Monthly Archives: April 2016

Apr
28
  • The Volcano

    Bubs and I celebrated our anniversary last night over dinner at Evvia, a swanky Mediterranean restaurant in Palo Alto. We hadn’t eaten there in many years, so when he told me he reserved a spot there, it was a pleasant surprise bc I had long forgotten about that place.

    We met there on the early side: he took the train down from SF.  Soon after we settled in, my blog came up… Honestly, it was a continuation from a conversation the night before, bc I had asked if he saw the pictures I posted from our Europe trip. Bubbey replied that he never sees any of my posted pictures, bc they don’t render in his reader (aggregator) app, which he uses to read my posts. I insisted that in addition to the embedded images, my post also contained a hyperlink to the album, so even if the images didn’t load in his reader, he should be clicking through the link to view the album. Back and forth. So at dinner, he said the post didn’t contain a hyperlink, and he proceeded to show me how it rendered in his phone app. See? No hyperlink. Then, he had the gall to assert that if my blog doesn’t render in the (popular) app correctly, it doesn’t meet basic industry standards. Then, I got pissed.

    “If you don’t want to read my blog, then don’t read my blog!”

    “I do want to read your blog. I’ve always been reading it!”

    I countered, “I’m not just some random stranger whose blog you follow. I’m your wife. I don’t want you reading my blog like it’s the same as all that other bullshit and noise. The workflow is, you receive the notice in your reader that a new post went live. Then, you are supposed to click through the link within your app and read my content on its original website. Don’t do me any favors ‘reading’ my blog by just skimming it all half ass.”

    I was so. fucking. livid. I’m not saying every reader should do it this way, but he absolutely should if he’s really going to follow my blog. Then, silence. Meanwhile, my brain was going ballistic. WTF!!! Thirteen years of marriage and I have to get on his case about reading my goddamn blog? Of all the compromises and shit that I do, this is a fucking no brainer. Seriously, are you kidding me? And the fact that we have discussed this before? And for the record, my blog isn’t on some Podunk blogspot platform or whatever. I use WordPress. That is industry standard, so your app is shitty and on top of that, fuck off if you can’t even be bothered.

    Needless to say, our anniversary dinner was off to a great start. SMH. But in typical Bubbey fashion, he gave me a few minutes to calm down and then he changed the subject. And then we were back on track. Mostly.

    That’s one of the things I learned from couples therapy years ago. I have the memory of an elephant so I remember a lot of details and my inventory goes waaaay back. My most natural tendency is to not back down and to keep asserting that I am right. If it’s any indication, Bubbey’s newest nickname for me is The Volcano. But I tried to recall all that I had learned before. I made my case; I expressed my displeasure, and that was that. Let’s still try to have a good time. And whatdya know, we did. After we got home, he gave me a card. And then, we were good again. At least we are until this same exact topic comes up again in the future… Haha. Sigh. The trials and tribulations of marriage.

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Apr
27
  • Sweating with the Oldies

    So it’s been three days since we returned from Europe, and we are still jet lagged, though slowly getting closer to normalcy. Bubbey started off waking up at 2 am on Monday, then 3 am on Tuesday, and now 4 am today. As soon as he gets home from work, he eats dinner and crashes. I have been doing a little better– but still waking up earlier than my usual. Meanwhile, my right eye continues to twitch like a mofo. It all started the day I arrived in London. I thought it was caused by me wearing my contacts for the long flight (10 hrs) and beyond. My eyes got super dry, but even after using drops for days and skipping contacts altogether since returning,  that shit is still spasming. We’re talking two weeks now. I did my WebMD research on this and it seems that the causes are primarily stress, fatigue, wind, caffeine, physical exertion, alcohol. Hmm, I mean I’ve been cranky lately but would I say stressed? The other elements, however, do apply. But that’s never been an issue before. Fuck man, I can feel it: this is 40. I’m getting screwed again.

