December 2007

Saturday evening, after the whole dress ordeal, Dwaine and Andrae came by my house. Dwaine immediately spotted my camera sitting on the living room coffee table and proceeded to flip through the photos. There were photos of me in three separate wedding gowns that Vicky had taken a week ago the first time I was at David’s Bridal. “Is this the dress you got today?” Dwaine asked.
“One of them is.”
“I like the simple one.”
Could it be? A man’s seal of approval on the plain dress? “Which one?” I asked him, looking over his shoulder.
He navigated through a few photos. “That one,” he said, landing on the dress I’d bought hours ago. Yay!
Dwaine played with my camera a few minutes more and figured out how to set it up on timer, then propped the camera on my wet bar counter and told Andrae and I to stand for the picture. It took a few tries…

My, uh, collar bones look good?

this is the most effective one ^^

Finally, a decent shot, except that my static-pattern sweater makes me look ultra-wide. At least the men look good. (Then again, when don’t they?)

(as always, rest mouse pointers over photos for captions)

We grabbed a quick bite of pizza in Brea, then watched Will Smith’s movie I Am Legend. It was a toss-up between that or Sweeney Todd, but since I’d seen Legend and don’t care to see Sweeney, we let the gods of fate decide based on movie times. I was actually glad to see Legend with them again, because I caught a couple of things the second time that I didn’t the first and I always enjoy movie plotline and psychology discussions with witty funny brainiacs. We grabbed a drink and appetizer at nearby Taps Fishhouse & Brewery after the movie and talked the night away. And by that, I mean that I was home by 11:30 because we ARE in our 30s now. Heh.

Everytime I’m out with these guys, or either of them, I’m spoiled to the hilt. “Your money’s no good here,” they tell me, and paid for my pizza, movie, and drink. Doors are opened for me, in the short walks between parking, restaurants, and movie, they make a conscious effort to walk with me and/or on either side of me protectively. In the night chill walking back to the car, Andrae stripped off his wool coat and put it around my shoulders. =) I feel guilty that they treat me as one of the guys and yet don’t forget that I’m a girl. Good times.

Saturday morning, I swung by Vicky’s house, picked her up, and the two of us wandered up and down Las Tunas Dr. in Temple City, aka Asian Wedding Mecca. My mom kept referring me over there, saying that her coworkers picked up cheap wedding photographers, wedding attire rentals, custom Chinese dresses there. The few wedding studios I’d visited locally wanted way too much money, and a $60 wedding gown with all alterations included is hard to resist, so off we went cuz mommy knows best.

Turns out everything mom heard from people was a load of crap. We entered many bridal dress places and they wanted between $200-$400 for rental gowns, but were pushing me to buy gowns for $800+. I was mauled by 4-5 Chinese and Vietnamese speaking salespeople who were not only forcing ugly and/or wrinkled and dirty dresses on me to go try on, but even as I stood in the dressing room half naked in-between changes, multiple salesladies would open the dressing room curtain and hold up dresses to me, saying, “What about this one? This one beautiful! Try on! Only $800 dollar, on sale! Very fashion!” And as I changed, they’d gab to each other in Cantonese or Vietnamese just outside the room, sounding like one was scolding the other, probably for trying to steal each others’ commission. I felt like I was back in China or Jamaica in the streets as an obvious tourist. The photographers were no better. Once we walked in we couldn’t get out easily, they were pushy and clingy and wouldn’t let us just browse. Plus, the dresses and photography were overpriced but offensively low in the quality and talent department. I was so glad Vicky was there with me to speak firmly to them (in Chinese) when the need arose, and to lie to them, feigning interest and collecting a business card so that we could leave, when that was what was required. If I had gone alone, diplomatic and polite (i.e. pushover) me would’ve been stuck and screwed the first store I went into. “That’s why I had so many stupid magazine subscriptions when I was a freshman in college,” I complained to her. My first-year apartment didn’t have a security gate.

