December 2006

Last nite, I had a dream. I don’t recall much detail about the dream, something happened when I was in a car, and after it happened, I actually thought this whilst in my dream: “That’s funny. I’m gonna blog that.” I think I even said it aloud to someone in the dream. But upon awakening, I forgot what was so funny that I wanted to blog. Am I the only blogger who dreams of blogging?

I was watching president Gerald Ford’s state funeral yesterday evening when I was doing cardio at the gym. Betty Ford stood there bravely with a stoic tight-lipped smile facing a procession of national dignitaries as they marched past her. Some of the men gave her a very slight nod, some didn’t make eye contact with her as they walked by. She stood, looking frail and small despite holding her head high, her hand tucked into the crook of Major General Guy Swan’s uniformed elbow. I forget what military position Swan held, but it’s his place to escort the wife of a deceased president during the funeral. Betty didn’t even come up to his shoulder. When the last man in the line walked past her, I watched Betty’s face crumple slightly and she shook in what appeared to be a sob. Swan, looking properly straight ahead, reached over discreetly with his free hand and patted Betty’s old wrinkled hand on his right elbow comfortingly, perhaps having heard her light sob or felt her shaking. It was only momentary as she regained her composure mere seconds after. But in that second, my heart broke with her. If the elliptical trainer didn’t have arm rails, I probably would’ve fallen off that thing sideways. Betty had such a long, close marriage with her husband. When his job put in in the White House, she and their kids moved in there with him. It was their home, not just his office as it is to our politicians these days. I think Arnold Schwarzenegger’s family still lives somewhere fairly local in Southern California, and he comes and goes, spending a few days here and then in Sacramento. Betty was right by Ford’s side through his long life. I can’t imagine how difficult it is to know your husband’s health is failing for the last few months, and then instead of taking as long as you need to mourn privately, you have to follow a scripted protocol for a televised international funeral. I didn’t realize this until the cameras closed in on her face, but as brave as she was sometimes standing by Swan, at other times escorted by vice president Cheney, the lower third of Betty’s clear eyes were always swimming in tears. What was she thinking, standing there for hours like that, and in Statuary Hall? Was she remembering how her own children had run around with Johnson’s children playing hide and seek around the statues? Was she remembering visiting her husband as he sat behind the large desk in the Oval Office for 2.5 years? Was she thinking about how wonderful the Navy choir sounded, and how straight and still the uniformed pallbearers stood, in order to keep her mind off the reason they were all there? I hope her heart (having gone through a quadruple bypass in ’87) heals quickly, surrounded by her children and their family this new year.

A few Saturdays ago, Mr. W’s ex-wife, the mom of his kids, graduated from nursing school. I give her lots of credit for changing careers in mid-life, going back to school, and actually completing the education and training in an entirely different (and noble) career. That’s a lot of juggling time, money, kids, job, with your eye on the dream at all costs. We all went to her graduation. Also present was her friend, whose name I can’t spell, I only know it’s pronounced something like “Naughty.” Haha, how appropriate.

Some history on Naughty:
The first time I met Naughty almost half a year ago, Mr. W and I had gone over to ex-wife’s house to pick up the kids. Naughty and her daughter were there, hanging out with ex-wife. The ex-wife, as usual, was pleasant with me and chit-chatted a bit. I said hello to Naughty & Daughter, they both look at me, turned back to each other, and continued their conversation in Spanish. Mr. W whispered to me that the two women are known bitches and to not worry about it. A few minutes later, Mr. W and ex-wife went somewhere to get something in another room, and it was me alone with these two women in the kitchen. I made another pleasantry comment. They paused their conversation, and then turned back to each other after ignoring me and kept up the Spanish. It was absolutely rude. But MAYBE they didn’t speak enough English to be cordial, I dunno.

At ex-wife’s graduation on the Saturday in question, we were seated with Mr. W on my left, and Mr. W’s daughter on my right. Naughty arrived prior to the commencement of the ceremony, walked behind us, and Mr. W’s daughter turned around. “Hi, Naughty! How are you doing?” she said. Naughty said, in slightly accented but otherwise perfect English, “Hi, good! You look so pretty!” Daughter said, “Thanks,” and they had a few more sentences exchanged. I turned to Mr. W, who was clearly grimacing from even having to be around this woman, and I said, “Oh, so she does speak English!” Naughty unfortunately sat on the other side of daughter, but I figured I’d given her enough of a chance from before and was through offering the first olive branch.

