Monthly Archives: May 2016

  • Dapper Dabbler

    So I’ve been continuing on my Pinterest challenge. Over the holiday weekend, I attempted this concoction. I was pretty happy with it. The Chambray shirt, man. That’s a key item. I got mine for like $7 at Ross, and I’ve been looking to upgrade, but I haven’t yet found the right fit and cut. For now, this cheapie will have to do. Meanwhile, I’m not like walking around town picking up a shit ton of compliments a la my friend G either, but I feel good strutting my stuff– mostly re-styled versions of items I already own. Today, my first Schoola shipment arrived. I’m sad to say that one top was mint instead of white (the color didn’t come across accurately online), and another top looked pretty unique/funky (asymmetrical) online, but it just didn’t work. They will go back in my bag of donated items. Not a huge bummer, considering everything is like $7 each but you know me: I’m always aiming for that perfect score.

    This afternoon I am trying a navy, flowy midi skirt from my shipment. Man, midi skirts are such a bizarre length to work with, esp since my go-to skirt length is mini to above the knee. I know, years ago Stacy and Clinton insisted “No miniskirts after 35,” and for a while, I followed that rule, but now that I’m 40, fuck it: I do whatever the hell I want. Defiance with a capital D, mother fuckers! So yeah, today I’m being very experimental and pairing this midi with a black/white gingham button down shirt and strappy brown wedges. It’s an odd mix of country and 1950s. Not my usual silhouette. Then again, who cares. It’s almost 2pm and I’m pretty sure no one has seen me, except for Marty and Ramona. That said, this afternoon, I will be hitting up my hair salon. You see, last night, J tried his best to refresh my side shave using his trimmer tool. To give full context, 1) he admitted he didn’t know what the fuck he was doing and 2) the tool is not exactly a buzzer like they use at the barber shop. I mean, these days I’m a badass risk taker, so even with those caveats, I agreed to give it a try. Why not, right? So um now the side shave is uneven as fuck. Short hairs by my ear and longer hairs near the split. Pretty much a hack job. What can I do but laugh. Thankfully, no one sees the Hermit day to day. Whatever, I’ll have my stylist Mindy take that shit down to the 2 blade and then trim up the longer ends of my mullet. That part is getting kinda long and I’m not feeling the layers, so we’ll see what she can do.

    In other news, SmileClub Direct still has my molds. I’m waiting on the sample trays (for complimentary teeth whitening) and details on the full-blown treatment plan. Then again, if I get a job sooner than later, maybe I should just go with the legit dentists using a decent dental insurance. I dunno though. I still kinda want to try this remote dentistry option… I know, I’ll probably end up being one of those dumbasses who goes to get liposuction and then dies bc the doctor was a total quack using a goddamn Dyson. Fuck man, 40 is making me lose my mind!

    J had something come up tonight with his former colleagues. We did a lot of cooking over the weekend, so I’m ordering Munchery for me, another new app/service I recently tried. The meals are somewhat hit or miss, but the food is definitely on the healthier side, and the app ordering and delivery make things pretty damn easy. Plus, you know I use coupon codes every. damn. time. I will say, the Caesar salad is my fave. I know, you’d think a Caesar is pretty basic and easy and just tastes the same everywhere, but I’m telling you: there are differences. And I def crave Munchery’s. If you are curious and want to try for yourself, here’s my referral link.

    Oh, I almost forgot: J and I hit up an RV showroom in Gilroy this weekend. As you know, Bubbey went on that two-week cross-country road trip last summer with his brother-in-law. I think that trip kinda opened a can of worms, bc ever since, Bubs has been talking about getting a tricked out large shuttle/small RV so we can go national park hopping. Admittedly, I have my own romantic thoughts of living on a ranch and/or buying some land and building a container/prefab home. I’m very much intrigued by the tiny home/small living concept. That said, I feel like renting out our house and living out of an RV for an entire year is a completely different beast. For starters, neither one of us is mechanical or handy. These things require a lot of maintenance and people def break down while driving these rigs. I don’t exactly like the thought of being broken down on the side of the road (possibly a less traveled one) waiting for help. We’re not exactly survivalists who would know how to last in high heat or in the wilderness or whatever. Second, while some units are extremely luxurious, the environmental engineering side of me is pretty skeptical about the plumbing and waste management. I mean, you’re essentially lugging all your sewage around with you until you can hit a pitstop and swap it out. I dunno. It makes me think of cruise ships too. I swear some fraction of that sewage is just getting dumped straight into the oceans. Third, I’m concerned about personal safety. I mean, where are we parking this thing and who else is around? I know the Houseboat isn’t exactly top security either, but I dunno, somehow it still feels safer and more secure than a vehicle in some random lot or campground. Finally, being on the road for a year is a long time. I feel like we don’t even know how to vacation for longer than 10 days. But the thing about relationships is this: you have to at least try with encouraging and facilitating your partner’s dreams. That’s just what you do bc you want that person to be happy and you also want to continue growing together. So I’m not saying no. I’m saying I have my reservations, but I’m open to further research. The next step? He’s going to look into a rental for sometime this summer, and we’ll see how that goes. Ok, gotta run now. Time to fix my hacked hair!

