June 2008

My wedding makeup lady gave me a week-long diet plan that’s supposed to be safe and effective. She said she’s given out the diet for years, and everyone who tried it have lost weight. According to the diet, at day 3 I should have lost 5-7 pounds. I’m dubious, but the first few days of the plan appears to be a high fiber cleanse, so maybe the average person has 5-7 pounds of poo to clean out, I dunno. Well, in the spirit of my engagement photos in 2 weeks, I thought I’d give it a shot. Feel free to do it along with me!

I took the plan with me to Fresh & Easy and bought all the food I’m supposed to eat for the week. $35 got me this:

Not depicted is a carton of milk, a jug of orange juice, and a package of frozen veggies. I just forgot about them.

Living alone, I don’t grocery shop much, so I was surprised how much things cost. Plus, I assume all the food prices were driven up recently from the gas crap going on. But when I think about it, if I ate out by myself, $35 would’ve gotten me 2-3 meals, so if this truly lasts a week I’m doing great.

So tonight I made some vegetable soup that I’m supposed to consume all week long. The ingredients are:
6 large green onions
6 fresh tomatoes
1 large head of cabbage
2 green peppers
1 bunch of celery
3 cubes of bouillon (I subbed in a can of organic chicken broth)

After a loooong time spent chopping the above to death with a small but very sharp knife, I dumped the chunks of veggies into a giant pot I happened to have. The makeup lady told me to half the recipe because “Who the heck could drink this much soup? Good grief.” Well, if this is going to last through the week, I could. I didn’t half it. I regetted that decision mid-way into hacking the giant head of cabbage, pieces all over my kitchen counter, sink and floor. The pot was filled all the way to the top with cabbage.

It took a long time for the veggies to shrink down so that the lid could sit all the way down.

The rule with the soup is, “Eat as much as you want, whenever you want. This soup will not add calories. The more you eat, the more you will lose. Fill a thermos in the morning if you will be away during the day. If eaten alone for indefinite periods, you will suffer malnutrition.” Oh, pshaw. The way I eat (or rather, don’t eat), there’s no way adding food to my week will give me malnutrition. I’m now waiting for the soup to finish boiling so that I can season it with “salt, pepper, curry, parsley, bouillon, or hot sauce, if desired.”

Tomorrow will be Day 1. The rule for Day 1: “ALL FRUITS except bananas. Eat only the soup and fruits. For drink — unsweetened tea, cranberry juice, or water.”

I was processing divorce cases last week when I came across three files in a row where the couple was married for 19 years and now requesting divorce. “What is this? They were married for 19 years and then suddenly realized that the marriage was sooo bad that they HAVE to be divorced before their 20th anniversary?”
My courtroom assistant said simply, “Their kids are grown.”
Oh! I’d never thought about that, and that makes perfect sense. They probably had a kid within a year of the wedding and 19 years later, when the child is now a legal adult at age 18, divorce is simple without issues of child support, legal and physical custody, and visitation.

Since I don’t have kids, I didn’t think about it in that kind of perspective, the whole counting backwards to see when the kid was born thing. I remember the first time it occurred to me to count backwards with respect to other child things. It was 1999 and I was in a computer lab as part of my training for this job. I was chatting with a big butch lesbian, another member of my class, about how growing up, all my friends and cousins with siblings had birthdays really close to their siblings. For example, my cousins Diana and Jennifer have a 3 year age difference, but their birthdays are about 2 weeks apart. MOH Vicky’s sister Karen is 3 years younger, but their birthdays are about a week apart in the same month. When I met a girl in grade school whose birthday was 3-4 months away from her younger sister’s, I refused to believe that they were sisters because their birthdays were too far apart. I laughed at the conclusions my childhood self drew at all the coincidental close birthdays of siblings. The classmate said, “It’s probably not a coincidence. It means that your friends’ parents kept having sex at the same time in the years.” I remember going quiet as I processed this new thought. Imagining friends’ parents having sex was new to me, even in such practical parameters. I only mention this classmate’s sexual orientation because it discredits me to not have thought of this obvious explanation before, when someone who wouldn’t be having child-making sex with a spouse was aware of this like it was nothing.

So of course now I always count backwards 9 months. My cousins were both born in late October/early November? What’s so special about 9 months before that spurred the sexual celebration? (ew.) Maybe Valentine’s Day. Maybe cold weather. MOH Vicky and her sister were both born in May? What was 9 months ago? (ew.) August. I don’t know of any special holidays in August. Maybe it was a wedding anniversary. (ew.) I was born at the end of June. What was 9 months before that? My parents’ October honeymoon. (ew ew ew!) This might be a curse.

