It’s really hard for me to believe that more than three weeks have eclipsed since I returned from the United States. I guess that’s because a lot of that three weeks was spent convalescing in bed, watching old episodes of Project Runway and bored out of my mind. Being sick is really annoying. I had all sorts of plans, like going to the Taipei Zoo. My thinking is that everyone is going to be tied up in the line to see the new pandas, so it’d be easy for me to sneak off into the other exhibits and steal a penguin or two and maybe a flamingo. But that plan has been put on the back burner, because I have a ton of catch up work to do. Blah!

Anyway, let us all revel in some absolutely fascinating photos from my trip home.

My adventures began before I had even boarded the plane at Taoyuan airport. I met this nice matryoshka doll, who I named Kelly. Kelly is a hostess at the airport’s branch of a Russian cake and ice cream chain:

Me and my new friend

I then saw this fascinating ad for a news magazine. The headline says “The Era of Obama the Superman: The New America and You.” I’m pretty sure that is a photo composite:

Cool Obama newsmagazine cover

There were several sculptures on exhibit in the terminals to ring in the Year of the Cow. This raffia-covered example, with its menacing glare and duct-taped human captive, scared the bejeesus out of me:

Happy Niu Year!

One of my first tasks at home was to fix my petite Blythe Allegra, who had run into some misfortune with her eye mechanism:

Allegra before surgery commenced

My dad helped me saw her head open:

Allegra getting her head cut open

After Allegra had been taken care of, he chillaxed with his favorite child, DeeDee:

Dad and his favorite child

My brother drove up from LA while I was home and when we were both around my dad told us a story about our fatty cat. One day when DeeDee was just a wee tomkitten (and my brother and I were at college), he took ill and became very weak, so weak that my dad was scared for his little fur buddy. So Dad scooped him up, ran to the car and drove to the vet, cradling DeeDee in one arm and steering with the other.

When I asked my dad why he’d never done that for Michael or me, he paused for a second and said, “Well… DeeDee is a very nice cat. And you were such annoying kids.” Ha ha ha ha ha! Well, I can’t argue with that.

Let’s not forget MeiMei, DeeDee’s younger sister and my special little friend:

MeiMei

While I was at home, I met up with my friend and fellow Blythelord Cat again. I also met her husband Kyle. Cat and I brought along our mini-mes.

With Cat (Tingeisha)

My mom celebrated her birthday on Jan. 17. Here we are with my cousin Christin and a post-surgery Allegra:

My family on my Mom's birthday

One of the highlights of my trip home was visiting the newly remodeled California Academy of Sciences. Tickets are very expensive, but my parents have a friend who works at the museum and we were able to get in for free. I miss the old California Academy of Sciences, which was this old, slightly fusty building with exhibits labeled with manila cards and a series of life-size dioramas portraying exotic peoples of the world (including Asian peoples!) with costumed, creepily realistic mannequins. The Academy also had a two-headed snake, which my dad kept talking about before we went. Well, those dioramas are gone. Instead, there is a giant indoor rainforest:

The rainforest from the top level

Some of the animals there included this funky frog, who I named Margaret:

Hello frog

If my memory serves me right, the bottom of the habitat is meant to stimulate a rainforest when it is flooded and you can actually walk underneath it via a clear tunnel and watch the fishies:

In the underground aquarium Fish overhead

There are plenty of other fascinating and colorful undersea creatures to be seen:

Lovely tropical colors Jelly fish Nautilus Electric eel Quill coral?

Being of Chinese descent, this naturally made me and my family quite hungry, so we headed to a seafood restaurant, where you can buy 8-person dinners, complete with lobster on noodles, for less than US$70. Well, a 1-person dinner, if I am the diner:

All this for me???

Before we left the Academy, I accomplished my lifelong dream of watching a Foucault pendulum knock over a peg. When I was little, I always tried to stick around long enough to see a peg get hit, but was too easily distracted. Now that I am a grown woman of 27, I was able to hang out for 10 minutes until Peggy got pushed over by mean Mr. Foucault. It was totally worth every second. Click below for the exciting video!

The rest of my vacation was spent taking care of wedding things, including a trial run with the worst make-up artist ever. Ugh. I’m thinking about writing a rant about the stupid beauty standards imposed on brides (“If you don’t curl your bangs and pouf them up, how will people know you are the bride?” “If you don’t cover your face with an inch of foundation and obliterate any sign that you are an actual human being and not a Real Doll, then how will people know you are the bride?” “If we don’t contour your fat ass face with poo-brown triangles, then how will people know you are the bride?” “If we don’t stick enough false eyelashes on you to re-fur a skinned mink and cover your hair with enough rhinestone barrettes to stock twenty counterfeit Liberace museums, then how ever will people know you are the bride?” How will people know I’m the bride? How will they? Because I’m the one making out with the groom, that’s how they will know I’m the freakin’ bride! Ahem…).

I mean, most of the planning went along swimmingly. I got to spend some fun girly time hanging out with my mom and we got a lot of things taken care of but, seriously, I don’t see why the person I am supposed to be on one of the most important days of my life has to be so very different than the person I am most of the time. Ridiculous.

Ugh, enough of that, for now. I haven’t told you what became of the Academy of Science’s two headed snake, the one my dad was so taken with. While, Snakey Squared has a little problem. They’re dead. And skinned. And in a jar. But still on display! Apparently, they managed to live to the ripe old age of 26 before expiring.

RIP, two-headed snake

This made me quite nostalgic, as I remember seeing them as a 5th grader on a class trip. They stared through the glass wall of their case and stuck their tongues out at me. Oh Snakey Squared. I barely knew ye two.