Monthly Archives: May 2015

May
26
  • Peruvian Posse in NorCal

    I’d been in a funk lately. For me, the telltale signs are mostly related to my inactivity: I stop doing all my hobbies, so no exercising, no craft clubs, no wool felting, no ktv, no ukulele, and no planning. For Memorial Day weekend, my buddy P and her clan from Peru (as well as her new beau) were traveling to the Bay Area. For a few weeks beforehand, she’d been trying to see if J and I would be in town, but the most I was willing to commit to was that they were welcome to stay at our house, but we weren’t sure if we were going to head out of town on a way overdue QT trip or what. Well finally, the week of, I confirmed that indeed we were sticking around. Normally, I’d be super excited and enthusiastic. After all, I’d met her sister a few years back, and we also traveled together in NYC. This time around, her sis now has a cute baby girl in tow, and this trip would also be my first time meeting P’s new man C… but I just wasn’t feeling my usual level of energy and anticipation. And the last time P and I were together, we had put Remy down during her visit. Yes, I was def due to for a new, happier last memory.

    So yeah, I didn’t plan a damn thing for their arrival and stay. But you know what? It all worked out just fine. I mean, the weekend was packed, and the Houseboat was definitely at max capacity (five adult guests + an 18-month old) with seven adults total, a dog, and a baby. But the most important thing is that we had a great time! And turns out, the time with friends, some traveling, some wine, and beautiful destinations helped get me out of my head a little. We didn’t have much private time to catch up, but I was glad to see P happy. Her beau is handsome, attentive, considerate, and reliable. I’m comforted knowing that she’s with someone who seems like a good, caring person.

    Other observations: the crew arrived Friday night. Immediately, I noticed the very different cultural differences re: family interactions. Whenever I visit with my family, things are super low-key, serious, quiet, and mellow. OMG, the Peruvians are hyper, chatty, and uber animated! First, P was doting over the baby like crazy. Baby M is very cute but still. P was gushing all over her, speaking to her a million miles a minute in Spanish. Then, P and her sister are so sweet together. I mean, clearly very close. The total opposite of me and Johnny. Families can be so different.

    On Saturday, the clan headed up to SF for Alcatraz and Fisherman’s Wharf. J and I stayed home. I don’t know what we did. Just hung around and took Marty to the park I think. At night, the group returned for dinner. We BBQed, and her beau’s friends came over from Sunnyvale. That all went pretty well except that after midnight, most everyone seemed beat and ready for bed, but the guests would NOT leave. I mean, we had people rolling out the foam mattress in the living room and someone else was falling asleep on the couch, and still, the guests didn’t get the hint. Very odd.

    Finally, on Sunday, we all headed up to Napa. Damn, that place is expensive, but shit, so freaking beautiful. Another fun day: we hit up some wineries I’d never visited before… on the advice of P’s friend who used to live in Napa. Nice finds, and I’m going to remember them for my next batch of out-of-towners. Another very long day, where we got home after dark. Then another friend of theirs came over and stayed awhile. J and I retired to the bedroom to rest, and then we zonked out. Man, all that social interaction and traveling is exhausting for introverts like us!

    On Monday, we hit up Sausalito. We had some BBQd oysters from Fish, right along the water. Pretty tasty. Yeah, we did a lot that weekend. But now we need a vacation from the holiday weekend.

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May
17
  • Doggie Daycare

    Last Saturday, I received a text message from my realtor friend. D and I were in close contact five years ago when we bought our house, but since then, she herself moved, had two kids, adopted a dog, and got preggers with her third child. After she had her two boys, we kinda just fell out of touch. As I mentioned in an earlier post, she frequently hosted big parties and sometimes invited me over for family/kiddie time, but it just didn’t feel like the right “season” for our friendship. Whatever.

