Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Wrapping it up

Everyone blogs for a different reason; as a reader, it is my opinion that most blogs are products of a simple indulgence - look what I am doing, look what I have done. There's a term out there for it: Micro Fame. A way to selfishly share their lives without having to reciprocate and listen to others. The selfishness can easily be offset by reading other blogs, so essentially you get a bunch of people relating to others without interaction -- unless you comment each other, of course. I'm still amused by the "look what I'm doing every five minutes" style of blogging, even though I don't agree with bombarding people with so much useless information; I'm not really interested in knowing that you stubbed your toe 5 seconds ago and that your last fart smelled like bacon. It's interesting, though, that blogs have provided us the ability to know each other's intimate thoughts, yet still keep us at a safe distance, disconnected. It used to take effort -- a phone call or personal visit -- to find out how and what a friend was doing. Now, we place our emotions and experiences on a 24 Hour Buffet -- I've put it all out there... please take what you like, when you'd like.
I don't have a problem with this new system. In fact, it makes me all the more appreciative of the "old" ways; a phone call from a friend can make my day. And in cases of my dear friend Danielle, it is sometimes the only way to keep up with her trials and tribulations in another hemisphere. And her blog is something to admire, because it is also a great resource of how to survive when suddenly moving to Brazil in addition to her intelligent editorials and daily events.
Sometimes my own blogging was sporadic. I've always tried to keep the the right priorities: This is a blog about life, not a life about a blog. Quality over quantity.

Ultimately it comes down to this: This is a blog about my journey through grief and transition. Anyone that has lost a parent, or both, understands what an adventure it can be. The fact is that my journey will never end... it simply becomes a bit easier; I know how the path is paved, but sharp turns inevitably pop up whenever I think I know where I'm going.

Six years ago, I spent a week at the United States Naval Academy, in preparation to attend that prestigious institution. The competition was fierce, but I made it to the summer program, a good indication that I was on track to gain my admission. I wrote to my father, the Army man, every evening and detailed my experiences. He was so very proud that I had made it there. On the last day, we were subjected to yelling, questioning, and intense physical exertion -- your average boot camp stuff -- but most of us were spoiled 17 year old kids, so this was extreme. I just remember doing push ups as they mopped up the sweat and tears off the floor in front of me. Then, suddenly, we were sent outside to the main courtyard, greeted by the Navy band and the Dean. We were soaked in sweat, and now rain, yet we were overcome with so much pride... we freaking survived. I remember cheering, hugging strangers, and feeling euphoric. At the time, I considered it the proudest, most challenging time of my life.

A month later, I pressed my ear to my father's chest as his heart beat its final time. I planned the funeral and gave my eulogy to a standing room only crowd. I buried my parents together, after having held onto my mother's ashes for 12 years. The next few months became the most difficult challenge of my life.

I received the congressional nomination required for admission to the academy, but it no longer made sense to go. My only support was gone. Later, I got accepted to all the UC's that I applied to, but I found myself unable to go. New challenges -- a house, a business, a crash course in adult life -- all prevented me from going off to school.

I try not to use becoming an orphan at 17 as a scapegoat. But I cannot deny the catastrophic change it has caused in my personal development. There was a reason that I excelled at many jobs I once held, but never stuck with: It just wasn't where I was supposed to be. There was a reason I couldn't make house payments: I wasn't supposed to be a homeowner! (yet.) I just felt like I was living someone else's life. Even after being criticized by people I considered friends at the time, being told that my chances were gone, that I should find a trade and stick with it, etc etc... I made it. On the flipside, there are the friendships that have endured through all of this, that never doubted me. Those friendships make the naysayers hardly even memorable.

Five years later, I am here. I'm sitting in the UC Davis library, doing what I've only dreamed of: Putting off studying to write a blog post. Haha.

Every day I have my "I can't believe I'm here!" moments, and my friends always tease me for being the one that repeatedly asks, "Don't you just LOVE it here?" Finally, I am directing my own life. I am no longer having to react to circumstances beyond my control. I have choices, something I missed for a very long time. Best of all, I have the love of my life by my side.

