Wednesday, November 29, 2006

allergy meds

Last night after leaving the gym, I went to Walgreens' to pickup my prescription nasal spray. For the past 10 years or so, I've been on allergy medication year round. As I've gotten older, so have the number of medications I have to take.

At first, it was Chlor-Trimeton. It often made me sleepy and thirsty, but it worked. Then, Claritin-D because it didn't make me drowsy. After that, Zyrtec. Most health insurance carriers stopped discounting Claritin and Zyrtec in the late 90's, and buying it over the counter got expensive. I switched to my current medication of Sudafed Plus (or the generic version). I added Rhinocort, my nasal spray, about 6 years ago, and became a regular user of Advair (for asthma) last year.

Gradually, it became harder to buy Sudafed in bulk supply because of the increased illegal manufacturing of methamphetamines from one of its key ingredients, pseudoephedrine. Just this past September, the FDA required all medications containing pseudophedrine to be taken off store counters. They could only be sold in limited supply at the pharmacy counter.

Screw that. Too much of a hassle. So I began buying the new formula of Sudafed Plus, now called Sudafed Plus PE (no pseudoephedrine). Within a week, I found the PE versions weren't working as effectively. Two weeks ago, I tried loratradine (generic version of Claritin) in place of Sudafed Plus PE and nothing improved. My tried and true combo for sneezing and runny nose has been original formula Sudafed Plus and Rhinocort.

I was still in denial despite the constant runny nose and increased tissue use. It wasn't until this week that my eyes looked redder than usual, (even after allergy eye drops) and irritation with my contact lenses that I have to go back to the original formula of Sudafed Plus.

So when I went to pick up Rhinocort, I also asked for Wal-phed, Walgreen's generic version of Sudafed Plus. I asked for 2 boxes of 48, but the pharmacist was only permitted to sell me a single box. Damn. I was required to show my drivers license and they entered it into their database to record the purchase date. I take 2 a day, so this will only last me a little over 3 weeks. Federal laws won't let me renew a supply in less than 30 days.

I took a dose when I got home and within an hour, I noticed the difference. No more runny nose and watery eyes. A wonderful relief, but know I am no longer a drug-free spring chicken. My parents and relatives at their age try to top each other on how many pills they have to take. I'm not far behind.

I missed you, pseudoephedrine. Thank you for making me feel better.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

dining table arrives

Today as scheduled, our new dining table arrived. It took about 15-20 minutes for them to unload, carry, and assemble the table (including extension leaf).

No surprises, it looks exactly like the table we saw on display at Scandinavian Designs. To make sure the table would sit 3 across, we put 3 of our existing chairs, and it fits, with plenty of room to spare. This is good because the chairs we have on backorder until January are considerably larger.

We now can officially plan our first Christmas gathering. I already have a tentative menu set. It's similar to last year's menu, but with the necessary modifications to accomodate our guests' dietary needs (me included). All is needed now are 3-5 chairs to borrow until the new ones come in.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Can't we just get along?

Unless you were hiding under a rock, the big news item yesterday was hearing actor/comedian Michael Richards (Kramer of NBC's "Seinfeld") repeating the "N" word several times in an emotional response to audience hecklers who told him he wasn't funny and he's only made it because of "Seinfeld". Sad but true.

Despite the progress we seem to have made on racial tolerance, in many ways little has changed. It wasn't all that long ago an intoxicated Mel Gibson said some not so nice things to a police officer. It seems now just about any public figure says anything disparaging gets in trouble for what they say. Usually it's in the heat of the moment and without much thought.

Having grownup in the Midwest, I've had my own experiences with racism. Kids in school and in the malls pointing, staring, and pulling their eyelids sideways mocking in pidgin English. Being told over the phone after they learn my last name that I don't sound Chinese. When we first moved into our house in Columbus, Ohio, my mom had to have our number changed because of the crank calls about our ethnicity. Luckily, most of this wasn't threatening. Just plain cruel.

While I'm not excusing Richards or Gibson for their remarks, I think we've become a bit too sensitive to racism. I also think we define things as racist too easily. Racist things have been said to me, but mostly it was because their expectation was that I'm someone who doesn't look or act like them.

Racism is mean, hurtful and can cause irreparable damage to a reputation and/or career. And I know somewhere (likely outside of California), an insensitive remark will be said about my ethnicity and/or gender. But I'll get over it. You should too.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Ohio State vs. Michigan

As many of us have already heard, former University of Michigan football coach Bo Schembechler passed away today. Schembechler suffered a fatal heart attack while taping his weekly show, on the eve of college football's fiercest rivalry, Ohio State versus Michigan.

It holds special importance to me because I was born and raised in Columbus, and still bleed Scarlet and Gray. When I applied to college, I considered smaller schools within the state, but my heart and head knew there was no other choice other than Ohio State. While I was a student, I was extremely fortunate to be a season ticket holder. The games were like nothing else I've experienced.

