August 2006

Last night, Dwaine called me to enlist my help in composing an e-vite for his upcoming 30th bday shabang.

Dwaine: I’m also thinking of reserving the poolhouse from my association so it can be a joint house party pool party, since I’m sure it’s gonna be hot that day, too.
Me: Aw man, you’re gonna make me lose weight by your birthday?!
Dwaine: You look fine!
Me: That’s cuz you haven’t seen me naked!
Dwaine: …
[huge long pause, during which I thought “Uh-oh, I’ve grossed him out.” I’m expecting some response about TMI since we practically grew up together so I guess it is kinda gross, but I didn’t mean it that way; it’s usually my retort when people say I look fine that they only THINK I look fine because they don’t know how hideous the blobs of fat really are cloaked within dark fabrics.]
Dwaine: … I just had this bottleneck effect happen to me! All these comments came up in my head and they were all going, “Ooh, ooh, pick me, pick me!” and I didn’t know which one to say cuz there were so many good ones! I’m gonna confer with all the comments and voices in my head and I’ll get back to you in one h0ur with a good response, like “This is the comeback we’ve decided on in response to your comment one hour earlier.”

I never heard from him again.

Oh hey, the server’s back up for the blog! Yay! Hello out there in readership land!

My coupe is being turned over to Mr. W today. I’m a little sad. That car’s been with me for 8 years of loyal service. It was the first car I’d purchased. I’d driven other cars before, but this is the one that was really the product of my hard-earned sweat and tears.

When I was 16, my parents were glad to hand over their 8 year old gray Ford LTD so that they didn’t have to shuttle me around to all my club, extracurricular and social activities. My friends and I called that car The Tank. It was a nice comfortable ride with plush velvet-like miniature checkered seats. My friends (i.e., Vicky) joked that it was a “luxury sedan,” since it was big and roomy and yes, the seats were really comfortable. You didn’t get those jolts and squeaks you get riding in the “cooler” cars, which back in the early 90s were the fixed-up Honda Civics, Acura Integras, Mitsubishi Eclipses. For whatever generous or perhaps guilt-induced reason, my parents “fixed up” my LTD with a pull-out radio. I’d turn the treble down and the bass up, and my car with all its hyper boppy passengers would vibrate to the bass line of Sir Mixalot’s Baby Got Back and Paperboy’s The Ditty. Is it any wonder that when the now old-school hip hop of the early to mid 90s come on the radio, I’m taken back to those happy days parking on the street in front of the high school (since the only parking lot for students were assigned senior parking which you had to get up at the buttcrack of dawn and get to school 2 hours before class started in order to snatch one of the precious spaces), when I’d be there so early I’d simply do my Calculus homework due 1st period right there on the steering wheel. By the end of my senior year, that car had decidely had it. The thermostat stuck and caused the car to overheat a few times, one of which was during my return from a Senior Breakfast event in Pomona; the rubber hoses had hardened and cracked, one at a time, such that one time coasting down a hill toward my house I had a green coolant water fountain squirting out the left side of my hood. That car became too much of an expense to repair, so my parents got rid of it (and I was sad then, too) and I went without a car to college. It was too inconvenient (and expensive!) to drive in Westwood, anyway. On weekends home I simply borrowed one of my parents’ Volvos.

A couple of months before I graduated college, my parents mentioned something about my buying a car. “Why would I buy a car?” I wondered. “You don’t expect to borrow one of our cars forever when you graduate, do you? How are WE supposed to get to work then?” my mom said. Oh, I hadn’t thought of that. I started looking and doing research. That was 1998, and the Accord had just newly redesigned a coupe. It was hot hot hot on the market, because for the first time, the Accord coupe didn’t look simply like a 2-door version of the Accord sedan. The tail lights formed isoceles triangles and were reminiscent of the NSX rears. The body shape had an aggressive sporty stance. It came with a VTec engine. People were on waiting lists with the dealerships paying above window sticker price. Through connections with the ex (the same one who hooked me up again), I paid $21K out the door for the upgraded EX trim, thousands below sticker price, on Mother’s Day, 1998. With the windows tinted and leather seats, that car was the envy of everyone. My cousin (mechanic specializing in Hondas) serviced that car faithfully for the 8 years I owned it. That car, at 8 years old now, is nothing like the Ford LTD in its 8th year. There really is something to be said for Hondas in lasting power.