    Motivated by yet another expiring Groupon, I decided that exercise might be the answer once again. Yesterday, I opened up my one-month membership at the JCC. That facility is fucking monstrous, linked with a big retirement community and everything. Two floors, two pools (the indoor one is heated to 87 degrees!!), two saunas in each locker room, and a shit ton of classes. Originally, my plan was to do the yoga classes and then wade around in the pool. But looking over the class schedule, I thought I would try Aqua Stretch this morning, you know, two birds, one stone kind of deal. So this morning, I was up early and made it to the 8:30 am class. I mean, I dunno what I was expecting but all old white women. Ok, well there was one younger lady (I think she was autistic) and one Asian lady. Both of whom left early and the class was only one hour! In the few minutes I spoke to the Asian lady, she said she’d just returned from Europe (I said, “Me too.”) and asked if I bought any luxury goods (like Longchamp bags or whatever that brand is) during my trip. Jesus Christ, am I the only person who’s NOT into luxury goods?!?

    Class wasn’t too hard, so it was a nice intro into fitness again. I liked doing the movements in the water, but I’m not really digging the class thing (with the oldies). I dunno, I guess I’m ageist. Afterwards, I figured I would live it up with the amenities. I took a shower there, used the shampoo and bath gel, used the hair dryer and q-tips, stepped into the sauna. Fuck yeah. Granted, there are a lot of naked bodies everywhere which makes a prude like me a tad bit uncomfortable. Then again, I can’t be kept away from my free shit. Haha. I guess I also got good training/exposure to this kind of environment when I joined the fancy gym in Shanghai years ago. Back then, the bathroom/showering facilities were much nicer than our apartment, so I did all my bidness there (after working out, of course). Yeah, I was fucking fit when I was in Shanghai. Sigh.

    After luxuriating in the amenities of the JCC, I went home. Dad called. He has friends visiting in May, and he asked me to research fun things for them to do. See? Fucking OnStar over here. But on the plus side, not a single mention about my career/job. This is a record, man! Not since I left SCU at the end of January. I’ve been wondering whether this is deliberate bc he doesn’t want to stress me out, or if given his and my grandparents’ health issues, he no longer believes that stuff matters above all else. I don’t know. Maybe it’s a combo of both. I haven’t even told them I am studying real estate.

    My sweet friend M came over today for lunch. She’s so thoughtful. Remembers everything– she’s a tracker like I am. Brought over lunch to celebrate my wedding anniversary. She’s got a fun project going on, and she’s always so freaking disciplined with working out. Super fit and now she’s on some Whole 30 diet that’s uber hard core. She’s sitting there eating a salad while I’m packing away the chips, beans/cheese, AND burrito. That kind of willpower is no games, man. Even in the presence of pure gluttony. SMH.

    Tonight, Bubs and I are going out to dinner for our anniversary. Man, can’t believe it’s been 13 years. Then again, it also kinda feels longer than that. Sigh. The wild and crazy life I gave up to be with Bubs. Sacrifices, man. My Chinese peeps better be eating that shit up, bc hell yeah, the struggle is real. :P

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Apr
24
  • Recent Epiphanies

    I admit: every time I see J’s sister S, I admire so many of her qualities. She makes me wish I were mentally tougher, more extroverted, more professionally accomplished, more high powered, more fashionable and stylish. I aspire to be better, but at the same time, I realize that I still need to work within my own constraints. Like I can try to be more outgoing and I can work on dressing better, etc., but it’s highly unlikely I’ll start shopping at Hermes or Prada or whatever. Sometimes I get frustrated when I feel like Bubs is pressuring me to move more in the direction of his sisters. It’s just too far beyond the boundaries of who I am… It would be like me expecting them to get excited about recycling/reuse/waste reduction or to consider living in a tiny home/shipping container home and aim for the 100 Items Challenge… Anyway, I’ve just been thinking a lot lately about judgement, acceptance, and shame. In the past, I’ve let other people’s success make me feel happy for them but also simultaneously feel worthless about myself. Hearing about S’s high stakes/high rewards career, hitting big corporate numbers, earning hefty bonuses, and flying on corporate jets… I very quickly feel lame: working/leaving my low-wage jobs and now studying real estate. I think of all that my parents invested in me to be successful and I swear I fight this feeling of disappointment and failure every fucking day. Still, I’m trying to stay focused on swimming in my own lane and keeping my head above water. I have become more aware now of shame and how it impedes me.

