Monthly Archives: December 2013

Dec
28
  • I’m a Mean Girl

    Every time I’m back East, I end up spending a ton of time reflecting and overthinking. John and I often split up to spend time with our respective families, so with all that alone travel, I just climb around inside my own head.

    The latest realization I had occurred on Christmas Day. In the morning, the subject of my brother came up. He had emailed my parents with some investment advice. Since he teaches college students, he reads a lot of newspapers to tie current events into his lessons. He seems to have a better grasp of world news these days, but the thing is, he is also very susceptible to cult thinking. I don’t want to go into all of it now, but in the past he had me attend some “investment club” program. John and I attended the seminar and to us, it reeked of pyramid scheme scam. Full-on propaganda about “deserving the good life” with lots of images of ridiculous wealth. Long story short, his latest email encouraged my father to consider some kind of investment in silver. Dad was not interested and drafted a whole lengthy explanation that I then was asked to edit and type. I started getting so angry about it: of course, this came on the heels of multiple annoying emails I received from J in the past several months, urging me to join his Buddhist cult and meet with his “master” who would solve all my woes. Really? How’s he gonna solve my problem of YOU?? Anyway, my mom said something about how her relationship with my brother is like my relationship with Remy. Uh, no. So I shot back that Remy is nothing like J. Nothing. I could feel my blood boiling, because immediately I thought of all his bullshit and selfish actions and the decades of pain. Who does he think he is? He’s the biggest money pit, and he has investment suggestions??? Um maybe if my parents stopped supporting his sorry ass, they would save more money than what they’d supposedly earn on his recommended investment. Anyway, just as my mind raced off ready to shoot off a cascade of arguments, my dad said “Don’t say mean things to your mother. Your words are hurtful.” So I paused. What the hell? I was only saying the truth. Why should that be censored? Plus, why is it ok for her to make her statements, but I’m supposed to stay silent when I disagree? Bullshit. I didn’t see anything wrong with how I was about to respond and what I was about to say… But I stopped.

    You see, the day before, my parents had bickered in the car about their financial success and where credit was due. My mother said she was tired of everyone crediting my dad for everything, and all that she was credited with was her failure in parenting. That car ride I had a separate realization about a woman’s worth, but I’ll discuss that later. For whatever reason, I just kept quiet as they argued back and forth. The thing is, I do think my mother (and father) failed in how she parents my brother. I do think she lacks independence, resourcefulness, and gumption. I do think she’s not as ambitious… to me, these are facts. So why can this not be stated? Are we now in that era where no kids are losers and everyone’s a winner? Where no one has “failed” a class and everyone is passing with flying colors? Come on.

    Whatever. Later that night, we went to John’s sister’s house. My mom-in-law received a box of chocolates and proceeded to keep asking people if they wanted some. Had my parents nagged at all about something similar, I would have told them to stop in a very angry and impatient manner. Like Jesus, stop nagging. You asked once, and everyone said no. Leave it alone. But John’s brother just said, “Mom, everyone is very full now from dinner. Maybe when we are ready for dessert, you can set the chocolates out with the cakes and pies.” Done. And handled with so much more grace and tact. When we got home that night, I felt so sad for my parents. To have to deal with a daughter who gets so frustrated and impatient and angry with them so often. Why do I unleash such attitude with them? I felt so ashamed and disappointed. I am a mean person. What is wrong with me? So you see? I have these internal conflicts where sometimes I stand by my behavior and my thoughts. Other times, I see how they are so very flawed.

    Yes, I blame my parents for my brother’s behavior. He is to blame also, but they exacerbate what he gets away with. Maybe the focus shouldn’t even be on who’s to blame. I guess, I just like to know WHY things are the way they are. The bottom line is that I disagree with the way they parent. But it’s their choice, so why do I need to yell or criticize? I don’t know. It’s a compulsion. It’s like watching someone doing something super self destructive. How do you calmly stand by and let them continue?? And the words I have for my brother… I am just waiting for him to talk to me in person, and then I seriously have an entire arsenal of acid.

    I dunno. I feel like I have been coining arguments and crafting debates my entire life. It’s part of my overthinking mind. Stuff has to make sense and has to be consistent. Why is it mean or wrong to point these observations out, especially when someone is manipulating my parents? And yet I think of John’s brother. He kept his cool, made a statement, and got the job done without belittling. Sure, different situations, different intensities, but maybe I should work on this softer style for my parents. Maybe.

    As for my brother. I don’t trust him. I may never let my guard down there.

