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Remember when I said that I went to San Diego for my mom’s 70th birthday? No? Well, I did do that, & I mentioned in a previous post that I got sick (as usual). Why am I so prone to getting sick when I’m on vacation? (Don’t answer that. It was a rhetorical question.) Anyway, my sister’s kids are my most favorite people in the whole world, & they know just how to comfort their auntie when she is sick. My nephew gave me plenty of hugs, & sat in bed with me while we both played on our iPads. My niece played nurse,& helped me get plenty of water & juice. She also bought me a stuffed animal at the hotel’s gift shop. She specifically said that I needed something to snuggle while I’m laying in bed. Isn’t she just the cutest niece in the whole world? Yes, she is.


This is the stuffed animal my niece picked out for me, that Jian helped her pay for. My niece & I have this running joke going on where we each buy the same stuffed animals, except I will buy the smaller versions of her regular sized stuffed toys. My niece has this same stuffed rabbit (made by Jelly Cat), except hers is in the powder blue color. The stuffed rabbit toy comes in various sizes (from XS to XL) & in various pastel colors (eg. powder pink, dark pink/magenta-ish, mint green, coffee brown, powder blue, yellow, & white). My niece picked this white one out for me, which adds to my new & growing collection of stuffed toys.

I’m not sure what name I should give it. I like to name my possessions, so it’s only natural that I give this little guy a name. I like picking male names, so I’m thinking of something with a royal flair. My niece already decided that she’s going to call it Snow Bunny. I have another mini version of this stuffed rabbit in the same powder blue as my niece’s toy. She was so confused when I first showed her my blue toy. She couldn’t comprehend, at first, how her stuffed animal shrank to such a small size. I had to explain to her that I bought one for myself, & that’s when it dawned on her that we had matching stuffed rabbit toys. She got a huge kick out of it….so, from then on, we turned it into a running gag gift.

This past March, for my niece’s 6th birthday, I bought her the Large size of this white stuffed rabbit. She freaked out with happiness when she opened her present. She didn’t really pay attention to the other gifts that also came in the box. She pretty much focused all of her attention on her new stuffed toy. She loved it so much, & she really liked how I got her the even bigger version of all our stuffed rabbit toys. It was supposed to be a gag gift, but it actually turned out to be a great idea because she told me she gave her blue stuffed rabbit to her brother so he would have something to sleep with at night. That really touched my heart to the core. This Christmas, I’m going to get my niece another one of these stuffed rabbit toys, but in the even larger size (XL).

Hmm, what name should I give this toy of mine? I’m thinking about naming him Albert. I’ve already named my mini rabbit toy Irving. I’m not sure why I give all of my objects masculine names. I just like the way those names sound. Also, I just get along with males more than females. No, I’m not a tomboy, but I like a lot of the same things guys like, like: cars, watching sports, building plastic model kits, car racing, etc.. So, I think I’ve decided to name this guy Albert after all. The name has to just come to me naturally, not forced in thought. This name popped into my head just as I was writing this blog, & I am in love with the name.

On another note, this is going to be the latest post on my blog for a while, at least until I get settled at my hotel in Hong Kong. That’s right. I’m leaving for my planned vacation in a few days. I’m in a frantic mode of packing & trying to locate my over-sized “Asia suitcase”…that’s what I call my XL luggage that mysteriously disappeared. The hassle of visiting Asia, is that you gotta visit tons of relatives (aunties, uncles, distant cousins), & with visiting relatives comes the task of bringing tons of gifts. I have to bring a second separate suitcase just to pack all of the gifts. So, here I leave you until I am once again in the Orient. 乾杯! Cheers!

Today’s song of the day:

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Oh Cheese It.JPG

“Oh, Cheese it!” is a new slang phrase that I made up for myself. I use this phrase in negative situations, rather than using my usual dirty longshoreman cuss words because 1. it sounds cute, & 2. because it’s safe to use around children and prudes. Instead of saying “Goddammit!” or “Shit!”, like when you stub your toe really hard, or when you drop something important, I would say “Oh, Cheese it!”. It’s cheesy (pun intended), I know, but I like using this phrase. I think it’s fun.

Now, I’m using this phrase because something negative happened. For the first time in a long while, I finally made a bad stationery purchase. How could this  have happened? I am usually so picky & choosy when it comes to buying stationery. I can browse the store for hours trying to look for the perfect notepad, pen, sticker, or other office supply item. I used to be the type of person who had to buy everything “cute” at the stationery goods store, but that quickly turned me into more hoarder than collector, so I gave away a lot of things I either had no use for or grew disinterested in. That groomed me to become more selective in the types of stationery goods I buy & use.

