Taiwanese Food

Following the Pingxi trip, I came down with the flu/cold.  I was basically down for the count for the next 2 days.  Got a chance to catch up on some sleep and lounge about the house with mom watching Kdrama while dad was busy shuttling the other sibling to various commitments.

For the next few days, eating was somewhat of a priority.  It’s what one does when in Taiwan.  I’m partial to Taiwanese 小吃 (snacks), because that’s what I ‘grew up’ on, although we were never allowed to eat it, because mom was always afraid we would contract hepatitis or some sort of disease from eating from the roadside stands.

Taiwan is known for it’s beef noodle soup, and mom and dad brought us to this place that gives you unlimited refills of noodles and soup, as well as free ice cream and drinks.  We went there 3 times in the 1+ week that I was there.

Got to check out the second floor of the Taipei Main Station where all the eateries were.  I didn’t take any photos, because there were signs advising against doing so.  Why?  It’s not like anyone can recreate a dish just based off a photo.

But, here are some photos of other places we tried while in Taipei.

That’s really all I got.  Who has time to take pictures when all you’re thinking about is diving in?

I wanted to hit the night market, but never got the chance this trip because of the flu the first week, and then the GI disaster the second…more about that later.

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Lonely Planet – Taiwan

So having lived in Taiwan for practically all their lives, one would think my parents know where the sights & food are, and where the fun can be had.

No.

They live like hermits, and don’t venture much out of their comfort radius of the district of Xindian.  There’s a neighboring town called Wulai, where they’ve never been.  Six years ago, when I went back and wanted to go to the famed Shilin night market – dad couldn’t find it.  Finally, he parked on a street and we just walked toward a crowd of people, and thought we had hit the jackpot.  It wasn’t until when we drove off that we saw the ginormous 士林夜市 (Shilin night market) sign was in the OPPOSITE direction from where we had ventured off to.  So to this day, I have yet to check out the Shilin night market.

I’ve learned my lesson, and told the sister to buy a Lonely Planet Taiwan guidebook.

Instead of buzzing around in Xindian the entire trip, we felt the need to branch out.

We found it in the district of Pingxi, where people gather during lunar new year to release environmentally unfriendly lanterns.  The idea is for you to write your wish on the lantern and release it into the sky.  And?

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Writing your wish using a calligraphy pen.

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Releasing it into the sky, while standing on the railroad track – smart.

This activity is strangely popular with the Korean tourists.

A gullible lot.

The problem with the lanterns is that they eventually burn out, and where do they land?  In the woods and streams.  I sure hope they’re made out of biodegradable material.

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Not only do they write their wishes on lanterns, they write them on bamboo stems and hang them all over the place.

I see litter and a waste of resources.  Terribly unfortunate.  No wonder my parents don’t go out.

Fortunately, or unfortunately depending on where you stand on this, we found a way to get away from this frenzied activity.  We made our way to the Shifen waterfall – unfortunately for mom it was a bit of a trek.

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I may sound snarky about this whole experience, but I did in fact enjoy the trip.  I just wish the people would find a more environmentally friendly way of ripping tourists off, that’s all.

Posted in Taiwan, Travel | 2 Comments

Mom & Dad Still Think I’m 12

Let me count the days.  A hundred and twenty.  That’s how many days it’s been since I last blogged.  Blamed it on laziness and the fact that our lives are just so vanilla bland.  However, I’ll take vanilla bland over chunky-monkey craziness any day.  Like dad used to say, peacefulness is bliss, or something of that nature.

Well that vanilla peacefulness was finally interrupted by my trip back to Taiwan 2 weeks ago to see the folks.  I was summoned.  J stayed behind since he didn’t have enough vacation days, AND he wanted to keep the dog company ever since we noticed that Truff was having a hard time at the kennel the last time we left him there.

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Truff prefers this environment over the stressful kennel.

To make the 12-14 hour journey to Asia a little more palatable, I splurged on a premium economy seat.  And was that a smart choice!  The wider seat and roomier space actually made the long trip enjoyable, if that’s even possible.  PE travelers embark and disembark before the masses.  Disembarking earlier meant breezing through customs, a shorter wait time for baggage claim, and less crowd when exiting.  Naturally, one would think that exiting into the waiting area with less people around you meant that your parents would spot you immediately.

One would expect that.

Not with my parents.

I spotted them first, and looked directly into their eyes and saw blank faces staring back at me.  Didn’t you guys summon me back?!

