July 2007

One of those strange things about existing in today’s technology generation, is that etiquette rules haven’t caught up to technology yet. We have ground-breaking case-law written all the time in court (such as a motion asking the Court for permission to confiscate an employee’s computer to recover deleted e-mail files in defending a sexual harassment lawsuit — what are the privacy issues in this regard, if she used a personal email account?), but who’s writing the etiquette rules? College roommie Diana had called me some years ago on a debate that she and her then-boyfriend had about whether it would be okay to do wedding invitations by E-Vite. Wilco and his fiance are doing wedding RSVPs through their online wedding site as opposed to going through the hassle of mailing, stamping, and making their guests mail back reply cards in the mail.

That being said, I feel a little sheepish that instead of calling all my close friends and family to make some personal announcement about the state of my relationship (which call I’d received from many engaged and now-married friends, which adds to my feeling of sheepishness), my first “official” mention of it is on an online blog, despite the vagueness of its mention.

But because I am the queen of justification, I call on the loophole that despite the fact that I was there when the subject jewelry was purchased on July 20, and despite the fact that I was there when my parents gave their permission on July 29, that I don’t have an “announcement” to make as Mr. W has not proposed and I am therefore not engaged, so this isn’t “the” announcement and I reserve the right to make personal phone calls later upon my actual engagement.

Okay, at your request for photos:

(It’s the “crown”, not the “earring”.)

I don’t like the way I look in this photo, but the professional photographer did a better shot of the ring than I did. And it IS this ring in the picture. It’s weird to walk around knowing I have the advertised item I’m seeing everywhere; the saleslady who helped us said she had to turn away 3 people after us who wanted to see the ring in the ads and brochures, and she had to tell them it’s been sold.

The Simpsons Movie is one of THE best movies I’ve seen at the theatre this year! It dropped my jaw a few times in a South Park way, and had me laughing out loud every 15 minutes! I would so watch that again!

Today, the preliminary numbers have been crunched. Dwaine has given us his magical number-crunching program that he’d written on Microsoft Excel. Scenarios and possibilities have been discussed both with my parents, and later with Dwaine, and probabilities will be tightened in the next few days. Dwaine is a creative financing WIZARD when it comes to real property and the mortgaging biz, it was exhilarating to watch him toss concepts, numbers, and new ideas. Everything looks promising, and I’m getting excited.

On July 20, Mr. W gave me a Pristine Heart by the Lakhi Group.

Mr. W, his son and I tried to catch the 9:30p showing of The Simpsons Movie earlier, but the tickets were sold out. I thought of college roommie Diana, who watched the premiere of the movie as a company-wide activity with her law firm, and I lamented the day I decided not to go to law school. What I do not lament, however, is the fateful day in 8th grade when I decided to take German as my foreign language, because that got me and Dwaine in the same class for the next 5 years, where we became friends. After a brief financial discussion over the phone with Dwaine earlier today, we decided to meet up tomorrow so that he could crunch some numbers for me. The goal: sell my current home, throw the money into investment property that I will live in for now and rent out later for supplemental income.

Whereas the original plan when I bought the house was to live in it until I decided to put down more permanent roots in a more palatable part of town and at that time rent out the first house, I had been growing increasingly discontent with my association’s lack of competency in handling financial matters. So the new plan is just like the old plan but with the added step of upgrading the future rental property. I figure if I buy a townhouse near a major university, I will always have renters, and assuming these renters are students, it would be a high turnover rate so that I can keep increasing rent to just below the growing cost of dorming. If I have a bad tenant, it’d only be for a year or so. Short-term-wise, I can avoid being taxed on the profit I make on selling the current home by reinvesting it into another primary residence, so I just have to live in the new place for the minimum required amount of time. And then I move on with my life and get a new place if I want to, renting out the school-side property. I’m looking at the new developments in Irvine, near University of California, Irvine. Orange County is quickly growing as Southern California’s version of Silicon Valley, so property there is bound to increase in value. Plus, with foreclosures at an all-time high, Dwaine is going to look into foreclosure and short-sale properties for a steal.

