Monthly Archives: February 2016

  • Seeing Us in Them

    I dunno about you, but I often see myself in other people. Sure, the other people might be celebrities on tv or characters in a fictional movie/play, but that’s beside the point. While John was in NYC last week, I indulged in a ton of Fixer Upper. Like most shows, FU follows a formula and the project design aesthetic (modern farmhouse) is pretty the same from episode to episode… Still, I love the show: every house still turns out amaze-balls, and despite J and I’s obvious differences from the Gaines (CA vs. TX; no kids vs. 4 kids; tech vs. creative/handy), I see so much of us in them. First, let’s just put it out there: You gotta love the “peaches and cream” element. Hurray for mixed-race couples! But it also cracks me up when Joanna is trying to be all business and serious, and then Chip stands next to her and goofs off. Even the way he behaves kinda reminds me of Bubs. I was thinking today about the person I was 20 years ago: holy shit, super straight arrow and tight. ass. Very rigid, unforgiving, self-righteous, and hyper judgmental. I mean, I had good qualities in there, but there was a lot of attitude. But Bubbey, man. He always had a way of making me chill the fuck out and crack a smile. On so many occasions, he de-escalated a hysterical, raging mad, pissed off vgou (triggered by family, of course). The power of his magic, I tell ya.

    So yeah, in one of the last episodes, Joanna was talking to the camera and Chip was standing next to her doing this bumping and grinding motion. Even when she sometimes get annoyed with him, he’ll just do something to make her laugh. So in this episode, he got up next to her and started pumping his hands in the air. No joke, Bubbey has pulled shit like that! I also love how Chip and Joanna are a team. I mean, J and I have never worked together professionally (He says he’s an asshole at the office, but I don’t believe him), but I feel like we complement each other pretty well, similar to Chip and Joanna. It’s this idea that we all have our strengths and weaknesses… and sometimes two people mesh and things click. Ok sorry, not trying to ooze with sap here.

    On the flip side, I can also really get into relationship movies. I remember how much I loved The Breakup and The Story of Us. I once told a couple friend that The Breakup was one of my favorite movies, and the dude totally disagreed, saying how much he hated it. He hated how they treated each other and hated the ending, but I felt like the relationship was so real and the ending was even more realistic, without the typical Hollywood fluff ending. When Bubs and I weren’t jiving years ago, we entered such a bad zone. The blame, the resentment, the frustration and miscommunication, the unspoken words, the expectations, the misinterpretations… it is a royal fucking mess. But I learned so much about love and respect and ultimately about not having to be right all the damn time. That last bit is still hard for me, but sometimes Bubbey just gets to have the last word.

    I don’t know that there is a point to all this rambling. I guess I’ve just been thinking about relationships lately, maybe with all the celeb breakups and that irksome show The Bachelor. One thing is for sure: if you’re a celeb couple, don’t be hiring any young, hot nannies. As qualified and competent as they may be, the dudes just cannot seem to keep their junk in the goddamn trunk. Seriously. Jude Law, David Beckham, Gavin Rossdale, Ben Affleck, the list goes on. Theoretically, I don’t think any of that should matter: kinda like rape. No matter what the hell a woman is wearing, if she doesn’t consent, it’s rape. By a similar token, no matter who is around you, you’re married. Back the fuck off. Sigh. If only people kept things that black and white.

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  • Raunch Overload

    So there’s been a common theme with me lately… everywhere I turn, I’m faced with major raunch. Is this how the world has always worked and I’m only seeing it now, or maybe it really is just me? First, dance class continues to be ridiculous. Tonight was my very last class, and I’m kind of relieved to be honest. Surprisingly, I kept up with the routine today, but man, teach is just too much for me. For reals. The final step was basically this move where my weight is on the right foot and the left knee is bent with the left foot pointed on the ground and then there are five hip thrusts with the feet staying in place. I had some trouble getting this movement down (I basically just kept bending my right knee), so I asked him to go over it again. Big. mistake. Holy fuck. He lifts that left leg up as if it’s on an imaginary chair and then again, he says, “You know, imagine you and hubby are going at it and uh, uh, uh, yeah, get in there deep!” WHAAAATTTT??? OMG. I was so embarrassed. I don’t even know how to respond other than to make a nervous laugh, shake my head, and cover my eyes. Holy crap. Are gay dudes really this sex obsessed???