After a Mandarin-style beef noodle soup lunch, we escaped the annoyances of Asian Wedding Mecca Street and went to where I had my first wedding dress experience, good ol’ white-bread David’s Bridal in the Orange County city of Brea. The saleslady who helped me the first time I was there had kept notes of the dresses of particular interest to me, and brought out the top two for me to try on again. But because I had unexpected success earlier with a beautiful princess-style jewel-encrusted dress with a satin fitted bodice and a full skirt with embroidered train (but which I refused to pay $1200 for) in the store where I was overly helped by salesladies, we tried on a similar dress at David’s Bridal that ran $900. I looked like royalty in that dress. I looked like I was going from a Venetian cathedral ceremony to a Ritz-Carlton reception. But it was more than I wanted to spend, inappropriate for a garden wedding, and over-embellished for Mr. W’s taste. Or so I told myself. Seeing me admire the dress in the mirror but sensing I would not commit to it, Vicky said that I am supposed to be the most beautiful I can be on my wedding day, and that the vision of me should blow everyone out of the water, so if it’s a price issue, I can pay the amount I’d intended to pay for a dress and she will make up the difference as a wedding present for me. “The difference” being more than the portion I would personally be paying for the dress, I told Vicky there was no way I could let her do that for me. She reasoned with me some more, and although I will forever remember this moment as one of the most touching, selfless offers ever made to me by anyone, I still turned her down and put my front-runner dress on.

When I walked out in the dress that had won the most favor before that day, I looked in the mirror at its simplicity and again was taken aback at how nice I looked in that dress. That’s what hit me and Vicky the first time I tried on that dress a week ago. Other dresses were gorgeous, even gorgeous on me, and people would not be able to help but say, “Wow, that’s a beautiful dress.” But this simple, train-less dress brought the focus on how good *I* look. The difference in comment would be, “Wow, you look beautiful.” It made my waist look tiny, and I could dress it up in any amount of sparkle in jewelry, rhinestoned veil, tiara. But it looked so plain compared to the dress I had just taken off. There was a bride trying on dresses next to me who had brought along three bridesmaids, her mother, and another older woman. The saleslady asked me, “Is it okay if she tries on the dress you just took off?” I told her sure, to go ahead. I had seen her and her mother admiring me when I was in that dress before the mirror. The girl walked out of the dressing room in the $900 dress, and immediately her bridesmaids were agasp with compliments. She spun and admired herself in front of the mirror, and sung firmly, “Found it.” “It’s only the second dress you tried on!” her friends said, gushing about the bodice! The train! The embroidery! How it made her boobs look huge! Behind her, her mother in the chair gazed at her daughter in the mirror, smiled, and then her face wavered and tears flowed out. “Your mother’s crying! That’s a good sign!” her bridesmaids said. As everyone at that section of the mirror went on and on, I couldn’t help but feel so simple and plain in my simple and plain dress.
“Do you think if my mom were here that she’d see me in ‘the’ dress and cry?” I asked Vicky.
“I don’t know if your mom’s the type to cry,” Vicky said comfortingly. We both know the answer would be no. My mom has already expressed how she wanted me in a dress with sleeves to cover my oversized arms, and how I need to stop working out immediately so I don’t get thicker than I already am. Even for the traditional Chinese dress, she wants me in a long-sleeved two-piece.

I changed back into my sweater and jeans, walked to the front desk, and ordered my simple satin dress in ivory. I also ordered the slip that goes under the skirt to make it full, and added a garmet bag to the list. $350 later, we left the store. After leaving Vicky’s place (where I took with me her wedding album that had photos which put the photo samples we’d seen earlier that day to shame), I called my mom, and received my lecture about spending way too much when I could’ve rented at Las Tunas for the elusive $60 deal with alterations and undergarments included.

Dardy, who’s in town and staying at a house 5 minutes from my work, made plans with me to have lunch today. Mr. W called me late morning for a lunch date too, since due to a nasty Pop Tart burn he can’t work out today. (I told him that a grown-ass man has no business eating a Pop Tart anyway. It’s just unnatural. Of course he got a burn and an engorged water blister the size of a rat’s head.) The three of us went to get Indian food in nearby Artesia. I got to try the okra dish that Dardy always speaks/blogs so highly of, but unfortunately, he said the restaurant made it too dry here. In the car on the way back, we had this conversation regarding movies.

