Friday, December 12, 2008

A Gross Accomplishment

If you were to look at the above photographs closely, you would see some things you probably don't want to see.

On second thought, don't look at the above photographs closely.

Yes, those are dead flies and our apartment was strewn with them when we first moved in. They were all over the carpet and windowsills making our new abode look something like a dipteran graveyard. Those of you who know me and know I have a slight aversion to bugs and creepy crawlies of any kind, especially dead ones, will know this was NOT OK.

However, I'd like everyone to know there was an incredible breakthrough. One day, while Josh was at school, I felt suddenly brave and decided to conquer the dead flies once and for all. (I'd tried to vacuum up any that I could but since the vacuum was crappy, there were still a ton of flies in the corners and windowsills.) I armed myself with a trash can and a handful of tissues and went to work. This is possibly the bravest thing I have ever done. The ones on the windowsills were manageable, as all I had to do was make some quick sweeps into the trash can. There wasn't any direct contact with my hand and the carcasses, although close in proximity. Still, I had to hold my breath and think happy thoughts as I did it, and every few seconds I had to run away and take some deep breaths.

The ones in the corners and edges of the carpet, however, were a challenge. It didn't help that the vacuum had pushed most of them deeper into the carpet, and what's worse, some of them were missing body parts. AAAAAAAAAugh!!!! Just the thought of it makes me queasy again. Those who are faint of heart should probably stop reading now.

These required me to pinch their little bodies between my thumb and forefinger guarded only by a tissue in order to quickly toss them into the can. To this day I have no idea how I was able to do it. I was literally crying as I tried to scoop them up, but every time I felt their small mass in between my fingers, my body would spasm like crazy and I would drop them and start screaming.

I think I deserve something for my bravery. Like a really nice vacuum.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Champion Champignons (et Tomates)

People have preferences; I understand that. Some people prefer crunchy peanut butter to creamy. Some people don't like to eat meat. I personally shy away from foods served with eyeballs still attached.

However, I have noticed a disturbing commonality amongst the dislikes of many people I've met in my life. For some reason, a flabbergastingly large number of my acquaintances list mushrooms, or tomatoes, or even both among their "foods to avoid." This is an atrocity. Aside from reasons due to allergies (I am so sorry), I do not understand how a lifetime of fine dining experiences can be enjoyed when one does not like mushrooms and tomatoes. I, personally, have the two listed on my "must have at all times" ingredients list, along with milk and eggs and avocadoes, and use them for nearly every dish I cook. Continuing to live sans these two delectable gifts from heaven is simply unacceptable.

If you are one of those who match this outrageous description, consider the following:
  • Imagine a normal hamburger, done the way you like it (medium, rare, etc.) Pretty yummy, huh? Now imagine it with some fresh sliced mushrooms, lightly sauteed in butter or olive oil and sprinkled with freshly ground peppercorn lying atop your burger, perhaps with some melted swiss cheese and a dab of horseradish sauce. Vegetarian? Then imagine the perfect stir fry, with crunchy snow peas and water chestnutes and baby corn, perhaps some fried tofu, and then tossed with whole mushrooms lightly browned in sesame oil and a bit of soy sauce. Without the mushrooms, it would just be crunch and not very satisfying.
  • Now for the tomatoes. Tomatoes are one of those gems from the earth where, even without adding external flavoring, has a sweet and delicious flavor all of its own. When you bite into one, it both quenches your thirst and satisfies your taste buds all in one while instantly filling your mouth with all natural goodness. Imagine some home grown deep red tomatoes, sliced and decorated with fresh basil and fresh mozzarella cheese... you poke your fork in so that you perfectly skewer one slice of cheese with one slice of tomato and the perfect amount of basil... the perfect bite. Could there be a more perfect flavor combination? I think not.
Merci beau coup.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Marriage and Blogs

Although this blog is not intended to be a journal of my personal life but rather a place to jot down and share observations that I find interesting or entertaining, I feel a short update is in order.

I'd like to inform my loyal readers that I am now married. I'd like to keep the personal information down to a bare minimum but here are few tidbits you may want to know:
  • His name is Josh.
  • We got married on October 10, 2008.
  • Yes, we are very happy.
I realize there are certain stereotypes attached to a blogger who is married as opposed to one who is not, but I'd like to state that I intend to keep the ambience of all future posts the same as that of every post I've written thus far. I do not intend to use words like "hubby" or "preggers," and please do not, by any means, post a link to this blog on your website using the heading "Sayaka & Josh." Josh actually has his own blog here, although he doesn't update it much.

We are still planning on having receptions at the aforescheduled dates (even though we jumped the gun on the wedding part.) We would love to express our gratitude to you personally so please please come. If I know you, you will probably be getting an invitation.

Thank you.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Sam I Am Would Be Proud

One good thing about living in the country is that a lot of people grow their own vegetables. And they usually have a lot of extra, so even those of us who don't grow our own vegetables usually get to acquire a fair share. And, although some crops aren't suited for the desert, one vegetable that does really well is the squash. There are a lot of varieties of squash, but don't ask me what any of their names are. Because I have no idea.