Well, I fell back into old habits again. I got caught up in the razzle-dazzle of the Japanese discount store Ichiban Kan. I was picking out some things to fill a stationery care package I was making for my younger cousin. (We have been very close ever since she was in diapers.) We both share a love for Japanese stationery & Japanese culture, & I just felt like spoiling her a little bit, since she never asks for anything. I saw so many pretty & cute, yet ridiculous goods at the discount store. I just couldn’t help myself. While I was picking out things for my cousin, I was also picking out extra things for myself. I must have been running on some sort of endorphin high, or perhaps something in the air fried my brain because I just grabbed whatever I thought looked cool without properly giving it my thorough, self-perfectionist examination.

Compared to some of the other times I’ve walked out of stationery stores, I think this purchase was quite modest. For my cousin, I only bought a Mount Fuji sticky notepad & a pad of animal shaped notecards. For myself, I bought a few sets of stickers & washi tape rolls. Let me lay it out straight for you. I.WAS. KIND OF. DISAPPOINTED. This was the first time I’ve ever been disappointed in my stationery goods purchase. Well, hold on a minute. I wasn’t completely disappointed with my purchase. The stickers were okay, but it was the washi tapes that really bummed me out.

This was the first thing I picked out, a roll of dog stickers. First of all, I really like how the roll is perforated, so you can tear off individual stickers, or if you’re like me…to shorten the used end of the roll to make it look neater/tidier. I really like the breeds of dogs used for these stickers. I’m so happy that there’s a Shiba Inu in the mix, as well as a Pomeranian that looks like the famous super pup Boo. Mostly, I couldn’t say no to the oh-so-adorable pug! Sorry for my lack of photography skills; my photos don’t do these items any justice. These stickers look matte in my photo, but they’re actually semi-glossy.

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The next few things I picked were these sets of stickers. The first sheet says “和ものシール” (wamo no shiiru) which means “traditional seal”. The word “seal” is how the Japanese use to describe the word “sticker”. I was initially drawn to these stickers because of the rabbits! How could you deny those cute little bunnies? Plus, I really liked the traditional design & the rice paper texture of the stickers. As you can see, I’ve already used one of the rabbits. The other two sets are “flake seals”, which in Japanese “flake” is used to describe die-cut stickers.  The set on the top has a forrest theme, while the set on the bottom are all kinds of birds. I really like these stickers because they are thin stickers, but I’d say they are pretty durable. I’ve already used one of the flower stickers, & I like how the stickers are slightly transparent. These stickers also have a rice paper texture, but a more smooth feeling. I haven’t tried any of the bird stickers yet. They look a little bit too soft in color for my taste, but I guess we’ll see how it all turns out.

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Here’s where things take a sour turn. I was so excited to see so many different patterns of washi tapes at the Japanese discount store. Washi tape rolls can get very expensive (especially if you get ones with metallic foil accents). I try not to buy washi tape unless they’re on sale or at the discount store. Of course, I wanted to buy all of the tapes, but I forced myself to pick & choose only the select ones I knew I’d purposefully use. I got these three washi tape rolls. The first roll says “Thank You” in various languages. The gold lettering is supposed to have a slightly metallic shine, but my bad photography skills strike yet again, & you can’t really see it here. The second roll says “ありがとう” (Arigatou) which means “Thank You” & “ほんの気持ちです。” (Hon’ no kimochi desu.) which means “A feeling of gratitude”. I really liked the third washi tape roll because it looked quite Scandinavian & will look nice on wrapped gifts. Boy, oh boy. I can’t even with these damn washi tapes! Sure, they look pretty, but their looks are so deceiving! These tapes feel like every other washi tape out on the market, but they are far from the same quality. They don’t even stick to anything you use them on (not even plain white paper). I tried using the flower pattern tape on an envelope I was going to mail to my sister, but the ends kept curling up off the envelope, & no matter how many times I tried to really press down on the tape, it would just peel its ends off of the envelope. I’m pretty bummed right now that I bought these duds. There goes $4.50 USD right down the drain.

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Well, that’s a lesson learned for me. Cheap is cheap, I guess. You better believe that the next time I won’t be so quick to buy everything off the shelves, & I will carefully inspect the items before I buy them. Until then, cheers!

Today’s song of the day:

image credits: Universal Studios & Paramount Pictures via IMDB

 

“A wheelchair-bound professional photographer spies on his neighbors from his apartment window, and is convinced one of them has committed a murder.” (via IMDB)

So I got this hankering, a real itch, to watch a movie the other night. I love watching classic films from the 1950s & 60s, but it’s hard to find movies made before the 1970s in a streaming format on the Internet. Sure, it’s much easier to buy a DVD & watch it on the home TV, but first of all, who watches DVDs anymore now that there are such outlets like: Netflix, Crackle, Hulu, & On Demand cable listings? Secondly, who has the time to buy DVDs and convert their formats into tablet compatible video files? Mostly, I enjoy the convenience of watching from my portable device, so I can do things like take a shower & watch my movie at the same time.