After the ceremony, people stood around taking photos. I wasn’t part of most of the photos, so I sat to the side. Naughty tried to insert herself in the family photos of ex-wife and her kids. Mr. W, designated photographer for the event, later showed me the photos. Naughty was either completely or half cut out of the frame of the photos. I felt a little bad for her. Until dinner.

Dinner was at a local restaurant. Ex-wife had invited so many friends, family and coworkers that the restaurant arranged 5 long tables in a “T” shape for the party to sit around. Naughty was at the upper right corner of the “T” shape, Mr. W and I were at the bottom base of the “T”, and ex-wife was in the middle. When I would look up toward ex-wife, like when she was opening her graduation presents or telling a story, I’d see Naughty in the background, glaring at me. Even when there was nothing going on and I’d look in that direction, it seemed she was always glaring at me. Then, at the end of dinner, when we stood and walked around to ex-wife to say our goodbyes, ex-wife gave Mr. W a hug and thanked him for bringing the kids and for being photographer, then she hugged me and thanked me for coming, and I said, “Wow, two years, and you did it! How does it feel?” So we were in mid-conversation and I swear, I was in mid-sentence when Naughty came up on ex-wife’s right, grabbed her arm and pulled her away from me, and said something to her in Spanish. Oookay…that was rude. Two minutes later, ex-wife returned, laughing. She said, “Naughty’s all concerned about me being polite. She said, ‘Make sure you hug [Mr. W] and thank him for taking photos for you today! Give him a hug right now!’ and I told her, ‘I already did, and I thanked him.’ ” She laughed that off and continued her conversation with me. But I’m thinking, the witch (Naughty, not ex-wife) is trying to make waves! She’s trying to get ex-wife to embrace her ex-husband in front of his current girlfriend, to tick me off! What is her PROBLEM? Of course, first of all she underestimated how UNcatty I am, because that wouldn’t have upset me. She also underestimated the friendly nature of my and ex-wife’s relationship, and the trust between Mr. W and me.

The stupid thing is, why is she trying to mess with me?! I don’t know her. I guess I’d understand if ex-wife and I hated each 0ther, so as ex-wife’s friend, Naughty’s trying to make a point of supporting ex-wife by being a bitch to me. But don’t you take the cue from your friend, and when you see her getting along with the new girlfriend, why do you think it’s your business to shake that?! No wonder Mr. W hates her.

I tried to psychoanalyze myself last nite, which just led to more tears as I realized the only friend I have who majored in Psychology is Grace. Not that she did much with that, as she ended up in Finance, working for Merrill Lynch in New York, doing something related to stocks. Why had I never asked her what her job was? All I knew was that when the stock market reposed for the evening, she could, too.

I get that it’s unreasonable the extent to which linkages from Mr. W to his past relationships bother me. A hypothetical he raised yesterday, in his argument about how ridiculous I was, was “If I drink mojitos now because a past girlfriend had introduced me to it, and then I get you into mojitos, but you find out later that the interest came from an ex-girlfriend, are you gonna get mad and not drink mojitos anymore?” The honest gut response is, yeah, I wouldn’t drink mojitos anymore. If I liked them, I’d drink it with my friends, but I would not order one with Mr. W anymore. And every time I saw him drink one, I’d feel bitter. YES, I KNOW THAT’S STUPID. But even as I imagine myself in this scenario he made up, I feel the disgust in my chest for mojitos. (Thank goodness I had my first mojito with college roommie Diana from my bday last year. I would hate that mojitos be ruined for me.) Mr. W feels that he’s gypped of the connection to me because he has to hold back personal information on his background, and that he’s not free to be himself. I can understand that, I can sympathize with that, and I would love it if his past didn’t bother me, the way my past doesn’t bother him. But how do I get there???