I don’t expect to have the kind of miracle housing experience I had with the first purchase, but I may be able to keep the same profit margin renting out the new place as I would in renting out the current place. When I bought the place I live in now, it was right before the housing market went crazy, so the price was already reasonable. And then, because the seller was desperate to sell (their new house had to close and their buyer for their current house, the house I got, fell out of Escrow and abandoned the purchase) during the Christmas holidays when no one was looking for housing, my realtor gave them a lowball offer which they countered and we came to a very nice compromise for me. I got decent interest rates at 6.75% for a 30-year fixed mortgage, and two years later, the housing market skyrocketed, interest rates dropped, and I refinanced at 4.875% for a 15-year fixed mortgage paying only $200 more a month than the original 30-year. People hated me enviously. But the situation now is a little different — interest rates are higher which means the housing market is about to take a fairly significant dip. I want to sell now while the market’s still high on my house and I can make triple what I originally paid for the place, and if it means I need to hold off just a tad for housing to drop so that I can buy the next one for cheap, then so be it. I can move back in temporary with my parents, or even with Mr. W. It is scary to step out of the property game altogether, though — a lot of people sold their houses when demand was high a few years ago, thinking that at any time, the housing prices will drop back to “normal” and they can take all their newfound money from the sale of their house and put it into a much bigger house. Well, that hasn’t happened and years have gone by and some people are still renting, which to me is just throwing money out the window. So I am facing that kind of a risk if I don’t do a simultaneous sale-purchase. Not that I’ve ruled that out, either. It all depends on what the numbers tell me tomorrow.

That’s why I’m glad I chose to take German way back in ’90. Cuz 17 years later, I am overwhelmingly grateful for my connections. “See, where would you be if you’d chosen to take Spanish?” Dwaine said on the phone earlier.

This is my horoscope for today:
You might bring an unrealistic idea into your workplace now and your thoughts may be more grandiose than the problems they are meant to remedy. The good news is that, although you may be stressing over finding the right amount of passion to have on the job, you do have a solid chance to strike the balance you need.
Thursday, July 26, 2007

Do you guys suppose it could apply to this? We were told by our supervisors recently that we’re supposed to be locking up our file stamps, judge’s signature stamps, and other sensitive court materials whenever we leave our desks. Our old furniture used to have a little cubbyhole with a lock, but our new modern desks do not. Instead, there is a keyhole on the side of the desk drawer that will lock up all 3 drawers in the column, so the supervisors suggested we do that. I was trying to get in that habit yesterday, except it’s such a pain in the ass as I’m constantly in and out of the courtroom doing stuff, and every time I come back and need to get white-out, paperclips, envelopes, forms, etc. I’d have to unlock the drawer. And it occurred to me that if I have the keys to the desk with me and it locks up EVERYTHING, then if I were to call in sick one day, the relief clerk can’t access ANYTHING. So I talked to my supervisor about that, and suggested maybe using my separate filing cabinet to lock up the sensitive materials at the end of the day would be better as file cabinet keys are standardized and any other clerk in the building could unlock it. My supervisor thought I was brilliant for thinking of these angles said he’d write a memo to that effect, but as I left the building, I suddenly pictured my coworkers really annoyed at me for suggesting that every time they leave the courtroom, they remove various little stamps and seals and release books from their drawers, and walk them to a separate file cabinet drawer, dump them all in, lock the cabinet, before they can leave. And coming into work would entail them moving all the stuff over from the cabinet to the desk drawers.

And then this morning, I see my supervisor has mass-distributed this via email:
During the courtroom inspections we were informed that some of the J.A.’s do not have keys to their desks.
We suggest that you lock up the security items in your file cabinet which uses a 3X5 key. The other alternative is your exhibit closet.
That way, if you are out, another J.A. can access whatever is needed out of the cabinet or closet.
We will, however, attempt to find keys for your desks
If you do not have a key to your file cabinet, please let me know.


