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Wednesday
Jun182014

EmmySF 2014

So it's come and gone and what a tornado. KNTV NBC Bay Area took home 13 Emmy awards--the most for any station this year. It's a testament to the commitment our management has made to bringing compelling, original reporting to local news in a meaningful way to cover the issues that matter to our viewers and to prompt meaningful change. It's also a testament to the hard work and talent at our station as we make the most of these resources and rise to the challenge.

I am not usually so rah rah, although cheerleading was part of my high school and college DNA, but I really am proud to work alongside some of the smartest, nicest, and most competitive people in the business--not only at KNTV but in the market. I'm inspired by the work of my colleagues and they push me to up my game. We do a job that can sometimes be thankless, and often stressful, but for a few nights a year, we get together and celebrate some of the wins. And this year, special Nguyens :) Mr. and Mrs. 

 

The night was especially amazing because we had SEVEN tables of KNTV staff and their families to root us on and scream like banshees when our names were read. It was amazing because of the combination of team and individual craft awards we won. And it was amazing for me because this year cemented some of the most meaningful career relationships I've ever developed. Investigative work requires another level of messy. It involves trust under fire, strong wills locking horns, unspoken understanding, and a belief that you're in this together--even when it gets so so ugly. This was an awesome moment with Jeremy and Kevin.  

We only get 30 seconds on stage to say anything and usually that's more than enough for me, evidenced by the times I've blabbed on senselessly in the past because I lost all composure. But this time I kept it together enough to make a semblance of a speech that I eeked out on our last win of the night in the continuing coverage category. 

I had the honor of presenting some of the awards this year with Matt Goldberg, the inceptionizer of the Investigative Unit at KNTV and someone whose name was mentioned repeatedly in thank you speeches throughout the night. 

Because I knew I'd at least make it on stage one time to present -- I spent a ridiculous number of minutes searching the internet for an appropriate dress. Only to discover it was in my closet. Where it's been since 1998, literally trucked across the country and back, never worn because I never had the appropriate place to get so glammed up. 

The gown is a Tadashi. It was generously donated to the Asian American Journalists Association as a silent auction item for the Chicago convention in 1998, according to Nicole Wong, former journalist and good friend now doing amazing things for Yahoo! In any case--the silent auction people asked me to wear it around to "model" it. Me being me agreed. 

So I'm strutting around with this crazy gown safety pinned in key places and one of the sponsors of the event, Skip Rhodes, who had attended many of these functions on behalf of Chevron, eventually put in the winning bid on the gown. It was several hundred dollars -- a crazy amount for a dress to someone who was on financial aid and work study and eating cafeteria food every day. Then he said, "It's yours! Wear it to the Emmys someday," and with a warm smile, that was that. I asked about 17 times if he was sure and I tried to say it was too generous and then I asked if he really was sure and then I accepted the dress, the Tadashi people altered it and sent it to me and then it sat in my closet until this weekend.

 The lovely folks at Padis jewelry sponsored the event--a brilliant partnership created by Julie Watts. So all the presenters were allowed to get crazy bling to borrow for the night. So. Fun. And instantly--the Tadashi gown was the exact right dress for this night--glamorous and grown up and a nice complement to crazy amounts of real diamond jewelry. Like I had a Honda Accord on my neck, a Camry on my ears, and a Prius C on my wrists. I equate expensive jewelry with foreign cars. 

Kay, pictured on the left--with me and Alexis--saved the day after a mix up with the original necklace I picked out was actually reserved for someone else. She surprised me with the art deco piece you see and it was a perfect fit with the gown. 

So Skip--thank you.

The gown you bought at a silent auction in 1998 to support scholarships for Asian American journalism students really was worn to the Emmy Awards in 2014 and it was an extremely lucky charm that brought me home three golden ladies!

 

Saturday
May172014

Mother's Day 2014

A week late but better than never. Woke up to the sounds of what I would later learn was Martha Stewart's Apple- Maple French toast being prepared for me, along with some Vietnamese coffee and the best little homemade pot of succulents and school-made play dough flowers. 

