November 2007

Something’s getting wronger with me. The fever is at an all-time high and everything, externally AND internally, hurts. I feel like my organs are twisting up and my brain is screaming about being smothered as the pressure in my head heightens. My eyes are burning, and I’ve been sipping water at my desk all day but have not gone to the bathroom, so I think I’m burning it all off or something. My joints ache and my face is so hot that I keep putting my ice-cold hands on my forehead and eyelids because it temporarily relieves some of the discomfort, but I think the jurors (who sit facing me) are taking my cupping my face and head every 2 minutes as a sign that I’m not liking the DA’s closing argument. And I’m cold. I’m freezing. And the formation of goosebumps on my arms hurt my skin. If I get delirious, things may get more interesting in here.

*gag* Uh-oh, the nausea is back…

After writing the Cirque post, I drove home right away but was unable to fall asleep until almost 3am, and woke up at 6a to go to work early. I rose with a knot in my stomach and gagged in the shower, almost throwing up and wondered whether vomit would clog my shower drain.

All day at work, I felt choked by a tightening from my diaphragm all the way up to my throat, and strange pressure from my neck to my eyes that made me feel like my head would explode, or my eyeballs would pop. I was also very aware of the sickening thumping of my heart in my ribcage and neck, and the fever I felt.

The very long workday was broken up at lunchtime when I drove in a big 7-mile circle for 45 minutes trying to find a gas station offering their goods for less than $3.50 a gallon, and finally found a Unocal 76 for $3.45. I had half a mind to run a few miles at a local park and had planned with Mr. W on Monday to do so, but he hadn’t called and I hadn’t eaten, drank nor slept well so I nixed the idea. In pulling the pump out of the holder to fill my car, gasoline spurted all over my foot and car. But because gas was so expensive, instead of being upset, I shoved the pump as quickly as I could into my car because, hey, free gas. After I drained the hose in the pump, I slid my credit card and paid for the rest of the overpriced fluid.

Getting back in my car, I called childhood friend Lily back and we made dinner plans. Then I called my gym trainee, who’s on vacation this week, and made plans to work out together today and tomorrow. She wanted to drive all the way to the gym near our work because she had some errands that’d run her into the area, anyway. Then I called college roommie Diana on my drive back to work and told her about my gas experience. She said the exact same thing happened to her recently and she did the same thing. “Hey, it’s like, 50 cents there that you don’t want to leave on the floor!” We laughed at ourselves.

After work, Dwaine and I made post-dinner plans to hang out after an early dinner with Lily and her husband Arnold. Dinner was shared entrees of baby back pork ribs, a specialty salad, and jambalaya at Claim Jumper in Brea. It was nice to catch up with them, and they’re very comforting people. I got some good news from Arnold, who I only learned that night used to teach human fertility to other doctors. When dinner ended, Dwaine came to my house with a bottle of cabernet sauvignon, which we broke into right after I popped my favorite white, “Conundrum” by Camus Vineyards which is made from like 5 types of white wine grapes. Both the red and white were delicious, and I got to hear tales from Dwaine’s mac-daddy dating adventures. Both the time with Lily and with Dwaine made me appreciate people I’ve had in my life since junior high school with whom I could make absurd references about our more naive years, and enjoy the deeper, more heart-felt friendship that our wacky childhood bonds matured into.

I still awoke this morning with the same fever, lack of appetite, pressure in the head and eyes thing, but I didn’t gag. Throughout this whole thing which makes my head spin with thoughts about the past, present and future, what it all means and what I can do with any of it, I’ve felt balanced and unafraid. There was no alarm nor panic, and I was able to function and enjoy my life and friends. So I guess what I’ve learned is, I’m not alone, and I am whole now. My identity is no longer just who I am to one person, the past chains have loosened their grips on my spirit. That’s a battle I’ve fought hard in for the past few years. It may be ugly, but I can survive with my dignity intact, looking forward.

We just got back from Cirque du Soleil’s “Corteo” at the Orange County Fairgrounds. Mr. W is a huge Cirque fan. But if you ask me what “Corteo” is about, I couldn’t tell you; I didn’t pay much attention as I was sitting in my seat for the 2+ hours practicing my extraordinary ability to stay perfectly still while seething and composing this post in my head.