It's exciting to receive random vegetables because you get to try to find ways to cook them. One of my new favorite recipes is squash pie. I mean really, what else can you do with a ton of humongous squash (squashes)? I started making them with my roommate's stash of different yellow squashes, and they all turned out beautifully golden yellow and nutmeggy and delicious. Eventually, the only one left was this huge, dark green, bumpy squash that scared me a little. But I decided it would be fun to make a pie out of it anyway. The inside flesh was a nice white color, but Josh doesn't believe in peeling vegetables, so we pureed it skin and all, which turned into this interesting green color. I've been using this recipe for homemade pumpkin pie and it's been working really well for me (I don't measure anything exactly though.) The result was a lovely green pie that has been our dessert for the last couple of weeks (it really was a HUGE squash, so it made a lot of pie.) I highly recommend doing the same with your stash of squash(es.)

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Not an Advertisement. Maybe an Endorsement.

Recently I've friended a handful of adults on Facebook ("adults" meaning people who are around my parents' age.) It seems it's finally acceptable for normal adults to join without feeling completely geeky. Congrats, Facebook people.

I know there are Facebook haters out there and certainly don't condone people who spend their entire existence on the site. But I do have to say that Facebook has proven its worth, at least to me. I'm probably the most terrible person in the world at keeping in touch. Email tag never lasts very long with me and I try to avoid talking on my cell phone if I can get away with it. However, for some reason, ever since I joined Facebook (I think it was around 2004) I've been a lot better at keeping track of people and letting people keep track of me. I think it's because of the lack of commitment it requires. You can jot a five-word message on someone's wall without having to commit to an entire conversation, and whether that person replies back to you or you ever write on their wall again doesn't matter. Even without regularly communicating to anyone you can "keep in touch" with people because you can see their recent pictures and statuses. Some may argue that this marks the deterioration of meaningful human relationships. But really, the way I see it, it's better than nothing, which I think is the inevitable alternative.

Sunday, September 14, 2008


The other day at a dinner party, a fantastic piece of trivia was brought to my attention. On men's shirts the buttonholes are on the left side, whereas on women's shirts the buttonholes are on the right. I never even knew there was anything different about shirts of the opposite gender besides size and shape. Delightful.

However, my delight was dampened slightly by the fact that apparently I was the only person in the group who didn't know this yet.

If any of you are possessors of similar information that thus far has been hidden from me, please feel free to share.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

You're not or You aren't?

This is one of the many random grammatical/linguistic/stylistic questions I ask myself as I write all day at my desk while the computer turns my brain to mush: how do you contract the phrase "you are not?" My vote is "you'rn't." Maybe the countryside is rubbing off on me.

Monday, August 25, 2008

A Minor Rant

A while back fellow blogger Nichole blogged about the rising trend of married couple blogs and how they all have a rapidly increasing list of links to "so-and-so & so-and-so"'s blogs gracing the side of their page (click here). At the time I read it I remember being in mild agreement and thinking, yeah, it probably is really annoying to be the one single name amidst all the ampersanded madness.

I gave no second thought to it until today, when I was going through some of my friends' blogs I recently discovered, and to my surprise, some of them had links to this very blog, sticking my single name in the middle of all the so-and-so & so-and-so's! However, my surprise was not that of disdain, and I found it really doesn't upset me in the least bit.

Because Sayakapella is my blog, and I'm not going to share it with my husband, even when I do get married! He can have his own blog! I bet most of these husbands don't even know there are blogs out there with their names stamped on to seal the married status of the blogger. Husbands, you really should start worrying about the kind of stuff your wives are posting publicly on the internet... I've seen some pretty scary stuff out there I'm positive did not receive your permission before their exploitation.

p.s. Umm... Hatsuho, I'm really not bashing on your blog. You do a good job on it. Seriously. Don't listen to me and keep doing your thing!

Monday, August 04, 2008

Help, I'm Trapped in a World of Big Black Books

Today after work I stopped by the University Bookstore to pick up a few items, one of them being Stephenie Meyer's Breaking Dawn. Yes, I have read all the books in the series so far, but not because I have a thing for hunky cryptozoologic creatures or because I have raging teenage hormones. My sister and I like to consider them to be a form of comic relief amidst the more serious books we read. They're really great-- they don't take any brain power to understand and you can sail through them leisurely while getting some good laughs here and there. One big qualm I have with them is how wordy they are... she could have gotten the same story in a fourth of as many pages without losing any content. But what do I know, she's the one selling books, not me. And by the way, I think it's great that housewives these days are able to produce bestselling novels. Go Stephenie Meyer and J.K. Rowling.

I am not so confident with my reasoning that I will flaunt it in public, however. I started out today by buying some office supplies on the first floor where my cashier girl was reading, wouldn't you know it, Breaking Dawn. Then I went up to the second floor to buy the book, and my cashier up there was also reading Breaking Dawn. I walked through the study area to get out of the building and noticed several other girls immersed in thick, black-jacketed books. At the bus stop, there were two girls sitting on the same bench, both reading said book. I began to feel like I was in some kind of bad nightmare. Needless to say, I did not join those girls by pulling out my own copy while waiting for the bus. Mine stayed safely hidden from view in double-bagged obscurity. At least until I was back in my apartment.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Recess Reincarnation

I'm sorry everyone. I admit it. I'm the worst blogger ever. I hope you will accept my apology and my feeble excuse that I've been busy trying to figure out every aspect of my life. Lame, I know, but true.

