January 2008

‘a’ had done some research on birth order and how being the oldest, middle, youngest, etc. may influence the way we think and act. She is an only-child, like I am, and found this analysis. I’m gonna throw some running commentary in there with it…
~ * ~

You immerse yourself in an interest, until you’re an authority on the subject – no matter how important or trivial it is.
Hmm, is this why people ask me why I know so much crap on random things?

You have strong and well-thought-out opinions.
Damn straight. But that’s just my opinion. I feel strongly about it, tho.

You are in fact, more often right than wrong.
At this point, I proposed to ‘a’ that we make an only-child T-shirt. It will have a heading on top that says, “Hi, I’m an only-child. These are my traits:” and then it would list them. The T-shirt would be black, and the lettering would be white. Except for the above line. This line would be in RED.

You are not very tactful.
Scrapping the T-shirt idea. I think I’m VERY tactful, BTW. I pointed out to ‘a’ that when I say mean inappropriate things about people, I say it tactfully behind their backs.

You grew up believing centre-stage was yours, so when you talk, you expect others to listen to you.

You protect your privacy with a poker face, so no-one can guess the true state of your inner feelings.
My mom STILL yells at me about this to this day. I’m not giving the attitude-face, my expressionless poker-face just doesn’t look friendly, okay?

Not many people get really close to you – but those who do, learn to trust you totally.

You are extremely loyal.

You are tolerant and supportive of those who openly admit their limitations.

You are not very trusting of your women friends, and you have a great turnover in your “Female Best Friend” department. You don’t mind your male friends’ failures – but have a short fuse with women. You are likely to bolt at the first sign of anything seen as bad faith on their part.
And is it MY fault that women are sleazy and backstabbing whores?

You are firm in your opinions, and outspoken concerning your likes and dislikes. You are not into cliches, political slogans, or just plain nonsense. You like original thinking.
After watching an hour of the latest in the election Primaries last nite, I do agree that it is “just plain nonsense.” But there was no other TV on at 4am.

You are extremely tidy and well-organised. Living and working areas are usually immaculate, and you do your chores punctually and thoroughly.
My friends can stop laughing now. I think being an only-child entitles me to being a pack-rat and cluttery, darn it, cuz I don’t have to share space w/anyone or hide things from thieving siblings. Besides, I’m a huge sentimentalist.

You had little opportunity to learn how to compete or share. You now feel uncomfortable with competition, in social or work situations. Competition is a weak point. It puzzles you why people compete at all, particularly over trivial matters.
I think the answer here is that people are petty and lame.

You are the most self-sufficient of all birth orders, and avoid feeling obligated or indebted to others, as you would find this too threatening to your own self-reliance.

You can be disinterested or impatient in other people’s interests if they differ from yours.
Mr. W HATES this about me. Oh well, sucks to be him, I say. I guess I’m pretty intolerant.

You are impatient and intolerant of others.

You are extremely frustrated and confused when others don’t do what they say they will do.
Story of my life — dealing with flakes. Long-time readers may remember the whole flake post series from summer of ’05.

You had a lot of exposure to parents’/grown-ups’ thoughts, attitudes, and feelings, rather than children’s, and now cannot understand how others your age can be such babies – so ignorant, or uninformed. This can put some distance between you and your friends.
I don’t keep friends who are babies. For pretty much that reason.

You are exceptionally comfortable with older people because you’ve spent most of your time with adults. Thus, you have developed characteristics that are more pleasing to adults.
This probably explains why boys my age never liked me when I was in high school, and why my fiance is 14 years older than me.

Since you learned to play alone, you are able to enjoy the pleasure of your own company.
Get your minds out of the gutter!

You are reluctant to show your deepest feelings – emotional revealing is not for you. But you are not shy about giving your opinions about everything. People are amazed at these two contrasts in your personality.

You have such an air of self-confidence, that people do not realise your need for appreciation and praise, so no-one reaches out to pat you on the head. A heavy price to pay for appearing so strong. Everything you can do to reveal your underlying humanity and feelings, will help considerably to remedy this.

You can appear like a snob because of your low need for affiliation.
What does this mean? *looking up “affiliation”* Oh, come on, I have friends and partnerships! I just don’t hesitate to cut ties if a relationship becomes toxic to me.
~ * ~

All right, so a lot of things are more true than not. But the only thing that’s important is the 3rd listed trait.

I’m up again. I fell asleep fairly early in front of the TV, and woke up to a cosmetic informercial that was somewhat interesting to me, so I watched it. Then I figured I may as well be productive, so I vacuumed and I’m now about to do my taxes.

