Make sure you rest

Hi all,

Fighting the urge to spring right back to lists on lists on lists, but I just wanted to say that I know many of you are starting to… feel it this week. We have been sheltering in place for weeks now and it is not normal, even if we are settling into our new routines.

It may be routine but it’s not normal.

Even people who have been working full-time remote/from their homes for years have been feeling it. I have been reading accounts where people who have worked from their home offices for over a decade are starting to feel burned out for the first time in their careers.

We are dealing with a lot, mentally, even those of us who have been avoiding the news. People are constantly talking about it, after all, so unless you are also avoiding social interaction (which seems ill-advised during this time), you can’t really avoid it.

So please take the time to rest and make sure you’re taking care of yourself, especially if you have been taking care of others. If you have something that you’ve been saving for a special occasion, well… this may not be the kind of special occasion you had in mind, but it certainly is “special”. Eat the fancy whatever in your pantry or use the nice thingamabob you were gifted. Wear your favorite shirt, even if it’s a holiday-themed and has a stain on it.

Let me know how you’re taking care of yourself during these times. I am taking the time to cook good meals for myself when I can (even though I am still figuring out time management around preparing my lunches) and doing a looooot of stretching. Also, I sit on the floor of my bathroom in the dark, because it’s the darkest room of my apartment and I get migraines, but with a candle to make it feel nice and not sad.

Take care.

My TV Habit

For Lent in 2014, I gave up television.  (With a few exceptions.) Television has been a habit of mine since I was very young. Even without cable, I would spend hours watching PBS in the mornings, napping after lunch, and then watching hours of UPN and the WB. (Looking back on it, it is a little strange that I watched so much Barney & Friends and Martin! I guess.) My entire day was structured by my shows, and maybe that is where my intense need to stick to a schedule comes from.

At the back of my mind, I knew I watched too much television. (My parents would tell me so. Often.) In college, my TV consumption was reduced because I didn’t have a TV to mindlessly watch in my dorm room. My TV habit changed. I found myself furiously “catching up” on my shows on the weekends. Given that I spent a lot of time with campus organizations, this meant late nights and stolen nights to myself spent with my headphones on and streaming shows.

So. Many. Shows.

It was overwhelming and got to the point where I was begging for shows to end. (I’m so grateful that How I Met Your Mother finally ended, even though I was infuriated by the ending.) (But can Big Bang Theory stop already??) Catching up on shows started feeling like a chore, but I am so bad at quitting things that I kept watching. “I hate this stupid show!” I would shout while angrily tuning in to ABC every Sunday at 7PM EST.

Today… I don’t watch too many shows. I watch three HBO shows, which is definitely very different from how I used to watch television, given that I used to watch exclusively network television shows and thought paying for a premium channel was bonkers. I occasionally watch a Netflix show. (Have you watched season 2 of Master of None yet I really want to talk to people about the achievements in film that Aziz Ansari and Alan Yang have accomplished with it!) (But I haven’t finished yet…)

I feel so free. And a bit unfamiliar to myself. Who is this person who isn’t watching shows every day, or a week’s worth of shows in a day or two? I’m not sure, but I think I like her better than who I was before, watching hours and hours of television every day. I know that I don’t watch as much TV now because I just have other things to do with that time, and I’m really glad for it. I have never been one for idle time, but that is how my parents often saw my TV time – valuable minutes and hours that I was wasting away with my eyes glued to a screen.

In any case, if you want to talk to me about any shows, the ones I am keeping up with at the moment are:

  • Master of None season 2 (still working through this one, as its nice to savor and easy to not-binge)
  • Silicon Valley
  • Westworld
  • Game of Thrones

There are shows I want to revisit and catch up on, but honestly, since Ash Wednesday 2014, I am really behind on most of my shows. I never finished The Legend of Korra! But I get so overwhelmed even thinking about going back and trying to pick up where I left off, and even more overwhelmed thinking about starting from the beginning. And that’s just one of the unfinished shows I have.