The transition is over, and there is no longer any uncertainty.
I am retiring this blog.

But I'm still around, and I'll still receive comments. So if for any reason you want an update, let me know.

And if you're in town, we'll share a Cafecito con Leche.

Friday, November 14, 2008

The EZ Lube Story

It's not that I want attention -- I really enjoy putting the spotlight on anyone who is behaving badly on purpose. And they do it because they think they can get away with it, that their mistreatment of others will go unannounced... and without consequence.
F--- THAT!
EZ-Lube intentionally screwed me over. Accidents happen -- I was just the random, unlucky person to not have my oil change completed. It happens. But to refuse to budge, to ignore my requests, to not be reasonable... and to purposely drag it out in hopes that I'd simply go away... that's seriously fucked up.

So, I made noise. I like making noise. It works. Here is the result:

Yay! Now I'm just waiting on that check.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Overdue Update on Things

Okay. I've calmed down. EZ Lube appealed the court's decision simply to buy more time. They are not interested in actually going back to court, rather they know that the deadline before the judgement gets entered is only a week away, so the appeal pushes that deadline back another month. I'll be waiting for my check, jerks. So that was pleasant news. Also, the local news station is doing an in depth report on this whole incident. I filmed an interview before moving, and they're finally airing it now since this is sweeps week for the networks. All I can say is... they filmed that DAYS before I moved -- the craziest, most stressful time ever! I'm sure I looked pretty haggard during the interview. Oh well... I don't live there anymore anyway! So you local folks... 11pm on channel 6 tonight.

The EZ Lube stuff sent me for a loop last night, and on top of that, my brain was fried from studying for my 2nd Art History midterm THIS MORNING which consisted of testing me on the names, dates, locations and descriptions of 40 or so pieces of Greek art. Glad that's over. That concludes the midterms for this quarter, and soon enough, this quarter will be over. Time flies on the quarter system.

I'm also proud to announce that Mark left today to attend his graduation ceremony. I really wanted to go, but I had that tedious midterm. Also, my not attending saves us hotel costs and having to get a pet sitter... and it affords his family an extra ticket so that no one gets left out. It's an exciting event for his family, because even though he's too humble to admit pride in his great accomplishment, he's the first one to graduate college! It's a great reflection of his parents' ability to provide him the opportunity to get his degree, as well as his own commitment to higher education. What is also remarkable is that he completed the the 180 units required for a bachelor's degree in about 2.5 years... that takes four years for the rest of us! He keeps brushing it off like it's no big deal, so hopefully he'll see the great amount of pride that his family has tomorrow when they hand him that diploma. And it has a been a good year for his family; just a few months ago his sister completed Junior College, so maybe there will be another Bachelor's Degree in the family in the next few years.

In the meantime, I am just chugging along with school stuff, selling the house stuff, and UNPACKING. The kitchen is done. The living room is sorta done... there are only a few of Mark's boxes left in there to be dealt with. The bedroom is a disaster, and the office is an obstacle course. There will be major organizing occurring this weekend! Thankfully, Mark made a "don't fit/don't wear/donate" pile of clothes, so he managed to decrease the piles of clothing that he owns. Now, instead of being able to clothe a small country, he can merely clothe a small village. For a year.

...and this biking as my only form of transportation thing is starting to pay off. I don't think I've lost any weight in pounds, but my endurance is getting a lot better and I don't feel like I am going to die before getting to my destination anymore. There are also certain areas that make me sneeze as I go by, and I have learned to turn my head when sneezing to avoid getting hit by my own mighty mucous mist.

And in recent news, Sunday marked the 2nd anniversary of the day I flew to Utah to see Mark for the first time. We've deemed that day the "official" start of the relationship, even though we considered ourselves together before actually, you know, getting together. I'll spare you the graphic details. He treated me to a steak dinner, 18 white roses, and a really nice conversation over dinner. During the day, we took a little road trip with the dogs through a neighboring town and up into the mountains. It was just a really nice break from reality. I'll get those photos posted when he gets back from Utah, since he took my camera with him.