    In a similar vein, I remember how before, even for simple interactions, if I was curious or wanted to know more about a product or process, I would just keep quiet, for fear of appearing dumb or coming across like I was bothering or inconveniencing others. But recently, I’ve realized there’s a way to ask about something with interest and curiosity and without coming across like an entitled ass. So now I’m trying this new thing where if I have unsettled thoughts or unanswered questions, I’m trying to verbalize my concerns rather than internalize them. Like with Martin and the new dog sitter: I hemmed and hawed about asking her for a reference with whom I could speak on the phone. The sitter already had multiple written/posted reviews, but after reading about how reviews for some services like AirBnb can’t really be trusted I really wanted to hear a client’s voice and just listen for other hesitations that wouldn’t necessarily come across in a written review. Also, she had received one scathing negative review. Normally, I wouldn’t have brought it up bc maybe it was too confrontational. But I did. The sitter was super fine and accommodating with both my requests, and honestly, I felt even better about her after seeing how she handled them. Long story short: I recently vowed not to let shame or fear of embarrassment/judgement keep me from asking questions and from learning more. The next time a contractor comes to the house to talk HVAC, no holds barred. Another shift for me now that I’m older and wiser at 40 (close enough anyway). :)

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Apr
23
  • London + Paris

    Whew, I’m finally back on the plane headed home. Thank goodness. Don’t get me wrong: Bubs and I had a great time in London and Paris. We did TONS and we really enjoyed catching up with friends and family… That said, both of us are also ready to return to our bubble. It’s funny, bc when most people vacation, esp somewhere far away, they go for AT LEAST two weeks since they’re “already traveling so far.” But for us, ten days felt a little long: we get fatigued being away from home. Next time, maybe shave off another day or two. Shrug.

    Both cities were amazing, offering lots of walking (which we enjoy), breathtaking landmarks and architecture, tasty foods, and easy transportation, but dayum, we are tired, boss! For one, there’s the jetlag. Bubs had flown in from NYC (EST) and I from California (PST), and then we met in London so it was the intersection of three substantially different time zones. Then, I’m out of shape and neither of us is used to walking 15-20k steps/day, so our bodies definitely had to adjust. (On average, J clocks about 10k and I do like a lame 2k.) Second, the weather in London was cold, rainy, and windy… What can I say, the Valley has made me soft to the elements. Add to that, we did way too much eating out, so yeah, too many bodily changes going on at once. After so many days of hard living (excessive eating/drinking), our stool is coming out like rabbit pellets. Seriously.

    Typically, J and I are superstar packers, but this trip was kinda a fail. I blame Bub’s business trip to NYC: he had all his fancy shirts, a blazer, a work bag, his shiny shoes, etc. Then we were also misled by his eldest sister, a shopping aficionado who urged us to take a big suitcase for “all the goods” we were going to buy. It ended up just being kinda cumbersome to lug around.

    But that info is just boring details explaining why we felt so damn tired. On the positive side, we had a fun adventure. London reminded me a little bit of Canada, where the common language kinda fools your brain into thinking you know the country and culture but shit is off just enough that something feels amiss. In London, my highlights included having afternoon tea (tea biscuits and scones with clotted cream and jam) with our friends whom we met over a decade ago in Shanghai. They’re very unconventional, and the lady is quite entrepreneurial, so I enjoyed hearing her interesting business ideas. Entrepreneurial people are so refreshing bc I never have to explain why I left my shitty jobs (as with my college roommate and her “what job number is this for you now?” comment). J and I also had some incredible meals, including some fresh, new Mediterranean flavors from Chef Ottelenghi at his restaurant Nopi. Les Mis at the Queen’s Theater was a memorable night: our seats were perfect, just far enough so our necks weren’t strained and stretched but close enough that we were in the midst of the action. Surprisingly, I didn’t completely lose my shit during the performance like I normally do… I mean, I really am wed to the NYC Broadway rendition of the songs… That’s just what I grew up on, and frankly, it’s always going to be my gold standard.