    So her text last week basically told me she was due the next day with her third child, and her dog sitter had bailed due to a medical issue in her family. Could I take her 85-lb, 3 y/o lab for a week or two while she gave birth and had time to bond with the family? First of all, to be honest, I have a slight bad taste in my mouth bc in the three years that they have had the dog, they have tried at least twice to give him away. Annoying. I mean, everyone knows labs are a crazy amount of work. Sure, there’s the whole glorified Old Yeller scenario: how cute would it be to have a puppy and my child grow up together, blah, blah, blah. Yeah, maybe I feel like them adopting him in the first place was a bit irresponsible. Like, have a better understanding of what you’re getting yourself into regarding parenting (multiple kids) and pet adoption. But whatever. Not everything can be fully anticipated. That’s life. So long story short, I replied that John just returned (two days prior) from a month away dealing with elder care issues, and we were already dogsitting his sister’s dog. We could possibly do Wednesday after that dog went home and then see. I had a dog sitter recommendation for her, but minutes later, I felt like that wasn’t a viable option due to my sitter having three dogs of her own plus living in a 500 sf apartment.

    So for some illogical, emotional reason, I thought back to last fall when Martin was having all his kidney and bladder issues, and I had to ask like ten people about dog sitting for our trip to Taiwan. It was so stressful worrying about finding him a place. So I said to D that we could have the three dogs meet that afternoon and then see. So they came over, the non-Martin dogs were a bit growly. We all walked over to the park to get them acclimated, and the lab was HYPERSPAZ. Panting so loudly I couldn’t even hear the conversation, and just super energetic. Like thinking back to Remy and Martin’s younger years, I can’t even remember seeing a dog with so much energy and strength. Thirty minutes later, despite realizing that he’s going to be a ton of work, J and I agreed to take him. Then they schlepped in all his shit: a huge bag of dog food, a monster tote of supplies and toys, and then a 4 x 2 crate (formerly Martin’s airline crate). All plopped in my small family room. And yes, I had just deep cleaned my house that morning– mopped, vacuumed, everything. Fucking A. It’s one of those moments where you kinda don’t want to do something, but you do it bc you feel it needs to be done. Afterwards, there’s a tinge of regret. But whatever. We agreed and that’s that.

    Now it’s one week later. B is a very sweet dog. John’s sister’s dog went home on Wednesday, and we’re down to two again. B and Martin are fine together. With J now on leave of absence from work, having B is helpful for giving us routine: up early to walk them and play fetch, etc. He slobbers and drools all over our wood floors when he drinks, and he sheds like crazy, but he’s really growing on me. He is eager to please, and the panting is subsiding somewhat. Maybe he is feeling more settled now. But the thing that really bugs me is, he’s been with us for a week. Not ONCE have we heard from the family. No text checking in 24 hrs later to see if the THREE dogs were doing ok together. No text asking if B is ok, if WE are ok, if the arrangement is still acceptable for us. I mean, no, we don’t have kids, but hell, there is a LOT going on in our lives right now. The elder care shit, even if we aren’t there in MD, is a huge mental worry. J not working, though financially feasible, is still something we are trying to figure out. We have decided to sell our house in Virginia bc the property management company SUCKS. I had to get our current roof here in MV repaired, and the work didn’t resolve the issue. Meanwhile, work is busy. I had a dream last night that my father died. I mean, there’s a lot emotionally and mentally that is going on. And all this time, while there is no inquiry with her dog, on FB, there are all these posts about winning recognition awards, the baby being late, the baby finally coming, and then the baby is here (but please, no visitors), photo shoot day, etc. WTF, people? Congrats on your baby. I get that parenthood is intense, but please, spare me the entitlement:

    Thanks for calls and messages. I cannot get to them just yet. Lots of after pains for mommy… But baby is doing well. Please no visitors yet… Road to recovery has no shortcuts. Feel free to drop off a meal or pick up boys, especially B, to spend a couple of hours in the park. We cannot wait to share our new bundle of joy and her story with you all soon. Please keep sending your healing energy and prayers…

    I can’t help but feel disappointed. Maybe I would give some more slack if these words were for close friends only, but for all? It’s a bit much, and frankly, pretty self-centered. In the end, I got sucked in. I responded to a perceived urgency. It’s my own damn fault. And to be clear, the scenario wasn’t the same as J and me leaving the country and needing dog care. The baby wasn’t even born yet! Whatever. I’m not going to use B like some pawn that gets shuttled back and forth from sitter to sitter. He’s already an anxious dog.