Before the show started, we were sitting next to each other in our assigned seats and then a guy and a girl sat down directly in front of us. The guy was THE tallest guy in his entire row, head/shoulders/back 2 feet above the seatback, and of course he sat down directly in front of me blocking my view of the stage. The rest of our row to my right was empty, and remained empty even after the doors closed and the music started, so Mr. W and I moved 3-4 seats to my right so that we sat behind a gap. We weren’t there longer than 5 minutes when the guy and the girl got up and moved a few seats over to THEIR right, and with an open seat between the guy and the girl, the girl sat in front of us blocking our (mostly Mr. W’s view) of the stage again.

What happened next if you heard Mr. W tell it would be: Cindy got irrationally upset at the people who moved and cussed them out at the top of her lungs, starting a bunch of tension and trouble that was unnecessary and designed to ruin Mr. W’s day.

With my elephant memory, let me give the actual play-by-play. After the guy and girl moved, I didn’t react but Mr. W looked at me incredulously, raised his hands in an exasperated gesture, and made a scoffing sound. He said something short, something to the effect of “Can you believe that?” or “Unbelievable.”
I looked down at the guy and girl and commiserated with him by saying, “I don’t know why they have to sit apart.” (Although they both moved down, they left an empty seat between them.)
As Mr. W was pointing to my right and suggesting I move yet another couple of seats down our row, the guy actually turned around in his seat, glared at me, and said in a snotty voice, “Is it really that big of a problem?” I just stared back at him as we moved, but I refused to give him a verbal response since I wasn’t ever talking to him to begin with.
The guy kept glaring even after we finished moving over, and Mr. W said to him, “We moved so that she could see.”
The girl at this point turned around toward me (partially) and said in a sympathetic tone, “I’m in the same boat as you.”
The guy finally turned around back toward the front, and I called it as I saw it. “What an ass.” Not her, I meant him.
I was surprised they heard me, but it was obvious they did because the girl gave an audible gasp and visibly started, although she didn’t turn around, but the guy turned around, pointed a finger at me, and said, “Shut up. You shut up right now. Shut up. Shut up.” I still didn’t talk to him, just gave him a look like, Dude, you’re the ONLY ONE talking right now.
After like the 6th “shut up” and other random statements I couldn’t make out from him, I finally said the only thing I would say to him the entire night: “If she’s in the same boat as me, you should understand.”
He responded with other things I couldn’t hear. But what was my darling Mr. W doing the entire time this was going on? Loudly shushing ME. That was most of the reason why I couldn’t hear what the other guy was saying.
“Thanks for getting my back, as usual,” I said sarcastically to Mr. W when the two people in front had turned back to watch the stage. We had a short argument about the situation, him saying that they were just moving over for a better view just like I had just done so I shouldn’t get all bent about that, me saying I didn’t give a shit about the moving over, it was HIM that was upset they moved and I was just commiserating with him and the guy was the one who turned around and instigated something with ME and it’s nice to know that if I were ever involved in a physical altercation that Mr. W would hold ME back and let the other party punch me. Mr. W kept insisting that I cussed them out when they were just moving over when I could’ve just fixed the situation by moving yet another seat over myself like we had ended up doing, and he was just not getting that it’s about backing ME up and had nothing to do with wherever the hell other people were sitting. I was pissed that someone else could instigate shit with me and he would blame ME for “ruining his day” and going into a speech about how he was so tired of people ruining his life and ruining his day, when I don’t think I should have to bend over and grab my ankles when some guy wants to be an ass. I was not the confrontational one here.

I was so pissed the entire night that when composing this post in my head, I fantasized about downgrading Mr. W’s nickname from Mr. W and instead calling him the GID, the guy-I’m-dating, just in this post.

BTW, the girl didn’t get involved with creating nasty stuff, but she didn’t shush her man, either. Even if she backed him silently, she still backed him. He owes her some loyalty points. Wonder what that feels like.

