November 2008

This was a movie Thanksgiving weekend in Vegas so far. I watched “Twilight” in the theatres…it stuck as closely to the book as a movie is mostly able to, but I thought the actors and actresses were not very multi-dimensional and didn’t convey what they could have. Bella’s lines, for example, were pretty much all delivered in exactly the same tone. I didn’t feel like she gave Edward or her friends a reason to care about her. She was dull and antisocial throughout. But I understand you have to sacrifice SOME character development when you’re smushing a novel into a 90 minute movie. But I was just disappointed, is all. The book was enjoyable enough to read, if you feel like reading an adolescent love story a la Sweet Valley High with vampires. I went ahead and finished the second book in the Twilight series this weekend, by the way, and it was difficult to get through. I cried the last hour and a half straight of reading it (between 4 and 5:30 a.m.); it was like the author read my diaries and watched me and read my mind in my darkest relationship hours, and then wrote it into her book. After pulling the all-nighter on the second book, I’d been too scared to start the third book. I can’t afford to lose my 4th night of sleep this week.

Last nite while Mr. W and his gamer brother were, uh, gaming, bro’s wife, bro’s daughter and I went to watch our second movie of the day. I felt awful because I’d picked it, the comedy “Role Models,” and I was asleep for 90% of the movie. I heard the other two women chuckling throughout, but I’d fall asleep during blinks, completely unawares. That’s what happens when you pull an all-nighter reading after you pull an all-nighter driving to Vegas, and then decide to watch a 10:35p showing. I’d like to give the movie a good review, but I just don’t know anything about what happened.

What I did get out of the movies, though, was information gleaned from seeing a movie poster for an upcoming movie. To be released in February, 2009, just in time for V-day, they’re making my relationship bible into a movie! See the theatrical trailer by clicking here. It’s got an all-star cast, including Jennifer Aniston, Ben Affleck, Jennifer Connelly, Drew Barrymore.

I should get my womenfolk together and watch this on a girl’s night out. I’ll even invest a few hours into sleep the night before so I can stay awake during the movie.

Email from my coworker:
~ * ~
A man in Jacksonville calls his son in San Diego the day before Thanksgiving and says, “I hate to ruin your day, but I have to tell you that your mother and I are divorcing; forty-five years of misery is enough.”
“Pop, what are you talking about?!” the son screams.
“We can’t stand the sight of each other any longer,” the father says. “We’re sick of each other, and I’m sick of talking about this, so you call your sister in Denver and tell her.”
Frantic, the son calls his sister, who explodes on the phone. “Like heck they’re getting divorced,” she shouts, “I’ll take care of this!” She calls Jacksonville immediately, and screams at her father, “You are NOT getting divorced. Do not do a single thing until I get there. I am calling my brother back, and we will both be there tomorrow. Until then, don’t do a thing, DO YOU HEAR ME?” and hangs up.
The old man hangs up his phone and turns to his wife. “Okay,” he says, “they’re coming for Thanksgiving and paying their own way.”
~ * ~
Happy Thanksgiving! ๐Ÿ™‚

Ooh, look, I clicked on the “write a new post” button!

Speaking of posting again, some people suggested that my compulsion for blogging may have waned because my life is too good, too stable. There’s no single-life drama to report. Well okay, here’s some drama from this week reminiscent of the single days. For the past week, we’d been engaged in a medical malpractice jury trial. It was an unusually grueling trial because some of the testimony was just ridiculous, and it became quickly obvious that the jurors are HATING the plaintiff. (She’s suing her chiropractor, and chose to represent herself instead of hire an attorney, and she was unable to process the proceedings at all. We’ll say she was of sub-average intelligence. Without getting into examples, it was very frustrating to sit through.) One juror in particular, a motorcycle-riding man in his 30s who was always fashionably late, had the least impulse-control I’d ever seen in an adult; he wise-cracked from the jury box, openly sighed and laughed at the plaintiff’s ineptitude, and once in awhile I’d look up in surprise when the plaintiff did or said something shockingly inane and accidentally meet this juror’s eyes, who seemed to try to share a moment with me silently. You know, that “OMG she’s RETARDED, isn’t she?” communication look. It is my job to be impartial, so I never acknowledged the look and would look down at my work again instead. (One such time, I looked down and used my left hand to hold my layered hair out of my face and leaned into that hand. It occurred to me a few seconds later that as my left hand faced the jury, it appeared like I’m deliberately displaying my wedding rings after incidentally meeting this juror’s eyes, but I wasn’t.) The last day of testimony, this irreverent juror actually whistled as if in boredom while we were in session. My judge said that he gave this juror such a deathly glare that if his eyes were laser beams, the juror would have holes in his body already. I’d always thought something was kinda familiar in an unpleasant way about this juror; other jurors would snicker when he did, I got the sense he intimidated them with his mannerism so they’d rather be on his team than be subject to being one of his mocked victims. It was very playground. And I soon realized why he was familiar to me — he reminded of that asshole I almost got into the physical altercation with at Cirque du Soleil; he was too attractive, too witty, too confident, and was being a jackass just because he could and because he’d always gotten away with bullying others into submission.

