04 Jul 2014

Chao from Saigon

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Greetings from Vietnam!

I’m writing from a very chic French cafe, L’usine in the middle of Saigon — a thriving city with 8 million residents. There are also about 8 million scooters who try (unsuccessfully, so far) to hit Mai and me each time we cross a street (my video of crossing a Saigon street). I wish I were kidding — but crossing a street (often four+ lanes wide) is like Frogger.

The food is amazing! I hardly know any of the dishes, but they’re often a stir fry or cooked in clay pots. But we’ve also had the staples, like banh mi sandwiches and pho — definitely had the best pho here! I also tried a huge ass crepe — from a street vendor, which may also be why I got sick. Or it could’ve been the tap water I used for brushing my teeth. In was inevitable as I do not have Mai’s stomach of steel.

The language is tough. I’ve only mastered hello and thank you and even then they smile when I say it…like that’s so cute, but you’re way off. I’m very, very, very lucky to have my own personal tour guide, who speaks the language and turns heads wherever we go. Mai stands about a head above the rest, literally. Good thing she’s still clumsy and forgetful — otherwise, it might go to her head.

The primary reason we’re here is to work on TravelCat. We have a stellar team of developers — young, smart and hardworking. There are 7 of them dedicated to our website and mobile app. We also have amazing designers, Jin & Jana — from Seattle. They are helping us to make one of the most unique and charming travel sites. We’re over the moon with their work.

I feel truly blessed to have this opportunity to grow, discover and experience so many wonderful new things.

Thank you to my fellow traveler, business partner and friend: Mai Hoang.

Julie in Seattle

PS: It’s hot as hell here + the most humid you can imagine. I don’t recommend coming to SE Asia in the summer. I melt each time we leave the hotel. I hope imagine that the consummate sauna is a good start for my weight loss.
PPS: We went to McDonald’s for lunch — it’s enormous and the decor is way different — very modern. They call it “Mac dO land” — I’ll post some photos on Instagram.
PPS: I feel like a millionaire here — 1 million dong = $50 USD. You know I’m such a big spender so I’ve pulled about 8 million dong so far. Most meals are less than $25 (for 2 of us), including drinks. We got body scrubs and massages (60 min) for $25 each.

collage

08 Jun 2014

Dating delay

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Hello my friends! I hope you enjoyed the sunny weekend.

I’ve turned a corner and feeling more normal. Not 100% yet, but close. Starting to spend time with friends, taking walks and catching up on work. Probably not surprising, but I’m postponing my dating start date.

I want to feel excited about meeting new people, but I also want some distance between my sad story. Friday is the anniversary of my mom’s death and the following week her birthday. I’m going to spend this summer getting back in shape, working on Mai’s startup and enjoying all that the NW has to offer (including the best friends ever)!

Thank you for your continuous love and support,

Julie in Seattle

27 Mar 2014

Daddy’s girl

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It is with a heavy heart that I share the loss of my dad. As most of you know, he battled acute myeloid leukemia for 3 1/2 years. He was a special guy — with so many loved ones in his life–many of whom attended his service today. Thank you to the friends who came to support me.

Instead of writing a blog about him, I’ve shared the eulogy I gave at the service. It captures his essence.

I also hope that this is the last sad story I write in a very long time. Soon, I’ll be ready for new and happy adventures. But first, I need a break, from everything.

Julie in Seattle

PS: you can read his obit and see a photo of him at: http://obits.oregonlive.com/obituaries/oregon/obituary.aspx?page=lifestory&pid=170358282

THE EULOGY

My dad was born William Eads in Olympia, WA on January 10, 1934. He had a challenging childhood with a broken family. But his life changed at 15 when he had two significant introductions: the first to the Chase family and the second to Jesus Christ.

His new faith and family were pivotal to the man he would later become. He finally experienced unconditional love and a true sense of belonging. My dad became a brother to Sanna and a son to Charles and Peg Chase. He appreciated his new life and never took it for granted.

Our life experiences shape who we are, but don’t define us. My dad was a testament to that. He made a conscious decision to live a different life than the one he experienced during his early years. Once he found his way, he stayed on course.