I’m gonna miss these nights when I’m up all by myself and know I’m not bothering anyone if I move around the house and do chores. Dodo doesn’t seem to mind, although when I first came upstairs I saw that he’d already gone to bed. He popped his head up to look at me from inside his cat bed when I brought the vacuum upstairs.

I’m being a crappy girlfriend, but I’ve had it up to HERE (*throwing my hand waaaay up in the air…sorta waving it, you know, like I just don’t care*) with all the drama surrounding Mr. W. The poison-tipped arrows his ex-wife shoots at him, angrily speculating that his (perceived) happiness entitles her to his money, and successfully taking it out of our (his and my) immediate and distant future together, and although my hands are tied in the matter, touching Mr. W means I absorb the poison into my own life. Which is probably what the ex-wife wants. Some people find their purpose helping others; others find their obsession and purpose in ruining their ex’s lives and futures. I think it really sucks that California is a no-fault state when it comes to divorce. I think when people end their marriage by, oh, say, having affairs and a KID with another man whom they eventually leave their spouse for, they should not only forfeit any stake in the marital assets, but CERTAINLY not be entitled to future financial compensation for the rest of their lives. What’s to stop immoral users like these from just marrying anyone with some money for a few years and then screwing them over, leaving them, and then you just collect free money forevermore? Hell, why not get married a few more times, and then multi-task and suck the lives out of 4, 5, 6 men at a time? Fuck them all. I was REALLY trying to see things from her side for a long time, but after this most recent stint of events, I’ve had it. People who don’t have custody of their children should not be getting child support money.

I’m happy, HAPPY, to be home. Alone. Away. This is my vacation. Now if I could only get a professional massage therapist to come over and relieve the physical manifestations of my stress from my muscles. Assuming my lack of gymming the past week and a half hasn’t dissolved them all (muscles, not masseuses).

P.S. I can’t shake the guilt. I feel like I’m being selfish by wanting no part of this, like I should be more supportive even tho it’s not my problem and I didn’t cause nor create it. But then this other self-preservation part of me gets angry for having to deal with this at all, BECAUSE it’s not my past mistake, it’s not my current baggage, but I’m paying for it, too. I guess when you want to reap the emotional benefits of a man with relationship experience, you gotta take the doo-doo, too.

I woke up at 12:30 a.m. so angry, and continued being angry, heart-pounding, mind racing, and seriously considered going to the gym at 3:30 a.m.. But calculating the time it would take for me to go from the gym to the shower to work, I decided to wait it out just a little longer. And finally fell asleep.

This morning, as with every other morning, I left for work with the intention of finally going to the gym at lunch. And this lunchtime, as with every other lunchtime for a week and a half, I had to stay behind and work through lunch. Today it was because lunch hit in the middle of a complicated 4-count criminal sentencing we did this morning that I’d been working on for hours and I couldn’t be interrupted in the middle of my 5-page data entry and typewritten clarifications and explanations and calculations. (Imagine getting a total sentence of ‘9 plus 14 years-to-life’. Eh???) Now, we’re about to dive right back into our 2-week jury trial.

And I’m still pissed.

(This is a ranting post. Expect me to spew. Sensitive viewers need not view. If you’re viewing, you implicitly agree to indulge my freedom of expression and my need for release.)

I’m off to a pretty crappy week. Yesterday morning, I found that my bedroom ceiling was leaking again at both prior spots, and pretty severely, too. A punchbowl was almost completely full, and the continuous drops bounced off the collected water in the bowl, splashing water all around the bowl so that the carpet’s wet all surrounding the bowl. While soaking up the carpet water with paper towels, I had to keep pushing Dodo away from the bowl where he wants to take a taste. That cat’ll drink water from anywhere. I switched the bowl with a deep plastic bucket that shouldn’t splash as much, dumped the bowl’s yellow water into the toilet, locked Dodo out of my bedroom, and took my morning shower. Apparently, during my shower, Dodo decided it’d be really cute if he vomited all over my purse. This I found as I was rushing out the door to work, and had to clean up the purse and carpet before leaving, which made me even later than usual to work. The rain (9 days in a row in LA, news reports said — CA is now out of its drought and has received enough rain to supply the rest of 2008) made a slow drive, and each additional wet day delays repair of my roof/ceiling more. Oh, and there’s now a weird smell in my bedroom. Not the dank wet smell that came when the leak first started weeks ago, this one reminds me of the awful stench in the air for weeks during a summer of consecutive wildfires about 10 years ago, when ashes floated in the air like snowflakes. Maybe I have a partially incinerated dead body hidden in the crawlspace between my ceiling and roof, and now that my ceiling is falling apart, I can smell him.