Today is my birthday and it started off odd. I’d forgotten to turn my phone back on sound after the dance concert last night, so when I crawled out of bed at 11am, I saw I’d missed 5 calls already. After listening to 5 voice mails, turned out only 2 of them (from MOH Vicky and Busykitty Vanessa) had called to wish me a happy birthday. The other 3 called for random other reasons. I did get a text message from my friend Erin wishing me a happy birthday, though. And then my college best friend Edgar called. I never hear from him anymore and he used to make a point of paging me at midnight to be the first to wish me a happy birthday in years past, so I expected it to be one of those phone calls. Instead, he’d called to ask if it’s okay to bring his RSVP for our wedding to my parents’ house directly since he’d be late mailing it, and we caught up about his recent family vacation. He never mentioned my birthday. Weird.

Around 1:45 p.m. Mr. W’s daughter came by to meet me as we’d agreed upon and we went to the qipao dressmaker’s shop to get her measured for her dress. I’d told her that she’s part of the wedding party as singer for our wedding and that she could wear whatever she wanted, but that my bridesmaids were all wearing traditional Chinese dresses. She eagerly said she’d like to wear one, too. So we went to the shop and she flipped through the fabric sample books. She found a great deep teal colored silk with bamboo leaf embroidery, then decided on a dress design she liked. We had her try on a sample dress in that design and she looked beautiful. She customized it by asking for a shorter skirt and changed some of the trim colors, got measured, and half an hour later we were off. I’m really excited about her dress. It’s Chinese-inspired but not traditional with a deep open V-neck collar with a mesh covering over the V. She wants to wear the dress for a school dance next year. I got a great deal, too; since this is my sixth dress order from this seamstress, she gave it to me for $80 under current pricing. I think I like Daughter’s dress most out of all the dresses that I’ve ordered. I probably couldn’t pull off a cut like that myself, tho.

After the dress shop we had a quick meal at Downtown Disney. She needed to get a replacement Jack Skellington antenna ball for her dad for a belated Father’s Day present. Unlike Mr. W’s rant claimed, these suckers are not collector’s items, are not $25 each, are not out of circulation. There was a giant tub of them for $4 each. We laughed about how we ought to tell Mr. W that it was impossible to find and that we had to beg the Disney Store manager to open the vault to release this rare collectable antenna topper for us and that when he did, it cost an arm and a leg to purchase. And she did tell him that story, right before breaking the news to Mr. W that his precious antenna ball isn’t valuable to anyone else but him. He was nevertheless happy as he nervously installed this new Jack onto his car antenna, and I had a great one-on-one time with Daughter, as always.

We had reservations for a joint birthday dinner at Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse. Mr. W’s son turned 19 on Friday, and of course I turn 32 today. I hadn’t had fine dining like that in years, Mr. W never used to appreciate fine dining because he’d just considered it rip-off overpriced food for stupid rich people, and the kids had never even heard of this restaurant. It was a really fun dinner. Both kids participated in the dinner conversation, we laughed a lot, made fun of the rich people around us (a large table behind us caught our attention as they sang “happy birthday”, and we turned to see that they were celebrating a 2 year old’s birthday. Son and Daughter cracked up and said how sad it was that the kid probably *really* wants to have her birthday at Chuck E. Cheese but was forced to sit here and gnaw on $60 steak instead.), had a great delicious dinner where both kids ordered their steaks medium and said it was the best filet mignon they’ve ever had in their lives despite never wanting to eat “bloody meat” before. Mr. W declared the dinner a great success and said he hadn’t had such long conversations with his kids in a long time. Hope this is a predecessor of great things to come.

Saturday morning, Mr. W and I met up with our realtor at his office to sign loan papers for our new house. Interest rates are stupidly high right now. The immediate financial future of this country isn’t looking so good, what with expenses increasing as soaring gas prices push the cost of everything up, and the short-sighted government writing bills to bail out people in the housing crisis while propelling us into dollar-inflation and recession. “Oh no, we’re sinking! Let’s dig faster!” It was a scary session with the realtor. I hope our current homes lease out immediately to good renters.