    Oh well. My Peruvian posse is visiting for Memorial Day: four adults and one baby plus J, Martin, and me. It’s gonna be a full house on the houseboat. We’ll have B until then, and then he’ll have to go back. Hopefully, ten days will be sufficient for baby bonding and re-acclimation.

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May
15
  • Livin’ La Vida Loca in Miami

    Oh shit, my blogging is all out of whack. I never wrote a recap of Miami…

    My college bud J and I had a great time catching up in Miami. He flew in for less than 48 hours, but we did and saw a ton. And that’s kinda how he likes to roll. Several years ago, John and I met up with him in Austin for a 3-day weekend. We travel very well together: a lot of hanging out over meals, walking around, checking out parks, and then finding local food joints and music spots. Incidentally, J was telling me how this trip was oddly meant to be: in March, he had entered and won the NCAA bball office pool, and Duke won this year, so this last minute splurge was our little toast to Duke! Haha, who knew the alma mater would pay us back this way?

    So Thursday night, he got in pretty late. We hit up a local bar and scarffed down uber greasy mac and cheese and other unhealthy bar food. Then we chatted all the way home. Eventually, he crashed but I was still wired, up til 4a!! The next morning, I was sooo tired but I was up at the crack of dawn doing work remotely. Some huge donor announcement where everyone at the school was freaking out for no damn reason. Seriously, I did my parts and then all morning long, while I was trying to pay attention in the sessions, the boss kept sending me text messages and this and that. I was getting so annoyed, again, with this feigned importance. 

    The sessions wrapped around noon; I went back up to the room and then J was stressing about not working Friday afternoon. See? I told you we’re both fucking workaholics. I ended up taking a nap, bc I was so damn tired. And he was glad to squeeze in a few more hours of work. Finally, at like 5p, we were ready to hit up South Beach. Except that the front desk told us rush hour traffic across the bridge was no joke. Ugh! So instead, we decided to walk from the Financial District north towards the bridge (7 miles). We stopped at a park or two and then grabbed happy hour bites along the waterfront. The funny thing about J is that he works for a tech/software company, but he’s super low tech. Never once when we were hanging out did he ever bust out his Blackberry. It was initially a little weird considering phones are so damn ubiquitous in Silicon Valley, but after awhile, it was refreshing to actually have someone’s undivided attention. Wow, imagine that.

    We talked a lot about work and life. He hates his work, and yet many years in, he’s still there doing patent law. He’s terribly unhappy, and the high stress and long hours have taken a toll: he appears thinner than the last time I saw him, and he looks tired. It really made me wonder: why is life such a goddamn conundrum for so many people? I feel like we’re all smart, driven, and resourceful individuals, and yet we just can’t seem to get this shit right. And while we procrastinate and flounder grinding through day to day, we only prolong the damage and self destruction. I know money is necessary for survival: it affords us security and flexibilty and freedom, plus so many material comforts. It’s critical, but how much and at what cost? Meanwhile time just keeps ticking…

    I worry about my friend. At times, I listen to him and I see this miserable picture. He’s single: paid off his school loans, doesn’t have debt, no spouse/sig other, no kids. If ANYone could up and leave and try something entirely new, it seems he would be that person. But as he explains, being an attorney has exacerbated his already worrisome and neurotic nature. Working in law, he’s constantly planning against things going wrong, protecting for worst-case scenarios. Consequently, risk is now something that is scarier than ever to him, bc he has to zone in on it and obsess over it in his daily work. J has always had an enormously high threshold for pain, but somehow I feel like he’s nearing a tipping point. I am hopeful that he will break the cycle soon.