Feeling very grateful to not only have the best mom and mom-in-law, but to have the gift of two perfect little people to whom I get to practice motherhood on.

Happy Belated Mother's day to the rest of my sisterhood. It is a happiness like no other, replete with every emotion possible and by far the most challenging phase of life yet. I don't think it will ever get easier but seldom do the things that are most worthwhile in life.

Sunday
Apr272014

Bunny Birthday Party Highlights

This sign was the product of The Good Doctor and our design-gifted out of town guest Jan. I'm good at manual labor only. I can cut, fold, glue. But spacing and printing and moving margins around--that's not my bag baby. Thankfully I have outsourcing options. 

The circles were inspired by paper rosettes we saw at Paper Source. Each one is made of three pieces of construction paper that came in a huge pad from Michaels.


Found a super cute silicone bunny mold and made Jello bunnies. Easy peasy -- just follow the Jello directions for the jigglers (less water and no ice) and pour into molds. Chill and voila, jiggly bunnies.

Signage makes everything seem more special. Although we joked about making super literal tags for everything: "crackers in a bag," "small bunny shaped Jello pieces," "small cupcakes from a box mix," "party favors for children." It would have been like a party for English language learners.

Now I understand why people put favors in bags. It takes .8 seconds versus 2 minutes to wrap a book. My only solace is that kids like unwrapping stuff so hopefully they appreciated this labor of love.

Rainbow fruit skewers. Pretty, but never again. Way too much labor. Next time we'll do the fruit rainbow on a platter and people can just scoop up what they want and I don't have to deal with skewers or wasted fruit.

Again with the formatting and proper spacing of letters to dress up the Costco carrot cake.

Nicely held up by our ninja bunnies! They were just regular bunnies until The Good Doctor realized we'd need another string to hold up the letters so they became all Karate Kid.

Thanks Uncle Mike for this pic of the bday girl surrounded by her pals. All in all, a hoppy birthday indeed.

 

Wednesday
Apr162014

Memo to Emmy: 60 Months

You're 5! You're 5 FIVE cinco HIGH 5 FIVE!!!!!

We offered you the choice of a bunny party or a tea party. You chose wisely.

Let's also say that we didn't throw you a 3rd birthday party and your 4th bday was a trip to the Monterey Bay Aquarium so we felt liek we could do a little something special for your golden birthday. 

Although had we known it was your golden birthday we would have maybe done a crazy golden theme so it's good we didn't realize it until after we'd already booked the bunny lady and committed to the fuzzball theme.

We went a little lot crazy on this one in terms of the prep work. It was quite a few nights of cutting, pasting, printing, constructing, molding, hanging, arranging, creating, gluing, stuffing, wrapping, tying, pouring, moving, labeling, choosing, fonting, and being exhausted. 

I would not recommend anyone take this on themselves. That's why there are professionals and those professionals are damn good. But we never met a challenge in the form of a child's Pinterest worthy party that we didn't want to conquer. ] 

Which reminds me of these hilarious sites where people try to recreate what they see online, only to fail miserably. I just love how they label their photos with "nailed it" which also happens to be one of my favorite phrases because its so gleefully self glorifying. Like who says that about themselves after they do something well? Gleeful self glorifiers, that's who. 

However, turning our home into a party sweat shop was totally worth it for some of these fantastic pictures of your perfect sweet face enjoying the bun balls. And because you're really the best 5 year old we could ask for. You're pretty awesomely helpful these days and kind and as your teachers put it, "bright" and "tender." You're sensitive and inquisitive and so genuinely nice. You don't have any frenemies and you get along with your schoolmates. Every once in a while you give Odessa a small kicknudge to the belly to remind her who's boss but you're mostly a very gracious big sister.

I call this bunny "Emo Bun." Wicked eyeliner bruh.

We could've made Odessa a sweater from this Angora.