After the verdict, the jurors were dismissed but told to go to back up to the jury assembly room to turn in their juror badges and to check out of jury duty. About an hour after their dismissal, I got a call from the jury room coordinator. “So you got your verdict,” she said gleefully. “It sounds like a crazy trial; one of the jurors was telling me about it.”
“Yeah, it was pretty bad,” I admitted. She told me some of the negative stuff the juror had hung around to tell her about, and I asked if it was Juror 10, the jerk. Indeed, it was him.
“AND,” she continued, her audible excitement telling me this is the real reason of her call, “He let something slip. He said ‘…and that cutie — oh, I shouldn’t have said that, huh?’ ” I was about to say that he could’ve been talking about anyone, but she mentioned some castle or something I had behind me. There is indeed a castle on the filing cabinet behind me; it’s a 3-D puzzle of Cinderella’s Castle that my dad put together for me. It was at work because when I was packing for the move to our current house, I knew that Mr. W would consider it space-stealing clutter and would probably make me throw it away, so I brought it to work to liven the courtroom up. I’ve gotten a lot of admiring compliments about the castle since. The jury coordinator said, “Well, he said, ‘Tell her that she and I spent A LOT of hours together in that castle.’ ”

I was confused. What the hell does that mean? I was too big to fit in the castle and I certainly would’ve noticed of I’d spent time with a stranger inside a 3-D puzzle. And then I understood the fantasy, and laughed. I thanked her for making my day, and we hung up.

I turned to my courtroom assistant. “Hey, do you have Juror 10’s notebook still?” I asked. She was ripping the jurors’ notes out of the spiral stenopad we provide to the jurors for note-taking, getting the pads cleared and ready for the next trial.
“Yeah,” she said and walked it over.
I flipped through the book. The first thing I saw that wasn’t notes about the trial was at the top of a blank page. Three lines of handwriting read:

Is that a castle up there? [arrow pointing up]
Up on the file cab.
It’s my Happy Place. She’s already in there w/me.

I laughed. I flipped some more, skimming the pages of his thoughts for the past week with us. There were a lot of smart-ass things written about the plaintiff, a couple about the defense attorney. I noted with amusement that a lot of the rude things I’d thought about the plaintiff or noted was said by her, he’d caught as well and had them written down. “What an ass,” I thought to myself, realized with a gasp, “That means I’M an ass!” He and I disturbingly appear to have the same sense of humor. I saw another line, buried in his notes about the defendant chiropractor’s testimony, and was unsure whether he referred to the doctor or to me when he wrote:

Showing wedding ring on purpose.

The comment was pretty gender-neutral.
I turned a couple of pages, laughed at his other comments about the words that the plaintiff would misuse and mispronounce. Testimony about back vertebrae problems, annual tears, disk bulges. And then, the worst comment EVER:

I’d like to get my hands on the Judge’s Assistant’s bulges.

I felt my face get hot. And yet it was oddly flattering. And equally oddly was how Mr. W was completely unaffected with this story when I told it to him. He didn’t even understand how that last comment was any big deal, certainly no bigger than the other comments in the notebook, despite the fact that I had major difficulty bringing myself to be able to even say those words aloud to him. Mr. W suggested an even more crass play on words that he felt would’ve deserved the embarrassed reaction that Juror 10’s line created in me.

…That must mean it’s okay that I keep the notepad as a souvenir.