    Then yesterday, K and I went to a relationship play. It’s been forever since I got my theater on, so I was really stoked about catching this production at a small black box theater in San Jose. The play was Closer, based on that movie from a few years back starring Jude Law, Clive Owen, Natalie Portman, and Julia Roberts. In retrospect, it was a fucked up movie with a lot of mind games and dysfunction. Somehow I just got caught up with all the good reviews and I dunno, I also forgot that the Clive Owen character was a sex/porn addict. Needless to say, we’re in this small theater with like 20 other people (mostly bluehairs– typical), and suddenly a scene begins showing an online chat dialog on the projection screen. It’s a chat convo for a sex forum. OMFG. The language. The raunch!! The c word, the p word, everything crass and more! And then there’s this old couple in the row in front of ours where the woman can’t read the text on the screen, so her hubby starts reading her the lines. Holy. shit. I about died. The thing is, I’ve found so many damn winners through Goldstar, but every single time K and I do a Goldstar activity, it’s a fucking dud. Argh, what a fail!

    Meanwhile on the homefront, Bubs is in NYC this week for work, which means I have full control of the tv. Holy crap, there is a ton of shit on the airwaves. Of course, I enjoyed KUWTK. I don’t watch the Kardashians consistently, but when I do, I enjoy it. I know they have a lot of haters, but I dunno: there’s something curious/intriguing about their tight family and about all their moguling. I mean, they have their brand EVERYWHERE. They can’t be total bimbos to amplify that shit all over the damn place. Plus, it’s one show that doesn’t get me all stressed out. 

    In addition to the Kdashes, I recently discovered there is a Real Housewives of Potomac. I only watched the Atlanta one ocassionally a few years back ,but I was curious about this one since well, I’m from Maryland. Oddly enough, I learned yesterday that the cast is predominantly black, which is def not how I picture the demographic of Potomac, where Bub’s oldest sister lives…

    Tonight, I came home and the tv was already tuned to the Bachelor. I have to say, I have not watched a single episode of this show, bc the premise just makes me so fucking angry. Apparently, in tonight’s episode, he’s like meeting the families of the four remaining women. Are these women for real? I mean, how can you keep insisting that your connection with the dude is so authentic and that it’s “real love” when you KNOW he is multi-timing you!! I mean, it’s so standard that the guy hooks up with like every single chick on the show from the beginning!!! Ugh. This show disgusts me. And then when the parents are like talking to him and asking him questions, he never even gives specific, genuine answers. Like “Why are you interested in my daughter? How is she different from the other ladies?” And he just gives generic answers, like “From the moment I met her, I just felt a connection.” Puhlease. 

    Wow, holy crap. With the last family, the two brothers just grilled him hard!! But then the parents were all empathetic, saying the bachelor is in a tough spot. Really? You’re going to feel bad for a dude who plays 20 women at the same time??? OMG. Why do people do this show? WTF??? Of course, I will watch this episode to the end bc I have to give it a full review. Haha. Btw, how can these women say that he has all the qualities that they want? Is one of those qualities being a player?? Every single one of the four women says she’s in love with him… after TWO single dates and a few group dates. Fucking tards. Married at First Sight is so much better than this crap. Off to bed early to clear my mind of all this raunch. Tomorrow’s a new fresh day, I hope. Clean slate.

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  • Furniture Feud

    In other news, I am feuding with Crate & Barrel. In my classic firm and nice kind of way. :) You see, five years ago, we bit the bullet and purchased the gorgeous, mid-century Petrie sofa. Considering our history with free, Craiglist, or Costco furniture, this was a big deal. The couch arrived and it was beautiful, BUT from the very beginning, the fucking buttons on the bottom cushions kept popping off. Mind you, Remy and Martin never got on the furniture. And we don’t have kids. And we hardly have guests compared to our old apartment in San Mateo. The buttons would sometimes catch on our jeans back pockets but other times, they would just pop off. The first time, I called and the store sent a furniture medic to repair. He came out. Fixed. The medic told me it happened all the time with those couches. It happened again, like within a month. I felt bad about calling (why?), so I waited until like 4 buttons came off, and we flipped the cushions. The second time, the store agreed to send another medic. Fixed. A month or two later, the buttons popped off again. Again, I felt bad and just waited. Now I have seven buttons that have popped off the dang thing. And I’m just annoyed. So I called the store and explained. Yes, I know it’s five years old. But this has been a recurring problem from the beginning when it was brand new. I admit, I got lazy about calling. But I want it fixed. Back and forth. They say this is their first time hearing about this issue with this couch, as if to imply that I am the only person. Puhleeze, your own repair dude told me it was a common issue!! They put me in touch with the medic company and said repair would be on my own dime. I contacted the medic plus other upholstery folks. Estimated $100-300 for repair. I then go online and several sites have commenters complaining about the damn buttons for the Petrie. Now I’m kinda pissed.