The Bill you know is a caretaker, a loving husband and a proud father. He’s probably helped most of you in this room: driving you to an appointment, mowing your lawn, helping you move or supporting you through prayer. Dad always made time for others and was generous to a fault.

He liked marching to the beat of his own drum. You’re all familiar with his quirky sense of humor: delivering jokes in a stern manner, wearing his nametag upside down, shaking hands with his left hand, and his signature lines – like the one he used when introducing myself or my brothers: “he’s good looking just like his pa.” Of course, it’s a little funnier when used with me.

Dad had a positive outlook – seeking the best part of any challenge, focusing on the lesson learned and looking forward. He wouldn’t admit to worrying or being afraid. He felt that if he stayed positive, it would all work out, and it usually did. He gave the best hugs and had the biggest heart.

What you may not know about him is his love of classic cars, especially Studebakers, tugboats, movies and everything Alaska. Or his keen sense of direction. Or that his favorite meal was breakfast. Or that he had a weakness for sweets, especially cookies and ice cream.

Of course, dad wasn’t perfect. He was stubborn and overly independent. It took a major stroke AND cancer for him to learn how to ask for and accept help. He also didn’t like to disappoint people, especially my brothers and me. Sometimes he modified answers for each of us depending on what he thought we’d like to hear. My brother Darin coined this as “dad spreading the jelly.” Dad liked that so much, he used the expression himself ☺

And while he liked all sorts of people, he especially had a soft spot for women. The truth is he liked most everyone except my boyfriends. Most were intimidated by him. At 6’2”, his broad frame and crew cut – he didn’t have to try very hard. But as you all know, he was truly a gentle giant.

Dad was most proud of his children. He loved that each of us found our path to happiness. That we earned college degrees, including advanced degrees for John and me. He was proud of John’s artistic talent and following his calling, Darin’s ability to fix anything and friend everyone and my adventurous spirit and successful career.

He was also a proud grandfather. Darin and Susan’s baby, Logan brought him great joy over the past year – watching him crawl and explore. He enjoyed thinking about Logan having his height and Darin’s personality.

I was fortunate to spend the final weeks with my dad—time that I will always cherish. One of my favorite stories he would tell is about the time I arrived from Korea. My mom had terrible morning sickness—pregnant with John. So my dad took care of me the first few days while she stayed in bed. When he had to go back to work, he showed her the routine and where to find everything. On the first day, dad came home during lunch to check on us and he said I had the biggest smile when I saw him and nearly fell off the couch, reaching for him.

So I guess we bring the expression “daddy’s girl” to life – we had a special bond from the beginning. As he would often tell me, “I wouldn’t send you back for anything” and I would reply “It’s too late anyway.”

I love you dad.

01 Mar 2014

My Declaration

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It’s been way too long! I’ve missed you guys!!

Well, I’m not exactly ready to enter the dating scene, but I’m ready to make a declaration. I’m going to start dating again–in June.

By then, work should be more stabilized (my new hires should be ramped up), I will be in better shape and it’ll be a perfect activity for the summer!

In the meantime, I’ll stay busy, don’t you worry! Working, spending time with family and you

Julie in Seattle

PS: if anyone else wants to join me in June — I’d love some fellow daters — anyone in?

18 Dec 2013

Happy Holidays!

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I can’t believe it’s been three months since I’ve written. How time flies!

I’m writing for a few reasons:

1. to provide an update
2. to let you know I’m not sending cards this season (translation: you’re not on my shit list)
3. to wish you a Merry Christmas

I’m doing quite well. It’s been six months since my mom’s passing. Each day, I feel more and more like myself. I look at my fingernail (the one that I slammed in my trunk) and admire how it’s almost completely healed. It’s become symbolic to me — crushed at the height of grief — grew black, fell off and replaced with a brand new one.

Thank you for your constant support, your humor and all of the get togethers. You make my life better!

I’m looking forward to spending Christmas with my family — I know it’s going to be especially joyful with baby Logan!

Treasure the time you have with your loved ones during the holidays — even those annoying parents :)

Julie

16 Sep 2013

On hold

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Hello friends!