I have, however, accumulated several random ideas in the meantime, all of which I hope to blog about in several blog entries to come.

Random idea number one: I had this epiphany during work one day as I was getting my daily vending machine burrito, scarfing it down during my measly 15-minute break, then sitting back down in front of my computer for another several hours. Why the heck are elementary schoolers the only ones who get to have recess after lunch? Why is it that when we grow up, we still eat lunch, but then we go straight back to our desks where all the calories and fat, without any chance to be burned into energy, go straight into our thighs and guts? It doesn't make any sense at all. Who was the idiot who decided that recess is a 12-and-under activity? Give me my four-square and double dutch please!

I think some of America's obesity problem could be solved if we all just decided to reinstate recess into our daily schedules.

p.s. As I was looking for images of the fat people from Wall-E, I noticed there are tons of articles and blog entries about how offensive the movie was. What!? First of all, I thought the fat people were portrayed in a very humorous, loveable way and it was still acknowledged that they are good people. Second of all, when did gluttony become something that needs to be defended? No matter how you look at it, that is not a direction that you want to be headed, so why the offense? Sheesh.

Saturday, July 12, 2008


I have these really cool bruises down my right side.

I'd like to say that I was fighting a gang of thieves,
or that I ran in front of a car to save a child,
or that I was thrown against the craggy side of a rock during a hurricane.

But the truth is,

I was buying a vending machine burrito and a second burrito looked like it was about to fall so I was slamming my body against the machine to try to get it to fall.

Those hooks have a better grip than you'd think.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Bye Bye Birdie

It was my first experience with death.

There was no shortage of love to be given the poor chick. Dan described in detail the events that led to the adoption of a baby quail by himself and his wife.

"He was left behind by his family. He was lame and couldn't keep up." I decided it would be worth paying a visit after work to see the newest member of their family.

There was the little fuzzball, trembling in his makeshift nest, burdened by the pains of the cruel world around him. So small and fragile.

"His name is Tiger," Dan said affectionately, referring to the dark stripes running down the chick's back. Tiger was clearly in pain but energetically flailing his little wings and legs around. We passed him from hand to hand, stroking tenderly and whispering words of encouragement. Our hearts swelled with hope for the little guy's future. We all thought, optimistically, that love was enough to heal whatever pain he was going through.

I passed him to Dan and without any warning, his little head flopped to one side and his body was still. The three of us didn't want to believe it for a few seconds.

Sometimes, where love can't heal the pain, death will.

Goodbye, Tiger.

Monday, June 30, 2008

apology in lower-case letters

i'm sorry northwest library. it was a book report on mr. cummings and i
was probably just feeling s t r e s s
when i yelled at


for sending me the notification(just one of those times
when you think you're so right but you're really just really wrong you understand
)and i don't like to be told i'm wrong even when i am wrong

so that's why i marched up to your customer service desk and reprimanded your book sortingorganizing staff or whatever it is that their position is called and said it must be their fault their negligence overlookingness because i certainly returned all of the e. e. cummings books i borrowed, why wouldn't i return them all together of course i did the one that's missing is really small and skinny it probably
through the cracks if they just searched a little more they would find it but it is not my fault so don't even try to charge me don't even t r y to make such an accusation how dare you!

and you said

ok we will waive the fee but if you ever happen to find it go ahead and return it and i could tell you didn't believe me and i was angry you still thought it was

my fault.

well northwest library

a few weeks later i was cleaning my room and it was in a hidden corner hahathere it was and who knows how it got there you know (sheepishly) well it must have s l i p p e d through the cracks. and, well, i know you asked me to return it but then you would have known that you were right and you were right ok? but you know how it (pri) is (de) with this kind of thing

i still have it here
and read it sometimes
i think i understood it better back then
when i was a high schooler
that high schooler that yelled at you

no offense

mr. cummings.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Moping for a Moped

I tried really hard to make it clear in my last post that my Emo-ness was just a freak thing and that I was not actually suffering anything close to real depression. However, this did not stop people from speculating and worrying about me and trying to keep me from suicidal thoughts. I guess people love me.

I'll admit it though. There may have been a reason. And it may have had something to do with heartbreak. And the culprit may have been this beauty:
After working my butt off and pinching pennies for so long, my heart was in desperate need of a reward. (Plus I needed a way to get to work.) I looked through hundreds of classified ads, prayed, hungered, researched, and made phone calls. I really wanted one that I could trust. I knew I was long overdue for some lovin'.

I shouldn't have given my heart away so carelessly. Two weeks after we met, he died. (Yes, for those I've already talked to about this, I realize I used to call it a "she." But I realized that only a male could have broken my heart like this.) I found a friend with a truck and we took him to the shop. I had hope. I thought, my love extends $1-$200 more dollars. I sat, waiting for the diagnosis, hoping for the best.