Mr. W doesn’t feel any sympathy for what I go through on this TMI thing, because, he says, he doesn’t understand it. He doesn’t understand why I feel a gut resentment for anything positive he tells me about his experiences with exes. Why, if he told me that a particular restaurant had great carne asada and he used to go all the time with his ex, that I’d never want to set foot in that place with him. He doesn’t understand why any experience from his past, or the sharing of any such information, makes me uncomfortable at best, bitter more of the time. And because he questioned it, I did, too. For the first time.

A particular ex used to tell me all sorts of unnecessary crap. Now those were really TMI, overly detailed sex acts including the who, the where, the when, the how it felt. And I’d taken it as information, nothing personal. It didn’t get truly bothersome until, come to find out, all these exes he reminisced about, were still in his life. And then the resentment set in. It didn’t help that he liked to brag about how all his exes want him back and call him relentlessly to that end. (It also didn’t help that he cheated on me.) I guess the resentment with anything related to his exes is understandable in that situation, but that’s not my situation now, and I’m still resentful. Mr. W doesn’t give me any reason to doubt his trust, and I’ve seen how he handles other females’ advances — he nips them in the bud and tells them happily, politely, about something we did or are doing together — so it’s not a problem of feeling threatened by women from his past.

He says anything I did before him has an unrelated distance in his head. I suppose it probably feels like he’s hearing about somebody else, because his Cindy is the girl in front of him, who’s with him and only him. The Cindy who may have shlupped other men is somebody he doesn’t know, a whole separate entity. And that’s really cool, because honestly, I can tell him about what an amazing time I had doing a particular sex act with a particular person in a particular unusual location, and he’d be interested in the information as I was telling it for almost personal research reasons, and then he’d simply move on. For me, I want to burn out the part of my brain that holds that overly-detailed image of him with someone else. I did feel bad last nite that I couldn’t give him that freedom to disclose, which he gives me, because it truly is a wonderful thing. It feels great. But I can’t handle it (anymore?) and the only way I know how to not have these sickening mental images hanging over me is to not have knowledge of the images to begin with.

Added weird stuff? 1.) Let’s say that I’ve “banned,” to use Jordan’s word, certain events, locations, foods from the relationship. I’d still be okay to partake in the banned stuff with friends, or with a future relationship. 2.) In talking to other men I’ve dated after I got screwed in the relationship I’d described in the 4th paragraph of this post, I really was okay hearing TMI stuff. I even listened with interest, which surprised me at the time that I was totally emotionally unaffected by the information. Come to find out, it’s only okay before I fall in love.

I know this isn’t new or groundbreaking stuff. Lots of people (I think women, especially) can relate to my feelings surrounding TMI. I know it makes no intellectual logical sense to feel this in my situation. I agree with Mr. W on that. But emotions are not ruled by intellect. So how do I get there? Does it come with the mellowing out of aging?

The perspective: “You did this with someone I don’t like/your ex? Then I designate it as ‘you guys’s’ thing and I want no part of it.”
Forgivable application of the perspective: Details of how they used to love each other, have sex with each other, any ‘best time of my life’ information if it was with someone else.
Unreasonable application of the perspective: Not wanting any part of a city/ state/ country on vacation because he’d already taken the ex there; not wanting to experience any restaurant/event that was a favorite of a past relationship.
So far, I have the unreasonable applications, I admit that. I also admit it sucks, for Mr. W. But I can’t figure out the why. Why does it bother me so much to know these things, that I’d just rather not know?

I got super-annoyed with Mr. W yesterday when he mindlessly told me, in not so many words, that he used to screw some chick(s?) with a specific Enigma song playing, which song happened to be playing right then on the radio. Mr. W got super-annoyed with me today when he learned that instead of going to the doctor in the morning, I came to work and didn’t even leave early at lunch to see the doctor.

But then, if these are the worst of our problems after 1+ year together — too much information about his past for my taste and his worrying about my health so much as to be angry that I’m not being taken care of — I consider myself severely lucky, indeed.

By the way, I skipped the gym at lunchtime today and did go see the specialist, so it’s all good.

