March 23, 2017

Just a little (link) love: otter pups edition



My succession planning at work has always been guided by the question: what if you fell off a cliff tomorrow, would they know how to carry on? It seems morbid to some but I’ve seen too much death in my personal life, from early on and across age groups, to think it couldn’t happen here. From that perspective, this situation is deeply troubling. It’s a job and someone has to do it. I’m also wondering why the grand boss didn’t investigate the exit interviews after the first or even second early departure.

The youngest self-made female billionaire invented Spanx! I did not know this.

How would changes to the ACA / Obamacare set up affect you?

If (and that’s a big if for some of you) you wanted to retire early, what are the incentives that would keep you in the workplace? Ms. Montana proposes some huge changes to the workplace standard that would appeal to the FIRE crowd looking to actually live their lives instead of being chained to a desk for years. Joe at RetireBy40 and I agree though – it’s equally important to us that the workplace itself is sensible and enhances our work life, we’ve walked from jobs because they turned into nonsense meeting-fests, or over-politicized and downright crappy.

I love awesome grandmothers – they’ve lived through trials we only know through the history books, and if we’re lucky, teach us their strength and determination.


Mortality doesn’t scare me, except for the people who would miss me, because I zoom out and realize that my life is just a mote in the universe.

If you have mascara wands lying around, you can donate them to the Appalachian Wildlife Refuge. Turns out they can use them to help groom the animals.


I really need this resolution not to pass: Congress is getting ready to pass a resolution that allows telecoms to sell our personal browsing data.

How a Westboro Church member regained her humanity and left the church

Files released by the Federal Bureau of Investigation reveal that early twentieth century activist and co-founder of the American Civil Liberties Union, Elizabeth Gurley Flynn predictably spent at least 1921 to 1924 under surveillance by undercover agents…”

We need some otters today

March 22, 2017

Life plus baby: what’s changed?

Just add baby: How our lives have changed since welcoming JuggerBaby homeParents typically gush that having babies is a life-changer. They’re not wrong, but it’s a toss-up whether they mean in a good way or a bad way. Might depend on the day(s) they’ve had. 

Two years on, I’m still happy that we made the choice to try for our kidlet and confirm that it’s transformed our lives in many unpredictable ways, and a few predictable ways though I wouldn’t have admitted it was possible years ago. 


I’ve frumped around, making do with my existing closet minus a few pieces of generously gifted maternity clothes, since getting pregnant in 2014.

This isn’t out of the norm for me. I tend to stick to the tried-and-true even when it stops working, sartorially, so it’s a self improvement project to do better at this. It doesn’t mean cycle through the latest trends with every season, nor become a wasteful consumer. Never that. Just making an effort to form a more classic and therefore all seasons wardrobe, as an adult might do. 

The past 6 months, I started adding some essentials: 2 pairs of flats, replacing 3 pairs that have worn out or hurt my feet, 2 tops, and PiC replaced a couple pairs of trousers that were too dreadful.

I’ve focused on removing things first. After that, I’ll hunt down some basics that will work for my combo career and mom roles.

I look for high quality, now. I can stand the thought of spending more knowing that it will truly last me years of good wear. Of course, the same can be said for that handful of shirts bought cheaply 15 years ago that just won’t die. I can’t just toss clothes that still have wear in them, but they’re so old and don’t quite fit right anymore!

Social life

Never a partier before, I’ve morphed into even more of a homebody since JuggerBaby. It’s a lot of energy conservation and a little bit of disinterest. I’d LIKE to go out for a show or a spontaneous overnight trip sometimes, but it’s never appealing enough to try and find a sitter, or prep another meal in advance. I’m too easily entertained at home, and much more easily tired out by week’s end.

Some of this shift had already started between aging and with dog ownership. With a senior dog, you can’t just take off spontaneously if you don’t have reliable friends or family you regularly trade favors with. Back in the SoCal days, I could. My family could feed and walk the dogs if I took off to NYC for a week, but here it’d be boarding Seamus for $400 plus prepping all his food and his medications. Life was simpler in my 20s, though certainly poorer.

We have become friends with the parents of JuggerBaby’s bestie, though, and that was a nice surprise. My parents were never friends with the parents of my friends, and we only spent time with family during holidays and weekends, so this is new to me but it’s a good way to build a new network of support when all our family lives hundreds of miles away.

When pregnant, I refused to make friends with other moms solely because we were gravid together on the grounds that I didn’t want to, but also because I wasn’t prepared to invest time and energy into caring for a relationship that didn’t have staying power. I need to observe a person around their family and friends, and see how they care for them, to see what kind of person they are.

Eating habits

We trend towards healthy eating but I continue to have my vices, in small doses. I demolished PiC’s bag of Micro Snickers today, and every couple of weeks we get a box of delicious buttered, sugared pastries that I have to force myself to share. Chocolate lasts much longer in our fridge than it used to, though. This is clear evidence that I’m simply nowhere near the stress levels I used to marinate in.

Time Management

This has to be the biggest change of all. Before JuggerBaby arrived, I was pretty convinced that we could stay homebodies and introverts, even with kids. WRONG.

Our weekends are now centered around keeping JuggerBaby busy, for survival. Ze has ten times our energy so we have to keep the kid running. We take zir grocery shopping, to the park, to the errands that ze can help us with. Adult-only things like medical appointments or work are done during the last remaining afternoon nap. PiC always feels awful about ditching me for the gym when ze is awake, even when I say it’s totally ok, so any work I have to do, and any working out he wants to do, has to happen during zir nap.

