Monthly Archives: April 2015

Apr
30
  • Day 2 of the Conference

    OMG, I got zero sleep last night. Yes, I practically had a slumber party all by myself. You see, yesterday morning, I just had to try the in-room espresso machine, bc well fuck, that shit is free. Nevermind that I am super duper HYPERsensitive to caffeine. I figured, heck, I had all damn day to let that shit process through my body. Well, the conference ran 1 – 7p, and then since the pool was closed (major banker hours), I ended up hanging in my room doing work. Then I blogged. Then, whatever, whatever, the next thing I know, it’s fucking 4:30a and I have to get up before 8 to hop in the shower and continue my free-a-thon with the continental breakfast. I know, it’s my own damn fault. I kill myself.

    Day 2 of the conference was good except that I kept getting bullshit work email, so that was distracting. And then the conference did this experimental live streaming session with panelists in the UK. The audio sucked, and then on top of that, it like required too much brain power for me to decipher their accents. I know, the Brit accent isn’t that severe, but I’m a tard. Too much brain power. Even though I zoned out on some of the sessions, I did much better today making connections, i.e. spamming people with my business cards.

    I have to say, the higher ed scene is an interesting space. It actually feels very high school. The development people are all the cheerleader/cool kids with their school spirit and leadership and involvement (both as students and as alums). The communications people are a lot of ex-journos, so extroverted and curious. The data/techie people are more in the weeds. So the morning keynote yesterday was this Ken-doll-esque sports captain dude with two Ivy League degrees. He’s the CEO of a data aggregation platform that we actually use at my school. For my own professional dev challenge, I knew I had to make the connection. Well all day yesterday, people swarmed around him. I felt intimidated, not only by his academic pedigree but you know, big dog CEO plus he’s all JFK and shit. I dunno. So today, I finally caught him in a solo moment, engrossed on his phone and laptop, and then I went in for the kill. I said that I really enjoyed his talk yesterday, and he replied, “Why?” Yeah, I had to do a double take! What an unexpected reply. It was fine: I explained my connection to his company, that I used his tool last night, blah, blah. I think I played it cool, but I was def a little thrown off. And of course, he later introduced me to another client. In a very high school fashion, she barely gave me two seconds to exchange cards. That’s what I mean. More so than any other industry conference I have attended, this conference really has a strange way of transporting me back to high school with all its awkward and insecure moments.

    And let me just say… those development people? Always so beautiful and polished and confident. I mean, it makes sense. They’re the schmoozers, right? I remember a few years back, I toyed with this idea of working in sales. I was convinced that a sales gig would give me super powers, and I would finally be able to stop being inconvenienced by my discomfort and social awkwardness. When I mentioned this to J and all my friends, they all just shook their heads, without a second of hesitation. I mean, radical honesty is radical honesty. They didn’t see it. I actually think I could do it. I might not be super good at it, and it might drain me, but I think I could definitely learn and improve enough to be decent. I mean I did cold calls at the fuel cell startup, and I was ok. Then again, I admit, it would probably never come naturally. Still, how cool to have that charisma and instant magnetism. Haha, listen to me. What it must be like to be cool and popular. Sigh, sigh! See??? Back in high school again.

    Anyway, like I said, I met a lot of people today. I happened to sit next to a UC Santa Cruz person, and then she introduced me to a Mills College lady and a guy from UCLA. Interestingly, all of them were former journalists. Isn’t that sad? Fucking news, man. No one cares anymore about the cold hard facts. People just want to see fluffed, sensationalized crap. And social totally aids and abets that shift. We went to a ceviche spot together for lunch. I also met the ED of Marketing and Comm for Texas A&M. Wow, the way he described Galveston there on the ocean. Sounded beautiful PLUS their mascot is a mini horse. I mean, I’m sold!! Texas anyone?

    So my bud Josh flies in tonight. Kinda late, so I’m going to research some food options for a late dinner. I managed to squeeze in some pool and hot tub time earlier as soon as the sessions let out. Still cloudy outside but the pool was nice. I dunno why more people don’t go in the pool. They just lay around, and there’s no f-ing sun!! Doesn’t make sense. I went in the hot tub too. It was super hot (yay!) and cloudy as hell. So kinda gross, but I made the best of it. Incidentally, I just discovered a foosball table in the next building. Love foosball. We’ll see if J is up for a game later.

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Apr
30
  • Hello from Miami

    So I took a long break from blogging… yeah, after I bruised my nose from the iPad crashing down on my face, I decided I couldn’t be writing posts half asleep. To be honest, I started writing a long post about friendships (surprise, surprise) and then I just kept wasting time on it, bc I couldn’t seem to get the gist right. For now, I have abandoned the draft, bc I don’t have time to keep reworking it. After all, time’s a tickin’, and as it is, I’m freaking all the way across the country now in Miami.