So now I've got errands to run, including figuring out how to buy a 30 lb bag of dog food and getting it home without a car. Balance it on the handlebars? Should be interesting!

Ah, and here's a photo of Mark and I at the last home football game. Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008



I have to fly back down to southern California to go to court AGAIN.


I think everyone knows one of these...

You're terribly spoiled. The worst part is that you don't even realize it, instead, you are cursed with a sense of entitlement. You air your problems with a great deal of exaggeration and when you overcome them (often at the aid of your family) you feel as if you have truly struggled and overcome... even if it is something trivial that the rest of us deal with on a daily basis. And you expect applause and praise. You have your moments of kindness towards others, but they are so overshadowed by your rudeness, abrasiveness and narcissism...

You've hurt my feelings many times and I don't like you. But you don't bother to pay attention anyway. There's no sense in rebuilding a friendship that never really existed.

I honestly hope that you have not been impaired by the low standards set for you. By praising your small accomplishments, you have a false sense that these same accomplishments are huge... when in reality they are simply stepping stones. I know that the behaviors you exhibit are a product of years of coddling. I wish everyone would have had higher expectations for you rather than the "well, we're just glad you made it this far" mentality.

I would love to talk to you, perhaps give you another perspective, and get you out of the ditch they've dug for you. But you cannot see past your own reflection at this point. Have you ever asked yourself why everyone seems to know you so well, but of those people, there are some you hardly even know?

I want you to strive for more, keep going on this path that you have so recently stalled upon. I want you to grow.

I want you to grow up.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Bittersweet Victory

I'm still hoping that Prop 8 won't pass...
we might need a miracle.

UPDATE: I'm disappointed at people's ignorance. Get a clue, people.

Friday, October 24, 2008

My biggest college accomplishment so far...

So without going into great detail about how much I had been dreading this morning....
I ran 1.5 miles in 19:55 minutes. Before the run, he coach announced that the cutoff was 20 minutes, to which some people responded, "Isn't that just walking?"

No, it's not, bitch.

19:55 minutes. Yes, that's slow, and yes, I got lapped by almost everyone else on the rowing team, and yes, I made it very apparent that I was hating it by my loud sighs and "i'm too old for this shit!" mutterings, but dammit, I made it. I could barely run a 15 minute mile in high school, so this was a big thing for me. And I had to do this at 6:15 am, which makes this the earliest I've woken up since living in Davis.

I hope to never have to do it again. (the running part... well, maybe even the waking up early part too.)

I'm going back to bed.

Monday, October 20, 2008

This just in:

10/20/2008 - 8:30 AM DEPT. 1C


Thursday, October 9, 2008

Favorite Foods, Frozen yogurt, Football, Friends...

I'm a little surprised at just how quickly the days are going by. Classes have been going on for two weeks, and it's been almost an entire month since I got here. So far so good.
I can't really say that I miss the desert -- I'll occasionally glance over the local news for that area -- but I do miss my little sister and my close friends. So... I miss like 8 people. If you're reading this, you're probably one of them. And you're welcome to come visit me anytime. I have moments where I get annoyed that I don't know everything there is to know about my new town, "I'm hungry at 10pm! What to eat?" but I honestly can't complain.

Mark arrived a week ago and promptly started working on Monday. It's been interesting so far as neither of us has been able to unpack much -- so there are things scattered everywhere. I've tried to make nice stacks of boxes to allude to my organizational nature, but it's not working very well. It's also very amusing to see the insane amounts of clothing that he owns. I think he could survive without doing laundry for 3 months straight without wearing something twice. Me? Maybe a week. Note to self: Use as an excuse for future clothes shopping.