Maybe part of why I see everything through rather than cut my losses is partially because how I watched TV. But I’m different now, and if I can watch less TV and be happier for it… I am hopeful about the other positive changes I can make in my life. Like exercising more. And eating fewer potato chips.

What shows are you keeping up with right now? Anything I should start getting into?

Are there any shows you actively quit watching? There is a show that I complained about all the time but kept watching, week after week. Ben had to tell me to just stop watching, but I still feel myself getting pulled in… It’s been hard to resist!

Just to let y’all know

I will be writing a series of updates about my trip soon, but I won’t guarantee anything terribly soon because I know I’ll procrastinate.

It was fun but also stressful and I felt cultured but also crass. I missed America and dreaded coming back.

LOTS OF FEELINGS, basically.

Potentially Familiar Face

I noticed you looking at me for a few seconds longer than a random glance warranted.
I found myself looking back for a few seconds longer than a return glance warranted.

He looks familiar.

You were on my radar from that point on. I was always aware of where you were, else I was trying to discreetly take in the sights while scanning for you. I would catch you looking in my direction a few times more, but never with the same kind of lingering glance as that first one I caught, but I would catch myself looking for you more times than I care to admit.

A few times, I managed to stand next to you while we read exhibit placards. I would look shyly at you, but you didn’t seem to notice. I would tell myself that you would look over at me when I wasn’t watching, but…

… most of me is sure that I created something between us and fixated on this imagined bond. That, if anything, you probably feared this girl who you’d always catch looking your way, standing near you in the crowd, failing to hide a smile.

But you looked so familiar to me.

I was mustering the courage all day to try to ask you why. “Hey, I’m so sorry, but you look really familiar, do I know you from somewhere?” Just as I was about to gather up enough gall to approach you, I was called away.
I caught you looking around for someone then.

Why did you look so familiar to me? Maybe I did know you from somewhere. Maybe it’s because you looked a bit like a friend of my brother’s or something. Maybe you just have one of those faces. Maybe I didn’t know you at all.

If I was more romantically available, or more romantic at all, maybe you were a figure from a not-too-distant future. Maybe your face is one that would become so familiar to me in the future that this familiarity permeated time and space into today.

Or maybe you were thinking these things about the guy standing behind me.

File:London tower ravens.jpg
Maybe the ravens know.

Sunbrellas and Parasols

The mid-Atlantic area is currently experiencing what is supposed to be the hottest day of a grueling heat wave, with the DC area supposedly getting the worst of it.

Guess where I live.

I saw a Twitter update from Anna Kendrick that hit home for me:

ParasolsJust… yes.

In China (and in fact, most parts of the world), umbrellas are regularly used to provide a personal spot of shade for you wherever you may go. The word “umbrella” comes from the root word umbra. Umbrella means “little shade”. When I’m in China, I am at a distinct disadvantage because when I’m walking on a sidewalk, most if not all the people carrying umbrellas are a bit shorter than me, leaving me at the perfect height to get an umbrella to the face. I like that I can carry an umbrella around in China, because it makes a world of a difference temperature-wise.

Original Function of the Umbrella
Courtesy of

Alas alack. When I carry my super nifty sunbrella that was my most prized possession in China, I get judged so hard. I feel the judgment especially harshly from fellow Asian Americans, who seem embarrassed by how fobby I look.

UH. I’m sorry that I want to stay cool and that I don’t feel like roasting my skin under the heat of the sun. Plus, I’ll admit, I feel very ladylike when I carry an umbrella around. It’s a little inconvenient but I kind of feel like I’m indulging myself in a little bit of shade. Delicious. (Plus, my sunbrella is beautiful.)

So. Fashion designers and trendsetters.  Get to making this an acceptable thing here please.

Do you carry an umbrella to keep the sun off your back? Have you ever considered it?