April 2007

I’m writing this post at 1:30 a.m. on Friday, April 27th, but I’m gonna schedule this entry to post later on, in case you guys miss me when I’m in China. So to help you guys not miss me, I’m gonna post something icky. This came about on an IM conversation with James earlier. For those of you who don’t know, he plays lots of instruments and writes/records his own music, occasionally with his own band.

james: i should write a song about turds.
Cindy: “Tuuuuuurd, turd turd tuuuuurd, tuuuuuuuurd, turd turd turd, and I love you, you’re my turd, and I miss you…”
oh wait, that’s “dream.”
james: “My biggest mistake in my life, was when i flushed you down the toilet.. oh hey”
Cindy: “How could I have done you that-a-way, my turd, my one and only turd?”
james: thats a lie.
you dont have a one and only turd.
Cindy: it had to rhyme with “hey” cuz that’s what you ended with
james: you dont have to rhyme in songs!
if you’re an expert!
Cindy: well, every time you lose your love you thnk it’s your one and only and you’ll never love that way again
james: thats what they tought us ya know
like in poetry
Cindy: fine. I’ll anti-rhyme.
james: but then along comes the next turd.
that crawled up beside her
Cindy: “Yo turd, my lovah, thought you were gone forevah, but then I turned and whoa mama, my ass got taken ovah…”
I can’t do it, I rhyme.
I just do.
All the time.
james: Hahahahah
james: YOU are conforming!!!!!
you cant help yourself!!!!
Cindy: it takes more talent to rhyme than not.
I rhyme every time I start to jot
Even when I try to write
Prose my words just sound alike.
james: i have my guitar now.
im singing the turd song you wrote.
Cindy: I’m writing raps now.
james: lol
im taking your raps
and singing to them.
and putting music to it.
you know what.
Cindy: you’re gonna post it on your blog as a sound byte?
james: the first part. “Yo turd, my lovah, thought you were gone forevah” is really cool hahahahaha
Cindy: I know. I’M really cool.
brrr and stuff
james: lol
thats so cool
Cindy: what is?
james: your song

There you go, ladies and gentlemen! A real critique, from a real musician! I have talent! (Betcha don’t miss me NOW, huh? You’re welcome.) *curtsy*

You find out things when you leave your place of work at 8pm. I, for example, almost had a heart attack when I exited the elevator at the ground floor, turned into the lobby toward the front glass doors, and saw that the doors were chained closed with handcuffs. When did they start doing that?! Luckily, the side door was unchained so I was able to escape into the cool night air. Ah, night. You haven’t greeted me upon my daily prisonbreak for a long time.

Driving home past 8p, I felt a twinge of hunger. My mind’s eye explored my empty refrigerator. Maybe I just shouldn’t eat. But not eating would lower my metabolism, so I should get something light. Grabbing my cell phone, I called James. “You should definitely eat,” he advised. I wailed something about eating alone. So he agreed to meet me for a bite. We grabbed a quick sushi at nearby Miyako Sushi & Sashimi, a place he’d been harassing me about not taking him to when Vanessa and I ate there. This marks my 3rd straight night of eating raw fish, which I’m gonna miss when I’m in China. Eating cooked fish. Yech.

Dinner conversation led to my expressing a grave concern that had occurred to me earlier this evening, while I finished packing and doing laundry. What if my plane crashes, and my parents are forced to tearfully clear out my house? The task is difficult enough without them finding my porn and various, uh, physical pleasure paraphernalia. None of which I purchased, of course; they were from people who bought them as (gag) gifts for me and from others who just sorta left stuff at my house. There was only one obvious solution to this dilemma at this point. I begged James to take my schtuff for safekeeping until I got back safe and sound. He was hesitant at first, and I could see his brain was reeling with the possibilities of being in possession of something that he may have to explain to someone else. I told him he could just keep the collection in his trunk and never take it out, and even if someone DID happen upon it, he could tell them the truth. And if I die, he can either keep it or dump it, I don’t care.

Being a good friend, he reluctantly agreed. I double-bagged the schtuff in an opaque red bag. As I handed it to him and he started to leave my house, he said, “You better come back alive.” That’s a good friend, man. I wonder if he’ll ever be curious enough to look in the bag. Maybe that’s a TMI line even James won’t cross.