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Dec
24
  • The Old Me

    There is something about being home in Frederick that makes me sad. I think, partly it’s nostalgia, a yearning for the promise and potential I felt in my youth. Also, it’s tough seeing people get older: my parents, my grandparents, his parents… even our nieces and nephews are no longer children. It’s the natural progression of life, and yet, I struggle with it. I am now closer to 40 than 30, and I still don’t quite feel mature enough for the responsibilities and realities of adulthood. Am I in denial?

    And then, there is just something about Frederick: the roads are different, there are new housing developments, new schools, new shopping centers… I just feel so out of place. And the race thing really makes me awkward. I mean, in Santa Clara County, Asians comprise 33% of the population. In Frederick, Asians are 4%. My parents say they don’t have to live in a place with a sizable Asian population (we’re talking a few years down the road), and yet nearly all the media they consume is Chinese: news, tv programs, newspapers, groceries, restaurants… When we go out and about in Frederick, I feel super uneasy and hypersensitive about how people interact with my parents.  I have an anxiety that people aren’t treating them fairly. I dunno. I guess I feel overprotective.

    And then beyond all of that, the area just feels stagnant to me. I can’t put my finger on it, but people just don’t seem as worldly, well-traveled, or curious. Is that fair to say? I don’t know. I mean, seems like the proximity to Washington should make the population more culturally literate and educated and international… maybe I’m just projecting my own bias on all of this. I was really bullied and harassed in school, so I’ll probably always see this place through a negative lens.

    So the past two days, I’ve been cleaning out my old bedroom. I do this every time I come to town. Last time, I emptied out all my college notes and books. This time, I cleaned out all my high school shit. I really studied a lot as a kid. I mean, I found my fucking SAT vocab flashcards… handmade. And then all of THAT bummed me out, because again, I had such high hopes for my life. I was supposed to do well. I was supposed to excel. I know, it’s this self-destructive vicious cycle I sometimes get myself into– that whole unfulfilled potential dilemma once again. It’s a demon that follows me everywhere. Sometimes I find myself free from it, but inevitably, he comes back to remind me of all the things I am not. And so, what can be done?

    I only know to focus on the baby steps. I’m trying to better myself. I finished my Coursera marketing class two nights ago. Scored a 90% on the final and am trying not be obsess over my disappointment with the A-. I have been hustling for work the last several days. I know it’s right before the holidays when people slow up, but the contracts aren’t signed, so I’m feeling nervous/paranoid. I listen to amazing ukulele music online, and while I get a lot of enjoyment from listening, I also feel lame afterwards. Why can’t I get the damn strumming pattern? Why can’t I do anything right that I want to do? Argh, stop it!!!

    Then I try to focus on things I am grateful for: my family, Bubbey, my puppies, my friends, my education, my security, my childfree lifestyle. Sometimes, I don’t feel worthy. Why? Why do I have so many good things? I should be better to deserve these things. I don’t know: my mind is just in a funk today.

    Tomorrow, I’m spending another day with my parents. I plan to take them to an Asian market that just opened up in Frederick. Then maybe we’ll check out some exercise equipment, because my parents are such homebodies and they really need to get moving. And then maybe we’ll play majhong for a bit. Christmas day we’ll head over to John’s sis’ house, and then Thursday I’ll reunite with my puppies. I need to return to home base, so I can get back into the groove: hot tub, meditation, exercise, puppies.

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Dec
21
  • Cray Cray December

    So December has been super cray busy. I’m busting my ass, trying to close some deals for the ranch. Three community rec orgs are game for booking four weeks of summer horse camps (waiting on the MOUs), and then a couple of cities are in the hopper. I had a meeting this week with one of the rec agencies. It went pretty well. But dayum, the whole experience has been super eye-opening: Shit, there is a lot of hustle involved in running a ranch business. The money just ain’t that good after you consider the upkeep, staff (albeit low paid), food, supplies, and veterinary expenses. I guess John’s right: no one does ranch living for the money. And shit, I gots a high standard of living: I can’t be relying solely on this ranch work long term. What a sad realization. Horses do make me so very happy. Sigh.

    We jetted out to the east coast yesterday and head home the day after Christmas. Then I meet with a board member of my former agency for an info interview the next morning. That’s right: always on the move! My beloved Remy is walking again btw. Seriously: add a few miracle meds to a steely strong will, and my Remy is gonna live for fucking ever!! Yahoo!