It really is hard to find Classic films to rent & stream or to buy & download on the Internet. Before Netflix took it off their streaming list, I’ve probably stream-watched Breakfast at Tiffany’s at least a dozen times or so…To Catch a Thief, perhaps half a dozen or more times, all while working out at the gym (or soaking in the bath tub, again). I rented Rear Window the other night on my tablet, & it just brought back to my mind all of the reasons why this movie is arguably my most favorite film of all-time. These are a few of the movie genres I like: Mystery, Romance, & Action & Adventure. This movie had all three genres rolled into one. There were thrills & suspense without the movie being overly predictable & corny. After all, this IS an iconic Alfred Hitchcock film.

image credits: Universal Studios & Paramount Pictures via IMDB

 

I’ve always enjoyed the fine acting of James “Jimmy” Stewart, & of course, Grace Kelly. Of course, who doesn’t love director Alfred Hitchcock? He has directed several of my favorite films (i.e. To Catch a Thief, North By Northwest, The Man Who Knew Too Much, & The Birds). I won’t remember Jimmy Stewart from the film It’s a Wonderful Life, as I haven’t seen the film in its entirety, but I’ll always remember him in this film Rear Window & in The Man Who Knew Too Much (since I saw the latter film in high school for a class assignment). I’ve also mistakenly seen the 1990s Christopher Reeve remake of this film, & it could never compare with the original. What a disaster the 90s remake was! At least I didn’t have to pay even a cent to watch that movie, it was such a flop in my book. The original version of Rear Window is so timeless; I could watch this movie a hundred more times & not get sick of it.

Jimmy Stewart’s character L.B. Jeffries would make a great detective if he ever decided to give up his photography career. I love how he uses his camera equipment to take a closer look into the lives of his fellow apartment neighbors. Let’s see, we’ve got the older couple with the friendly dog who pulls their mattress onto their balcony every night to sleep, the aspiring ballet/Broadway dancer, the newlywed couple who always keeps their shades drawn, the music composer who’s run out of inspiration, the bohemian art sculptor who likes to sunbathe in the afternoons, Ms. Lonelyhearts…the single woman who is so desperate for a man that she makes them up or picks up guys from bars. Then you have the most famous neighbor of them all, Mr. Thorwald, the costume jewelry salesman with a nagging invalid wife who begins to act suspiciously upon the sudden disappearance of his wife.

rear window2

image credits: Universal Studios & Paramount Pictures via IMDB

I get such a thrill stepping into the shoes of Jimmy Stewart’s character, spying on my neighbors in an act of pure voyeurism. It’s so naughty, yet so fun to snoop on the neighbor’s living around you. Maybe it’s because Jian always says I like to snoop on my neighbors. He makes fun of me about this all the time. I don’t like to say that I’m snooping per-sé, but, I will embellish my answer by saying I am a glorified “neighborhood watchman”. I do like to know what’s going on in my neighborhood, so that I can be prepared in case of emergencies and natural disasters. Therefore, it’s not really being nosy or snooping. However, there are times when Jian & I are walking around the major city center & I will sometimes peek into apartments with large windows…not because I’m a pervert or a voyeur, but because I like to see how others decorate their own homes. I have a mild interest in home decorating & often watch home improvement programs on the HGTV & FYI channels.

image credits: Universal Studios & Paramount Pictures via IMDB

image credits: Universal Studios & Paramount Pictures via IMDB

OK, let’s get back to talking about the movie. I sometimes wish I could be as observant as Jimmy Stewart’s character L.B. Jeffries, taking mental notes about my interesting & colorful neighbors. This brings up old memories of when I was a young tween, reading the classic children’s book Harriet The Spy (I’ve also seen the 1990s movie starring Gossip Girl actress Michelle Trachtenberg). Oh man, when I was a young teenager I really, really, really wanted to be just like the character Harriet The Spy. I even started collecting notebooks just so I could write down everything I observed. I wanted to roam the city streets, sneak through dirty alleyways behind Chinatown, make friends with the local butcher & delivery truck guy, use my binoculars to peek through grimy back alley windows, & write down everything I see around me. I believe I’ve somewhat achieved that goal. I’ve got this blog after all. Now, I don’t want to ever discover a murder crime scene, or anything gruesome like that, but it would be a little cool to learn more about my neighbors quirky habits & getting to know them.