    Last week, we decided to just get another couch– this time a sectional that is wider and without buttons. But I still want this old one fixed! So now I’ve ordered the new sectional (we’ve had good luck with CB2, even though they are a subsidiary of C&B), but I asked furniture customer service to reconsider repair on my Petrie. They advised that I call the C&B store again where I bought the Petrie. Today, the agent says she’ll discuss my case with the manager again and let me know tomorrow. Here’s the thing. Last time when I had to call Verizon about charging me for like 11 months of cell service that I never used (I thought my account had been closed), they kept bringing up why hadn’t I noticed the monthly charge on my card, and I kept beating myself up about it falling through the cracks. But then my friend G said: don’t let them shame you into thinking it’s your fault. Tmobile told you they canceled your number, and now Verizon is charging you full when they can see that you never used ANY of the service! I feel like C&B is trying to do something similar here. As if to suggest that I am being dishonest or whatever. It’s not easy to call and ask for something. And they certainly don’t make it easy. In all honesty, who wants to bother or trouble someone else? But I really do feel like this is a product flaw. Anyway, we’ll see what they suggest tomorrow and go from there. Frankly, I think they should offer giving me bottom cushions without buttons and be done with it. Fuck man, consumer advocate Vgou is not backing down!

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  • On the Mend

    Mid February is a festive time of year, primarily bc of Chinese New Year, but also bc there’s Valentine’s Day (if you celebrate that made-up marketing holiday) and Presidents’ Day (= day off from work). Of course, as my luck would have it, February is also the one time of the year that my body likes to shut the fuck down. Waay down. Yup, my CNY party got canceled (again!), bc I returned from Long Beach and caught a cold. Admittedly, I am the world’s worst sick person: as soon as I feel one teensy bit better, I overdo it, and then my body revolts. So yeah, my Chinese New Year party got canceled (after I bought most of the ingredients for an extensive menu). I gave in and decided to give myself the long holiday weekend to recover. By Monday, I thought I was back on the up and up. Then, that evening I went to hip hop class 3. Since it was a holiday, none of the kids showed up, and it was just four adults with a new routine again (every two weeks!), and holy fuck there were a gabillion steps! We started with warm ups, and almost immediately, my head started feeling dizzy and light headed. I thought I was going to faint and/or throw up. And then, we started into the routine. This dude is too much into the sexy moves. I mean, I know hip hop has a lot of bumping and grinding, but why can’t we learn moves that are more non-sexual bboy/Missy Elliot style, you know? Whatever. So this new routine starts off with three body rolls and wtf, Robot Vix couldn’t even do those. Teacher was all like, “Think of sexy time with the hubby.” He is too much. And there must have been twice as many steps as our previous routines. I couldn’t even remember them all. Usually, after I get home, I write down key words to remind myself of the steps. You know, like butt sways, swivel, hip swirl, shake dice, etc. Nope. All gone. No frickin’ clue. Chock it up to being sick. One class left, and then if I ever learn hip hop again, it’s going to be online.

