Thursday, October 15, 2009

You're Sat... at Tables 24, 25, 26, and 28

I may have a problem. It may be serious.

Some of you may recall that a few years ago I was a waitress at a certain busy Provo restaurant that shall remain nameless. The two years in which I was thus employed proved to be the most stressful two years of my life.

Those who have been occupied similarly will know about all the stress, the insane multi-tasking, the butt-kissing, the demanding customers, the constant flow of customers for neverending hours straight, being on your feet rapidly walking with 30 pound trays constantly balanced on your shoulder for double shifts, desperately trying to find two other servers who will sing the birthday song with you when there are a million other things you need to be doing, glasses that are still hot from being straight out of the dishwasher exploding in your hand, etc.

I was actually quite good at the job. I have a mind that can quickly organize and prioritize complex situations, despite rebutting evidence. I think I'm pretty good at faking cheerfulness and pleasantry. I think it's my innate perfectionist need to be completely under control at all times, and restaurant circumstances being such that this is absolutely impossible, that really caused me stress. And this stress would manifest itself in my dreams in the shape of terrible nightmares. Every single night.

Like I said, it's been quite a few years now since this dark period of my life. But... and here's the problem... I still have the nightmares. At least once a week. And they're just as clear as they were back then.

They usually start out well enough, with getting a table of seemingly pleasant, normal customers. They ask for drinks. They ask for their food, but with the sauce on the side. And make sure you personally go tell the chefs that they want to hold the mushrooms. You're still OK at this point. Then they ask for all different sizes of to-go boxes. They ask if you can ask a manager if they can order something customized. They ask for things that aren't on the menu. They order bizarre things to go. They want more lemons for their drinks. They changed their minds, they want the check separated after all. But can they use this expired coupon? The boss told them three months ago that they could have this item for free, will you go find him and ask him about it? Everything you need to go get for them seems impossibly far away. The computer keeps being weird and won't print their check. And all the while, hostesses keep tapping you on the shoulder, telling you you're "sat" at another table. You glance hopelessly at the growing number of customers you haven't even greeted yet who are just sitting there, waiting for you, their eyes drilling holes into your back, and you know you can't get to them for another hour.

They're intense. And the worst part is, you wake up with a massive headache, cramps in your legs and traps, and feeling stressed, stressed, STRESSED.

Do I need help?

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Anime and Cool in the Same Post?

As a single person, I always tried to avoid guys who were super into anime and stuff. This was because those were usually the type of guys who had a weird Asian fetish, and as an Asian-American person, I think that is pretty creepy. I was never a fan of the idea that someone would want to date me just because I was Asian. Who would? I wanted people to date me because I was me. I tried to stay away from all males who would start a conversation with, "so, I really love sushi" or "I knew this Korean person once" or "I served a mission in Taiwan."

I realize I am being extremely stereotypical and unfair here. Who knows, some of these guys could have ended up being really cool. (Ha!) Umm... seriously. But as time went by, I began to realize the unfortunate truth.

ALL guys think anime is cool, at least to some degree. I blame it on video games. But even in a circle of the most normal-looking guys, if Dragon Ball Z is brought up, everyone has something to say about it. I mean, they know the names of the characters, the different plots, powers, and whatever other details that go along with the show.

Now get this. My husband likes anime. He loved Dragon Ball Z as a kid and has also seen pretty much all of Avatar. I had never even heard of Avatar until I met him. In the DVD aisle at Wal-Mart once, I asked, "if we were to buy any of these DVD's right now, which one would it be?" and he went straight to the boxed sets of Avatar. I thought he had to be kidding. He kept trying to explain to me why it is such a cool show and I just would not have any of it.

Anyway, one time when I was really sick we had the boxed season 4 of Avatar which he borrowed from his brother, and I gave in and said I would watch it with him. One episode followed another, and another, and another, and before we knew it we had watched the entire thing! And guess what? Avatar is a really cool show. It actually has a decent story and some of the jokes really made me laugh. I even had water-bending dreams that night.

SO... the point is, we went and saw Transformers 2 in the theaters the other day, (more like the other month,) and saw this preview:

(If that didn't work, just go here.) And we almost peed our pants with excitement. Yes, both of us.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


What kind of shower drain do you have at your home? I've been noticing that the type pictured above (I call it the "pluggy kind") is becoming increasingly popular, especially at newly-built establishments. My last three places of residence have had these installed. I'd like to state here, once and for all, that I HATE this type of shower drain. I don't know what is causing this boom of popularity -- perhaps they ("they" being... um... those shower drain choosers, of course! They're everywhere!) have never bothered to ask women their opinion. Because any woman with a thick head of hair will tell you that unless they keep an eye on where every single strand of hair happens to end up and catch them all before they go down this drain of doom, they will end up with a clogged shower in 4 to 7 days. And who should have to keep track of where every little strand of hair goes? Showers are supposed to be leisurely!