The funny thing is, this happened 25 years ago when I went back for the first time after freshman year in college.  Now, anyone who’s been to college knows about the ‘freshman 15’, which is you gain 15lbs – give or take, during your freshman year.  Well, I went a little overboard in the cafeteria and with all the prepaid ‘free’ food.  I probably gained about 20, 25?  I transformed from this petite 107lb teenager into a doughy 135 pounder.  To me, I still looked the same, but to my parents I probably looked like the Michellin Man, because I was standing smack dab in front of dad, and he was looking right past me searching for the scrawny teenage daughter.  That was a huge blow to the ego to say the least.

So that was then, but what’s the reason now?  I’m now 10-15lbs lighter and have been the same weight for the last 2 decades.  Dad said he was looking at the screen atop as I was exiting, and mom said she saw this stylish woman (I was wearing a dress and a pair of fabulously looking over-the-knee boots) and felt it couldn’t be me.  What was she looking for?  A girl wearing a T-shirt and jeans – like the ever predictable sister with her t-shirt, jeans/shorts uniform.

I’ve come to this realization.  The thing with parents and children is that, no matter how much a child has aged, accomplished, ballooned, and matured, the parents are always looking for that 12 year old child.

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Not Painful Enough

On the phone with mom & dad…

Mom: Oh, we missed your birthday 6 weeks ago.

Me: I know, it must not have been painful enough for you.

Dad: Yeah, your mom had an epidural when she had you, but she had a natural birth when she had your sister.

Let’s see if they remember her birthday come August…

Posted in Family | 2 Comments

Plant Stand

So I recently got my Dwarf Cavendish banana tree delivered all the way from South Carolina – for some reason I didn’t think to get it here locally, go figure.  After being in the box for 5 days in transit it looked a little beaten up.  The tree ended up losing 3 of the 5 leaves, luckily not all at once.  But with a little California sun, it’s starting to look pretty healthy.

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It’s currently standing at about 3 feet right now, but once mature it can reach up to 8 feet tall.  My plan for this tree is to keep it indoors for decorative purposes – I need a big tree to fill the vertical space in the living room.  However, to keep it healthy it needs 6-8 hours of bright direct sunlight – no shortage of here in SoCal, which means I’ve had to shuttle it between the living room and backyard.

Ultimately, the tree is going to be too heavy for me to carry back and forth, so I decided I need a plant stand with wheels for easy transport.

Ikea has one.

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I can easily pick one up for $6.99, but I thought I’d make my own out of materials we have lying around the house.

I found a piece of plywood in the garage.  While sawing it down to the desired size, I thought to myself ‘wish I had a table saw’.

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Board

Sanded the board down.

Secured the wheels that used to be part of the dog cage (which we no longer use) to the board.

Drilled a hole, and thread a string attached to a key chain for improved maneuverability.

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String and key chain

Voila!  A plant stand with wheels!

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I can hook the string to the pot when not in use.

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Plant stand in action…

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Here’s the tree in the living room.  Can’t wait for this tree to get much bigger to fill the space.

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Posted in DIY, Home | 6 Comments

Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree

Sharing my life with my husband is a beautiful thing, 99.99% of the time.  There is that 0.01% I wish I didn’t have to share – one side of our bedroom. There’s an armoire in the center that divides the space, and we each have one side out of fairness.  I like my living spaces put together, but J can’t be bothered with any of that.

Here’s my side.  Cozy and comfortable with a rocking chair.  We know it’s comfortable, because both of us are jockeying for that seat when we’re brushing our teeth.  I recently got a fiddle leaf fig tree from Armstrong Nursery, and put it in a woven seagrass basket that I picked up at World Market for $15.

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Here’s a close up of that beautiful fiddle leaf fig tree – let’s see how long I can keep this alive.

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This is J’s side.  That’s his ‘Barbie’, his BJJ grappling dummy.  It once scared the unsuspecting appraiser.

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You may say that the armoire doesn’t sit quite in the center, and my side is noticeably bigger.  Well you are correct, but as long as J doesn’t say anything, the armoire stays.

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Posted in Home, Marriage | 6 Comments

My Echeveria

Spring time is synonymous with planting.  When it’s sunny out, I just want to grow things.  As a brown thumb, I’ve been quite satisfied that I’ve managed to keep a few things alive around the house.  I’ve actually managed to grow a papaya and lemon tree from seedlings.  Granted, both are extremely easy to grow.

Of course I’m very aware of my limits.  I am not delusional.  So I still stick to the cacti and succulents.  This past weekend, I bought myself a succulent after spotting the perfect little planter for it.

I used a pretty little old candle container as the planter.

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(If you’ve never tried these candles, you must give it a go.  They smell amazing – even the noncommittal cheapskate agrees!)

Punch four holes (hammer and nail) on the bottom, plop in the succulent, and voila!

Use the lid on the bottom to catch excess water, and I’ve got a pretty little Echeveria parva in a pretty little container!  Oh my!

Posted in DIY, Home | 1 Comment