Today, I was able to get to work without much of a hitch, but then I fell into my emotional dark place. I got into a quibble with Mr. W about his position on his ex situation (by “ex situation” I mean about his ex-wife with her hand so far in his pocket that her hand is actually deeply embedded in his ass, and by “his position” I mean about his willingness to leave her hand in there because he fears the potential financial burden and pain of a forced removal). And then I hated myself because this shouldn’t even be my problem and yet it’s invading my life through him, his anger about his situation, and his financial restrictions because of it. I worked through lunch for the 2nd day in a row (not having hit the gym in a long time) due to some drama involving an Orange County criminal case that was transferred to us, and got an email reminder to pay my upcoming credit card bill. After paying online and seeing how broke I have become very recently, now I’m even more angry.

I keep coming back to picking up a second job as a solution. Remember that bartending fancy? Playing with liquids is something I’ve always enjoyed, and it’ll distract me from my mental stress. The extra money will help out a lot, which will hopefully ease some of my current bitterness. Mr. W, however, is still against my doing it.

I was talking to a friend over the weekend and he told me his family has a bad habit of not wanting to go to the doctor when something’s wrong because they’re scared. I’m certainly guilty of trying to weather most health storms, but I think when the health problem is something like cancer, preventative care is absolutely essential. This friend had a relative who was diagnosed with a type of cancer that has a high survival rate, but instead of going back to the doctor to get it taken care of, she hid out at home and prayed. The cancer eventually won.

I get frustrated at my dad for the same thing — serious problems should be diagnosed and treated, but he wants to just wait it out, hoping it’d magically go away. That’s fine if he has a cold or something, but when he was leaking out blood that was really scary! And he’d kept it a secret from my mom for days until he passed out and hit his head on his way down late one night. (If you’re interested, I’d posted about finding out here and the results here.)

When I hear that someone was doing nothing but praying for their recovery, or when they say it is God’s will that they be sick or well, my first thought is usually the cliche “God helps those who help themselves.” This weekend, I thought about that statement, and came to this conclusion about God’s will and our own free will…

I think that God answers our prayers when we ask for help, by giving us the tools we need to resolve our problem. For example, when we are hungry, God doesn’t take away our hunger pangs, he gives us food and drink. But if we just sit there and don’t pick up the food, don’t catch the fish, don’t dig for the water, then it’s just our own damn fault if we starve to death. It’s not “God’s will.” If we’ve done everything we can to help ourselves and we still fall to a disease, then maybe I’ll be convinced that it’s God’s will that we’re done with this stint on earth. This bodes true for addicts (who could seek help with AA or NA but choose instead to feel sorry for themselves, saying the urge is too strong), job hunters, people trying to lose weight, and people who don’t go back to the doctor for follow-up appointments when something is found to be wrong.

Mr. W said that older generations tend to avoid the doctor due to their different styles of thinking, and I guess I can see that. Back 50+ years ago, when medical science wasn’t as advanced, if you were told you got the “Big C,” it was pretty much a death sentence. So they’d rather not know. Today, however, so much is preventable or treatable that I think it’s highly irresponsible to your loved ones, to yourself, and even to God if you just sit on your ass.

Too harsh? Just my opinion.

Dude. I can’t sleeeeep! You know what ridiculous thing is going thru my mind?

In Physics my senior year of high school, we had a project to design and build a small bridge using ONLY flat wooden toothpicks and Elmer’s white glue. For every Physics project, our teacher ran a contest for extra credit points. The bridge’s contest is to see which bridge could hold the most weight in proportion to the bridge’s own weight. I remember Vicky (who had Physics in another period) and I ditched a class or two to leave school early the day before the due date to finish (i.e., start on) our bridges. I even remember that before I met up with Vicky at my house, I’d stopped by The Wherehouse to buy the cassette single US3’s one-hit-wonder “Flip Fantasia” for Vicky cuz she thought it was a cute song. Hence, I was late getting to my house and she’d beat me. Random details. Oh, and I remember Vicky had bought those expensive strong “Diamond” brand toothpicks in the blue and white box and I bought the cheap flimsy Thrifty store-brand toothpicks, and that I’d bought my toothpicks some days earlier when I watched Schindler’s List with Sandy since she got extra credit for watching it, and I had to walk out of the theatre during one of the more violent scenes, so I walked to Thrifty. (I’ve known these two bridesmaids forevah!)