I apologize for the lack of posts…and lack of dating. It’s been a tough summer with my mom’s passing. I’m out of the foggy phase, which I learned is a normal part of the grieving process. During this time, I slammed my finger in my trunk (new nail just started growing back), forgot a couple of work meetings, lost a sweater and a shoe, hit my car into my parking garage column (don’t worry, the column is fine) and was very forgetful in every way.

I’m feeling much, much better — almost back to normal. Last weekend I helped my dad move back to his house. He’s getting weaker, but the move has lifted his spirits, which has helped. I’m worried about him and his final days, but take comfort knowing my dad is happier at home and that I’ve helped him a lot over the years.

For these reasons + a very busy time at work, new manager and building a new team, I’m on a dating hiatus. But I will be back! — when I feel more settled…and relaxed.

So I failed my mission to meet forty dates in my fortieth year. I hope you’ll give me a reprieve as I promise to start again next year.

In the meantime, I look forward to spending time with you, my family — including my absolutely adorable nephew, who is now an infant (no more of that newborn stuff)!

Hope to see you soon!

Julie in Seattle

06 Aug 2013

Pissed on

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Warning: this isn’t a dating update — it’s a cat story. Did I ever mention that I’ve often thought of posting a photo of Stella and Phinney on my dating profile and adding the caption “two of my 12 cats?” But I digress.

Yesterday morning I was running late. Usually, I leave the patio door open until I’m ready to leave, make sure the cats are inside and close up the apartment. However, I couldn’t find Stella and decided to leave the door open so she could come back in later. I wasn’t too worried because they sometimes visit my neighbors.

Being the great cat owner that I am, I totally forgot about Stella and only remembered when I returned home and was greeted by one cat. Then it all came back to me. I searched extensively (all 5 minutes) and then started to knock on my neighbors’ doors, one by one. Stuck a post-it note on the door if no one answered. You know the kind of note that said “Hi, I’m the irresponsible cat owner who lost her cat in an apartment building.” I ran into a guy who lives on the other side of the building and asked if he had seen Stella, but he hadn’t. I continued knocking when the guy opened his door and said “Your cat is on my balcony!”

And there she was. One story below the patio — whether she fell or jumped — I won’t ever know. But she was definitely in a scuffle and had been peed on. I know, gross. I filled the sink with soapy water and submerged her in it (probably her first bath). Dried her and then assessed the damage. She was definitely limping and her paws were torn up — but she seemed okay. She moved, walked upstairs and slept on my bed for half of the night.

This morning, I found her under the bed and not moving. I wasn’t sure if she couldn’t or didn’t want to move. It was scary. I called the vet and got her in the first available appointment. Thanksfully, Stella had no broken bones and was going to live! I was so relieved. She has severe tissue damage and muscle soreness. Now I get to feed her pain meds and antibiotics. But she should be better in a week.

I’m starting to wonder if I’ve become a drama magnet. I hope not. I hate drama. But it’s been quite the week — and it’s only Tuesday!

My manager announced she’s leaving, which has caused a flurry of activity at work. I’m happy for her, but going to miss her in a big way. Hopefully, the dust will settle soon.

Julie in Seattle

02 Jul 2013

It’s a small world

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I went to dinner with my friend Jin tonight. We met at crossfit a year ago and soon became friends. She’s an attractive single woman with a lot going for her: successful career as a designer, fashionable, fun — and an all around nice person.

We met at Tanaka-san, one of Tom Douglas’s new projects — very cool space shared with an upscale market and home decor shop. The food was so-so.

We always swap dating stories. I have less to share these days, but she had a couple for me this time — including a whopper.

Jin was complaining about a seemingly nice guy she met on eHarmony. They had exchanged a few emails and he eventually sent his cell phone number. She texted him and then nothing…not a peep. She complained because it’s hard to understand why this sometimes happens: engagement and then radio silence. She went on to say that he sounded pretty cool — owned a houseboat on Lake Union. My ears perked up. Of course, I had to ask…”is his name Jay?” And she responded quizzically, “yes?!?” “Oh my god, he’s my ex-husband.” Disbelief all around!!! Jin showed me his profile because she wanted to make sure it was him — and true to my suspicion, I was able to identify the perp. It was weird to see his photo, but not as bad as I thought it would be.

And you know how funny he is — SO funny, that he listed his age as 43. Never mind that he’s turning 49 in two weeks!