There I was, still all dressed up in my work clothes and high heels, surrounded by grease-covered mechanics and middle-aged motorcyclists, the only female in the room. I was trying to act tough. I wanted everyone to know that I was not to be screwed over. But what was to come was bad news, each sentence stabbing me like a knife. One of the mechanics called me over for the estimate. "The guy who fixed this up didn't take care of this oil leak." Stab. "We not only have to replace the muffler, we have to replace (long list of parts.)" Stab. "This will cost @#$%! dollars to fix." STAB. All the men in the room were listening and my pride was reduced to shreds. "Isn't there any way you could just get it running without doing all that? It doesn't have to be perfect," I tried. "No," came the answer. My heart was reduced to miniscule shards of glass. I nodded in dumb silence as he explained about pistons and shafts and carburetors. It was all useless. I just don't have the money.

I didn't cry though. Not until I was alone. There he still sits, in the basement parking garage, waiting for me pay the price to win him back. I worked so hard for him. A few more months of starvation is probably worth it, I think to myself periodically. But all the sacrifice I already put into him! Will it ever end? Probably not. I will probably buckle and clean out my bank account for him. I'm just a sucker for the good-looking ones.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Melodrama Blah Blah

Sometimes I'm just really emotional.

Right now is one of those times. I saw an Olympics/VISA commercial and started tearing up. I saw twin brothers audition for SYTYCD and started crying and laughing at the same time. I desperately needed someone to hug so I grabbed Herbert from off my bed and curled up with him on the corner of the couch. I saw a delicious-looking piece of pizza in the fridge, decided I wasn't hungry even though the only other thing I've eaten today is another piece of pizza, and decided that was so depressing that I fantasized about anorexia. I sat there and shed more tears as I fabricated depressing scenarios about myself. I sighed in anguish at the wretched state of my life. Then I sighed even louder at the wretched state of the world. Emo? PMS? SAD? Whatever.

I wonder if that pizza's still in the fridge.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Typographic Love

I don't really consider myself a "material girl." In fact, over the last couple of years I've made a slight journey into minimalism in several aspects of my life. It saves money and I've found, for the most part, it is more aesthetically pleasing.

However, every once in a while I find myself really wanting something that is, admittedly, completely unnecessary. The most recent eye candy for me has been: a typewriter.

I was just lying in bed one night and the thought came to me that a typewriter and I could have a really beautiful relationship together. I can't say for certain what it is that really appeals to me about it. Maybe it's the thought of the gorgeous glass keys going chink chink chink as I type. Or the little hammers smacking against the ribbon to print a beautifully rustic and unique letter onto the white canvas of the hand-fed paper. Or that my raw thoughts will be presented defiantly and courageously in hard-copy form with no option of deleting.
Or maybe it's because whenever I imagine what my favorite writers look like when they write, I don't imagine them sitting in front of a PC opening up a Word Document. Sometimes I imagine them chewing thoughtfully on the nib of their fountain pen (another slightly coveted item,) but mostly I imagine them plunking passionately away at a rickety old typewriter. (OK, I know I'm not supposed to believe everything I see in the movies -- think Moulin Rouge and Stranger Than Fiction-- but it is still very appealing to me.) Oh, the romance of it all.

My goal is to design my other blog, Scabby Lists, to look like it's been written on a typewriter. So far, due to my poor html skills, I'm failing miserably. But that's the direction I'm headed in case you were wondering (because of course you were.)

On sort of a side note, I am completely in love with everything at Sewn by Blythe, particularly the darling plushie typewriter pictured below. How beautiful it would be to snuggle up with one of those at night. Forget Teddy.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Three Posts in One

For three days in a row, I attended the biggest event in Columbus of the day. (I have written and re-written that opening sentence and can't get it to sound grammatically correct. You all know what I mean though. I hope.)

Where do I even begin? I guess chronologically, with Thursday.


My dad had tickets secured for the sold-out Yo-Yo Ma concert for a long time -- front row seats in the historic Ohio Theater (on the very edge of the left side, but front row nonetheless.) I've always been a fan of Yo-Yo Ma, ever since my elementary school music teacher Mrs. Stoll introduced him to me with a CD in which he collaborated with Bobby McFerrin to do Flight of the Bumblebee. I also love the work he's done for movies such as Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Memoirs of a Geisha and... well, probably every movie ever made featuring Asian actors. Anyway, enough rambling.

I love classical music and am always up for an orchestra performance, but I was not expecting to be so blown away. Ma's cello-playing is absolutely flawless. His big strokes sound like spreading honey and his runs sound like trickling water. With our limited view from the corner of the theater, I could see that written music is completely unnecessary for him: he just looks up at the ceiling and feels it, as strands of horsehair break off of his bow one by one and wave passionately in the air.

I was also not expecting to be so inspired by the maestro, Junichi Hirokami, a 5-foot tall Japanese man whose little body could not contain all his energy. We were seated ideally to see his profile view throughout the concert and I have never seen a man exude more love for what he was doing. I definitely saw air between his feet and the podium more than a couple of times. With the duo of Ma and Hirokami, there was never a dull moment.
Lastly, I was not aware of the dire financial situation of the Columbus Symphony Orchestra, and that this concert may in fact have been the last for them. Understandably, lots of people are upset about this. (You can read more about it here. It's a poorly written article but you'll get the gist of the hornet's nest.) We joined the masses in standing ovation-ing and encoring the heck out of every song. It was awesome. I've never seen so much support for an orchestra before. Long live CSO!