Vicky’s bridge design was this intricate assembly of boxes with a diagonal toothpick inside each wall of the frames for extra support, and she even cut all her toothpick tips at 45-degree angles so that all the edges would match perfectly together and make flush corners. When she put her bridge on the table, it made a solid “thwack” sound. That bridge had substance and presence.

My bridge design was less design than just gluing toothpicks together, keeping in mind that the strongest geometric shapes are arcs and triangles, and then bringing those glued sticks closer and closer until they connected on top. The arc of the bridge turned out surprisingly high, I don’t even think the structure stood solidly on the table but was a tad wobbly the way an uneven kitchen table would be, and it looked flimsy compared to Vicky’s. I noted that the support was a bit thin between where the legs connected to the upper surface of the bridge, but was too tired to reinforce it because cutting and gluing toothpicks together took surprisingly long. It was very late that night when we’d finished. We prayed that the white glue had enough time overnight to dry before our bridges would be tested the next day in our respective Physics classes.

Vicky’s Physics period was before mine and her bridge ended up being the second-best in her period, taking a lot of pounds of weight before it broke. When my period came, the teacher put each person’s bridge on the counter/table at the front of the class, and one by one, carefully put small bags of weight on it until it broke, and then recorded the results as the class watched. When it came to my bridge, he put a weight on it, and my bridge did not budge. Surprised, he took the weight off, put a small bucket on my bridge, and then dumped sand into the bucket. I watched my bridge’s legs start to spread as he kept adding weight in the bucket. Running out of sand, the teacher took a metal dumbbell ring and put it inside the bucket. The class was awed, and whispers of “Daaaaang…” echoed throughout the students. Finally, the bridge broke in the EXACT PLACE I knew needed reinforcement! I could kick myself, cuz I could’ve done something about it, but was too tired to. My bridge held the most weight in proportion to its own weight in the class, so I got the extra credit points, but Vicky’s bridge was able to hold more weight. Her downfall, why she only got #2 in her class, was that altho her bridge held more, it also weighed more. I think both our bridges (mine for sure) were displayed in the glass case in the Science Building’s hallway for a few months until the next project.

This is what’s keeping me awake… why didn’t I build an “m”-shaped bridge instead of an arc bridge? The middle leg in the “m” would’ve totally supported the sag. Was it part of the rules that it had to be an arc bridge? Somehow I don’t think so, I think the only rules were in the materials we were allowed to use. But even if it were written that the bridge could only stand on 2 legs, I could’ve designed an “m” with the middle leg NOT touching the ground, but when the two outside legs separated as the bridge sagged, the middle leg would then get low enough to touch the ground and support the sagging weight so the bridge legs wouldn’t break. Of course it would’ve made the bridge slightly heavier, but I think I could use minimal toothpicks to make the small increase of weight well worth its increased strength.

I wanna call Vicky and ask if she remembers the rules to the bridge project.

Jordan’s recent post complaining about her body mass index (BMI) inspired me to start digging through my desk drawer in search of my BMI chart. I didn’t find it, but instead got lost in a flood of emails I’d printed out and retained.

Through a particularly tortured period of my life, I’d printed out email conversations between my friends and I that were inspiring or comforting, because I want the wise words for future reference and I want never to forget the time and love gifted to me. The following is an excerpt from a 6-pager:

Me: What I really want, and what I’ve always wanted, is to know that if I’m tired, like I am right now, when I can’t think straight and I can’t deal, that I can just lean my head on someone’s lap and trust him to take care of me while I took a break. To trust that if I let go, he would not let the sky collapse on me. That when I’m ready to deal with things again, I can awake refreshed, be greeted by his smile, and I’d know that things are okay. Why is that so impossible to find?
Friend: I think that this is what most people are seeking. They want someone that they can trust, that they can go back to at the end of the day, they want someone who they can let their guard down and not be afraid of being taken advantage of. For me, I think that this is a large part of what love is all about.
And why is it so impossible to find? I tell people (and myself) that the thing about love is that you only really have to get it right once in your life. And once you get it right, you’re set for life. It’s the beauty about of love is that once you do get it right, you don’t ever have to worry about it again. This kind of love may be hard to find, but I think it’s well worth the wait. I know that I want to love someone so completely and have that love returned that I’m not willing to compromise when it comes to people I date. Now, this might make me a little lonely and a lot single for a long time, but the way I see it is, I don’t think that I would be happy any other way.