Even though I gave my blessing for her to date him if he reached out to her again, she emphatically declined the offer. Did I mention she’s smart?

Julie in Seattle

25 Jun 2013

My cup of tea

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First, I have been overwhelmed by all of your wonderful calls, cards, texts, emails, etc. I am one lucky gal. Even Kristin (my counselor) is impressed by my support system. My mom has been in a few of my dreams lately — happy and talkative, which I’m incredibly grateful for.

This experience highlighted my singleness. I missed having a shoulder to cry on and someone to talk to at the end of the night. It cemented my decision to renew my dating efforts. So I built a profile on OK Cupid and have been talking to a few guys since. Don’t worry, I discussed this with Kristin. I was concerned I’m too messy to date, but she wasn’t worried and said it’s just the type of distraction I need.

One of the guys, let’s call him Xerxes (yes, I’m on “X”), asked me to coffee after work. Coffee? Well, tea for me. This seemed strange and raised questions: is he an alcoholic? Is coffee a safer investment than a drink (less time and money)?

Xerxes lives and works in Redmond. I selected Cafe Cesura, a cool cafe in downtown Bellevue. I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised — he was cuter than his photos. Charming blue eyes and nice smile. I was nervous. This was my first first date since the beginning of January! Overall, it went fine. Initially, we discussed our jobs. It was more interesting because a) I actually have a job and b) he’s in marketing too — more product marketing and development, but a related field.

Xerxes is a world traveler and has a very cute dog, who I got to meet at the end (he was patiently waiting in the car). So we had plenty of topics to discuss. However, it was awkward at times. He’s so soft spoken that I had to ask him to repeat himself. Also, he interrupted me a couple of times, which was annoying. But he was more conversational than many of my past dates.

Would I go out with him again? Absolutely. Will it happen? Probably not. It may be what I projected, but I don’t feel very attractive at the moment. I’ve gained weight since the new year. Partially because of the holidays, but also lack of working out. I ran just a couple of times a week for the race, but stopped going to the gym — mostly because I was focused on my new job. When unemployed, I was going 4 times a week — I went 6 times total during the first 3 months of my new job! When I don’t work out, I don’t eat well and don’t have a good outlet for stress, etc. So I’m feeling average, big even. And I kept thinking, he doesn’t think I’m cute, why would he?

The good news is I’ve been going to the gym consistently this month and am already starting to feel better. With my determination, I should be in a more attractive state by mid-summer. So I’m dating reactively for now — it’s good practice and a fun diversion.

In the meantime, let me know if you’re up for a walk around GreenLake, a hike, a bike ride to Redhook, etc.

Julie in Seattle

14 Jun 2013

Circle of Life

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It’s with a bittersweet heart that I share the news of my mom’s death on June 13 and the birth of my nephew on June 14.

My mom’s six year struggle with vascular dementia has come to an end. Dementia is a cruel, ugly disease–robbing her of memories, words, mobility and the ability to take care of herself. However, we were fortunate because she continuously recognized her family and oldest friends.

I have many fond memories, but a few of my favorite include sharing a bottle (yes, I’m dating myself) of coke on a hot day; receiving care packages that included red vines, junior mints and VHS tapes of Friends and Seinfeld when I lived in Japan; and laughing so hard that she’d pee her pants–a little. She was far from perfect, but she loved us kids unconditionally and had the best intentions. I love and miss her terribly.

Our loss was followed by a gain. Baby Boy Chase (BBC) was born at 1:53 am on June 14. As you can imagine, we thought it was going to be on the same day, which could be viewed as beautifully poetic. But I’m glad he gets the day to himself.

I met BBC tonight and in my unbiased opinion, he’s perfect. Truly. Incredibly cute with perfect skin and a mix of dark and blond hair. He’s also very healthy at 8 lbs, 12 oz (and 22 inches long). My sis-in-law had a tough labor, but she looked amazing. And my brother already looks like an experienced dad. BBC has brought my family a tremendous amount of joy.

Maybe tomorrow he’ll even have a name?!?

Thank you for all of your notes and kind words. You mean the world to me and I love you!

Julie

PS: I long for a boring summer.