    RV1RV2 RV3

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  • Kidney Bean

    Last week felt like a busy one. On Tuesday, I started my very first Rover stint. Yes, for a very long while, I was strongly prejudiced against little dogs (they can be so fucking yippy!), but after dog sitting Helix and Joey, I’ve been warming up to the idea of these compact and portable pups. So we’re about a week in now, and truth be told, Ramona has very quickly melted my heart. She’s so independent and sassy (like my Bembo), and despite being 13 y/o, she still likes to play. Even J was commenting that Ramona really has been quite the ideal Rover. She’ll well-behaved, doesn’t bark/yip, has excellent bladder control, and is just so darn cute without being overly demanding. Her pudgy body is so tiny too, I call her a little kidney bean, esp when she sleeps in fetal position (and snores like a mo fo!). I’m already feeling sad that she’ll have to go home next Saturday. As for Marty, he is doing better again: eating well, tracking me around the house, and he gets so happy about going to the park… The two pups don’t interact much, but I’ve noticed that for Marty, simply being in the presence of other dogs seems to lift his spirits.

    In work-related news, as you know, I started applying for jobs at real estate offices and property management firms. I heard back from the one commercial outfit regarding their entry-level position. We had a good phone interview, but last Tuesday they decided to proceed with others. I was ok with it: after all, I did feel like being a receptionist/front desk person was not exactly my speed, even if only for a short period. Interestingly, I also heard back from a local realtor’s membership organization for their education coordinator gig. I interviewed with the head of PR and Comm on Friday afternoon. She was a very impressive lady, super well-connected and active in the community; we had a great conversation, but by Saturday, I decided joining a realtor’s association would only delay my entry into practice after earning my license. She was very kind, and responded immediately with a very personable reply, saying she had arrived at the same conclusion. She also noted that she was really impressed by my level of research and prep for the interview. Hee, hee. If only she knew: research is practically my middle name. Ha! Regardless, it was cool to get these two interviews under my belt. I will say, I’ve been pleased with the response to my applications. Initially, I was attributing the interest to my re-vamped resume (chronological now instead of functional format), but Bubbey suggested that since real estate is oftentimes an industry for encore careers, the hiring people are much more curious and open to people with different backgrounds. Makes sense. I’ll take it!

    In other news, I am making progress with the townhouse in MD that I’m planning to get on the market in mid-late July. I had a call Friday with the selling agent, who’s proposing some minor renovations to get things ready. I’m going to move forward on those to see if they’ll get us a higher sales price. I’ll be checking in on the project in person in July. At the same time, I’ll be helping my parents with posting/selling their furniture/possessions/furnishings and cleaning out their primary residence. I’ve booked 7 days back home around the July 4 holiday, and frankly, I’m dreading the trip…  John will stay back on Marty duty so it’ll be yet another unbuffered session with the parentals… I know, apparently the Volcano likes to play with fucking fire.

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  • Pinterest Poseur

    I’m instituting a (yet another) new challenge. Since I’m not heading into an office place every day, I find that it’s easy to spend my hours looking schlumpy in gym clothes. And shit man, frumpiness is like a gateway drug. Once you start letting that shit slide, you quickly lose all care for style. Been there, done that.