I hadn’t blogged in awhile. I guess I feel like nobody would really miss me, anyway. When I started this hobby, it was because I needed it the way I needed journaling. With my thoughts, anguish, fears, and hopes written down, safely captured in black and white and bits and bytes, I could stop the swirling emotions and wide-eyed fear that I’ll miss something life-threatening or -enlightening simply by forgetting to process it. And then I could sleep again, the record perpetually tangible and accessible for future mulling over. Yes, it sounds insane.

I read an article the other day about how journaling stimulates both the left analytical side of the brain, as well as the right creative side. Just 20 minutes of journaling a day reduces stress and anxiety, helps memory, improves intellectual acuity. Jotting one’s thoughts down is far more beneficial to the mind as a whole than something like crossword puzzles or number games, which only exercise the left side of the brain.

As my need for anxiety- and stress-relief waned and my social life picked up again, the blog posts got farther and fewer in-between. But I kept on blogging as much as I was able, finding a few minutes here and there, because I had created a world of readers and friends that I enjoyed entertaining and communicating with through Cindy’s World. I met people I never would’ve run into in real life, nurtured and tightened friendships that distance and busyness would’ve otherwise tested. I found value in my blogging as my online presence seemed to be even beneficial to some other people.

And then I lost internet access at the place I spend the most time at in front of a computer. Blogging became far more difficult, but I still tried, thinking maybe my words would be sought after, if for nothing other than entertainment purposes.

I’m not sure that’s happening anymore. As much comfort and convenience as I had derived in the past from being able to look up records of what I’d done on a certain day, or do a search on this blog for a specific topic for future reference (such as a restaurant whose name I couldn’t remember but know I’d gone to for a specific occasion that I’d blogged about), I am seriously considering stopping. I’ve long since lost my need for creating these records, and it seems people have lost their need for my writing. I will always, however, value what I’ve written up to this point. Anything I write becomes my child. I am reminded of a phrase a college English literature professor once quoted, although I had been too poor of a student to pay attention to know whose quote it was: Cut these lines, and they bleed.

The Southland is on fire again. In the last few days the Santa Ana winds kicked up again, drying up the air, giving people allergy symptoms, knocking over my little avocado tree next to our front door. The last time the Santa Ana winds were here some weeks ago, the quantity of fires in Southern California sapped our state’s emergency funds and worried all homeowners, residents and allergy sufferers. I thought fire “season” was over with, seeing as how November’s seasonal designation should be “Thanksgiving,” right? ๐Ÿ™

There are multiple fires burning right now, and this time a lot closer to home. Specifically, it’s burning in the city immediately east of my house (Brea) and the next city over (Yorba Linda), and as houses burn, people are evacuated. I text-messaged my tenants to make sure they’re okay. There’s also another fire in Anaheim Hills, which is the one you see in my cellphone photos. 8,000 acres have burned so far, and the fire supposedly started in Corona (near Dwaine) and went west from there. The fire jumped a major freeway artery and burned on at the other side as freeways linking my parents’ city to my old city to our current city are shut down. Many homes have been lost; the Santa Ana winds, being dry and fast, has been carrying burning embers up to a mile away and landing elsewhere, starting another fire.

I’m just watching the TV biting my fingernails, texting people and making sure people in the path of smoke or fire have checked in with me. I texted my godson (Gym Trainee’s boy Evan), who reported that it was scary where he is 50+ miles away with ashes and smoke in the air; the smell is entering their house. I asked if he had his inhaler nearby just in case. He responded that it was in his pocket. ๐Ÿ™ The news reporter just said that firefighters are trying to use residents’ garden hoses to save as many homes as possible, but the winds are so hot and whipping that they’d just pick up an ember and light another house on fire, and it was impossible to determine which house would be next. ๐Ÿ™

Mr. W called me this morning from work and told me that he MIGHT get a 4-day all-inclusive free ride, sponsored by his work, to Washington, D.C. in January for president-elect Barack Obama’s inauguration. He was giddy with the possibility. But he’s not bringing me.