    Quick recap: John’s mom is still in the acute rehab facility. She is doing well. She has her hospital posse going on. For one thing, she shares a room with another lady, and they’re so chatty, they don’t even use the room divider curtain thing for personal privacy! J is still back East. He and his siblings finally convinced the parents to move into a 2 BR apartment within an assisted living community. I know it’s a huge change, and I try to be understanding about it, but I guess I also feel really protective of J. He’s been there now for three weeks, handling everything from cooking meals for his dad, to decluttering, to driving them back/forth to the hospital, to organizing, to now packing and moving. If we thought him working at a startup was exhausting and 24/7, this eldercare shit is no. fucking. joke. And incidentally, J comes from a family of chatterboxes, so for an introvert who needs his recharge quiet time, all the human interaction is draining even if his threshold for family is high. He’s been amazing, and they are so lucky to have him willing and able to help.

    I really hate to be one of THOSE people crying over spilled milk (or is it spoiled milk), but Jesus Christ. So much of this chaos could have been minimized. For YEARS, J and his siblings broached these difficult topics of aging with the parents. From asking them to consider cleaning services and food delivery, to setting up health directives and wills, to using a cane/walker, to thinking about moving out of their split level home… And yet every single time, their good intentions were met with anger and frustration and resistance. I’m a stubborn person. I understand that when I think I’m right, I don’t want to be bullied into changing my mind. But I dunno. There’s just something about the lack of awareness/self-perception and consequently, the denial and refusal that tries my patience, and I’m not even involved in any of the conversations. Fuck, man. It sounds so frickin’ hard. No wonder Bubbey’s EQ and people skills are “world-class.” I would have lost my shit a million times over.

    The good news is that things are finally in motion, regardless of how the cascade of events was triggered. They move on Friday, and Bubbey returns one week after that. Yes, he is going to need a major vacation after all this. Interestingly, as all of this has gone down, I have been telling my parents: figure your shit out bc otherwise, I am going to just come in and bulldoze. I mean, I’m giving them fair warning. And hell, they KNOW I have zero patience, so that’s that. If you don’t figure it out ahead of time, I’m calling all the shots. If you want slow-moving indecisive bullshit, go call on my brother. Doh!!

    As for my grandfather, he has graduated from in-home (visiting) physical therapy sessions. The therapists now say he has to go to a local facility with more equipment, bc the daily household exercises are just too easy for him. Yup, my Yebbie is crazy athletic. Did I even tell you? On like the second day after he moved in with my parents, my father found gramps downstairs in the basement, trying out the brand new elliptical machine I had bought my parents in February. Homeboy like made his own way down the stairs and climbed on the equipment. My dad was like, “Hold on, here. You can’t be getting on this thing just yet. You just got home from rehab!!” Yeah man. Yebbie is on the move and cannot be stopped. Thank goodness my parents confiscated his car keys, bc gramps was looking for his keys as soon as he got out of the hospital. Fucking fugitive.

    What else. Oh, I had lunch with the boss to celebrate my six months on the job. My actual anniversary date was 4/20, so while I was prepping my bullet points for the conversation (outlining my accomplishments and list of requests/demands), I imagine much of the rest of CA was busy smoking pot. Haha. Yeah, I got all decked out in my power dress too. We had a good conversation. I talked about my challenges, the work load, what I like/dislike… and then I launched into it. But before I was even able to rattle off my items, she stopped me and said she already put in for an increase. It’s not going to be a boost like they do in the corporate world, but it will be within what the institution can do. So now we wait to see if her boss gives the green light. At the time, I was pretty pleased to hear this, but in retrospect, I feel like I should have pressed for details, like how much and what’s the timeline and can it be retroactive. Fucking A. This shit always comes to me AFTER the situation is over. Ah well. Guess I’ll just wait and see.