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Dec
16
  • Party Weekend

    My friend’s retirement party on Friday night was awesome, well besides the annoying logistics of carpooling there. I have a friend who is perpetually late to everything. I think the conclusion I’ve now drawn is that I’m going to stop doing activities with her that require getting somewhere together on time. Next time, my message is: meet us there. Fuck, man. I’m usually pretty laid back about friend stuff, but for some things, I only have so much tolerance. Anyhow, the party itself was grand. I caught up with lots of field staff, and then, it was just a really touching affair. Lifelong friendships are really something amazing and magical to witness. I’m really happy for my bud. I just hope I still see him around after December 30.

    On Saturday, we hosted our holiday party. Good times. I brought back the Morton’s pot roast from Costco. So fucking easy with roasted/caramelized veggies and always a winner. People brought great sides too. A bunch of maybes ended up not coming, so it was small turnout but a great time nonetheless. I wore a striped H&M dress that G saved from the giveaway pile. I paired it with my new studded ankle boots. Very fun.

    Remy is doing better. She’s able to get herself up now with more consistency. The doggie door is still iffy, but I can just tell she’s getting her sass and spunk back. I am feeling much better now about being away for a few days.

    I was back at the ranch riding yesterday. Shit, I had quite the workout. I’m still having issues with my locked/uptight torso but whatever. The night before, I studied some YouTube vids of people posting and on Sunday, I was determined to apply my mental skills training with concentration and uber focus. The lesson was good. Afterwards, I took the horse on the trail, and my goodness, he was hy-per!! All that winter alfalfa is pumping him up. I had a rather bumpy, fast ride down the trail. It was a lot of fun. I’m crazy like that: I kinda crave the borderline dangerous/fast/falling-out-of-the-saddle feeling. Livin’ on the edge, man!

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Dec
13
  • Damn Good Day!

    Well, today was a pretty damn good day. After my posting on Wednesday reporting that Remy was doing stellar, Thursday turned around and bit me in the ass. Remy was getting her groove back, and then bam! She regressed and had stability issues again. I couldn’t sleep Thursday night, thinking that I was going to have to put her down before Christmas. Today, she slept in really late, but when I got the leash out, she wanted to go out, so we walked around the front yard in the grass. She didn’t make it to the park, but she walked and sniffed around the lawn, and back inside we played our hide and seek treat game. (Basically, I toss crumbs all over the living room, and she forces herself up to search them out.) In the afternoon, she came into my home office a few times to check in and sleep.

    Goddamn, I love Remy so much. I really wish she could live forever. She’s such a good girl. I left a message for the vet this afternoon to see why she might have regressed and to ask if there was anything more I could do to make her more comfortable. They said that she’s on quite a bit of medication now, so she shouldn’t be regressing… My only hope is that we simply overdid it on the exercise on Wednesday, and she was sore Thursday. I dunno. Wishfully hoping, I suppose.

    In other news, I found out that I almost missed the deadline for quiz #3 of my marketing class. You see, normally, the quizzes happen every three weeks, but with this last one, it was only two weeks. Whatever. I did it this afternoon and scored an A. I’m a nerd that way. This is our last week of lectures, and then the final exam is next week!

    I got the best news ever  this afternoon (regarding the ranch). I followed up with the YMCA program director, whom I had met earlier this week. He got the green light from his boss, and now they’re thinking to book FOUR weeks instead of the original TWO!! I am so thrilled. Gotta finish the year off strong, you know?

    I’m also making strides this week with info interviews. I have one lined up on Monday with a very prestigious foundation just down the street. Then, I’m scheduling another one after Christmas with a different foundation, also not far from home. Time to get this whip crackin’, you know?

    Tonight, I’m going to my friend’s retirement party for work. 33 years. I’m taking lentil soup and butternut squash/spinach lasagna. I hope people eat it all up! Party time.

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Dec
11
  • Miraculous Remy

    I am feeling so much better now about Remy. Today, I got her to go in and out of the doggie door. Yay! Only one time, and she doesn’t like it, but I just want it to be doable in case she really needs to go to the bathroom late at night. The second painkiller, Gabipentin seems to be working well. Right now, I have her pee around midnight, and then she’s pretty much knocked out til about 7a.

    In case you’re curious about her progress, I do have some video. Check out the Remy playlist on YouTube. Originally, I’d shot the footage to show the vet. The ones on December 4 are about three days after taking the anti-inflammatory alone. The one from today is after a week on the anti-inflammatory + 2 pain killers + supplements. Pretty notable turnaround, right? Remy’s immortal!! :)

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Dec
9
  • Jugglin’

    Geez, I was so good about blogging daily for a month, and then once NaBloPoMo ended, I really slacked off quickly, eh? Well, in my defense, shit’s been cray!

