"A chef, a sifu, and a writer walk into a bar..."

Sounds like the start of a joke, right? In actuality, this scenario could happen in my world... or more precisely, in my family.

The sifu, or teacher, is my cousin Michael, the youngest certified Wing Chun Do Gung-Fu blackbelt and master instructor who runs his own self defense club in Seattle. He's been in magazines and won awards too numerous for me to mention here, so check out his profile at http://www.i-selfdefense.com/ (his club's site - look under Instructors).
I can probably count on my fingers the number of times we've seen each other in person, but thanks to email, we've managed to bring the American northwest and Canadian prairies closer together and forged a bond I hold very dear.

The up-and-coming chef is our cousin Zandra, who promises to fatten me up with her tasty creations on my next visit to BC. Despite the 14 year age gap, she and I have a lot in common, among them, a warped sense of humour, the tendency to be a little accident-prone, and to this day, the ability to annoy our parents by doing the exact opposite of what's expected of us. More like a sister... or maybe partner-in-crime...

And yes, I'm the writer. Really.

Now, having a writer, a martial arts sifu, and chef in one family may not be all that unusual... unless you consider how incredibly Filipino-Catholic our family is. [Okay, insert broad-generalization disclaimer here... yes, there are exceptions to this "rule".]

"So, what's so special about being Filipino-Catholic?" you say.

Well, it carries a ton of meaning.  The "Catholic" bit alludes to the rule to obey our parents no matter how weird, illogical, or cockamaimey the suggestion.

The "Filipino" bit implies the unspoken expectation to choose from a very limited subset of acceptable careers. (Probably also true in other cultures, but I'm Filipino and this is my story.) If you weren't a doctor, nurse, engineer, accountant, dentist, or manager, your parents lost bragging rights in their tight-knit little hive. And it's your job as their child to protect these rights by conforming.  Oh, but when you don't conform, you've squandering the opportunity they've worked so hard to give you. Bad, bad anak!!! No deboo for you!

In all honesty, I can't completely fault our parents their lack of imagination narrowed focus. As immigrants in this golden land of "white people who talk so fast", those careers - icons of financial security, stability and social status unachievable back on the islands - were suddenly within arms reach.

To them, coming to Canada and the US meant giving their children the opportunity to pursue the dreams they themselves couldn't.

However, what they seem to miss is that we, the children, have taken their dreams one step further.  We've seen this as an opportunity to pursue not only those careers, but many others, to find our own way of making a contribution with our own talents and passions, not limited by any predefined guidelines.

Essentially, we've taken the ball and are running with it.

But, we are generally good kids, so many of us didn't walk the road less traveled at first.
Zandra tortured herself with a year of nursing school before following her dream and enrolling in culinary college.
And I myself was a miserable engineer for almost a decade, waking up each morning preferring to rip my arms off, blend them in a blender, then slather my whole body with the bits rather than go to work, before turning to the creative arts.

However, we have many cousins who chose their careers based on pleasing their parents first before pleasing their own souls, and they're still in that space. I hope they don't make themselves miserable.

Meanwhile, I'll be at the bar enjoying my non-alcoholic beverage sitting with the half-drunk chef with the long thick island-girl hair and the smiley, serene sifu built like a MACK truck. And there's always room at our table for more...

Nenette Goes to her 20yr Reunion with a Mullet...

If I have any advice to give people today - and if you're over the age of 35, as I am, you should already know this anyway - it's this: DO NOT get a haircut 4 days before an important event!

Please, please for the love of Buddha, God and Ganesha, just don't do it!!!
I still can't believe I did! Gah!

Okay, the event was my 20yr High school reunion. About 2 weeks before, I realized that I really needed to get my hair cut. No manner of styling or expensive hair product could improve its crazy, frizzy, standing out-to-the-side look. So, I called my hairstylist, Jane.

Now, I don't trust anyone else with my hair except Jane. Her cuts have done the impossible: made my hair look good with very little styling and hair product for MONTHS after my cut. Good thing too because she's not exactly cheap!

So, anyway, I go to see her on the Tuesday. Because I've been so tired of the style I'd had for months (I was growing out a bad bob), I gave her free reign. "Do what you want", I said. I've never done that before. And I think I won't ever do that again.
She cut a LOT off. In the end, I looked like Joan Jett! The top is short and the sides and back are long, but thinned out.