I do miss the two-nap schedule sometimes.

With the two-nap schedule, I could have a nap and get work done, one per nap.


Even with a toddler on the rampage trying to eat the dog’s treats, and a senior dog with periodic health surprises, my life is more pleasant and rage-free than twelve years ago. Surprise! I have found some Zen.

:: Did you grow up in a children- or family-centric community? Did your parents welcome the changes you wrought in their lives? 

March 20, 2017

Currently, and currency

Foreign currency in my pockets, and current events on my mind Everything is quite unsettled right now.

  • We haven’t found any suitable place to make an offer on yet. And the possibly-apocryphal (but I doubt it) tale is that it’s taking upwards of ten offers to get one accepted.
  • We are in selling limbo until we buy.
  • I’ve got several moving pieces at work that needs 150% of me and my attention but as Dr. Temperance Brennan would point out – that’s not possible.
  • One of those moving parts may shake out to be quite bad for me, potentially ruining a big and expensive summer plan, and there’s absolutely nothing I can ethically do to affect the result. I’ve briefly considered the non-ethical options but nooo. I can’t be that person.

It’s a little weird that the not moving part of life bothers me so much, considering I quite like our home right now, and we’re only moving under duress. It’s less weird when you consider that I’m both a Type A personality (very little of the home buying process is under my control), and that I’m a homebody, so feeling like my home is going to shift at some random unknown point in time is incredibly unsettling.

All this adds up to a pit in my stomach the size of a watermelon.

I’ve gone from stress-cleaning to stress-cooking to stress-feeling frazzled and frozen. Back to stress cleaning this week, if I can muster the energy.

One of the benefits of stress-cleaning is that you go deep. And deep de-cluttering turns up gems. Like the discovery that your comic collection is pushing 100 lbs. Or a huge pile of cash.

(Except it’s not huge, and it’s not American dollars but other than that…BOUNTY!)

  • Singaporean dollars, and I don’t remember when I was ever in Singapore.
  • Hong Kong dollars, I do remember when I was there (briefly).
  • A small handful of Thai Baht. Boy do I ever miss authentic Thai food.
  • Some Taiwan dollars, when did I lay over in Formosa?
  • Way too many expensive GBP, obtained at the worst possible exchange rate – go me.
  • An absurd number of Canadian dollars considering I haven’t been there in at least a decade.

I’m working on finding my Zen again. The discomfort of needing to move shouldn’t overshadow the comfort of loving the home we are in right now, especially since there’s so much about it we do love.

There’s nothing I can do to change that possible-summer-ruiner but I can work on mitigating the ruination.

There’s very little I can do about the fact that my pain is at an all time high this week except take medication earlier and make the most of the few minutes’ break when JuggerBaby has a nap.

Ultra high pain also means that depression is nibbling around the edges of my brain again. I can’t just ignore it, but I can’t tell it to go away again. I can try to only see the good in front of me, or focus on what I need to do, and most optimistically, try to fit in a massage this week. It’s been put off because of this darn congestion. There’s nothing less relaxing than being hyper aware of your mucosal state while trying not to gross out your massage therapist.

If 300% of Vitamin C a day doesn’t do the trick this week, I welcome other cold-busting suggestions!

UPDATE: That bad work thing? It’s happening. And the effects won’t be in the summer, it’ll be now through summer, and walloping my personal calendar something fierce.

:: Where in the world have you gone? How do you deal with uncertainty or the unknown?

March 16, 2017

Just a little (link) love: Grocery helper edition


Enter for a chance to win a stay at Duns Castle for you and 20 guests. Plus, five runners-up could win a HomeAway® vacation. (They have 2+ million unique places to stay.)


I’m an honorary Indian! Yay! Thanks, Mrs. BITA!

You’re used to me doing pressure testing here all the time, have you done your own?


Humpback whales are organizing in huge numbers, and no one knows why – observing behaviors of whales makes me happy.


Behavior first, or neuronal activity first?

Learn something new every day. I had no idea that altitude affects your sense of taste. Then again, I’m willing to accept a fairly low quality of food because it’s only recently that I noticed airline food wasn’t that good.

Amanda’s Trail in Oregon: We have an awful history of treating Native Americans about as inhumanely as is possible to conceive.

I am the child of immigrants. When I see immigrant families torn asunder because we as a nation lack the heart, courage, or creativity to come up with a better way to deal with immigration, legal or not, I feel so utterly we’ve failed as people.

Grocery helpers

Swagbucks: Spring Reading Team Challenge

Sweep in spring with the Swagbucks Spring Reading Team Challenge!

1. Click here to join the challenge and be assigned to a team. You can pre-register starting tomorrow: Friday, March 17. If you haven’t joined yet, you can sign up on this page as well.

2. Starting March 20th at 8am PT, in addition to earning SB, you’ll contribute points to your team’s total as you complete activities.

All members who participate and contribute at least 400 points to their team’s total will receive a SB bonus in the form of a SB Swag Up Rebate on their next gift card.

If you earn 300 SB before April 1st, you’ll get a 300 SB bonus if you joined the team using my link.

The 1st place team will receive a 50 SB Swag Up Rebate, members of the 2nd place team will receive a 25 SB Swag Up Rebate, members of the 3rd place team will receive a 10 SB Swag Up Rebate. Your SB Swag Up Rebate will be available on Friday, March 24th and expires on Sunday, April 9th 11:59 pm PT.

This website and its content are copyright of A Gai Shan Life  | © A Gai Shan Life 2017. All rights reserved.

Site design by 801red