January 2007

My senior year in high school, I was heavily addicted to online chat boards, or BBSes (bulletin board systems). There were 6 or 7 of us in my high school who frequented the same board. It started with a board called Liberty which was based out of Anaheim, and then a spin-off board, Liberty Junior. Before the days of global worldwide web popularity, these boards were one of the few ways we could get e-mail accounts. A user of the board could leave a typed message for another user that would appear when the 2nd person next logs on.

One day, I received an email from a user name I didn’t recognize. He said he went to school with me, has admired me for some time, and signed on to the board Liberty, Jr. because he overheard me talking to Mr. Cook about it one day. Of course when you discover you’re being watched and admired, you start dressing better. I happened to have a presentation in 2nd period Economics so I had to dress up for that, and another day my club was doing officers/board members photos, so I was dolled up for that, too. At the end of the week I received another email. He wanted to compliment me for looking pretty that day, in fact he noticed I looked nice all week, and said that he saw that I go see Mr. Cook a lot.

Okay, so that ruled out the possibility that the admirer is a joke from some people I know from the BBS; clearly this was someone who did attend my high school, with whom I regularly cross paths. My 2nd period Economics classroom is right next door to Mr. Cook’s classroom, so sometimes after 2nd period, I’d walk next door and spend 10 minutes hanging out with Mr. Cook (with whom I had Cultural World History Honors in 9th grade and AP US History in 11th grade). I’d only started visiting him with more frequency at the time because he also jumped on Liberty, Jr. one day while I was online and wanted to mess with the heads of other users in the chat room by making random claims about me. I wouldn’t play along and he told me in an online whisper (where no one else but me can read the message) to “loosen up.” I have never forgotten that an adult who teaches advanced high school classes told ME to loosen up. But anyway, that was why I started talking to Mr. Cook during brunch, a 20 minute break between 2nd and 3rd period.

That week, one of my visits to Mr. Cook entailed my bringing the printed email string between me and this admirer, and asking him if that’s him playing some joke on me. He looked at it, chuckled and said earnestly that no, it’s not him. He promised me with a boyscout hand in the air. I went back and forth with him about who he thought it could be, considering this is someone who knows I come in. Mr. Cook teaches an 11th grade history class for 2nd period, and there were some people I knew there from other mixed-level classes.

That evening or soon thereafter, I was online at Liberty, Jr. the same time the admirer logged online! Finally, an opportunity for live chat. He said he thought I was cute, and had overheard a conversation I had with Mr. Cook about this board, so he came online to see if he could get to know me better through the board. He says I do know him in real life. I asked what race he was, and he said “Caucasian.” That seriously narrowed it down to only TWO people, a good-humored 11th grader jock named Blake in my German class, who was in Mr. Cook’s 2nd period history class and may have seen me come in during brunch; and an intellectual-type senior named Sean who was in my 2nd period Economics class, with whom I’d also had a ton of honors classes in the past (a couple of which included Mr. Cook’s classes). I figured it was more likely to be Sean.

I went to Mr. Cook again the next day with my guess. He shrugged and said, “It may be.” I also went to childhood friend Sandy, who was a friend of Sean’s. Sandy informed me that Sean has an Asian fetish, and said, “With Sean, if you’re Asian, anything is possible.”

So starting immediately, I payed a little bit more attention to Sean, just to see what would happen. He was always polite in his responses, but nothing to clue me in that he had any non-ordinary feelings about me. But in visiting Mr. Cook again, this time he said “I don’t think it’s Sean.” He didn’t say why not. I don’t even remember whether I asked. I talked to Sandy again, too. She told me the same thing. “Ya know, I don’t know… I don’t think it’s Sean.” What the…? Did Sean say something to purposely throw people off the scent? If it were me trying to throw people off, I’d say something derogatory about the person I’m interested in, or talk about a new interest who’s not that person. I wondered if he did that, too. I’d also made more of an effort to small-talk Blake in German, and altho he was a nice kid, I didn’t get any major affection vibes.

I was on my own to draw the admirer out now. My only sure contact with him was through Liberty, Jr. So I logged on that night and wrote him an email. Something to the effect of, “I’ve been so depressed lately. It seems like I’m alone and no one cares, and I wonder if people would even notice if I’m missing. There are so many unhappy things going on and no one I can talk to, that I feel like the only way to end all the pain is to kill myself.” There! Ingenius! Surely anyone with a crush on me would immediately offer himself to my assistance, he wouldn’t let the object of his affections just fall off the face of the earth when she’s crying out to him for help, right? (Okay, guys, I was only 17 at the time, I didn’t claim to be a genius.)