As the imminence of being gone for 2 weeks rolls in like a thick sea fog, I scurry around my second home, my courtroom and courthouse, making frenzied preparation. Life may be easier if I had the typical county worker mentality this week — lazy, spoiled and nonchalant, confident in the job security that a friend of my parents had once called “a metal rice bowl” in Mandarin. Instead, I am in hyper-drive. After the unusually complicated hearings this morning were held and their records and orders processed and entered, I went about the afternoon tasks I assigned myself. The dense stack of civil harassment files I received this morning must be calendared in the redbook; the Civil and Criminal computer systems must be checked for any upcoming hearings that I may have missed in my hand-calendaring; wrote a quick “Daily Tasks” list on a post-it and stuck it to the monitor to help the relief clerk out; I turned in my mileage claim (77 miles claimed) for my Hell Day a couple of weeks ago; I discussed with my supervisor and judge regarding having a consistent relief clerk in my stead here for the next 2 weeks; I did a (fruitless) hunt and investigation for 2 divorce cases that were “allegedly” assigned to me in January but which I’d never received; I set up courtroom statistics sheets for the next month so the relief clerk won’t have to dig too hard in my file drawers for those forms; I got answers on how to deal with a few “problem children” divorce cases.

I’d delved into my gym work with the same desperate conviction. Stepping up the intensity of my programs, I took my gym trainee with me as our workouts were elevated to 20 minutes of cardio and 20 minutes of heavier resistance-training on all major muscle groups every lunchtime, leaving her sore and painfully aware of the weight of her purse and of the court files on a daily basis. This we had done the past 3 weeks. I’d forgone group lunches, birthday celebrations, in favor of hitting the gym every lunch. Today was a hitch; a meeting was called at 1pm which robbed me of 30 minutes of my lunch period. I snuck out of the courtroom 15 minutes early, as soon as our last case was done, and hit the treadmill for a 3-mile run with my frenzied rushed state feeding into my energy level. I dashed into the meeting room only 3 minutes early, still sweating despite my cool shower.

Just a few more divorce cases…just a few more under my belt, and I can go home for the evening and resume my laundry and packing. Tomorrow after work, a happy hour party is being thrown at a local pub to say goodbye to 3 district attorneys, who are transferring to other courthouses. I’d decided early in the week to get my packing done throughout the week so I’d be free to attend at least for a little while, since two of the DAs are people I consider myself on extracurricularly friendly terms with. The presence of upcoming events like the meeting today and the happy hour tomorrow feel like looming deadlines to me and the pressure has had me on a sort of “panic mode” all week.

Just a few more files and I can get back to cleaning house and packing. I feel like I’m forgetting something, or will forget something. Ack, I need a vacation.

I have these friends with an uncanny sense for what I need, even if I hadn’t been in contact with them. My friend Erin sent this to me a little earlier today, altho I didn’t tell her I’d been cranky lately, or that today was a really awful work day. Now I’m posting it for those of you who may need the same uplifting perspective:

Hey Cindy!

A friend just fowarded this to me. You seemed like you needed a pick me up so here it is:

*Never apologize for pursuing what makes you happy. Even if you need to quit your job, or move across country, always do what you really want.
*Never apologize for giving your best in a relationship that just didn’t work out.
*Never apologize for being successful. Only haters want to keep you at their level.
*Never apologize for crying. Wear waterproof mascara and express yourself.
*Never apologize for being frugal. Just because you save your money instead of blowing it on the latest fashion emergency doesn’t mean you’re cheap.
*Never apologize for being a single mom. Babies are a blessing.
*Never apologize for treating yourself to something special. Sometimes you have to show yourself some appreciation.
*Never apologize for leaving an abusive relationship. Your safety should always be a priority.
*Never apologize for keeping the ring even if wedding bells won’t chime.
*Never apologize for setting high standards in a relationship. You know what you can tolerate and what simply gets on your nerves.
*Never apologize for saying NO.
*Never apologize to your new friends about old friends. There’s a reason she’s been your girl from day one.
*Never apologize for ordering dessert. Or more than one dessert.
*Never apologize for your taste in clothes. It’s your style.
*Never apologize for changing your mind
*Never apologize for being you!

