Transitioning To Own Domain

Hi Everyone! I changed my blog from blogspot to my own domain: on Wednesday and all comments prior to the conversion will reappear within 48-72 hours. If you left a comment and don't see it posted, it should appear by Sunday.

It's Lavender After All

I previously wrote about walking pass either a lilac or lavender bush during one of my after school walks in the park with my daughters in this post. There was a small area along the trail that was filled with a very pleasant sweet fragrance in the air. I came back a few days later (didn't have the camera with me that day) to take a picture of the flower so I can take it to a nursery store and hopefully buy the same bush to plant in my garden. Here's the bush at park:

It's not an attractive looking bush at all. I wasn't quite convinced that the fragrance came from that bush when my daughter pointed to it and said the smell came from it. If you look at the picture below carefully, you can see some dried lavender flowers to the right.

When I went back to take these pictures, there was no more sweet fragrance coming from the bush. As a matter of fact, there wasn't much lavender flowers left except for a few dried ones. Below is the picture I took when the flower was in bloom:

I showed the flower to one of the nursery store employees and asked if it was lavender and he said yes. Little did I know that there are actually a variety of lavender plants. I bought this pot that day.

I chose this lavender variety because the flowers smelled a lot sweeter than all the other varieties at the store. The small purple lavender blooms look almost the same as the one from the park. It's been so windy for the past two weeks that the pot was knocked over almost everyday. I don't want to stick in my garden soil yet because I'm worried that it might not make it. I hope the weather gets better as we summer approaches so I can plant my lavender bush.

Here's An Allergy Tip


See anything usual about my lily flower above?

My daughter and husband have allergies which is why I can't have certain types of flowers in the house. They're fine around flowers that have very little pollen such as roses, carnations, and orchids. Well, actually, roses are not low pollen flowers but a florist told me that the pollen in roses is too large to become airborne, which is good because airborne pollen trigger allergy attacks. On Mother's Day, my husband got a bouquet of flowers with several lilies. Lilies have A LOT of powdery pollen and I'm always good at cutting off the stigma and stamens from each flower but this time around, I totally forgot about removing them. Both husband and daughter got sick on the same day a week after the flowers were in the house. They both developed cold-like symptoms. Here's a close up of the flower without the stigma and stamens.

I'd also like to note that no allergy medicine really works for my daughter. My husband takes different types of antihistamine medicines that help somewhat only. As for my daughter, no medicine works on her. Sometimes she'll recover within two days and sometimes, like this time, a few weeks. It's been two weeks since her allergy attack and she still has a lingering cough. I hope one day we will have a science miracle to cure allergies. Best yet, there will be an allergy vaccine.

A Story About Karma

Many people will argue that there is no such thing as karma and that what we perceived to be karma is actually just mere coincidences of events. I used to take up debates with people on this subject but now, I just say it in one sentence, "Karma is something that can be understood once you experience it, so until then, it's really pointless to argue". What makes me bring up the subject about karma? Well, yesterday I bumped into an ex-worker of mine and we briefly exchanged what we've been up to. I asked her about her eyes and she said they still bother her at times and that she can't be on the computer too long because her eyes would hurt. We said our goodbyes and went our separate ways. What happened to her eyes is the reason why I am writing this post about karma.

Ten years ago, Cecil was the fastest data entry clerk in the department. She had the speed and accuracy that all managers loved but all workers envied. During one of the department's reorganizations, Cecil was paired up with a much older worker who was in her late 50's at the time. Cecil was in her mid 20's. Even though Cecil was a fast worker, she didn't like to do more than what her job duties entailed. She was definitely not a team player. If she was done with her assignment, she'd sit there reading magazines, talking on the phone, or shopping at a discount store across the street. The managers, not just one manager, but three managers, tried coaching and encouraging her to be a better team player. Cecil became very disgruntled because she blamed her slow partner for her misery. I was asked to coach Cecil on her people skills.

Cecil was indeed a very difficult worker to work with. She was super sensitive and didn't like to hear any constructive criticisms. Everyone had to walk on eggshells when dealing with Cecil because she had several outbursts that resulting in her crying hysterically. In short, no one wanted to work with Cecil and the workers resented management inability to effectively deal with this difficult worker.