    To combat the downward spiral towards such carelessness, I’m going to try re-creating an outfit I see on Pinterest at least three times a week. Over the weekend, I hit up Savanna Jazz club with some friends, and I tried a multi-button up shirt layering look. That’s the thing about Pinterest. I usually have the basics down, like what fit and cuts suit my body type, but it’s the added complexities (layering, pattern mixing, accessorizing) that I want to step up. I got it partially there, and then I consulted my friend and style maven G via FaceTime. Dang, that FaceTime ain’t just for lovers, folks. Thankfully, G got me another step up. The result? Red gingham shirt under a chambray shirt under my red pleather jacket. Dark skinnies on the bottom. Gold hoop earrings plus gold bangles. Red peep toe wedges. Sadly, no final photo. But this was the inspiration.

    Today, I’m attempting the bright skinnies + striped shirt combo. Again, I kinda get stumped on the jewelry and even though I have lots of bracelets, the friction and jingling on my wrists bothers me. Trying to suck up the discomfort of the jewelry and my too tight green skinny jeans (blame it on the JCC elliptical, man!) in the name of fashion. The sacrifices!

    As for makeup, I’ve been doing the CoverGirl Aquasmoothers foundation for a couple weeks now after first moisturizing the crap out of my face. The application/finish does seem to look and last better. As for the brows, they are a daily mixed bag. Sometimes it seems the arch is too extreme; other times, the thickness feels wonky. I dunno. Maybe it’ll get better with practice. The stencils used to work like magic, but something changed and now I’m freestyling that shit.

    Also, since not working makes me “play my game” super hard, I’m looking to shop more at secondhand places. It’s also the more eco-friendly thing to do. So I recently discovered Schoola, which supports the Malala Fund. I’m going to start donating my clothes to it, and I recently ordered four pieces for like $32. We’ll see how they work out.

    Ok well, time to hit the books again.

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  • Volcanic Eruption

    So yesterday evening, shit blew up on the Houseboat. One more goddamn straw, and the volcano erupted. As you know, for the last month, I’ve been going to the JCC for my Groupon. During this time, I’ve suggested to Bubbey numerous times that he cancel his membership to 24 Hr Fitness and try out this swanky gym. It’s only 6 minutes away and lots of people go late at night, so maybe this can be our evening activity after he gets home from work. For weeks, he agreed to try it out, but he kept procrastinating– he had to go to his London trip, then there was Best Life, then DC, blah, blah. Fine. Mind you, I’m only on the elliptical for 30 minutes. This is not a huge time sink. So he returned from DC on Sunday. On Monday night, after he got home from work and we finished dinner, I suggested we get ready. He was feeling too full, blah, blah, blah, so we took Marty for a walk at the park. In my head, the intention was to walk Marty, get the digestive juices flowing, and then go to the gym. After we home, I got my things ready and once again, no. Too tired: I just got back from DC. Whatever. After all the bullshit of recent weeks, I had had it. As I left, I said, “Fine, but next time, I’d appreciate if you’d stop offering to do things that you have absolutely no intention of following through on!” Oh, what do you mean? When has that ever applied?

    Are you fucking kidding me? This same bullshit has been happening over and over again. I slammed the door and left. While driving over to the gym (six minutes), I was stewing like a mother fucker. I’m surprised I didn’t rear end the slow ass drivers in my way. I was gonna call him and blow this shit up. Excuse after excuse. Repeated prioritization of everything else before me. And I’m not even needy! Shit, I have hung out with so many friends who make/ask their partners and spouses to do every little thing. Fuck you! I was so pissed.

    I stepped on that elliptical and sweated my brains out. Afterwards, I sat in the sauna and continued to stew. I mean let’s be real. Best Friends was his idea, supposedly a gesture for me but as the whole trip materialized, it was just a ton of planning and work for me. And then anytime I needed help with any aspect of the weekend, he either dismissed my concerns about the logistics, or he totally ignored any part that was important to me. For example, he hardly even sang for karaoke (and then went to bed early); then how many times did I mention the goddamn photo booth and in the end, only two test pictures; and then to make me throw away all those recyclables that I had collected throughout the weekend?!?!?! Not cool. Where there is a will, there is a way. I’m serious. And what, in the end, all of my irritation was just supposed to wash away bc 1) he had returned from London the day before departure and gotten ingredients on Friday morning 2) he grilled up dinner Friday night and 3) he mostly fought off his jet lag to be social with our friends for three days? Puhlease.