    It’s now been just over a week since Remy’s latest brush with death. She is continuing on the anti-inflammatory med meloxicam + the pain reliever tramadol, but yesterday, after we called the doctor to say that Remy was still not steady enough to be left alone, the doctor added a second pain reliever, gabipentin. Today Remy is doing so much better! She even came to my bedside to wake me up. Her hind left leg is still weaker than the others, but we made it to the park and back without me having to carry her part way. She is also back to her old curious self. This morning, when I didn’t see her in the living room or in the bedroom, I started to panic, but she was in the kitchen scrounging around for crumbs. Silly dog.

    Yeah, after the vet told me last week to continue exercising her to prevent muscle atrophy, I’ve had Remy on a program. I find her to be quite driven by treats, so even when she was still really weak , I just threw mini-treats all over the living room and kitchen to force her to get up and exercise to go after the tasties. Haha, I’m always making the pups work for food! Remy is kinda “special needs” right now, but I hope we’ll have a decent plan in place by the time we head back east. Fingers crossed.

    Work-wise, I did a ton of follow-up calls last week for the ranch. I think I’m getting some bites even! Tomorrow, the program director for the YMCA is visiting the ranch to meet with us: he’s interested in booking two weeks of summer camps for kids. I’ve been preparing some materials and such. Gotta bring out the big guns, you know? I’m hoping to get a couple of city clients and the YMCA under my belt before year end. We’ll see.

    The weekend was pretty good. On Saturday, John finished sanding my Adirondack chair for the backyard. Now I can paint it and have both painted chairs reunited. Saturday night, J & J came down with their friend M, and all of us when to the SJ Improv– always a sure bet for hearty laughs. On Sunday, I got back in the saddle. I am having issues again with my torso being too stiff. Fucking A. I had so many weeks of good riding, and now I’m back to being a robot sitting on a horse. Ugh. The horses are looking great though. I think they are brushing them more, and now that it’s winter, the coats are thicker and softer. Chip was so velvety and beautiful. The staff are also cleaning up the ranch a bit– they do small steps every day, and sure enough, after a couple weeks, you can see substantial differences! After riding, I met up with my bud B, and we hit the mall. Super, super packed. She circled around for 20 minutes before finding parking!! It was a successful trip: I scored a black/white striped top and black skinny jeans, which I’d been seeking for months.

    John and I also found a couple of new food joints in our area. We tried a new Asian shaved snow place by the train station. Pretty tasty but too cold for winter. Then last night we found a Neapolitan pizza place. Super yummy with delicious spaghetti carbonara and cannoli too!

    This week is looking pretty busy. My Coursera marketing class wraps. Also, I have that meeting tomorrow. Then, I need to re-visit corpo targets for the ranch. I also want to start getting my apps out for jobs. Need to just start churning stuff out. Remy patrol continues. Yup, all hands on deck now for the 2013 homestretch.

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Dec
5
  • NaBloPoMo Ends Today!

    Well, I did it! Thirty days of blogging. Yippee! I’m not sure if I’ll continue, beyond this one-month mark but hey, it was kinda fun. I mean, I like writing, so I guess it wasn’t really that hard to just do something I enjoy every day…

    So Remy update. The temps last night dipped below freezing, and even though I put her next to a heater, she seemed really achy again. We didn’t make it to the park at all. In the afternoon,  I called the vet to inquire about the meds. For example, at what point should I start to see the max positive effect of the drugs? After 3 days? After one week? I had to ask the tech the question a couple times, but it seems like a pretty straight-forward inquiry to me. You know, like you have an ailment. You take meds. There’s some improvement. Is the improvement supposed to keep ramping up over time as you take the meds longer, or does it plateau at a certain point. So she called me back, and the vet said one week on the  Meloxicam + Tramadol combo. By Sunday, it will be five days, and I hope that’ll be a good enough read. In the meantime, the vet said to keep exercising her so the muscles don’t atrophy and to add glucosamine. The pet stores are already closed, so I ordered on Amazon and they arrive tomorrow. Gotta love Amazon. I guess I could have gotten it in the morning, but eh, I’m a unabomber these days.