    Meanwhile, the latest newbie is like stressing out every damn day. I mean for sure, she is hypersensitive and perfectionist. She admits this. As a former neurotic stressball myself, I get it: I used to be super reactive about EVERYTHING. Thankfully, in my old age and with the help of Bubbey, I have really chilled the fuck out. And I suppose my last job also gave me lots of practice with the constant disruptions and crisis mode bullshit. The thing with my coworker is that she’s having trouble adjusting and rather than internalize like I do (or I blab to my friends), she has to talk it out like then and there, so she just barges in and dumps it all… which is fine (this ain’t my first rodeo), but don’t expect me to join in escalating that shit, you know? I mean, I know some people are just all about the drama: I have been friends with people like that; I have worked with people like that. It’s ridiculous: every single thing is some kind of personal affront. The truth is, people are NOT that aware. Seriously, people are clueless dumb fucks. I know bc I’m sometimes one of those people wandering about the world, unintentionally cutting people off on the highway, saying nothing at all or something abrupt to a coworker walking down the hall bc I’m preoccupied with something else. But really, contrary to what my mother insisted while I was growing up, not every person is like deliberately trying to thwart you/me. And then beyond that, some people are just chronically frenzied. Like my current boss is perpetually frantic. You have to just understand that SHE is kinda all over the place. That said, not everything she brings to your attention is urgent and immediate. She’s just sharing to put the ball in your court, but you can determine the priority and handle it on your schedule. Anyway, I was trying to express this to my coworker. I felt like past coworkers had also shared this observation with me. But she doesn’t seem convinced. She wants to read it like a personal attack. So fine. Whatever. Go get yourself bent out of shape about it.

    Fast forward: Now I’m in Miami for a social media conference. I flew in yesterday, and originally, I had all these grand plans to have people join me and share the swanky hotel room. My bud N was interested, but she had just recovered from back surgery and needed to head back to work. My friend M had some mandatory training at work. Bubs was stuck in MD. And then my other friends are now mothers. But hell, I am a determined beotch, so my hopes weren’t to be foiled. I called up my college buddy J and made the offer. Like with one week’s notice. Granted, J is a planner. He’s not an impulsive or frivolous person, so I fully expected a rejection. But whatdya fucking know? It’s a short, quick trip, but heck, he’s doing it and I couldn’t be more thrilled. Thursday night to Saturday lunch. I’m telling you, even friends you think you have completely figured out: they can still surprise you. I think Bubbey thought we were gonna have separate rooms, but I mean, that defeats the purpose of the free hotel stay!! Duh. Bubs is ok but not super thrilled. Whatever, man. J and I went to college together. He dates back pre-Bubbey even. Actually, I met J my sophomore year (same dorm) and John that summer. So it’s close, but these are silly irrational fears. John knows him, we’ve traveled together, and fuck man, I’m going to be wearing my organic cotton PJs– yes, the ones that look like a concentration camp uniform. In my defense, many years ago, J went solo to a friend’s wedding, and he shared a room with his ex. The thing is, we all have irrational fears. I refuse to let them paralyze me. Bottom line: if Bubs gives me his word, I choose to believe him. And the same goes for him. Heck, my word is even stronger than his, so trust, baby!

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Apr
24
  • Me Time to the Max

    So Bubbey is still back East. He has been doing EVERYTHING there. His mom is still in the rehab hospital: she’s making decent progress with variations day to day, which is probably to be expected. The therapists indicated that she and my FIL are not suited to continue living on their own. Naturally, that triggered a cascade of events and lengthy conversations. J, his sister, and dad scouted out facilities and checked availability. At the same time, nearly each of the five kids individually chipped away at the parents, who adamantly refused to believe the necessity of this next step. After two weeks, they put down a deposit on a place. All the while, J is continuing daily trips to the hospital, meal prep for dad, de-cluttering, organizing, and now packing for the move. Eldercare is no fucking games. Looking back, I dunno what either of us were thinking. In our minds, we had some idea that we would be next to a sleeping patient, and we’d be able to crank out a shit ton of work. In reality, the patients were unruly and/or chatty and required constant attention.

    I’m doing ok holding down the fort at home. Marty is getting particularly sticky again, but the good news is that he really is full of energy. For once in a really long while, I feel like I can at least stop worrying about Marty and his mortality. For now.

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Apr
20
  • Typos and Other Boggles

    Tonight I went back to reread some of my posts, and holy fuck, there were a gabillion typos!!!! Embarrass, occasion, steals, and many more… And I call myself a writer! Tsk, tsk. I mean, yeah, I’m cranking these babies out half asleep (hence the nose bruise STILL) but shit, where’s the damn spell check on this WordPress iPad app? I look like a fucking dumbass. Not cool, man.

    So the weekend was fun, productive, but also stressful. I had a great time chilling with T and M for Craft Club. That was fun, and my horsey wool buddy is looking kinda cute. I still want to turn him into a zebra, but those stripes are gonna require some major hours… When I went to leave, I could NOT find my car keys. Twenty minutes of digging through my bags and purse and checking throughout the house. WTF? Finally, M found them in my black craft bag, which I had checked multiple times, feeling around the inside compartments and pockets even! How did they get missed? No fucking idea.