We were pretty proud of this homemade punch box--and the many other ideas we got from this blog post about a bunny party. It's like the latest in alternative pinatas. Who doesn't love to punch something and then grab a prize? I wish I could do it every day.

 

I love this image from our friend Matt. Somehow he and Jan flew in from New York with a toddler and a 4 month old and completely helped us pull off this whole party with all the last minute preps. Like placing chocolate hazelnut carrots in a Calico Critter trainset. Don't ask. It will be in the video that I need to get around to editing.

Happy happy 5th birthday, Golden Girl. 

#nailedit

Mama

Wednesday
Apr092014

Memo to Dessy: 25.75 Months

Oh Dess-dess,

Since I last wrote about you, you've already changed gobs. You used to not be able to say the "s" sound when it was in front of a consonant. Spoon became 'poon, smile became 'mile, stop it became 'top it. But my favorite was when I starting talking about your cute little calf muscles, calling them "sports calves." You would parrot me and say, "'Ports cabs!"

But that was 24 month old Odessa. Now at the ripe age of 25.75 months, your pronunciation has already changed and you no longer saying 'tar for star and 'mooth for smooth and 'qurrel (which was virtually impossible to interpret but I'm your mom and I'm awesome) for squirrel.

You have this uncanny ability of repeating exactly the thing I said that I wouldn't want you to repeat. Luckily no swear words but you are the exact opposite of Emmy in this regard. Where she would pick up on any sort of negativity or verboten thing and steer clear, you hear the most random edgy things and gleefully shout them out. Examples include: when I hear something crazy and I say, "Oh my God!" You follow up with "OH MY GODDDDD." Or when I said something about Daddy being busted, you said "Daddy, BUSTED!!!" I shake my head to think what's coming.

You're counting to 29 pretty well with only a few mix ups in the teens. The big finish is always, "twenty seven, twenty eight, twenty niiiiine....eleven!" If I ever start a band, I'm calling it 29-11.  

What a fun time you had in Maui--building castles and getting a sandy bottom on the beach. You were done with the flight there about 30 minutes in but somehow we made it through the next 6 hours. 

 

Your vocabulary in English and Vietnamese is growing. You surprise Asian Grandma all the time with your recall of the Vietnamese words for watermeon and bellybutton. 

If you decide you're unwilling to comply with something, usually something extremely difficult that we've asked of you, like to wave, or smile, you say, "Nnnnoh! I DON'T. I DON'T." while you wave your little hands around like a dictator at the podium.

That level of cuteness is so dangerous. 

You're really listening into our conversations, interrupting Daddy and me all the time to say, "WHO Mommy? WHO?" when you hear me talking about someone. We just make up names and it seems to appease you. "Burt Reynolds, Odessa. Burt Reynolds." Then you go back to whatever you were attempting to do, usually something with your blankie or something that you refuse to let Emmy partake in as you wave your hands saying, "Mines! No Emmy. Mines!!" 

You're so curious now and totally Daddy's little buddy just like Emmy was at this. "Daddy's coming to geeeehhhht me!!" is your favorite thing to squeal before you run off to hide under my sheets. Breathing in the air under our covers with my face two inches from yours while you look all 'round waiting for Daddy to get you is one of my happiest moments. 

You're now also wearing underpants during the day! We are getting you ready for preschool and "being a big girl" and two weeks ago we started going for it--no diapers during your waking hours. So far, pretty impressive. Only a few accidents in the beginning but now you're consistent and such a champ. We've only said, "Odessa, you don't pee in your underwear. You pee in the toilet, OK?" 950 times to you. I think it's working.

You love to command us to speak "louda, loudah!" when we whisper to you in the morning. You're just such a little imp, always favoring Asian Grandma and wanting to her to "Look Gramma, look" at whatever you're doing.

You're so tall and already 29 pounds. A giantess for your age and already almost growing directly into Emmy's clothes. You eat well, you laugh a lot, and you entertain constantly. We love you more each day.

Mama