Rest mouse pointers over photos for captions (as usual).

Here’s a nice shot of the Queen Mary through the Queen Mary Lounge on our ship, the Carnival Paradise:

If you’ve ever sailed on a cruiseship, you’ll remember the mandatory pre-sailing orientation/enactment/drill in case of an abandon ship order.

You know how so many people think I look like Sandra Oh, and how I didn’t think I did? Well, check out who *I* think looks like Sandra Oh, at the very next table:

I had been wondering whether I’d meet another Jordan on this cruise. If you’ve been reading my blog for some time (and/or Jordan’s), you’ll know I met our dear Jordana Banana on my first cruise. We hit it off, I gave her my blog addy, she checked it out after returning home to Florida, we started emailing and communicating thru my blog, I convinced her to start a blog “for therapy”, she did, and the rest is history. I didn’t meet another Jordana Banana, but we did hit it off pretty well with this couple. Steve and Sally are therapists the next city over from my work, turned out my courthouse refers people over to their counseling services all the time, both in criminal matters (drug/alcohol outpatient counseling) and in family law (family/marriage counseling). Steve is sort of like Jordan, but Sally is more like the other girl Nadia that Jordan and I met on our cruise. She’ll know what I mean.

Steve, by the way, worked some therapist diagnostic magic on me and dropped my jaw during our last dinner together. See, I thought I was pretty introspective and psychologically keen, but he made a connection that I never saw, in regards to certain childhood experiences involving my mother’s behavior toward me and my worst adult fears today. How cliche, huh? haha.

This is a blowhole called La Bufadora in Ensenada, Mexico. Apparently it’s “the” thing to visit in Ensenada. Our tourguide equated not seeing it to going to Paris and not visiting the Eiffel Tower. The four of us talked over dinner (me, Mr. W, Steve, Sally), and concluded that we were not that impressed. Mr. W said the blowhole in Poipu, Kauai (Hawaii) was far grander of a sight. I didn’t actually see the blowhole at La Bufadora, because I didn’t want to fight the 5-layers thick crowd of people, so I stood back and let Mr. W climb an overhang and take the photos. I just got occasionally misted with seawater when the spray floated up every 5 minutes or so. Oh, and we also concluded it was probably low-tide.

You guys can click on this video if you’re bored, or want to be as (un)excited as I was.

I was nice, by the way, and posted the “exciting” video. There are other videos of minutes entirely without any visible water movement.

This is the obligatory posing-like-the-towel-bunny shot in our cabin.

Just to compare, here’s the one from my prior cruise, the one with Jordana Banana, in February of ’06.

We had Friday off and got to the cruiseship before noon for an early boarding. We had to walk across this high bridge from the big dome in Long Beach that used to house the Spruce Goose:

Ever seen a ghost ship? Most people hadn’t boarded for the 6pm sailing, so we got to walk around and take pictures of the empty rooms. This was pretty much the only time the ship was people-less that weekend.

What, you were hoping for photos with PEOPLE in ’em? Well, those are in Mr. W’s camera. I’ll post some when he downloads them off his camera. Meanwhile, you can rest your mouse pointer over these photos for captions and pretend that people are in them talking to you.

Look! Another time-bombed entry! I must really love you guys. It’s 2:21 a.m. on Thurs nite/Fri morning, and you’ll see this post on Sunday. So if it’s Sunday and you’re reading this, I’ll be back from the cruise with Mr. W tomorrow morning!

I dug this out in the earlier packing/cleaning (this is why it takes me so long to clean my room or rid myself of old junk — too much reminiscing):

I want a guy who knows what he has when he has me
I want a guy who feels he’ll love me for eternity
I want his eyes to soften when he looks into mine
Content to have me near while he reads and sips his wine
He’ll love me for enhancing his already beautiful life
He’ll love the dark I bring to his light
He’ll appreciate the reinforcement I am to his strength
Does not need (me) but chooses me to be his bane
I want to love and lavish without fear
Release him to go and welcome him back with no tear
I want to give him my world and sleep softly at his side
Be his girl forever and his woman when the time is right.