    After that stress, I went to see M’s house for the first time ever. So fricking nice: new construction, lovely sunlight, a huge patio, really nice decorations and art inside… Seriously. None of my Ikea, Mickey Mouse, freecycle, put cheap prints into Michael’s frames bullshit. The thing is, she takes care of her shit, whereas we abuse our stuff. “That’s why we can’t have nice things.” After seeing the ridic level of cleanliness at both places, I got home and started a scrub down. Yup, the bag of rags (old socks and clothes) came out. I did the baseboards, the window sills, the windows, dusting, vacuuming, sweeping, mopping, etc. In other words, I was exhausted. The next day, I pretty much just chilled. In the evening, as I was getting ready for bed, I could NOT find my work phone. Holy fuck. Not again. I searched the usual places. Did the Find my Friends app, which suggested it was across the street on a grassy median. Fucking A. 12:30 at night, and I am out there in shorts carrying a flashlight. I kept going around the spot where the marker was blinking on my screen. No luck. I re-searched inside. Then I saw cockroaches by the front door. Seriously?? I have never had problems with roaches. Later, in the middle of the night, I got up again and I saw a roach scurry away in the bedroom. WTF?  So then I researched roaches at about 3a. Baking soda. Like a maniac, I scattered baking soda all over the damn house, yes the same spots where I had earlier mopped and vacuumed to perfection!!

    This morning, I woke up at 6a to go search for my phone again. Again, nothing. Argh!! Why am I misplacing things? Then began an entire cascade of self-abuse. What is wrong with my brain? I am losing my mind. This is the Universe’s way of punishing me for criticizing my mother, blah, blah. I tried to recenter. It’s just a stupid work phone. I’d been wanting to upgrade anyway. Just figure out what’s involved for an upgrade. Calm the hell down, crazy woman!!

    The roofing estimator came by at 10. I had found his company on Yelp, where they had a shit ton of high marks. I also checked Google Reviews and BBB, etc. He was a super nice guy, and wow, having had two other companies provide quotes, he was the only contractor who said a spot repair was all that was needed to give us another 3-5 years. Hallelujah, mother fuckers! That was the sole good news of the morning.

    Ok, I’m tired, so time to wrap this up. After work, I came home and searched again for the damn phone. For some reason, I decided to look in my car AGAIN. I looked under the seat. Then I looked super closely. There it was, fucking wedged in THE tightest of spaces between the driver seat and the middle console. I had to squish my hand in a very strange contorted fashion, but what a frickin’ relief!! I found the goddamn phone!!! Now, time to sleep.

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Apr
19
  • Only Me

    I have to say, it’s a good thing that I have a strong sense of self. I mean, you know, barring the occasional rut or period of self-doubt, generally speaking, I am a confident person who stands by my choices, behaviors, and decisions. Wow, that sounds so serious. The bottom line? I do some fucked up, embarrassing things. And rather than get all worked up about it, I just have to laugh at the absurdity that is my life.

    For example, two weekends ago, I was hanging around at home. We had plans in the evening, but until then, I fully intended to stay housebound. So I put on those Crest Whitestrips and got down to business with some laundry, cleaning, organizing, what have you. As part of this process, I was feeling some bumps cropping up on my face. You all know my troubled, scarring history with shit skin. So now, even though my skin has been relatively clear for the last 7+ years, I still have irrational fears about cystic breakouts. I felt something coming in, so I put zit cream all over the trouble spots. Then I resumed buzzing around the house. At some point hours later, I took out the trash, so I opened the gate and crossed my driveway to the side of the house with the trash bins. I turned around, saw my neighbor, exchanged pleasantries, and then walked over to his yard for a full-fledged 10-minute conversation with him and his 7 y/o daughter. About 8 minutes in, I remembered the zit cream. Holy, fucking shit, NOOOOOO!! I touched my chin and felt the crusted cream. All while continuing the conversation, I started “subtly” wiping my face. Then I ended the conversation as soon as possible. John was on the couch inside. Do you see splotches on my face? Umm, yeah. I ran to the bathroom mirror. Fucking A!! Sometimes that cream shit rubs off or absorbs. Nope. This shit was full, original pasty white. The kid was probably like, what the heck is splatted all over her face?? So embarrassing. FML. And then, I just busted out laughing in the bathroom, bc seriously. Does this crap happen to other people??? I think not. Shrug.

    Then, last night, I was blogging in bed. I was starting to get really tired, but I wanted to crank out some posts (aren’t you grateful for my dedication??), so I had the iPad like held up close to my face but at a weird angle so I could still type on the attached keyboard. Well whadya know, I felt asleep and the fucking clamshell fell over with the pendulum force of a wrecking ball, hitting me smack dab in between the eyes. That hurt like hell, and now this morning, I have mild swelling and bruising. Ugh. Who the fuck falls asleep and whacks herself in the face with her device??