I, for one, probably shed about a pound of hair every day. It's amazing that I don't ever go bald. It seems my hair replenishes itself like some kind of supernatural weed. Since having to deal with this "pluggy kind" of drain, I've had to learn to throw my handfuls of hair outside the shower curtain onto the tiled bathroom floor periodically throughout my shower for later cleaning. (Yes, I come up with a handful after every shampoo/conditioning/rinse.) Then, at the end, I have to fish around for each loose strands I missed and toss those outside as well. Even using this method, our shower clogs about once a month. And the other bad thing about this "pluggy" type? It DOES NOT come out. You'd think it would be easy to just yank the thing out, pull out a wad of hair, and call it good and unclogged. But these things are designed to stay put. We tried everything, and my husband is a mechanic. They don't come out. So the only thing you can do is use Drano.

Which works just fine and everything, but each bottle only lasts for one or two uses. Which is pretty lame.

Now, at my old house that my parents still live at (it was probably built in the 70's or something) they have a better system going. The shower there has what I call the "netty kind" of drain.
Sure this drain may not look quite as attractive as the "pluggy kind," but it's all worth it for the functionality. When you shower with this kind of drain, you don't have to think about your loose hairs at all. You just shower leisurely, thinking about whatever else you want, maybe even humming a little, and at the end all you do is pick up the wad of hair that is nestled neatly on top of the drain and throw it in the trash. I grew up being one of six full-headed women using the same shower for close to 20 years and we probably had to unclog the drain every 10 years or so. WAY more effective.

So, for all of you shower drain choosers, I highly recommend that you start bringing back the netty kind of shower drain. It will make the world a slightly happier place.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Making Dinner With Nothing

I'm not exactly a high-class chef, but I do homemake 99% of my meals and today I feel like making a list of things I make when there's nothing in the fridge. Seriously, these recipes have saved me dozens of times.

Chop up vegetables, shrimp, etc. to desired size. If you're using potatoes, carrots, radishes, etc., make sure they're thin enough to cook all the way through. In a small bowl mix enough flour and water to make a pretty thin batter. Coat all your vegetables with batter then deep fry in oil. Serve with white rice and a side of soy sauce while they're still crispy.

Egg Custard Pie
This is perfect for when I'm desperately craving something sweet and there isn't a single piece of candy to be found in the house. All you need is eggs, milk, and sugar (there's a recipe for it in every cookbook.) I usually keep some store-bought pie crusts in the freezer, but if you don't have one, all you need is flour, shortening, and water.


Make a roux by sauteing chopped onions and garlic in a pot with a few tablespoons of butter, then mix in a handful of flour. Fill the pot halfway with water (or with milk for a cream stew) then add in whatever you can find in your kitchen. Beef, potatoes, and carrots are ideal but I've also gone with chopped up cabbage, leftover frozen broccoli, corn, green beans, and mushrooms. Add in some beef or chicken stock/bouillon in whatever form you happen to have, whichever one you think would match your ingredients better. I keep a jar each of beef and chicken "Better Than Bouillon" in the fridge and they are AWESOME. First of all, they are the only items of their kind with no MSG, and they last forever because one teaspoon is equal to a can of broth.

Casserole Thing

If you have a decent amount of potatoes, or if you're sack of potatoes is starting to sprout or get rubbery, then you can make a casserole. Just peel and chop them up, then throw chopped whatever else you can find that is meat or vegetable in with the potatoes. Mix everything with a few generous spoonfuls of sour cream in an oven-safe dish. If you're lucky, you can locate some cheese to sprinkle on top. Bake in the oven for a while, until the top looks light brown and somewhat appetizing.

Eggless Pancakes

Next time you think pancakes are out of the question because you're out of eggs, think again. I make pancakes without eggs all the time and my husband actually likes them better that way because they melt in your mouth better. Seriously, just use your favorite pancake recipe and leave out the eggs. Usually all you need is flour, a little sugar, baking powder, some oil or butter, and milk. Sometimes I even use water instead of milk when we're out, although admittedly it tastes way better with milk. For syrup I just boil tons of sugar with water for a while and add some chopped up fruit. Or if you don't want to bother with the extra hassle (or dishes), just serve your pancakes with butter and jam.

Fried Egg

Sometimes I remember that an egg makes a great side dish in and of itself. I just fry it to my desired doneness and eat it on the side of white rice. It tastes great with salt and pepper or a little bit of soy sauce.

So I wish I could have kept this post from being the most droning, boring post ever but I hope you made it through. I at least enjoyed writing it, as food is one of my favorite things ever. I swear, all day long I think about what I'm going to make for dinner.

Any other favorite meal ideas using only leftover items in the fridge?

Friday, July 10, 2009

Diary of a Wimpy Kid

Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney is way popular with kids right now so I picked up the first volume and read it.