    Other incidents in South Beach: we arrived around 7:30p. I threw off my shoes and walked on the beach, headed for the water. Aahh, so much warmer than back West. There were lots of hard bodies in SB. I think there was a CrossFit class going on also. Take it easy, meatheads. For dinner, we hit up a local Cuban chain restaurant, where I ordered a super tasty chicken special. The meat had been slow cooked for like 30 hrs. 

    Interestingly, my entire time in Florida, I wanted to try Lyft, the Uber competitor. My buddy D recently used the service and loved it. He sent me a referral link with a $20 credit. I’ve never actually used Uber myself. I don’t like their vibe: the CEO is an asshole. I read something recently where he gave some inappropriate/lame response to an incident where a female passenger was driven somewhere remote and raped by the driver. So yeah, I was stoked to try Lyft and I figured having a buddy would be the perfect opportunity to give the service a try. Nope, J flat out refused on grounds that it was not legit and too risky. Yup, a total glimpse into what he had revealed earlier. No Lyft for me this time.

    On Saturday, we got up early to hit up Vizcaya House and Gardens, some part-time home for a wealthy agriculture industrialist from a long time ago. I really like historic mansions with gardens. The architecture of this one felt a little on the creepy, decrepit side, but the property location was stellar: right there on the water. As I prepared to leave for the hotel then airport, I received a message that my flight was delayed 2 hours. Fine, we walked around a bit more and then instead of cabbing back to the hotel, we took the free Miami trolley. Yeah, we figured out the route and schedule NOT by looking shit up with our phones but by reading the posted schedules and guidelines at the busstop!! Kicking it old school.

    The rest of the day was pretty long. The delayed flight was even MORE delayed (no explanations from AA and we sat on the tarmac forEVER), causing me to arrive in SFO too late to get Marty. Yup, another night with the sitter.

    Overall though, Miami was a productive and fun trip. I learned a lot at the conference; I made some contacts; I got shit done; and we squeezed in a ton of fun activities. Oh, I almost forgot to give a shoutout to my bud E, who met up for dinner and drinks my very first night there. E and I met two years ago at the BlogHer conference. She runs the genius MommyMafia blog, which btw has taken off crazy in two very short years. E is originally from southern California, but she’s been in Miami for a decade plus (??) now. We’ve been in touch on and off since we first met (we met up for BlogHer last year in San Jose), so when I was on her turf, she was sweet enough to meet up for dinner at a Peruvian spot (where she was sweatin’ our waiter Ramses), and then she showed me around the famous Delano Hotel in South Beach. That’s where we sipped champagne sitting at a table IN the pool. I also admired the beautiful flowy white curtains in the hotel lobby and imagined that I was in the Ricky Martin video that was shot there years ago. :) It was so fun seeing E again. I can honestly say that the Vicky from a few years back would never have reached out to someone I’d met at an event and asked her to hang out. But I’m glad that I adopted some new game-changing practices from my yearlong sabbatical. We had a great time, and I hope the next time she’s in the Bay Area, she’ll hit me up!

    As for my buddy J, we’ll see how things go for him at work over the next several months… Who knows, maybe he’ll surprise me like he did by agreeing to meet up last minute in Florida!

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May
3
  • The Mathematics of Friendship

    You know that phrase, “Any friend of yours is a friend of mine”? Yeah, it sounds lovely and all, but you know what? That shit is NOT TRUE.