So right now my favorite places to eat are Crepeville and Cultivé Frozen Yogurt. This is completely unfair, because I really haven't gone anywhere else to eat. These places are so delicious that I don't even want to try anything new yet. Crepeville makes enormous crepes that can feed two, which makes the meal nice and cheap and satisfying. Behold:

So there's one temptation that I'm working on resisting. This one is easily avoided by simply eating at home. The second temptation, however, is not easily avoided. There is no way to satisfy a craving for Cultivé other than just getting up and going there. Their frozen yogurt is simply amazing. The toppings are delicious, ranging from fresh fruit to fruity pebbles. Okay, so what makes it irresistable? My body needs it to function -- there ARE A BAZILLION live active cultures in it that are essential to my nutrition! Oh and it's fat free, too, so when convincing myself not to go there, I have absolutely no reason not to. Behold:


In non-food related news, I've made a few friends so far. It's a little slow going since I am not in the dorms, and my lectures are so huge that they don't really afford you the time to interact with anyone. The only real class that gives me the chance to get to know my classmates is my Animal Bio Lab class.. and I'm usually wrists deep into a dead fish. :D :D :D There is something seriously wrong with the fact that I love cutting into dead things and pulling them apart.

My closest friend here is Weijing (Way-cheen) -- she's of chinese descent, but she's from Mexico City. It confuses everyone that meets her; they see her and think she's Chinese-American, then she starts speaking Spanish perfectly, and they just can't wrap their heads around it. I've had complete strangers ask me (when she's not around) "What IS she?" And then I try to explain the possibility that not everyone emigrates to America. Anyway, she's great.. and she's essentially on her own out here since her family is still in Mexico, so we can relate a lot and provide each other unique perspectives on things. Yay. She's also hilarious and we're always cracking each other up.

I've really been making a point of getting out and getting into what the town and university has to offer -- part of this is me trying to be more outgoing, but also getting my money's worth on this investment! Tuition is expensive! Free tickets? Free bus rides? I am milking all these student benefits for what they are worth! So the day after Mark got here, we went to a football game. I managed to get him a student t-shirt, and Weijing graciously gave him her student ticket, so he was able pretend to be a student in the student section. The game turned out to be the MOST EPIC GAME in history, with the winning points being scored from a 32 yard hail mary with only 2.9 seconds left on the clock -- it was seriously a miracle. Read about it here. The entire student section rushed the field and all hell broke loose and it was the most fun I've had in a long time. I forgot how much I really do like football -- years of watching it as a kid with my father are finally paying off.

We also attended a block party pot-luck thing for our neighborhood -- the city of Davis organizes it every year so that students and residents can get to know each other. Since I was sending Mark to go get the ingredients for our dish, I decided to go with something simple. You know, so it would be easy to pick up what we need. The recipe? Crab Salad with twist: get the premade stuff and add chopped toasted almonds, cilantro, lime, and put it on Pumpernickel toasts.
He's at the store. My phone rings.
"They don't have crab salad, can we use Seafood salad?"
"Yes. We need about 3 cups."
(pause, deli attendant talking in background)
"It only comes in pounds."
"Try to estimate"
"ummm.... Okay."
(more deli attendant conversation)
"Honey, I need to go, just call me if you need any more help."
"oh okay."
Phone rings again.
"Roasted Salted Almonds? Cause that's all they have"
"No... you're in the wrong aisle. Those are snacker nuts, you need to go over to the baking stuff."
Phone rings again.
"They only have slivered almonds"
"That's it? No other types??"
"Okay those will work."
Phone rings again.
"Cilantro, right?"
Phone rings again.
"I'm in the bread section, I don't see the pumpernickel you want."
"Try the cheese section, where the Brie is. I'm sure they have it there"
"I'm only seeing water crackers."
"Keep looking."
"oh. there it is."
I forgot to mention that all of these phone calls took place while I was in the shower.

Exhausted, my gallant gatherer hands over the ingredients... and after toasting and chopping the almonds, toasting the pumpernickel, and throwing at all together, this is what I ended up with:

I say "what I ended up with" because after he handed me the ingredients, he seriously went and took a nap. The grocery store depleted him of all his energy. Mark says it's the hardest thing he ever had to do in his life. ::insert eye roll here:: Gotta love him.

My first midterm is in a week... can you believe it? Life is good. Come visit! It'll give me more motivation to unpack!