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Monday, June 28, 2010

Blood Drive

Last Friday our campus hosted a blood drive. Our department was in-charge of the affair and we worked with Red Cross of Southern California to make sure we had enough volunteers. Basically, all we had to do was advertise the event to the students and local businesses. Red Cross did everything else - including providing awesome incentives for volunteers.

The blood drive started at 12:00 noon and went on till 6:00 pm. We had a pretty good turn out and Red Cross was able to meet their required blood donation quota for the day.

Red Cross had a high-tech bus that was set up in our campus' parking lot. It was really very high-tech inside but I didn't get to take a picture (it was a little busy inside and I didn't want to get in any one's way). But outside, they had a snack counter and chairs for people to sit and wait.

Here is a picture of the Career Services team. We were really glad that turn-out was good and that we were able to help Red Cross meet their quota.

I was really nervous to donate blood. But I volunteered to do it first of all because it is for a good cause. And second because I wanted to "pay back" all the blood that was donated to my dad when he needed it. Back then, we totally relied on the kindness of volunteers. I promised myself that when I get the chance I would donate blood in honor of my dad and everyone who gave blood to him. So even if I was scared (and really very nervous), I psyched myself up to just do it! (I had a long conversation with my dad while I was walking to the bus to donate and at one point, I honestly felt my dad was right there with me).

The process starts with signing up and showing your ID. Then you fill a 10-item computerized questionnaire about your health and general well-being. Then they weigh you, take your blood pressure and then you get poked in the finger with a needle. They take a sample of blood that is tested. It takes about 2 minutes.

In the end, it turns out I was not qualified to donate blood. My iron level was considered "low". The normal range is 12.1 to 15.1, but in order to donate one needs to be at a 12.5. I was a 12.2. So even if I was within the "normal range", I was low for the "donor range". They did take my contact information and I told them I would donate the next time they were in Torrance.

Even if I did not qualify to donate blood, I did get all the goodies. I got a Red Cross t-shirt, coupons for free Wahoo fish tacos, two tickets to The Laugh Factory (a comedy club in Hollywood), a chance to win a $500 gas card, and unlimited snacks and drinks.

The next time there is a blood drive in your area ... I would strongly encourage you to go and donate. It truly is an opportunity for you to help save lives.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Termites

Okay, so the verdict is we have termites. =( It's not so bad. It's not an infestation and we don't have crumbling walls and beams ... yet. But we definitely need to get this problem treated ... soon. Anyway, we had a pest control specialist come out to assess the situation and to give us recommendations. He basically outlined two options for us. The first is to do a total fumigation. The cost would be about $1,900. It would also mean we would have to bag all our food, medicine, make-up and anything that could be contaminated. Then they would tent our home and we would have to vacate for 3 days and 2 nights. After that, they gas up the house and make sure they get rid of all the termites. This comes with a 7 year guarantee.

The second option is the orange oil treatment. It is a natural product that they inject into the wooded parts of the house. We don't need to move out nor do we need to bag anything up. Cost is $1,500 but the duration is only 14 days (until the oil dissipates). They offer a 2 year guarantee to come back if the problem comes back.

We have two other pest control companies coming over today and tomorrow. I want to see if everyone has the same assessment and be able to compare prices. Then, I guess it will be time to decide what to do. My gut feel is telling me to do the more radical treatment (total fumigation) so that we really eliminate the problem. But I'm not so sure how I feel about poisonous gas in our home. I am doing some research on the internet for additional back-up.

Anyway, we'll probably know in the next day or so. I am hoping we can get this done over the 3-day Independence Day weekend. Crossing my fingers that it all works out!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Updates

It's been a while since my last post. I know. I have been really busy and have not had the time to just sit and write to my heart's content. I don't know where the time goes but it just never seems to be enough. My sister-in-law was laughing with me the other day about this very topic. She knew exactly what I meant when I said, I know I have 24 hours in a day (just like everyone else) but it seems when I get going, my days get much shorter and the hours just fly right on by! To think I don't even have kids yet and already it seems like I am juggling a whole boatload of stuff!

I don't mean to complain about this. I am sure everyone else in the world feels this way at some point. And I don't think I am taking on much more than I can chew. But I just want to get so many things done and I have so many things planned that I just wish I had an extra 4 or 5 hours a day (or that I could run on less than 7 hours of sleep a night!). Oh well. Prioritizing is pretty much the name of the game ... and compromising, I guess.

What have I been up to? Well, of course the largest chunk of my day goes to work. There is a lot to do and thankfully I enjoy my job - otherwise it would be torture to have to go to work and count the hours till it's time to go home. I am also considering the possibility of teaching a few courses in the evenings. I know I should think about this carefully since it is going to be extra work - but I think I'll enjoy it and I am being considered for it. Most likely though (if everything can be worked out), it will be some time in September (when the Fall Semester starts). Our dean has discussed my possibly handling some introduction business classes or one of our senior professional portfolio classes. I guess we'll see.

Other than work, it's pretty much running the household. Just making sure all the chores are done (not often but regularly). I used to do laundry every couple of days when I was not working. Now we try to do it every other weekend. Last weekend, we were so busy running around that we realized it was already Sunday night and it had been 2 weeks since we did any laundry. I know that laundry is overrated since it's really just throwing stuff into the machine. But there's the sorting before the loading into the machine, then the transfering to the dryer, then the sorting after the dryer, then the folding of clothes and hanging of suits, then putting everything away, and then the ironing of those pieces that are way too wrinkled. Anyway, long story short, we were too lazy to load up the washing machine. Jojo didn't have any decent work socks for the coming week, so our solution was to buy a 6-pack of black tube socks at Target. (Please DON'T judge us ... to be fair, Jojo needed to get new socks anyway!). Haha.

