field of yellow flowers

Finally, I got my share of a cliché by having a picture taken in a field of yellow flowers. Cliché, I know, but I really wanted to do it.

Photo credit: Mr. O, taken last week while we climbed the ridge. 😀

I told him he had to do it, I twisted his arm, set the camera on aperture priority, instructed him about the aiming angles, and had him snap some photos for me. Crazy wife!

My skin is not as youthful as it looks. I did some skin retouching by blending skin color to even out the tone, and left the texture as it is with all the aging flaws. Now that I am 40, I sometimes regret that I did not take a good care of my skin when I was younger. I did not neglect it, but neither did I pay more attention than it desperately needed. Most of my skincare products are from drugstores, and I use Olay moisturizer since I was 18. I have large pores, and super dry flaky skin, with acne scars scattered all over the cheeks; it’s a challenge to wear make up and I don’t have the skills in cosmetic art either.

Last week I went into Sephora and asked a consultant to teach me how to draw my waning and uneven eye brows; she taught me a few tricks but somehow I looked awkward and not myself so I end up leaving it with all the flaws it has. But before I walked out I purchased an eye brow pencil and a brush. Hmm, I wonder when I will use them.

Alright, that’s it for this installment of being a self-critic. I was talking about the field of yellow flowers…and digressed!

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đêm cuối của tuổi 39!

30/31

Hai vợ chồng ngồi trên giường, mình nhìn sang Mr. O chọc ổng rằng ngày mai mình với ổng sẽ nằm cùng hệ “40” cho ổng có bạn. Mấy năm nay ông chồng mình “40” một mình đơn côi quá, giờ mình leo lên đồi để đồng hành với ổng mấy năm.

Tối nay nhờ ông O làm thợ “cầm đèn” cho mình ánh sáng chụp một tấm seo phì để cạnh tranh với tấm seo phì mình chụp cho mình 10 năm trước, cũng trong ngày 30 tháng 10…coi con nhỏ 29 hay con nhỏ 39 con nào đẹp hơn. 😀

Đọc lại cái bài mình viết 10 năm về trước trong cái đêm mình bước sang 30 nè…

Để mặt mộc luôn cho sự so sánh nó không khập khiễng. 😀

Ngày mai mình bước sang 40. 😀

Forty and Fabulous!

Moving to SF Bay updates

1. We found a moving company, who will move our household belonging and the one vehicle for well under $5K. That’s half of our budget. The other half will go into air tickets for the four of us and other miscellaneous expenses. 

2. We found a rental management company to be the middleman for the current property. It looks like we will have this house for rent in no time since it is in a good/ideal location for renters with young children. 

3. Buy or rent? We are leaning towards buying a small townhouse out there in the Bay Area where we could potentially afford.  There are many reasons that went into this decision. We really want to settle in and not to move twice (packing and unpacking is pain in the ass) and we also want the kids to settle in without much interruption to their new surrounding. 

4. I am patting myself on the back for doing quite a lot of purging and reorganizing out belongings. So far we have gotten rid off half of our clothes. I was triggered-happy to toss most of our winter outfits into the donation bins. Yay to warm weather, we really don’t need snow pants and boots, or a whole collection of down-feather winter coats. Adieu!

5. At times I just want June to be around the corner already. But I know it is a blessing to have a few months in between. We need these few months to prepare ourselves for the move. 

…more updates to come!

Nhà có hai ông bao công

Hôm qua hai vợ chồng lớn tiếng với nhau trước mặt hai thằng con. Thường thường thì không làm vậy nhưng hôm qua giận quá nên mới rầy rà ông O. Ổng cũng không nhường nhịn rồi trả đũa lại. Hai thằng con đứa ngồi đầu bàn đứa cuối bàn chống tay ngang hông. Thằng lớn đưa tay lên ra hiệu muốn nói một câu mà vẫn chờ đợi. Xong ổng không đợi được nữa mới nói, sorry aabo, sorry mẹ, I don’t want to interrupt but I just want to let you know that you need to use nice choice of words. Ông nhỏ cũng hùa theo, use inside voice and be nice, you are not filling my bucket. (Câu này ổng học ở trường mầm non).

Gậy ông đập lưng ông. Mình dạy hai thằng con mấy câu đó nên giờ mình nằm trong tình huống bị sửa lưng. Hai vợ chồng nghe hai thằng con khuyên giải với mấy câu ngộ nghĩnh nên nhìn nhau cười trừ. Đã vậy còn bị thằng lớn kêu ba mẹ phải lại đứng dựa tường rồi nắm tay nhau cùng “hưởng” time-out. Cái chiêu này cũng là ổng học từ mình vì lúc nào hai anh em ổng giành nhau hay đánh nhau thì mình bắt hai ổng cùng đứng dựa tường sát nhau và cầm tay nhau hay ôm nhau. Làm vậy là trong vòng một phút là hai ông hoà nhau liền.

Thế là ba mẹ hai ông con áp dụng mấy chiêu đó và cuối cùng nhờ hai thằng con mà nội chiến đã được ngăn chặn kịp thời trước khi bùng nổ với nhiều thảm họa không lường được.

Khen mình giỏi, dạy con cho nó mai mốt làm bao công xử án mới hay chớ.

26 years | becoming more American

I chose to put up a photo of my favorite dishwashing liquid, Palmolive — Original, to mark the 26th anniversary of my being American.

It’s the first scent that I vividly remember the first few days after arriving in Minnesota from the refugee camp. We moved into a two-bedroom apartment, on the second floor, of a four-unit building on 4th street crossing 32nd. A family of eight, plus Dad’s male cousin who came to Minnesota a few years prior. He just moved in with us because he was single at the time, and it seemed ideal to have him be to leading guide when Dad and Mom had no idea how to navigate the new world.

In that apartment, I washed a lot of dishes by hands because for nine people, three meals a day…dishes and utensils accumulated quickly. And I still remember standing in that small kitchen, with a gas stove, and running water coming out from a faucet — the thought that I did not have to fetch pails of water from a nearby community water fountain (the way in the refugee camp), or from a water well (the way it was in my neighborhood in Vietnam) gave me a fancy of living in luxury. And it was a luxury, more or less, to have all of these amenities and conveniences coming from a third world country.

I guess other than white snow (it was so brutally cold), grey-casted tree branches, and the aging beige-painted wall in that small apartment, what I remember the most was the scent of green Palmolive dishwashing liquid, and how new life began then.

And I have been using this brand since then, out of habit, of course, but it also gives me a sense of comfort.

P.S. Palmolive paid no sponsorship for this post. 😀

P.S.S. This morning while standing in the kitchen washing the dishes, I also put on some Vietnamese romantic music from my phone, listening to Vũ Khanh singing a familiar song (Mùa Đông Của Anh — My Winter) that Dad used to sing for us. I told Mr. O that I miss Dad, I miss how he strummed his thin and callused fingers on the guitar strings, singing in his coarse voice and alcohol-filled breath, and I kept watching his adam-apple kept moving up and down this neck. 

Little moments like that…get me every time!