    After five days in London, we hopped the Eurostar train to Paris. The ride was pricey (next time, get the tickets in advance!) but comfortable, if somewhat restless. There was an Indian family next to us who brought on their entire lunch– bento boxes of curries, naan, rice, and all– and proceeded to have a freakin’ party on board. To my amazement, they talked THE WHOLE TIME, like 2.5 hrs.!?!? Who has so much to say amongst family??

    Paris was a really beautiful transition. Unlike the clouds and gloom of London, the weather was warm and sunny, at least for the first two days. Thank goodness I packed three different outerwear, bc I used it all on this trip. I shed my big puffer and switched over to my thin athletic jacket topped with my F21 red pleather. I was feeling pretty badass and chic sporting my MJ jacket with my edgy side shave. Haha. Yup, side shade (aka quasi-mullet) made its European debut.

    In Paris, we met up with J’s youngest sis S and our niece M. S is a project manager, so we got a shit ton of landmarks crossed off our lists in just a few hours. Traveling with other people is always a riot: M was super lax; S was aggressive about hitting the sites; then, as a group there was a lot of indecision (due to decision fatigue?) re: food/drink spots. Usually, J and I like to leave the hotel, come back mid day to rest/nap in the room, and then go out again. On the there hand, S is very much an out all day until late evening kind of traveler. Her very first day in, she got off the 10 hr flight from SFO, cabbed 30 min to the hotel, and then stayed up and out until 11pm. The next two nights, after all of us spent the entire day out, she and J hit up a nearby bar at like 11pm. I declined: I was so tired and the bar scene is even more exhausting. That night they got home after the bar CLOSED at 2am. The next night, it was the same deal except Bubs came home after the first bar closed at 2am, and S continued to hit a second bar with some new friends she made at the first bar! She got back to the hotel at 6am!?!? Hard core, I tell you. She was asking us how late we normally stay out on the weekends. Um, same as during the week, lady. Bubs goes to bed around 9 or 10; I fall asleep around midnight or 1. If we go out, we are almost always home by 11p.

    So of course, after we retired to our rooms one of the nights, Bubs was all sighing and stuff. “We need to have better hobbies or new activities for when we travel. We need to be more fun.” Yada, yada, yada. I mean, I’m the first person to be inspired by how other people live their lives, but sometimes it’s so fucking frustrating being downplayed. I mean, I drink but I don’t really go to bars and drink a lot nor do I make friends with strangers in such settings, so what, now that means I’m boring and no fun? Or I’m not a huge shopper who goes overseas and brings back a bunch of loot, so now I have no interests and hobbies? I started getting a little defensive with Bubbey, bc why do I have to keep defending or justifying how I live my life? Am I supposed to keep apologizing for not being the way other people are? When does this stop, this mentality that there is something wrong with me or us and our choices? I dunno. I was annoyed. I mean, already I have self acceptance issues about my career, so please don’t pile on all this other shit. If you want to be a different person with different interests, have at it. But don’t impose that shit onto me. Like the whole bar scene. I’ve given it plenty of tries, and I just don’t like it. I’m not going to apologize for not jiving with it.

    I digress. I’ve missed my Marty a lot on this trip. I’ve been really happy with the frequent updates from the sitter. I think I found a good one, so it’s a relief to have options esp since I might be headed back East or to Taiwan again soon. I’m also excited to start cooking at home again. Apparently, there IS such a thing as “too much of a good thing.” Seriously. My body needs to stop shitting rabbit poop and get back to normalcy.

    More images on Flickr

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Apr
13
  • Coaching by Bubs

    John and I have this inside joke where we always say Bubbey’s social intelligence skills are “world class”… And frankly, I guess it’s not really even a joke, bc there’s a lot of truth to it. In fact, in every single one of his jobs, that’s consistently one of the key compliments Bubs receives from leadership. Even for his very first job out of college, one of the top dogs pulled him aside to tell him that his blend of technical acumen PLUS social intelligence was a real gift that would take him far. Dude called it. My Bubbey is a superstar.