    The next day, I was feeling sore from the one hour of dance. I know, I’m pathetic. Still, I was determined to be productive. The elfa closet installer arrived promptly at 8 am, and he worked until about 2 pm. While he was here, I got to working on the monster trash pile that had accumulated the last several months by the shed. There was all that demo waste from when Bubbey took down the shelving and paneling in the garage. Then, there was household junk, and since we had a few big storms, everything was soggy and sopping wet. It was disgusting. I had scheduled Wednesday for the city’s “On Call Plus” special curbside pickup service, and since I like to follow instructions, I had to remove a shit ton of nails from everything and then stack the shelving on the curb and bundle old drywall and panel pieces into bags. Bubbey had started already on some of the bagging but they were supposed to be < 50 lbs. Most were way heavier, esp since now they were wet. So I had to move crap around from old bags to new bags. Long story short, mucking around in all that junk triggered my allergies. Big. Time. I could NOT stop sneezing. I’m sure the closet installer was like, wtf is wrong with this lady? Needless to say, I got most of the junk cleared out. And I think I earned my stripes, bc the utility crew working on the house next door made some comment like, “You sure are working hard for a Tuesday!” Yeah dude, I am on a mission.

    On Wednesday, I felt like shit again. This time, my body was even more sore and I was too exhausted to get out of bed. I stayed in bed until noon and then I went out to check on the junk, and it was all still there. I started getting worried that maybe they weren’t going to take it all. Maybe I didn’t get all the nails out or the stuff was supposed to be boxed instead of stacked? I went back to bed. By 3, I got up and thankfully, everything was gone: the 9′ tall wooden shelf, the screen door, the bags, the wood, the old cast iron grates, all of it! Yay. Now I think one more On Call Plus should do the trick and then, we are done!!

    By evening, I was feeling better but starving. Bubbey’s been super busy with work, so I had a minor pity party about being sick and being left alone to die. Yeah, drama. queen. Then, I figured I needed to save myself. So that CNY duck got roasted up. Like I told my father many years ago, “I can put my own bread on the table.” Get it, girl. Duck came out amazeballs. And then I even did a killer job carving that bird up. Yeah!


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  • Sleepless Nights

    So after losing three days (and counting) to sickness, I can’t sleep again. The mind is just overwhelmed right now. The recent good news? I learned two helpful tidbits yesterday from my side hustles. A few weeks ago, after upgrading our cable box to Xfinity X1 (same cost but better technology), our receiver suddenly stopped putting out sound. Mind you, we got this thing in 2012 and Bubbey didn’t know why it went kaput. I looked up the warranty and even with the Visa/Amex automatic extended warranty of 1 year, it was def beyond the coverage period. So Bubbey just bought a different one. The old one got relegated to the garage, and then this week, I finally shot a pic and posted it on Freecycle. Well as with most electronics, I got a ton of response. The next day, I set it outside labeled for the first person to come get it. Soon after, I received an email from someone else who said this is a known issue with Onkyo receivers from that period: Onkyo will fix the defect for free and extend the original warranty. I clicked on the link and sure enough, my model qualified. Had this Freecycler not informed me, how the hell was I supposed to know about this option? I’m usually pretty good about looking up warranties etc. And even after going to the Onkyo support page, there wasn’t any kind of obvious recall/factory callback. This person could have easily collected my receiver for free and then turned around and gotten it fixed for free, scoring himself a $450 receiver, so I was thankful and thrilled that s/he shared the knowledge. I dunno how this person might have stumbled on the info: perhaps s/he also had a faulty unit? I dunno, but yay!

    The second thing I learned? I sold Bubbey’s electric shaver system with the auto-cleaning feature on EBay. I included the alcohol-based cleaning cartridge and got the package all ready for shipping until I realized that the cleaning solvent is flammable. I tried to figure out online what the volume limitations might be for shipping flammable liquids… No clear information. Finally, I had to go in person to the post office and even the clerks had to look up that shit. Confusing but I was pleased to learn that at that volume (5 oz) and in that packaging (a sealed plastic cartridge), I was good to proceed. Interestingly though, there are potentially restrictions on like perfume and aerosols and stuff. Who knew? I’m building my repertoire of shipping knowledge for more optimal EBay store operation in the future! Btw, I really need to up my shipping costs. I always just guesstimate a fixed cost, and I get screwed every. damn. time. Note to self: double the shipping from what I think it’ll be.

    In other news, last night was probably one of the worst nights. I slept in my office bed, bc I didn’t want to get Bubbey sick. In the middle of the night, Marty typically goes in and out of his doggie door. At some point, I was awoken by a sudden thud. I thought maybe it was an intruder. I called out to Bubbey who was in the bedroom. I asked if he heard that and what was the noise. He barely uttered a reply. For some reason, I started getting a little freaked out… But seeing as Bubbey went back into a deep slumber, I ventured out alone into the living room. I looked around and didn’t see Marty. But something felt or seemed amiss. I then heard loud panting. Marty had collapsed by the doggie door, and he was lying in a pool of urine with drool around his head. WTF. His whole body was limp. I was speaking to him and kinda saying to Bubbey that something was wrong and that something happened. Bubbey still didn’t hear me. WTF, dude??? Wake up!! Jesus Christ.