So I instantly thought of where *I* could be during this historic moment. When I’m old and grayish-yellow-green, when my grandkids ask me if I remember the day, this will always be the story of where-I-was-when. I bounced a few ideas around and then I said excitedly, “Ooh, I should go to Florida! They finally turned blue this election! I can watch the inauguration with Jordan!”
“We won’t even know for two weeks whether I’m gonna get to go or not!” Mr. W protested.
“Okay, but I’ll just tell Jordan now, since it’s a possibility.”
“Don’t tell her! Wait at least 2 weeks.”
“But she might be scheduling her work schedule for January NOW,” I pointed out, eager to start planning my 4 days in Florida.
He still insisted I shouldn’t tell her, we shouldn’t start planning on something that’s not set yet, I shouldn’t get our hopes up that I’ll be making that trip to Florida when I may not be, etc.
“Okay,” I finally relented. We said our goodbyes and hung up.

Instantly I called Jordan. Anticlimactically, I got her voice mail and then she didn’t get back to me for a few hours. But when she did, we started excitedly planning where we could go on day trips, since it is a long weekend. I’ve been to Miami, but never to Orlando. She also named some other city, Saint Somethingsburg, where I’ve also never been. After all the giggling and excited chattering, we came down to earth a little and talked about how this may not happen cuz Mr. W may not be going to Washington D.C., after all, and we’d be all disappointed. There was a little silence, and then I said, “Heck, if he tells me he’s not going after all, I’ll just tell him, ‘Too bad, we already planned this, I’m going to Florida anyway!’ ”

I think I’m beginning to see why Mr. W didn’t want me to talk about it with Jordan early.

I had JUST written about how I’m “happy” with my figure despite the weight gain when the unthinkable happened to me yesterday.

A friend emailed me some photos of a mutual friend’s wedding (which I did not attend), and I had the photos open on my computer at work, examining the bride and groom. This was the first I’d seen the bride, and we were talking about how some brides go all out and hire expensive hair and makeup artists for their wedding day… and there’s no way to say this without sounding catty, so I’ll just say it straight out. We were discussing how unfortunate it is that, a wedding being one of the biggest, most important, most photographed event in a woman’s life up to that point, and some women just look awful. It’s like, “With professional hair and makeup and a year’s advance notice of your big day, and this is the absolute BEST you’re able to look?” Don’t roll your eyes at me, you’ve all thought that when you’d gawked at the forwarded internet/email circulations of hideous wedding photos. This bride in particular appeared to be wearing quite a bit of makeup to no avail, her hair was slicked all up and back to where all you see looking at her head-on is a narrow clump of bangs which fell in the center of her forehead much like that weird feather-thing on the forehead of a quail, and although not ugly, she was a big girl who would’ve benefitted from SOME hair framing her face and falling over her shoulders. I did like her long form-fitting chiffon-wrapped wedding gown, but I thought it looked like lingerie on her and she may have looked better in a less clingy dress, given her size.

Karma wouldn’t let me get away with these criticisms. In the midst of my judgmental thoughts, my courtroom assistant รขโ‚ฌโ€ who was AT MY WEDDING and knew what I looked like on my wedding day, by the way รขโ‚ฌโ€ walked in and looked over my shoulder at the photo up on the monitor. And asked, “Oh, is this you at home?”
I instantly wailed to the friend who’d emailed me the photos. The only thing the friend could think of was that my courtroom assistant was kidding. But I know she wasn’t, she had truly thought it was me, a case of mistaken identity.

I forwarded the wedding pictures to Mr. W, along with a brief description of what’d just happened. His short emailed response was, “You’re Asian….You all look alike.”
Gym trainee was at least more sympathetic, writing back, “Are you ok? I know you’re pissed.” I asked if this was life’s way of poking me for not having gone to the gym all week. She comforted me with, “Look at the source. Please, WE look alike some days.”

Even so. That was yesterday afternoon. Today, I hit the gym for the first time this week.

Remember how my coworkers are betting on my getting fat just cuz I’m married? They haven’t been keeping good track of my weight.

I passed by a coworker earlier in the week who likes to make verbal observations about my appearances. This time it was, “*point* You’re really keepin’ that weight off, aren’t you?”
I laughed and said, “I’m tryin’!”
But the truth is, I gained 8 pounds since the day after the wedding. I haven’t gone to the gym all that much, partially cuz I’m at the mercy of happenstance. Today, for instance, gym trainee called me around noon to tell me her son is sick and she was going to pick him up from school, so I sat at my desk through lunch (not that I was disappointed as I’m not that motivated to hit the gym these days anyhow). Since I now carpool to work, if I don’t have a ride I’m stranded. Another coworker in an incredible act of kindness offered to loan me her car as she was staying in for lunch, but I couldn’t do that.
The other truth is, I’m not unhappy enough with my figure as it currently stands to do much about it. Turns out, my “goal” weight of 116 pounds didn’t look all that great on me. As I dropped below the mid-120s, my body started pulling fat from all the wrong places, while the places I wanted to be smaller stayed fatty. So actually, my weight now is a good equilibrium.