    I got home from the gym and was still so stinking mad. I went directly to my office and started doing my own shit. The house was dark, so I assumed he went to bed already. Typical Bubbey M.O. whenever we fight. I printed crap out on the printer, went to his office to retrieve my printouts and turns out he was lying on the floor there in the dark. And he looked so sad. So then I caved. In a more controlled manner, I told him I was upset he was going to be away for my bday. Usually, bdays are just bdays, and who the fuck cares. But this was a big one. And I felt like last weekend when I was trying to price out tickets to join him in NYC, he never responded to my questions or email about dates and whatever. Then, bc he was so busy with family matters, we weren’t able to sync up much, and when we finally did, he couldn’t offer any clarity. You know I hate that indecisive bullshit, so then I just abruptly said fuck it. He finally came clean and admitted that he’s been feeling overwhelmed between all the work travel and family stuff, and now the company’s future is uncertain… I mean, admittedly, there’s a lot going on. So I piped down. But fuck man, he def deserves crap for 1) never apologizing for cutting London so damn close to Best Life and leaving me hanging with details and 2) never apologizing for missing my bday. I swear, sometimes I really have to spell shit out for him.

    I know he loves me very much. But still, sometimes his effort just feels so damn half ass. And his actions really come across rather inconsiderate and thoughtless. I have played the scenarios over and over in my head. Am I over reacting? Am I asking for too much? Am I missing something? being short sighted? How would a truly mature adult handle this situation? Honestly, I feel like every single one of my friends would be annoyed by the same things, if not MORE things, and I can’t say that they would just let that shit slide. Yes, marriage is a constant work in progress. Just when I feel like things are easy and our relationship is coasting along in a strong steady state, shit happens to really bite me in the ass. Yes, I know I have the memory of an elephant and I don’t let shit go. In my defense though, why should I let shit go if you don’t admit any responsibility or wrongdoing in hurting my feelings? That’s just not gonna fly no matter how rational your reasons may be for why shit HAD to get prioritized above me.

    Anyway, the other takeaway was that I need to get back to work. Like, I need to have my own shit going on, my own activities and social circles, and life. Thankfully, things are finally starting to come around. My first Rover client arrives tonight for 11 nights. Then, I just got another request today for June 9-19, so maybe my old doggie boarding business is gonna pick up steam!

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  • Side Hustle

    As you know, I was recently approved to join Rover as a dog sitter. My niche is senior doggie care; after all, Remy and Marty have put me through the ringer with all their geriatric antics. Anyway, yesterday I was getting really frustrated with Rover, bc apparently, the norm is 1) for people to wait until the very last minute to inquire about dog care and 2) these people are flaky as fuck. Seriously, nearly every single inquiry I’ve received (5-6 so far) has come for like one or two days before sitting services are needed. And that’s not even before some major holiday where their usual sitter might already be booked! So these people contact me two days before care is needed; I reply practically instantly; we schedule a meet and greet, and then they just never show up?!?! I have had to follow up with people on everything. I mean, I understand that at this point, owners are just sending out mass requests to a bunch of sitters, hoping one is available and ready. Still though, don’t leave people hanging, bc for every sitter you reach out to, their calendar on Rover no longer shows them as available while your request is pending!! Super inconsiderate. SMH. People. That was yesterday. I was just having a shitty day in general.

    Then today, I met with someone who has a 13 y/o Lhasa Apso. As the universe would have it, the dog’s name is Ramona, which was actually one of our nicknames for Remy. This Ramona girl is super sweet, but as a senior, she’s got some special needs! We’re talking eye creams, ear flushes, skin rashes, dietary restrictions… But her personality is confident (she immediately started exploring all over the house) and mellow. Kinda like my Bembo. During our visit, her mom was really concerned about her sneaking into Marty’s home cooked chicken (apparently, Ramona gets the runs and tummy aches anytime she consumes poultry), so I figured maybe this gig might fall through again. Nope! I just got an email, and Ramona will come over tomorrow night! Yeehaw, back in the money, baby!!!

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  • Guinea Pig

    I’ve been feeling a little down lately. Typically, these low phases are triggered by some combination of depressing world news, growing responsibilities with my parents, and feelings of isolation. My typical response to too many uncontrollable factors is to obsess over personal details (factors I can control), so I was pretty full speed ahead on this big Project Me program: I was going to the gym, changing up my makeup routine, trying out some new hair/skin products, re-coloring my hair, experimenting again with my wardrobe, and then also continuing with my real estate classes.