My manager sent me over to supervise Cecil and the other elder worker because there was so much animosity and tension between the two of them. You have a young worker who was super fast and cocky working with an older worker who was slow. During my one-on-one discussions with Cecil, I learned so much about her state of mind and was able to pinpoint the source of her reluctance to help others. In her world, being able to do things faster and better than other people gave her a sense of superiority and accomplishment. She bluntly said, "If that other woman can't handle her job, she should quit. She's slow. She can't see well..." I told Cecil granted that she now has perfect vision but who's to say that she will maintain this perfect 20 year-old vision when she hits her 50s. Cecil's response was 1) she won't have eye problems, and 2) she won't be working beyond 50 years old.

Cecil was later transferred out to another area in the department after I reported to management my conclusion that no coaching or motivation would change this woman. Well, if people can not change a stubborn person, let karma be the teacher. Over a course of seven years, Cecil performance started to slowly drop. Her accuracy and speed were noticeably declining. Management thought she was unmotivated to be a productive worker. She took time off and had more doctor appointments than usual. Later, her manager reduced her workload due to a medical condition and then Cecil was transferred to another department because her medical condition prevented her from working at her current job. I later found out that her medical condition was related to her eyes and she was not able to see well and look at the computer for a long period of time otherwise, her eyes became painful and her vision blurred. The ironic thing is Cecil would complain how unsympathetic her coworkers were of her condition. She was only in her mid-30's. Cecil's ex-work partner, who she looked down upon and laughed at, took me to the side one day and said, "karma is a bitch, isn't it?" Yes, it is. It truly is. Whatever you throw out there in the universe will come back to you, good or bad.

Sometimes Change Is Stupid

I received an alert email from my daughter's elementary school warning parents about a man who has been hanging out at local playgrounds and taking pictures of kids. One witness said when she saw what he was doing, she purposely walked over to where he was sitting and sat next to him. He acted nervously and walked away moments later. Parents were warned to keep a look out for a man "wearing dark sunglasses". That was the description that was given to us: A man wearing dark sunglasses.

Needless to say, I was not the only parent who replied back to the email asking for a better description of the guy and the school sent out a second email containing a picture of him. At first I thought it was negligence of whomever that composed the email alert until I found out that the description of the man was intentionally left out due to changes in the school policy in providing descriptions of alleged suspects in crimes. To address the concern of misinformation and racial profiling, many major media outlets and schools now do not provide description of alleged suspects in regards to their race. Many will simply post a picture and let the viewers decide. If there's no visual evidence of the alleged suspects, then the only information you get is what happened.

I'm glad not all news outlets changed their policies because at least I know there'd be some other media alternatives for me to go to for more information about a crime. This is just for the time being though. I think sometimes when you try to please a group of people, you end up screwing others along the way. So this is what we have to put up with for the time being. I say time being because I don't think this will pan out for long. It's just simply impossible to inform people about a crime without providing the essential aspect of the crime and that is the identity of the suspect. I've been around San Francisco for 30 years and I've seen policies come and ago. We always end up going back to the ways things were.

Ten years ago, there was a group of parents who protested then sued the city for, honestly, I don't even know what their legal basis was, but they won and the city was forced to change the school admission policy. What ended up happening was you have kids that lived in one end of the city bused to the other end of the city. The political term was "diversifying the schools". In order to satisfy 5% of the parents who protested 10 years ago, the city created inconvenience for the remaining 95% of the population. It was just a huge mess. There were students who lived right across the street from their school of choice but were admitted to schools on the far end of the city. Outraged parents protested every beginning of school year. I remember watching on the news last year of an angry mom who said her daughter had to leave the house at 6AM and catch two buses to her middle school. Her school was choice was only a 5 minute walking distance. As a parent, I completely felt her frustration and anger. The policy was plain stupid. This year, the school district announced that they will revert the admission policy to the old ways and students will be admitted to schools based on where they live. The announcement was greeted by celebrations and cheers. What a nightmarish 10 years for parents.

Photo of a Teacup

Note to all future taggers: I'm a horrible person to tag for any picture related tags. Here's why: I've been tagged by Icy BC and the rules for this tag are to select the 8th photo in the 8th photo folder and write about it. Since this tag only calls for posting a picture and nothing complicated, I'm going to follow along. I have to admit, I was hesitant because I'm not a photographer and I don't have 8 photo folders. That was my first problem. My second problem was in my 4th photo folder (that's all I have), the 8th picture was a picture of my sister goofing around and she made me promise that I would never post any pictures of her on my blog. So I have to break away from a couple of the rules and post the 9th picture from the 4th photo folder. Additionally, I'm not going to tag 8 bloggers but would leave it with anyone who would like to join this tag to please do so.

