Archive for February, 2013

Korean BBQ

Thursday, February 28th, 2013

Today, we had the rare opportunity to have lunch together. SX was supposed to go to a meeting, but since it was cancelled, we decided to eat out. We were very hungry and felt like going big, so when I suggested this newly-opened Korean BBQ place, he did not argue. There was a 15-minute wait since we were there right in the middle of the lunch hour. We were really hungry and debated whether to go for a quick lunch, but the smell of BBQ was so tempting that we decided to wait it out. It was an all-you-can-eat restaurant so we weren’t sure how long it was going to take. As it turned out, it was barely a ten-minute wait. Here we are, waiting for our orders to arrive:

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Our eyes were definitely bigger than our stomachs because we ended up ordering quite a bit. Even though we finished them all (except for the very salty tofu soup), we were so stuffed. We did not even order rice because we just indulged in the all-you-can-eat meat, from marinated ribs to pork loins to beef tongue to shrimp and vegetables. When we came out, we smelled like BBQ. We took a little walk to ease our stomach and air out the smell in our clothes before SX went back to work.

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Heartbeat

Wednesday, February 27th, 2013

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What is a Heartbeat?

The heart is the centerpiece of the human circulatory system. The heart is a fist-sized muscle located just left-of-center in the chest. Its primary job is to pump blood throughout the body to deliver the oxygen and nutrients necessary for daily life. During each beat, a complex set of actions occurs to make this feat possible.

Basic Anatomy of the Heart

The human heart has four chambers. The upper two chambers are the atria. The atria receive blood from the body and the lungs. The lower two chambers are the ventricles. These chambers pump oxygenated blood to the body and deoxygenated blood to the lungs.

Arteries and Veins

A basic understanding of arteries and veins is important for understanding how the heart works. Collectively called blood vessels, KidsHealth.org explains that the arteries and veins are the tubing in which blood circulates throughout the body. Arteries carry the blood away from the heart, providing oxygen and nutrients to the body. Veins carry the deoxygenated blood back to the heart.

The Lungs

The lungs play a vital role in each heartbeat. The American Heart Association explains that the deoxygenated blood is pumped to the lungs from the right ventricle and through the pulmonary artery. The blood receives oxygen from the lungs and returns to the heart through the pulmonary vein, the only vein to return oxygenated blood to the heart. Upon its return, the freshly oxygenated blood is pumped to the rest of the body.

Blood’s Journey

Blood travels a specific path during each heartbeat. The American Heart Association explains the flow follows the body-heart-lungs-heart-body path, a cycle which repeats with each beat. During the resting phase of the heartbeat, the atria fill with blood.

The right atrium receives the deoxygenated blood as it returns from the body. The left atrium receives the freshly oxygenated blood from the lungs. The heart pumps out blood during its forceful contractions. With each contraction, the blood from the right atrium flows to the lungs, while the oxygen-rich blood in the left atrium is delivered to the body.

The “Lub-Dub” of a Heartbeat

During a physical exam, doctors and nurses listen to the sounds the heart makes with an instrument called a stethoscope. The sound is known as the “lub-dub,” a term derived from the sound the blood makes as it travels through the heart during each beat. KidsHealth.org explains that the “lub” is heard when the doors, known as the valves, between the atrium and the ventricles close during each beat. The “dub” is heard when the aortic and pulmonary valves close when blood is pumped out of the heart.

Source:

http://www.livestrong.com/article/169763-what-is-a-heartbeat/#ixzz2Mi7vrOr8

Sports Park

Tuesday, February 26th, 2013

These days, I’ve gotten into a daily habit of taking a walk around the park. There’s this neighborhood park just 5 minutes from where we live. In the mornings, I’d take a stroll along the trail which measure about .8 miles. I usually walk two times around, making it barely two miles. Especially when the day is clear, I love seeing the blue skies and enjoying the mild weather, as well as greeting the occasional dog-walkers. Around the time I’m at the park, the children in the elementary school adjacent the park are on recess, so I’d watch them play. Also, there’s a group of young mothers who exercise in one part of the park; they line up their strollers facing them while they pull rubber bands and do aerobic stretches. I think it’s an adorable scene. There’s also a little playground where parents watch their toddlers shovel sand, go down slides, and climb ladders.

