Friday, January 23, 2009

Falling Behind

I feel like I am always playing catch-up.

There is never enough time to do everything; to see all the people you wanted to; to share with them every little story that you have; to tell them every funny jokes that has made you laugh; to listen to what they wanted to say; to finish doing laundry; to leave messages for friends in facebook; to blog about anything and everything...

Sunday is Chinese New Year's Eve and it is our 2nd Chinese New Year since moving into this house.

Last year this time, I told myself that I was going to bake Chinese New Year cookies so that I could feel more at home here. At least the baking smells without the burning incense or fire crackers smell could still provide me with the slightest comfort during this joyous festival. The two cookies on my list were (still are) my favorite delicacy of all - pineapple tarts and peanut cookies. And guess what, I fail miserably. Looking at my activities tomorrow, and that I am still writing this blog at midnight, I do not think I will be baking cookies this year. I'd be glad if I could stick to my reunion dinner menu by dinner time on Sunday evening.

Wish me luck!

Wishing you Happy Chinese New Year and have a prosperous 'Ox' year.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Why I Love Snowy Days?

It is a day like this that I love about Indiana: snow as fine as powder, as white as puffy clouds, falling off the sky like sheer curtains, drifted by mild artic wind that is blowing northeastward, blankets the ground in the purest, cleanest and most peaceful form.

It is a day like this that I sit in front of the window, wrapped myself in a warm blanket, sipping a cup of hot chocolate topped with a few full swirls of whipped cream, gazing out of the window, enjoying the beautiful scenery as if I am watching a silent movie.

It is a day like this that I find myself daydreaming by the window seats in the study room, awed by the wonder of mother nature and the formation of the snow flakes, my mind wandering away into my own other world, my eyes following the falling snow flakes with purposeless as if I am in trance.

It is a day like this that makes me forget about my hatred towards the cruel bone-chilling artic winter winds when I walk across the parking lots, my near-accidents when i hit my brakes on the slippery icy roads and my second, third and subsequent guesses on my decision about staying in this cold country. All the questions I have about winter is absolutely well worthy just for a day like this.

I hope by now you understand why I choose here as my home, at least for the next so many years in my short life. Short, in compared to the life of the universe.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

CYnM: 2007 At A Glance

Today is the 2nd day of 2008. It is only now that we get a chance to write this overdue update from us, which should have been completed and sent out to you before Dec 25th 2007, either with a Christmas card or cyberly.

Just like every normal household, a lot has happened in this past year and time just flew by us in the blink of an eye.

CY finally had her house sold in February, after 11 months on the market. It was such a relief to us financially as well as home care responsibility. We continuously consolidated both households and made trips to Goodwill and Salvation Army to eliminate extra furniture and stuff. Since M had lived in his house for 5 years prior to CY moving in, most spaces had been occupied with his stuff. Most of CY’s stuff was stored in M’s garage. When the neighbors saw our garage, they thought that we were preparing for a garage sale!

There were some discussions between us on wanting to upgrade to a bigger house but we thought we could wait for a few years. Not until we were wandering in a new subdivision nearby that the idea of building a custom home of our own sparked into our minds. Things were happening faster than we planned. Soon, we found ourselves talking to the developer about potential lots and meeting with potential home builders.

In April, we decided on a property of close to 1 acre in a subdivision called Devonshire Park in the Parks of Prestwick. For those of you who are familiar with where our homes were, the new property is about 1 mile southwest from either of these homes. Right away, we were thrown into a hectic schedule to meet with different bank loan officers to talk about loan options, and with the builder to develop a blue print so that we could close on the property as soon as possible. After being so overwhelmed with much information and constant decision making, we finally had a blue print and a construction contract in our hands and closed on the property and our imaginary house 8 weeks later.