This is my sister's teacup chihuahua named Apple. Apple was slightly bigger than an iPhone at birth. Her friends gave it to her as a birthday present and the dog was certified as a 'teacup'. I believe Apple was 5 months old in this picture. Apple is 5 years old now and she is no teacup. Not sure if it was because we fed her too much or because she was not a teacup to begin with. She's grown into a normal size chihuahua.

ATM Gold Machine And Perks At Driving Schools

Call me slow but when I read about this so-called gold dispensing machine in Dubai, I had to re-read the news article and then "WOW!" The outside of the machine is coated with a thin layer of gold, dispenses pure gold, and is located "beneath the gold-coated ceilings of Abu Dhabi's Emirates Palace hotel, where royalty and billionaires come for cappuccinos topped with gold flakes...". All these gold, I think I'll walk out blind. You would think it dispenses coins, right? Wrong! This gold ATM machine offers customers "320 items to choose from, ranging from gold bars that can weigh up to 10 grams, to customized gold coins." The machine's computer system updates the gold price every 10 minutes to match international markets. Can you imagine the security system in this hotel??

And now driving lesson perks...

You've all probably heard of realty companies offering getaways, TVs, refrigerators, cars, and even cash to customers buying homes to boost the stagnant housing industry. In Japan, there's been a sharp decrease for the past two decades, not two years, but two decades, of people getting their driver's licenses. Some driving schools are now tapping into the housing creativity to entice people to learn to drive by offering lessons in BMWs, Harley-Davidson motorcycles for bike classes, manicures, Hawaiian "lomilomi" with aromatherapy, and other types of massage to relieve driving fatigue. I wonder how this will turn out...

News sources: ATM Gold Machine, Driving Perks

Heart-Shaped Origami

I had lunch with my sister yesterday at an American-Chinese restaurant and while we were waiting to be seated, something on the cashier counter caught my eye. It was an eloquent money origami flower arrangement. When I got home, I googled "money origami" and browsed through many instructions until I decided on making a heart-shaped money origami. In case you don't know what origami is, the literal translation is "folding paper". Ori means "folding" and gami means "paper". Contrary to popular belief, the art of folding paper into ornaments, shaped figures, and animals originated in China around 100AD not Japan. The misconception was largely in part because origami is a Japanese word. When origami was brought to Japan, only the rich people learned this craft since paper was precious and expensive. The most classic and popular origami is the crane which is a symbol of peace.

I have tried to fold the crane a few times and failed in the past so this time around, I looked for something more elementary. The heart-shaped money origami is something that looks pretty and easy to fold. The step by step instructions are below. If you want to try folding it and the creases on the money is not visible, you can visit this site where the lines are drawn in on the paper.

How to fold a heart-shaped money origama:

The crease in the middle is due to the money being folded in my wallet. It's not part of the instruction.

Turn around and what do you see?

Sources credit: Origami History, More

Why You Should Delete Chain Letter Emails

The next time your friend or family forwards a chain letter email to you, DELETE the email without opening it. There may be some codes embedded in that email that could confirm your email address once you open it. If you couldn't resist reading the fabulous content of the email, then do others a big favor by deleting the email once you're done. DO NOT FORWARD it to other people. Forget about the bad luck, extra blessing, good luck, and wish will come true warnings. It's just a devious marketing scheme to harvest email addresses. The reason why forwarded email addresses is so effective is because they can easily bypass e-mail filters which block messages from senders who are not known to the recipient.

How Stuff Works explains some of the methods:

Spammers buy CDs that contain your email address along with millions of other valid email addresses from companies whose job is to gather and collect email addresses on the Web. How did your email address end up in those CDs in the first place? There are many different sources.

--> Spambots that crawl the Web looking for "@" sign which is an indication of an email address.

--> Software is used to extract the screen names and e-mail addresses automatically from chat rooms and newsgroups which are places where people can hold continuous public discussions about a particular topic. Software is also used to attack email servers to get hold of email addresses.

Spammers have the above sources to get your email address but these are done without your knowledge. Chain letters emails are the ones that people are unknowingly participating in to help companies harvest email addresses. If you forward these emails, you are helping spammers achieve their goals.

I think the first chain letter email I received was a hoax email from Bill Gates requesting people to help him test his new email tracking system. I found this example at Urban Legends. There are so many versions out there:

Subject: FW: Microsoft and AOL merger
Date: Fri, 24 Sep 1999

I'm forwarding a forwarded on, it it works you may get $$ from Microsoft. Certainly Bill has enough to share-maybe today we'll be blessed financially!

