When you take a second look at your second chance

second look second chance

One awesome thing about celebrating Lunar New Year is that it’s usually a second chance at my failed Solar New Year goals.  Usually — with exception of 2016, in which I ushered in Solar New Year with peace and meditation.  And in which I ushered in Lunar New Year with a pounding hangover.

At the eve of the Lunar New Year, I’d had too much to drink when talking to a white guy at a bar.  “Happy New Year,” I said to him.

“Happy New Year?” he asked.  “Didn’t it pass awhile ago?”  I politely explained that it was Lunar New Year, which is “more important to me than the solar New Year.”

“Why?” he said, attempting a joke.  “Is it because you feel so connected with the moon?”

Losing my sobriety and patience, I gave him a barely-restrained version of my death glare.

“No. I’m Korean.”

I never learned about this in U.S. History Class

Fewer times in my life was I hit hard by my eurocentric U.S. history education than when I planned this trip to Vietnam.

A few weeks ago, I was trying to figure out what to pack, and what to expect, and I could only conjure up the following images:

  1. monks setting themselves on fire
  2. a little girl, running down a dirt road without clothes on, screaming and crying while fleeing an exploding village
  3. some dumb soldier obsessing over his girlfriend while killing people in Tim O’Brien’s bro-tastic book, The Things They Carried

7 pickup lines to use on that cute, smart, funny stranger in the club.

creative pickup lines

The first guy who approached me at the club told me he was attracted to my “strength and beauty.”  The second guy found out I was from San Francisco, and then mentioned he really wanted someone to show him around town.  Three times.  Finally, when the third guy who approached me told me I was a “powerful dancer,” I realized something was up. 

3 Principles of Being a Drought Vegetarian

drought vegetarian

* Definition of Drought Vegetarian: Someone who is vegetarian due to fact raising livestock requires vast quantities of California’s precious water and we are suffering a drought.

My singular, drought-vegetarian existence took an upturn when I hung out with my buddy Sam this past Saturday.  Sam is a born-again vegan — in his second life of veganism, he is a drought vegan. *

In my euphoria over finding a like-minded soul, I pen the following 3 official ** principles of drought vegetarian/veganism.

1.  SOME conservation is better than NO conservation. 

You do not need to be a purist, obsessively tracking ingredients in every food choice.  You do not need to write down the entire stir-fry recipe at the restaurant to see if there are any bone-derived, meat-derived chemicals used to make more spices that might have

5 things you should really, really know when you move to the Bay Area

AKA: A short list written by a Bay Area native/snob

Since I am not tech-savvy, I am going to describe in words what I would have in animated gifs if I were to do this a la Buzzfeed listicle.

it's it ice cream

1.  It’s It ice cream.
How do you go wrong with two cookies and ice cream dipped in chocolate?
Also, how was that previous question even a real question?  (It wasn’t.)

Animated gif: Me, twirling in a dress of It’s Its while simultaneously eating one It’s It of each flavor (that’s 5 total, including the elusive strawberry and pumpkin).

recycling bins sf

2. How to properly recycle in a freaking recycling bin.  Yes, we have to e-waste some stuff.  But MOST of our waste can go into 2 of the Holy Trinity: Compost and Recycling.

*Tip: Styrofoam or plastic film like bags or sandwich wrap go in the trash.

Animated gif: My New York transplant, next-door neighbor throwing a half-eaten bag of Doritos into the compost.  Me, pulling the bag out, dumping the Doritos (chips) into the compost and then making him wear the Doritos (bag) as a dunce hat.

The best non-environmentalist, non-animal-loving, non-religious reason to go vegetarian (IMHO)

drought vegetarian

My recent switch to vegetarianism has a lot to do with this line:


This is what my very frugal Dad would shout at me as a kid, when I ran out of the bathroom with my wet hair streaming. “You need to get your showers down to TWO. California is in a drought. Water costs money. TWO MINUTES! Your goal should be to take SIXTY SECOND showers.”

I’ve read about royalty in history who feasted on decadent foods while kingdoms fall into starvation. Or, royalty who used their last drops of water to shower instead of drink. Dad would be the King doing the mathematical calculations to make sure this never happened.

Many years past my childhood, it still isn’t raining in California. It doesn’t rain to the point that by now, you will have read the article by the NASA scientist that states that California has one year of water left before we go dry.

And while I’ve now mastered the art of an effortless 2-minute shower, I’ve recently learned that my short showers will not do much to alleviate our impending water shortage as long as I keep…. that’s right…….

4 ways to bring in positive energy (so simple, even messy people can do them). #YearofRam

bring in positive energy

Did you know that you get a fresh start at your New Year’s Resolutions in just under 2 weeks?

What are you going to do with your new beginning?  Invite in the positive, wash away the negative, I hope.

In a few short days, Koreans will launch their new beginnings all over (South) Korea with a multi-hour, cross-country traffic-jam in order to spend the upcoming week with their families.  Altars will be lit.  Rice cake soup will be slurped.  Red envelopes will be given.  Stores will be shut down for the week.  And, if my extended family is any indication of other peoples’ rituals, television will be watched for so long that sores from sitting and lying down will develop.

We’re just a week-and-a-half from Lunar New Year.  If you are 0, 12, 24, 36, or another multiple of 12 years: Congratulations!  It is your Golden Year.**  For all of us, whether or not we are observant — or even whether or not we care — it is the Year of the Ram.*

Here are 4 simple things I am doing this week in the House of Elisa to usher in the new & clean out the old for this New Year.