Oh shit.

Those were the audible words that came out of my mouth when I witnessed a man standing nearish the edge of the metro platform drop his phone, then watch it bounce right into the tracks. Yup. He looked down at the tracks. Then he walked hurriedly away, probably to find a station manager who is probably going to tell him to go get a new phone.

Zenni

I just got my first pair of glasses online. I’ve always been reluctant to try online eyeglass retailers because I wasn’t sure how they’d look or fit, and the quality/sturdiness of them. I’m happy to report back that they worked out fine.

The silicone eyeglass holders work like a charm.  Where have they been all my life!?!  Gamechangers.
(See the little silicone hooks on the back of the glasses? They are life-altering for me. Plastic frames never stay on my face well. I usually just take my glasses off on the treadmill because they will fall off my face. Where have you been all my life!?)
Quality: So-so. 6/10. They definitely feel not as sturdy as the ones I’ve been getting from Costco – my usual place. In the past, I’d just pick a pair that wasn’t made in China. But they’re probably just assembled with parts made in China. Anyway, Zenni’s glasses are all from China and they work just fine. Not great, but decent. What they lack in the frames department, they make up for in the lenses. They have blue light blocking lenses and I wanted to try them. I don’t know if I feel any difference (aside from a very mild yellow tint) but I feel better having them since I stare at glowing boxes at almost all waking hours. By the way, there is a way to turn down the blue light on your computer monitors and iPhones (and maybe newer Droids). Aside from affecting sleep, the Internet told me blue light may possibly cause retinal damage so I’ve turned it down on all my devices where possible. Even if it does none of those things I’ve found it’s easier on my eyes to not have the glow boxes glow so piercingly bright. It’s probably not good for my skin either, but that’s another issue to solve another time.

Look: 10/10. Well, this is a personal preference thing, but their website does offer different model’s faces to try on the glasses. This worked out fine for me. I got a pair of fierce cat-eyes that turned out to be fun and not too fierce. Mew.

Fit: 1/10. Normally, a brick and mortar would adjust them before you walk out with your new glasses. And while I could still take these into a store, I’ve decided to try eyewear retainer straps and ear hooks first. I got plastic frames, and for me no matter how adjusted plastic frames are, they constantly slide down my face. Plus it’s just a hassle at the gym with loosey goosey glasses – which are all of my glasses!! Hopefully, this fixes the fit issue and the gym issue too.

Verdict: I’d do it again. Price wise – a pair of Costco glasses with their coupon is pretty comparable. My Zenni’s came out to $77 and a pair of Costco’s comes out to around $130.
As far as I’m aware though, Costco doesn’t offer blue light blocking lenses yet. If they did, I could go either way. For the extra cost, it’s nice to have someone measure you and fit your glasses properly. And the quality of the frames are better. That’s probably the biggest factor. You’ll be able to find better quality frames at Costco. I still wear my old glasses (the prescription hasn’t changed that much) from many years ago. I suppose I haven’t owned Zenni’s long enough to say how well they’ll hold up. This is just my initial impression seeing three pairs (a coworker tried them too).

Spring?

I know, I know, it’s spring already. Days are longer, more sunshine. Etc. Blah blah, whatever. I’m not feeling it. I’m feeling mopey and dopey, unmotivated, unenthusiastic, and generally bleh.

Yesterday at work, I googled “things to do.” Literally (in the correct usage of this term), I feel like I have no ideas to motivate me to do anything. One of the ideas that came out of the search was to engage in a hobby. I went through my head of all the hobbies I picked up and put down and can’t think of anything that excites me. The only thing I still enjoy doing is tending the houseplants. Thank goodness for that little bit of activity.

Lately I’ve been trying to plan a trip to somewhere. I get excited about it for all of a day and then I lose interest. In the place. In traveling. In leaving the house.

There’s a big snow storm outside right now too. The groundhog was right.

Houseplanting

Growing season is afoot! Nothing gets me out of my winter ennui like seeing new sprouts popping up. Last week, I went to IKEA and got some houseplants I don’t currently have, totally ignoring the fact that I have no space to put them. I made a conscious decision to Scarlett O’Hara that issue. And the solution that I came up with the following day was to leave them all with green-thumbed Dad. I will propagate from them when they’re bigger.
IKEA houseplants

Meanwhile, back at the shoebox, I stood in my living room and stared at my houseplants for a good 20 to 30 minutes just thinking about what I was going to propagate and which pot was going to hold what plant and where I was going to put everybody! I’m planning to propagate all my succulents that have grown leggy from lack of sunlight (even though they’re parked right in front of the window). One plant per container this time. I might rig up a hanging set up for the succulents so my window ledge can be filled with other plants. Everybody needs a piece of that light. You know it’s unbearably dark when even the all-tolerant spider plant starts to die unless it’s parked right in front of the window.

Besides the window being small, the duration of sunlight coming through that window is paltry. Yet the plants hang on. Or mostly. I’ve done in a few and some have come close to dying. One of the plants I got (parlor palm) at IKEA was one that I had previously killed. That’s another reason why Dad’s raising the four new pups. The other three are low-light tolerant – a couple of sansevierias and a bromeliad.

I’m now checking the daily weather for days some of them can go outside. As the days start to get warmer, I like to take some outside, at least for the day and then bring them back in at night. I do that when it starts to get colder in the fall too. Just trying to get them more light than the dim shoebox lets in. Even the low-light tolerant plants grow bigger and faster with more light. Tolerant is just that. They will survive but they won’t thrive.