    Last weekend, Bubbey was out of town again. He headed back East for his parents’ 50th wedding anniversary. Man, we were on such a great roll this past year and I was so excited about celebrating our many milestones in 2016. But now, in recent months, J’s gotten really busy at work and he’s had to travel a lot more for the job and for his family. By contrast, I spend most of my days relatively quiet, mainly hanging out with Marty, who has his own share of ups and downs. By the time Bubs gets home, he’s chatted out and I’m barely getting started. Sigh. These are the forgotten challenges that come up when one person is on sabbatical, I guess.

    After I finished managing the HVAC project last week, I started feeling like maybe it was time to get back into a professional setting, so I sent out some resumes to positions in commercial and residential real estate offices. Despite my many years in project management and specifically with handling residential real estate matters for my parents, it seems that I’ll still have to start from the beginning. I had a pretty good phone interview on Thursday for an admin role with a commercial firm, but the HR lady cautioned that it was entry level with typically 2 years before advancement to the next step… J thinks I should just focus on getting my license and then ramp up immediately as a salesperson rather than waste any time in some admin role, but he also doesn’t seem to notice that I’m quietly withdrawing into oblivion. In the very least, I figure the gig will give me exposure to a new industry, and if it’s not particularly stressful or challenging, I’ll be able to prepare for the license exam while also maintaining work-life balance.

    I have a big bday coming up, and even though our Best Life weekend was partly to celebrate my 40th, I thought J and I might still do something together in addition. Turns out, he’s headed back to NYC that week. Initially, he seemed excited about suggesting that I join him for the week, but later, as the project scope and details remained nebulous (with creep likely), it seemed like he wouldn’t necessarily be around. I’m pretty good about exploring a city solo, and I considered inviting my Boston bud to meet me in New York, but I dunno, ultimately, it just sounded like too much coordination and effort. I’m trying not to be upset about it… esp after I watch the news or read about other people’s lives in developing countries (@natgeo on Instagram), I feel totally lame for even complaining. Still, it’s upsetting to feel unappreciated and undervalued– both work-wise and relationship-wise. To combat my issues, I’ve been visiting Pinterest a lot lately, trying to get inspired and motivated.

    Speaking of motivation, my kit from SmileClub Direct arrived, and I created my teeth molds. There were four total– two for the upper teeth and two for the lower teeth. What an interesting kit: for each mold, you mix the catalyst putty with the base putty, lay a tube of the mixture into the tray, and cram it into your mouth. Of course, I was a crazy person, so I read every single instruction and tip beforehand, bc I wasn’t about to fuck up my molds. Two chances, beotch. I will say, usually, I have a really high threshold before the gag reflex kicks in, but shit, there were a few times when all that mouth action triggered some heaving. Nonetheless, I think my molds turned out according to spec, and today SCD emailed me saying they received my molds. I cannot wait to get my sample trays (for free teeth whitening) and treatment plan soon. I’m pretty excited to see what comes back. This remote orthodontics thing could be pretty frickin’ cutting edge, no?

    On another plus side, Marty has been doing well again. Still finicky with his appetite but he’s been following me around everywhere, watching my every move, and just overall paying attention. His eyes are clear and alert, and he bounces with excitement every time we go for walks and car rides. My little buddy. What would I ever do without him.










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  • Best Life with Best Friends

    Last weekend, J and I hosted our Best Life with Best Friends in getaway in Templeton, CA. Overall, we (both natural pessimists) were happy with the weekend… I mean, sure, leading up to the event and some part into it, I did let circumstances and the planning tedium/logistics get to me (my own fucking fault!). But shit, if I step back and look at the big picture, what an incredibly beautiful setting to enjoy with our dearest friends. Indeed, it was a big group, with people at different life stages and at different levels of familiarity, but the arrangement was flexible enough that people had the opportunity to hang together and also go off and do their own thing. I appreciated how there wasn’t the pressure of having to hang out with everyone all the time. For example, my friends J and J retired to bed early or took the baby to a local farm. J sometimes just sat by the pool and worked on writing her book. When some of us went to Jack Creek Farms and Croad Winery, M stayed back to enjoy the pool and hot tub. I’m an E (ESTJ 14/16 times), but I can also appreciate sprinkling in some solo rest.