    So how did he develop those world class skillz? He hypothesizes that growing up in a large family really helped him build strong awareness and perception, and esp given how passive and stubborn (world class in their own right) his parents are, he really honed some sophisticated skills of communicating in ways that make people feel supported rather than threatened, judged, or criticized. Additionally though, he also read a ton of books on difficult conversations and on managing people… Particularly early on when he was getting his feet wet in management. I should probably read those books; then again, why read them when I can get the Bubbey Cliff’s Notes?Interestingly, my family operates in the exact opposite manner of John’s family. No topic is off limits. We say whatever we want when we want, and there is zero fucking tact. If you think something, so long as it’s the (or YOUR) truth, it gets conveyed without any sugarcoating and regardless of whether or not the message is painful or hurtful. Hmm, perhaps that explains my proclivity towards radical honesty?

    Ultimately, I think there is a time and place for both strategies, but it requires high level awareness in determining the appropriate method given the situation. Needless to say, throughout all my dramas, Bubs has definitely been a crucial adviser.

    Recently, I was telling John how handling all my parents’ transactions and logistics was really starting to frustrate me, and moving forward, I wanted to have a conversation with my dad about fully taking over some of his projects. In the last few months, it’s just really become apparent that things are too much for him to handle. For me, part of the frustration stems from serving more in an administrative/secretarial capacity on these tasks… Couple the middleman/messenger role with dad’s total lack of tech savvy and things are super cumbersome and inefficient. So John said he thought that was a good idea, but I should discuss it in a very acknowledging and gracious way. Yeah, yeah. So yesterday, I called my dad and asked if he had moved forward like he had mentioned, and contacted the agent I researched regarding one of his townhouses. He had not. So I asked if wanted me to handle the sale. He agreed. Done. I think dad was procrastinating a little about telling his current agent (who helped with renting out the unit) that he wouldn’t necessarily be using him, but I just took care of it: Dad’s health isn’t good; he’s handing the project over to me, and I have my own agent from when I lived back East.

    Later that day, I told Bubs that I had the conversation with dad and the situation was handled. Then, Bubs goes into a whole thing, asking if I had acknowledged dad for all that he has done for me and expressed gratitude for all that he has taught me and if I showed a willingness to take the reins to make the process more efficient for him… Blah, blah, blah. All of the sudden, the Love Withholder’s got a whole book of unsolicited advice?!?! No, I didn’t say any of that. I just asked if he wanted me to take on all aspects of the project, and he agreed and that’s that. Sheesh. 

    But that’s the one good thing about my relationship with my dad. Unlike with my mother, I don’t have to defend my intentions. He already knows where I’m coming from. It’s like when I get pissed about my mother and all her neuroses, he knows it’s bc I worry about the consequences on his health. Her health too, but she’s even more resistant to change. And when I lose my patience with him for not downsizing or simplifying fast enough, he knows it’s not bc I’m trying to bully him out of the country or whatever. It’s bc I feel an urgency and I want him to start living freer and healthier immediately. Bub continued to give me crap, saying I could still go back and give those acknowledgements… Whatever. I’ll see. Sure, it would probably be a nice added gesture, but with my dad, actions are way more important than words. That’s his top love language, and no surprise, it’s mine as well. Like father, like daughter.

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Apr
12
  • Grow Baby, Grow!

    Speaking of being manic, Operation Front Yard is finally done. S/O to my buddy J whose watercolor painting kicked started this whole thing… Now, it’s time to sit back and watch her grow! Bring on the April showers.

     

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Apr
11
  • Balancing Past, Present, and Future

    expectation

    I’m not gonna lie: lately, I’ve been feeling funky about my friends. This sentiment usually crops up once or twice a year, where I feel disappointed in others. Yes, I have recurring issues with energy and effort in relationships. I understand the dangers and pains of expectations, esp having been on the receiving end of it with my family all my life, yet I can’t help but feel sometimes like my people’s inactions fail me.

    I read recently that in today’s media-crazed world, your attention is one of the most valuable gifts you can give to others. Sure, people have different love languages, skills, strengths and weaknesses, and all that. I try my best to remember what their love languages are (no matter how different or counter intuitive they are from mine) and blend what I sense is important to them with what I myself feel is important for relationships in general.