    Today I had an info interview with someone who now works at Duke. She was super, super helpful. She’s been going through her own exploratory process, so she suggested a few personal dev/growth books and just shared some really helpful insights and observations about foundation work. I’m so thankful. We talked for TWO hours. Tomorrow I hope to go forth implementing some of her suggestions.

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Dec
4
  • Progress

    When Remy got up this morning, she really had a tough time. Her left hind leg just kept giving out, such that every time she would walk, the whole lower half of her body would just start to curl and tuck to the left. It was not good. After showing progress the day before, this seemed like a bad sign. But I proceeded as discussed with the vet: Remy had taken Meloxicam for three days, and now it was time to introduce the Tramadol. I fed her and then gave her the meds. By late morning, she was still hobbling, but shit, she got herself up, and somehow we managed to walk to the park!! Woohoo. When we got there, she was super tuckered, so we copped a squat and just enjoyed the sunshine for 20 minutes. Then we headed home. She still sniffs the park grasses– she seemed to enjoy herself. By evening, she looked better– still weak but moving, which is such a relief. We’re not out of the woods yet, but I’m hopeful. My little Bembo is so fucking tough!

    In the afternoon, I left the house to drop off Adamo at the UPS store. The store happened to be across the street from Target, so of course, that necessitated a pit stop. I just scored some basics. Shit there can be so cheap when on sale!!

    A few of my friends got sick over Thanksgiving, and that was enough to get me to the clinic for a flu shot. Omg, sitting in that waiting room surrounded by screaming kids, my throat suddenly felt scratchy. Ugh. Afterwards, I made another stop at the office. I know, I was just there yesterday, but it’s right next door to my doctor’s office. Plus, I had to drop off some mail for M. Well, an hour later, I was still stuck there catching up with people… I really like the people there, but sometimes I just feel kinda like I’m disrupting their work zone… plus, it feels a little weird to have left but then to be there regularly for fun, right??

    For dinner, I tried a new Skinnytaste recipe: curry chicken. After having tried a number of their more savory, sauce-like dishes, John and I have concluded that we need to go elsewhere for those heartier dishes. These last few ones I have cooked are just too damn soupy and bland. Note to self.

    I’m still following up with ranch contacts. Goddamn, I hope people start registering for shit. Come on, peeps!! Get those kids in horse camps and lessons already!!

    Ok well I have my twelfth info interview tomorrow with a lady who now works at Duke, of all places. Small world, right? I also tidied the house up a bit tonight. We decided to host a party next Saturday, so I gotta start clearing my clutter. I swear to god, the work just never ends. I’m pooped. That said, I’m looking forward to tomorrow when Remy will be back to her old self. Maybe. :)

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Dec
3
  • Catching Up with My Peeps

    I went to the office today to meet some former co-workers for lunch. It’s always a weird feeling being back at the office. I feel like I’m running out of ways to respond when people ask me what I’m doing. I feel like I have to justify my non-working status. Then, when I stand in the lobby by the mail cabinet, I have to catch myself several times, because my body like automatically wants to open the drawer and check for any mail! Same thing with the sign-in sheet. Argh, stop it! I don’t work there anymore!!!

    Lunch with my friends was good. We tried a new Himalayan restaurant in the area. Both friends recently bought houses, so we checked out one of their places. She had just finished remodeling. That house shit is amazing. You know me: I love the before and after transformation.

    Remy is doing better today. She is able to get herself up, but the walking is still really challenging. I’m so thankful to be home most of the day, so I can monitor her and open the side door whenever she needs to go to the bathroom. Tomorrow, I plan to introduce the tramadol pain killer to the melloxicam anti-inflammatory, and then I’m really crossing my fingers for the synergistic effect by the weekend. My Remy is the toughest cookie ever.

    In the evening, T came over for dinner. I served a sampling of all my dishes from the last few days. I called it “leftover tapas.” I think she was impressed. Haha. We went for a walk… damn Fitbit. Everyone’s fallen off of the program. I have no fucking idea how I managed to clock like 13k steps a day when I was working. Nowadays, I’m lucky if I clock a couple thousand. How quickly things change. Speaking of which, I was looking in the mirror yesterday, and goddamn my arms are flabby. Fucking A. You let up for a few months and bam, shit slides. So now I have a little dumbell on my desk. I’m trying to do that slow weight-lifting thing to combat the muscular atrophy. Yes, it’s my lazy woman’s version of exercise!

    On tap for tomorrow? Remy patrol. More hustlin’: ranch follow-ups and info interview research. I have my twelfth info interview scheduled for Thursday.

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