    The thing is, whether we want to admit it or not, relationships are one-to-one: just because person A clicks with person B and person B clicks with person C, that doesn’t mean A connects with C. What’s that rule in mathematics? Commutative or associative? I can’t remember. In math, regrouping the elements (like in multiplication) doesn’t necessarily change the result, but with friendships, groupings can vary. I remember, as a kid, my friendships were so chock full of drama. For example, N and I were buds; J and I were buds; But N and J were NOT buds. Even as a kid, I noticed the ridiculousness of having to manage multiple, discrete worlds.  It felt needlessly political, complicated, and quite honestly, a huge waste of time (it was eating into my study time!). Oftentimes too, I was the odd one out: T was friends with me and C, but C and I didn’t click. “Sharing” a friend didn’t bother me too much, except for those times when I felt deliberately excluded and I had FOMO (fear of missing out). In college, the multiple, yet separate circles got even more extreme. But the good news is that eventually, I just didn’t mind being excluded. I guess you could say I got comfortable with being uncomfortable. I mean, we did our things together, but heck, my friends roamed wild. They had great, fun experiences with their friends in other cliques. Likewise, so did I. In the end, I came to see that maybe this is how it’s supposed to be all along: Sometimes, we can all play in the sandbox. Other times, we’re on the jungle gym with these people, jumping rope with these other people, and playing kickball with a third set of people. And people can move around, and create a new equilibrium. This laissez-faire approach can work out pretty well with people governing themselves and feeling out what works for them.

    That said, there’s definitely a balance with friendships, weighing effort vs. ease. I feel like I expend a lot of effort, but there is also a natural ease. Like, there’s effort with planning and with communicating, but an ease in comfort and familiarity…which makes things worthwhile.

    Sometimes, I’ve noticed there’s discrepancy between people’s personalities “on paper” and how they are IRL (in real life). A few years ago, my buddy D started dating this lady who, on paper, sounded absolutely amazeballs. I could not wait to meet her, bc I was so sure we would get along. After all, D was my bud, and he thought the world of her. Sadly, IRL? The complete opposite! I thought she was the most boring person ever, and Jesus Christ, she had so many goddamn rules about everything– what to wear inside the house, outside the house, what/where to eat, on and on!! After she entered the picture, D and I stopped being friends. Somehow, the ease was gone: we rarely hung out with him solo and hanging with her required so much damn effort with her overkill “stipulations.”

    That kind of segues into the next question: how much do you tolerate your good friend’s bud/spouse/sig other/child? On one hand, to some extent, respecting someone who is important to your friend is a form of honoring your friendship. But what if that person does some annoying shit? What if, in your ideal world, you would prefer NOT to spend time with that person?

    Seriously, what’s the protocol? Do you
    A) Suck it up?
    B) Subtly limit interaction, so you mostly spend time with your friend solo?
    C) Make some kind of PC comment that illustrates your disappointment in his/her behavior (but not the person)?
    D) Honestly explain that you don’t particularly like the other person, and you would prefer to just do things one-on one?

    Am I overthinking? Probably. That’s what happens when I get a lot of me time, and Bubbey’s not around to flesh out these mental exercises with me.

    In general, I consider myself a pretty laid-back friend. I don’t get jealous about my friends having other friends, another life, and/or doing fun things without me. I really don’t care about being included or excluded, probably bc I’m pretty good about enjoying my personal time and/or staying busy. That said, when I plan/organize parties for a special occasion, I frequently mix my circles, because we’re all adults and I’m not going to overthink or micromanage who gets along with whom. I determine the guest list, and I’m fucking unapologetic about it. If people are uncomfortable with the other attendees, they always have an out: they’re welcome to skip out. No questions asked.

    And I’ve definitely been on both the host and invitee sides of the equation. For example, my realtor friend used to always invite me to big parties with her friends (clients), or she always wanted to do family meetings instead of one-on-one. I didn’t really click with any of her other guests at a few of her parties, and then the joint time with her kiddies was so-so, so I started just declining on all those invites. I don’t expect her to throw multiple small parties to accommodate me, but at the same time, she shouldn’t have expectations for me to attend all the group crap. Anyway, for some reason, I’ve been chewing on these topics recently. Guess it all boils down to choices and choosing how to spend time.

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