My wish: We’ve fought about similar things before (him not backing me), and like I’ve told him in those arguments, I don’t need someone to fight my battles for me and I don’t need him to come to the forefront swinging a sword, but I would like him to at least STAND BY ME and not go against me in public and slide into “poor me, I’m such a victim” mode when someone started shit with ME.

Since you’re reading this, I assume you’re on at least a 5-minute break, which concidentally is just enough time to witness the incredible creation of this patriotic work of art! Here’s to the heroes. Turn your speakers on.

Today being Veteran’s Day holiday, Mr. W and I went to Knott’s Berry Farm for free. He just had to show proof that he’s a Vet. (Vicky and I joked on the phone the other day that Mr. W was a Marine in WWII, and then she went even farther back to say that he’s a Civil War Vet. Haha, making fun of our age gap still ain’t gettin’ old. Pun not intended.) It was a really fun day, blue sky, sunshine, temperature easily in the 90s in the sun. It was like summer again. (I told Mr. W that my commenter ‘k’ recently told me that they had snow flurries the other day in Minneapolis where she’s located, and that she’d laughed at me when I had to tell her I didn’t know what snow flurries were. Mr. W, a Chicago native, laughed at me, too.) The roller coasters were great, and I even enjoyed standing in line with him. I noted that he spent a lot of time staring at the back of my head today. I had such a great time, I asked him, “Is it like this being married?” He would know, right? Unfortunately, his answer was that married life has added stressors of making mortgage payments (which can’t be a big deal; I make mortgage payments now anyway), of feeding kids, providing diapers, of kids outgrowing their clothes and shoes, paying for college. Okay, so that would be new for me, but I think I’d be more worried if my kids WEREN’T outgrowing their clothes and shoes or going to college. Speaking of kids, I had a small realization today while in line. I told him, “Remind me to NEVER let our kids have sugar. Never. [*looking at the fake-log walls of the building we were walking in*] Or gum. No gum.”

Days like today, and like yesterday, when Mr. W drove us to LAX to pick up my parents upon their return from China and then we hung out at my parents’ house while they showed off all their new loot and made us see all their 350+ photos as fed by digital camera into their bigscreen TV, I am really happy with my life, and with my relationship. I feel so lucky.

Things I loved:
* Mr. W hugging me when we’re in line, generously sprinkling kisses all over the top of my head
* being able to reach over to Mr. W whenever I felt like it, without being pushed off or accused of being clingy, or having to reel in my emotions and affections
* exiting the restaurant Po’ Folks and walking back to the car, with our arms around each other, and pretending we’re in a 3-legged race while trying to throw each others’ rhythms off, laughing all the way to the car
* him sitting on the floor listening to my dad introducing each photo of their vacation “slide show”, accidentally feeling my cold foot behind him from the couch, and then reaching over and holding my cold foot thru the rest of the slide show in an attempt to warm me up while never missing a beat with my dad

Mr. W’s foggy memory paired with my elephant one is gonna cause endless frustrations, I can tell. I’m already saddened that he doesn’t remember anything about asking me out 2 years before we first started dating, nor does he remember much about our first weekend together and much of our momentous first times.