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Apr
19
  • College Night

    My boss frequently touts the events and activities on campus. She says being with the students gives her renewed energy and enthusiasm. Spoken like a true parent, right? Supposedly, kids keep you young and in touch. I’m skeptical but whatever I’m all about extracurricular activities. To date, I have attended a half dozen or so events, and fuck man, afterwards I always leave there depressed as hell. This past week, I attended “College Night” at the museum on campus. The concept was a museum open house with artsy crafty activities like henna tats and block prints (lithograph-style) plus live music, dance performances, a Capella, etc. I bumped into three of my interns while there. One intern practically showed up in her PJs. I know, it’s college living where everything blends together. I also saw someone else wearing a dress I own from Target. It’s a romper I bought a few years back. Perhaps it’s no longer age inappropriate for me. Overall, the evening was just a really weird experience of feeling out of place and disconnected. Not that these feelings are at all foreign to me. Certainly, I am very conditioned to uncomfortable and awkward moments. I don’t let them deter me. Still, I left feeling a tinge of regret. Why didn’t I have more fun when I was in school? Also, how the hell was college fucking 20+ years ago??? I know I’m not an old crusty just yet, but I feel sad for the lost time… the time that was squandered and is gone forever. Usually, I try not to focus too much on regret and things in my past. It really is pointless, wasted energy bc nothing there can be changed. But when I do occasionally indulge in this kind of destructive reflection, fuck man, I lost so many years to bad skin and freaking neuroses from hell. Thankfully, I have a new life now, an active and vibrant one, but the years ahead feel so numbered. I dunno why I feel so pessimistic. I mean, whatever happened to gratitude and embracing the present, right?

    I guess having this whole past month focused on the oldies and eldercare just makes me overthink more than usual (imagine that!). I really need to proactively fight against turning into a depressed, isolated, inactive, and hermetic old person. Note to self, goddamnit.

    So anyway, I left the bash and arrived home about 10p. I called Bubbey to lament further. It was 1a back East, so naturally, he fell asleep on me mid-conversation. However, he did manage to leave me with one thought. He assured me that there are more good times ahead for us. Just look at Marty. He is having the time of his life, and he is an uber oldie. So true. I need to chill the fuck out and stop wallowing in this ridic pool of self pity. 

    On a positive note, I started up my 7 min workout this week. After 35 cumulative minutes on this program, I am already feeling the difference in my arms. Haha. Yuppers, Hercules is making a comeback!

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Apr
18
  • Interaction Overload

    Last weekend, after a very long hiatus, J and I headed back to our fav spot, the SJ Improv. I guess I was in need of some laughs, right?? My bud K and her beau D joined us at the club: they met Unabomber Bubs for the first time ever. We had a fun night, even if D and I were a little tired/off. He because of ice hockey. Me bc of I dunno what. Household chores or something totally lame. Seriously. I’ve been draggin’ ass for the last month. Allergies, mental clutter, who the fuck knows. Anyway, after the show (we saw the very funny Pete Correale, who is currently taping a tv comedy special), we headed to a a swanky spot downtown for some bites. Apparently, there was a Nerium (facial serum) conference going on, so we saw lots of guests wearing head to toe white. Very odd. K, being the maven that she is, had gotten the Nerium scoop after striking a convo with our waiter (who does that??) His take on the whole thing? A total scam. Just another Amway-like pyramid model. I dunno though. Just bc that shit is a pyramid structure, does that mean it’s not legit? I used to love Mary Kay, and my career coach was a MK rep for almost two decades!! Sure, I agree that for most participants, the income usually serves as supplemental at best (rarely sufficient to be primary or standalone income). But heck, there’s a lot to be said for the work flexibility, no? Not gonna lie: I have definitely considered being a MK rep a few times in my life. Anyway, it was interesting to get the 411 from our waiter. Bubs and I never have real conversations with the wait staff.

    What else. Oh, I rocked my brand new bedazzled H&M pants that night. Earlier in the week, I had Instagrammed about my $7 steal, and people were clearly skeptical. But shit man, I pulled those babies off. Of course, at the end of the night, after peeling those skinnies off, I had seam imprints up and down the inner and outer sides of my legs. I know, it’s a fucking miracle I didn’t give myself permanent nerve damage from that shit. Ah well, it was worth it. Hee, hee. What is my longer-term goal with these pants? First, fuck yeah, I’m gonna get many more wears out of those things! Especially while Bubs is back East, I’m on a new program to curb the overflowing muffin top. Operation Old Pants Fit! 