I waited eagerly for a day. The email response came back. There were some words meant to console me about how things work themselves out, and the email ended with, “…but if you’re so troubled you feel like you want to kill yourself, you should find an adult you trust and talk to them, or talk to a professional counselor.” What?! Where’s my phone number? Where’s the “here’s who I am, this sounds serious, call me and meet me at the park”?

I printed that email out and showed it to Mr. Cook the next day. He laughed at me. I never heard from the admirer again. To this day I have no idea who it was. I’ve had fantasies that maybe at a future high school reunion, this guy would walk up to me and confess, now that it’s all over and no one cares anymore.

…And that’s how you effectively scare someone off, boys and girls.

1.) My dad’s primary care doctor, after examining him, the reports from doctors of the hospital and emergency room, thinks that he may have had a mild stroke triggered by his exertion on the bed post the morning everything happened. How could a hospital have not ruled that out? And if they did, how could a different doctor have thought that’s what it is? My dad said they did some sort of a scan of his brain and they didn’t find anything to warrant further cat scanning. My mom thinks my dad had a reaction to the construction going on inside their house with all the major remodeling, cuz he got dizzy again upon entering their home but was fine in the hospital and at my aunt’s house.

2.) You’ve probably heard of phishing (fishing?), where fraudulent emails are sent to random email lists telling you to fill out personal information to “update” your bank account, credit card account, etc. Then the link leads you to a fake site where, once you put in your information, identity thieves wreak havoc on your credit record or clean out your bank account. One of the most obvious ways to tell if an email’s a fake, despite their having real logos of the financial institution or having a site name that seems real, is by seeing all the spelling and grammar problems in the body of the email. I got this today:

Affirmation Minnie to coldman
show details 12:04 am (10 hours ago)

We are going to authorize your cash invitation
Graciously if you could right away you need to write in your last details at the website


I didn’t click on the site, but how stupid do they think people are? “Oh, I don’t remember giving out a cash invitation, or accepting someone’s invitation to cash. Guess I’ll give out my personal information at the ‘respiratory skilfully’ website anyway, cuz it’ll probably invite me to breathe ‘skilfully.’ And give me money to boot!” The authorities should have an email address we can forward this bullshit to so law enforcement can crack down on these assholes.

I’ve been way too complacent with my Roth-IRA. When that sucker originally opened way back when I was 21 (way, way back), the interest rate was pretty decent, and I’ve maxed out my contribution every year. Now, it’s at a pittily 0.50%. I mean, come on. If I withdrew all the money in that account and had it sitting at home in cash, I’d earn more value in collected dust on the surface areas of the bills than I’m earning at the bank.

So here’s where I need help — does anyone know whether I can simply transfer the funds in a Roth-IRA into another, better, more lucrative Roth-IRA? And if I can roll it over that way, does anyone know of a good Roth-IRA for me to roll my current pittily one into?

I’ve been lazy about being robbed on the Roth-IRA deal, but seeing the statement now is making me more salty than ever. I mean, I’d earn 5% more interest if I stopped contributing to the current Roth-IRA and put the same moneys into my Emigrant Savings Account. That’s not right!

When did my conversations with the Do-Cat deteriorate into something like this, from this morning? :
Me: *peering into litter box, and gasping with great excitement* Yay, you POOED! You’re such a good BOY! *pat pat*
Dodo: Stop it. You’re embarrassing me. Now Q-tip my ears.
Me: Okay.

Vanessa sent me some photos of China this morning to get me excited for the upcoming trip. Photos such as:

I can’t hope to take photos like this in China, can I? 🙁

Mr. W and I spent late morning into the early evening with my dad at the hospital. He was walking around, eager to go home, cracking jokes with the family of the guy who shared his room about the “food” at the hospital. “Food” is in quotes because the joke is that they’re starving to death being only allowed to eat liquids, i.e. chicken broth, jello, popsicles and water. My mom had asked me to sneak in some food for my dad, but after my doctor friend Lily just happened to call me on our way to the hospital, I was convinced not to. She said that since they’re still trying to diagnose what’s wrong with my dad, they’re keeping him off solids in case something happens and they make a split decision to get him into surgery. If he had food in his stomach it could interfere with the op medication (anesthesia, etc.), and if he were semi-conscious and throws up on the operating table, the vomit could go back into his lungs and cause pneumonia, or he could choke on it. She said to let the doctors and nurses do what they need to do and not interfere with their feeding schedule. My mom’s concern was that if my dad’s dizziness had the same cause as last time, then he’s bleeding internally again and they need stool samples to see if there’s blood. Lily said that if he’s bleeding, the blood clots will come out either upwards or downwards and whether or not he has solid food. Plus, if he’s been throwing up already, it’s best to take it easy with the solids while they’re trying to figure out what’s wrong.