Although we'd been in possession of the tickets for only a fraction of the time we'd had the ones for Yo-Yo Ma, my sister and I had been every day in delirious anticipation for the Flight of the Conchords, which, as you can read in my previous blog post, was a result of Divine intervention. Our shirts turned out exactly the way I'd envisioned them, which is more proof of the inspired nature of the event. I'm not an artist by any means and have never done caricatures before but I was able to whip up the pictures in no time Friday morning.

Bret and Jemaine were as adorable as can be sitting up there on the stage with their guitars and other assorted electronic instrumentalia. They charmed us with all of our favorite songs and included three new ones which I look forward to seeing on their show next season. They specialize in parodies and comedic banter, but I'm here to tell you that they are way talented as musicians as well. At the beginning of the show, their harmonies were right on and they had some awesome guitar licks not featured on their TV series. Granted, they started slipping near the end but they were noteably exhausted; seriously, they'd been playing for 2 hours straight with no intermission. And Bret did an impromptu mad dash through the crowd on the main floor, even in his (probably) worn out state, to the delight of the audience. We were only about 5 rows away from him... I could almost smell his delectable sweat. So we didn't get to go up on stage like in my dream. But I still feel like I have a more intimate relationship with those boys now. Or men. Yes, technically, they are.


On a more sobering note (although the other two events are already plenty sobering), I got home from the Conchords concert late Friday night only to wake up at 6am for a more charitable cause. Race for the Cure is an annual event in downtown Columbus but this was the first year I actually considered running it, for some reason. Again, I was not expecting to be so awed. About 40,000 people showed up this year and at $25 a person, that's a heck of a lot of money raised. I'd never run a 5k before and had not done any running for years, so I knew I was going to be pathetic running it cold turkey like that. But how can I say "no" to a cause like breast cancer research? It was packed tight with people as far as the eye can see, and even when the race began, at first we could only inch along. I decided to run with my dad (who has been working out) and was only able to keep up with him for the first mile or so. However, I probably wouldn't have been able to run even a mile straight if it hadn't been for the crowds of people and live bands lining the streets, cheering us on. Talk about encouragement! And not to mention I could see the backs of all the people running in front of me, where they had pinned on the names of loved ones and victims of breast cancer. As a sea of flapping pink paper bounced in front of me with names like "mom" and "grandma" and "my teacher," I couldn't help but get a little teary-eyed as I ran and fought a little harder to keep running. The last stretch of road was lined with Harley Davidson bikers, revving their engines and giving high fives. As I snailed across the finish lines with all the other tightly-packed people, the air was rich with endorphins and good feelings all around. It was incredible to see so many people of all different backgrounds united in a cause like this. Waking up at 6am for it? Definitely worth it.

Overall, you could say that I am significantly prouder of Columbus right now.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008


My sister and I have been excited about our trip to Ohio for a long time. Our main purpose, to see our baby niece Clara, was enough to keep us giddy for a while. We were also excited about a Yo-Yo Ma concert that got thrown into the schedule. And just being out of Provo is always a treat. Just when I didn't think the week could get better, I found out that the Flight of the Conchords are going to be in Columbus, the exact same weekend as us. This is not just a cherry on top. This is a gift from God.

With our tickets secured and visions of nerdy New Zealanders dancing in my head, I slipped into a strange but wonderful dream last night (sorry about all the dream posts lately.) In it, Yukiko and I were at the concert, exactly where we will be on Friday, in section F. We were wearing our matching FOTC shirts (which we have yet to make) and standing on our chairs, waving our arms, and screaming, "pick me!" (Actually, Yukiko might have been sitting down and it was just me going crazy.) I swear I'm not one of those pathetic girl fans that you see crying and hyperventilating, but in my dream I was SO sure that Bret and Jemaine would see me, if I only exerted enough effort. And they did! (I've only been to one other concert before in my life, and I got to go up on stage. So that's all I know.) So I got to go up and hug them and they asked me some questions, which I answered very cleverly (I can't remember for the life of me what they were about now) and pretty much I was in heaven. Needless to say, if I get invited up on stage on Friday, I am prepared.

And then I made out with Jemaine.

Saturday, May 10, 2008


Here's to my mom:

How can I describe her? She's one of a kind.
- She can whip up a hot cooked meal for a family of seven, even when I just looked in the fridge an hour earlier and didn't see anything in there.
- Once, when asked what her talents are, she answered vigorously, "I like to kill bugs!"
- She can manage thirteen 3-4 year olds simultaneously without raising her voice.
- She loves to "live it up" and travel around the world when she can.
- She has a spirit of adventure. One of her dreams is to swing through the city of New York in the arms of Spiderman.

Pretty cool, huh? Happy Mother's Day, Mommy.

Monday, May 05, 2008

No Hatin'

It was a quiet weekday afternoon and I was in the kitchen enjoying a dinner of tempura and white rice when there was a knock on the door.

"Come in!" I yelled, which was our customary greeting to houseguests. The only people who ever really came by were the management people, to collect our rent and such.

So I was pretty surprised when a large, strange man wearing a hoodie printed all over with money graphics walked in and sat himself down opposite me at the kitchen table. He sort of had a crazy look in his eye and I wasn't sure if I should try to make light conversation or stab him with my chopsticks and run for cover. As it was, I was at a loss for words and all I could do was wonder how long he was going to sit there and if my rice was going to go cold.