6am Thurs., 7-24-03

I don’t really remember writing this altho I can relate to the almost desperate desire for someone who’d protect me, love me, and bring me peace especially at that time in my life, but what throws me is the middle of the piece, in which I seem to write myself as the destruction of this great guy’s great life, and yet the guy loves me in spite of and through all of that. Why did I feel like I’d be the guy’s vulnerability, the Achilles heel that he has attached his heart to? Was it low self-esteem? Or maybe I was just making the point tongue-in-cheek that altho the guy’s fine without me or any girlfriend, he chooses to keep me in his life with all my dark sarcasm and the inevitable relationship fights. It really does read like Mr. W — he’s said over and over that he wouldn’t change a thing about me. “What about my crabby PMS-ness?” I asked him the other day. He replied that that’s but a small manageable inconvenience outweighed by all the joy I bring to him.

Happy (1-day early) birthday to the man of my dreams, the heart’s desire fantasy come to life, the exact personification of what I’d scripted almost exactly 4 years ago to the day. Well, except he sips martinis instead of wine.

James bugged me to blog about this, so I’m time-bombing it to post on Saturday when I’m on the cruise, despite the fact that I’m writing it at 1:48 a.m. Thursday night/Friday morning.

I was on my own for dinner tonight, but didn’t feel like spending a lot of money. James owed me $10 for when I spotted him at The Yard House last nite at dinner with Vanessa, so I called to see what he was planning for his own dinner. We agreed to meet up for Japanese so he could be my debit account. I’m paranoid about getting fatter lately (I seem to have grown somehow softer and wider in the past couple of weeks, even tho it’s not reflected in the body fat scale), so I ordered a sashimi plate. I’d gotten to the restaurant first, grabbed a seat at the sushi bar, chatted a bit with the two sushi chefs, before James got there. In spite of that, the two chefs revealed they were clearly first-generation immigrant Japanese men, which I would’ve known even without their accents or their use of Japanese when they spoke to each other. Here’s why.

Toward the end of dinner, the two chefs asked us, or more specifically, asked James, what race he was. Was he Chinese? James said he’s half. They then asked him where he worked. James gave the city, and the chefs exclaimed how far away that was. Then they asked him what he did for a living. James said he built speakers and sound cards for computers. They were impressed. I’m sitting there, totally ignored, wondering why they were asking him this and not also asking me. One of the chefs finally turned and nodded at me, and asked James, “Is this your wife?” They were lucky I had a mouthful of orange, so that James could reply, “No, we’re friends.” How patriarchal was that? Despite my being there first, having a rapport with the chefs first, sitting closer to the chefs than James, they ask the man about his career and personal information, like I didn’t have a job or something, and then only involve me insofar as I relate to the man, and then not even asking the question directly to me, but asking it as if I were some non-human possession, like “Is this your briefcase, sir?”

I would’ve demanded feminist retribution, but then James paid my entire bill, so I was happy to leave it at that. =P

I was just on the Happy Bunny site and saw this. I suddenly laughed so loud it woke up my cat down the hall.

Can you imagine driving by a car and looking over, and seeing THIS window cling looking back at you? HAHAHA! Alas, I don’t have the balls. You know how you’re behind a car and see their window sticker or license plate frame saying something like, “Powered by HAWT” or “Don’t hate me because I just had your boyfriend” and you want to look in the driver’s window to see just how hot this obnoxious girl is, and no matter how hot she is, you’re gonna scoff and think she’s too ugly to make those claims? *Sigh* This Happy Bunny window cling is going to go into the same pile of wishful thinking as that t-shirt that says “O.K. I’m perfect. Stop staring” (a Happy Bunny T my gym trainee got me that I still haven’t had the courage to wear), and that tank top that says “Well? It ain’t gonna lick itself.”

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