At the same time, we were working towards preparing M’s house in Ridgehill for sale whenever we were at home. M had been busy with his work and had made a few business trips to Tennessee. CY got to go back to Purdue for 1 week taking MBA classes, which was eye-opening to her. Over a weekend in July, we celebrated M’s dad’s 60th birthday by surprising him with a visit to Newburgh. Everyone had a great time!

We did also take a 1-week vacation to Asheville, North Carolina to get away from our busy work and home stuff. We had a chance to experience true vegan food which made us realize that we would very much prefer to be carnivores instead. The visits to Chimney Rock Park, parts of the Blue Ridge Parkway and the Smokies were exciting, especially when we were walking up to the Clingman’s Dome in mists and later, descending in cold heavy rain! The trip to Biltmore House was interesting and inspiring, considering that we were in the middle of building our own house. Two weeks later, we also joined M’s family for a few days at Myrtle Beach, South Carolona, which we always enjoy.

Preparing a house to sell is not fun at all. Maintenance and thorough cleaning plus straightening aside, the daily vacuuming, storing things away in the most meticulous way and not able to cook bacon or curry were enough to drive us insane, especially M! But with God’s grace, we did not have to put up with this nuisance for too long. The 2nd day after the house was listed, there were 3 visits scheduled for this house. The first visit took place when we were on our way to Scotland and it was then followed with an offer 3 days later. After numerous counter-offers over the phone in the following week while we were still in Scotland, we later came back to the house with a ‘sold’ sign in the front yard. We were to surrender our house in 2 weeks, which translated to finding a temporary residence and moving there in a short notice. With the help from M’s family, we moved to a 2-bedroom townhouse over the hottest weekend in July. Most our stuff was moved into a single car garage. Piles of remaining boxes and furniture were also cramped into the 1152 sq-ft townhouse. Meanwhile, the construction of our new home had begun.

The main purpose of our Scotland trip was to attend CY’s brother’s graduation at University of St. Andrews in the region of Fife. We first met up with her parents and brother and drove around for sight-seeing before returning to St. Andrews for graduation. We departed from Edinburgh and drove northward. We found ourselves tracing the footsteps of the Scottish heroes in the Trossachs region (William Wallace, Rob Roy and Robert the Bruce), lost in awe before the breathtaking views and geological formations when we were at Mull, Skye and Ullapool, and interestingly engaged during a visit to Edradour Whisky Distillery in Aviemore. However, the most fascinating experience during our trip was how we were immensely swept head over heels while standing amongst of the Neolithic ruins at Orkney.

Since July until today, we have spent much of our after-work time and weekends following the construction progress of the new house, exploring our likes and dislikes about house-related items, and making house-related decisions. So far, we have enjoyed every moment of it even though it is very time- and mind-consuming. CY was made fun of because of her ability to think and writing strings of emails to the builder after midnight. The completion target is mid January and we are anxious to move!

In August, we drove up to Joliet for the annual Lewis’ family reunion that was organized by Aunt Lo. We love seeing everyone there and we always have a good time.

Our ferocious cat, Gus is as spoiled as usual. Due to our traveling and moving schedule this year, Gus was sent away to his grandparents’ (M’s parents’) a couple of times. He is definitely being treated well as it shows up in his weight – 18 lbs, up 2 lbs from last year! He seems to adapt really well either at our townhouse or at the grandparents’. He has developed a new habit this year which he likes to sleep on the bed between our feet. Due to CY’s habit of coming to bed later than the others, she often finds that M and Gus have taken up the most of the whole bed!

In December, CY’s youngest sister, CL came to stay with us for at least the next semester while she is going to IUPUI. So far she is adapting to this new environment and is learning how to drive to school in the winter. Let’s just hope that she will make it through her school alright!

There is much for us to look forward to in the coming year. We hope you too have a wonderful year ahead.

p.s. When we get moved into the new house, we will inform you our new home address, hopefully, in 3 weeks.
(we have posted some pictures from our trips on another site OR click on the link "CYnM's Another Web Patch" from the right column on our blog page.)

- written by CY; spell checked by M; on 01/01/08.