    In other news, at work, I have been doing way too much social interaction lately. I dunno what the hell changed, but I’m suddenly in more meetings and talking to people all the time!! And yes, the new chick T is super talkative. Holy crap. If I ever considered myself extroverted, next to her? I’m like a Unabomber Bubbey needing his recharge couch time. Seriously. So many interruptions!!! 

    The thing is, I was really hoping after the big campaign last month that shit would settle down at work, but nope. Among other shit, we’re losing all of our interns in the next month. Now I’m trying to recruit/interview/hire newbies while still managing the existing lot. It’s all a bit much, to be honest. And then weird shit keeps happening where the institution freaks out over the lamest things. Stuff that I don’t even consider news is like all hush hush top secret. I don’t get it. Sure, in some cases where I don’t necessarily have the entire back story, I don’t mind just following instructions and getting shit done. Definitely, I have to prioritize and get on to the next item in my list. Still though. I do have a mind of my own, you know? I’m not just a fucking robot doing things without thought, right? So fricking draining.

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Apr
17
  • Update on the Oldies

    Last week, John’s mom went to the emergency room. She was feeling unusually week Friday morning, and she started dragging her left leg. The symptoms seemed to suggest a stroke, but the doctors were reluctant to say. She was admitted, and then she underwent about three days of tests. Even though John had just recently returned from the East Coast, he flew out again Monday morning, while doctors continued working up the tests. The final diagnosis? A mild stroke. I have to say, our United frequent flyer points have saved our asses SO MANY times in similar medical situations. Last minute tickets are ridiculous. Seriously, like on Sunday, we were looking for first flights out the next day, and the fares were like $1300 RT for a flight that normally costs less than $350. The thing is, this late in the game, doesn’t it make more sense for the airlines to lower the prices? I dunno. After our scare last month with my grandfather, I spent some time understanding the situation with last minute flights for medical reasons. At most, airlines offer just a 10% discount. That whole system feels so backwards and unhelpful. Needless to say, to plan for the future when shit like this will likely keep happening, I’m consolidating our expenditures onto the United credit card. Banking those points, baby!

    Anyway, not to obsess over money shit during medical crises… my MIL is doing really well. After the diagnosis, she was transferred to an acute rehabilitation hospital. In fact, she went to the same one where my gramps was staying! On the morning of her admittance, J actually ran into my dad and grandfather exercising and walking around in the lobby!! My MIL is expected to stay in the rehab facility until the end of the month. Like my grandfather, she’ll be clocking in several hours a day of physical, occupational, and speech therapy. And similar to what we have already witnessed with Yebbie, the daily physical and social stimulation is making a huge difference in boosting progress. Every time I speak with him on the phone, he is mentally more and more lucid. With my grandmother too, over the last month the daily habit of going back and forth to the hospital and talking with my parents has given her renewed mental alertness. I am so pleasantly surprised by this discovery: with more interaction and physical activity, everyone is sharper and more lucid across the board. Yup, I am taking notes (and starting up Lumosity again)!

    Gramps was discharged a few days ago. Despite our attempts to get him to a subacute rehab hospital near my parents’ home, those options fell through, and he and grandma moved in with my parents on Wednesday. I purchased a few items like a special commode, tub handle, and tub bench, to help my grandfather get around there. He is getting stronger day by day. The only thing is, he scarfs down his food like crazy. Dad is always worried Yeb will choke himself. I suppose a month of liquid and/or hospital food will really change your perception of food!

    Also last week, my grandfather in Taiwan went to the hospital. Walking up the stairs, he was experiencing shortness of breath. He has emphysema and in the past, he had several stents put in. The doctors ran some tests, and everything checked out ok this time. Gramps is back home now.

    I swear to god, these oldies are killing me!!!

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Apr
10
  • Parenting Phobia

    For Easter Sunday, J and I were up in San Leandro hanging out with our buds J&J, who are new parents. We played with the baby, caught up on work/life balance struggles, ate, drank, and played mahjong. At some point in the conversation, we talked about preparing wills and medical directives and such. And I came to realize that months ago, when my bud J asked me about being their child’s godparent, I DID read his request correctly. At the time, I interpreted the request as serving as the child’s guardian should anything happen to him and his wife. I tried to acknowledge the honor of being asked, and I tried to stress how much we valued their friendship. But the thought of being a parent really freaks me out. If I really consider my history, an upbringing full of stability and security and yet so laden with stress to achieve and perform and meet expectations… Couple that with multiple examples in my family and extended family of parenting gone horribly wrong, plus the realization that I was essentially already a parent to my brother while we were both at Duke, I have an indescribable fear and loathing for trying to care for or guide someone who ultimately has his/her own mind. I don’t think my brother ever acted with malice, but he most certainly remains selfish, and he understands the power of influence/manipulation. He also is entitled and is particularly prone to  the lure of “get rich” style schemes or claims where people insist a product or person or religion worked magic on their lives.