Also, there's preparing meals. In an effort to be healthier, we try to eat most meals at home. But that requires first of all, having the ingredients on hand. Which requires going to the supermarket. After that, there's making sure meats are defrosted at least a couple of hours before. Slicing, dicing, chopping, mincing of veggies. Boiling, steaming, frying, sauteing, and broiling homemade creations. And waiting endless minutes till the brown rice is ready or using multi-grain bread as a quick and easy alternative. Then there's the washing of dishes! Not only the dishes we ate out of, but the dishes and utensils used for prepping and cooking. I've solved a little bit of the problem and have eliminated serving dishes. I just serve the food in the pans or woks I used to cook them. I know Ina Garten would be cringing at my lack of domestic skills right about now. But hey, you gotta do, what you gotta do!

Where else does my time go? Well, I try to find time with family and friends ... spend time with my husband (we did watch The A-Team last Sunday - which was pretty good). I still try to go to the gym (which is down to 2 times a week instead of 5 times a week). I have given up volunteer work but am looking at doing something where I can maybe go every other week or some evenings. I don't watch a lot of tv anymore but there are some shows I absolutely can not miss - but I'm probably avergaing about 5-6 hours of tv a week (so it's not much but not something I can give up altogether either). We have a few household projects we're working on. We need to get our home fumigated for termites (it's more of a precaution really). We are also planning to get the exterior of the house painted. And there's still my dream of a kitchen renovation. So we've been meeting with a couple of contractors. I've been trying to blog and write in my spare time. I've been quite horrible at getting back to people via email and I plan to rectify that as soon as I have some time to sit down and just devote time to replying to everyone I owe a reply to! I am thinking of taking online classes at Cal State to see if I could get certified as a career counselor. Maybe in the Fall but am still working that out. I've been babysitting a few days here and there. Just my nieces and nephews. Jojo and I have started working on our garden. Now that it's almost summer, we don't want to be the only house on our block growing weeds! We are planning another garage sale soon so I've been sorting through our stuff and setting aside the ones that can still be considered as "sellable".

I have been taking time to read and just relax too. Ironically I've been quite busy finding time to relax. I think that's just the way things work these days. You have to add "find time to relax" to your to-do list ... otherwise, you just never have the time to get that done!

P.S. BY THE WAY, TODAY IS ALSO MY MOM'S BIRTHDAY. HAPPY BIRTHDAY to the best mom anyone could ever be blessed to have =) I love you, mom. And I hope that you have an awesome birthday. Wish you were here or I was there ... or that we could meet half-way (like maybe in Hawaii) and celebrate together! But know, that I send my love and prayers for you ... and your box of delish olive oils are en route to Manila =)

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Work

Now that the weekend is almost over and I am facing another challenging week at work, I find myself sitting here and evaluating the last 7 weeks I've been working at my "new" job. So far, things have been going well. I pretty much have the hang of things and my training period is over. I am able to function almost completely on my own (except for a few questions here and there). I enjoy my job and have to say this is (out of all my past professions), probably my most favorite one of all. I've had quite a bit of professional titles and occupations. I started as a pre-school teacher, worked as a fine jewelry sales manager, did time as a jewelry merchandiser too. I worked as a research assistant and as an admissions representative while in graduate school. There was also the market research internship I did while in Berkeley. Then there was my almost 3 years as an organizational development and HR consultant. And then my more than 2 years as a Training Manager for a bank.

My current job is my favorite for a number of reasons. For starters, it is a rewarding profession. I find myself very much motivated that I am able to make a small difference in the lives of others. Another reason is while the work is busy and challenging, it is not a difficult job. I get a lot of satisfaction in doing what I do. Third, I work with a variety of very interesting people. There is never a dull day at work. Colleagues, students, clients ... I meet a lot of cool and not-so-cool folks! And lastly, the commute is awesome. I can leave the house 10 minutes before my shift and get home 10 minutes after I leave the office. Not only that, I am actually able to go home for lunch every single day. That is truly a luxury that I can not even begin to describe!

Of course, there are also "down" sides that keep this from being the "perfect" job (does that really exist!?). As with any job, there are goals that need to be met. I get that and am not opposed to having goals. In my role as part of Career Services, we are meant to get students jobs after graduation and the only thing our supervisors care about is how many employments we get. They don't care how many students are helped in other ways or how many employers we network with. They don't care how long the process takes and that in many cases it is all about building relationships. I have to stress over and over again that there are so many factors that need to work out and so many puzzle pieces that need to fall into place before an employment is made. But they don't want to hear it! All they want to know is "did you get a student employed today?". I guess I am starting to understand that even if I work for a college (an institution for higher learning and professional development), the bottomline is it is still a business and it is still run like one. I just have to get into that frame of thinking and stop being so idealistic! I need to stop getting too personally involved and just do the job. I am trying. Also, compensation-wise, it is not nearly as much as what I used to make. What an understatement =) That is a bummer, of course! But ultimately, I really think that in terms of money, I have learned my lesson well. I can honestly practice what I preach when I say that money is important but it is NOT the most important thing in the world! When you have a job you like, a career you can see yourself staying in, a company you are happy with ... well, salary still counts (I don't think I would want to or could afford to work for free!) but it is not as high on the list of priorities as it once was for me.