*** Addendum 12-28-06 ***
Mr. W feels he was misrepresented in this post, and I can see how it looks a certain way because I told it “in a nutshell” as opposed to telling exactly how the conversation happened, so here’s how it actually came about (but still nut-shell-ized):
*song plays*
Mr. W: I like this song. I have the CD. It has a good rhythm to have sex to.
Me: Ew! Why would you tell me something like that?
Mr. W: Why?
Me: Because the fact that you HAVE the CD and you said it’s a good rhythm to have sex to means that you’re speaking from personal experience!
Mr. W: *not denying it; it comes out later that his ex girlfriend said it’s a good song to have sex to, then bought him the CD, and then they had sex to it.*

Dear late president Ford:

I’m sorry that this morning, when I was told you had passed away, I said nonchalantly, “So did James Brown.” That was irreverent of me. Like any US citizen, I am grateful for your restoration of a post-war nation in the short time during your administration. Thanks.

Dear Mr. Brown:

I’m sorry that yesterday morning, when I was told you had passed away, I said nonchalantly, “So that line in the song James Brown…is dead is true now.” That was rude of me. Like any American, I am grateful for your contributions to the Americana music scene. Thanks.

There. Now don’t anybody say I don’t write right my wrongs.

This isn’t my Christmas story, per se. It’s just my Christmas Story post. I may yet post one of the anecdotes I had in mind, or maybe I’ll save it for next year. But I received this via email and it was too good not to give it a little cyber home on here, as a featurette:

I remember my first Christmas adventure with Grandma. I was just a kid. I remember tearing across town on my bike to visit her on the day my big sister dropped the bomb: “There is no Santa Claus,” she jeered. “Even dummies know that!”
My Grandma was not the gushy kind, never had been. I fled to her that day because I knew she would be straight with me. I knew Grandma always told the truth, and I knew that the truth always went down a whole lot easier when swallowed with one of her “world-famous” cinnamon buns. I knew they were world-famous, because Grandma said so. It had to be true.
Grandma was home, and the buns were still warm. Between bites, I told her everything. She was ready for me. “No Santa Claus?” She snorted. “Ridiculous! Don’t believe it. That rumor has been going around for years, and it makes me mad, plain mad!! Now, put on your coat, and let’s go.”
“Go? Go where, Grandma?” I asked. I hadn’t even finished my second world-famous cinnamon bun. “Where” turned out to be Kerby’s General Store, the one store in town that had a little bit of just about everything. As we walked through its doors, Grandma handed me ten dollars. That was a bundle in those days. “Take this money,” she said, “and buy something for someone who needs it. I’ll wait for you in the car.” Then she turned and walked out of Kerby’s.
I was only eight years old. I’d often gone shopping with my mother, but never had I shopped for anything all by myself. The store seemed big and crowded, full of people scrambling to finish their Christmas shopping. For a few moments I just stood there, confused, clutching that ten-dollar bill, wondering what to buy, and who on earth to buy it for. I thought of everybody I knew: my family, my friends, my neighbors, the kids at school, and the people who went to my church. I was just about thought out, when I suddenly thought of Bobby Decker. He was a kid with bad breath and messy hair, and he sat right behind me in Mrs. Pollock’s grade-two class.
Bobby Decker didn’t have a coat. I knew that because he never went out to recess during the winter. His mother always wrote a note, telling the teacher that he had a cough, but all we kids knew that Bobby Decker didn’t have a cough; he didn’t have a good coat. I fingered the ten-dollar bill with growing excitement. I would buy Bobby Decker a coat! I settled on a red corduroy one that had a hood to it. It looked real warm, and he would like that.
“Is this a Christmas present for someone?” the lady behind the counter asked kindly, as I laid my ten dollars down.
“Yes, ma’am,” I replied shyly. “It’s for Bobby.” The nice lady smiled at me, as I told her about how Bobby really needed a good winter coat. I didn’t get any change, but she put the coat in a bag, smiled again, and wished me a Merry Christmas.
That evening, Grandma helped me wrap the coat (a little tag fell out of the coat, and Grandma tucked it in her Bible) in Christmas paper and ribbons and wrote, “To Bobby, From Santa Claus” on it. Grandma said that Santa always relied on secrecy. Then she drove me over to Bobby Decker’s house, explaining as we went that I was now and forever officially, one of Santa’s helpers.
Grandma parked down the street from Bobby’s house, and she and I crept noiselessly and hid in the bushes by his front walk. Then Grandma gave me a nudge. “All right, Santa Claus,” she whispered, “get going.” I took a deep breath, dashed for his front door, threw the present down on his step, pounded his door and flew back to the safety of the bushes and Grandma. Together we waited breathlessly in the darkness for the front door to open. Finally it did, and there stood Bobby.
Fifty years haven’t dimmed the thrill of those moments spent shivering, beside my Grandma, in Bobby Decker’s bushes. That night, I realized that those awful rumors about Santa Claus were just what Grandma said they were: ridiculous. Santa was alive and well, and we were on his team.
I still have the Bible, with the coat tag tucked inside: $19.95.