Saturday evening was better. Mr. W and I met up with Gym Trainee at a TGI Friday’s bar to kill a bit of time before her son’s dance concert across the street. The three of us wolfed down our cold drinks (white zinfandel for her, dirty gin martini for Mr. W, Triple Purple Hooters for me) then walked across the street. Altho I thought most performers at the concert were unspirited and uninspired dancers who were barely able to stay on beat so forget about being in sync with each other, Gym Trainee’s son had impressive rhythm. He did this one move where he did a spin in mid-air and lands in a semi-split. He takes after his god-mama. Ahem. Since my godson was jealous when he found out the three adults met at Friday’s before his performance and he’d never been there before, the four of us returned to Friday’s after the concert for dinner. I hadn’t been to a TGI Friday’s in years since the ex and his crew used to hang out there (but not at this particular branch), and walking in this evening I saw my favorite bartender from the other branch. When he worked at the other branch, I used to walk in, sit at the bar and tell him, “I feel like something fruity. Surprise me.” And he introduced me to many many creative drinks that have become some of my favorites. I remember back years ago, he was practicing throwing bottles doing a few Flair Techniques tricks, and he’d drop them a lot. Now, his Flair was down! A metal shaker would flip in the air as ice cubes flew over his shoulders to land in the shaker, and meanwhile a bottle is spinning its way to pour liquor in the shaker at an angle that seems to defy gravity when it happens. Really cool stuff. I’m gonna have to hang out there just to watch him. We got to chat a bit and catch up. When I told him I’m engaged, he gave me a high-five. That’s the first time I’d gotten that kind of reaction. Haha.

After dinner I returned to Mr. W’s house with him, and he handed me a red giftbag. “I told you not to get me anything, and that I just wanted you to save money for my birthday!” I protested.
“It’s small,” he promised.
I pulled out a card that was full of happy anticipation of our future together. Then as I dug around the tissue, I noted, “I smell food.”
“You do? How do you smell food?”
“I just do. I smell dough and sugar. And chocolate.”
“That’s impossible.”
I dug around the tissue some more, trying to find the opening between all its folds, and pulled out a GIANT chocolate chip cookie. “Ah-ha! I knew I smelled dough and sugar and chocolate!” He laughed at me. I dug around some more and pulled out…The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands in paperback by Dr. Laura Schlessinger. Now I laughed. I suppose he got me back for getting him, as part of his Christmas gift, How Not to Ruin the Most Important Day of HER Life, a wedding planning guide for grooms. He beat me in the romance department, however, because he wrote an inscription on an inside page that he’d purchased the book because it has the word “husband” on the cover and wanted me to get used to the concept. Cute! I loved that he bought something that is designed to make our marriage lasting and enjoyable, and I appreciate always his willingness to try new things to improve “us”. However, after reading a few chapters, I started feeling uncomfortable and confused. The book basically makes me feel like crap for having personal accomplishments and independence because Dr. Laura apparently doesn’t think “normal” women are “whole” without a husband and children, and that independent women are actually short-changed by the feminist movement to THINK we’re happy and thriving when in fact we’re fooling ourselves while being bitches. Seriously! I linked a review to the book title where the reviewer apparently feels just like I did. Nevertheless, I’ll finish the book because even if I disagree with the perspective and context, I may nevertheless glean a thing or two I can add to my relationship perspective. Sometimes the salad bar sucks but a cucumber slice here and a cherry tomato there could still be delicious in my regular dinner.

Friday nite, my mom was feeling salty about how none of her family treated her to a birthday dinner, so I went to my parents’ house to take them out. I was supposed to treat her with Mr. W the weekend before, but my dad grabbed the bill and paid it with a credit card. My mom said that means she was paying for the meal since she pays the household bills. Then she went out with her mom for a birthday dinner during the week and somehow ended up paying for that, too. My mom said that since she paid for her own meals during her birthday, now that it was my birthday, I should treat everyone, too, as a new tradition. I agreed just cuz that makes life easier for now. She also pointed out that my birthday should be spent celebrating her, anyway, since she’s the one who went through the difficulty of pregnancy and labor so that I could be here. We went to a nearby Thai restaurant and waited forever for the check after we were done eating. My mom finally prompted my dad to go up to the counter and get the check, so he did. I’m sitting there chatting with her, and then saw over her shoulder that my dad was pulling out his wallet. So here was me:
*looking at my dad’s back* “Whoa, what’s he –”
*watching him pull out his wallet*
*my eyes widen*
*the whole guilt trip from my mom about not paying for dinner and imminent future guilt trips flash before my eyes*
*leaping up out of my seat in desperation*
*running to the counter, hurdling over chairs and tables and people*
“Dad, I got it! Go sit down! I’M paying for this!”
My dad says, “No, it’s YOUR BIRTHDAY.”
“It’s a new rule that we’re doing. I’m paying. Mom will yell at me if I don’t pay and I’m not going through that again.”
My dad looks at me thoughtfully. Then he says cheerfully, “Okay! Thanks!” and goes to sit down.