The good news is that they’ve ruled out hernia, internal bleeding, brain issues (stroke), and heart issues. They’d done a CT scan, several EKGs, and some scan of his carotid arteries and his brain. Everything was normal, so the doctor believes that my dad had simply had a virus that infected his inner ear, leading to labyrinthitis. The doctor thinks the virus has already run its course and after warning my dad that it’s not uncommon for a recurrance of these dizzy spell symptoms in another month or so, the doctor signed the discharge paperwork. My dad happily left the hospital earlier this evening.

I want to thank everyone for their concern and phone calls and many check-ups on me, and also for all of Vanessa’s offers to “do anything, bring food to the hospital, anything.” I probably could’ve taken advantage of the “anything” cuz my laundry’s still sitting in 5 sorted piles in my bedroom waiting to be washed. 😉

The banquet was fun. Here are the promised photos of the dress and of Mr. W all snazzed up. At least, it’s what Mr. W would look like if he were a bystander on Cops. Oh, and it rained on us. Brrrr!!

Boy, you can’t see my necklace at all, huh? I also realized, too late, that I hadn’t brought my strapless bra. So I just went without. Hope that wasn’t too obvious.

I put in for 2 hours sick time and left work early on Friday, after receiving a frantic phone call from my mom shortly after lunch telling me my dad’s in the hospital again. He had issues at work that concerned his coworkers enough to call an ambulance which delivered him to a hospital in West Covina, where my mom was driving to when she called me. So the bday dinner for my grandmother was postponed. People at work were concerned enough to keep telling me I can go ahead home, but I wanted to finish some deskwork I was in the middle of first, after I ascertained that I got permission to take off. Mr. W slipped out of his work a little early, too, and we dropped off my car at my house and went together to meet my parents in the emergency room.

The emergency doctor was very nice. They haven’t figured out yet what’s wrong with my dad, as there was no bleeding this time, so they’re running a battery of tests. She’d told us she wants to do a heart stress test this morning, but I spoke to my mom earlier and they just did an EKG (normal), was prepping for an MRI, and there was no order for a heart stress test. The people sitting in the little glass-encased admittance booth to let people into emergency were a whole different story that I’m not going into cuz it’d just piss me off more. The emergency doctor thought my dad may have had some heart issues, altho she’s not sure as he didn’t have classic heart attack symptoms. Plus, heart problems don’t exist in my family history on either side. It’s because of his risk factors (high blood pressure, high cholesterol, borderline diabetes, high triglycerides) that she wants to double-check his heart. Hey, I just realized I have a few medical professionals that visit my blog. I should explain what happened on Friday with my dad.

My dad was trying to move or disassemble their giant 4-poster bed in the morning, and he had thrown his entire body weight into it to try to turn the posts. He felt nauseated and slightly dizzy after that. He recovered in a few minutes and went to work. All through the morning hours at work, he had waves of dizziness, light-headedness, cold sweats and nausea. He said it was the exact sensation as what he’d felt the last time (I posted about it here with the diagnosis here.) Finally, he started throwing up and couldn’t stop. My dad’s boss took my dad’s cell phone to call my mom, and my mom said she would leave work and go pick my dad up at work to take him to the hospital. Because the vomiting was so severe, however, and because of my dad’s recent history with such similar symptoms, his coworkers called 911 to get him more immediate medical attention. He threw up throughout the ambulance ride, too. My dad had finished his medication they gave him for his bleeding ulcer just earlier in the week, and my mom said he hadn’t been good about sticking to a low-sodium, non-spicy diet. (In the hospital, my dad said he’s feeling hungry, which must be a good sign that his body’s functioning properly now. I said, “Of course you’re hungry, you threw up your food all day.” He said good humoredly, “No, I didn’t have food to throw up. I threw up water. And a couple of peanuts.” So I guess he’s been taking his regular vitamins and prescriptions meds on an empty stomach, too. Except if you count the peanuts, which he seems to.)