"I recorded a CD," he grunted, and threw a disc across the table at me, which was bedecked in the same money print as his hoodie, "give it a listen." I wasn't sure what to do. Not only was I skeptical of his musical talent, I had no desire to insert a strange CD into my laptop (which happened to be sitting at the table.)

"Sorry, I'm not going to buy your CD, I don't have money," I told him.

"You're tight on cash, huh?" he asked with a steady stare (I answered in the affirmative), "cash is pretty tight over here, too."

"I'm sorry to hear that. Well, good luck!" I told him with what I hoped was a tone of finality. He sat there and stared at me for a long time and I tried to appear interested in my tempura pieces which I moved around the plate with my chopsticks. Finally he reached across the table, retrieved his CD, grunted a "thanks for your time," and walked out.

My roommate Tallia and her fiance Jon came running out of the other room in fits of laughter. I knew they had been eavesdropping. "Thanks for the help, guys," I told them, "that was the most awkward thing ever."

"Don't worry, I was listening the whole time, I would have helped you out if anything happened," Jon assured me. They then proceeded to inform me that the guy's name was B-money, and he was something of a legend in Provo, interrupting all sorts of house parties and asking people to listen to his rap. Jon even did me the service of showing me B-money's music video on YouTube. Some of you may be interested in the familiar Provo locales:

I try to be a non-judgmental person generally and give people the benefit of the doubt. As I reflected on the situation later, I wondered if I had been fair, according to my personal standards. I don't think I was rude in any way, and certainly would have sent the wrong signals if I'd done anything to suggest I might be eager to have him stay. Was I unfair in not even listening to his music to give it a chance? (Well, it really isn't good anyway. At all.) Having been caught completely off my guard, I plead innocent of anything I might have done to offend. I guess what I'm trying to say is, I'm not a hater.

Monday, April 28, 2008

What Dreams May Come

It turns out for a college town, Provo is not the most conducive place for bicycle-riding. Puncture vine seeds scattered all over the sidewalks make for frequent flat tires. This is what they look like:

This unfortunate circumstance has made it necessary for me to scrounge up rides to and from work, at least until I find alternate personal transportation.

One particularly drowsy morning last week, I was deep in slumber when the miniscule rational part of my brain made me wake up with a start. I had work in an hour and still hadn't found a ride. I sat up, reached for my phone, and dialed my trusty co-worker, Hisako. She is one of my most wonderfully faithful drivers to whom I owe plenty. However, that morning, she didn't answer the phone at that particular time. I flopped back down on my bed to think of who to call next. Which, as usual, was Dan, my other trusty and faithful co-worker.

But during that brief moment when I lay back down, my heavy lids quickly teleported me back to the dream world. It was such a fast and smooth transition that I didn't even realize I had fallen back asleep. In my dream, I sat back up and dialed Dan. He picked up, and I distinctly remember his voice:

"Oh sure, no problem! But I have to pick up some cantaloupe for a group thing on the way, so I'm going to be early. Is that OK?" I assured him that it was OK, and with a sigh of relief, I flopped back down on my bed...

...The action of which caused me to enter into a third level of slumber, a dream within a dream, if you will.

A few minutes later, I woke up with a start again, from dream world 3L. Which means I was still in level 2; not quite back in reality yet. What made me wake up was this thought: Wait, did I really just talk to Dan, or was I dreaming? I called him back again just to make sure. (See, I am a pretty rational person in my dreams, albeit not rational enough to just check my call history.) He laughed and assured me that he was indeed coming. "Remember, I have to pick up some cantaloupe?" he said. By this time I was fully confident that I was going to get to work just fine. I flopped back down and slipped back into dream world 3L.

I probably would have stayed that way for several more hours, waiting for fake-Dan to come, if good old Hisako had not called me back at this point. The actual sound of my phone ringing was harshly cacophonous compared to the gentle humming of my dreams, and jumping suddenly from the third level back to reality is an extremely disorienting experience.

"Herro?" I slurred, trying to find my voice.

"Sayaka-chan! Did you need a ride?" She asked cheerfully.

"Erm, noit'sfine, Dan'scomingtogetme," I murmured, trying unsuccessfully to sound as if I'd been up for several hours, "errrm.... actually...," (here I began to doubt myself,) "he might have been a dream... do you mind if I call you back?" She asked me if I was feeling OK before we hung up. This time I checked my call history, and Dan's name was non-existent. Crap. I called Hisako back.

"Umm, Hisako? Can you come get me after all? I guess I didn't really talk to Dan," I admitted sheepishly. She laughed heartily.

"OK, I might be a little late because my son left his lunch in the van and I have to take it to his school, but I'll be right there!"

Only slightly embarrassed because I was still so drowsy, I flopped back down on my bed again, and would you believe it, I started falling back asleep again.

But a few moments later I sat back up in alarm. Had Hisako been a dream as well? No, my imagination couldn't have been good enough to think of her son forgetting his lunch. Cantaloupe, yes, but not that. I checked my call history, and sure enough, her name was there.

At this point I'm sure you all will be happy to hear that I finally threw myself out of bed. This was just getting ridiculous. Hisako picked me up, and I made it to work successfully...

...Where I related the whole story to Dan, much to his amusement.

