Tuesday, February 18, 2014

When what has always been there…Won’t Be


Today…was a rough day here in Hong Kong.  Nothing personally happened to me…but I received a bit of news that saddened me beyond belief.

It is no secret that 13 1/2 years ago…I walked into a Weight Watchers meeting in Lynnwood Washington.  I was greeted by Phil Cook, Jean Osborn, Marcia Montgomery … all of whom were supportive…and later became friends and colleagues.

From October of 2000 to August of 2001…I removed around 45 pounds…I traveled (twice to Italy, one time was a cruise – and yes I lost weight).  My father was diagnosed with cancer and died that year.  No, I did not eat my way through it.

In 2002, 2003 and 2004 I trained for and completed Sprint Triathlons (this from the girl whose athletic life peaked in the 1st grade after I won the potato sack race). 

In 2002 I became a staff member as a receptionist, and later, from the urging of Linda Guangorena and Caryn Shively, I became a leader.  I was well trained, molded, lost my fear of public speaking, and if I do say so myself, became pretty damn good at working a meeting. 

I watched, urged, and supported 100’s of people as they worked themselves into a healthier lifestyle.  I witnessed Marisa and her mom collectively lose over 200 lbs.  Virginia could not walk from bench 1 to bench 2 at Green lake…and 75 lbs. later…was walking the whole thing.  Marissa received her lifetime award THE DAY AFTER THANKSGIVING!  Which SUCKED…b/c most people were too afraid to be there…so she celebrated with a smaller group than she deserved.  She is now a staff member and doing AWESOME!  A real role model. 

Our Saturday meeting walked/ran a 5k to help get people moving…we collected canned goods for “lose for Good”  I got to go into people’s work and watch them change and become healthier people and embrace activity as a lifestyle (Ms. Virginia…you rock) .  And even while some friends did not stay with WW…they continued their work to become healthy and fit (Rhonda is KILLING it)

I never left my work in a worse mood than when I entered.  How many of you can say that about your work?  Not very many I am betting.

I worked with the BEST group of people…all seriously and ridiculously fun, awesome and dedicated. Ms. Claire was especially dear to me…I think to all of us.  My 2nd day of training as a receptionist…I was pushed into the deep end of the pool…she stood next to me…but I was on my own.  I swam…I loved her. 

So…forward to January 2011.  I said goodbye to my friends, members and colleagues and moved to Hong Kong.  Day 2 I got my HKID (took a bus alone…but Corey met me)  Day 4 I went to CHAT (the AWA’s Come Have a Talk).  Day 7?  I was in a Weight Watchers meeting. 

When I found out we were moving…that’s what I looked up.  Where was my meeting?

I blogged about finding the meeting.  Again was met by great staff members…Thanks Tonda and Lisa .  I met two friends who immediately introduced themselves and took me under their wings and invited me to lunch.

Have you figured it out?  Weight Watchers has been a huge part of my life for all of these years.

And Monday I found out that Weight Watchers Hong Kong is closing.  Forever

Well…not just Hong Kong…China too…but I never went there…Hong Kong.  Closed . 

So…this girl (lady, old broad) has a hole in her week.  I have struggled with 8 lbs. for 4 years…I’ve always been at a “healthy” weight…just not the weight I want to be…and I’m not in the “shape” I want to be. I’ve been up…down…but always in the range.  My meetings kept things from getting out of hand…and reinforced the knowledge I had the tools to keep/take control of my world. 

I am not thinking that without a meeting I will regain all my weight.  I won’t let not having a meeting derail the efforts of all of these years.

HOWEVER…and it’s only been 2 days…I have a true sense of mourning and loss .  It will be fine.  I know my friends will be there for me in a more casual way. 

But please... don’t’ take for granted what’s “always been there”…b/c you just never know when what has “always been there” won’t be anymore…

By the way…if you want something to stick around …YOU HAVE TO SHOW UP.  Just sayin’

Friday, February 7, 2014

The Lion Dance Comes to K-11 Art Mall


Chinese New Year is a beautiful time.  There are decorations and flowers everywhere…


IMG_3244(these little “orange” trees are ever-present)

One very popular one are these wishing trees…branches with Lai-See packets hung from them.


During the weeks of Chinese New Year Lion Dances are EVERYWHERE!

At first glimpse…one might think they are watching a Dragon at work…but alas, no, these are Lions.  You will see them on corners, in parks, at malls.  Well…actually, you tend to HEAR them before you see them.

My first real encounter with Lion Dancing happened in January 2012.  Most Mondays a group of us would head down to Pacific Place to have salad at the Metropolitan Café.  We would eat, rehash our Weight Watchers meeting…and then sit and chat.  It was a weekly tradition and we had loads of fun sitting and catching up.  After 2 PM, the Café would empty out,and we would have the place pretty much to ourselves.

Then…the drums started from afar…and we didn’t think much of it.  Then the drums continued, and continued…and got closer, and closer, and then…the drums arrived.  We tried to wait out the drumming…but it went on and on.  FOR HOURS.  After an hour of TRYIING to keep conversation going…we left. (Note to self…NO MUSIC during dinner at any weddings I’m involved in planning!)

Fast forward to today.  I entered the K-11 Art Mall (I live above it)…and I heard the drums.  FLASHBACK…I wanted to flee. As I made my way upstairs…I noticed the “offerings” hanging above the doors OF EVERY RETAILER in the Mall!


See the “greens” hanging…every shop had one!  A quick search discovered the following:

“Chinese martial art schools or Chinese guild and associations will visit the houses and shops of the Chinese community to perform the traditional custom of "cai qing" (採青), literally means "plucking the greens", a quest by the 'lion' to pluck the auspicious green normally 'vegetables' like lettuce which in Chinese called 'cái'(菜)that sound like 'cái'(财)(fortune) and auspicious fruit like oranges tied to a "Red Envelope" containing money; either hang highly or just put on a table in front of the premises.”  --From Wikipedia 

The Lion grabs the greens


…then carefully cuts away the greens and  Lai-See (offering packet attached)…shakes it’s head…and TOSSES the greens back into the store!


(see above…going in for the kill…grabbing the packet)



Shaking his head (YES…I know it’s blurry)…getting ready…and


TOSSED … back into the store.

The aftermath…


This goes on from store to store to store!


SMILE Yogurt wasn’t quite ready…and had to hurry to get their offering up in time!

A new one for me…(well, it’s all new)…was one of the jewelry stores had MANY packets tacked to the walls…and the lion went from packet to packet and grabbed all of the offerings.  Entering the store:


IMG_3378IMG_3379IMG_3380  It looks a bit like the Lion is licking the wall…but EVERY packet must be collected!

The Lion travels with a big group!


And it must take hours to go from store to store to store…EVERY store participates b/c it is believed the greens and packets will bring good luck and fortune to the store!

Here is the Lion…in all it’s glory.  Shots were tough b/c of the crowds!


I’m in absorption mode…must take pics and admire all that is Hong Kong.