After dinner I took them to nearby Cherry On Top froyo, their first time experiencing the new make-your-own-froyo craze. I had a buy one, get one 10 oz free coupon that Cherry On Top emailed me, so I got both their yogurts for just $7. My mom and dad went nuts! 14 oz yogurts with toppings galore. I was impressed with their appetites until I realized as we left with their colossal desserts that they’d misunderstood how the cost is calculated. They thought it’s the same price no matter how they pack in the food, and were surprised when they saw that cost was calculated by weight. They probably worked at their yogurts all weekend long.

For my birthday, my mom passed down a beautiful heirloom gold peacock necklace that her mother had given her for her wedding.

Since my birthday is over the weekend, my staff threw me a birthday shindig at work today. My reporter brought an amazing cake from the Great Dane Bakery that looked like a wedding cake. It was a delicious moist four layered white cake with strawberry and cream filling, and the outside of the cake is a fondant-like covering of white chocolate hand-decorated with grape vine design around the top circumference, metallic gold swirls airbrushed across the top as the background to a script “Happy Birthday Cindy”. The sides of the round cake had elegant hand-applied whorls and curlicued flourishes in a white puffy cream. I wish I had a photo of it. I didn’t think to take a cameraphone picture like I did last year.

People gathered, sang and made me feel good, I reminded everyone that I’m not 32 for a couple more days, and then I opened cards and presents. My judge had a great card that is worth commemorating. The front reads:

If you want to be HAPPY, be!
-henry david thoreau

On the blank inside he’d written simply:

Be as you are and have been.

What a concept, huh?

While I was in the jury room with everyone reminding them I’m not 32 yet, my realtor called. The #1 house’s agent got back to him, and said that altho they’d received some calls of interest, they’re not in offer/counter offer mode with anyone, and they’re willing to resume negotiations with us where we’d last left off before the #2 house’s sleaze screwed us. My realtor faxed over our acceptance to their counter offer, which was signed and faxed back. We should be getting our financing and entering Escrow soon! YAAAAAAY! (almost)

Q: What is college roommie/bridesmaid Diana’s nickname for you?
A: Psychic Cindy.

Q: Why?
A: Cuz I get a sense of something and I’m usually right.

Q: How does that apply to your current housing situation with the #2 house?
A: I’d said that the #2 house seemed a little too good to be true, and that it didn’t feel like home. I’d also said that the bank was jerking us around, holding out for a better offer it was going to take over ours, because it LIED about how full-price offers would be immediately accepted and entered into Escrow.

Q: Does this mean you heard from your agent about the #2 house today?
A: Yes.

Q: When?
A: Today. At 6pm.

Q: Well? What’d he say?
A: He said that the bank accepted another offer that, unlike our offer of 20% down, offered 50% down. That offer came in last nite, possibly due to the publicity from the online publication featuring that house. Bastard bank shouldn’t have even been on the market to HAVE that offer, since our offer went in last Friday and was only supposed to be valid until Monday, but they stalled us and dragged us along until the article was published, only to reject us the moment something better came DELINQUENTLY; the assholes at First Franklin should suffer bad karma for that jackass move. Not that my realtor said it like that.

Q: How do you feel about this?
A: Pretty good. There’s no way we could compete with 50% down so it feels like it’s not meant to be. Too rich for our blood. It’s not like we just missed it by a hair and have to kick ourselves. Plus, the fact that this house took itself off the market made the acquisition of the #1 house feel more destined. There’s no more wondering, cuz all signs continue to point toward the #1 house.

Q: Do you think the #1 house is still available?
A: Last my agent checked, it’s still listed as active. He’s going to call them and ask if we could continue where we left off with the offer and counter offer. I’m looking forward to the full bed/bath downstairs in the #1 house, cuz it’d be perfect for our guests! Plus, I get to plant my little avocado tree in the back yard somewhere; I got a glint that the #2 house wasn’t meant to be when I saw the mature avocado tree there last Saturday. It was like, “Then where will my tree go? It’s superfluous here.” Hope those people are forgiving of our little stall!

To balance the karma between this post and the last, which I’ve had to do with increasing frequency, I’m gonna post something sweet and sappy tonite.

Mr. W invited me to an impromptu lunch yesterday, since I’ve not been working out lately anyway. We decided to go to a nearby park and walk around and enjoy the slightly cooler sunlight. On the way to his car, I forgot what the topic of our casual chat was, but I said something jokingly about him leaving me. “That’ll make it easy for you to leave me,” or something.
He put his arm around me, pulled me against his side and kissed the top of my head, and said, “I’ll never leave you.”
“Really? What if I go crazy?”
“And I don’t mean the cute kind of crazy.”
He laughed. “You’re already that.”
“What if I’m so crazy I have to be institutionalized?”
“Then I’ll go with you. I’ll probably be more comfortable there with you, anyway.”