In my garage last night, I had the two cars side by side and transferred some things from the Accord to the Lexus. There were other things I threw away — movie ticket stubs dating back to 1998; hand-drawn maps to ex-boyfriends’ houses, offices, events; printed mapquested directions to spas, friends’ houses, other courthouses, restaurants. I don’t need those anymore with the new navigation system. I found an email string I’d printed out and kept in the car back when my friend Lily counseled me through an emotional melt-down, which trauma I’m sure is poured into those pages, but it was too painful for me to even attempt to reread. I also found another sliver of paper, a vignette of an email from my cousin Mark written to me around the same time, with some words of encouragement telling me that I shall be victor because “nothing less is expected or possible.” Early business cards of friends from when we stepped from the golden hazy schoolkid days into the bleached harsh gray of the real world. For a packrat sentimentalist, I had some minor symbolic victories in the act of throwing away the first poem typed to me from the Cheating Ex (which I’d printed out and kept in the car to, in a sense, be near him), and throwing away a stack of business cards for another ex’s store. It’s amazing what you uncover in what is arguably a time capsule that took you from your early 20s of adulthood (age 21) to age 30.

Even though my Accord doesn’t respond to my voice the way the Lexus does (when I push the voice command button), I’d like to think that it had bonded with me and my heart like a living entity that had carried me through laughter and suicidal pain, triumphant successes and a few failures, old familiar routes and unexplored roads.

Last year at this time:
Brad, Diana and I on 7-4-05

This photo is the large background wallpaper of my work computer, so I have to stare at it every day and kick myself for not looking that way now. I have to be in a bikini in Hawaii in 2 months, man.

Every morning when I walk from the parking structure toward the courthouse, the sun is behind me and I see my shadow in front of me. I always admire that shadow. I’m hot stretched out! So all I have to do now to look that good is to grow another 4 feet in height. *sigh*

For now, more workouts at the gym. Did 40 mins of elliptical hill at the gym today at lunch.

Yesterday evening, I went to A Snail’s Pace and returned my running shoes. No hassle, they made the return very easy. I’m undecided as to buying new running shoes before the Disneyland half-marathon next month, or to just suck it up and run in my old shoes. I’m not sure if I can break in new shoes (assuming I can find a good fit that doesn’t hurt me when I run) in 2 weeks, anyhow.

Speaking of the half-marathon, I went to the 24 Hour Fitness near A Snail’s Pace after I returned my shoes and did a 45 minute run (w/2 minute cool-down afterwards) on the treadmill. It was so incredibly painful. My stomach hurt, I got a pain in my right side mid-run, and my breathing wasn’t comfortable. True, the last run I did was last Saturday, but come on, it was only a 4.3 mile run. I am actually pretty worried about running 14 miles in a couple of weeks now. A treadmill, come on! It doesn’t get easier than that. Except on a treadmill with a built-in fan. That 24 Hour Fitness didn’t have those.

Speaking of that 24 Hour Fitness, James had wanted to meet my new car, and he works out at that 24 Hour Fitness, and since I was gonna be in the area, we compromised and I went to that gym to work out and he went there earlier than he normally works out to meet up with me. I walked in the door at 7p, and geez, there was not one treadmill open! And I believe all the elliptical trainers were taken up. I know he’d explained that he hits the gym at 11p to avoid the crowd, but I had no idea that by crowd, he meant the entire population of Brea, Fullerton and Yorba Linda panting and sweating together in 1500 square feet. James showed up at a little past 8p, after my run, and I apologized for making him come to the gym this early. I hadn’t seen him since ’99, and I’m glad he recognized me, cuz I wouldn’t have recognized him.

In typical Cindy fashion, I threw a bunch of ab and leg exercises at him to throw off his normal abs/leg day routine and to fine-tune his results, and he was game to trying out the new stuff. It was fun working out with James. My coworker gym trainee, altho she’s doing very well and she’s incredibly motivated, is a beginning gymmer so I’ve slacked off a lot on my own stuff when I train her. With James, we got to hit a bit more of the hard-core stuff and I worked up a really good sweat. We left the gym at almost 9:30p. Wow, at the gym from 7-9:30. It’s like the old me back.

After our workout, I gave him a ride in my new car back to his car, and he was jealous of my back-up camera. Heh, heh. It’s not like there’s a lot of stuff for him to be jealous of, considering I dropped him off by his silver Mercedes AMG roadster that was so shiny it blinded me in the dark night. “Zaino,” he explained. Yeah, I’m gonna need to get me some of that.

