the founding principles


Another birthday in the house 

It’s Peanut’s 5th birthday today!!!!

He has been looking forward to this day just because it’s a special day for him. This morning he woke up and said, happy birthday to me!

I am glad that birthdays are still noted as special for my kids.

In between the saga of family visits and having quality family time, our trip to D.C. is almost coming to an end. Ironically, I am actually looking forward to coming home. I think we are at the point where spending 24 hours together is touching some of my nerve-ends and I need my feeds of healthy home cook meals. Mr. O has been dining and wining me to the utmost state of gluttony. I gain back all the weight that I lost prior to Hawaii trip. We still have one more trip before the kids return to school in August so I might as well indulge myself while I still can. Then I can go back to my weigh control regiment.

Talking about indulgence, Mr. O and I have really taken advantages of his vacation time and do our diligent job at staying up late past midnight sleeping in to almost noon almost everyday. This comes as a surprise because Mr. O is not a night owl but an early riser. I must have been a bad influence. It’s going to be hard for him to adjust back to his normal routine once we come back to California.

D.C. In mid July 

I have forgotten that the east coast in mid of July is also as hot as the dry air of Northern California where I now live. Woahhh, we landed in DC and got blasted with 90F and humidity. It’s still tolerable, though.

Oh D.C., the last time we were here was in August of 2014. Mr. O and I took the boys on a road trip from Minnesota traveling through and stopping by Chicago and Cleveland before reaching D.C.  

Well, since then, D.C. has change drastically, and I am not talking about the physical landscape. I am glad that we get to see the White House from outside. Now I am getting nauseous thinking of being in its close proximity. 

Anyway, I better not get distracted. 

Mr. O is here for a conference and we are tagging along for summer vacation. It’s not Hawaii, and there are no nice beaches with turquoise blue water, and no lush tropical trees, but the boys don’t seem to complain at all. They still bicker and poke and fight every five minutes or less. Are they going through a phase of sibling rivalry and if so, will it pass? I just can’t handle the constant competition between these boys. Urghh!

At dinner today I met a nice Vietnamese man who served at the restaurant that we visited. He and I founded a common ground in being refugees and had our time in Bataan refugee camp. He was in group cycle 134 and I was 136 and we overlapped for a few months before he left for settlement in the U.S. Although today was the first time we met each other, that one common ground connected us with a string of  live-through experience that seems lost as part of our history. I don’t think many of us talk about Bataan refugee camp that much anymore and that physical place had been demolished to become something else with new name and new identity; just like how we have become dissolved into the fabric of American lives and that small part of our identity also vanished. But it was nice to have someone who had gone through that same experience, with knowledge of the same physical landscape, to know how we lived through those days. 

I am still proud of my American identity that began with a refugee experience!

So much of yaddiyahdiyah… I started writing this post since Monday when we just got to D.C. And it’s already midweek. 

chicken and rice

It’s Mr. O’s favorite rice dish — Hainanese Chicken Rice.

I usually labored for at least three hours in the messy kitchen to cook up this dish using the stove. But yesterday was the first attempt of using the Instant Pot. I overcooked the chicken a little bit, but that gave me a lesson for next time to reduce the time from 25 minutes to 20 or less. The chicken was a bit too done for me, and the skin fell off before I could dip the whole fowl into an ice bath.

And I fried my own shallots…talking about making more work for oneself!

The rice was washed and soaked with a bit of turmeric powder, hence the yellow color. I also used Mogami medium grain rice, grown and harvested in the U.S.


This is what I was talking about when I had that petty argument with Mr. O about the boys’ haircut. PP didn’t want to be in the photo because he was conscious of his bald head. This guy, however, took it with a stride and gave me all he got.

We traveled down south on Route 1, the coastal highway, and stopped by Gray Whale Cove Beach on our way to Halfmoon Bay on July 4th weekend. This was where the traffic began on that one-lane stretch of highway.

It’s always been cloudy, foggy, and cold whenever we come to the coast. Ain’t no sunshine…