In the evenings, when we feel like taking it easy and skipping the gym, SX and I come to this same park to take a walk. At nights, the scene is a lot different. Instead of elementary school children, there are soccer teams practicing, high school lacrosse athletes playing a match, as well as serious runners running the trail. There seems to be a lot more dog-walkers, too. Sometimes, there are baseball and softball games going on at the same time. It’s a relaxing way to unwind from the day. I’m thankful for a place like this nearby.

This was a picture taken of the park when nobody was around.

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Art of Hair

Monday, February 25th, 2013

For a few months now, I’ve been in charge of cutting my husband’s hair. We even purchased a professional hair-cutting kit. I was actually getting better, but then, I messed up really badly the last time. I gave him a very faint bald spot on top of his head which made his hair stick out if he didn’t comb it right. Inasmuch as I felt horrible about what I did, I couldn’t help but to laugh at his expression. He was trying to be cool about the matter while visibly trying to hide his incredulity. I know that he wasn’t angry and he assured me that he still wants me to keep cutting his hair. However, on this day, he came home having had a haircut from a Vietnamese barber. I was not offended, but I did wonder if he’s changed his mind about my hair-cutting duties. After all, he was going to emcee a wedding the following weekend and maybe he wanted a better haircut. And it was definitely a much better job than what I could’ve done.

Normally, I don’t really pay attention to men’s haircuts, but I admired how the back side of his head was shaved so straight and even (unlike what I usually do). I took a picture to make a mental note to myself.

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Even after this superior hair-cut, he told me that he wants me to keep cutting his hair. And so, I should probably keep taking notes. Here’s one of the more challenging skills: shaping the hair around the ear and the sideburns. I like how it’s evenly and finely thinned. It looks a lot more professional than mine, that’s for sure.

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Here’s hoping for better results the next time he needs a haircut!

Oscars

Sunday, February 24th, 2013

Oscars 2013 Daniel Day-Lewis Jennifer Lawrence Anne Hathaway Christoph Waltz

On the eve of Steve’s return to New York, we were able to catch the Oscars on TV. We had a debate whether the show would be live Pacific time since it had been on tape delay in the past. To our pleasant surprise, it started at 5:30 p.m. So, while SX and I prepared a special dinner, Steve watched the Oscars in the living room. We would sneak peeks at the red carpet arrivals, but we also wanted to have a nice send-off dinner for Steve. Even though we wanted a more formal sit-down farewell, we ended up sitting in front of the TV with our dinner plates to watch the Oscars. It was actually fun to see the opening monologue, identify stars that the camera pans to, listen to thank-you speeches by people we don’t even know, and cheer for the movies we like. Since we actually watched most of the nominated movies, it was a pleasant experience to make informed guesses. In fact, the three of the four major awards were given to actors/actresses from movies we’ve seen. Steve had to leave before the end of the show so we had to call him at the airport to tell him the winners of the last major categories.

Tennis Match

Saturday, February 23rd, 2013

For the first time in a long time, we had a free weekend. After SM and HB went home, we had no more engagements with people. The house felt quiet and empty. This afternoon, Steve wanted to play some tennis so we took him to the nearby park. He had been itching to play for about a week now, so I know he was eager to hit some balls. SX indulged him for about half an hour to an hour. While they played, I sat in the bleachers and kept myself busy. One of the things I did was to play with the camera on my iPhone. I didn’t think I was going to be able to take action shots, but here they are.

SX getting ready to serve the ball:

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See the ball suspended in the air? How in the world was the camera able to capture that? Even with my digital camera, I wasn’t able to do it in the past.

