Hi! I’m Melanie Lee and this is my Lifestyle Blog: Melanie’s Pandamonium. You may ask, Why Melanie’s Pandamonium?? Well, it all started when I shared stories that happened in my life with new friends and acquaintances, and I would get, “You should write a book.” Book?? Sure. I could not imagine doing that until my friend Michael, a published books and poetry writer, told me several times that I really should write a book. But the difference was that he also told me why I should—I had an entertaining way of telling stories and that he felt readers would enjoy reading them. So I began to think about it, but knowing my limitations, I knew sitting down to write a manuscript wouldn’t happen even if my life depended on it. I may be Chinese…but Amy Tan I am not.
I was speaking to Walter, another friend, a website business expert and blogs as well. When I jokingly mentioned about me writing an autobiography, he was serious when he said I should. But he suggested that I start a blog and not write chapters but blog articles. With a blog, I didn’t have to write the whole book at once and could vary the blogs articles as I wished. By George, I think he got it!!
So, here I am, naming my blog, Melanie’s Pandamonium, which is a play on the word “pandemonium.” Not that my life is chaos, (at times it has been), but like I said, wide and varied and of course I had to include my favorite animal in the world – the Panda. I hope you will be entertained from my stories and discussion on different topics, and in cases, I hope it helps too. Not that I am a sage by any stretch of the imagination. But sharing ideas, stories and thoughts might help others to help make their lives easier. Just as I hope to learn things from other blogs.
If you read my ‘About Me’ Page, I am pure Chinese American. Notice the “pure?” I am 100% Chinese. I didn’t think about that because all of my relatives—at least most of my generation, my parents’ generation and beyond are all 100% Chinese. But when I was asked what else I had in me, that question perplexed me. Hadn’t really thought of that angle that only Chinese ran in my blood for generations. But now I know that in America that purity will soon cease, and a new mixture will rise to be the norm. I am not surprised that all of my close friends have married another race, showing their openness to not being defined by their color. I hope to follow in their footsteps soon.
I was born and raised in Los Angeles, CA, attended 42nd Street Elementary, Audubon Junior High, Dorsey and Alexander Hamilton High Schools. I got my first car early when I attended West Los Angeles College during my senior high school year. I went on to graduate from UCLA with a Psychology Bachelor’s Degree with a minor in Child Psychology, all prepared to become a pediatrician. I attended Northeastern University School of Medicine in Tampico, Mexico and graduated with a medical degree. However, during internship, a tragedy occurred with a 12-year patient that changed my world forever and I left medicine for a lot of soul searching.
Soul searching led to me trying out to become a mortgage loans broker, but soon realized that selling loans was not my thing. Signing up as an accounting agency temp led to many jobs with different companies and to my first real adult job for a bank in the construction loan department where I soon became supervisor. I advanced to work as a manager for several construction companies in the accounting departments and eventually became an assistant project manager. Being really interested in construction I began studying for my contractor’s license. My father was very proud of me when I achieved that in 1991. Small ‘flip’ projects were really fun, just not glamorous as those shows on HGTV. I will do larger flips in the future.
Volunteering ruled my life for a long time. Starting out with the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) because I was in construction accounting, I was a 25-year member and held every office on the Board (President, Vice President, Treasure, and Secretary) for the Chapter and also Chapter and Regional Committee Chairman for several committees. My favorite committee was Membership; I loved recruiting new members. This involvement led to one with Habitat for Humanity-Los Angeles, when our NAWIC chapter was recruited to participate in the Jimmy Carter Work Project in 1995 to build 21 homes in Watts. I led a group of NAWIC volunteers who volunteered their time and all of the materials for one house. Because of my project participation, I was asked to become a Board Member as Secretary for eight years and Chairman for two. All during this time I was a Crew Volunteer Leader where I had a ball constructing at least 20 homes (outside of the Jimmy Carter Project). My involvement with NAWIC also led to an involvement with Volunteer Center of Los Angeles (VCLA), where a speaker for one of my NAWIC meetings led to a friendship and an invitation to join the VCLA Board. Since I was so proficient in being a Secretary (usually typing verbatim during the meetings) it was not difficult to hold that office for several years and eventually Chairman until the Center was purchased by another organization.
In my heydays, I was an avid skier. Bouncing off of small to medium cliffs were no big thing to me and being a member of the UCLA Ski Club, I often skied in Lake Tahoe and numerous Colorado ski resorts for weeks at a time. Being short really helped my skiing, because any falls I had were short and easy ones. Then as I grew older and all my skiing friends married and had kids, I turned to dancing. Although I was a dancer since I was five and never lost the beat. I now keep listening to the Top 40 Hits and any other Oldies Music, continuing to dance whenever I can.
My favorite activity has always been crafts. My wonderful mother taught me how to sew and knit when I was ten. I have been sewing, knitting and crocheting since then doing hundreds of clothing for me and others, including two wedding parties’ dresses and other bridal dresses. Through the years, I have added on scrapbooking, card-making and needlepoint. I am always doing some sort of project. Can’t stand waiting for appointments without something to do.