Me: (to Dardy) What’s that movie you wanted to see again?
Dardy: Juno.
Me: Did you see it yet?
Dardy: No, not yet.
Me: What’s the other one you wanted to see? The one that I wanted to see too but neither of us could find anyone to go with?
Dardy: Oh, that’s Lars and the Real Boy.
Me: Yeah, that! I still haven’t seen it!
Dardy: Me neither, I don’t think it’s playing in the theatre near me anymore.
Me: Yeah, it’s been out for awhile.
Mr. W: What ARE these movies? How come I’ve never heard of them?
*Dardy gives Mr. W a quick synopsis of each.*
Mr. W: *excitedly* OH, you know what I wanna go see? SWEENEY TODD!!!
*complete silence*
*crickets chirping*
I started laughing and noted the silence in the car.
Dardy: I don’t know what to say to that.

I was playing with invitation possibilities online at lunch. (Yes, that means I didn’t make it to the gym AGAIN. ) There are a lot of templates I was looking at, and it seems that whomever is hosting (paying for) the wedding is the first name listed on the invitation. For example, if my parents were paying for the wedding, it’d read:

Mr. Cindy’s-Papa and Mrs. Cindy’s-Mama
request the honor of your presence
in the joining of their daughter
Mr. W
son of Mr. Mr.W’s-Papa and Mrs. Mr.W’s-Mama
on the forty-third of Sepnovember, two thousand and thirteen
six o’clock in the evening
at the Garden
at 1234 Fairy Tale Ending Lane.
Dinner reception immediately following.

I am the only one who has put any money down on the wedding so far as I paid the deposit on the wedding venue, so if I were to write up the invitations NOW, I’d be listed first, right? Gym trainee said it’s impossible for me to mess up the invitation wording out of ignorance because “it’s all about you!!!”, which is Happy Bunny‘s motto, so I thought, that’s great! That’s exactly how I’ll write it! My invitation will read:

requests the honor of your presence
as she allows what’s-his-face
to start a life in her shadow
on the forty-third of Sepnovember, two thousand and thirteen.
Good laughs ahead.
Please attend.

I read it to Mr. W and he laughed, and said he loves it. We definitely need to keep a copy of it in the scrapbook, he said. Oh sure, a missing leaflet in his “Angel” DVD collection had him throwing a tantrum all night last nite, but something like THIS…

I just might do it.

I can not bring myself to go to the gym. I had every intention of going today, but after being detained 15 minutes into lunch, I decided, screw it. When I’d thought I couldn’t go to the gym for 4-6 weeks after my procedure, it seemed that all I wanted was to be able to go. Now that I am able to go, I suddenly feel lazy and uninspired. Today marks a full week after my LEEP surgery. Well, maybe tomorrow I can start fresh.

Meanwhile, now faced with a lunchtime of no plans, I wish I’d brought my harmonica to practice on. I’d been saying for awhile, completely not intending for it to be a hint whatsoever, that I wished I had a harmonica. I play the piano, but you can’t arbitrarily whip a piano out of your butt and start playing when the whim strikes. But a harmonica, I can keep in my purse and use it to entertain (or annoy, most likely) at any given time in any given company. On Christmas Eve, I found myself the shocked and delighted recipient of a real harmonica, complete with a how-to CD-Rom and tutorial songbook. Mr. W and I had agreed to not exchange gifts this Christmas, but he apparently found something irresistable that I don’t already have because I don’t need it and would never have gone out and purchased for myself. (I got him some nutrition and workout books to feed his current health obsession and a humor book entitled “How Not to Ruin the Biggest Day of HER Life: A Groom’s Secret Handbook”.) Despite stuff I’d said about wanting a harmonica, I wasn’t serious about it — it was one of those quirky things or observations I’d say, like how I’ve said for awhile that I want an elephant because it’d be neat to create memories for a creature that “never forgets,” but I didn’t see any giant packages arriving from Mr. W. So I guess he’s selective about the bluffs he calls me on. But think about it — little Asian girl. Harmonica. Not piano, not violin, not a perfect score on the math portion of the SATs. How unstereotypical.

My harmonican goal is to play Bobby McFerrin’s “Don’t Worry, Be Happy,” which I picture in my head will be revealed when some friend of mine is bitching about something, and then wordless I’d simply reach into my back pocket, pull out a shiny silver object, and then the perky melody of “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” would permeate the air as I rock out in tune to the music, tapping a foot, bending upper body to and fro, right hand fluttering in front of the harmonica doing the “wah-wah” effect. My friend would be staring at me mouth agape, “Wha — how did you — when did you — a harmonica?” and then start laughing and all will be well with the world.