Oh yeah. After I left the gym I went home and decided to make some spaghetti with organic vodka sauce. I was feeling really good about the work-out and happy with the fact that I’d just run, AND I’d just recently dropped back down into the previous 10s in my weight. So my bad-ass self was gonna have some carbs to balance my long-ass workout. Except I could not get the sauce jar open. I turned turning the cap with one hand, then the other, then I sat on the ground, held the jar between my knees, struggled with the lid with both hands, then held the jar between my feet so I could apply pressure a different way as I tried to turn the lid. No luck. Don’t think the irony was lost on me that I am, in reality, still just a weak little girl. I had to pass on the vodka sauce and I had my spaghetti with a marinara instead. Next thing you know I’ll be looking for a man to trap a spider for me. =P

I received one of those Adobe PDF flyers via email that instructs you to print it out and present it to the store as a coupon. This one says, “Try your coffee ICED. Stop by your neighborhood Starbucks Coffee between noon and 9pm for a complimentary iced grande beverage.” The fine print even had copyright information, 2006 Starbucks Company, and the language “All rights reserved. One Grande beverage per person per visit with this email. Please print and present this email to your Starbucks Barista. Offer good only at participating Starbucks Coffee locations. Expires September 30, 2006. Barista, please use discount code 113.”

Just to see if it works, Mr. W printed this flyer out and took it to a local Starbucks. The manager on shift came out and talked to us and yes, it is a scam. Someone spent some time copying/scanning an actual Starbucks flyer and made it into a PDF format coupon. Starbucks does not give promotions through email, ever. A real Starbucks promo would come through snail mail, it’d be a full-color ad, have a bar code on the bottom, and is usually printed on cardstock paper. Basically, she said, anything through email can be assumed to be unauthorized and fraudulent. But she honored the flyer anyway and gave Mr. W a grande iced chai tea, just this once, because we genuinely didn’t know that this was fake (at least, not for sure). Because customer service was so nice, that particular Starbucks has now earned another customer in Mr. W. He normally refused to pay for overpriced coffee except on the rarest of occasions, but now they’ve touched his overcaffeinated heart.

Last night, I read an email from Jordan that ended with a line asking if Mr. W and I were planning something to celebrate our 1-year anniversary coming up. That marks the 4th person who knows our timeline off-hand. How do they remember that?

1) Mr. W had approached me about 3 weeks ago and said, “We have our one-year anniversary coming up on the holiday weekend; let’s do something –” I didn’t even hear the end of that sentence as I whirled around to look at the calendar on the wall behind me. What holiday weekend? It looks like Labor Day is coming up in the beginning of September, which stands out to me because college roommie Diana had emailed me earlier that day asking if I’m gonna be in town so that she could come to LA and visit. I totally didn’t relate that to our one-year anniversary! Oops. I admitted that to Mr. W, who then laughed and admitted that the only reason he remembered was because his coworker had said to him, “Hey, you and Cindy have your 1-year coming up. Are you doing anything?” and he in turn had looked at the calendar and said, “What? When?!”

2) I had a coworker bring up to me in a conversation about vacation plans last week over lunch whether we were gonna go somewhere for our 1-year anniversary. “You have an anniversary coming up soon, you guys going anywhere?” How do you keep track of that?! Do people remember because they had bets going about how long we were gonna last or something?

3) After receiving said email from Jordan, I forwarded it to Mr. W because I thought it was so amusing. We’d met Jordan on a cruise after we’d been together almost 6 months, so it wasn’t like Jordan could “remember” when she found out or heard that we got together.

4) In response to reading the forwarded email, Mr. W said to me a little earlier, “You know who else remembered?” He named another female coworker of his, who’d asked him the other day hey, isn’t your 1-year anniversary coming up? “What the heck? How does everyone remember that? Do they all remember precisely where they were when they heard or something?” Yeah, he said, because she said she remembers it was Labor Day weekend because that’s when she was moving.

I suppose this is why women (with the exception of me) get so offended when their men forget important dates, because they’re even able to remember other people’s important dates. I had a few sheepish instances of forgetting an anniversary until some time later when I’m at work and have to date a document, and then it’d suddenly hit me, HEY! our 6-month anniversary just passed! And then I’d quickly jump on the phone and call Mr. W and say, “Do you realize we just passed our 6-month anniversary and you didn’t even say anything and we didn’t even do anything special this past weekend?!” He’d say, “Why didn’t you say anything?!” and I’d say, “I was waiting to see if you’d remember! And you DIDN’T!”
But later on I confessed. I think.