    Having seen something similar with Remy in her old age, I suspected that Marty had had a seizure and collapsed by the door. He was so tired. Earlier in the day, he had seemed especially lethargic, but I thought it was from his lack of sleep and arthritis in his back legs. Maybe those were signs? Bubbey finally came over and he lifted Marty up and put him in his bed. Oh man. The only other time he ever had a seizure was when we gave him the flea med without food. Old dogs, I tell you. Shit, I hope he isn’t going down the Remy path, bc she started getting seizures in her final months and then in the end, she was getting them like multiple times a day. Eventually, she lost strength in her legs. Fuck.

    This morning, Marty was back to his old self again– wagging the tail and trying to barge through the front door. Maybe it was the new doggie treats? Maybe the non-chicken meat I gave him?  Maybe this is just the aging process. My poor baby. I put him up in my bed in the office today. He slept like a baby.

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  • Getting Organized

    So I’m sick. And of course, I’m sick two days before my Chinese New Year party. Fucking A. I just realized this year that this getting sick business is a recurring pattern with me: invariably, I come down with something following some combination of travel, allergy attacks, and mental stress. My body is a fucking unreliable whimpy-ass mess.

    That said, I should have known better. P has three cats… Two of her own plus one that she fosters. Typically, I pack my own sheets and what not. This time, I was trying to go all minimal. Mistake one. Then, I’ve been doing the saline rinses and have been off allergy meds for a long time. Well, I should have prepped in advance by going back on the meds, bc holy shit, I was sneezing repeatedly with eyes watering nonstop and my throat closing up. We ran out to get Allegra, plus she gave me a new bottle of nasal spray. Things got dramatically better, but shit. I’m sure it compromised my immunity. Couple that with many late sleepless nights… One night we went out on the town (I don’t think I’ve EVER really enjoyed the “see and be seen” thing no matter how much SATC makes it look fun.) The other nights we stayed in, but I was up late reading my book, doing my online course, etc. I know, I don’t know how to fucking re-lax. Meanwhile, when I did finally fall asleep, the cats went bonkers, running all over the apartment, with one meowing and wailing to no end. WTF is wrong? We didn’t know, and he didn’t appear to be in pain. I had a dream the second night, and it was somehow about me uncovering a sex trafficking ring. I woke up heart pounding and breathing hard. I don’t know why I dreamed that. I don’t think I was thinking about it… But it was super disturbing. And fuck man, that is reality.

    My final night in LGB, we went over to her classmate’s Super Bowl party. That’s where I befriended Sadie, the gigantic Great Dane. I like P’s friends, but man, I really hate watching sporting events with people. Mainly, I can’t stand listening to the constant criticism. You know, like people getting mad at the players for making stupid plays or whatever. There’s name calling and then when the athletes cry or look visibly upset, people don’t even care. They say shit like, “Don’t you worry about him: he’s taking home a hefty paycheck.” I mean, totally true but hello, money isn’t the answer to everything. And I dunno. I admire people who care about their jobs and take their work seriously. They want to do well and when they don’t, it’s disappointing. Show some fucking compassion.  And the irony is, the people who are criticizing these athletes are the ones stuffing their faces without an ounce of discipline. Annoying.

    Anyway, her classmate was showing me her leather studio where she designs belts, purses, festival harnesses/phone holsters, and key chains with her neighbor/craft partner, a young college lady whose mom buys all the supplies for them. Long story short, the neighbor’s mother has an entire crazy back story. Like seriously, straight out of the movies: former model in Miami, married a plastic surgeon, he experimented on her, fucked up her face so badly that he wouldn’t let her leave the house for fear of ruining his reputation, so he drugged her and kept her in hiding for YEARS!! I mean, for real. I Googled her story and was so so horrified after that. And then that triggered a whole new cascade of negative thinking about so many things: vanity, shame, abuse, resilience… Why are people so crazy and evil?