    I myself have a gullibility and fascination with finding products or strategies to improve my life, but I also have a very analytical side that really wants to understand how things work. That often saves me from being duped (fingers crossed) by schemes that somehow attract my brother. Anyway, the point is, I am a control freak, and the uncertainty of parenting forbids me from wanting to be a parent. Needless to say, I wigged out when my friend asked, and I declined.

    Related: Sometimes people ask me, “What if you were to get pregnant today? What would you do?” Without hesitation, abort. There isn’t a single ounce of me that wants to take that shit on. I’m “unnatural” that way, as my mother has said.

    So after our day with our friends, on the drive home, John brought up the guardian thing again. First, he was surprised that I had declined when I was asked weeks ago. They had actually first asked when they were preggers. I said no. I didn’t even consult or discuss with Bubs, bc you know I’d be doing the bulk of the work (just saying). I explained to Bubs that my reply (of no) was consistent with before. John argued that in one case, the question was technically hypothetical, bc the baby wasn’t yet born. Now, the baby is here. He also made some comment like life isn’t always about what YOU want; sometimes you do things you don’t want, bc that’s the right thing to do. Well, shit. I’m not about to be accused of NOT doing the “right” thing!! Then, he proceeds to say, if we really believe our close friends are the “family we choose for ourselves,” family would take in the orphaned child. Yeah, then I started driving crazy on 880, bc now I was totally preoccupied with this conversation. I like cut someone off, and J made some comment about my driving. Look dude. You know I can’t be having this heavy-ass conversation WHILE I am driving. WTF?????

    The thing is though, J brings up some solid points. I guess I just have some expectation like they should ask family, or if not family, they should ask their friends who are already parents, bc those people are experienced and shit. The bottom line is, parenting scares me. As much as I have struggled with how my parents parented, there are times in my life, where I unknowingly carried forth their framework. I’ve blogged about it before: how I had so many expectations for John; how I loved him with conditions; how things he did were never good enough; how there was always so much room for improvement… these concepts drive me to be better, and yet they have also broken me so many damn times, bc I have fallen short of what I or he was supposed to be. Absolutely, I would be a Tiger Mom. I wouldn’t know how to relax and let the child just be a child. I would be the source of so much anxiety and paranoia. Those fucking genetics/cultural influences are just too freaking strong. And then J and I would clash with our parenting styles and philosophies… Sure, I’m responsible, dependable, and resourceful, but that’s just not enough. And on top of that, I don’t want to be a parent. So I suppose J and I continue to waffle on this. J points out that it is a way to honor our friends. They want peace of mind that their treasure will be cared for. J says circumstances are unlikely to necessitate this role for us. To me though, the probability doesn’t diminish what a huge deal this is. Now obviously, we’re not going to just stand by and watch kid go on to be orphan Annie or anything… But should we be the first choice? I just still have my reservations and phobias.

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Apr
8
  • Friendships Revisited

    I didn’t blog about this, but April 1 marked the one-year anniversary of Remy’s death. For the most part, I handled the occasion fine: I felt a general numbness throughout the day, but I didn’t really talk about it at work. I felt like I had cried enough in the workplace over the last few weeks. John and I had planned to celebrate Remy by making crab cakes for dinner, bc Remy was a seafood fiend. Of course, by the time we both got home that night, we were too damn tired to cook. I don’t even remember what we ended up eating. Later that night we scrolled through some old pics of Rems. It’s crazy, but the resolution of those DSLR pics is amazing. I could practically feel the softness of her dense, velvety fur in those photographs.

    The next day, I decided to do a Remy dinner do-over. John mentioned being home by 7p. So I made a salad and the crab cakes. By 7:30, still no word. I saw from iPhone tracking that John was somewhere in Foster City. I figured that he went for drinks and bites with some coworkers, so I texted him, and he replied that he got “caught up at work.” Oh no you didn’t just lie to me!! WTF?????? Yeah, I gave him a mouthful after he got home. Basically, he lied for simplicity’s sake. Lame. I mean, if you’re gonna lie, at least save it for something important or critical, right?