Mr. W and I still went through with our dim sum plans with Vanessa and another friend, Lisa, and the four of us had a grand time. Vanessa kept calling to make sure I wouldn’t rather cancel lunch, and I had to keep telling her I’m fine. Everyone else is really concerned with my dad and how I’m holding up, too, which felt strange to me because I’m thinking, “I’m not the one who’s sick.” But that got me thinking — should I be more concerned? I feel no fear or anxiety internally over this, it really feels to me like he had a little upset something or other, he got proper medical care very readily, and now they’re just checking to see what needs to be repaired or what lifestyle habits he needs to modify. The fact that there was no blood or severe internal bleeding this time is a comforting thing.

I remember being 6 years old and watching my mom worry and fret when it got dark and my dad hadn’t come home from work yet. She’d pace from room to room, she’d separate the living room’s miniblinds and peer out into the street for my dad’s car. There were constant fights about how he could’ve called if he were going to be late so that she didn’t have to worry that he got into a car accident driving 50+ miles of freeway to and from downtown LA each way. (I just suddenly remembered that Cheating Ex tried to tell me my dad was late because he was having an affair. Whatever, not every man cheats.) At some point, my dad established a new routine of calling my mom really briefly from the office shortly before he left. It was a “I’m coming home now;” “Oh, you’re coming home? Okay;” “Bye!” “Bye” phone call. But before he started doing that, I’d watch my mom as she seemed sick with worry, and soon I became nauseated like at the beginning of a panic attack with tingly knees and wide, scared eyes, and I’d find myself going to the window, separating the blind with my tiny fingers, looking into the dark street, and praying, “Please, God, let my dad come home soon. There’s a car’s headlights. Please let that be my dad. Oh, that’s not him, they drove by. Please let this next headlights be my dad’s. I’ll be good if you make this next car be my dad’s coming back home,” and I’d visualize my dad’s car turning into the driveway and entering the garage with all my mental might. Now, after my big depression a couple of years ago, I react less strongly to things. I have my sensitive buttons that the last relationship created within me, but Mr. W has been systematically doing away with those and I’m generally calmer and less mentally emotional now (except for the thin line keeping me from irritation when I’m PMSing). All that makes me wonder whether being overly-dramatic, or anxiety disorders, even, are a learned behavior.

When I step into the hot rain of the shower and close the door behind me, I enter some kind of free mind zone and all sorts of random thoughts and memories swirl around me with the steam. I do some of my best thinking in there and while putting on my makeup in the mornings. I’m open to lots of stuff, nearly to the point of clairvoyance. This morning, I had memories of high school.

In 11th grade AP US History, our teacher Mr. Cook stood at the podium telling us what to study for our upcoming midterm, as the class took notes as fast as our adolescent fingers would allow motion (which, if you’ve ever been an adolescent, you know is pretty darn fast, wink wink). “Chapter 6, Roosevelt and the Threat of War, scan that. Also scan the Study Question section of that chapter. Chapter 7, section 1.5, scan that.” And so he went on.
Finally, shaking my hand in pain, I paused and asked him, “Wait — do you mean scan or skim?” Cuz I was NOT about to read that much crap and memorize the big list he was giving us if I didn’t have to.
Mr. Cook looked over at me silently like he was evaluating what level of moronity I had dropped to. “It’s the same thing,” he said, and seemed to visibly fight the urge to end his statement with “duh!”.
“No it’s not, scan is to read over something carefully for the details and skim is to just look it over really fast.”
Mr. Cook stared at me another moment, expressionless. One of the most popular guys in our year, a scholar athlete who just happened to be in my AP History class, yelled out impatiently, “Who cares?!”
“Well, I don’t want to read and memorize pages and pages of material if he meant we only had to skim them!” I said. I mean, DUH!
Mr. Cook walked purposefully to the back of the classroom to his desk. He yanked a big red hardback tome off his shelf, presumably a dictionary, and flipped to a page. He looked down and “skimmed” for a few seconds. Then he flipped over another few pages and “skimmed” a different section. He closed the volume, placed it back on his shelf, and walked back to the front of the classroom in the silence of 32 pairs of eyes. He resumed his position behind the podium.
“Chapter 6, Roosevelt and the Threat of War, skim that.”