    Of course, Bubbey listens/observes my gripes whenever I’m in the funk. And certainly, there have been multiple times where he tries to remind me not to take things so personally– people are busy and sometimes people just aren’t good with keeping track of details. Recently though, he told me that I do too much for others. Like whenever my friends are stressed about something or in need of something, I listen and talk with them and then later, I follow up with research to fill their gap. Admittedly, it’s the problem-solving part of my ESTJ nature, and as I’ve been told before: sometimes people want you to listen only and not solve their problems. That’s fine. I listen, but can I still share my feedback? Fucking social intelligence, man. Who the fuck knows how to navigate all this complication. But yeah, whether it’s dealing with depression, stressing about money, needing a student loan, grappling with the loss of a love, the death of someone… I think about how to find resources and options and then I offer what I can. Typically, Bubbey never questions my decisions and choices on how or where to help– be it for my family or for my friends–but a few months ago, I was stressed about a friend’s scenario, and I was ready to jump right in. In a rare departure from his usual supportive stance, he said “People need to figure out their own shit. You do too much. I mean, what about all the stuff you’ve been going through? I don’t see anyone checking in to ask you about all your struggles– leaving your shitty job, your fears for what’s next, all the burdens you’re bearing with Martin, your family, or anything! What have they done for you? So many times, you help them and they give you nothing in return!”

    He’s always said one of his biggest concerns when I’m not working is that I do this dangerous manic dance, where I waver between busying myself and getting shit done and overthinking and feeling down about myself and my life. I dunno. Some of my relationships do feel pretty damn lopsided. Maybe I’m just feeling like a martyr today. I see similarities with my dad. He does a lot for other people and although he never asks for anything in return, small gestures of acknowledgement and expressions of care carry him a long way in feeling appreciated, useful, and helpful. In the past, I’ve criticized him for doing too much– to the point where people just seem to expect his help and they no longer are gracious.

    Many years ago, when I was working at the government agency, a friend/coworker had an extremely volatile relationship with her boyfriend/housemate. Things came to a head, and J and I immediately offered our home to her and her hyper/aggressive dog. She filled our garage with her stuff, and she moved into my office/spare bedroom. It was a stressful time, with her working through lots of drama and fear and uncertainty. In the end, she only stayed a month, maybe a little less. After I left the agency, she and I lost touch. A few months ago, I met up with another coworker who told me that friend is basically blaming me for losing touch with her, and she even made some comment that I can only be friends with people who adopt my same perspective.

    It’s true: we did lose touch for multiple reasons, but was differing perspectives the reason? I mean, I guess so if you consider a toxic personality a different perspective. Let’s rewind: On a few occasions while I was still working there, she misconstrued my actions and accused me of ill intention. In addition, she was constant drama, one of those people who always believes that she has zero choices and is trapped by life. For example, when she was staying here and looking for another place to live, for every suggestion J or myself or others gave, there was an excuse: She couldn’t live there bc her dog needed space. She couldn’t get a roommate bc her dog wasn’t good with people. She couldn’t live at a specific property even though it was in her price range bc it was too old and shabby. Blah, blah, she was never gonna have a home of her own… she’s never had a place that feels like home. It was exhausting trying to emotionally support her. And then other shit happened: I stopped having her dogsit Remy and Martin, bc her dog was aggressive towards Remy a few times and Remy was getting fragile in her elder years. I didn’t invite her on-and-off boyfriend (who could keep track?) to my bday party, and now I was accused of deliberately cutting her, her bf ,and her dog from my life. WTF, who talks like that? And her negativity pervaded everything. So yeah, I grew frustrated with the negativity. I was fine with her not taking my suggestions, but if you’re miserable with your life, do SOMETHING other than the status quo! Life 101.

    And ultimately, losing touch is a two-way street. Since I left, I have organized multiple group activities with my coworkers. Of course, she was invited. Has anyone else ever organized a meetup? Has she in particular reached out to me independently? Apparently, she recently broke up with the boy and bought a house. I was happy for her, so to hear the ill will later is just plain hurtful. Not entirely unexpected, but still hurtful. My whole life, I’ve had to constantly defend myself against my mother’s accusations and insistence that my actions were questionable– done out of jealously or malice or selfishness. Come to think of it, my mother and this coworker have similar personalities: both are paranoid, neurotic, distrustful, and paralyzed by catastrophic thinking. I read so many quotes about love and friendship and relationships: be wholehearted and giving. I try to live by those values, to be generous and gracious and open. When my friends do well, I am happy for them. The right path forward is to acknowledge that this friendship was a temporal one, to wish her well, and to move forward. Still, her comments are so fucking irksome!!!