Remember my purposeful intent to mail out Christmas cards this year? If you didn’t get a card, either (1) I don’t have your mailing address and forgot to ask you for it, or, most likely, (2) I didn’t mail out any Christmas cards at all. I was busier than I thought I’d be the couple days I had off after the surgery last Wednesday. I even hit the mall mid-day on Friday and it was crazy crowded! I got a couple of Christmas cards and Christmas newsletters from friends, but the majority of people sent me a “Merry Christmas” cell phone text message on Christmas Day yesterday. I think our generation’s version of the Holiday Greeting Card is Holiday Text Messages. Although it costs me 10 cents each to send and receive, it still is cheaper than a postage stamp. All right, I’m just trying to make myself feel better. I’ll aspire to send actual cards next year.

Since the Christmas holiday did not connect to a weekend this year, Mr. W and I stuck around here instead of joining his family in Vegas as we did the last two years. We spent Christmas with my parents and grandma, and had Chinese hot pot with a tiramisu dessert (I know, huh?). We exchanged presents, fun conversation, some wedding talk (Mr. W is SO patient about this stuff), some housing talk. We may have uncovered a photographer connection, keeping my fingers crossed.

My doctor e-mailed me 10 minutes ago:

Sent: 12/24/07 2:39 PM
Subject: Results fo the LEEP

Hi Cindy,

I have the results of the LEEP we did a few days ago.

Excellent news. Yes, we found the PRE cancer changes we expected but nothing more AND it appears that we got it all!

So I would like to see you every 6 months for a year or two to make sure this doesn’t come back. I’ll send reminder cards.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Dr [K]

My reply to him is insanely gross, so UNLESS you’re nurse Jordan or some other medical tech or someone with experience regarding cervical cancer and gyno procedures, or into psychological self-flagellation, don’t click on the “more” below. You will not view me the same again. I will lose you as a friend, even if you’re only a blog pal. Seriously. Warning. Mental images. TMI. Don’t click.

Hellos to everyone from the Courthouse! Yup, we’re here for one day, off for Christmas day tomorrow, then back on Wednesday. Same thing next week for New Year’s Day which falls on Tuesday. I’m not complaining though…things are slow around here so it’s pretty painless, and hey, I’m happy I’m employed. I’m also glad I have these two consecutive Tuesdays off. And I’m glad I’m not in pain from my procedure last week, and I’m glad they found the abnormal stuff early so that they’re doing cancer prevention by removing the potentially bad stuff. When I get my results back from the doctor, I hope to be glad then that they got it all and that it’s confirmed to not be full-blown cancer. I’m glad my cold is going away (except for the occasional cough), that I can work out soon, that my loved ones are still around and not terminally ill (despite what my mom thinks), that my fiance gets along with my family, that I get along with my fiance’s family, that I’m not mentally or emotionally hurt right now. PMS is doing a number and every little thing steps on my nerves, but I’m glad I’m with someone super tolerant. Crazy tolerant. Sainthood tolerant. I’d hate to be with me at this time of month.

Over the weekend, I felt a small spark of inspiration to write a post counting my blessings, but since I have that new policy of not accessing my blog from Mr. W’s laptop, and I was there most of the time, I didn’t write the post and have since then forgotten what I was going to write. But this forward, which I saw on email today, probably says it better than I would’ve:
~ * ~
I hired a plumber to help me restore an old farmhouse, and after he had just finished a rough first day on the job: a flat tire made him lose an hour of work, his electric drill quit and his ancient one ton truck refused to start.
While I drove him home, he sat in stony silence. On arriving, he invited me in to meet his family. As we walked toward the front door, he paused briefly at a small tree, touching the tips of the branches with both hands.
When opening the door he underwent an amazing transformation. His face was wreathed in smiles and he hugged his two small children and gave his wife a kiss.
Afterward he walked me to the car. We passed the tree and my curiosity got the better of me. I asked him about what I had seen him do earlier.
“Oh, that’s my trouble tree,” he replied. “I know I can’t help having troubles on the job, but one thing’s for sure, those troubles don’t belong in the house with my wife and the children. So I just hang them up on the tree every night when I come home and ask God to take care of them. Then in the morning I pick them up again. Funny thing is,” he smiled, “when I come out in the morning to pick ’em up, there aren’t nearly as many as I remember hanging up the night before.”