Vanessa came over last nite and for some time, sat on the floor with Dodo and petted him as the little boy ate up all the attention. And then she did the Dodo no-no, which is touch him on his tummy. Apparently her kittens like to be tummy-rubbed, but Dodo just goes into defensive mode. I saw her pull her arm back really quickly, as Dodo’s white paw whipped through the air in a blur. I heard Dodo’s irrate “Grr!” of dissatisfaction.
“I forgot!” Vanessa said. “What do I do now?”
Dodo was now glaring at her, having rolled over to his side away from her.
“Oh, just leave him alone for a few minutes to get over it and he’ll approach you and get all affectionate again, like ‘I’m sorry I swatted you! Please be my friend again!’ ”
A minute later, Dodo went back into his passive “Err?” as he rolled onto his feet, trotted over to Vanessa’s side and leaned against her arm, meowing his apologies. And then everything was normal again. “My cat’s so predictable,” I said.

This morning, a coworker whose kittens I’ve babysat in the past while she was out of town emailed me:

“Morning…I have some random kitty information to share with you:

(1) Scout–Scout was sick (vomiting orange all over my carpet for a day and a half) so I took her to the vet. He gave her a shot, and she’s fine. He also had to take a urine sample to see if she had a UTI. I’m picturing trying to get her to squat over a cup and voluntarily pee. Not so–the vet felt her tummy and said there was pee in her bladder. I held down Scout’s legs and he injected her and withdrew pee. Makes sense, but who knew?

(2) Gabby–I think Gabby is destined to be a circus cat. I started doing Pilates recently and leave the big ball in the living room. The cats kick it around on occasion. Yesterday, it was resting by the chair, so Gabby climed on the ball and actually took 4-5 steps on the ball as it rolled underneath her. She did it twice, both times resulting in her falling off into something. But still…I see some talent there.

I bet Dodo doesn’t do anything that interesting.”

I wrote back:

“1.) I JUST learned yesterday from my friend that fish tends to give kitties bladder infections because of their high acid content. Who knew? Not I. So now my friend only gives her kitties food made from chicken and/or turkey. I hope Scout feels better soon.
2.) I saw a lion do that at the Honolulu zoo, except the ball was made of cement and about 4 feet in diameter. I would’ve thought Scout would play around like that, since my impression of Gabby is…well, I don’t have one cuz I never see her.

You can’t have Dodo do that…he’s an old kitty now! We figured out last nite that he’s 10. But Dodo’s good in other ways, such as sensing when you need a cuddle, or when your black pants are in dire need of some white fur residue.”

Don’t you all want cats now? Vanessa, my coworker and I all don’t have kids, so we talk about our kitties like they’re our children.

BTW, Vanessa and I went to sushi last nite and because we split a rather large bottle of sake, we found it advisable to avoid the gym. So I ate 3 square meals yesterday, and I didn’t work out at all. Come Saturday I’ll probably not fit in that dress anymore.

Mr. W and I are invited to his boss’s awards ceremony banquet this Saturday evening, where we’ll be rubbing elbows with high society as Boss is awarded [Her High Position] of the Year. It’s a black-tie optional affair, so that means “pretty formal.” I thought I’d try to wear a classic black designer original gown I’d purchased my freshman year in college, a $400 number I’ve had occasion to wear all of twice. It’s not like me to blow that much cash, especially as a poor starving student, on non-tax-deductible stuff like clothing. But eleven years ago, my college roommate was a karaoke video model and a slave to Chanel makeup and United Colors of Benetton clothing. What happens when I shop with someone like that is I make a frivolous purchase or two with no occasion to use the new attire.

The dress has a strapless straight neckline, a fitted bodice down to the hip and a slightly A-line skirt going down to my ankles. A wide slit up the left side of my leg is partially covered with two layers of slightly flared, sheer black chiffon. It’s timeless, romantic, classy, and…a size 4. Nervously earlier in my bedroom before the floor-length mirrors covering my sliding closet doors, I stripped and stepped into the dress. I pulled it up, reached behind me, and zipped the sucker right up to the top! Woohoo!! I can sit in it and bend and everything! I should probably be able to eat, too. Talk about making my night! Oh, and also, now I’m a bit guilty for skipping the workout at lunch today. Vanessa’s on her way over to meet for dinner and hopefully we’ll make it to the gym afterwards.

Now I gotta figure out if I have shoes to go with the dress. And jewelry! Because of the simple neckline of the strapless bodice, I’m free to accessorize as much or as little as I want. Maybe I’ll go with pearls, something simple to complement the simplicity of the dress. But I think I may have to go shoe shopping.

Whoa. Suddenly…prom flashbacks.

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