Can I say, I loved it! I was laughing out loud the whole way through. The only other book that has ever done that to me was some Dave Barry book -- probably Dave Barry Does Japan. Lucky for me, I get to work in the elementary school library teaching kids to read during summer school, and that place is a treasure trove of cool books. You have to be careful though -- there are tons of new kids books coming out with pretty, tempting covers but a lot of the stories are practically exactly the same as already existing stories. This Wimpy Kid series, however, is fresh and the author's humor is hilarious in a surprisingly non-cheesy way. It is illustrated with cute comics drawn by the narrator, and all the words have the appearance of being hand-written on lined journal paper. I highly recommend it.

PLUS the cover is pretty.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Sunday Lesson

Yesterday at church I made an origami cube out of the sacrament program and gave it to a little boy who was sitting in front of us. Good move -- he got much more use out of it than we would have. We entertained ourselves with watching him repeatedly flick it across the empty chair next to him, sometimes making it ricochet off of his hand or a hymn book. Every once in a while he would turn to his dad and whisper, "I already made 71 points!" or, "Two times out of four I got holes!" Sometimes I am so jealous of what goes on in kids' minds.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Help Wanted

Josh gave me his iPod Shuffle and I need to update my music library... badly. It hasn't been touched for probably five years or so. The problem is, I hardly ever listen to the radio or anything so I have no idea what kinds of songs and artists are out there these days. I need recommendations... please help!

My favorite albums to listen to are:

Damien Rice -- "O"
Jewel -- "Pieces of You" (Note: I do not like her other CDs.)
Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova -- "Once" Soundtrack

I like mellow, singer-songwriter styles with acoustic guitar and raw vocals. Cellos and stuff in the background are cool too. Know of anythig out there I would like?

Monday, June 15, 2009


Our friends the Christensen's introduced us to trouble.

It's called Plants vs. Zombies and it is incredibly addicting. You have to ward off zombie attacks by planting anti-zombie plants in your front and back yard (and roof!) all the while collecting enough sun to grow your gardens. The zombies attack continuously, eating your plants if you can't kill them fast enough. If the zombies get past your vegetation and into your house, they eat your brains. There is a constant, hilarious chorus of "brains!" and "arrrrgh!" You collect money to buy more cool anti-zombie items from a guy named Crazy Dave. The music is cool and so are the sound effects. To top it all off, the graphics are adorable.

Quite a perfect little package. I highly recommend it. (Unless you have a goal to be productive...)

I adore this little "wall-nut."

Friday, April 10, 2009

A Dry Read

I don't know if any of you are the type of people who will deliberately disobey instructions because you think you know better. Sometimes, I am.

You know those hand dryers in public restrooms? If you, like me, like to study the diagrams, phrases (English, Spanish, and French), and logos on all the dispensers, disposals, and whatnot as you (eh hem) go about your business, you may have noticed that the hand dryers usually include usage instructions. Sometimes the instructions are only listed, but if you're lucky, they're illustrated as well. Or sometimes only illustrated. Always, they will tell you to press the button then rub your hands under the warm air that dispenses. The rubbing your hands part is the part I used to ignore. I thought, I'd rather hold my hands still and separate, thus allowing maximum space around both hands for which the air to blow. Please tell me someone else has had similar thoughts. Um, anyone?

However, using my method, I always had to push the button at least twice to get my hands completely dry, and sometimes still found myself wiping them on my jeans afterward just to be sure. Not only is it kind of a waste of time but nobody wants to touch something public with a wet finger more times than he needs to.

The other day, I made a discovery: to get your hands dryer (drier?) faster, just FOLLOW THE DIRECTIONS. I found myself rubbing my hands together just like I'd so stubbornly refused to do for so long. I dunno, maybe I was in a hurry or something. The air let up and I was about to press the button a second time when I realized my hands were completely dry. To my completely unscientific mind it doesn't make any sense at all but rubbing wet hand against wet hand actually speeds up the drying process. I've tried it every time since then and it's worked great.

Following instructions. What a novel idea.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Short Update: I'm Still Alive

Not that I was ever great at blogging regularly, but I do have an excuse for my most recent prolonged absence. I am living in a void in the universe called Ephraim, UT and wi-fi's are extremely rare to find. OK, so Snow College is really nearby (which is where I am right now as I type this) and they have a free guest connection. But somehow, not being able to blog from home is a drastically impeding my blogging success. If I still have any readers left, I am sorry, but I am still here.

Just a few recent thoughts:

Things I Hate
-The first few seconds of cold water that comes out of the shower head.
-That there are green berries in Cap'n Crunch Berries. They remind me of unripe or sour berries. Seriously, what were they thinking? (But I still love Cap'n Crunch.)
-When people say "lifes" instead of "lives."

Things I Love
-Warm, freshly ground wheat flour.
-Losing tons of weight from being sick (but not the being sick part.)
-The Oxford Dictionary (as contrasted with Merriam-Webster, American Heritage, etc.)
-Babies that smile back at you.
-Sunkist fruit snacks.

Also, we borrowed City of Ember from Redbox expecting it to be a terrible kid's movie, but it was actually pretty decent. If you've read the book (which I haven't) you probably won't like it though. That's the way it rolls, right?