Yesterday evening (Saturday), childhood friend Vicky and I, with a very patient and game-faced Mr. W in accompaniment, did one of our ritual 5-hour, 15-game Bingo sessions at our old high school. It used to be a monthly thing before she and I hooked up with the men we are with now, and we hadn’t done it together in years. (Yes, the venue is fraught with little old ladies on oxygen tanks cussing, and yes, I have won before; $250 a pop!) Not that our stopping was the fault of either of our men; we just couldn’t get our schedules to mesh and then gave up for awhile.
So at Bingo, the topic of the “Transformers” movie came up. Vicky said she’s never seen it, which I was shocked by, cuz this is the girl I grew up watching all the 80s cartoons with! We loved He-Man, She-Rah, GI Joe, the short-lived Rainbow Brite and Cabbage Patch Kids, and I think even The Care Bears before I decided I hated them cuz despite all their promised rescues of sad little boys and girls on the cartoon, they never came and rescued ME when I was blue. Vicky asked what we thought of the “Transformers” movie. Mr. W jumped right in and said he thought it was great, he liked it, and thought it was funny. This confused me because I distinctly remember that as we were walking out of the movie, we were in the long hallway immediately exiting the theatre room and he was on my right, I had said, “Huh. That was actually better the second time around” (since I thought it was pretty disappointing the first time I watched it with Vanessa and James when they took me for my birthday, despite what EVERYONE ELSE thought of the movie, which was give it blockbusting rave reviews). And Mr. W had said that he didn’t think it was great, either, and that like my first time, he had trouble staying awake. He’d thought the movie was confusing, didn’t know who the good guys and bad guys were, and generally didn’t think it was as clever or funny as all my friends had said. I’d said I didn’t catch a lot of the supposed funny lines, either, and he’d said that it was because the characters said a lot of stuff in passing under their breaths so if you weren’t really paying attention to the dialogue you’d miss it. So now at Bingo, I objected, “That’s not what you said when you came out of the movie! You said you didn’t like it.”
Mr. W argued, “No, I DID like it and I said that it was good.”
I said, “You said it was confusing and you had trouble following it.”
He said, “No I didn’t, I wasn’t confused, which I thought was good considering I had never even seen one episode of the original Transformers show. It was one of your other friends who didn’t like it.”
“EVERYBODY else loved the movie,” I said, which was the bond that he and shared over NOT being impressed by the movie, which bond I felt when he and I walked out of the theatre holding hands griping about the disappointment of movies being overhyped and underacted. I think he may have even said back then that the characters were superficial and underdeveloped and you don’t feel attached to them because of the way the plot moved, but that may have also been a comment made by someone else.
Well, we lost THAT bond now, I thought as Mr. W and Vicky went into, “YOU’VE NEVER SEEN TRANSFORMERS?” and Mr. W explained that he was way into adulthood by the time those shows rolled around and he wasn’t watching Saturday Morning Cartoons or after-school 3pm cartoons anymore.

After we came home, we watched another episode of Buffy and Angel on DVD and Mr. W went to bed. I couldn’t fall asleep as the above stupid, inconsequential, all-in-all meaningless discrepancy ripped out chunks of my brain and tossed them at me. I finally got out of bed and came to Mr. W’s laptop and did a search for the Transformers movie on my blog, and found where I’d written back in July that Mr. W had confessed his trouble staying awake during the movie. It wasn’t everything I wanted, but it was SOMETHING confirmed. I went back to bed, which motion woke Mr. W up and he looked at me and asked what was wrong. I didn’t want to talk about this at 4 in the morning, but since he ASKED, I said, “What makes you think something is wrong?” He said because I’m clearly wide awake. Since he was looking at me with his eyelids propped up, I went into a whole “You said blah blah blah blah blah! And I remembered that it was really blah blah blah! And I looked it up in my blog just now and it WAS blah blah blah!”
In the most anticlimatic way, he said “Hmm” twice, as if thoughtfully, and rolled over and went to sleep. I curled up around him feeling better and slept soundly, too.

This morning I had this GREAT DREAM that I found myself at a party with 19 (yes, I counted in the dream) mounted stripper poles, and the little monkey that I am, I totally had my fun on one! I was SUCH a gymnast in the dream, I was able to twirl around on it and spin (which I can do in real life anyway), and I was able to do a move that flips me upside down on the pole so that I hung feet-up! And it was so incredibly easy when I tried it in the dream, that I doubled it by flipping over right-side up again, still hanging on the pole, and then flipping upside down again, like doing a slow somersault down a pole. I was SO impressed at how athletic I was and how effortless the moves were, that I jumped around excitedly in the dream and declared that I wanted to buy a pole for my house. I know that last part was due to the fact that a coworker had tried to get me to buy in on a collapsible stripper pole ($300+!) so that they could get a bulk discount. I turned it down, but in the dream, I REGRETTED THAT DECISION SORELY.

The flippy move in the dream was inspired, I’m sure, by this little minute-long video that another coworker emailed me on Friday:

I always suspected that my Dodopuff has an opinion about whether he wants his ears cleaned, and ear-cleaning is not something that just “happens” to him when I feel like cleaning his ears. I think he’s been manipulating me, and today I got confirmation.