I don’t know why I bought an annual pass to Disneyland because I don’t like kids. Well, that’s not totally true across the board. I dislike unruly undisciplined kids running amock within touching distance of me. Hence, Disneyland. I dislike it so much that Mr. W and I got into a fight about it. Some stupid kid kicking the back of my seat through the entirety of the Aladdin Show at California Adventure put me in a pissy mood, and when we met up with Vicky and her boyfriend for fireworks, Mr. W brought up that I didn’t even enjoy the show because of some kid. So I explained to them that a stupid boy was kicking the back of my seat and I’d turned around and looked pointedly at his feet and his dad didn’t do a darn thing about it. And then Mr. W announced to me, “You’re too uptight. You need to calm down and relax.” It took everything I had not to turn around and pop him.

Here’s another example of bad parenting that night. The Hyperion Theatre at California Adventure seats 2000 people in 3 different levels much like a classy broadway show setup, like where they hold the Academy Awards. Before the Aladdin show began, 2 boys, about ages 11 and 8, walked to the front of the theatre right in front of the stage, accompanied by 2 Disneyland theatre ushers/employees. “Attention, everyone,” the employees yelled. “Did anyone lose these two kids?” The theatre quieted down as 4000+ eyes stared. The time ticked by. The boys looked around them. “Does anyone know these two kids?” the employees yelled again. People in the audience started pointing and whispering. Among the whispers around me I heard someone say how sad it was that no one was going up to claim the kids. As nothing happened, the audience started back in on their own conversations. “I don’t think the parents are in here, the kids probably ran in ahead,” I said. Someone else said, “How do you lose 2 kids for this long and not know it?” The ushers in the audience called everyone’s attention to look at the boys and see if it’s their kids. Finally, finally, a large Hispanic woman made her way up to the stage and claimed her kids. The 2000 people actually broke out in applause. “This is gonna be a story for show n’ tell when they get back to school,” I said. An older white man to my right said, “She probably didn’t know she lost those 2 kids cuz she’s got 8 more; she didn’t realize they were missing.”

The kid who was kicking my seat was one of 5 people in a Hispanic family. I’d wondered if they’d heard the man’s comments. But I quickly stopped caring when the boy was so absolutely annoying and rude and his parents didn’t do anything about it. I first saw that family when we were let into the gate for the mezzanine level seating. We were waiting in line for about 15, 20 minutes when the usher outside the theatre undid the chain and the first people in the mezzanine line started in. This family ran for the opening from the side, kid holding mom’s hand holding kid’s hand holding dad’s hand holding kid’s hand, completely skipping the line. The usher instantly put out his arm and stopped them, and made dad, mom and 3 kids turn around and go to the end of our line. I suppose if you’re gonna lead your kids to blatantly cut in line, you wouldn’t stop them from kicking the back of someone’s chair, either, even if the person turned around twice to look deliberately at your kid’s feet on the back of her seat.

I hung out with Dwaine earlier today and he said that my dislike for kids isn’t so much a dislike for kids, as much as a dislike for obnoxious bratty misbehaved children, and he theorized that it’s because we were raised to be well-behaved in public and not embarrass our parents. That was a good point, I said thoughtfully, cuz I know that if I did what the kids did, at that point I’d be expecting to get my ass whooped by my mom. But these parents just look the other way when their kids run ahead in line and climb on the ropes and hit other patrons with the ropes that they’re playing with and then kick my leg when they clamber around climbing the walls in line. Grrrr. I made a comment today when Dwaine was admiring my new car’s backup camera on the navigation screen. “It’s so you can see if some kid’s behind you when you’re backing up, so you can WATCH him get crushed. It’s more fun that way.”

I drove the Accord in to work today. At lunch, I went to the gym and upon walking back to my car, I saw it for the first time in a long time in daylight. The dings and scratches on it are unbelievable. People who park in our work structure are such JERKS! I know it happened in our structure because it either parks alone in my garage or alone in Mr. W’s garage, and I don’t go into public parking lots much. At the gym, I park it in a far lonely aisle for the shade and people usually don’t want to park that far so it’s usually alone there, too.

There was a time probably 5 years ago when I’d parked it in the structure at the Brea Mall. As I walked toward my car, I saw a young mother getting out of her car, which was parked next to mine. She had two young kids in the backseat, and as they climbed out the car, the mom said, “Be careful, make sure you don’t hit that other car with your door.” The kids very gingerly pushed the door out and climbed out carefully, then shut the door behind them. At this point I walked up to my car and she looked up in surprise at me smiling at her. “Thank you,” I told her, and hit my unlock button so that she knew it was my car she was protecting. She said, “Oh, you’re welcome! People need to be more responsible these days. I always teach my kids to respect other people’s property.” I wish there were more people like her around.