You know one thing’s for sure, Holly Golightly from Breakfast at Tiffany’s would not much care for L.B. Jeffries from this film. You know why? Because just as Ms. Golightly said to Paul Varjak just as he woke her from a nightmare, “Let’s get one thing straight. I hate snoops!” (You see! That shows just how many times I’ve seen ‘B at T’s’! I can quote parts of the movie off the top of my head.) Speaking of lead female characters, let’s chat a little bit about Grace Kelly’s utterly fabulous character Lisa Carol Fremont. Oh, how I truly admire a strong female such as she! A woman who knows her own mind, knows what she wants, & works hard at getting it, even if it comes in the form of a stubborn wheelchair-bound photographer who thinks she’s too good for him. It does not matter to Lisa that she’s an upper crust socialite & L.B. is a blue-collar guy who sticks his neck out for a smashing photograph. She’s in love with him, & she works hard to prove it to him: providing him a gourmet lobster dinner, warm after-dinner brandy, & one overnight bag carrying only the essentials a girl would need to stay the night at her lover’s apartment. Lisa also takes care of L.B., not only attending to his everyday needs while he is confined to that damed wheelchair, but she really gives him loads of TLC…ahem, plenty of kissing. Like I said before, she is a woman who knows her own mind. Lisa practically immediately believes L.B.’s claims that his across-the-way neighbor has been acting very bizarrely, ever since the invalid wife’s disappearance. She helps him in any way to gather evidence against the suspicious neighbor, helping him sort through crazy theories, & even providing a woman’s perspective with her “Women’s Intuition”. Lisa is quite brave sneaking off to the neighbor’s apartment in the middle of the night to snoop around for clues. That show how much in love & devoted she is to Mr. Grumpy Wheelchair Guy.

image credits: Universal Studios & Paramount Pictures via IMDB

image credits: Universal Studios & Paramount Pictures via IMDB

The other lead female character in this movie should also not be overlooked. Thelma Ritter’s character Stella, the insurance company’s home-care nurse, is also one of my favorite characters from the movie. Stella provides the quick wit & sharp humor that cuts through the thick tension throughout this film. She’s always trying to push L.B. to move his relationship forward with Lisa, never mincing her words. Hey, she’s a maladjusted misfit who’s been happily married to her other maladjusted misfit for years, so she knows a thing a two about love. The only way to get her wedding ring would be to chop off her finger. I think Stella needs to spread a little more common sense on L.B.’s sandwiches from now on. I really think Thelma Ritter was nicely cast for this role. I haven’t seen too many of her movies, but I still quite enjoy her acting. Her most notable acting role that I can remember was Alma the loveable, eavesdropping, drunk housekeeper in the film Pillow Talk, starring Doris Day, Rock Hudson,Tony Randall. She also provided much needed dry wit & sharp humor in that film as well.

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image credits: Universal Studios & Paramount Pictures via IMDB

One thing I really loved about this movie is that it was all entirely filmed in one sound stage. Everything was pretty much shot in the infamous apartment of L.B. Jeffries. No grand location shoots or car chase scenes, just one beautifully designed apartment. Oh, how I just adore the architecture & home decor of the 1950s & 60s!! What was considered Contemporary back then is now considered Mid-Century Modern nowadays. Well, I now live in an Eichler home, so I guess that influenced my love of Mid-Mod decor. I’ve always dreamed of living in a downtown city apartment decorated just like L.B.’s in the film. So, when I lived in my own apartment for a time, I felt so happy & content. I was really proud of & loved cleaning my apartment everyday & finding new ways to decorate it. If only I had an unlimited budget, then I would’ve surely decorated my apartment to look very Mid-Century Modern. I’m not sure how much Jian would’ve approved, but I would’ve been over the moon. I amazes me that the entire movie was filmed in such a small apartment complex, & yet there was so much action going on within the storyline. Each apartment neighbor provided their own little side story, which made the film seem like more & feel much bigger than it actually was.

And lastly, we shall conclude with the main character who really, truly, utterly stole the show within this movie…Grace Kelly’s masterpiece of a Chanel haute couture dress! I long to one day have a stunning figure like Grace Kelly. She’s not only tall & svelte, but she’s got just the perfect amount of feminine curves to give her a sensual aura. Her hair is always perfectly styled with not a stray hair out of place, & she never wears overly done-up makeup, only enough to accentuate her glorious femininity. No one can ever pull off wearing such a glamorous dress, except maybe Audrey Hepburn, if everyday was a Funny Face kind of day & Fred Astaire was your personal photographer & love interest. Just look at how stunning the actress AND the dress look…and I will end it at that. Cheers!

Today’s song of the day:

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