Donning the doofus hat, I dug through the other contents of the jewelry package yesterday and pulled out a return form with clear printed instructions on how, where, what to return. So I filled out the return form, printed a copy of my email to them, and drove the contents to be returned to the post office after work. Unfortunately, they were closed, so now all that stuff is sitting in my car. I’ll try again later today. Their customer service nicely sent this response to me via email past midnight, instead of the email that *I* would’ve written to someone like me, which would’ve read, “READ the package inserts, ya moron!”:

Ms [my last name],

We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience. Please send the ring back to us at the address listed on the return form and we will gladly replace or refund it. Please be sure to notate that the ring was defective so that we reimburse you for your shipping costs.


Customer Service

By the way, I think I got over my Alexandrite bug. I was talking to James yesterday (who’d gotten back from Japan this week), and he said, “So your simulated Alexandrite is totally a better quality stone than the genuine one. And genuine Alexandrite costs, like, thousands more. So do you really want a genuine one?” And then it clicked in my head. Why do I want a genuine one? It costs a ton and it sucks!!

Okay, next gemstone: tanzanite!!

The GemsTV website touts their customer service, so let’s put them to the test. I sent this a minute ago:

Dear Gems TV,

I received all 3 items (1 alexandrite ring and 2 pairs of topaz earrings) in my order #182714 today, and am impressed with the speed of your order processing and shipping. The earrings are more beautiful than the photos showed, and my mother and grandmother, for whom I purchased the earrings as Mother’s Day presents, will love them.

I am sadly disappointed by the alexandrite ring, however. The ring setting is flawless as far as I can tell, but the center alexandrite stone looks nothing like the photos online or on the Certificate of Authenticity. The stone is so cloudy from inclusions that the color isn’t even consistent all the way through, and the inclusions are so dramatic that they are really cracks going all the way up to the surface of the stone, such that you can actually feel the cracks by running a finger over the top of the stone. I’m afraid that any slight impact on the stone would crumble it. It really appears as if the stone were dropped on the ground and stomped on with someone’s high heeled shoes.

I’ve searched your site for return information but could find none. I remember reading that you have a 30-day return policy, and would like to exercise that for return of the alexandrite ring. Please provide information to me as to how I may do that, and how I may effectuate a refund for the price of the ring.

Thank you for your assistance.

Cindy [last name]

I’d paid extra for overnight delivery of my ring, and since I was gonna pay more, I figured I may as well purchase some additional pieces for my mom and my grandma for Mother’s Day. They both like simple blue jewelry, so I purchased one pair of Neptune Topaz earrings on 14K white gold, and one pair of London Blue Topaz earrings on 14K white gold. I eagerly tracked the delivery of this jewelry for the past two days, and could hardly contain myself when late this morning, the UPS website showed “Status: Delivered.” I went downstairs shortly before lunch to pick up my loot.

The first item I opened was my ring. I was so enormously disappointed, and then I was downright offended. The setting itself is beautiful, but it’s the Alexandrite stone. Instead of a rich deep purple, green, or blue (the color of the stone changes depending on the light source), it was a faded pale green. But it wasn’t just the color. There were so many inclusions that the stone looked cloudy from all the cracks inside. Calling those lines “inclusions,” by the way, is an overly generous characterization. The cracks went so high up to the surface of the stone, that by lightly running my nail along the top, I could feel the cracks. That means the stone, if dropped or hit a certain way, would crumble. It doesn’t even look remotely like Alexandrite. I haven’t tested it outdoors in natural light, but I doubt the color would change cuz the clouds inside wouldn’t allow enough light to penetrate in order to reflect a different hue. What it looked like, was that someone dropped the stone on a hard surface, then jumped up and down on it with spiked heels. I will be returning this piece. My dream of owning natural Alexandrite will have to wait. Again.

Now, the earrings on the other hand… I had never seen London Blue Topaz up close, and had never heard of Neptune Topaz. These rocks are absolutely strunning. I was lost in their beautiful color and depth. They’re also way larger stones than I had anticipated at over 2 carats each stone. At least my mom and grandma aren’t gonna be disappointed with their Mother’s Day presents. I’m also a bit jealous.

Neptune Topaz

I’m a little bit nervous about the next two weeks. I’m scheduled to be in China. I’m not nervous because I think Mr. W would stand on my nerves until we break up, or because I’m afraid of catching the bird flu, or because I’m afraid the flight would crash. No. I’m nervous because there are NO 24 Hour Fitness clubs in China. I doubt the hotels we’re staying at will have gyms for the guests. Working out is just not a priority in China.