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This was a cool action shot. I like how his feet are both off the ground as he hit the ball. It’s nice that the sun was on him, too, so one could clearly see the ball in play.

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After going out for so many nights in a row, we were happy to just have some simple rice porridge for dinner. The tennis game was a good way to burn some calories gained over the past week!

Cruise Reunion

Friday, February 22nd, 2013

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For the third night in a row, we were once again invited to another dinner party. This time, though, it was more low-key. Andy and Meiling wanted to have a cruise reunion at their house. And since Meiling makes excellent 牛 肉 面 (beef noodle soup), we eagerly accepted. It was an intimate little get-together as we were taken on a tour of their (huge) house. It was great admiring their old courtship pictures. During dinner, we reminisced about the cruise and all the fun things we did, As Andy put it, the time we put into the experience is priceless as it is something we can always have forever. We also had a fun time listening to Andy’s jokes and being entertained by his magic tricks. And of course, the beef noodle soup was a lot more than what we expected! I would say that it’s much, much better than what I’ve had in several restaurants. Since they are health conscious, I know that this dish was made only with the best quality ingredients. I just had to take a picture before digging in!

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Mama Wei

Thursday, February 21st, 2013

It seems that our schedule has been really busy with all these dinner invitations. Tonight, we were invited to Mama Wei’s family gathering. Since that night when we had them over to our house for dinner, Mama Wei has been wanting to return the favor. I remember when we got together with this family almost a year ago just before our wedding. Since SX considers her his GanMa (godmother), this is practically a family gathering. Aaron ordered all kinds of delicious dishes, including lobster, Peking duck, jumbo shrimp, and the ever-present Dong Qua. Needless to say, we were stuffed by the end of the evening. Here’s a toast to Mama Wei’s health:

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It was a good thing we remembered to take a group picture just before leaving the restaurant. Here’s the happy crowd nursing our bulging bellies while logging another time of sweet fellowship in our memory banks.

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Happy Birthday, Mom!

Wednesday, February 20th, 2013

Since my in-laws were all here, my mom asked to invite them for her birthday party. They arranged the tables so that there were two tables, one with the adults and the other one with mostly kids. It also just so happens that this particular restaurant offers $.99/pound lobsters with a minimum $30 purchase. Pretty good deal. SX ordered the dishes for our table and I must say he did a very good job. In particular, everyone enjoyed the humongous Dong Qua soup.

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This is the young families’ table with all the babies. I’m sure they ordered more kid-friendly dishes than we did. I could not help visiting their table every now and then just to play with the kids. I wonder when I get to “graduate” to this table … ? :-)

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Here are my parents with their sweet bread for dessert. I must say it’s great to see them happy and healthy at this time in their lives. It must be all the grandkids keeping them young at heart!

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We were not able to take a family picture, but we did catch this scene during the birthday singing. While the rest of us were busy taking pictures, here’s Mama with the little kids enjoying her birthday cake. I’m not sure where the candles are but rest assured she was able to make a wish and blow them out! Happy Birthday, Mom!

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Homecoming Hotpot Dinner

Tuesday, February 19th, 2013

When we came home that day from the cruise, we were tired but happy. We had a lot of wonderful memories. As Andy put it, if we didn’t go on this cruise (it was their first time), we would have missed out on all the things we got to do together. When we came back, we were greeted by our neighbors who invited us to their house for some hotpot. Since it was a President’s Day holiday, they did not have work and they had time to prepare this wonderful meal for us!

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During dinner, our neighbors said that this weekend felt strange because every time they looked up at our house, the lights were off. They said that it felt like something was missing. It was a touching statement to make, one that we don’t take lightly. On this night, we are thankful to have such blessings of a neighbor, ones that we treasure greatly. There is a Chinese proverb that says, “Anyone can buy a good house, but good neighbors are priceless.” As we enjoyed the hotpot together, this proverb certainly proves true.

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