Awww. I think it was just last year or maybe a couple of years ago when we had a conversation that started the exact same way, except it went somewhere different. That conversation:
“I’ll never leave you.”
“Really? What if I go crazy?”
“If you let me drive you crazy then you and I aren’t supposed to be together.”
“What if I didn’t LET YOU, I just went crazy?”
“Same thing. If you’re crazy then we’re not meant to be together.”

But that was before he loved me enough to propose. See, men can change.

I skipped another lunchtime workout so that I could call my realtor; since we’re in the mother of all boring court trials, I couldn’t talk on the phone during regular times. I was pretty ticked and probably didn’t control my volume well. I wasn’t yelling AT my agent, but I was yelling TO him. I feel bad about it, but it’s SO frustrating to be jerked around like this, to be ignored by a bank who supposedly said that if we meet their asking price it’ll be accepted immediately and move right into Escrow. My agent even called and verified this with the agent before we made the offer, that’s WHY we made the offer. Otherwise we’d be in a normal Escrow with a normal house right now. So either they lied, which is MESSED UP, or they want us to offer more money, which they should’ve TOLD US in a COUNTER OFFER. My agent explained that the banks in these short sales don’t feel obligated to follow any courtesy timelines and as a matter of course let offers expire all the time. (Our offer to the bank expired Monday.) He said we may hear something by the end of the day cuz hell, that’s what they told us the day before, and also the day before that, so it HAS to be true, right?

At 4:30p, my agent called me, and said quietly (probably afraid I’d blow up again) that he called the other agent, and was told that the bank definitely does not have a response for us today. But the other agent gave her “100% definite guarantee” that the bank will have an answer to us tomorrow. WHAT THE HELL DOES THAT MEAN?! And how is that different from Monday, and Tuesday, and today?

When I got home and checked my email, turned out James saw an online article featuring the #2 house that was published YESTERDAY and emailed it to me. It identified the bank as First Franklin. Jerks! I’ll NEVER do business with them! And now I’m wondering if the bank’s holding out because it’s hoping that the article would spur more interest and offers.

We’ll see what happens tomorrow. HMMPH!

I need to make up for the quality of my posts lately which, I admit, have been about as interesting as a strange kid coming up to you and telling you about his current 2nd grade science project, and you don’t like kids, and you flunked Science, and you don’t understand English. So here’s something kinda “wrong” that I did a couple weekends ago. (What, you thought I’d make up for bad writing with GOOD writing? Ptthh.)

Last Sunday when Mr. W and I were at my parents’ having dinner, my mom asked when our appointment for engagement photos were, and she said she wanted to come along. I don’t know why she wanted to be there, but as I’m trying to be charitable to my mother, I said optimistically that if she comes, she could decide whether she likes the way this lady does hair and makeup, and see if she wants to book a hair/makeup appointment with her on the day of our wedding. My entire bridal party is going to. But really I was imagining my mom being a total backseat driver when she’s there. “Can you make her makeup lighter? How do we make this look natural? I don’t think her hair should be that high. Can you block off her face a little bit with hair on the side so her face looks smaller? I think she’s wearing too much eye makeup. Can you do something about her skin? I tell her to eat more fruit so that she wouldn’t have all these pimples but kids these days *sigh* never listen to their parents.” And then during the photo shoot, “I think her arm looks too big like that. Can you make her look thinner? Cindy, don’t lean forward like that, you look so unspirited. I don’t think that’s a good pose. Hey, do the peace sign!”
My mom snapped me out of my daydream grimace by asking whether we need to bring anything, like changes of clothing or my bridal gown. I told her that no, the studio will have everything. And I’m not going to wear the bridal gown until the wedding. She asked, “They’ll have men’s clothes, too?”
“I’m sure they do, cuz they told me all he needs to have with him are black socks.”
“JUST black socks?” my mom said jokingly.
Mr. W joined in. “So I’ll just be naked with black socks on? That might be weird.”
And here’s the wrong part. I said thoughtfully and yet without thinking, “Hmm, that’s true. Maybe you should have three black socks.”
Mr. W laughed. One of my parents laughed, and I don’t remember which one. But because the other one didn’t laugh that much, it hit me that I’ve now directly inferred to, AND produced a mental image of, the penis attached to the man who is doing their daughter.


Next Page »