I can do some minor resistance training using my own body weight in the hotel room (crunches, push-ups, lunges, squats), but what am I to do for cardio? My mom said to not worry about the exercise factor since a lot of walking is involved in the tours. Walking for me is not cardio. I need to run at least 3 miles. I doubt I’d even break a sweat walking. Mr. W suggested running the streets in China in the evenings, but 3 miles is enough to get me lost. Maybe we can run the stairs in the hotels if we don’t get locked into the stairwells.

I don’t know why I’m stressing about this. It’s not like I didn’t take week-long or even month-long hiatuses on my own when I was feeling down or sick or just burnt out. But I am paranoid right now. I know I’m gonna be eating in China; our trip is inclusive of all meals. I feel like my weight is so precarious right now. It’s been fluctuating in the upper half of the 120s range. If it bursts into the 130s… I can already feel the tears! It was so incredibly hard to break through the plateau and get into the 120s again.

Maybe what I’ll do, is ask the tour guide where the destination is for each spot and I’ll run there and wait for the group.

Okay. I see that I have completely lost it.

I’m off to the gym.

You know that jewelry channel I wrote about watching in the last post? It led me to purchase something similar to this:

The ring I actually purchased is not quite this one, but it’s something similar. The band is 18K white gold, and the center stone, Alexandrite, is pear-shaped like this one, except it’s bigger at over half a carat. The side stones are also diamonds, but they’re channel-set (recessed). The band is smooth. Alexandrite is my birthstone (June), and I own a few pretty good quality lab created pieces, but this one is natural from India. I’ve always wanted to have a natural Alexandrite ring, but they’re so hard to find. Even the simulated gemstones are rare. When Mr. W and I were on the cruiseship where we met Jordan, they had a small natural Alexandrite collection, and there was only one or two pieces set in white gold or platinum, which I prefer to yellow gold. I’d almost bought one for a little over $3000, but the ring design didn’t really do the “wow” thing to me. The ship’s jewelry salesgirl told me it was a great investment piece because it’d appraise in the States for at least $5000 and the jewelers would gladly take it off my hands for resale at over $6000, which I believe, but what it’d appraise for is meaningless to me as I wouldn’t be selling it. So the bottom line is that I’d be out $3000+ for a nice natural Alexandrite that didn’t necessarily wow me. I also don’t think it was more than maybe 0.4 carats. I went back and forth and at the end decided to walk away. Mr. W actually snuck back and almost bought it for me, but at the last minute realized he’d misread the price and didn’t get it. It’d been one of my regrets and we always talked about getting back on a cruiseship just so I can make that purchase.
Well, now we don’t have to. The ring I bought was a fraction of that price, and the ring design did wow me. I still went back and forth on it yesterday, and then there was a frightening moment when the ring suddenly disappeared from the store’s inventory. I was bummed and kicked myself for not making the purchase, just like on the ship. And then this morning, Mr. W suggested we check again. And the ring was back! Someone must’ve had it reserved and changed their mind. So I snatched it right away. I get it tomorrow. =) This may be the first time I’m looking forward to going to work, where I’m getting the ring delivered. Happy early birthday, me!

I didn’t crawl out of bed this morning until restlessness just about killed me. When I saw the clock, I knew why. It was past 11a. Holy crap! I baked an Italian sausage breakfast casserole (ingredients: 4 slices wheat bread, 4 de-skinned Italian sausages which I sauteed without oil and drained the grease from, 5 eggs, 1 cup milk, salt and pepper, 1/3 cup mixed grated cheeses) for Mr. W, his daughter and me, and since then, haven’t done much but watch TV. I’ve discovered that if I watch a jewelry shopping channel waiting for a gorgeous natural Alexandrite ring to come up for sale, I end up munching on raw almonds, red potato chips, grapefruit, dark chocolate truffles (2), apple. Not good. But if I watch a reality show marathon of The Next Pussycat Doll and see 8 young beautiful girls work their asses off on looking hot and getting the intense choreography in order to keep from elimination, all I put in my mouth is water. And I feel just fat and ugly enough when I look at my still-pajama-clad makeup-less form in the mirror, to not put anything else down the piehole. What is wrong with me? Why am I binging like I’m PMSing? I’ve found myself these couple of days to also be short-tempered and low in tolerance just like I’m PMSing. Maybe it’s not PMS. Maybe I’m just an irrate bitch. Hmm. That’s a new perspective. Okay, fine, it’s not new.

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