"I don't even like cantaloupe," he mused.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Scabby Lists

I mentioned a while back that I like to make lists. I am perpetually making lists, whether in notebooks, stacks of random paper, or in my head. Some have potential to turn into something useful; most are completely pointless. I once read a line in some Sherlock Holmes book (I can't remember for the life me which one it was) that said something like, "your mind is an attic and you stock it with what furniture you choose." Then it went on to say that if you stuff your attic full of junk, then you don't have room for the things that are actually important. Now, I sort of disagree with this quote in that I believe the mind is limitless. But I do think organization is key up there. So I concluded, I better get all these random lists organized somehow -- then maybe I'll be able to do something more productive with my brain. So...

Voila. A blog is born. You can find it at and there is potential for frequent updates. It is more for myself than for anybody else, but if there are any other strange kindred spirits out there who enjoy random top 10 lists, then please feel free to peruse it once in a while. I am also hoping to hone my html skills, which are close to non-existent as of now, so the keen observer may also notice small changes to the template periodically. Basically, this blog will serve as a testing ground where I can try to develop some graphic design skills and you can find out what's going on in my ever-wandering mind.

OK. The end. For now.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008


You know how in movies featuring grade school, there's always that one student who gets so many gold stars it spills off of the teacher's chart onto the rest of the bulletin board? The one whom everyone thinks is an arrogant little snot? Yeah, that was me in elementary school. I always had to memorize the most poems, have the best handwriting, and be the fastest at those multiplication table quizzes-- for the sole pleasure of seeing another star added next to my name. That's how submissive I was to the Man. A stupid little sticker star was all it took to convince me to do something. It has taken me 15 years to finally realize how I've been played. I'm so ashamed.

I've also realized life's not so soft anymore. Instead of soft serve it's frozen Italian gelato that you have to keep chipping away at with a metal spoon. It doesn't matter whether you slept in because you were watching an entire season's worth of some ridiculous TV show or if there was heavy road construction and the train tracks were blocked by a stopped train and you got mauled by a tiger on the way to work... a tardy is a tardy. But then even in the adult world there are meaningless accolades given to try and persuade people to do things that only benefit the Man. Employee of the month, free sodas, a bigger cubicle, etc. Gold stars. And I'm determined not to be that arrogant little snot anymore.

It doesn't come naturally-- the third grader in me still gets a little teary-eyed every time I get a talking to. But it's only because I got dust in my eye, or the air conditioning is on too high.

Besides, I much rather prefer Italian gelato.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Top 10 Things I Do Absentmindedly

I've been trying to force myself to add a new blog post for the past week, since I was doing so well for... well OK maybe it was only about 2 weeks. But it's progress, right?

I'm sitting here at work and have had only 2 calls in the past 4 hours. I feel like the blogger gods are trying to give me a huge hint that NOW is the time to blog. I really have no excuse. I mean, I can only check Google Reader and Facebook so many times.

I've been finding that I make a lot of lists in my head. So here's one to start out with -- I think this could be the beginning of a new series of posts.

Top 10 Things I Do Absentmindedly

1. Look for split ends
2. Tie my hair into knots with one hand
3. Spell every word that I think
4. Kick off my shoes, then put them back on
5. Chew on the inside of my lip
6. Sing the last song I heard over and over in my head
7. Raise my left eyebrow (I do that when I'm tired)
8. Make lists in my head
9. Log out of Gmail only to sign back in right after
10. See how long I can keep my eyes open without blinking

Well. That should give you a decent picture of the pitiful condition I'm in right now as I sit here in my cubicle, headset on, pricing sheets spread out, and too tired to socialize with anyone around me.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Second-Daughter Syndrome

I've always felt there should be a book written about my family. There's something enamoring and captivating about an all-girl family -- how each daughter is so different in personality yet all are united by the unmatchable bonds of sisterhood (yes, yes, I realize I am completely biased in my statement.) It almost makes you want to "collect them all," if they were action figures, right?

I've also always imagined that I would be the heroine, or at least the narrator of the story.

Hey, before you start rolling your eyes at me, let me present the evidence for this. Think of the other stories about all-girl families you've read or heard. The most famous are probably the Bennett sisters in the much-loved Pride and Prejudice and the March sisters in Little Women. There are even the five daughters of Fiddler on the Roof (I can't think of their surname off the top of my head.) Now, who is the main character in each story? (Disregard Fiddler for now.) Elizabeth Bennett and Jo March, right? Both are the second daughters. Like me. And it doesn't end there.

You know the first daughters, Jane and Meg, and even Tzeitel? They are the role models, and always remind me strongly of my older sister, the first daughter of our family (just take the following comments with a grain of salt and humor me, Hatsuho.) They are obedient and wise and prettier and more practical than the second daughter. Thus, they don't get into as much trouble, and have the sense and good fortune to marry the first good, hard-working young man they meet. I'm not saying that my sister didn't have her share of challenges, but she has an impeccably cleaner record than me: she has never gotten a speeding ticket, been in a car accident, failed a class, gotten a detention in high school, been in debt, missed a deadline, or really been careless and irresponsible in any way. Basically, she hasn't done anything to cause my parents grief since she was a newborn, and even then I hear she was really good at sleeping through the night. Nobody really has to worry about the first daughter. I, on the other hand, have been and still am the complete opposite.