    Meanwhile, I haven’t even been following politics lately but wth, Trump won NH?!?!?! The world is just too much. So instead of getting myself into a hysterical tizzy/vortex, I’m trying to redirect my anxiety around menial shit like getting organized. The garage has mostly come together. I still need to get rid of extra junk but between EBay, Freecycle, donations, and garbage, I am seeing some progress– slow and steady.

    Yesterday, I almost posted Marty’s big crate for sale, but thankfully, I had the foresight to consider my post-Marty doggie and shit, I might need to crate train. Shrug. Then there’s all that demo waste still on the side of the house. I called a junk removal vendor, and the quote was kinda high. Incidentally, I discovered this week that the city gives you three “on call plus” pickups where they will haul your waste from your curb. Free. So of course, I’m now going to do that, but it just means I have to wait until next Wed and then schlep all that crap from the side of my house to the curb. Bags and bags of crap plus demo waste… Maybe I will use our wheelbarrow.

    Inside the house, we are getting our closets redone next week, so that’s exciting but then you gotta clean everything out of there before the crew comes. More schlepping of stuff from one place to another and back. The tedium is almost enough to make me cancel the whole operation. Is this what people do?? I mean, same drill with carpet steaming right? People like move their furniture out and back. I must have a super low threshold for inconvenience. Oh well, suck it up for the closets. The installation is happening after Prez Day, so I’m ready for the more organized phase of “best life.” People say the physical clutter/disorganization contributes to the mental clutter and anxiety, so maybe this will help me not dream about sex trafficking and not hate people. :P

    Ok, my nose is running like a goddamn faucet. Time for a hot drink with honey and apple cider vinegar (trying something new) and a nap.

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  • Lessons in Long Beach

    Empathy and tough love. My friend P. We’re good friends, maybe even kinda like sisters (though I don’t have a real blood sister to truly compare), and yet after a weekend together, I’m feeling a bit tired and eager to get home. I think what drains me and perhaps reinforces just how moderate of an extrovert I truly am, is the emotional support and frequent feedback. I mean, being a friend is hard work!

    She’s at a stressful time in her life. Both of us are women right at 40 or the cusp of 40, so I get all the expectations we and others have for us at this point in our lives. We’re supposed to be confident, settled, accomplished, certain (and of course, still beautiful, intelligent, in shape, whatever…). P and I both made choices that led us down different, somewhat circuitous and unconventional paths, so maybe we lost some time. Then again, no one, including ourselves, really gives a shit about the why. Maybe we’re just in this phase of feeling disappointed and somewhat mournful: we failed to attain our goals by this preset (and yet totally arbitrary) timeline.

    So we were in somewhat sullen moods, but it was good to spend time together. And we did a lot this weekend: we walked along the beach (88 degrees!!), did yoga in the park, went out downtown, made dumplings, toured her campus, met up with friends… Sometimes though, our differences (I’m still a misfit after all) frustrate me. Throw into that, some cultural influences, and I just feel unsettled. See, there I go again, always wanting things to be so damn black and white.

    So P and I had this discussion on Sunday about communication. What if a guy contacts you the day of to see you later that day. Do you agree to see him, or turn him down, saying you have plans even if you don’t? Huh? Is this a real question? I mean, if I want to see someone and I honestly have zero plans, I go.

    Oh hell no! He can’t think a lady is just waiting around for him, being all available. If he wants to date me, he needs to put thought into it and schedule it and make plans.

    Is it just me, or wtf??? I mean, shit. You didn’t have plans. And maybe you should have made the plans if that’s what you wanted. But you didn’t initiate so now someone else does and you’re being critical bc he didn’t plan ahead?? That expectation shit just drives me insane. Stop playing silly games! Life is complicated enough. Saying yes or initiating a meet up doesn’t make you desperate or cheap or easy, unless you go over there and are desperate, cheap, and easy. And then this insistence on complication isn’t even limited to romantic relationships. It often gets applied to friendships too. Who among you are living like this?? Another example: P and I made plans for brunch with her friends who are also good acquaintances of mine. They bailed last minute and P was annoyed that they backed out of plans. It’s brunch, who cares, but she was kinda stressed on how and what to respond. I’m like, we still go to brunch and if they can’t go, we’ll see them another time. Done. She claims her reaction is cultural: if you commit to something, you don’t back out. Um, except that Latinos are notorious for being late, so um, maybe if you commit to something, you should also respect people’s time?? Doesn’t make sense to me. And honestly, I don’t even know why I’m getting so frustrated by this, but I am. Actually, I kinda feel like I’m talking to my mother.