Both schools became the perennial powerhouses they are now because of Schembechler and his former mentor, Woody Hayes. Without the legacy of Hayes and Schembechler, there is no Ohio State-Michigan rivalry. Period.

This year the stakes are huge. Ohio State is top ranked, and Michigan is ranked second. Both schools are undefeated and have dominated their opponents all season. It is considered unofficially the National Championship game. Tomorrow's winner will likely go on to the actual National Championship game in January.

As much as I am saddened by Bo's passing, I want the Buckeyes to whip some Wolverine ass. GO BUCKS!
image courtesy of The Ohio State University

Thursday, November 16, 2006

office moochers

Today was the second of our office lunches this week, my department's (Finance) monthly potluck, with Human Resources as our guests this month.

At noon, there were at least 6 people in the kitchen preparing and heating up food, so it should have been apparent there was another luncheon and not a mass scramble to get rid of leftovers. But it wasn't, at least not for one person. Most people in the office go in and out of the back door through the kitchen, and this was no different for this person (gender and department shall remain anonymous).

While I was slicing the 4.5 pound pork roast I brought to be put on a serving platter, this person grabbed a paper plate and put a few slices of pork on it. When I noticed this, I immediately said that my food wasn't leftovers for everyone. The person said sorry and put the slices back.

I've worked in enough places to know this is universal for all offices. For some people, they lack understanding of social cues and office etiquette to know any better. For other people, it's sheer laziness. They no longer have to walk or drive to get lunch, and even better, the food is FREE.

When I worked at Gymboree, the Finance division used to have breakfast every Friday. Each department (Accounts Payables, General Ledger, Payroll, etc.) used to alternate to supply the food. Our breakfasts got so famous that other divisions used to crash the event. We ran out of food before everyone in Finance got their share.

There was one Friday I remember vividly when my department, Sales Audit, brought in Noah's Bagels. It pissed me off to no end that 2 women from the Art Department saw me carrying the bag of bagels, followed me, and actually waited for me to put the bagels out. I told them in a surly tone that the food wasn't ready and to come back once everyone else in Finance got their food.

We ended up having to distribute a stern company e-mail that if they wanted breakfast, then notify Finance and we would include them on the distribution list. Message acknowledged and understood. End of mooching.

Yeah, I probably take etiquette and manners for granted. My family's restaurant attracted people from all walks of life, therefore I got early and frequent exposure to all kinds of social interaction. As a child, I was either in the company of being the only Asian-American, or among all Chinese. Nothing in-between.

My advice to anyone who's not sure what to do in an unfamiliar social situation: SHUTUP, LISTEN and OBSERVE. Throw in unfailing politeness, and you'll do fine.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

mixup on the office lunches

A correction to yesterday's blog about the upcoming holiday lunches. Tomorrow is the company's Thanksgiving lunch. Thursday is my division's (Finance) pot luck. I got a head start by having a burger and fries for lunch today. I relieved some of the gluttony running 3+ miles on the treadmill tonight and dined on salad and soup from Whole Foods afterwards.

The never ending battle with the bulge marches on...

Monday, November 13, 2006

Gorging season begins

This week at the office we have 2 lunch celebrations. Wednesday is our division's monthly potluck. Thursday is our company's Thanksgiving celebration. I LOVE turkey, so eating moderately will be difficult. If it weren't for my regular gym visits, I'd have to pull out spandex and leave it out until late January.

image courtesy of

Thursday, November 09, 2006

under contract

Just checked the San Francisco Multiple Listing Service to find out the status of our old place on 6th Avenue. It's no longer listed because it's in contract. Sounds like the price reduction was the ticket. Location doesn't hurt either.

To the new homeowners, good luck. You'll need it.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Preapproved credit card offers

I received this weekend a preapproved offer to apply for the Discover card. Off and on for the past 10+ years, they've been trying to get me as a cardholder. When they finally called me, I told them to go away and take me off any future offers.

Because another offer got sent after I told them to stop, this is what I do to all credit card companies when they don't take no for an answer. Whenever I get an offer in the mail, I take the application that requires a signature and tear it up. Not in shreds, but just enough so that my name can be still be seen. I then take the shredded form, place in the postage paid envelope so graciously provided, and mail it back to them. Sometimes it usually takes 2-3 mailings from the same card issuer, but eventually it stops.

Of course, what will get phone calls and mailings to stop is to call the various agencies to "opt out". A few, such as the Discover mailing, will still sneak through the cracks. Why card issuers think these forms of solicitation still work is beyond me.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

National Novel Writing Month

Today I read on Yahoo! that November is National Novel Writing Month. Ever since Creative Writing in elementary school, I have always had aspirations to write. Until I started this blog, it had been 6 years since I kept a regular journal. Keeping up with the blog has been a piece of cake compared to the conventional pen and pad.

But, with demands on daily commitments (work, exercise, sleep, etc.) my best bet is to continue to write about snippets of my life rather than commit to a large body of work such as a novel.

It doesn't mean I won't stop wishing.