There are times when he’d just sit in front of me and meow piteously and scratch his cone with his hind leg, making a tap-tap-taptaptap noise. Sometimes I’d stop and observe him, see which ear he’s going after, then Q-tip that ear or clean it with a cottonball and disinfecting solution the vet had given me. He used to struggle, so I just figured he didn’t like me screwing with his body parts. Today, he’s doing the rat-a-tat-tat thing, and I stood in the bathroom where I was getting ready for work, kept my eye on him, and opened the drawer that I keep Q-tips in. Hearing the sliding sound, Dodo came running into the bathroom meowing and plastered himself to my leg. He purred loudly when I Q-tipped his little ears. He totally KNEW where the Q-tips are kept and he KNEW when his cone-scratching has achieved the desired effect!

Now I think back to his other actions, like when he’s out of food and I’m being lazy on the couch ignoring his meows, and he’d jump onto tables and countertops and knock things over (which he normally wouldn’t do) and make all this noise, to force me to get up to chase him off the tables, and then he’d go running to his food and sit looking pointedly at his empty bowl now that he got my attention.

That clever little feline!

It’s Friday! And it’s the Friday leading to a long weekend! Woohoo! This is the reward for people who’ve worked hard all week. And for all the hard workers of life who’ve ever felt the weight of troubles so heavy they’ve wanted to drop everything and give up, here’s something forwarded from a coworker for you:

~ * ~

One day I decided to quit…
I quit my job, my relationship, my spirituality… I wanted to quit my life. I went to the woods to have one last talk with God. “God”, I asked, “Can you give me one good reason not to quit?” His answer surprised me…
“Look around”, He said. “Do you see the fern and the bamboo?”
“Yes”, I replied.
“When I planted the fern and the bamboo seeds, I took very good care of them. I gave them light. I gave them water. The fern quickly grew from the earth. Its brilliant green covered the floor. Yet nothing came from the bamboo seed. But I did not quit on the bamboo. In the second year the fern grew more vibrant and plentiful. And again, nothing came from the bamboo seed. But I did not quit on the bamboo. In year three there was still nothing from the bamboo seed. But I would not quit. In year four, again, there was nothing from the bamboo seed. I would not quit. Then in the fifth year a tiny sprout emerged from the earth. Compared to the fern it was seemingly small and insignificant…But just 6 months later the bamboo rose to over 100 feet tall. It had spent the five years growing roots. Those roots made it strong and gave it what it needed to survive. I would not give any of my creations a challenge it could not handle.”
He asked me, “‘Did you know, my child, that all this time you have been struggling, you have actually been growing roots? I would not quit on the bamboo. I will never quit on you.
“Don’t compare yourself to others. The bamboo had a different purpose from the fern. Yet they both make the forest beautiful. Your time will come,” God said to me. “You will rise high.”
“How high should I rise?” I asked.
“How high will the bamboo rise?” He asked in return.
“As high as it can?” I questioned.
“Yes,” He said, “‘Give me glory by rising as high as you can.”
I left the forest and brought back this story.

I hope these words can help you see that God will never give up on you.
Never, never, never give up.

~ * ~

Personally, the moment I asked God a question and he gave ANY verbal answer, that would’ve convinced me. I wouldn’t have needed him to go into the long inspirational talk or fern and bamboo analogy. But it makes a better story to bring to friends. =)

May you all recognize that you are works in progress on your way to becoming masterpieces.

I recently returned from my parents’ house, where I fed their feeshies (mostly young tropical goldfish, plus a last surviving tilapia my dad caught fishing) while my parents are vacationing in Guilin, China this week. I was looking forward to hanging at the ‘rents by myself, as they usually have food in the fridge, which is a detail lacking in my own home. A huge, gaping detail. They didn’t have much food as they ate most perishables in preparation for their vacation, but I did dig out some multigrain rice which I ate with some bittermelon and cucumber cold dish my mom still had in the fridge. In the freezer, I was excited to find a few Marie Callender’s boxed chicken pot pies, and continued making a glorious pig of myself with one’s almost-immediate consumption. And then I saw that each pie contained 460 calories, more than half of which were from fat. Geez. What’s next? I dug some more in the freezer and found a cardboard cylinder of vanilla ice cream. Yech. It’s just like my parents to buy vanilla, what a waste of ice cream. If you’re gonna get that most sinful of frozen desserts, it should be worth your calories, you know? Like chocolate malted crunch, or mint chip, at least black cherry. But wait, what’s that in there? Another carton in a different color! I pulled it out. French vanilla. *sigh* About one-third of the way through the first carton, I managed enough willpower to put the spoon away.