May you always have LOVE to share, HEALTH to spare and FRIENDS that care….And may you always believe in the magic of Santa Claus!

(Cindy’s note: Isn’t it amazing how different things were 50 years ago? If the speaker’s story is 50 years old, and the speaker was 8 at the time, and assuming that the story was written this year, the setting of the story was 1952.)

I’d actually meant to post on Christmas with some heartwarming story like I did last year…I even had a few anecdotes in mind, but then things got busy and I got too involved in hanging out with Mr. W’s huge family and playing board games and eating. =)

Friday after work, I met Mr. W and his daughter at my house and we flew off to Vegas, just as fast as a car could fly, and arrived at his parents’ house a bit past 8pm. Toward the beginning the 4-hour car ride, his daughter took a 20 minute nap, then awoke, looked around, and asked hopefully if we’re almost there yet. Her dad laughed at her. “We’re still 3 hours away!” he informed her. There was a disappointed gurgle from the back seat. “I didn’t sleep that long, then,” she said miserably. When we finally got there, stopping just once for $6.99 prime rib at Stateline, I met his aunt and uncle who were visiting from the windy city of Chicago, hung out with his parents a bit. There was more of the same the day after, and then Christmas Eve, the entire household filled up with cousins, brothers, sisters, generations and generations of W-folk. Lots of food later, Mr. W’s mom and her 2 sisters played Yatzee at the dinner table; we played Cranium at the “kiddie” table, boys (Mr. W and his 2 brothers) against the girls (me, Mr. W’s daughter, the daughter of Mr. W’s rocker brother). Unfortunately, the boys won. I have no idea how that happened; all I remember is that I couldn’t correctly spell “anecdote” backwards. Mr. W’s rocker brother read the word to me pronouncing it “ana-SEE-doe” and I spelled it “anecdone.” EH??? Let’s just blame it on the alcohol that I didn’t have.

The final event of the evening had layers of people sitting around the living room like we’re at a mini stadium, and presents were distributed. We filled 2 large black garbage bags of wrapping paper between the 20 or so people plus the prettiest baby and a little fuzzy house doggie. In that r0om that night, the feeling was almost tangible: we knew that, at least between those of us there, we kept the warm spirit of commercialism alive.

Mr. W’s family is great; they always make a point of coming around and greeting me with a warm hug, and always had made me feel included in their festivities. I know from other experiences that even family can get clique-ish, but in this family, everyone was everywhere, no one was left out.

We left Vegas early Christmas morning, dropped off Mr. W’s daughter at her mom’s house (where her mother chatted with us excitedly about her first turkey ever that she made the night before, making me realize that that’s the one thing we didn’t have at Mr. W’s parents’, and I may have drooled a little bit). Then Mr. W and I trotted over (as fast as cars can trot) to my parents’ house for Christmas Day lunch. Lunch was hot pot, healthy and oil-free which was perfect after the pies, cookies and rich foods of the weekend. (I should talk — I brought them a giant candy wreath.) My mother cleverly scheduled my dad’s colonoscopy exam for today, the day after Christmas, which means my dad can’t have anything except clear broths and water the day before the exam. And my mom made my dad work the hot pot and help serve us anyway. He was very good-natured about it, and we kept telling him to drink the broth, but he stubbornly refused to, wanting to err on the side of caution for his exam. I don’t know how you can not eat all day, and then drop crab, lamb, pork, beef into a huge boiling broth, plop in mushrooms, Chinese cabbage, clams, tofu, vermicelli noodles, chopped turnips, etc., stir stir stir and keep spooning it out for the people around you, and not want to eat any of it.