    Later, another friend of P’s invites her and a third person to salsa Saturday night. The third person can’t go, so P says if she were organizing, she would coordinate a different time so everyone could make it, whereas the organizer in this case just said, “Ok, sorry we’ll miss you!” Done. P was kinda surprised by how easy/nonchalant the reaction could be. Obviously, friendships run the gamut:  there ARE different tiers but shit, it’s just plans for a Saturday night among three local friends. I’m not going to accommodate every single person every single time. It’s NOT that important. Even for like a wedding. Do you ask all the guests if they can go and then move the date if they can’t? No. This is the date. Join if you can, but the show goes on regardless. Am I missing something here?

    Maybe this hits on issues of inclusion. As someone who spends a lot of time alone, P wants to be included. I get that. I have been excluded, shunned, uncool, bullied, left out. But at the same time, should the expectation be that others are responsible for including her? No. Change your paradigm about inclusion/exclusion, or initiate your own activities to build your tribe. You don’t get to be passive and then blame others for lacking consideration or empathy. Ugh. Sometimes I think there is just too much hand holding and baby gloving with relationships.

    So yeah, these conversations bugged me, bc we didn’t see eye to eye and something about her stance just felt so unnecessarily limiting. It really reminded me of my mother and how she used to always criticize me for being too dominant or straightforward in my relationships. “Guys want to play the game! Guys want the thrill of the chase.” Uh ok, but I’m not a hunted animal. It was as if she wanted to shame me into being demure and passive. Again, perhaps these are different cultural constructs of gender roles? Ultimately, I think P is just wanting to be true to herself and comfortable in her own skin. Fair enough. But if your way isn’t working and you aren’t getting the outcomes you desire, you have to change your approach. Radical honesty, bitches!

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  • Undecided

    The final week of my job, I had lunch with a former intern. J is a junior journalism student, and she is everything that youth embodies: optimism, promise, energy, enthusiasm. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t begrudge her any of those good things: she’s a smart, cognizant lady who has a great future ahead.

    She was curious about my next plans after this social media stint in higher ed. Sometimes as a supervisor and/or an older adult, I feel like I should be wiser or more responsible and serve as a guide or a mentor. But this particular day, I didn’t know how to couch my response tactfully. I lamented that I worry how social media is changing the way people communicate; for example, I often feel overwhelmed following a gabillion feeds stuffed with content that’s insignificant and unimportant. I currently feel directionless and uncertain. I admire her decisiveness: knowing what she wants and unabashedly exploring journalism in all its various facets. J was incredibly supportive and understanding, even though deep down, I felt somewhat ashamed that as a near 40-y/o I still hadn’t figured out my life. The lunch ended well: I have every confidence that J will continue to do amazing things. She just has that zest and indomitable spirit– something that after wrapping up, I wondered if I ever had.

    The next day, a book was left for me at the front desk. J had dropped off Undecided, with a note saying that our conversation over lunch made her think of this book written by her mentor, a journo prof at the university. I skimmed the early pages and back cover, and I was simultaneously moved and intrigued by my intern’s thoughtfulness. She was really listening when we talked over lunch, and this book seemed pleasantly appropriate.

    This week, I started making some serious progress with the book, and I have to say, it is hitting on so many key themes. In some ways, it generalizes this tendency towards indecision among women Gen Yers, talking a lot about growing up over scheduled and overparented surrounded by an abundance of choice. It talks about a generation of girls being groomed from a very young age, to really believe that every step and every decision they make is of utmost importance. These girls start prepping for the right schools, taking test prep courses, being super involved in extracurriculars. Parents drill into their heads that they can do anything. My parents were certainly very involved with my academics: expectations were definitely high, and I felt tremendous pressure even as a middle schooler to not only excel but also make the right decisions for my future and equally as importantly, to NOT FAIL. Decades later, I can look back and smh at how serious and ridiculous and unrealistic I was. But damn, that habit/obsession/mentality developed over so many years, and clearly, I was/am not the only one. And to this day, my father insists that I made a mistake in taking organic chem my freshman year.