Yesterday, at like 10:30 a.m., I became a little less of a woman. A couple chunks of my woman parts are now bobbing in a cup of solution somewhere waiting to be examined in a lab.

The LEEP procedure went surprisingly well. I wasn’t nervous coming up to it (my blood pressure right before the procedure was 109/64, pulse at 65 bpm), and I think my blood pressure only rose when I saw the needle. It was huge, and filled with stuff to numb my cervix. I felt better when Dr. K told me the tip of the needle, the only part entering the cervix, is hair-thin and I would feel tiny pricks at the most as he injected in a circular pattern all the way around the cervix. I felt only pressure by the speculum holding my vagina open. Thank God. The actual cutting part took only 3 seconds or so, while an extremely high-pitched dental drill-like sound filled the surgery room. I had to plug in my ears. And then he re-numbed my cervix, sliced another piece off the top, and was done.

After I was cleaned up, I got to check out the pieces of me bobbing in the sealed cups. I’d kept telling myself that the thought of an ice-cream scoop (as it was described to me) taking out big hunks of flesh was just my imagination, and that in reality, it’d be just a thin splice, but I was shocked at the quarter-sized diameter, inch-deep semi-circle bobbing in there. “That’s HUGE!” I exclaimed involuntarily. “No it’s not!” the doctor said. I was also surprised it floated; I would’ve thought something like that, especially of that size, would sink. It was also pale pink, not red and bloody at all.

He asked if I had questions or concerns and I told him my reservations about the 6-weeks of no exercise thing. He laughed it off and said he never understood that, and that I can walk and be fine immediately after the procedure, just stay off the heavy weight-lifting for about 4 days. Yay! I’m going to Disneyland! All through my “recovery” at Disneyland that day, I had no additional bleeding. I may have cramped a little, but I couldn’t be sure it wasn’t normal PMS-related cramping. Just to be safe, though, I did stay off the more jolting rides. He said that by the time the numbing injection thing wears off, I’d already be over any surgical pain so that I’d never feel the procedure, and he was right.

I did wake up this morning with a tweaked lower back, and THAT’s annoying. So it looks like SOMETHING’s still trying to hold me back from the gym.

Dr. K said he’d email me early next week with the lab results to make sure that 1) it is PRE-cancerous like they’d thought, not actual cancer, and 2) that they got it all with this scoop, which he’s confident of. Well, they should’ve gotten it all, it looks like my entire cervix was floating in there! He said that once my cervix fully recovers, it may be a tad shorter than it used to be, but a gyneocologist examining me in future pap smears won’t be able to tell by looking at it that I’d ever had surgery there. Amazing.

Talked to my mom today, told her I’ve had these few days off, but said it was because my judge was on vacation that these days were offered to me. Didn’t tell her for what purpose they were offered.

My gym trainee and I were just having a discussion about large looming expenses (wedding & house for me, her son’s education for her) and how to best accomodate those expenses, and we started discussing second jobs. The only things we could do after our current work hours would be in, like, food service or retail. So I suggested Bath & Body Works and/or Victoria’s Secret, cuz think of the employee discounts at two of my favorite stores! She absolutely refused to consider retail, saying she’d end up owing THEM money (shopaholic). And then she suggested bartending. My court reporter piped up that her oldest daughter, doing part-time bartending, brings in a ton of money in tips per night.


I called Mr. W and made the suggestion and he wouldn’t hear of it. “I don’t want you to have to take a second job just to marry me,” he said. I explained it’s not like I’m forced to do something I hate, like working in a Chinatown butcher shop or something. He kept laughing at me and saying the idea is ridiculous. So he’s just going to prevent me from realizing my dream of bartending that I’ve had for the past 6 minutes, just like that.

But he DOES have a slogan which he tells me all the time in relation to his job — “It’s easier to ask for forgiveness than for permission.” So maybe, one day, I’ll be telling him, “No, I can’t go over today. I’m starting my first day on the new job. See you at 2am when the bars close.” 😀

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