The funny thing is that on Christmas Eve, a bunch of us sat around the living room chatting and Mr. W’s rocker brother was saying something about how men should never buy women appliances for Christmas, he’d learned that lesson well, and Mr. W said that’s a dumb rule, and I thought about my friend’s Christmas present dilemma with her current boyfriend, and it turns out that Mr. W’s parents got me an electric jar opener and my parents got Mr. W a hot water boiler/dispenser (yes, the fobby one that every Asian has in their kitchen with boiling water for tea ready at the push of a button). I love my jar opener, and Mr. W loves his hot water dispenser. It’s also funny that Navy Girl Vanessa and I were emailing just Friday about how she heard there was an electric jar opener and she would’ve gotten me that one instead of the hand opener had she found the electric one in the store, and I said I’d never seen such a thing, maybe the person who told her about it meant an electric CAN opener. Oh well, now I have both and I can see which one works better for me. Methinks I may have been complaining too audibly about my inability to open jars. 🙂

Management snuck up behind me earlier in the courtroom to present a Christmas goodie: cute little bag of chocolates with a nice pen that has the court logo engraved on it. That’s the first time they’ve given us anything for the holidays. Scared the crap out of me. I’ve never seen so much management together in one place, and I may have made the error of saying that out loud. I mean, I know I said it out loud but I hope it wasn’t a faux pas.

Last nite I met up with Navy Girl Vanessa for what she called “holiday cheer.” We ate some hot ramen which was great on a cold night (no, not Instant Ramen; the “real” Japanese ramen at a noodle house in Tustin called Ezo Noodles). We tried to go to BJs Pizzeria but it was insanely crowded. We exchanged gifts, and her gift made me laugh. In the prettiest ice blue glitter-and-white-fur bejeweled gift bag were, wrapped in white tissue paper, the very feminine items of an electronic tire pressure gauge and jar opener. “Blogs come in handy!” Vanessa said. The electronic gauge even has programmable memory so that it’ll remember what PSI your tires are supposed to be at. The jar opener looks like a huge handle that you slide into the jar, and some rubber teeth catch the jar, and you just turn the handle to unscrew the jar lid. I can have spaghetti now! As soon as I saw the gifts I knew I had to blog about it.

Vanessa got the ideas for my gifts here and here (where my car almost went up in flames due to an improperly inflated tire) and here (where an un-openable jar of spaghetti sauce nearly cost me my life).

P.S. Just to make James jealous, 2 nites ago I had a holiday dinner with childhood friend Vicky (BEEKY! to him and me) at Cheesecake Factory and I again ordered the seared tuna tataki salad. =P

My gym trainee gave me my xmas present yesterday. She’d bought me a white belly dancing outfit (halter and hip scarf), jingling with coins. It’s really cute, except that the hip scarf, even tied all the way in as far as the embroidery and coins hanging off of it allow me, is too big. I jingle a little bit, do a few hip lifts, and it falls down. That reminded me of another piece of clothing she picked up for me some time ago. Everyone knows I’m a huge fan of Happy Bunny. So she picked up a t-shirt with Happy Bunny in front saying, “Okay, I’m perfect. Stop staring.” It’s a funny shirt, but I’ve never worn it. I’ve worn many other Happy Bunny things, a tanktop Vanessa got me that says “Makeover? You need to be run over.” (I didn’t really get the meaning until it hit me at the end of the day in Disneyland when I’d been wearing it all day.) My Happy Bunny keychain says “Me. Just like you. Only better.” I have a long-sleeved hoodie where he says “Please make the stupid people shut up.” But I can’t bring myself to wear the “I’m perfect” t-shirt because, well, I’m afraid that people would judge me. Like, they’d look at the shirt, then look at me, and snort, “Perfect? Pshh, she’s fat and ugly.” Whereas if I weren’t wearing an obnoxious shirt, they may think I’m kinda cute. It’s kinda like if you drove up behind a car that had a license plate frame that says, “My other ride is your boyfriend,” or “Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful,” or “The queen as arrived,” or “Hot Chick”, you wanna drive up and look in the window, and then you have this elevated expectation of the person’s hotness and you’re always disappointed, right?

Am I crazy?

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