I am forwarding this because the person who sent it to me is a good friend and does not send me junk. Microsoft and AOL are now the largest Internet company and in an effort make sure that Internet explorer remains the most widely used program, Microsoft and AOL are running an e-mail beta test. When you forward this e-mail to friends, Microsoft can and will track it (if you are a Microsoft Windows user) for a two week time period. For every person that you forward this e-mail to, Microsoft will pay you $5.00, for every person that you sent it to that forwards it on, Microsoft will pay you $3.00 and for every third person that receives it, you will be paid $1.00. Within two weeks, Microsoft will contact you for your address and then send you a check. I thought this was a scam myself, but two weeks after receiving this e-mail and forwarding it on, Microsoft contacted me for my e-mail and within days, I received a check for $800.00.

Over the years, I have received numerous chain letters warning me of bad luck, ill fate, help an ill child, products that would kill me, predators, good fortune, life fulfillment, and free gifts. I used to forward them until I found out the only thing I was doing giving out my friends and family email addresses to companies. You can help stop this madness. The next time someone forwards you an email with a subject line "Fwd.Fwd.Fwd.Fwd.Fwd Need to Respond By Nightfall". DELETE IT!

Source: CNN

It's A Tough Question: Should You Pay?

A reader writes in to an advice columnist and asks this rather interesting ethical question. Well, let me share with you what the issue at hand is first and then I will talk more in details so you wouldn't be lost.

A man was approached by a tourist couple who asked if he could take their picture. He agreed. While trying to position the camera, he dropped it and the camera broke. The couple demanded money for the broken camera. He refused and argued that they approached him and it was a favor that he was doing for them. He felt he shouldn't be obligated to pay for the broken camera. Apparently, it bothered him enough to write in for a second opinion. The columnist responded by first noting three times "camera strap" "camera strap" and "camera strap" and stated the purpose of the camera strap. Although the columnist felt that it was pretty sleazy of the couple to demand payment, he felt, yes the guy should pay for the damaged camera even though it was a freak accident.

Okay, so this entire thing could have been avoided if the guy had used the camera strap. I, for one, don't ever use the camera strap but I now know I should when I take pictures with other people's cameras. Honestly, I wouldn't know what to do if I were in that guy's shoes. For one, if you asked someone to take pictures for you and that person drops the camera and it breaks, can you put the burden on that person and expect compensation for your camera? Going back to that guy's predicament, I think I would have offered to pay for the repair because I know I would be tormented by guilt for breaking the camera. If the other party blatantly asks that I pay for the full cost of the camera, I would be 1) PISSED that he/she has the audacity to even ask money for it 2) reminded that person I was not the one that offered to take the picture but was asked to do so and out of kindness I did him/her a favor.

What would you do if you were confronted with this predicament? Would you pay?

What Could It Possibly Be?

My little girl drew this picture and asked if I liked it. She proudly said, "I made it for you."

Now, after looking at it over and over again, I still couldn't make out what she drew. I asked her what it was and she said, "I'm not telling you. You have to guess mommy." Oh great. I looked at the picture and still, no idea.

I asked her if it was a monster. She gave me this "you have got to be kidding me" look. No? Okay, I continued to guess many other possibilities. A warrior, a dancing girl, a fish, her sister (she laughed when I said this), her brother when he's mad, and a flower. I told her I gave up. Before she told me what it was, she asked if I liked the drawing again. I told her "of course". The answer? It's a birthday cake with candles all around.

Getting Back At Your Kid

The beauty of being a mom is the power you hold over your kids. Yes, the power to say yes or no to them when they ask for permission, say, to go out. Sometimes, you just have to throw back at your kids for throwing life's stress at you. I decided to give my son a hard time because he's at the age where he starts to become interested in girls and poke fun at his parents. He had asked days ago if he could go out and I said yes. On the morning when he was getting ready to go out, I pretended to not know and asked him what was he getting for. He said to "go out". I then asked him on whom's approval. He turned and gave me this "you must be kidding look". He replied, "You said I can go out." I tried to maintain a serious look and told him I didn't recall the conversation. The poor boy almost freaked out and told me when he asked me, what I was doing when he asked me, and my response. I repeated myself and said, "Nope, not going out today." I got a loud, "MOM!" and "Omigod! You said I can!". To annoy him more, I told him to stop calling me God because I'm not God. He stopped fixing his hair and looked at me. "You're not going out today", I repeated myself. Poor kid looked desperate. He's such an obedient child, gotta love that. He asked for the reason and I said because his math grade was not good enough. He laughed and knew I was messing with him. He said he'll try to get higher than an A+ in which I told him if I don't see an A++ on his next report card, don't bother to ask for lunch money or going out money.