It was fun for the first couple of days... then the novelty wore off.

Then it hit me... I HAVE A MULLET!!!

I'm not a Rock-N-Roll Mom -- I'm Island-Girl Mom!!!

And, OMG, this style is so HIGH-MAINTENANCE!!!
When I wake up, I look like I've been zapped... everything stands on end! I either have to wash my hair, shower, or heavily wet my hair to get it to calm down. Then if I can't make it behave, I pull out the Big Guns: clips, barrettes and headbands.

So, I spent my entire 3-day reunion weekend with my hair up to minimize the mulletesqueness. (No, that's not a word. I know.)

But the odd thing is that I got a ton of compliments on it! Totally unsolicited, I swear. People really liked the look. Weird.
I'm definitely growing it out... I won't be seeing Jane until she actually has something to work with to get me back to Island-Girl Hottieness (no, that's not a word either)... that should be around May of next year. She gave me a great Island-Girl cut last year... I'll ask for that again.

Anyway, the reunion went well, and I enjoyed seeing my old friends. I like having my hair up, and I have re-learned a lesson... Don't get my hair cut 4 days before an event.

Meanwhile, here are some pictures of me with my new 'do, up and down... lemme know what you think...

Happy Thanksgiving!

It's Thanksgiving Weekend here in Canada, and I'm thinking of the dinner I will be serving my family tonight. Since it's just immediate family, I don't have to make anything big and elaborate, nor do I have to clean up. My favourite kind of celebration!
And because the dinner will be very easy to make, I can spend most of my day hanging out with my family and doing some work on two of my blogs.

I'll be making glazed ham (my mom's recipe, and when this thing starts roasting, the smell in the house reminds me of Christmas... she only made it during Christmas), steamed broccoli, roasted root veggies, and one of my guilty pleasures (no, not Gerry Butler), garlic fried rice.
Not very CRON, but I'll make up for it. :)

It's been a great year, and we have a lot to be thankful for... health, love of family, many good friends, exciting projects, security, and good fortune.

What are you thankful for?

blogs I like & so should you

These are the blogs/links I love. Proceed with caution... visit them once, and you'll be hooked too. :)

Bionic Beauty
The Bloggess
Cheaper Than Therapy
Fun N Family

Harmzie's Way
In Mind's Zen Garden
Karen Cheng's Snippets of Life
Keep Up with Me

My CR Experiment
Mythbuster Beauty
Paul Johns
S Studio by Shai Coggins

Still Life with Wyliekat
Taste Memory
The Coffeeholic Bride - About Life and Things
Urban Wallflower
Vively Online


"You've no idea how many men I've had to sleep with to win this." -- Kim Cattrall

Big "thank you" hugs to Laura of Buttons and Ribbons for this fab Lemonade Stand Award. You rock!

A great big THANK YOU to the lovely Lisa of Retro Housewife Goes Green for including me in her list of lovely new-found blogs. Look at me! I'm lovely! :)

Thank you so much to my longtime online buddy and fellow-Scorpie, Kyooty, for this awesome Blogger Friendship Award! She truly rocks, and I'm so honoured that she thinks I do too. :)

Thanks to my RL friend Su of Vively Online who gave me a Sisterhood Award. Su and I have been "sisters" for ages -- way back to our engineering days programming and load-building. She is truly awesome!

"Loved the name of the blog, love the gal behind the blog- Nenette. I enjoy her posts, they make me laugh, ponder, and discuss (probably sometimes babbling my husband’s ear off)."
Thanks again to my bloggerina buddy Jami for this gorgeous Blog Star Award.

My site was nominated for Hottest Mommy Blogger! My site was nominated for Best Blog About Stuff!Thank you so much to my beautiful fellow-nerd bloggy buddy Jami at Bionic Beauty in 2008 for my very first ever award nominations!

I totally ripped the format of this awards page off Musingwoman's most awesome In Three Words blog award page. Still hoping and awaiting her return!

Books I Love...

Books are lovely... but some truly suck. These listed here do not suck. They are a jumble of my favourite erotica, romantic-fiction, health/diet/nutrition, simple-living, and green-living books. I love reading and learning, so this list will continually grow. Be sure to come back and see what I've added.

Just click on a book, and it'll take you to its Amazon.com page.

Check these babies out. I highly recommend them...