    This was also our first time doing an overnight trip with kids. Initially, I had some qualms about how things might work out, but honestly, how refreshing to witness the wonderment of children! Obviously, it helps that my friends’ kids are really well-behaved. But man, watching them explore the property, visit with the goats, call out to the horses, and play in the pool, I was reminded to savor these moments and to find delight in these simple pleasures. Too often, as a planner (and occasional people pleaser), I really lose my perspective and get stuck in the details. But looking at the photos, the house really was quite a gem, surrounded by such breathtaking landscape.

    More images on Flickr

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  • Shitfaced

    While Bubbey’s been in London this week, I’ve been on puppy patrol. I know, Marty is no longer a puppy, but I still call him that. Just roll with it. So his status has been very up and down and day-to-day. One day he’ll have great appetite and energy, the next day, he’ll be lethargic and very weak. The third day, looking better again. The fourth day, shitty again.

    On Wednesday night, he was especially restless, scurrying in and out of the doggie door throughout the night. I was also continuing on some weird sleep schedule, where I wasn’t falling asleep until after 3a, and then I was waking up late, like 11a. Yes, back to that bullshit schedule again. Anyway, on Thursday morning, Martin seemed particularly urgent in heading out to the yard, so I decided to track him from the windows: first my office window then quickly over to Bubbey’s office window, which gave me a view of the back part of our yard. Marty started pacing frantically from one side of the yard to the next, searching for that perfect spot. He finally squatted to take a dump, and as I had been noting since late last month, this hind legs are getting weaker. I had started extending his walk farther in hopes of building more muscle strength, but still, balancing that squat appeared quite precarious. Thankfully, he pooped without losing his footing and without falling back into the pile. Yet, to my horror, he got up and then started to move his snout all around the pile of poop!! It was as if he were trying to move dirt (except he was in the lawn) to cover it or something. He was getting dangerously close, and then bc his balance is sketchy when he leans forward too, just as his nose touched the ground, his body started like tipping forward… like ready for a full-on face plant at any time.

    WTF??? I tried desperately to get his attention. I screamed from inside, banged on the window, and finally slid it open, clapping and whistling. Remember, he’s mostly deaf. Thank god he heard the whistle, put his head up, looked around, cocked his ears, and then headed back for the doggie door.

    What is this covert activity??? It reminded me of that time when I came home from work early only to find Remy in the backyard eating her shit. WTH, these old dogs are seriously going loony! To make matters worse, do you have any idea how much I cuddle with Marty’s snout? I mean I am regularly all up in his grill, kissing his nose, rubbing his snout, smushing my face against his. Holy. fuck. Who knows what kind of fecal coloform I am getting all over my face, my sensitive skin, and into my mouth. Ugh, disgusting. Can my allergy-affected nose be trusted enough to sniff out shit before it’s too late? Dubious.



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  • Project Me

    Martin had a good day today: he ate some food (without meds); he didn’t vomit; and he went on an extended walk. A few days ago though, my neighbor had emailed me a list of things regarding the City’s On Call Plus service, yard waste, pet sitting, and how Marty was doing. I replied that things weren’t good and I was thinking maybe we were a month away. The next day, she replied that she and her husband hadn’t said anything to their daughter E about this. She suggested that I might start preparing E so she isn’t fully taken off guard when shit goes down. I mean, sure, I know E in that I have paid her to walk Marty during the week for the last year, but she’s 10, and I have no idea how adults communicate topics like death to kids. To be honest, I had been thinking about it, and all along, I’ve been verbalizing that he’s a lot weaker and older and not feeling well, but I dunno, isn’t the deterioration and death of a dog something the parents are supposed to interpret for her? I replied asking for her suggestion. She said E is mature for her age, and I should just “repeat over and over again that Marty is dying.” Really?