    April 1 was the 2-year anniversary of Remy’s death. ONE friend remembered. ONE. Others were kind enough to say something once they realized the day, but I dunno. I couldn’t help but feel disappointed. Am I saying then that I expect everyone to remember all these dates and milestones, like the death of my nephew, the death of Remy, the death of M, etc.? No, that’s absurd. But I was so very sad that day, and it was upsetting to feel alone in my memories of Remy. I cried as I read through my stack of cards next to her shrine in my bedroom. The condolence cards from two years ago were so touching and meaningful to me. Even the vet, he wrote this lengthy card and later the UC Davis vet school sent me an acknowledgement that he made a donation in her memory. So sweet.

    April 1 came and went. Then the other day, a friend emailed me after about two months of silence. What’s up, blah, blah all the things going on… which btw, I had asked about months ago and never heard back. I replied a day later, responding to her update and then sharing all my crap including my dad’s health and such. Not a damn. word. back. That’s what I mean. I know this isn’t a game of tennis where every volley needs a reply, but you asked how I was doing, I responded, and then nothing. It’s like this other friend. Months ago, I emailed that S’s boyfriend got hit by a car and died. No reply. I seriously thought my email wasn’t working. Weeks later, I was like, did you get this? Oh yeah. I got it and meant to reply and then I got sick. So sorry. WTF, are you for real? Tell me the mature/adult way I should react. I was trying to analyze why these interactions annoy me. Um, to start: Lack of genuine concern, lack of initiative, and bullshit follow through. John reminds me: everyone is doing the best that they can. Your strengths of keeping in touch and checking in are not necessarily other people’s strengths. Pull back on how much you invest in others. Focus on what’s next for you. Translation: Suck it up and don’t care so much. You do you. Once again, more work for me, bc I’m the one with the problem.

     

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Apr
9
  • Chinese Parents

    I’ve watched this video three times, and every damn time, I cry tears of pain, anger, and frustration. When I first watched, the subtitles were limited to just a few scenes, and I had to watch again to better capture the full dialog. So many of the most heartbreaking moments weren’t translated… But now this version is complete.

    I cry bc this video illustrates just how integral Chinese parents link their happiness to their childrens’ life choices. It reminds me of something I once read regarding Tiger Moms: something to the effect that American parents just want their kids to be happy. Chinese parents just want their kids to be accomplished.

    For sure, Chinese culture is all about struggle and sacrifice, and yet the irony is that while the parents sacrifice to give their kids a better life, payback is a royal beotch. And ultimately, what the parents demand back is ridiculously selfish.

    It just kills me, watching the mother explain that bc her daughter is not very pretty, that’s why she’s leftover. (Insert nervous laugh… also a very Chinese thing.) And then that dad?? Jesus, basically saying her status is going to be the cause of heart problems for him… It just makes me sick. And I thought Catholics had the guilt thing down.

    Some of the women choose to be single and are fine with it, except that the peanut gallery won’t fucking stop harassing them. In the cases where the women clearly want to find love but just haven’t (and surely it already upsets them), now in addition to the existing disappointment, they’re criticized for embarrassing the family, for causing the parents shame and heartbreak, and for deliberately depriving their parents of a fulfilling life. Sound familiar? It’s goddamn exhausting. That’s the annoying thing about filial piety: singledom (and child-free living) is a form of disrespect.

    And then that scene where the daughter breaks down and apologizes to her parents… Argh, the whole thing is just so wrong! I’d like to send this video to my parents to show them how ridiculous and hurtful they and their family can be; then again, they’ll probably totally miss the point and just insist that the video reaffirms how important their stance is. I mean, the video itself is supposed to be uplifting at the end, with the parents seeing the true beauty and strength of their daughters, but I dunno: I’m skeptical. Those values are fucking deeply engrained. No quotes or profiles posted in a public park gonna trigger an epiphany. Just saying: these days, I have very little faith.

