveth well, both man and bird and beast”

So. There you have it. Thank you Zac Efron.

Ok, not really. Thank you God.

Friends, hug your loved ones pets tonight.

Confession: Yours truly was inspired to write this post because she loved the title so much. 😉

And just ’cause she was out in the cold for 7 hours… another one of Dottie:


Leave Your Message After The Tone


Ummm… Voicemails are not my thing.

The awkward automated beep I hear after a pre-recorded message stating the disdain (hah!) of the person whom you are trying to reach; then followed, usually, by a request to leave your information (such as your number) and why you called in the first place.

Maybe I’m weird. OR the last voicemail I left was the worst of them all.

Example #1: Thanks For The Christmas Card.

So over the holidays, I sent my school admissions rep a really nice Christmas card. (She’s one of the sweetest people I’ve met in awhile!)

A few days after Christmas, I get one back from her. It was really encouraging, and super nice. (like her!)

I think to myself, “It’s okay to get a Christmas Card after Christmas, right?”

fast forward to after the holidays, when I call and leave a message

“Hi______! I hope you had a lovely Christmas break. Thank you, Thank you, so much for the Christmas card you sent after Christmas…

(Me: “OH NO. I shouldn’t have said that! I’ll make it better– I’ll say:’)

…you know, I understand… that really busy time

(Me: ‘Oh yeah, she’ll like that. I sound really sincere.’)

between Christmas and New Year…

(Me: ‘WHAT. AT A COLLEGE NO ONE IS BUSY between those two HOLIDAYS!!! I will make it better!’)

…it was super encouraging, yeah I really needed it…

(Me: Yah, great job, cause Christmas is a sad time. It’s all the ham and gravy and presents and chocolate that make it sad.)

…okay, I’ll talk to you soon, and I’ll see you later! Bye!”

(Me: Yes, it’s night time, and the only person animal ‘you’ll see later’ is your dog. And He ain’t so thrilled about it.)

Moral of the story: We should not try to make things better while Ok, I really don’t think there is one. Just be happy you’re not me right now.