    Anyway, the combo of Remy and March Madness and then me being in Berkeley the week before for a conference just got me thinking and analyzing my friendships again. For my conference in Berkeley, my friend J and I had made plans to meet up: he was going to drive down from Richmond. We had last met in person maybe a year ago or something? And then our email communications had pretty much waned to an exchange every few months. So we made plans to meet up, and I even confirmed the day before like, “Are we still on? If you’re too busy, don’t worry about it.” Partly, I didn’t have much confidence in his execution but also, having just returned from MD, I just wasn’t going to get all worked up about it. To my surprise, he confirmed that lunch was still on. Great!

    So the next morning, as I drove to the conference venue at like 8a, he texted that he had to bail. Ok, now I was pissed. The thing is, had this been a one time occurrence, fine. Let it slide. But for the last few years, I’ve seriously been the one making all the effort, and now he fucking cancels last minute? Livid. I just didn’t even want to get into it. I texted back a curt “ok.” Fucking flake!! And all this after the shitty month I had been having with work, my interns, my grandfather, my mother, my friends’ medical troubles, etc. Normally, my tolerance for this kind of bullshit is decent, but this just was not the day. Whatever though, I still enjoyed the conference: I had a nice on-site lunch chatting with strangers and basking in the sunshine. What do you know, ten minutes before afternoon sessions were to resume, J called. Sorry, something came up, blah, blah, blah. Are you mad? Are you disappointed? Truthfully, I let the first set of rings go to voice mail. He called again, and I was in such a foul mood about it, I shouldn’t have even answered the phone. I didn’t give a shit about the excuses. I’m sure they were legit as hell. We’re all fricking adults here with real responsibilities and all, but I just couldn’t hide my irritation. He tried to make small talk, but I was so frustrated and done with it that I pretty much shut down and just answered his questions like a goddamn robot. And then as the call neared the end, I blurted in autopilot, something like “It’s fine. We’ll just try again next time.” Fuck, why the hell did I say that, bc I sure as hell didn’t mean it!! For someone who doesn’t lie, I dunno what happened. I wasn’t even thinking straight.

    Immediately, John’s advice about NOT employing a scorched earth policy came to mind. Dormant vs. active. “Make this an area of personal growth,” he would tell me. Fuck it, man. I honestly do NOT know how to do dormant. With other friends, sure, there have been long periods of silence, but I never truly STOP thinking about those friends.

    After I hung up, I was annoyed with myself. Why did I say to try again? I’m done trying! Do I think he flaked to be mean? No. He sounded genuinely sorry, and the call felt like an attempt to reconcile. But it’s just not enough. There have been too many times, and frankly, I’m tired. I’m tired of so often playing the role of the friend who does more, who initiates, who organizes, who spends the time and energy trying to be thoughtful or helpful. I am that person in so many of my relationships. Yes, that “style” is very much who I am, and no one has ever asked me to do those things. I do them willingly, knowing full well that there is no contract of reciprocity. But god fucking dammit. At some point, particularly when I am under stress, I need something back! I am not a needy or demanding friend but sometimes my bucket has to be filled too!

    Since the conference, I haven’t initiated any contact. We play each other on Words with Friends, but I play a bunch of people on that. A means to an end. Haha. Surprisingly, this week he emailed about the Duke win and also included a link to the Adam Levine stage storming story. I haven’t replied. It’s very unlike me, and I hate when people get all jaded and spiteful and closed off after they get hurt. I won’t deny that NOT responding feels like some strange form of acting out. But I do think this is an important exercise for me: I need to be better about prioritizing my relationships and really demoting those that don’t fill my bucket.

    With March Madness, I thought a lot about my Duke friends. I called J in Boston. I had emailed him a few times in the last two months. No reply. I called and was like, wtf dude? Turns out, my emails delivered to his inbox, he just didn’t read them. Like, they got lost in the shuffle with the other emails. See? This is what I’m talking about. Come on, people! But then we chatted for like 2 hrs, and I was over it. He’s a fellow workaholic, so I cut him some slack. Then I emailed my friend A (aka my pre-Bubbey college crush). He replied immediately, and we’re going to try and meet up the next time he’s in SF for business (this month). We’ll see whether that materializes. Finally, I emailed my college roommie, sending her belated bday wishes. No reply. No response also to my housewarming/Xmas gift.

    Thankfully, around this same time, my friend JB emailed me on Easter, my friends J&J texted about grandpa, MK emailed about stuff I revealed in my blog, my Duke nonprofit class bud sent me a text, and my ex-boss R emailed me with some pics of his new kitties. I really appreciated the thoughtful notes. The universe really keeps changing tides. Maybe there’s something about the full moon.

    Btw, have you noticed that I am drawn to people whose names start with J! The count is up to 8!

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