Last week, I visited the Botanic Gardens.
US Botanic Gardens
My finger is there for scale to show the smallness of those orchid flowers.

The BG is currently featuring orchids because it’s orchid blooming season right now. I just stood in the greenhouse and pretended that’s my living room and that’s how I wake up daily, in leaf-filtered sunlight.
U.S. Botanic Gardens
A girl can dream.

Falafel Inc

Falafel Inc

In short, Max’s in Wheaton is still my favorite falafel place. But this place – Falafel Inc. is delicious.
It’s very simple and tasty and while the place is very small and the lines long, they are efficient.  Their falafels are flavorful and fresh and I’d easily go back.
Falafel sandwich
Their sandwiches are $4 each and salads are $5. Since they’re small, I’d recommend getting at least two of whatever you choose. I might even get three next time I go.

Woof

I think according to the Chinese calendar, the first day of Spring is the lunar new year.  That was a month ago.  It’s been feeling very cold lately though.  Windy.  Definitely not warm enough for the houseplants to go outside.  I’m glad the Daylight Savings Time is back though.  It’s so nice to see the sun still out at 7 pm.

I was/am giving up alcohol for Lent mostly because I haven’t been wanting it lately anyway.  Something easy. I had some whiskey with a friend two weekends after Lent started though.  I wanted to share the new bottle of Bowman Brothers whiskey I just got.  It’s Virginian-made, by a guy who made Buffalo Trace in the past. It has a vanilla fragrance. I like both, Bowman and Buffalo.

Modern Love

I have two friends at work who are currently active in the dating scene. We like to swap stories about dates and guys and the frustration, romance, and mysteriousness of it all. They recently shared with me a book they read by Aziz Ansari, Modern Love.

It’s funny, easy to read, and has some interesting social-behavioral information about how we mate. And he gives some tips. For example, use the online medium strictly as just the introduction. Get straight to the meeting ASAP. Too much writing back and forth is a waste of time and effort.

If you’re feeling burned out from all the dating, take a break. Cut back on the number of different dates.

Give people a second or maybe even third date even if there isn’t instant sparks/attraction. Attraction is actually built up over time. (But I’d add, if you have a gut instinct that this isn’t gonna work, trust that.)

From listening to my friends sussing out online communications here are some things they find to be off-putting (granted this is just two people – and I don’t necessarily agree with all of it)

  • When messaging someone, sure talk about yourself, but remember to ask a question or two as well to get a conversation going.  If all you do is introduce yourself and don’t ask questions, it’s hard to respond.
  • On a date, again, be sure to ask questions.  Sure, share about yourself, but let them share too.

Actually, reading this, it sounds rather common-sense.  I’d say this applies to general friend-making.  Anyway, throw all of the above out the window.  Just be yourself.

Regardless of how you feel about Ansari and his dating prowess, or lack of, Aziz is a funny writer.  Modern Love is easy to read and he cites some behavioral statistics and information that can be insightful about human nature.

For example, the reason why people delay texting back is to create a sense of scarcity.  People are more attracted to scarce things. So not texting back right away creates an illusion of scarcity.  Also random text delays work better.  We respond more positively to random rewards.  So this may all be well and dandy but then when he did a poll most folks prefer genuineness.  That kind of manipulation in timing texts can come across as insincere/insecure.

Valentine’s Day

My coworker was kvetching to me about meeting his wife’s expectations of Valentine’s Day. According to him, she expects a card and flowers.  He thinks it’s silly but he goes along anyway because it makes her happy. I guess that’s how they reached their 30-year anniversary. By celebrating Valentine’s Day.

Ramen Side-by-Side

Last year, I went with my friend to Hanabi and I can only describe her reaction as thoroughly disappointed.  She said I had to try the vegetable ramen at Daikaya. She said it would knock my socks off.

We finally went to Daikaya a few weeks ago and I don’t know if it’s because of the monster appetite I’d worked up earlier from the gym (See?  I DO use my leggings!!  What’s another piddley lil pair of Girlfriend Collective leggings?), but that bowl of ramen knocked my socks clear off.
Here is a picture of it for your viewing pleasure. Well, really for mine because I relive the moment of slurping the rich hot soup.
Untitled

I think I know why she likes it better. Daikaya stir fries their vegetables in a searing hot wok to give it a greasy smokey flavor. The soup is really rich too.

The following week, I went back to Hanabi to give it another go. It’s still as oishi as I remembered. Their soup isn’t as greasy and the vegetables are cooked in hot water so they’re blander.
Vegetable Ramen from Hanabi
Of the two, I think I slightly prefer Hanabi.

One of my biggest gripes about ramen (eating out in general) is everything is too dang salty. What is wrong with the chefs in this town? They burn their tastebuds off or something? They add more and more salt!! Hanabi’s ramen is still salty but the salt and grease is much less overpowering. Yes, salt and grease = big flavor but I’d still like to taste the vegetables and ingredients.

Overall I’d eat at either place anytime.

So about that last pair of leggings

My supposedly last-pair-of-leggings arrived last week.  I tried them on and saw right through to my underpants.  Folded them back in the bag, sealed them up and sent them back.

Unfortunately, regardless of the price, reputation of the brand, or country of origin, translucency is a common issue with leggings. I think I’m done with leggings for a while now.