Monday, February 04, 2008

What's in a name?

My real name is Xenia. It's the X in xyz, which are my real initials, by the way. My mother is very creative. I thank her for such a unique name. It's saved me quite a few times. My mother's favorite story is when I was interviewed for Kindergarden, the principal asked me my name and I mentioned that my inintials are xyz. He told us that I would be accepted in the school but come the first day, we could not find my name. We went back to the principal and yes, he remembers xyz. So in school, I was always known as Xenia. From Kindergarden to High School.

But at home, I'm referred to as Cheng. This is the name I grew up with. It's Xenia mispronounced. It was I who mispronounced it as a little kid. Why my family let me rename myself, I don't know. (I must have been 2 years old. I had no business renaming anything, let alone, myself.) But it stuck. If you call me Cheng, I know that you've known me since I was a kid or you were introduced to me by someone who did.

Cheng is actually short for Cheng-Cheng. I used to sign notes to my friends as Cheng2 (Cheng squared). I was REALLY little when I named myself that. I have no other defense. But it's common back home to have a name that repeats. A cousin of mine got married and the maid of honor and brides maids were (nick)named: Au-au, Cheng-Cheng, Deng-Deng and Tel-Tel. The bride didn't have a repeating nickname but her husband does --> Jojo.

Then in college, I decided to rename myself once again. I thought that Xenia was a little too adult and stuck up. Plus, it was a name that was difficult to recall. Cheng was out of the question. I wanted to be known as XYZ. You can't really pronounce XYZ. It's 3 of the weirdest letters put together. So I started to introduce myself as XY (2 letters called out). Then I signed everything XYZ. I thought that it would be cool to have such an unforgettable name. Actually, not so much. Everyone remembered my name. And I forgot all of theirs.

I met my husband in college. So he knew me as XY. When he introduced me to some of his friends, he was mis-heard and thought that I was his "ex-wife".

Another friend of mine commented that XY sounds too much like a screen name for a porn star.

Now, it's back to Xenia as my formal name. That's how I'm known at work. Then Cheng for the house/family.

I think I've grown into Xenia. It's a Greek name meaning hospitable. (Yes, I have boundary issues which I'm working on.) It's also very unique. I've decided that I like being unique.

I rag on Cheng as my name. But despite it's humble origins (straight from a babe's mouth), it's a huge part of who I am. Cheng calls to my inner child. Maybe that's why in so many ways I have not grown up. Yes, I still watch cartoons. I don't even mind watching kid shows with my daughter now. We're stuck on the Disney Channel. Funny thing is that I put that on even when my daughter is not around.

I conciously try to keep child-like wonder in my life. People say I'm always happy and excited. Well, I appreciate the smallest things. And I try not to cling to objects or circumstances. Then change is easier to take since it's always new and exciting.

Cheng has actually morphed. I was renamed by my neice - Lyka (Formal name: Angelica). She - and the rest of my family (my brothers and their families) now call me TaTweng. That's taken from Tita (Aunt; Tia) Cheng. Mish-Mashed together. Cheng grew up into the silly aunt.

Sunday, February 03, 2008


This was forwarded to me by e-mail. Quite proud of myself (I'm a great Googler).


SCATTERGORIES- it's harder than it looks! Copy and paste into a new email. When you have answered all the Scattegories, send it on to friends but DON'T FORGET to return it to the person who sent it to you. Use the first letter of your first name to answer each of the following. They have to be real places, names, things - nothing made up. Try to use different answers if the person in front of you had the same first initial - which by the way is hard if you already have read their answers! You cannot use your own name for the boy/girl names.

1. What is your name? Xenia

2. A 4 letter word: X-ray

3. A vehicle: xebec --> small three-masted pirate ship

4. A city: Xenia, Ohio

5. A boy's name: Xavier

6. A girl's name: Xena

7. Alcoholic drink: Xanthia Cocktail --> (

8. An occupation: xenagogue --> guide; someone who conducts strangers

9. Something you wear: Xhiliration (brand)

11. A food: xiphias --> swordfish

12. Something found in a bathroom: x-rated magazines

13. Reason for being late: eXcuse? (get it?)

15. Something you shout: Xtreme!

16. An animal: xeme --> fork tailed gull

17. A body part: xanthochroia --> (yellowness of skin)

18. Word to describe yourself: xenial --> adj. hospitable

Friday, February 01, 2008

Two years later...

After another long hiatus, I'm back. Yes, for a while there I forgot my password but miraculously remembered it today.

Early in December, I was scanned again and I actually got really good news. The tumor had shrunk in size and the metabolic activity diminished. That sounds good all around and my doctor was very happy. So I was just ecstatic. It was a great Christmas present. I called most of my close family and friends.

It's been two years this month that I was diagnosed. Honestly, I don't know what of all I'm doing is keeping me feeling as great as I do. But, for whatever reason, I know I'm blessed and just darned lucky - and I'm very grateful.

My life is as normal as can be. I have a great career! I'm working my tail off and I'm getting accolades and promotions. I just came back from conducting training in the opposite side of the country. And tomorrow, I'm off to chemo. And the next day, I'll be at work doing a job I really like.

I have such a rich family life. I watch my daughter grow every day... that's enough material right there for another blog. She's awesome to behold. She really is the best of me and her father. My mom used to say that about me (having the best qualities of her and my dad) but I did not fully understand it until I saw myself through my daughter. (Yes, I see her father in her to -- but this is about me.) I saw such strength in this girl. That was something I had to consciously work on over the years. Last month, I just saw my 5 year old daughter go through a root canal without flinching. Her dentist was so impressed. She told Burke that she had much bigger kids who were not even half as brave. So, Burke got extra prizes. Of course, I demanded for my own prize. Hey! I feel like I derserved it. I mean, I had to watch my daughter go through it!!! Burke peeled a princess sticker and stuck it on my sweater. (She's strong AND generous. What more can a parent ask for?) I proudly wore my princess sticker to work.

I can't even fathom missing that.

Then there's Michael, my husband, who is my best friend and the love of my life. We laugh everyday. And even deeper than our everyday life together, we share such a connection that makes us one. A friend of mine told me once that he'd want to die before his wife since he did not want to emotionally deal with losing her. (He was young and single then.) I was gone for three days last week. When I got back, Michael took me in his arms and I felt just how much he missed me. He didn't even need to say it. I would to everything I can to stay alive if only to save him from devastating hurt. Thank God, it's been working.

I'll leave it at that for now. I hope this serves as an inspiration for people. There is hope even after a cancer diagnosis. I'll put in the medical details in the next entry. From here on out, I'll be blogging more about my life which may or may not relate to cancer. At one point, that was what was stopping me from blogging. My life is so normal, there's no cancer news.

For those with cancer, good luck, keep your hopes up with faith or whatever you can cling to. I chose faith since I was raised Catholic. My whole life was training until the point that I was diagnosed. When I needed it, it just kicked in. When I needed Him, God carried me.

I also have to mention my family and friends who pray for me or send me positive vibes. So much love coming my way from all directions. I smile whenever I think of that.

Feeling blue? Meditate on this -- you really have to believe it -- say from the depths of your soul, "I am loved, I am love." Visualize the people who love you. Feel how much you love them back. Then take it down to the depths of the earth. Mother Earth. She loves you and nurtures you since you are of her. Then take it to the heavens. Feel the love of God (or the energy of the universe) fill you up.

That pulled me out of one of the worst chemo funks I've ever had. It took a few days and some help from my friends (who are energy healers). But it worked. I am very grateful.