Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Looking back

What can one say about the year 2008 aside from it being a definite year of new beginnings! And with new beginnings, they can be quite tumultuous as well as thrilling.

The year started with both my work and income being cut in half due to the financial market, yet with sudden opportunities to explore a multitude of options for a new career that would be both rewarding and satisfying. So in January I began attending an accelerated course in massage therapy while maintaining my remaining paralegal accounts. This was both challenging as well as exciting as I had not been in a classroom setting in forever.

Amira was still attending pre-school but her days had turned to full-time. She was advancing educationally as well as coming out of her shell a little bit and really interacting with the other kids. She had actually become a team-leader of sorts when it came to clean up time----or maybe to the other children she was a task-master because she made sure everything was put away neat and tidy as the teachers had requested.

At then end of February I graduated from massage school and was now out beating the streets to find work. I was hired to work at a day spa down the street from my house immediately which quickly I discovered was not conducive to my work habits, so opted to keep searching for the “right” fit. Thankfully I still had my paralegal accounts and was able to be more selective in my search for work. In late May I was hired with a massage clinic which focuses only on massage, which really boded well with me, and I’ve been there ever since. At the end of August I had finally made the decision to end my paralegal work to pursue massage full-time and have never regretted the decision. To some this may seem like a crazy choice or decision, however, for me personally I feel like I'm finally doing what I'm suppose to be doing......helping people heal. For it's not just physical healing, but it's emotional and spiritual healing as well, and what an honor to be in such a position.

In mid August, Amira’s application was submitted to the California Montessori Program for a lottery draw to attend kindergarten, and much to our excitement her name was drawn. The beauty of this program is it’s a private school education within the California public school system so there is no tuition for attendance, just parent participation throughout the school year. So, off to kindergarten Amira went and has been loving it everyday.

In mid September we experienced one of the greatest losses one can ever imagine; we lost my mom. Again with it being a year of new beginnings, this was yet another new beginning for our family. We now have to learn how to live without her physical presence with us everyday. For me she was my best friend, cheerleader, confidant, strength, and support system. Certainly to try and learn how to live without such an important role in your life is challenging at best. I miss the sound of her laughter, which was so infectious as well as her enthusiasm when she’d get really excited over something. However, I have no doubt she’s still around us, and continuing to cheer and support us from afar.

As we near the end of another year and reflect back, we realize there is so much to be thankful for. We have great family/friends, great health, and wonderful memories to last a lifetime. Now as we look forward may the seeds of new beginnings, which were planted and now sprouting, be nurtured with passion and an abundance of love throughout the New Year.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas 2008

Christmas was different this year; it felt so surreal. Nonetheless, it was nice to be with family.

Saturday, December 20, 2008


I’m not certain if one truly realizes how much time they spend doing something repeatedly on a daily basis until they are no longer able to repeat such an act.

I, for one, had not realized how much time I devoted to being online even though my daily work now does not allow me the freedom to be online like it once did until I was forced to be offline for a period of time. My computer caught a virus forcing me to be down for a spell and I was actually surprised I went to withdrawals. However as if not to panic I was still able to check my emails via my cell phone, but due to the slowness and awkwardness of doing so I even found myself not devoting as much time as possible. Although there did feel like some sort of security knowing I could still be “connected” even though I wasn’t really. Moreover, once the initial shock of being forced offline set in I realized how much more freedom I had to do other things.

Probably the thing I missed the most was during those sleeplessness nights I didn’t have my friend, “online connection”, available for my distraction, but with time even that seemed to not feel as bad as the initial days.

I would be lying if I didn’t say I was so delighted to have my pc back to reconnect again, but I hope I can curtail my dependency a bit. ;-)

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


Last Friday when I dropped Amira off at school, I asked her teacher if she needed any assitance later that afternoon and she said, "sure". As a side note, part of Amira's attendance to this school parents are required to "volunteer" 20 hours per school year per child attending.

So thinking perhaps I'd be reading to the kids or helping with coloring assignments or something relatively simple, I was shockingly surprised when the teacher informed me that I'd be assisting the kids with making Latkes as one of their job assignments. Eeeeeeeeeeck! What the heck is Latke? Once I figured out what they were and how to prepare them, the kids and I had a great time preparing them. It's so fun to watch these kids grate potatoes, measure ingredients, mix ingredients and cleanup after all is said and done.
Part of their education is learning about different cultures and how they celebrate various holidays.

1 pound potatoes
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 to 3/4 cup olive oil
Accompaniments: sour cream and applesauce

Preheat oven to 250°F.

Peel potatoes and coarsely grate by hand, transferring to a large bowl of cold water as grated. Soak potatoes 1 to 2 minutes after last batch is added to water, then drain well in a colander.

Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl. Take mixed ingredients and shape into the size of pancakes, then add to a heated 12-inch nonstick skillet with 1/4 cup oil on moderately high temperature and heat until hot but not smoking. Reduce heat to moderate and cook until undersides are browned, about 5 minutes. Turn latkes over and cook until undersides are browned, about 5 minutes more. Transfer to paper towels to drain and season with salt. Add more oil to skillet as needed. Keep latkes warm on a wire rack set in a shallow baking pan in oven.

Serve immediately with or without sour cream or applesauce.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Amira and Grandpa Bonding Time

On Sundays I work which then gives Amira and Grandpa bonding time as he's the one that watches her for me.

Grandpa seems to always be clever and thinking of something for the two of them to do during their time together. Sometimes it's a picnic to the park. Other times it's working out in his gym together. Or perhaps their latest hobby is hunting gophers.

Recently my dad's neighborhood has been infested with gophers which are ruining the neighborhood yards with trenches and holes everywhere from their little explorations. Actually I'm not really sure the purpose of the gopher aside from lawn wreckage, and apparently the neighborhood feels the same way. So, my dad has been doing research on how to outs'd the pesty gopher and has tried a number of attempts to no avail. However his latest plot seems to be working. He and Amira are setting traps throughout the yard capturing these rascals. Below find some photos of Amira's proud captures.