…I’ll just keep telling myself that.

Happy Veteran’s Day!

It’s not even 10 am yet. My veteran is sitting in his hammock wrapped in a bathrobe reading the lastest of fantasy series book Brisingr. I woke up about 40 minutes ago in the spare bedroom where I’d stayed up late reading an old bestseller about a true alien abduction, Communion. I’d staggered out into the hallway to see that a big maroon pillow from the master bedroom was sitting awkwardly balanced on the rail. I lifted the pillow and saw my cell phone, the hapless victim of the smothering. Soon after Mr. W came up and seeing me awake, pointed his finger at me and sternly admonished me for having a “bad” phone. A bad phone which identified this morning as any other weekday morning, not recognizing automatically this day’s holiday sleep-in status, and chirped its 6am alarm. As no one hit the alarm-off button, it chirped again at 6:05. And 6:10. And 6:15. And so on. “I even put a pillow on it and closed my door. And THAT didn’t work! I wanted to throw it in the toilet!” Mr. W was lamenting.
“Why didn’t you just turn it off?”
He froze as this new possibility entered his head. Then he said, “I don’t know which button to push! Your phone has a million buttons!” I guess he didn’t read the screen.
“Then why didn’t you just give me the phone and I could’ve turned it off?”
He didn’t have an answer for that one.

Now he wants to go to the gym. So much for relaxing.

We woke up to a pretty day today. To make people in less sunny November days jealous, I took this photo on cameraphone from our master bedroom window and sent it to some peeps.

Downstairs, my husband asked, “Wanna go to Knott’s Berry Farm today?” It’s their annual veterans-get-in-free time, so YEAH! (Mr. W is a Marine.) We got dressed and got there a little past noon. It was a pretty day in Buena Park, too.

You can tell the Californians from the out-of-towners cuz the Californians are the ones in designer sunglasses but long-sleeved shirts and jackets, whereas those from out-of-state are in t-shirts and shorts talking about how “nice” this 70-degree weather is. After making ourselves sick on two rides (we’re getting old), we decided, less than 4 hours later, to just call it a day and head over to my parents’ house early for our weekend visit. My parents showed us the photos they took of my cousin Diana’s wedding, which were of course of better quality because they had an actual camera, not just a cameraphone like me. But I still think my photos had a better artistic quality. Haha. “It almost looks like you intentionally put the flowers in the photo,” my dad said, looking at my cameraphone photos.
“I DID,” I said defiantly. I mean, did he think I was leaning way over into the aisle and shooting upwards because it was comfortable? Hmmph.
Anyway, these are some of my parents’ photos.

Mr. W and I don’t have any photos of just the two of us like that; even in the hour we booked exclusively for a photo shoot before the wedding, we took group shots. We figured at the time that we have tons of photos of just the two of us, but it’s a precious and rare thing to have everyone we love all together at the same place, all pretty and dressed up, so we took exclusively group photos. I kinda regret now, looking at our photos and other peoples’ photos of their weddings, that we don’t have intimate shots like this.

Everyone asked me if they’d copied our cake design. I know that my cousin had commented how much she loved our cake, but really, how many ways can you make a 3-tiered round cake with your floral motif displayed? But even if they were inspired by our cake design…

…I’d take that as a compliment.

Cutting into said cake design.

For the first time I got to see what *I* looked like that day.

Me and the ‘rents.

Me and the moms, showing off how much liquor we had in hand.

Instead of doing a Costco sheet cake like other people when they’re afraid the wedding cake isn’t enough, they did a CLAIM JUMPER MOTHERLODE CAKE. (You have to click on that for a slice image. Really. You do.) Don’t you just wanna get down and worship these two people?!

My husband getting down.

I just like this shot of my legs.

Good times.

My newlywed cousin and her new hubby gets back from their Jamaica honeymoon late tonight.

Next Page »