What brings on the good appetite? Well, two things. I’m happy. I’m relaxed. After work today, Mr. W and I had a brief and affectionate chat about what’s making me drag my feet in all this wedding planning. I confessed I was giving him time to realize that this isn’t really something he wants to do as doing the domestic thing with me goes against all the plans for his future that he’d dreamed about before meeting me. After his two kids are well off into adulthood (son’s 18 and daughter will be 17 in a month), he was going to retire, sell his property, and travel the world like a vagabond. That lifestyle isn’t exactly conducive to raising an elementary school-age kid with me. He said that you can’t predict life and that sometimes you think a river is going to flow one way and then an unexpected rock or something makes it change its course; it’s natural. But a river isn’t going to wake up resentful one night cuz it’s stuck in a house in a California suburb instead of on a boat in the Caribbean because of a 5-year-old asleep in the next room that it didn’t want (to borrow an image from a friend). He laughed at me and said, “Go plan the wedding.” Turned out he had a whole other dream in his head now — one that involves being a retired dad, who’s going to bring his young hot Asian wife (okay, those are my edits) into early retirement so that we could be super-involved PTA parents, the kind of over-involved parents that other parents complain about with “Who calls a meeting at 10:40 on a weekday morning?! Don’t they have a life?” so that we could vote each others’ motions in without other parental intervention (joke). And when the child is young, we’d do “educational” travels with him/her in the country, and as the child got older, we’d do farther and more extended traveling, maybe during summer break, visiting our varied heritages in China, Taiwan, Germany, etc. Other kids get to look at photos of the Great Wall of China, our child will bring in show-and-tell photos of him standing ON it. That’s pretty cool. Altho I don’t think I’m game on the spending one year in this country, and the next in another country, thing. I’d like my child to have stable schooling, if possible, and not have to make new friends every year just to lose them again the next year. How traumatic. I love that I have friends with whom I could make some reference from decades ago, because they were there through some event with me.

The other reason I ate like a little piggy tonite is cuz my gym trainee and I stepped up our game at the gym this week. She’s now familiar enough with the gym, gym equipment, and proper form to really work on strength training. So we dropped our cardio down to just the 5-10 minute warmup in the beginning, and then we hit the weights hardcore. We increased all of our weights at least 20% and dropped our reps from 15 relatively comfortable reps to 10 very difficult ones, working to failure. And because we’re working to failure (stopping when we absolutely are unable to push another rep in good form), we’ve split up our target muscle groups into 2 days: Monday and Thursday are upper body (chest, back, biceps, triceps, shoulders), Tuesday and Friday are lower body (quads, hamstrings, calves, abs), with a day of cardio on Wednesday to rest, plus hopefully cardio on weekends. The results should be tighter, leaner muscles, increased metabolism, and improved strength. Several women have brought up concerns already that we’re gonna “bulk up”, to which I reply that we don’t have the testosterone in male bodies to bulk up, and we’re not going to take steroids to compete for Ms. Universe, either. It’s a pretty common misconception that women are gonna look like men if they do heavy weights, and hopefully my gym trainee (who did not have that misconception, much to my relief) and I will dispel that myth among people who come into contact with us. I observed very early on, like a decade ago, that you almost never see a fat chick on the weight floor, but you do see plenty of them on the cardio equipment and aerobics room. What’s that tell you? My gym trainee is looking great, by the way. Just today, someone stopped me in the Clerk’s Office and said that she noticed my trainee’s arms look toned, which she saw through my trainee’s sweater. “Did you tell HER that?” I asked the complimenter. She said she did. I’m glad my trainee’s getting verbal support, cuz I know that we certainly do get a lot of haters who tell us we’re obsessive and should skip the gym to indulge in lard-bucket lunches with them.

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