    A sidebar about my neighbor. She’s a French lady. Very nice, very organized (she’s a project manager), extremely active and disciplined (just turned 50 and started competing in marathons and Iron Woman shit). Now that I think of it, she’s pretty dang direct too in her communication style. Is it a French thing or just her thing? I don’t really know. But an example of her bluntness:

    Before we headed to Europe in April, I had “refreshed” my side shave. You see, my initial foray into the side shave was just a teaser. In February, I had shaved a small section from my face back to the front of my left ear. As I had mentioned in my Instagram back then, the move wasn’t nearly as dramatic as I had anticipated. So in mid April, I decided to take the shave a bit closer (number 2) and shave it farther back towards the back of my skull. Maybe by then I had already been desensitized, bc even though it was a lot more noticeable, it still didn’t feel like a huge deal. Then again, when I sent a pic to Bubbey complaining about the vertical demarcation from the old shave, he replied, “Forget the vertical line, how come the shaved area got way bigger?!?!… It’s a little extreme.” Whatever though. What does Bubbey know. So off we went on our European jaunt with my expanded shave debuting in London and Paris. When I got back, the neighbor came over with E to walk Marty. She looked at me with great horror and gasped:

    F: Oh my god, what happened to your hair?!?!?!?

    Me: Haha. Oh, I just shaved it.

    (She was practically speechless.)

    F: What did John say???

    Me: He said it was a little extreme. (Shrug)

    F: Well, it will grow back.

    Me: Yeah it will… And then I’ll just do it again.

    I always chuckle a bit when I think of that exchange. I really can’t see any of my American friends or acquaintances reacting in such a manner. But yeah, back to the Martin death thing. WTH? Weird, right? Is she tying to give E like unadulterated exposure so the girl isn’t coddled? I dunno. I don’t exactly understand it, but heck, if you want me to play the radical honesty card with a child, I’m game.

    So beyond the stressful Marty doggie care these last couple weeks, I’ve been doing my very own version of GTL (S/O to Bubbey’s show Jersey Shore), except my version is Gym, Tanning, Learning. You see, when I was obsessing big time about my physical imperfections a couple months ago, I came to this realization after watching a ton of makeup and skincare tutorials on YouTube: looking good takes a lot of fucking effort. All the makeup people I follow on YouTube? Absolutely stunning and gorgeous. I mean, they’re already naturally pretty even with nothing on, but holy crap, there’s a HUGE difference in before and after. The “enhanced” version is super gorgeous. And these ladies can whip themselves ready in a flash (under 8 minutes). That said, let’s be real. They use a gazillion products AND there’s so much maintenance even beyond the makeup. Seriously, from teeth whitening gels to permed lashes to tattooed brows to shaving their faces to special shampoo… A shit ton of work and effort. So of course, that got thinking: here I am moaning and groaning about how ugly I am, and am I doing all that work? Nope. Just complaining while sitting on my ass. THE worst. So fine, time to step up my game. I have switched up my foundation to give more even, less splotchy coverage. Added bronzer for some healthy glow. And I think I’ve been over-stripping my skin, bc homegirl does a lot of skincare prep to get her acne-prone skin plump and ready before putting on any color. So now I am trying to hydrate my skin more often to see if that will help me achieve her smooth and flawless finish. I’m telling you: that shit is an art, and she is a master. I’m fascinated.

    I also did some additional reading on the dermaroller, and I might be giving that up. I haven’t noticed a difference in skin texture after three uses and some papers are claiming that extended use causes serious damage. I might do it a few more times, but I won’t be re-ordering.

    On Mothers’ Day, I ordered my evaluation kit from SmileDirectClub. Yes, it’s over 50% cheaper than the regular ortho and that def plays a factor with cheapie old me, but honestly, more than anything, I can’t help but be intrigued with the concept of mail-order ortho treatment. So I’m going to create the molds and see what treatment plan is proposed and then go from there on deciding whether or not to really go forward.

    Fitness-wise, I’ve been going to the JCC pretty consistently. The gym just got some new ellipticals too that are making me sweat my brains out. Then I sweat some more in the sauna and steam room. I got my shower routine down. Yesterday, I changed up my exercise activity and hit up the pool (where I befriended a very outgoing 9 y/o Latina girl… Why are kids approaching me?!?). Oh and I am back on the self-tanning wagon. I still had some St. Tropez left (given to me by my gal K), so I figured I had to use it up, even though I’m sure K will insist that shit is expired. Whatdya know. Maybe the gym sauna/shower routine is working some kind of magic: No application mitt or anything, and the color is deep, uniform, and streak-free!! Yeehaw.

    Yup, still studying my real estate books. Shit is finally starting to sink in. And the info is coming in handy for duties back East. I think I’m finally back on a roll! Just in time for our upcoming weekend getaway. Thank fucking goodness!