    The book talks also about tying identity to accomplishments under the false or misleading premise that we women can “have it all.” Unfortunately though, the abundance of choice coupled with overstimulation/bombardment of information results in decision fatigue, paralysis, and in turn, an even stronger regret/fear of failure.

    The path forward I think lies somewhere between conserving and prioritizing energies, understanding true opportunity cost, and acknowledging that sometimes you just don’t know until you try. The other tidbit is that everyone’s got their beef. You look at others, and it’s easy to adopt the “grass is greener” mentality, but the cold hard truth is that everyone is dealing with some kind of baggage or bullshit or issue. Life is a constant fucking jumbled mess. Edit and simply where possible to conserve energy for what’s most important, but no matter what, know that life is imperfect and a fucking pain-in-the-ass work in progress.

    So concretely, how does this translate for me?

    * Continue learning to dance or play ukulele or _____, but don’t expect that skill level to be anything close to legit or pro. These activities are just for fun; learn to really embrace that concept.
    * Trim down the media consumption. It takes up too much space and clutters the psyche.
    * Focus and learn new skills in series, not in parallel. Put a stake in the ground and go with it for some time. If that path doesn’t pan out, create a post-mortem to understand why and then put a new stake in the ground and move towards a new path.
    * Know when to apply “good enough.” Maybe the job doesn’t have to be your passion. Maybe the job is meant to just provide routine and structure so your creative brain can thrive during the off-hours. Maybe satisfy your passion through some other means.

    So yeah, obviously, none of these are new concepts: I have certainly held them at some point or another. Or Bubs has given me advice along these lines… Still, the takeaway here is to edit/simplify to narrow focus and minimize decision fatigue, remove the self-imposed timeline/pressure to make the “right” decision, and adopt a growth mindset. Sounds easy enough, right? Ok. Ready, set, go!

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  • At the Club

    So I’m mentally preparing for hip hop class #2 tonight. The first class actually wasn’t as bad as I had expected. There were only about ten students, and 3 or so were adults. Also, even the level of my classmates wasn’t that impressive compared to the other hip hop class I took many years ago. Of course, I still tried real hard to concentrate. Fuck man, no matter how easy the teach claims the movements are, I just have no concept on how to make my body move and contort in those ways. Teach is some white homeboy who’s super tatted up. I know my class is 13 y/o and up and all, but some of the music selection was def questionable for the younger (well and older) end of that spectrum. Seriously, I don’t need to be listening to people moaning and groaning all 2 Live Crew style. And of course, about NONE of the songs were familiar to me; then again, are we surprised? I’m perpetually stuck in the 80s and 90s.

    The first half of class was focused on warm ups, and despite my 15+ months of inactivity, I was able to keep up. Then, we got into the choreography. Damn, that term sounds so legit, right? First move? Squatting to the right side and pumping the upper body. I tried it a number of times: I think I ended up just pumping my arms but not flexing my torso. Fuck, I have no idea. Then homeboy says, “Pump it! Come on, you know, pump it like you’re at the club.” I just stood there and stared at him blankly. Seeing the cluelessness in my face, he proceeds to demonstrate like he is humping an imaginary tree. Dude, I’m here to learn hip hop, not all this trashy bumpin’ and grinding. Fuck, there is a difference right??

    Needless to say, I focused hard that night, and I am happy to report that one week later, I still remember the entire routine— which is obviously like 1/10 of a real routine but whatever. Baby steps. Of course, I just do the sequence of events… I don’t pair it with a step count, and I def don’t put it to music. So yeah, basically I’m just going through the motions. I’m telling you, I can’t feel the beat or rhythm or ANYTHING.

    And he had us do this butt slap move followed by a spin and squat. I quasi-pulled my calf muscle. Yes, this is 40, mother fuckers. Thankfully, I wasn’t totally out of commission so I continued in class but still, I know the truth and it is disappointing as hell. Of course, as luck would have it, he starts a new routine every two weeks, so I can just chuck every damn bit that I learned. Today is all new.

    Admittedly, I should practice more. I did find a series on Howcast called Hip Hop Dance Moves for Kids. It seemed a little more up my alley with the good, clean fun and all.

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