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Apr
7
  • Vanity Update

    Ok, so I met with three dentists total and all of them 1) recommended Invisalign (anywhere from 10 to 18 months of treatment) AND 2) strongly advised against veneers/bonding etc. The experts insist that I have great, healthy teeth, so no knowledgeable/legit specialist would shave down strong, healthy teeth and compromise the enamel for something as impermanent as veneers. Also, I didn’t know this, but veneers are super fragile– they aren’t even supposed to touch other teeth at the bite line. It’s all an illusion! So fine then. The professionals win. Interestingly, the cost of treatment ranged from under $4k to nearly $8k!! Yup, just like with home construction projects, the range runs the gamut. WTF? Ultimately, this means I’m going to wait until I get a job with better dental coverage before proceeding. I mean, my teeth bug me but they don’t bug me THAT much. I’d much rather go on an international trip for that amount of money… Then again, I guess if I really wanted to bring the costs down while also being an early adopter, I could always try the mail-order clear braces program called SmileDirectClub. Who the fuck knew such a thing existed? I mean, every person I tell shakes his/her head, but what can I say, I’m intrigued.

    As for my skin, it’s been a few days since I tried the Banish dermaroller. It’s still early yet, but my skin did appear smoother the next day (my esthetician says it prob just appears smoother bc the skin is actually all inflamed and puffed up from being stabbed all over the place…). I’m hopeful though, bc conceptually, microneedling just makes sense to me. And if you’re wondering, yes, I did draw some blood. It def was NOT the most comfortable process, but fuck man, I have a high threshold for pain, esp when it comes to the promise of better skin. Bubbey totally called it when he got home: he said, even if the rolling didn’t initially draw blood, sure enough, I would just apply more pressure, believing “no pain, no gain.” True dat. Dude knows me like no other. Of course, since then, I’ve been itching to dermaroll again (just to make sure I cover every. square. inch.), but for the longer needles, the recommendation is once a week max or once every two weeks. Just this once, I’m gonna follow the rules and practice some self restraint. But shit man, it is killing me not to roll that meat tenderizer all over my face again! Resurfacing my damn nose just cannot come soon enough!!

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Apr
6
  • Horrible Mothers

    I’ve noticed this thing lately about women and guilt. I consider most of my good gal friends feminists who are educated, accomplished, self-aware professional women. Still, something about motherhood makes them say the damnedest things. For example, four of my friends are mothers. I don’t hang out with them often anymore bc well, parents have a totally different life and all, but I have heard all of them say at various times when interacting with their kids, “I’m a horrible mother.” Sometimes I think it’s in jest or with sarcasm, like my friend had to take away the kid’s toy and he started crying, so “Yes, I know, I’m a horrible mother.” But other times, it’s said with this notion that she’s not good enough. Like, she doesn’t understand what he’s saying or she can’t correctly/accurately anticipate the kid’s needs, so she’s dumb or stupid. And I’ve never heard them talk about themselves that way before.

    I mean, as someone who is constantly self-bashing bc I perpetually feel insufficient, this isn’t a foreign concept to me, but to see it in my friends… it’s kind of disturbing. Maybe they felt guilt or inadequacy before and I just wasn’t aware of it, or perhaps motherhood is now what has brought it to the forefront? I don’t know. But what I do know is that I have never EVER heard the fathers utter those words. And so it reminds me of a bunch of things I read the last time I was job hunting: Women consistently lack confidence, have self-esteem issues, and blame themselves for things not going right. From applying for jobs to negotiating terms to getting (or not) new jobs, women often don’t think they’re good enough, don’t think they deserve more, and/or they completely blame themselves for any negative outcome. On the other hand, for men, the culprit is always some external factor: the hiring manager wasn’t clear on what s/he wanted for the role or the fit was bad or whatever, the place was a bunch of yahoos…

    Anyway, it’s an interesting observation that only goes to emphasize how fucking hard it is to be a woman. We want to be so many things all at the same time.

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