I gassed up the Lexus this morning for the first time. It wasn’t as bad as I thought. With slightly less than a quarter tank left, I filled up with Chevron Premium for a total of $41.17. It’s too bad that 3/4 of the tank got me under 300 miles. While waiting for my car to drink up, I took a paper towel around to places that had those little yellow dots of bird poop. With the slippery new clearcoat on the car, those poop chips just fell right off. I didn’t even have to dissolve them. Goal: keep wax job up so it’d always be like that.

Speaking of car wax, my bailiff brought in a Consumer Reports article to let me compare waxes. There are liquid wax (good for restoring high-gloss finishes, but kind of a pain to use), paste wax (decent gloss but not as good for cleaning as liquid wax, but fairly easy to use), and spray wax (new thing in a spray bottle, quick and easy, but shine doesn’t last long and not good for cleaning. Decent for maintenance). Turns out that the 2 best liquids are Black Magic Wet Shine Liquid Wax and Turtle Wax Carnauba Car Wax T-6, each for $7, excellent gloss, durability, cleaning, compatibility w/plastic, good on ease of use, and lack of scratching/hazing (i.e., not so abrasive as to mess up your paint during application/removal). Meguiar’s Gold Class Clear Coat Wax ranked somewhere in the upper middle, mostly because of less durability. Plus it’s $15 a pop. Nu Finish $8 ranked the highest in paste, and Eagle One Wax-As-U-Dry $6 ranked the highest in spray. In terms of overall score, the 2 liquids scored 84/100, the Nu Finish paste scored 71, the Eagle One spray scored 54. Just in case you guys are in the market for car wax. =)
(“Car Wax: Quality Shine for Less”, pg. 47-49, Consumer Reports, July 2006. Or, check

Mr. W and I went to CarMax yesterday after work to get an estimate on his truck. I have to say that my [interruption here, Mr. W just called me on the phone, brb] Okay. Now that it’s 2 hours later, I’m back. Anyway, we went to CarMax and my experience there was very impressive. If you want to sell or buy a used car, that’s the way to go! They’re thorough, haggle-free, nice people. None of the stereotypical sleazy car salespeople stuff.

I am so impressed by all the customer service I’d been receiving. Capital One Auto Financing, which gave me the lower interest rate through Costco, was prompt and professional and I received my blank check this morning at work through FedEx. After work, I drove the check down to Longo Lexus, waited awhile for a finance manager to free up so that I could change the financing from Lexus to Capital One. Everyone was busy so we sat there awhile, until my salesguy Martin happened to walk by and see us. He offered to take care of us so we went to his desk and he did the running around and took care of everything for me. Then I told him about 2 light scratches that I discovered on my car after I’d taken the car home and he said he’d bring it to the Lexus service department and see what they can do for me. Meanwhile Mr. W and I walked over to the Longo Toyota dealership right next door to meet up with Brian, the fleet manager that got us the great connection with Martin to begin with. As we waited for Brian to finish up with some customers, Martin came into the Toyota showroom we were in and handed me my car key. He’d gotten the scratch taken care of, driven my car over to me at the Toyota lot, and walked my key in. “It’s a different type of customer that would buy a Lexus, they’re more demanding,” Brian the Toyota guy said. Spoiled is more like it, I thought. Wow.

Mr. W looked at the Prius, 4Runner, and Solara. Brian recommended that we come back the beginning of next month for deals that would better suit what Mr. W was looking to do. I like people that are no-nonsense and are genuinely interested in getting you a good deal as opposed to just pushing sales ASAP. And the numbers computed floored me. Mr. W is gonna get one hell of a deal when he comes back to that place.

At work, I surfed the internet and found a State Farm agent whose office is located .8 miles from my house, and called him out of a list of 10 other State Farm agents within a mile of my home, just cuz Mr. W liked the sound of his name. The agent I had since I first drove had retired, I got transferred to this new agent and a month later, the new guy stopped working for State Farm. I called his office and he was on vacation until mid-September. Crap, I gotta find someone who can take care of the new car’s insurance. The one I randomly picked was wonderful. I didn’t speak to the agent himself, but the staff person who picked up the phone was great. She was nice, professional, informative, and already had gone out of the way for me in running some rough numbers without sufficient information. I’m definitely gonna switch to that office. She invited me down to their office (which is right next to bellydancing) to meet everyone.

I’m just so happy with how I’ve been treated lately. Ooh, and Martin gave me a nice Lexus pen today, too. Haha.

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