The email was from June 16, 2005. And I have since then found that person I was writing about wanting to find. And my friend who wrote me the words of encouragement has not only found his person now, but married her. Neither of us at the time were dating these people we are with now, but we would be within months unbeknownst to us then.

I feel compelled to note that I don’t think what my friend meant in the above exerpt was that once you find the right person for you, everything will be honky dory with no effort from you and you can just be a lazy slob and take no responsibility for the relationship. But I think with the right person, your efforts aren’t wasted; they, along with your love, are reciprocated and nurtured.

Thanks, Mike/’Wilco’! (Bet he thought I wasn’t going to give him credit. Or maybe he doesn’t even remember writing that.)

I guess I never wrote about what I did on the long weekend (Hippo Birdie, MLK!). Mr. W and I looked at a couple of houses Saturday morning and the one I thought I’d fall in love with — a newer million-dollar home with great photos — I hated. Another that I didn’t think I’d like — an older home whose photos did not do it justice — I loved! Timing isn’t right, tho…we’re still just browsing for now. Unless some crazy deal turns up that we just can’t say no to. The market is still going south and I’d ideally like to purchase all my properties at rock-bottom prices.

After looking at homes, Mr. W and I picked up his daughter, and the three of us drove to Vegas to see his parents. I had a great time! Thanks to Daughter, I finally saw P.S. I Love You. I cried through the entire thing and blamed it on PMS. It was Daughter’s third time watching it and she still cried. Mr. W, the cold-hearted brute, remained unmoved throughout the film.

Driving back on Monday, the three of us stopped by my parents’ house and played with their professional karaoke. Daughter was probably the only person who’d ever sung at my parents’ house who truly knew how to sing. Her clear voice reverberated throughout my parents’ new hardwood floors and non-acoustic ceilings. Her Whitney Houston songs were likely more pleasant for my mom than when she and I duetted Shaggy’s “It Wasn’t Me.” Mr. W did not look pleased when his young teenage daughter and his future wife sang and rapped about banging next-door neighbors butt-naked on the bathroom floor and counters and getting caught on camera. I told Daughter, “I’m glad MY parent doesn’t know slang!”

I like hanging out with Daughter. She’s a load of giggles.

…it pours.

I had an appointment this afternoon for a 2nd roof appraiser (one recommended by my Association treasurer) to come out and look at my roof, but it’s POURING RAIN so hard that he called me to cancel, saying it’s raining too hard to get to where he needs to get to and see on the roof. It’s supposed to be pouring ALL WEEK so we’re gonna reschedule when we see the rain die down. :'( All the cups, bowls, and buckets are back up inside my bedrooms under the original leaks. Yes, I live in Southern California. Land of surfers and sunshine.

On the emotional issues front, I’m trying really hard to not be affected by Mr. W’s stressors. I’m trying to see his current upheaval with his ex (kids’ mom) as nothing more than an irksome dog barking away outside my home, angry but not really involving me or putting me in direct danger. Even with that, I wasn’t able to fall asleep very readily last nite.

Oh, and I haven’t worked out in 4 days. Because today, at lunch, I chose to have lunch with my new courtroom assistant and my floating court reporter (my regular court reporter is off surfing in Costa Rica) at a Japanese restaurant in Cerritos called “Kabuki”. I had 6 pieces of sushi, 6 pieces of spicy tuna roll, miso soup, and way too much unfiltered Nigori sake.

The US Postal Service is pretty computerized these days. Not only can you go online and track a package mailed through them, but Mr. W signed us up for email notification so that each evening, when the status of your package is updated in the computer system, you get an email saying where your package is.

Since we mailed out my engagement ring last week for resizing in Florida, we’ve gotten an email saying that it was accepted at 12:30 p.m. at our local post office. That’s it. It’s been almost a week and there’s been no additional update.

On the one hand, I’m a little bit concerned, cuz it is a small package bearing my very nice engagement ring. On the other hand, if the postal service loses the ring, we ought to be getting $16K due to the insurance. And then I’ll just get a cheaper ring and have a large chunk of my wedding paid for.

I can tell that I want the ring more than I want the money, because this post exists. Murphy’s Law would have it that the moment I post this, I’ll get something in my mailbox that says the ring’s in Texas or something in transit to Florida, and I’ll feel all stupid for worrying about it and writing this post. So the writing of this post somehow, karmically, cosmically, induces the ring to appear back on the radar. So I’m making an active effort to secure the safety of my ring at the expense of appearing paranoid or silly or crazy. You see, I’ve thought about this.

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