But I also like to think that I possess some of the good qualities of the second daughter: the dreamer and schemer with a love of writing, getting into scrapes but learning from them, taking risks, and hopefully in the end finding a man who adores her imperfections (another trend is that the younger daughters get married before the second daughter, and that's OK.) Now, I would be pretty happy with myself if I could also acquire Lizzie's wit, Jo's intellect, and Hodel's grace. There's always room for improvement, right?

So there you have it, some of the foolish and slightly narcissistic thoughts that go through my head as I go through this thing called life. You can agree or disagree with me, but I firmly hold that second-daughter syndrome exists, and that I am infected with it.

OK, now you can start rolling your eyes at me.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Words and Curds

I'm really good at Boggle. I say this as fact, not to boast. I'm pretty sure this is fact because I have played many games of Boggle in my day and won every time. I think there are two types of people in the world: those who can easily identify scrambled words, and those who can't. I've come across only 3 people in my life who fall into the former category. The dilemma comes when there is a mix of both types of people playing the same game. There is such an obvious and consistent rift in the scores each round that once it becomes apparent the same people are just going to keep winning, people begin to lose interest in continuing the game.

The other day at a cheese party, some friends and I (under the influence of some highly sugared drinks) faced such a dilemma and were able to come up with the following alternatives to said game:

1. "Who Can Find the Longest Word" Boggle
2. Foreign Language Boggle
3. Proper Nouns Only Boggle
4. "Doesn't have to Be Connected" Boggle
5. "Who Can Make the Highest Stack of Boggle Cubes" Boggle (However, since there are only 16 blocks to begin with, a 16-high stack was quickly achieved, much to our dismay. We decided that this version of Boggle is only for ages 5 and under.)
6. Jenga Boggle (which, of course, was invented right after the previous method. Not recommended as a time waster game, as the first person to go will always be the loser, making each round average about .5 seconds.)
7. "Shake the Boggle box as loudly and obnoxiously as you can until someone yells at you to shut up" Boggle

As we were able to quickly come up with the above methods, we became optimistic that we'll be able to compile a list of 100 quite easily. And the first thing to do when you compile a list of 100 of anything, of course, is to publish it as a book. We are quite excited about this concept and are confident it will be successful. You can start counting down the days: 101 Ways to Boggle (yes, we're even adding one extra!) is coming soon to a bookstore near you.*

*This statement may or may not be true.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Bi-cycle, BI-cycle, BI-CYCLE!

When I'm riding around town on my bicycle, I tend to look like I'm glaring. This is only because a) there is wind blowing in my eyes so I have to keep my head slightly down, or b) it's glaringly bright outside and I have to squint. People who see me may think I'm deep in thought, or concentrating really hard, or even angry at the world. What they don't know is that I'm secretly singing in my head the joyous refrain:

"I want to ride my bicycle!
I want to ride my bike!
I want to ride my bicycle!
I want to ride it where I like..."

Thanks, Freddie Mercury. I know how you feel.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

The Greatest of These is Charity

The other day at work I got a call from a disgruntled distributor.

"There was $100 charged to my card on January 8, 2007. I know I didn't get anything in January. I need you to check on it and get me a refund," he told me huffily.

Nobody remembers what they purchased over a year ago, I thought to myself, but pulled up his order history anyway. He's a busy purchaser... it's one of the longest lists I've ever seen.

"Sir, I'm only able to see up to a year back. I'm gonna have to go into a different program to find anything before then. It might take a while, so is it OK if I call you back when I've found it?" I ask.

"Sure," he grumbles. I verify his phone number and hang up.

I get through the series of passcodes and authorizations in our internal database system and find an even longer list of orders. I scroll down, and there it is: Jan. 8, NTC $100 Donation. I sigh and smile to myself. He had donated to the Nourish the Children Foundation to save children in Malawi and other parts of Africa from starvation and malnutrition. He can't get too upset about that.

I call him back.
"Sir? I was able to locate the January 8th charge on your card," I inform him.
"Yes, what was it?" He asks gruffly.
"It looks like a $100 donation was made to Nourish the Children."
There's a pause on the other end.
"Oh," his voice is noticeably softer, "OK, thank you, that's all." He hangs up.

I smile to myself. My heart feels softer towards him. Not a bad guy really, I think, taxes probably got him down. If only we created more occasion to remember those starving, malnutritioned children -- more hearts and harsh voices would be softened in the world.

Friday, February 29, 2008


I almost let this blog die...

...but changed my mind. I'd become frustrated with it because there didn't seem to be a theme or a direction; no ultimate purpose or destination. I had no desire to continue something that seemed to be reaching inevitable stagnation.

Yet I would check back on it every few days to see if it had been updated, and my heart was secretly disappointed each time to see the same old posts. I finally realized that I am the only person with the power (or the account information) to update this blog.

So maybe it doesn't have a tidy little theme like "Tuscan Cooking on a Budget" or "100 Dog Tricks in 100 Days." Perhaps it could fit into a theme like "Girl With Lots of Sisters Who Comment on Her Blog to Make Her Feel Better," or "Girl Who Tried to Be Dave Barry but Gave Up." Take your pick or make up your own.

At any rate, the overarching theme is My Mind, and maybe that's not good enough to be archived into a book someday. But hey, I'm still a fan.