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  • Hunger

    On Friday, I met with another realtor for an info interview. We’d formally met years ago while I was at the government agency, where she had been a long time volunteer. Prior to real estate, her background was in social work then corporate finance. I anticipated a brief meetup over coffee to discuss her experiences, but holy crap, she was such a fount of information! We talked for two hours!

    I felt so inspired and motivated by her discipline, organization, and drive. Since my own “decision” months ago to pursue real estate, I’d been feeling reluctant and non-committal. Talking to K though, I related to her story of wanting to work in nonprofit but realizing it didn’t pay enough to make a decent living, then later becoming disillusioned with shit leadership in her corporate job… Interestingly, she came to see real estate as a way for her to help people (through a scary process) while also personally growing and thriving. As she detailed her preparation and steps before and during the transition, she very candidly admitted that her biggest motivation was fear. As someone who didn’t/doesn’t have a spouse to rely on, she HAD to make this work. She studied really hard, sacrificed dinners out with friends, hobbies, etc., and buckled down hard. Her advice? Learn the shit, take the tests, get the license, interview with tons of real estate offices, and hit the ground running, taking every opportunity possible to keep learning on the job. I mean, I consider myself pretty damn obsessed with learning/classes/professional development, but this lady kept a regular schedule of studying at the library, plus she read every book out there on succeeding during your first year in real estate. She took every training class, paid for a mentor even. We’re talking full. on. Her initial goal was to match her corporate salary the very first year out. Then, double her salary in year two. I mean, we’re talking aggressive, right? She met both goals.

    Now five years out, she is incredibly successful and she’s finally taking some time to re-balance her life. She admits that real estate isn’t rocket science, but it does take sacrifice and hard work. And for people who think it’s easy and flex schedule… It isn’t: If you want to excel, you’re working evenings and weekends bc that’s when your clients are NOT at their jobs. For me, the takeaways from our conversation were multifold. I like this concept of controlling the pace. I like that there is tremendous potential for reward. I like that the role is very much about clients entrusting you with something important, not necessarily a life or death scenario, but still important. And I like the opportunities for training and leadership development. She also said there are a lot of women in real estate, which I think I would enjoy. 

    But the kicker realization I had from our conversation? I need to be hungry. Not that I’m a slacker, but goddamn, I need to step up my hustle, and put some real skin in the game. Immediately, my father comes to mind. And this lady… She had such a methodical approach: she stayed with the secure corporate job, did a shit ton of research, studied on the side, and THEN made the jump. If I’m honest, my privilege and past failures make me well, less methodical, less careful, and less conservative.

    No doubt, my father is THE biggest hustler I know. And I’ve mentioned before that his drive and ambition was largely tied to his family’s mounting debts and dire financial situation. Sink or swim, baby! When I was younger (through college), I hustled hard, juggling a gabillion things: school, Chinese school, clubs, music, sports, volunteering, internships. When my hard work resulted in achievements, I grew obsessed with the hustle. But in college, all of it fell apart. The hard work stopped yielding those results, and I really felt like at 20, I had ruined the great life that I had originally planned. I know, it sounds overly dramatic, but it felt incredibly serious and paralyzing. Fast forward through all the years of family drama, expectations, my disfiguring acne… Somewhere I lost my shine and just dropped out of the “rat race.” Tired of being compared to my parents’ friends’ kids who were infinitely more accomplished, I convinced myself that I didn’t want to chase “success.” 

    Yet now, I’m coming to realize that despite my outward rejection, I will never be satisfied with myself until I attain some form of my idea of “success.” Sure, my concept is nebulous and non-specific: Is it a number? Maybe it’s just a feeling, a feeling where I am exceptional at something and that something requires learning and expertise. I work hard for it, but ultimately, there is appreciation and compensation for that effort. Perhaps real estate is the arena where all these elements can come together. Maybe.

    Friday’s meeting sparked something else inside me. Even as I have been studying the books and listening to real estate podcasts, I’ve been feeling increasingly anxious about the class tests and the license exam. (Can you tell how much college destroyed me?) People say real estate has a super low barrier of entry, but I still worry about mastering the material and passing the license exam, which is why I think I’ve been so damn noncommittal when talking about real estate. I need to be more decisive with this new path. Stop wavering or dilly dallying bc of my fears of the academics (among other things). I have to learn it. I will learn it. There is no other option. I have to be hungry.

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